Volume 45 Number 67
                    Produced: Mon Nov 15  7:26:24 EST 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Esoteric question re writing on Shabbat
The Kabbalah of Kosher and Treif
         [Avi Feldblum]
Lateness to Shul (5)
         [<chips@...>, Batya Medad, Richard Dine, Ira L. Jacobson,
Joel Rich]
May One Wish non Jews a Merry -mas?
         [Michael Kahn]
Tenach translations


From: Yakir <yakirhd@...>
Date: Mon, 15 Nov 2004 09:58:36 +0200
Subject: re: Esoteric question re writing on Shabbat

Shmuel Himelstein wrote:
> In the laws of Shabbat, one who writes two letters is liable by Torah
> law. Has anyone ever heard about how that would apply to writing in
> Chinese, where each ideograph is a separate word? One ideograph to be
> liable? Two?

Off the top of my head (be warned I'm not sure there's much more there
than a kippa):

If I am not mistaken the requirement for two letters is based on the
source of the 39 Avot Melachot (basic categories of Torah prohibited
"work") in the work performed in or for the Mishkan (Tabernacle). There
writing was done to mark the boards etc of the Mishkan which were
dismantled and reconnected whenever Bnei Yisrael traveled. Adjacent
sides of boards were marked with the same letter (or sign) so it could
be determined "what connected to what". If this is the case then
possibly we could argue that what is necessary for a transgression is
two symbols irrespective of their content.  OTOH this might be assigning
to much significance to the fine details (e.g.  the requirement is not
for two identical symbols).

BTW, this reminds of a p'shat (see elsewhere for explanation) of the
phrase used regarding the experience at Har Sinai - "v'ha'am roim et
hakolot" (the People saw the sounds). I believe it is from R' Yoel Bin
Nun.  The (time of) receiving of the written Luchot (Tablets) marks a
transition in human history from hieroglyphic type "alphabets" where
symbols represented the concept of words to alphabets which represented
the sounds of the words. Thus when seeing the writing on the Luchot the
people saw the sounds. This of course is related to the great messages
of Yetziat Mitzrayim (the Exodus) and Matan Tora (giving of the Tora)
including a shift to a more abstract/indirect view of reality rather
than an immediately visible one.

-- Yakir


From: Avi Feldblum <feldblum@...>
Date: Sun, 14 Nov 2004 23:37:54 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: The Kabbalah of Kosher and Treif

On Fri, 12 Nov 2004, Stan Tenen wrote:

> As we learn and grow, we learn to make the best possible use of the
> increments of free will that we receive continuously from God. Each choice
> we fail to make, squanders an opportunity to make a good choice, and each
> choice we make, uses up an increment of the free will that we get from God.
> Thus, the currency of free will has to be replenished.

The above paragraph seems to be one of the driving forces behind much of
this posting. I see no compelling reason to believe that free will is a
constrained resource that needs to be replenished and personally, it
makes absolutely no sense at all to me.

> Predators are treif ("treif" means "prey")

What is the basis for the above statement? In general, predators are
tameh, but not treifa. In addition, what is your source that "treifa" (I
am not familiar with "treif" as a valid hebrew term) means "prey"? It is
true that after attacked by a predator, the prey, prior to it's death,
will likely be a "treifa", but so would a predator that was attacked by
another predator. So I do not understand the statement above.

> We make an exception for certain locust-like insects that swarm. The
> details, of course, are not covered by the general principle I'm
> talking about here.

I do not follow the above at all. Just as with animals, the torah
identifies both Tahor and Tameh examples. So if you have a "general
principle" in would need to apply to insects as well

> I'm pretty sure that what I've written here is generally unknown, and
> rarely considered.

I would counter that it is "unknown" because it has no basis in Halacha
and tradition, and thus I would see no reason to consider it.

> My point in submitting this discussion for posting on mail-jewish is
> also related to the discussion of whether, and how, halacha might
> change. Of course, halacha doesn't change -- just our understanding of
> it. And while I'm certain (from sad past experience) that some readers
> of mail-jewish do not accept the principle, and in fact find it
> heretical, the fact is that halacha descends from kabbalah.

I doubt that I would say I consider that 'fact' to be heritical, I would
just view it as being wrong and therefore not a 'fact'. I also think
that it is incorrect to state that halacha does not change, but in the
context of this discussion, I see no value in discussion the methodology
of Halacha and Halachik change.

> Kabbalah, in turn, descends from our priestly tradition (sans the
> Temple). This is the primary reason why IN OUR TIME it is not possible
> to change our understanding of halacha. Unless and until we regain the
> Kabbalistic roots of Torah (the priestly understanding, which itself
> forms the Temple that we seek to rebuild), there can be no significant
> change -- because we don't have the authority, and do not understand
> the principles that would be required to do so responsibly and in a
> Torah-true way.

I'm glad to see that you believe you have a higher level of
understanding of Halacha than all the Reshonim and Acharonim. If you
feel you have clear sources of this idea in the Reshonim or Acharonim, I
would encourage you to post those sources. I am also of the strong
opinion that all the Tanaim and Amoraim would also disagree with your
statement above, but that would be a more difficult task to prove. But
the Rambam is pretty clear on what are the mechanisms that he believed
were active in the process of halachic development and change starting
in the earliest periods, through the times of the Sanhedrin during and
post the Second Temple. It does not correspond to what you seem to
believe. I'll stick with the Rambam.

