Volume 44 Number 88
                    Produced: Tue Sep 21  5:49:16 EDT 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Bishul Akum for Sephardim
         [Stephen Phillips]
Does science detract from religion?
         [Leah S. Gordon]
Following the minhagim of the husband
         [Ari Trachtenberg]
Footnote to Rashei
         [Baruch J. Schwartz]
Hallel on Yomym Neorym
         [Joel Rich]
Nidah (Family Purity) Books
         [Aliza Berger]
         [Saul Stokar]
Opening Of The Ark During Chazoras Ha'Shatz
         [Immanuel Burton]
Rabbeinu Tam Tefillin
         [Saul Mashbaum]
         [Frank Silbermann]


From: Stephen Phillips <admin@...>
Date: Mon, 20 Sep 2004 12:03:13 +0100
Subject: Re: Bishul Akum for Sephardim

> From: Chana Luntz <Chana@...>
> The basis of his logic is that it is sfek sfeka [double uncertainty].
> Firstly, the halacha may be like the Rashba who holds that there is no
> bishul akum problem for workers in the house of a yisroel (which is what
> these hotels are deemed to be - query whether a caterer is the same) and
> secondly the halacha may be like the Ashkenazim who hold that lighting a
> fire is enough, and therefore given that bishul akum is only rabbinic, a
> sfek sfeka, even against Maran! is enough to make it mutar l'chatchila
> [permissable up front] (although a baal nefesh would presumably be
> machmir [strict].

I have found on more than one occasion that Rav Ovadyia Yosef paskens
against a clear psak of the Mechaber of the Shulchan Aruch on the basis
of a sfek sfeka. I seem to recall he did this when permitting water from
the Galilee (which had bread dropped into it by fishermen) to be drunk
on Pesach.

Does he have some sort of policy on such matters? He usually treats the
Mechaber as the Moreh D'Asra [Rabbinic Authority] of Eretz Yisroel.

Stephen Phillips


From: Leah S. Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Sat, 18 Sep 2004 20:04:16 -0700
Subject: Does science detract from religion?

Noyekh Miller writes, in part, about attempts to explain Yaakov's animal

"but of perplexity ('What's wrong with the account as it stands Why gild
the lily?'). I was taught the story when I was 5 or 6, illustrated by my
melamed with the aid of a pointed stick. I thought it was a wonderful
story then and I think it's a wonderful story today. It gains nothing in
my eyes when it's suggested that Yankev Ovinu was a geneticist avant la

"For what it's worth, I hold with the by-now dated idea that faith and
science exist in parallel universes. Neither has the slightest bearing
on the other. We are free to move back and forth between the two but we
try in vain to make the two worlds one, to resolve contradictions."

I have heard people make this kind of claim before, often artists or
philosophers, who claim that to understand the science e.g. of a sunset,
somehow detracts from the aesthetic experience of its beauty.  I have
also heard this kind of religion-incompatible-with-science statement
from very religious Christians.  But, it is my strong belief that
science, logic, and reason are completely compatible with Torah Judaism,
and that scientific understanding enhances belief and practice for many
people (including me).



From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Mon, 20 Sep 2004 10:01:27 -0400
Subject: Re: Following the minhagim of the husband

 >From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
 >But in cases of conflict, the wife must give primary consideration to
 >her husband, whereas the husband must treat his wife as secondary to his

I haven't seen any proof text for the second part of this statement.  To
the contrary, Bereshit states "as such, man shall leave his father and
his mother and join to his wife ..."

Ari Trachtenberg,                                      Boston University
http://people.bu.edu/trachten                    mailto:<trachten@...>


From: Baruch J. Schwartz <schwrtz@...>
Date: Mon, 20 Sep 2004 14:44:02 +0300
Subject: Footnote to Rashei

Since I did not follow the discussion on rashei (sic!) all that closely,
I beg everyone's pardon if the following point was already brought up:

In the rishon aliya of Vezot Ha-beracha, the word rashei occurs (Deut
33:5). Since it has a conjunctive accent (a munah) and is followed by a
monosyllabic word ('am), its stress is retracted (nasog ahor) and the
accent is on the first syllable (RAshei instead of the usual
raSHEI). The presence of an accent mark on this syllable is conclusive
and incontrovertible evidence that the qamatz is gadol and not qatan. A
qamatz qatan never--I repeat, never--receives an accent, conjunctive or
disjunctive, even for reasons of stress retraction. [It also never comes
in an open syllable (Resh+qamatz followed by a quiescent Aleph). I
presume that others have already pointed this out.]

