Volume 44 Number 27
                    Produced: Thu Aug 19  5:44:16 EDT 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Child Carrying Tallit
         [Elozor Reich]
Daily Tachanun
         [Boruch Merzel]
Fake Marriages
Ktav Ashuri (2)
         [Yaakov Kayman, Noyekh Miller]
         [Steven White]
Mock Weddings (2)
         [Jeanette Friedman, Perets Mett]
Ribbis and Credit Cards
Rishonim and Acharonim
         [Akiva Miller]
What is "chochma"?
         [Bill Bernstein]
Yiddish Tanach
         [Shmuel Himelstein]


From: Elozor Reich <lreich@...>
Date: Wed, 18 Aug 2004 11:33:35 +0100
Subject: Child Carrying Tallit

It is quite clear that this was a fairly common practice in Eastern
Europe at one time. The fact that it is discussed by so many Poskim
indicates its prevalence.

A review of opinions with citations stretching over two pages of small
print on this topic can be found in the work "Minchas Shabbos" 82:2,
p. 123. This work by R' Shmuel Hacohen Burstein was first published in
Warsaw around 1900 and has been reprinted several times. Nominally a
commentary on Hilchos Shabbos in the Kitzur Shulchan Aroch, it is really
a compendium of (mainly) Polish Achronim on Dinim of Shabbos.

Elozor Reich


From: <BoJoM@...> (Boruch Merzel)
Date: Tue, 17 Aug 2004 12:05:34 EDT
Subject: Daily Tachanun

Akiva Miller questions:
>A week ago, in MJ 44:04, Boruch Merzel wrote about the introductory line
>of Tachanun ("Vayomer David el Gad"), that <<< Both the Aruch Hashulchan
>and the Mishneh Brura rule that "our custom is to begin (tachnun) with
>Rachum v'chanun", thus skipping the pasuk >>>

>Yes, that is pretty much what the Aruch Hashulchan wrote in OC 131:8. But
>I could not find anything like this in the Mishneh Brurah. In fact, the
>MB gave me the impression that he *did* say that line. Here's what I

>The Ramah 131:1 writes: "... After one has 'fallen on his face', he picks
>his head up, and prays a bit sitting, each community following its own
>custom." On those last words ("its own custom"), Mishna Brurah 131:8
>comments, "And in our lands, the custom is to say 'Rachum v'Chanun

>Because of where the MB's comment was place in the Rama's text, I
>interpret this to mean that he said Rachum v'Chanun in a sitting
>position, after picking his head up from the 'fallen on face' position.
>If so, then he either said nothing in that 'fallen' position, or he did
>say something in that position. And if he did say something in that
>position, it may very well have been "Vayomer David el Gad", or else it
>was something else.

I believe that Akiva Miller is not reading the Ramah correctly.
Remember, that no where does the M'chaber or the Ramah tell us what,
specifically, is said during "n'filas apayim."  The Ramah tells us only
that "one says a bit of tachanun, while seated, each community according
to its custom."  Since there are varying customs regarding what is said
for Tacahanun while seated (some communities say Kel erech apayim,
others would say varying excerpts from T'hilim) the MB finds it
necessary to clarify (as he normally would):that in Lithuania the
prevailing custom was to say Rachum V'Chanun.  From careful reading of
the G'morah (Ta'anit 14 b), The Tur, the M'Chaber and even the Ramah it
is not at all clear that any prayer was uttered during the actual act of
prostrating (except, perhaps a personal Vidui).  As Akiva pointed out
Ramah says that only after prostation one lifts one's head and
"v'yischanen" (and pIeads).  I would assume that since n'filas Apayim
today is but symbolic form of prostation, and few Jews knew what to say
during the actual act, it became customary to say the Tachnun during the
N'filas Apayim itself.  Be that as it may, rest assured that the Chofetz
Chayim did say Rachum V'chanun during N'filas Apayim as I saw his
Talmidim (specifically Rav Kurtz z"l of Rochester, NY who was a Talmid
Muvhak of his).  I, however, cannot say for certain that they did not
say Vayomer David, though, in light of the MB cited,

I would be greatly surprised if they did.