> In fact, in my opinion, regaining this knowledge is not
> only tantamount to rebuilding the Temple, it is in fact the means by which
> the opportunity to rebuild the Temple comes about, and thus this knowledge
> is itself the means by which the actual rebuilding of the Temple comes about.

There has been much written, from the Amoraic period on, on different
approaches to what is needed for the coming of Mashiach, which is likely a
pre-requisite for the rebuilding of the Temple. I am aware that there may
be opinions that have a difference in the chronology as well. However, I
am not aware of any focus in these writings on "regaining the priestly
knowledge". I would appreciate any links to such sources.

Avi Feldblum


From: <chips@...>
Date: Sun, 14 Nov 2004 22:14:46 -0800
Subject: Re: Lateness to Shul

> This whole exchange makes me exceedingly grateful that I've found the
> shul that I belong to.  Just by way of contrast, we have people coming
> in on a Shabbos throughout the whole davening, even after Krias
> HaTorah. Some people seem to have as their goal getting to shul in
> time for the Rabbi's drasha (which follows the Haftorah).

And I'm exceedingly grateful I'm not stuck in a place where I would have
to attend such a shul. In fact, I no longer attend a minyan where I
presently live due to just that.


From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Mon, 15 Nov 2004 07:30:26 +0200
Subject: Lateness to Shul

Late enough to end the topic of late to shul.  It keeps touching on
loshen haraa and isn't pleasant to read.  Nobody's perfect, and as long
as the late-comers aren't physically knocking over anyone in the midst
of dovening, none of our business.  And if they have knocked you over,
then speak personally, not onlist.  And if they're oblivious to both the
time and the knocking over, then they're suffering from a neurological
problem, (form of ADHD--there are some lurkers who can explain better
than a remedial teacher) and criticizing them on mj, certainly won't

As someone who gets to shul among the very first (and that includes the
downstairs crowd) and is too easily disturbed by movement and talking, I
bought myself (ok I sent my husband running the minute the seats were on
sale) a seat by the far wall, 3rd row, so nobody needs to sit there
during smachot.  That keeps me relatively undesturbed.

Chodesh Tov,

From: Richard Dine <richard.dine@...>
Date: Mon, 15 Nov 2004 05:35:12 -0500
Subject: Lateness to Shul

I certainly agree with the various posts that warn against feeling
disdain or actively condemning those coming late to Shul, since such
attitudes are generally inappropriate and counterproductive.  That does
not mitigate the seriousness of the problem, however.  I believe the
main source I am recalling is Hovot Halvevot (Duties of the Heart by
Bachya Ibn Pakudah) but it probably comes up elsewhere:  If you had a
meeting with the king (or today, a head of State or senior government
official, or even your boss at work) would you come late?  Yet you come
late for your meeting in prayer with the King of Kings?  Yes, better to
come late than not at all, but part of a good Jewish education (sermons
from the Rabbi, habits developed in school, whatever) should be an
appreciation for the importance not only of davening but davening with
enthusiasm, and being on time.

Richard Dine

From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Mon, 15 Nov 2004 07:36:05 +0300
Subject: Re:  Lateness to Shul

Martin Stern <md.stern@...> stated the following on Sun, 14 Nov
2004 10:03:26 +0000

      The main distinction is between large communities with many
      shuls and those with only one. In the latter lateness on
      shabbat has to be tolerated much more and, on weekdays, one
      has to be glad that anyone comes at all to make up a minyan.
      In the former, on the other hand, someone who realises he
      will be late for his regular shul has the option of going to
      a different one which starts later.

Well yes, but.

This option is available to most people, but not to those who normally
daven in the shul that starts latest.  Have you a solution for them?

This is not just theoretical.  The rav of one Hassidic shul in my town
was in the Emergency Room of a local hospital on leil Shabbat and was
released at such a time that **even his own shul** had already finished
the Torah reading (and that was the latest in town).  He of course,
himself, is never late for davening under normal circumstances.


[In the context of Martin's post, the above example is not relevant,
since he has made it more than clear that he is talking about people who
are habitually late. For an exceptional case to come late once, is not
part of the discussion. The question about a regular member who comes to
the latest starting minyan, who is often late to that minyan, who does
not have a chance to avoid the issue and go to the even later minyan
that does not exist, I don't know how much of an issue that might be to
raise. Avi]

From: <Joelirich@...> (Joel Rich)
Date: Mon, 15 Nov 2004 05:47:11 EST
Subject: Re: Lateness to Shul

<< It's a conundrum.  When the second point becomes too frustrating, I
 then have to revert to point number 1.
 Ira Bauman >>

Yes but the mitzvah of tochacha(rebuke) has according to many
commentaries 2 parts - one is to provoke change(which your point is
won't happen) but the 2nd is to show (to myself if no one else?) that
the situation is unacceptable to me!

Joel Rich


From: Michael Kahn <mi_kahn@...>
Date: Sun, 14 Nov 2004 23:48:13 -0600
Subject: May One Wish non Jews a Merry -mas?

As December 25th aproaches, I was wondering, may one wish a gentile
collegue a Merry ....?


From: <chips@...>
Date: Sun, 14 Nov 2004 22:09:31 -0800
Subject: Re: Tenach translations

> If the Kaplan has a shortcoming it's that it includes only khumesh.

True, but Maznayim did come out with a 'Living Torah' for Novi &
Kesuvim. It follows the same template that Rabbi Kaplan z'l used for
Torah.  While not to be compared to the original 'Living Torah', the
Nove & Kesuvim is very good, imho.



End of Volume 45 Issue 67