Volume 46 Number 88
                    Produced: Wed Feb  9  5:46:13 EST 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Calendar Question (2)
         [Yehonatan Chipman, Mike Gerver]
Grammar Question
         [Martin Stern]
Grammar Question - accent on antepenultimate syllable
         [Jack Gross]
Israeli car carnage
         [Shmuel Himelstein]
Marrying A Jew
         [Carl Singer]
         [Lawrence Myers]
Parsha Sheets
Savannah, Georgia
         [Nathan Lamm]
Tallit query
         [Martin Stern]


From: Yehonatan Chipman <yonarand@...>
Date: Mon, 07 Feb 2005 15:41:05 +0200
Subject: Re: Calendar Question

Michael Savitz asks:  

> Pesach must fall in the spring, but it is certainly not the case that
> R"H "must fall in the autumn".. <SNIP> Or do you mean a different
> (halachic?)  definition of "in the autumn"?

A short linguistic comment: the Hebrew language, historically, and the
Torah, doesn't really have a concept of autumn. The European settlers
during the modern period used the word "stav" for autumn because they
were used to such a season from their countries of origin, and even
wrote Hebrew songs about it ("stav ba-halonot ubilvavi", etc.) but the
word really means "winter," as in Shir ha-Shirim 2:11.  Eretz Yisrael,
which is paradigmatic for everything seasonal in Judaism, really has
only two seasons: summer, and "the rainy season." Sukkot, in the Torah,
is the festival of "ingathering" or "harvest" or "the turning point of
the year" (hag ha-asif; hag ha-katzir; tekufat ha-shanah) i.e. the time
when the harvest is more or less completed with the ripening of the late
summer fruits like figs and grapes.  BTW, I'm also not sure whether the
intercalation of leap years was based upon assuring that Pesah would be
after the astronomical equinox, or more approximate signs on nature,
like the calving of sheep and the first budding of the new grain.  (It's
all in the first two chapters of Mishnah Rosh Hashanah and the gemara;
sorry, I don't have time today to do any more library work than that),
and then later there was a fixed cycle of 7 out of every 19 years.

Yehonatan Chipman

From: <MJGerver@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Mon, 7 Feb 2005 15:29:06 EST
Subject: Calendar Question

Daniel Wells writes, in v46n83,

      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.

I've said this before, but it bears saying again. The molad is primarily
a tool for calculating what day Rosh Hashana (and hence the other
chagim) falls on. There is no significance to the time of the molad in a
physics sense of "time." For purposes of calculating when Rosh Hashana
falls, what matters is the day of the week, number of hours, number of
minutes and number of chalakim in the molad, as formally calculated and
announced in shul. Knowing these numbers would, for example, enable
someone who was separated from the community (as, for example, happened
with Israeli POWs in Syria during Pesach in 1974) to calculate when the
different chagim occur. It has become common practice in many shuls to
announce the molad in terms of "a.m." and "p.m." times, based on a 6
p.m. sunset, instead of just announcing the number of hours, minutes and
chalakim after the beginning of the day, and that's fine, because it's
easy to add 6 hours to an announced time. But it would be absolutely
pointless to try to correct the time of the molad for the fact that
sunset and sunrise vary with the time of year, or for the time zone, or
for anything else. That would convey no useful information, and would in
fact deprive people of the useful information that announcing the time
of the molad is supposed to convey.

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, 08 Feb 2005 16:04:47 +0000
Subject: Re: Grammar Question

> Martin Stern <md.stern@...> wrote:
> <<There are numerous examples in the in the first paragraph of the
> Shema: ve'ahavta, veshinantam, vedibarta, ukeshartam, ukhetavtam, and
> many more in the second and third paragraphs as well.
> e.g. VeshinanTAM = and you shall repeat them
> VeshiNANtam = and you have repeated them>>
> Not exactly.  This is correct as to ve'ahavTA, vedibarTA, venataTI,
> ve'asafTA, ve'achalTA, ve'amarTA, etc.; but not as to veshinanTAM,
> uksharTAM, ukhtavTAM.  These last 3 are past-tense-form verbs with the
> letter mem as a suffix, denoting "them" as a direct object of the verb.
> When a direct-object suffix is added, the accent is placed on the last
> syllable, regardless of the presence or absence of the tense-changing
> vav prefix.  Cf. Vayikra 26:44 -- "lo m'asTIM velo g'alTIM" -- or
> Bereshit 27:37 -- "hen gevir samTIV lach ... vedagan vetirosh
> semachTIV".  So "veshinanTAM" could mean either "you shall repeat them"
> or "and you have repeated them", depending on context; but "veshiNANtam"
> would be simply incorrect.