Boruch Merzel


From: Anonymous
Date: Tue, 17 Aug 2004 12:43:50
Subject: Fake Marriages

  I am dealing with the issue of a fake marriage of a different kind
that the one discussed and I would appreciate the groups input. My
daughter is getting married in Jan. '05 and would like to be declared
independent before that so that she could get more tuition assistance
which she will not get based upon my income. She wants to get a civil
marriage at city hall in Sept. 2004 and then get under her future
husbands health plan and show in other ways that she is financially
independent. She would keep it a secret and not act as husband and wife
until the official wedding date when she will be religiously married
under the Chupa. I do not think there is any halachik issur to doing
this as the marriage license is not a halachikly recognized shtar and
there will be no ring exchanged. However, I also have legal issues with
this arrangement. Supposed they break up before the wedding-they would
need a legal divorce and I am insisting on a prenup as my daughter is
the one who has any real money at this point. Also, If God forbid, My
wife and I and my daughter die like in a car crash (could happen the way
I drive) he would share in my inheritance with my other children. I
realize this could happen after they are halachikly married but until
then I do not recognize him as my child. Also I am afraid that these two
young twentysomethings, who have been "shomer" till now or so i am told,
will jump the gun because they are unofficially married. The whole thing
seems wrong to me as something that should not be done by a orthodox


From: Yaakov Kayman <yaakovk@...>
Date: Tue, 17 Aug 2004 20:27:50 -0400
Subject: Ktav Ashuri 

To those who would say that "Ksav Ashuri" means anything other than
Assyrian writing, I must say that having met some Assyrians (now
Christian, and having communities in Scarsdale and New Rochell, NY) and
compared alphabets (they call theirs "alla bi"), I found that the
letters of our "ksav Ashuri" and their "alla bi" are IDENTICAL.

Yaakov Kayman

From: Noyekh Miller <nm1921@...>
Date: Tue, 17 Aug 2004 19:22:19 -0400
Subject: Re: Ktav Ashuri

>  The word "Ashuris" is always taken by the scholars to be an Hebraization
>of "Assyria", and thus it's generally translated as "Babylonian"
>(another name for Assyrian). As R. Scherman points out, this is
>_explicitly_ incorrect.  As I quoted in mj V. 43 #90, "But it is clear
>that they would explain the name as Rabbi does: it means _not_ Assyrian
>script, but exalted script."
>Assuming that R. Scherman, et al., are correct, Ashuris does not come
>from Assyrian, but rather, is related to Ashrei, i.e., "praiseworthy".

If that is so--and I for one have more confidence in Jastrow--is there
any other occurrence in either Hebrew or Aramaic in which ashuris/t
appears and in which it means anything other than Assyrian?  Or asked
the other way: is there any other case where the Hebrew or Aramaic term
for praiseworthy turns out to be ashuris/t?

My general point is this: While tradition is a central feature of Torah
Judaism, some traditions are best approached by benign neglect, and that
specifically includes folk etymologies not unlike those we run across
every day.  Not every sage, after all, knew Hebrew grammar as Ibn Ezra
did.  In such cases I think it involves no basic disrespect to reach for
a more reliable and learned opinion.

Noyekh Miller


From: <StevenJ81@...> (Steven White)
Date: Tue, 17 Aug 2004 18:46:32 -0400
Subject: Re: Lubavi(t)ch

>From Perets Mett in MJ 44:20:
Andy Goldfinger [had written] (about Lubavitch):

>Some of us think that this was an unfair word to put in the spelling
> bee.  The student spelled it without the "t."  Oh come now -- it is a
> tranliterated word from Cyrillic, isn't it?<

Perets Mett replied:

>That is what makes it so unfair!
>The standard transliteration from Russian is to use ch for the Russian
>'tsh' sound. (Hence the spelling of Chernobyl, Berdychev)<

Well, I'm not sure it's so simple.  The default transliteration for that
sound (unicode 0427 in capital, 0447 in lower case) in modern English is
surely ch, but in other languages (such as German and French) it is
different (tsch and tch, respectively).  And in English, especially, the
transliteration such a word actually gets depends a lot on who brings it
into the language and when it is brought in.  There are plenty of words
in English that spell the sound "tch" (itch, patch); I suspect that one
would find that many "ch" words are of Latinate origin, while most "tch"
words are of Germanic origin.

