Volume 46 Number 20
                    Produced: Tue Dec 21  5:48:41 EST 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Darkei Emoree
         [Jack Gross]
Having a permanent place to pray
         [Ira Bauman]
Kashrus of Torahs (2)
         [Joseph Ginzberg, Ari Trachtenberg]
kol Yisrael areivim zeh bazeh
         [Martin Stern]
Men displacing women in the women's section of the shule
         [Martin Stern]
Mourning Minimalist Marriages
         [Janice Gelb]
Nittel (2)
         [Martin Stern, Ira L. Jacobson]
Rambam's yortsayt
         [Perets Mett]
Seating Problems (2)
         [Ari Trachtenberg, Martin Stern]
Shul Seats
         [Batya Medad]


From: Jack Gross <jbgross@...>
Date: Tue, 7 Dec 2004 11:13:42 -0500
Subject: Re: Darkei Emoree

      "why do we single out the Emoree and not the many other Canaanite
      nations whenever we are forbidden to emulate non-Jewish conduct."

At the point the Mishna was written, there were neither Canaanim nor
Emoraim around to influence us; I venture Ha'eMORI was intended and
understood to denote its anagram: HaROMa'I.


From: <Yisyis@...> (Ira Bauman)
Date: Thu, 9 Dec 2004 23:02:00 EST
Subject: Having a permanent place to pray

I just returned from a shiur where I saw an interesting Aruch Hashulchan
that offhandedly stresses the importance of a steady place in shul to
pray.  Chapter 202:8 in Choshen Hamishpat discusses the way to acquire
moveable objects.  An excellent way to do so would be to transfer it
"agav" (along with) a parcel of land.  Writing in Russia a century ago
where ownership of real estate may have been difficult, Rav Epstein
cites that the place where one prays in shul can be deemed to be his
personal real estate for the purpose of transfer of ownership.

Ira Bauman


From: Joseph Ginzberg <jgbiz120@...>
Date: Wed, 08 Dec 2004 12:14:24 -0500
Subject: Kashrus of Torahs

>Do the standards change with the improvement of the checking technology?

>>They shouldn't, just like one does not need to worry about microscopic
>>bugs in food.  Sifray Torah were never meant to be checked by
>>computers that are so exacting and have no "judgement".
>>Ben Z. Katz, M.D.

My point, remaining unanswered after this and some previous postings, is
exactly that:
What is the basis for the statement " Sifray Torah were never meant to
be checked by computers" ?  says which Torah authority?

The halacha is clear AFAIK that a single missing letter makes it unfit,
and since the historical record shows that the great majority of old
Seforim had at least that, ergo they were mostly posul.

As long as that disqualification remained undetected they were okay to
use "bechazkas kashrus" (presumption of kosher), but once the ability
exists to detect these defects, why should we not be required to use
them?  This is not (IMO) analagous to bugs in vegetables, where there is
a question of how large a bug is halachically problematic.

The point of the question then remains unanswered: Because of the fact
that most old sefrei Torah turn out to be unfit after computer
inspction, we can assume that the previous generations were in general
not ever hearing Torh readings from a kosher Torah.

Yossi Ginzberg

From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Wed, 08 Dec 2004 12:39:08 -0500
Subject: Re: Kashrus of Torahs

 >>From: Joseph Ginzberg <jgbiz120@...>
 >>When the computer examination of Sifrei Torah began about 15 years ago,
 >>I remember hearing that of the first 100 checked, not a single one was

My reading of this would be that the computer software was not properly
trained ... I can make any sefer torah fail a software test simply by
raising the exactness standard being applied.



From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, 12 Dec 2004 09:00:53 +0000
Subject: Re: kol Yisrael areivim zeh bazeh

on 11/12/04 9:44 pm, Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...> wrote:

> As far as I know, there are two different renditions of the above quote
> (depending on the gemara used):
> "kol Yisrael areivim ze bazeh" - all Jews are "mixed" one by the other -
> our behaviors affect each other.  This is the harsher, active reading
> because it implies that if I do not rebuke the sinner, I will be hurt by
> it.
> "kol Yisrael areivim ze lazeh" (the version I had originally learned) -
> all Jews are responsible one *to* the other - this is the more passive,
> lighter reading: I have a responsibility to my fellow Jew to guard him
> from sin and hurt.