You are absolutely correct. I don't know why I picked the wrong word as
an example. Thanks for pointing it out.

Martin Stern


From: Jack Gross <jbgross@...>
Date: Tue, 8 Feb 2005 09:36:15 -0500
Subject: Re: Grammar Question - accent on antepenultimate syllable

> From: Matthew Pearlman <Matthew.Pearlman@...>
> Martin Stern stated "(but VeSHINantam is meaningless since Hebrew can
> only have the primary stress on the last syllable (milra) or the
> penultimate one (mil'el) never on any previous one)"
> While this is true in general, there are a few exceptions, for example
> tso'ara and ha'ohela in parashat Vayera where the accent is on the
> antepenultimate syllable.
> Both of these have the locative heh on an original word with the accent
> on the penultimate syllable.  I would be interested in any other
> examples.

Hebrew (unlike Latin) never accents the antepenult -- but it has a
special calculus for numbering syllables.

The chataf-patach following the Ayin of TSO'-ara is equivalent to a
simple shva-na, and as such is regarded as part of the t'nu'a (syllable)
of the following vowel, and does not form a syllable in its own right.
(Similarly for ha-O-hela).

A more striking example, which extends the same concept, is "NE'-er-mu
MA-yim" in the shira.  The placement of the munach assigns the accent to
the Nun+segol prefix.  The accent would normally be on the final vowel
("ne'erMU"), but is shifted back from the final syllable to avoid
juxtaposing two accented syllables (last of Ne'erMU and first of MAyim),
a phenomenum known as "nasog achor".

The regular form of the verb would be ne'-r'mu (like nich-t'vu), with
shva nach and shva nah assigned to the first two root letters (ayin,
resh).  That is regarded as only two syllables: ne' and r'mu.  For this
verb, whose root starts with a gutteral, an alternative form appears
here, with the first shva promoted to a full vowel (segol) and the
second demoted to shva nach.

[In the active conjugation, a similar shift of vowels is quite
va-ya-'av-ru exhibits the shift; whereas
ya'-l'zu retains the regular vowel assignment.]

But the "nasog achor" accent shift is applied as if the regular form were
used, which would give us an unremarkable
NE'-r'mu MA-yim. 
When the rearrangement of vowels is then applied, the final result is 
yielding our
NE'-er'mu MA-yim. 

In effect, the second segol is not treated as a vowel, so the initial
syllable is the first of two, even though it looks and sounds like the
first of three.


From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
Date: Tue, 08 Feb 2005 13:17:02 +0200
Subject: Israeli car carnage

With the rate of accidents in driving in Israel being as it is, maybe we
should add to Birkat Hagomel a fifth category - anyone who takes a trip
on an intercity road . . .

Shmuel Himelstein


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Tue, 08 Feb 2005 07:30:51 -0500
Subject: Marrying A Jew

> From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
>  > One of the forum members, when discussing Conservative synagogues and
>  > Conservative Jews, adds: " Would I want my children to marry theirs,
>  > definitely not."
> In my experience, this point is basically moot.  Rarely do (independent)
> children listen to their parents about whom to marry, and if the
> intended is halachically Jewish then the parents have no halachically
> valid complaint, the halachah being quite clear that an adult has the
> right to choose one's mate (subject to that person's express agreement).

