Volume 46 Number 83
                    Produced: Mon Feb  7  6:08:05 EST 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Calendar Question (2)
         [Daniel Wells, Daniel Wells]
Conservative Judaism, Avoda Zara and Igrot Moshe
         [Janice Gelb]
Conservative Shuls
         [Batya Medad]
Grammar Question (2)
         [Brian Wiener, Shayna Kravetz]
Metzitzah- how prevelant is it?
         [Abbi Adest]
RYB Soloveitchik and mixed seating (2)
         [Bernard Raab, Samuel P Groner]
Savannah, Georgia
         [Larry Israel]
Tallis from slipping off
         [Carl Singer]


From: Daniel Wells <wells@...>
Date: Thu, 3 Feb 2005 18:55:47 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Re:Calendar Question

Michael Savitz writes:

> Pesach must fall in the spring, but it is certainly not the case that
> R"H "must fall in the autumn".  The most recent R"H was on September
> 16-17, and the equinox occurred on September 22.  Even Sukkot sometimes
> begins before the equinox (which occurs on September 22 or 23).  In
> 1994, 1975, 1956, 1937, etc.  (i.e. every 19 years) the first day of
> Sukkot was on September 20, and in 2013 Sukkot will begin on September
> 19.  Or do you mean a different (halachic?)  definition of "in the
> autumn"?

Take note:

Presently, Hebrew leap years can begin no earlier than September 5 and
no later than September 16, while Hebrew common years can begin no
earlier than September 16 and no later than October 5.

See http://www.geocities.com/Athens/1584/#03

Daniel Wells

From: Daniel Wells <wells@...>
Date: Fri, 4 Feb 2005 00:32:08 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Re: Calendar Question

>> is that it gives the molad as six hours later than is normally given
>> everywhere else.

> It is a question of whether the molad times are given on a
> midnight-based clock or one based at (average) sunset at 6pm.  Both
> forms of molad times are common.  The "six hours later" is based on the
> 6pm-clock, the other is on the midnight-based clock.

Surely you meant the noon-based clock?

The molad 2d 5h 204p means 5 hours 204 halakim after Sunday 6 pm, ie
Sunday 11 pm and 204 halakim. But be aware that it is not 11 pm by our
standard watch, but a watch which is set to 6 am at sunrise and 6 pm at
sunset, ie 11 pm and 204 halakim will be be at different times on our
standard watch throughout the year.

Daniel Wells


From: Janice Gelb <j_gelb@...>
Date: Thu, 3 Feb 2005 09:03:10 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Conservative Judaism, Avoda Zara and Igrot Moshe

Bernard Raab <beraab@...> wrote:
> Kids from Orthodox homes who stray from the fold do not
> become Conservative or Reform Jews--they become irreligious Jews. Baalei
> Teshuvah do not become C or R; that has no traction for them.

I have been desperately trying to avoid commenting on this issue but the
above message, despite its attempt at being somewhat more lenient
towards C Jews than other messages on this topic, inspired me to

First of all, I'd like to know the basis for saying the kids from
Orthodox homes do not move to C or R, and that ba'alei teshuvah do not
become C or R. I happen to know many, many occurrences of both cases,
especially BTs who become Conservative, finding that the Orthodox path
is either too stringent or, more commonly, too outdated in gender
policies for them.

> The OCR wars have been over for many years now. The Conservative Jews
> that I know are mostly deeply identified Jews, separated from the
> Orthodox mainly by their limited Jewish education and early training (I
> am talking about the laypeople, with some exceptions, of course).
> Nevertheless, I have been impressed by how seriously many of them regard
> their synagogue connection. I cannot imagine that anyone would suggest
> today that the non-orthodox practise Avodah Zara. I would have to
> believe they would view that as profoundly insulting, and self-defeating
> for us.

You are certainly correct that Conservative Jews would view having their
observance of Shabbat and kashrut being called "avodah zara" as
profoundly insulting. And, for those who aren't aware, the movement
calls for full observance of those mitzvot -- in fact, of all mitzvot.
Also, saying that C Jews "are separated from the Orthodox mainly by
their limited Jewish education and early training" is unintentionally
insulting as well. Many Conservative Jews whom I know have fine Jewish
educations and grew up in homes that were Jewishly observant. They are
not Conservative because they are somehow lacking a Jewish
grounding. They have chosen to identify as Conservative Jews because
that movement gives them something spiritually that the Orthodox path
does not.