Of course, these indications, while conclusive, are technical.  The
etymological, historical explanation has, I hope, been provided by the
others who have contributed to the discussion and who have correctly
refuted the idea that this word might have a qamatz qatan.  [See also
Gesenius Hebrew Grammar, para. 23c].

Baruch Schwartz
Department of Bible
Hebrew University of Jerusalem


From: <chips@...>
Date: Sun, 19 Sep 2004 17:27:13 -0700
Subject: Hallel on Yomym Neorym

Where are the sources that discuss this issue?


From: <Joelirich@...> (Joel Rich)
Date: Sun, 19 Sep 2004 20:15:15 EDT
Subject: Minyan=10

This question came up and I quoted the talmud that the source of the
requirement of 10 was the 10 spies.

I always wondered why such a seemingly negative source was used.  I
recently came across an insight from The Rav (R' YD Soloveitchick) with
regard to why Avraham stopped negotiating at 10 righteous people in
Sodom.  The Rav felt (per R' Mozeson in "Echoes of the Song of the
Nightingale") that this was because 10 must have been the minimum social
unit that could effect change in society.  It occurs to me that this
explains the source of a minyan as the spies beautifully.  What group
changed the history of the Jewish people more than they?

Of course the lesson is that we need to try to effect change as well,
but positive change.  

Gmar Chatima Tova, 
Joel Rich


From: Aliza Berger <alizadov@...>
Date: Sun, 19 Sep 2004 11:08:07 +0200
Subject: Nidah (Family Purity) Books

Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...> wrote:

<<<...the positions set out in the book--all set out as cut and dried,
on such issues as tzniyut, taharat hamishpacha, dating, and women's hair
covering fall somewhere between the Taliban and the ayatollahs,
advocating at one point that married women cover their faces.  My
friend, who by Israeli standards is on the left fringe of Orthodoxy (she
wears pants, for example) is concerned that this will turn off her
daughter to religious Judaism.  Can anyone suggest a book (in Hebrew)
that deals with these issues in a more modern, balanced way?>>>

I have not seen the book, but you might try:

Knohl, Elyashiv. Ish Vi-Isha, Zakhu Shekhinah Beineihem: Pirkei
Hadrakhah Lichatan Vikalah. Yishivat Hakibbutz Hadati and Tzohar:
Jerusalem, 2003

Tzohar is a group that tries to make Jewish rituals "user-friendly" for
the secular Israeli population. Tzohar's Web site is

In addition, Haviva Ner-David, a modern Orthodox scholar currently
completing her dissertation on an aspect of niddah, is planning to write
such a book in the next couple of years.

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


From: Saul Stokar <dp22414@...>
Date: Mon, 20 Sep 2004 12:54:58 +0200
Subject: Nusach

In a recent posting (vol 44 issue 82) on the subject of changes in the
established "Nusach" Orrin Tilevitz commented that

"Change tends to cheapen.  The author of a fairly recent article in
Conservative Judaism on, I think, Jewish responses to 9/11 describes how
in her Manhattan synagogue, on the shabbat following 9/11 they sang
Lecha Dodi to EliTzion, which mourns the destruction of the beit

 I have a hard time understanding this specific example. When referring
to the institution of the Fast of Gedaliah (3 Tishrei) to commemorate
the murder of Gedalia the Talmud (T.B. Rosh Hashana 18b) comments "This
(i.e.  the fact that we fast for the death of an individual as well as
for the destruction of the Temples) teaches us that the death of the
righteous is similar (or equivalent/equal ?) to the burning of the house
of our Lord" (see http://www.e-daf.com/daf.asp?mesechta=9&daf=18b, third
wide line).

I'm sure that more than one of the people murdered on 9/11 merits the
description of "righteous" and, if so, what's the problem of using the
Tisha B'Av melody to commemorate/mourn their untimely death. It seems to
me that this specific example transcends the Conservative/Orthodox
divide over the limits of legitimate change.