Perhaps in romance novels opposites attract.  My comment re: "would I
want my children to marry theirs" is CLEARLY not an halachic statement.
It's one of personal preference.  At the risk of continually embarassing
my children by discussing this -- my preference would be someone of
similar bandwidth to each child Thus someone who grew up in a Chaddishe
enclave, went to Cheder schools and thinks college is osser meen haTorah
-- probably wouldn't be a good match for college graduates seeking
advanced degrees.  Same would go for someone who in contrast to Yeshiva
educated children went to "Sunday school" 'til age 13 and then stopped
religious learning.  We're not talking Litvak / Galitz here.

Regarding independent children listening to their parents -- they'd need
pretty good hearing -- by raising one's children to think for themselves
but with values, etc. -- one doesn't have to tell them whom to marry --
just how much we're willing to help for the wedding costs.

Carl A. Singer, Ph.D.
Passaic, NJ  07055-5328


From: Lawrence Myers <lawrence@...>
Date: Mon, 7 Feb 2005 22:15:33 -0000
Subject: Re: Molad

> From: Daniel Wells <wells@...>
>>> 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.

NO!!. The time of the molad is always given in Standard time at
Yerushalaim, with the day starting at 6:00p.m., ie 6 standard (not
seasonal) hours after the mean midday for Jerusalem which I understand
is at 11:39a.m. Israel time.  For molad calculations sunrise and sunset
are irrelevant.

Lawrence Myers


From: <Phyllostac@...> (Mordechai)
Date: Tue, 8 Feb 2005 07:59:22 EST
Subject: Parsha Sheets

> From: Shmuel Carit <cshmuel@...>
> Apparently the davening is soooo very boring these days that the paper
> mills are making a killing by printing all those shabbat parsha
> sheets.........
> ......Anything but focus on the davening.

I wanted to comment on this in the past, but didn't get around to it.
However, 'better late than never', so here goes....

I recall reading about this a while ago in the (Brooklyn, NY) Jewish
Press newspaper in a column called 'macheberes'.

As I recall, the writer reported that some congregations have either
entirely banned or limited the distribution of such sheets, for the
following reasons -

1) They can distract people from the davening.

2) They can easily come to be scattered all over a Shul, which can cause
a problem with regard to tidiness and orderliness in a holy place.

3) Sometimes the sheets come from sources with different Rabbinic
authorities, customs, viewpoints and rulings than the congregation.
Unsuspecting readers sometimes may not realize this and may pick up
customs that are not in accordance with their traditions, and get

It was reported that one congregation gave the sheets out after davening
for people to read at home (presumably in a place with a proper eruv -
due to problem # 1 above), while others may have banned them entirely.

The relatively recent proliferation of the sheets has brought the issue
into sharper focus of late.



From: <Phyllostac@...> (Mordechai)
Date: Tue, 8 Feb 2005 08:10:25 EST
Subject: Savannah, Georgia

> From: Larry Israel <VSLARRY@...>
> What is a good hotel for Shabbes in Savannah? Is there an Eruv? What
> about room keys, automatic lights turning on and off, stairs
> accessibility? 

I suggest looking at the website of a frum Shul there -
www.bbjsynagogue.com - and taking it from there.



From: Nathan Lamm <nelamm18@...>
Date: Tue, 8 Feb 2005 05:44:12 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Tallit

Warren Burstein asks:
> Was the tallit not a regular garment at the time of the Torah?  How
> did people who wore them all day long keep them from slipping off?

I'm afraid it wasn't. The garment they likey wore was more of a poncho-
a rectangular sheet with a hole in the center for the head, belted
around the waist. Or it may have been more of a kilt (of the older type)
or toga style garment, draped around the body and pinned in place. Only
with the decline of such garments did we begin wearing special tallitot
(both gadol and katan). Some in Israel, I've noticed, have begun wearing
these older-style garments ("Beged Ivri") again.

Perhaps we can do for the tallit what has already been done for the
tallit katan- add snaps under the arms to keep it in place.


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, 08 Feb 2005 15:54:55 +0000
Subject: Re: Tallit query

on 8/2/05 11:04 am, Warren Burstein <warren@...> wrote:
> Was the tallit not a regular garment at the time of the Torah?  How did
> people who wore them all day long keep them from slipping off?

It was obviously not warn as we do during davenning. Probably it was
draped around the person like a Roman toga or something similar.

Martin Stern


End of Volume 46 Issue 88