Volume 44 Number 26
                    Produced: Thu Aug 19  5:26:49 EDT 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Apostasy, "Outmarriages" and the Error of Shiva (3)
         [Martin Stern, Stephen Phillips, Tzvi Klugerman]
Beer as Stam Yeinam
         [Josh Backon]
Diary Mixup
         [Menashe Elyashiv]
Learning Out Loud
         [Josh Backon]
Matrilineal Descent
         [Bernard Raab]
New Mother Not Leaving House?
         [Aliza Berger]
nusach Ashkenaz and nusach Ari
         [Shoshana Ziskind]
Rosh Hashana on the J Site and 90 holiday links
         [Jacob Richman]
"SO" vs. "partner" etc.
         [Irwin Weiss]


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, 17 Aug 2004 11:33:12 +0100
Subject: Re: Apostasy, "Outmarriages" and the Error of Shiva

on 17/8/04 11:04 am,  c.halevi <c.halevi@...> wrote:
> Since the position of normative, Orthodox Judaism is that previous
> generations had a better understanding of halacha than later generations
> -- especially after 500 years -- I do not understand how the eminent
> Akharon Rav Caro in the Yoreh Deah could overrule a super-scholar sage
> who preceded him by some 500 years: and not just any sage, but Rabbenu
> Gershom himself (not that Rav Caro was chopped liver ;). Furthermore,
> Rabbenu Gershom was lauded by Rashi himself, among the greatest of the
> Reeshoneem.

This is rule is not quite as simple as Yeshaya would have us
believe. Though I am not familiar with all the Rishonim, I presume that
they do not all agree with Rabbenu Gershom on thus point. In that case
Rav Caro was entitled to decide according to the alternative opinion.

> Perhaps the answer lies in Josh's citation of the Yoreh Deah's
> terminology, >>vechol she'kein al mumar l'avodat kochavim<<, {translated
> as "and certainly not (to mourn) one who apostatizes to idolatry
> (literally, worshipping stars)}." Since many authorities do not classify
> Christianity as idolatry -- despite its icons and Trinity -- we can
> conclude that the Yoreh Deah does not disagree with Rabbenu Gershom's
> sitting Shiva for his son who converted to Christianity.

This is a red herring. While many authorities hold that Christianity
with its doctrine of the Trinity (shituf) may not come under the
prohibition of idolatry for a ben Noach, it is still considered to be
idolatry for a Jew for whom the definition is stricter.

This whole discussion of whether one should or should not sit shiva for
an apostate or someone who marries out is however tangential to the fact
that this was at one time common practice which reflected the abhorrence
felt for these transgressions. That we do not do so today reflects a
change of attitude in those circles where they no longer inspire such
strong feelings.

Martin Stern

From: Stephen Phillips <admin@...>
Date: Tue, 17 Aug 2004 13:57:51 +0100
Subject: Re: Apostasy, "Outmarriages" and the Error of Shiva

AF> From: c.halevi <c.halevi@...>
AF> Since the position of normative, Orthodox Judaism is that previous
AF> generations had a better understanding of halacha than later generations
AF> -- especially after 500 years -- I do not understand how the eminent
AF> Akharon Rav Caro in the Yoreh Deah could overrule a super-scholar sage
AF> who preceded him by some 500 years: and not just any sage, but Rabbenu
AF> Gershom himself (not that Rav Caro was chopped liver ;). Furthermore,
AF> Rabbenu Gershom was lauded by Rashi himself, among the greatest of the
AF> Reeshoneem.

I don't wish to examine what the Halacha is in this case, merely to
comment on the above.

First of all, the quote from Yoeh De'ah is by the Remo (Rabbi Moshe
Isserlis who wrote Ashkenazi "glosses" on what Rav Yoef Karo wrote).

Secondly, you must appreciate that Rabbeinu Gershom wasn't the only
Rishon [early Rabbi] who had an opinion on this matter. Later
authorities had to decide among the various opinions which was to be the
Halacha. For instance, Rav Yosef Karo, in deciding the Halacha for his
Shulchan Aruch, usually took the majority opinions of three Rishonim,
the Rambam, the Rif and the Rosh.

So while it might be true to say that previous generations had a better
understanding of Halacha than later generations, if there is more than
one opinion among the earlier generations, the later generations have to
make a decision about which opinion to follow.