As it so happens the version used in the Gemara (Shav. 39a), Rashi (Nid.
13b) and Tosafot (Yev. 47b) is "kol Yisrael areivim ze bazeh", the other
version is first encountered in the Shulchan Arukh, Choshen Mishpat
87.20 where, however, it is quite clear that the meaning is also the
"harsher" one.

Martin Stern


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, 12 Dec 2004 09:21:58 +0000
Subject: Re: Men displacing women in the women's section of the shule

on 11/12/04 11:00 pm, <DTnLA@...> (Dov Teichman) wrote:
> Didn't men usually occupy the Ezras Nashim in the Beis Hamikdash?

Dov is correct except that the meaning of the term 'Ezrat Nashim' in the
Beit Hamikdash was the limit beyond which women could not go. It was not
an area designated specifically for their use as in our shuls. It was
also not a prayer area and, when festive gatherings took place in it as
on Sukkot, a temporary gallery was constructed for women's use, from
which men were excluded.

Martin Stern


From: Janice Gelb <j_gelb@...>
Date: Sat, 11 Dec 2004 20:08:54 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re: Mourning Minimalist Marriages

Jay Bailey <JayB@...> wrote:
> All I'm trying to say is that as much as nobody wants to waste money
> needlessly, let's not go overboard in advising 'pious' stinginess. A
> wedding is, after all, (ideally) a once in a lifetime event for the
> couple, and one of a few, usually for the parents. It's the prime
> opportunity for celebration we have in our lives. If there's any time to
> do things beyond the minimum, this is it.  It might be worth a small
> loan, or pushing off other expenses.

I believe that this subject originally came up because people were
bemoaning the perceived pressure to "keep up with the Schwartzes" --
that if many people in the community had lavish simchas, families (or
the couple) felt that this was the community norm and felt obligated to
host a simcha at that standard even if they could not realistically
afford it. Now we seem to be on the other end: a push for people who can
easily afford a more elaborate simcha not to do so because the community
might consider a less fancy affair to be more praiseworthy.

I think this comes down to part of your statement above: what is the
motivation for the amount being spent on the wedding? The question is
whether the family is spending a lot because they feel it's expected or
because the couple feels it's their "due," or whether the family is
doing so, as you mention above, because it's a rare opportunity to share
a simcha with friends and family. I think the figures people are
throwing around are less important than the reasons behind them.

-- Janice


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, 12 Dec 2004 09:05:56 +0000
Subject: Re: Nittel

on 11/12/04 9:44 pm, Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...> wrote:
> [In response to Martin's in mail-jewish Vol. 46 #15. Mod]
> I'm not sure if you are serious.
> This is a minhag that varies among various groups, just like qitni'ot on
> Pessah, I would say.  You do what your father and grandfather did, and I
> do likewise, depending on where they came from.

Of course it was not meant to be taken seriously but I suppose some of
my fellow Yekkes might be taken in by it. However, I have heard this
sort of argument put forward to justify learning on either date.

Martin Stern

From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Tue, 07 Dec 2004 18:34:25 +0300
Subject: Re: Nittel

Nathan Lamm <nelamm18@...> stated the following on Sat, 4 Dec 2004
20:25:27 -0800 (PST)

      Ira Jacobson writes:
      > In many circles the Dec. 25 eve is called the small nittel, as opposed
      > to the Jan. 6 one, which is called the great nittel. The difference is,
      > of course, based on which religion was most prominent in the area of
      > Europe from which they came.

      If this is a reference to the Julian calendar, I find it hard to
      believe. In countries where the Church followed the Julian
      calendar, the secular authorities did as well (until about 1917),
      so Christmas always fell on December 25th, even if December 25th
      in, say, Russia was January 4th, 5th, or 6th in the West. (For
      that matter, V'sen Tal Umatar would always fall on November 21st
      or 22nd in these countries.)