-- Janice


From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Thu, 03 Feb 2005 17:33:45 +0200
Subject: Re: Conservative Shuls

Post WWII quite a few rabbis, with Orthodox smicha and observance took
rabbinic jobs in OU shuls without michitza, even mixed seating, and
Conservative shuls.  In those days there were less differences between
MO and C.

I went to a unique Conservative one, the Oakland Jewish Center, Bayside,
which had a Hebrew school run by an Orthodox man, rabbi?, named Joel
Philips who demanded that the married female teachers cover their hair,
when Orthodox rebbitzins didn't.  I'm sure that some of the teachers are
now well-known Orthodox rabbis, because I've seen their names over the
years in the Jewish Press.  The shul's rabbi, Rabbi Issacson, sent his
kids to day school, not public school.

When we moved to Great Neck, we joined the MO Great Neck Synagogue, of
the late Rabbi Wolf, zatz"l, because it was more welcoming, even though
my parents weren't at all frum.  Shul choice and membership is not just
a matter of matching observance.

One shouldn't label people. 
Shabbat Shalom,


From: Brian Wiener <brian@...>
Date: Fri, 4 Feb 2005 10:55:57 +1100
Subject: RE: Grammar Question

> From: Stuart Feldhamer <Stuart.Feldhamer@...>
> Can one of the 13 or so people who responded to the grammar question
> please provide a source for the assertion that the "vav hamehapechet"
> ceases to perform the function of making the word be in the future tense
> if it is pronounced incorrectly?

Mispronounced words in Hebrew can very drastically alter the textual
meanings, as can incorrect vocalization -pauses, commas, in wrong
places. However, those mistakes are cannot alter the 'function' of the
vav ha-hipuch.

Brian Wiener

From: Shayna Kravetz <skravetz@...>
Date: Fri, 4 Feb 2005 07:41:04 -0500
Subject: Re: Grammar Question

Jack Gross <jbgross@...> explaines the association between shifting
accents and shifting meanings further:

>The best source is Tanach itself, and your own powers of inference.  Take
>natatti or natatta - I gave, you gave.
>- Without the vav prefix, it invariably represents past tense, and is
>invariably mill'el (naTATti).
>- With the Vav prefix, it either
>- - retains the past-tense meaning, or
>- - flips to future.
>The context nearly always makes clear which of the two is intended; but
>invariably (or very nearly so), the former are Mill'el (accented on
>penult vowel) and the latter Mill'ra (accented on final vowel).  So one
>can infer the rule.
>It's an inference from the evidence, and there may be scattered
>counter-examples that are left as "zarim" (unexplained exceptions), or
>given particular explanations.  But the pattern is so obvious that the
>alternative hypotheses (of no correlation between the accept and the
>tense; or random assignment of accent for the flipped-to-future usage)
>are, well, absurd.
>Note that there are exceptions to some of the accentuation rules, with or
>without "vav hahippuch":
>- "v'lo raVU aleha"  - Gen 26:22; we would expect RAvu.
>- "v'shaVA el bet aviha" - Lev 22:13; not v'SHAva.  Note that the taam
>(cantillation mark) is Gershayim, which never occurs on a mill'el; if
>v'shava were mill'el, the taam would be Kadma.  So the "decision" to make
>this an exception in accentuation here influences to assignment
>of t'amim.  (Cf. Is 6:13, in the recent haftara, where the word is

OK, now I'm confused and, on the principle of "ein ha-baishan lomeid"
(An easily embarrassed person doesn't learn), I'm going to share my deep
ignorance with you.  If I understand this correctly, the trop/ta'amei
ha-miqrah is not what determines where the accent is placed (which is
what I've been assuming through this discussion).  If not, then it seems
to me that we're in a vicious cycle in which the meaning is used to
establish the accent but the accent is simultaneously used to establish
the meaning.  So, when you read "v'natati", how do you know whether it's
accented on the penultimate/mill'el and the vav is associative/vav
ha-khibur, or on the ultimate syllable/mil'ra and the vav is a vav
ha-hipukh that flips the tense?

And, by the way, while I'm bothering you all, I think all the examples
of vav ha-hipukh given here have been apparently past-tense verbs that
were transformed into future.  But surely the vav can also flip future
into the past.  The most obvious example is, of course, "Va-y'hi"
translated as "and it was".  Is it just chance that all the examples are
past-into-future changes or is there a subtlety in biblical Hebrew
grammar that I'm missing?

Shabbat shalom.
Shayna in Toronto


From: Abbi Adest <abbi.adest@...>
Date: Fri, 4 Feb 2005 12:42:48 +0200
Subject: Metzitzah- how prevelant is it?