Stephen Phillips

From: <Klugerman@...> (Tzvi Klugerman)
Date: Tue, 17 Aug 2004 09:48:41 EDT
Subject: Re: Apostasy, "Outmarriages" and the Error of Shiva

Just one question for thought- despite the historical question that
Rabbenu Gershom's son was converted by the sword which would account for
the difference between his sitting shiva for his dead somn and Rav
Caro's decision in the Shulcahn Aruch that one does not sit shiva for an
apostate, (such that Rabbenu Gershom's son was forced to convert under
the sword and also was killed as a Jew in an attack on the city which
targeted Jews)- perhaps sitting shiva for a child who married out
provided such a powerful statement that even for a family that was not
so strong in its Jewish convictions, this statement of what is beyond
the pale, served to prevent other intermarriages.



From: <BACKON@...> (Josh Backon)
Date: Tue,  17 Aug 2004 15:26 +0200
Subject: Beer as Stam Yeinam

The Aruch haShulchan (written 130 years ago) on Yoreh Deah Siman 114
gives an excellent review of the Rishonim on whether beer and whiskey of
gentiles is in the forbidden category of Stam Yeinam. The Rambam in
Hilchot Maachalot Assurot 17:9 indicates that intoxicating beverages of
gentiles drunk where they sold (e.g. today's bars) is forrbidden. This
is also mentioned by the TUR YD 112. The RASHBA in Torat haBayit (Bayit
5 Shaar 1) mentions that the prohibition of *sheychar* was a minhag
kedoshim.  Even though the Rema (and the Aruch haShulchan) are lenient
with regard to whiskey and beer, there were many Rishonim who were
stringent about these beverages.

Josh Backon


From: Menashe Elyashiv <elyashm@...>
Date: Tue, 17 Aug 2004 09:06:25 +0300 (IDT)
Subject: Diary Mixup

It is easy to mix up parve & diary:

Although burekas (in Israel) have different shapes, triangle for diary &
rounded for parve, some diary pastry look like the parve pastry. The
badasim require bakeries to mark the dairy trays and tongs in blue, and
to different paper bags.

An other problem is ice cream, one company here packs both types in the
same yellow box, it has the almost the same picture, and if you don't
pay attention to the parve/diary (or the price!)... just wait to you get
home... or worst than that, serve it as Shabbat dessert.


From: <BACKON@...> (Josh Backon)
Date: Tue,  17 Aug 2004 15:40 +0200
Subject: Re: Learning Out Loud

See Pirkei Avot 6:6 on "arichat sefatayim" and the MAHARAL in Derech
Chaim 6th Perek who wrote that learning out loud "mo'il l'havanat
hadavar heitev". See also my longer posting on this topic in MAIL JEWISH
Volme 34 #6 (2001) where I give explain the underlying physiology and
mention the fascinating work of Wenger on raising IQ this way.

Dr. Josh Backon
Hebrew University
Faculty of Medicine


From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Tue, 17 Aug 2004 00:02:54 -0400
Subject: Re: Matrilineal Descent

Bernard Raab wrote <<< The Rabbis understood this reality very early on
when they ruled that maternal descent is to be the halachic standard for
Judaism; a recognition that apparent paternity is not a totally
trustworthy state. >>>  

to which Akiva Miller replied:
>This post makes it sound like matrilineal descent was an invention of
>the rabbis. In actuality, it was G-d's law in the Torah. See Devarim 7:4
>and Rashi's explanation there. Or, if you want to go even further back,
>Gemara Kiddushin 68b.

Of course it was not an "invention" of the rabbis, but it is an
assertion of the Mishna in Kiddushin. Rashi essentially repeats the
Gemarah on that Mishna, but that does not make it the p'shat (clear
meaning) of the verse (Devarim 7:4). I believe that most rabbis regard
this halacha to be a d'Rabbanan, but will be happy to hear other

b'shalom--Bernie R.


From: Aliza Berger <alizadov@...>
Date: Tue, 17 Aug 2004 17:31:28 +0200
Subject: New Mother Not Leaving House?

A friend of mine recently gave birth. When her baby was about a week
old, she took him to her workplace (she is a doctor and wanted to weigh
him there). Some Sephardic people there were astounded. Apparently there
is a custom for the mother not to go out for 40 days after the birth. Or
perhaps the custom is for the BABY not to go out? Does anyone know more
about this?  One question that comes to mind is: Do people who abide by
this custom always perform the brit in their house?