Actually, the Russian Orthodox church celebrates Xmas on January 7,
referred to as the "New Style."

"January 7 is Orthodox Christmas Celebrated by Russian Orthodox
Christians" http://www.bakupages.com/pages/traditions/new-year_en.php

"Now an official holiday in Russia, Christmas is celebrated by the
Russian Orthodox Church on January
"http://www.friends-partners.org/friends/life/life_in_russia/holidays/rus.xmas.hml(opt,mozilla,unix,english,,MirAquaL )

I am sorry that I erred in thinking that the day was January 6, when it
appears to be January 7.



From: Perets Mett <p.mett@...>
Date: Sat, 11 Dec 2004 23:35:22 +0000
Subject: Rambam's yortsayt

With all due respect to Prof. Dershowitz, if the Rambam was niftor on
Sunday evening 20 Teiveith 4965, the Julian date was 12 Dec 1204!

(13 Dec corresponds to the *day* of 20 Teiveith)

Perets Mett

> Prof. Nachum Dershowitz, a renowned calindrist, writes (copied with
> permission):
> The source is a passage attributed to Maimonides' grandson, David in the
> foreword to (what is said to be) Rambam's commentary on Tractate Rosh
> haShanah.  There it says Rambam died Sunday evening, 20 Tevet, 1516
> Seleucid (shetarot).  (That text apparently has Maimonides' birth year
> wrong; it's 1138 CE, not 1135!)
> In any case, 20 Tevet 4965 = 13 Dec 1204 Julian (old style).


From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Tue, 07 Dec 2004 10:26:39 -0500
Subject: Re: Seating Problems

> From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
> Apropos of this discussion, we had a visitor in our shul this (Sunday)
> morning who just stood in the back aisle by the entrance. I made a point
> of greeting him and suggested a few seats which I knew would be
> unoccupied but he turned them down and stayed there, where he got in the
> way of people going in and out the door. I did not press the point but
> what would others do?

I would have suggested first inviting him to lunch so that he knows that
your intentions are good.  I myself can be remarkably stubborn when I
think that someone is trying to force me into something in bad faith.


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Wed, 08 Dec 2004 08:42:01 +0000
Subject: Re: Seating Problems

Since we daven from 7:15 to about 7:55 on Sunday mornings, breakfast
would have made more sense.

This occasion was unusual since the visitor came before
davenning. Usually this situation does not occur until after barukh
sheamar when one cannot talk. However, even this time, there was not a
lot of time available for a long conversation since we both had to put
on our tallit and tefillin to be ready to start and any invitation
etc. would have had to wait till after davenning was finished.

There was no question of force, I merely indicated the vacant places,
assuming that he had not wanted to take someone's makom kavua', as he
seemed not to have chosen one as yet. If he was just being stubborn in
not accepting that was his problem, after all he was going to be
disturbed by the comings and goings much more than the people who wished
to get past him.

Martin Stern


From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Sun, 12 Dec 2004 05:56:25 +0200
Subject: Re: Shul Seats

>> I think that early comers take aisle seats not because they lack derech
>> eretz or are lazy but because those are for many the most desirable
>> seats, mainly because of significantly more freedom of movement.  I
>> think most people who take aisle seats (be it in shul or on an ariplane)
>> think the trade-off of having to stand up to allow others to enter and
>> leave is well worth having a few extra feet of space on one side."
> These are exactly my thoughts on the seating issue.  I strongly disagree
> with the suggestion that the 'best' (aisle) seats should be left for...

I disagree.  IMHO, the "best seats" are by a wall.  Less disturbances,
something to lean on, easier to doven/concentrate.  But then, again, it
depends on what you're in shul for and other factors, like young
children, or a doctor who is always on call, or if for your own medical
reasons you need to walk out periodically.




End of Volume 46 Issue 20