In this case, I would _guess_ that "Lubavitch" (or at least
"Lubawitsch") was already pretty standardized in central Europe by the
start of the 20th Century, and then entered English from German.  In
comparison, the two events that most strongly brought "Chernobyl" into
English were World War II and the Leak, so "Chernobyl" basically came
into English directly from Russian.  And as far as I can tell, most
English speakers spell "Berdychev" as "Berdichev" or "Berditchev": "t"
optional, but "i" instead of "y," even though the standard
transliteration of that Cyrillic letter is "y."

So is it fair?  Well, given that Lubavitch World Headquarters (and
Lubavitch UK) spell themselves that way, and that "Lubavitch" is a clear
majority spelling in English, I would venture that Lubavitch is a fair
word.  On the other hand, if I were running the Bee, I'd probably try to
avoid it if I could.

Steven White
Highland Park, NJ


From: <FriedmanJ@...> (Jeanette Friedman)
Date: Wed, 18 Aug 2004 06:39:27 EDT
Subject: Re: Mock Weddings

      I remember from my youth movement/counselor days being told that
      "mock" weddings are assur, since just going through the
      motions/words constitute a halachik wedding.  Can't say if really
      true or "urban legend" of sorts, but we were told of a couple who
      needed a real divorce after one of those ceremonies

That happened to a girl in my senior class in high school in the early


From: Perets Mett <p.mett@...>
Date: Wed, 18 Aug 2004 17:36:52 +0100
Subject: Re: Mock Weddings

Definitely not urban legend. I know of such a case!



From: <SPOOCH81@...>
Date: Tue, 17 Aug 2004 16:50:33 EDT
Subject: Ribbis and Credit Cards

In a previous post a question was raised regarding paying interest to a
credit card company or a bank that provides a mortgage. Besides for this
question you must also ask. Putting the  credit card holder aside may a
jew invest with banks that issue credit cards or mortgages since doing so
would mean that the jew is accepting ribbis money?


From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Tue, 17 Aug 2004 21:02:20 GMT
Subject: Rishonim and Acharonim

In the thread <<< Apostasy, "Outmarriages" and the Error of Shiva >>>,
Yeshaya (Charles Chi) Halevi asked:

<<< 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 ;). >>>

This is an important question, which goes to the root of the halachic

I believe the that there is a very simple and straightforward answer:
Rabbenu Gershom was not the only sage who preceded Rav Caro.

There were *many* sages (both before and after Rabbenu Gershom) who Rav
Caro needed to study and learn from. In some cases, I suppose, they were
all unanimous, and so Rav Caro had a very easy time deciding what to
do. But in the vast majority of cases, those sages were *not* unanimous,
and it was his difficult job to figure which sages held the majority
view, and/or which sages made the more convincing argument. And that
became the halacha as decided by Rav Caro.

Of course, once Rav Caro's views were added to the collection, that made
things either simpler or more complicated for the next generation after
him, depending on how one looks at it!

Akiva Miller


From: <billbernstein@...> (Bill Bernstein)
Date: Wed, 18 Aug 2004 08:24:55 -0500
Subject: What is "chochma"?

A teshuva in the Binjan Tsion (125) brought up a question.  In Rambam
h.Rozeach (5:5) he writes that a father who accidentally kills his son
while teaching him "Torah, chochma, or umnios" is exempt from galus
(exile).  Torah is fairly obvious.  Umnios is some kind of trade (a
father's obligation), but what is chochma?  Anyone know of other uses of
the word in Rambam that might shed some light here?

Bill Bernstein
Nashville TN.


From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
Date: Tue, 17 Aug 2004 19:11:43 +0300
Subject: Yiddish Tanach

The entire text of the Yehoyash translation of Tanach into Yiddish is
available and downloadable at:


Shmuel Himelstein


End of Volume 44 Issue 27