Sincerely, Aliza
Aliza Berger, PhD - Director
English Editing: editing-proofreading.com
Statistics Consulting: statistics-help.com


From: Shoshana Ziskind <shosh@...>
Date: Tue, 17 Aug 2004 07:56:31 -0400
Subject: Re: nusach Ashkenaz and nusach Ari

On Aug 17, 2004, at 6:04 AM, <Phyllostac@...> wrote:

> << From: Nachman Yaakov Ziskind <awacs@...>
>> 4) The folks who were induced to daven Nusach Ari in general were 
>> those
>> who did not have a strongly established minhag for tefillah (that they
>> were congnizant of). There are Kabbalistic reasons to eschew Nusach
>> Ashkenaz for Sephard; likewise Sephard for Ari. >>
> The poster makes it seem like there are only reasons (given by various
> Hassidim) for people to change away from nusach Ashkenaz, but there are
> no reasons to change to it or remain faithful to it. That is not
> correct.  Halocho teaches us that we should not change our ancestral
> minhag (al titosh toras imecho). For Ashkenazic Jews that encompasses
> davening nusach Ashkenaz. Halocho is what is supposed to guide the
> actions of a Jew. If an Ashkenazic Jew follows the way of Rashi, Tosfos,
> Tur, Rama, etc., and davens nusach Ashkenaz, he is doing what he should
> rightfully do and should definitely 'stay the course', and not deviate
> from it.

I don't want to speak for my husband here so this is how I'm reading
what he said: I don't see him saying there are no reasons to stay nusach
Ashkenaz but that there are reasons to follow Nusach Ari.  I think he's
also talking again about people who don't have an established minchag,
not telling people who already daven nusach ashkenaz and have been
davening nusach ashkenaz to switch.

Certainly though, there is another reason to switch your nusach; a woman
can switch their nusach if their marry someone with a different nusach
than their own.

Shoshana Ziskind


From: Jacob Richman <jrichman@...>
Date: Tue, 17 Aug 2004 13:41:40 +0200
Subject: Rosh Hashana on the J Site and 90 holiday links

Hi Everyone!

Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year 5765, begins Wednesday evening,
September 15, 2004 and continues until Friday evening, September 17,

The J Site - Jewish Education and Entertainment <a
href="http://www.j.co.il"> http://www.j.co.il </a> has several
entertaining features to celebrate the new year:

Jewish Trivia Quiz: Rosh Hashana

Which special prayer is said in the days before Rosh Hashana ? 
Which group of foods is customary to eat on Rosh Hashana ? 
What are the other three names of Rosh Hashana ? 
How many times is the shofar sounded during Rosh Hashana ? 
Which food is customary NOT to eat on Rosh Hashana ?

The above questions are examples from the multiple choice Flash
quiz. There are two levels of questions, two timer settings.  Both kids
and adults will find it enjoyable.

Rosh Hashana Clipart
Whether you need a picture for your child's class project, a graphic for
your synagogue, Hillel or JCC new year announcement, the Jewish Clipart
Database has the pictures for you. You can copy, save and print the
graphics in three different sizes.

Multilingual Hangman - Rosh Hashana
It's the classic Hangman game recreated in an online Flash version.  If
you expect your simple "hang the man by the rope" drawing then you are
in for a surprise. The game can be played in English or Hebrew.

Multilingual Word Search Game: Rosh Hashana
Enter the Multilingual Word Search game and choose the language you
would like to play in: English, Hebrew or Russian. There is an easy mode
for the kids and a harder mode for us big kids. Each game is randomly
generated.  You can even print out a blank game (and the solution page)
for offline playing.

My Jewish Coloring Book - Rosh Hashan Pictures
Young kids love to draw and this online coloring book is made just for
them. Three different size "brushes" and 24 colors to choose from. You
can print the completed color pictures or print black and white outlines
to color offline.

My Hebrew Song Book - Rosh Hashana Hebrew songs (with vowels) for
viewing and printing. All songs are in graphic format so you do not need
Hebrew installed to view or print them.

The J site has something for everyone, but if that is not enough, I
posted on my website 90 links about Rosh Hashana, from laws and customs
to games and recipes.  Site languages include English, Hebrew, French,
German, Italian, Portugese, Russian and Spanish.  All 90 links have been
reviewed / checked this month.

The web address is: <a href="http://www.jr.co.il/hotsites/j-hdayrh.htm">
http://www.jr.co.il/hotsites/j-hdayrh.htm </a>

Please forward this message to relatives and friends, so they may
benefit from these holiday resources.

Chodesh Tov - Have a Good Month,


From: Irwin Weiss <irwin@...>
Subject: "SO" vs. "partner" etc.

Leah S. R. Gordon makes a good point, when she says:
"Common decency requires that we use language to build communication, not
to insult other people."

It is unfortunate that so many people pick apart others verbally, when
it is unnecessary to do so.  To a large extent, the current US
Presidential campaign is concentrating on personal attacks on the other
side, instead of honest debate about issues.

So, I, for one, support Ms. Gordon's view. 



End of Volume 44 Issue 26