A baby who just died of herpes infection is suspected of contracting it
from a mohel who performed metzitzah b'peh.


How prevelant is this practice? Is it a halachically necessary part of
brit milah, especially given the known hazards of infection?

I've read that it's a Talmudic addition to the ceremony, with the
thought that it promotes healing. I've also read that there was a lot of
political wrangling around this issue since this was one of the first
customs thrown out by Reform Jews, making some Orthodox Jews cling to it
even more.



From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Fri, 04 Feb 2005 01:28:19 -0500
Subject: RYB Soloveitchik and mixed seating

>From: Akiva Miller
>In Part 2, Chapter 14, "On Seating and Sanctification", he wrote of a
>man who lived in an area "where the only existing synagogue had men and
>women sitting together... The young man practically implored me that I
>grant him permission to enter the edifice, at least for a half hour,
>that he might hear the shofar blasts. I hesitated not for a moment, but
>directed him to remain at home. It would be better not to hear the
>shofar than to enter a synagogue whose sanctity has been profaned."

I wonder why the Rav did not suggest that the young man stand outside
the shul or in the vestibule to hear the shofar. According to the
Gemarah in Rosh Hashana, anyone casually passing by a shul who hears the
shofar on R"H thereby fulfils the mitzvah.

I believe this can only be understood in the light of the extreme threat
felt by Orthodoxy from the Conservative movement in the mid-20th
century, as I described in my recent posting, such that the Rav would
not want anyone coming anywhere near a Conservative shul, lest he be
seduced by them. A good example of why halacha needs constantly to be
renewed and reviewed in light of current realities.

b'shalom--Bernie R.

From: Samuel P Groner <spg28@...>
Date: Thu, 3 Feb 2005 12:13:36 -0500 (EST)
Subject: RYB Soloveitchik and mixed seating

I have little to add vis-a-vis Rav Soloveitchik's position on attending
Conservative shuls.  I do know that I read recently something Rav Aharon
Lichtenstein had to say on the topic.  Readers can judge for themselves
whether Rav Lichtenstein's approach is consistent with his
father-in-law's approach; I'm not saying that there necesarily is any
inconsistency, since the Rov was talking about Orthodox Jews in
Conservative shuls and Rav Lichtenstein was talking about "marginal
Jews".  Still, the emphasis seems to me to be quite different, and, as
one poster noted, this may be a reflection of how an approach developed
when orthodoxy was under attack may no longer be ideal in our present
day and age.

The following was first published in 1982 in a Tradition Symposium on
"The State of Orthodoxy" (Tradition 20:1 (1982)) and it was reprinted in
2004 in Rav Lichtenstein's book of essays, "Leaves of Faith: The World
of Jewish Learning, Volume 2."  According to Rav Lichtenstein:

"Nor do I share the glee some feel over the prospective demise of the
competition.  Surely, we have many sharp differences with the
Conservative and Reform movements, and these should not be sloughed over
or blurred.  However, we also share many values with them -- and this,
too, should not be obscured.  Their disappearance might strengthen us in
some respects but would unquestionably weaken us in others.  And of
course, if we transcend our own interests and think of the people
currently served by these movements -- many of them, both personally and
potentially, well beyond our reach or ken -- how would they, of K'lal
Yisrael as a whole, be affected by such a change?  Can anyone
responsibly state that it is better for a marginal Jew in Dallas or
Dubuque to lose his religious identity altogether rather than drive to
his temple?"


From: Larry Israel <VSLARRY@...>
Date: Fri, 04 Feb 05 08:40:29 +0200
Subject: Savannah, Georgia

What is a good hotel for Shabbes in Savannah? Is there an Eruv? What
about room keys, automatic lights turning on and off, stairs

Meals are already arranged, so that is not a problem.


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Fri, 04 Feb 2005 06:46:59 -0500
Subject: Tallis from slipping off

> Seriously, the major cause seems to be the material of the tallis and
> that of the garment on which it rests.  There are wool taleisim that are
> "rough" and others that are "smooth."  Similarly for the garment that the
> tallis rests on.
> You can prevent the slippage by changing one or another of these items.

Ira is so right.  One has to remember back to the "Leisure Suit" days.
We had a congregant who was ready to use tape to hold his tallis in
place.  Similar incidents occur today during the week when someone is
called to lead mincha and their working jacket is of a slippery

Carl A. Singer


End of Volume 46 Issue 83