Saul Stokar


From: Immanuel Burton <IBURTON@...>
Date: Mon, 20 Sep 2004 09:17:56 +0100
Subject: Opening Of The Ark During Chazoras Ha'Shatz

At the Shul which I went to this Rosh Hashanah (Hendon United Synagogue,
Raleigh Close, London, UK), the Ark was opened for the phrases
"Zochraynu le'chaim" and "Mi chomochoh av ho'rachamim" in the Reader's
repetition.  Has anyone seen this done anywhere else?

Gmar chasimah tovah to all.
Immanuel Burton.


From: Saul Mashbaum <smash52@...>
Date: Sun, 19 Sep 2004 21:14:34 +0200
Subject: Re: Rabbeinu Tam Tefillin

Michael Poppers <MPoppers@...> wrote:

>As for truly-possible reasons for a four-headed shin in addition to the
>shin noted as miSinai, the commentaries I've seen all point to the
>special nature of the writing of the luchos ("in the air," such that,
>IIUC, a three-dimensional shin, or any other letter, casts a shadow in
>four directions), and why someone (given that this aspect, and perhaps
>the 2nd shin in general, isn't miSinai) decided to allude to such an
>aspect may be a worthy topic for discussion, if anyone has sources
>and/or a breadth&depth of traditional knowledge to bring to the table.

The Rov, Rabbi Yosef Dov HaLevi Soloveitchik discusses this in the first
of the shiurim recently published by Mosad HaRav Kook (Shiurei HaGrid al
Inyanei Tephillin, Ktivat Stam, V'Tzitzit, edited by Rabbi Menachen Yair
Kahn, Jerusalem,2004).

The Rov indeed connects the 4-headed shin to the luchot. The writing on
the luchot was unlike regular writing (on parchment, for example) in
that it was engraved, the letter lying below the surface of the writing
area. *Between* the four prongs of the special shin (and below them) lie
three prongs, which themselves form a shin of sorts. Thus both sides of
the tephillin shel rosh have a regular shin, one above the surface of
the tephillin, and one engraved between the four prongs of the character
on the other side. This concept appears in the Beit Yosef, siman 32, in
the name of the sema"g.

The Rov explains that the parhiot from sefer Shmot are connected to the
Sinai experience, and therefore the shin next to them is luchot-related;
the parshiot from D'varim are related to acceptance of all the mitzvot,
and the shin next to them is formed in the way a shin is written in the
Torah.  The Rov particularly connected this with the order of the
parshiot according to Rabbanu Tam, according to whom tephillin have not
so much 4 parshiot as 2 pairs of parshiot (Shmot/D'varim) each written
in order from a different viewpoint (the wearer/ the viewer of the

This brief citation from this shiur is like a drop in the sea.  I highly
recommend that anyone with access to this shiur study it carefully; it
is full of profound insights on both the tephillin of Rabbenu Tam in
particular, and tephillin in general.

Saul Mashbaum


From: Frank Silbermann <fs@...>
Date: Sun, 19 Sep 2004 10:37:17 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Yiddish

> Andy Goldfinger wrote:
>> One of my children took a college course in Yiddish.  The form of
>> Yiddish they taught was described by a friend of mine as "Academic
>> Yiddish," a dialect that was never spoken by anybody, anywhere, at any
>> time.  Is this correct?

Perets Mett <p.mett@...>:
> In a sense, yes.  Academic Yiddish has the grammar of Polish Yiddish
> with the pronunciation (almost) of Litvish Yiddish; in that sense it
> was never spoken by anybody!

The same, by the way, was true of standard German, which I believe gets
its pronunciation mostly from the southern dialects, but its vocabulary
(and maybe grammar) from the northern dialects.  Martin Luthor invented
it when writing his translation of the Bible.  The idea was to find
something in the middle that all Germans could understand (at least in
written form) without too much difficulty.  Of course, with compulsory
public education in the last century more and more Germans nowadays do
speak standard German, especially in the north where the dialects are
dying out.

I wouldn't be surprised if the same weren't also true of other
languages, e.g. standard Italian.

In fact, the standardization of Yiddish is did more than anything else
to give Yiddish the status of a language, rather than merely a dialect
or collection of dialects.  (Usually, standardization requires
government enforcement -- hence the need for "an army and a navy".)
Obviously, Yiddish was once considered a mere dialect of German --
that's why Yiddish-speaking Jews were called "Askenazim" (after the
Hebrew name for Germany).

Frank Silbermann	New Orleans, Louisiana		<fs@...>


End of Volume 44 Issue 88