Volume 46 Number 92
                    Produced: Fri Feb 11  5:45:11 EST 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Driver's Prayer
         [Naomi Graetz]
Grammar question (correction)
         [Joshua Hosseinof]
Grammar Question: Great Flexibility of Hebrew Grammar
         [Ira L. Jacobson]
Grammer Question
         [Batya Medad]
Kiddush Levana this month
Late to Shul
         [Tzvi Stein]
letter from Dr. Klafter to Rabbi Dovid Feinstein
         [Bernard Raab]
A Puzzling Story (3)
         [Shayna Kravetz, David E Cohen, Michael Mirsky]
Shabbos Torah sheet distribution
         [Joseph Ginzberg]


From: <graetz@...> (Naomi Graetz)
Date: Wed, 9 Feb 2005 22:16:15 +0530
Subject: Driver's Prayer

My husband wrote a "driver's prayer" as opposed to tefillat ha-derech,
where the emphasis is clearly on the driver's responsibility. It was
printed in the Jerusalem Post 5 years ago after my daughter was hit by a
motorcycle (she's okay!!) Here it is: If you use it, please attribute

Rabbi Michael Graetz

Our God and God of our ancestors, God of Abraham and Sarah,
God of Isaac and Rebecca, God of Jacob, Rachel and Leah

May we reach our destination in peace,
    and return in peace to our homes.

Imbue me with the will to discern that every human is created in
your image,
   and that saving one person is like saving an entire world.

Grant me the wisdom to understand that nothing is more precious
than human life,
   neither time nor money, neither honor nor revenge.

Help me drive
     with care, to keep a proper distance;
     with manners, to yield the right of way;
     with awareness, to stop in time.

Give me the courage to control my impulses of
     jealousy, competition, anger and greed.

Let there be no accident because of me, and let me not encounter

So that we may serve You in truth; increasing the sanctity of life in
the world.

So may it be Your will. Amen.

(available in Hebrew and English on convenient cards)

Naomi Graetz
Ben Gurion University of the Negev


From: Joshua Hosseinof <JHosseinof@...>
Date: Wed, 9 Feb 2005 15:49:04 -0500
Subject: Grammar question (correction)

An astute reader of mail-jewish has brought to my attention a mistake in
the example I gave from Megillat Esther 2:14 where I wrote that
"sha-VAH" means she returned and "SHA-vah" would mean she captured.  In
fact, the case there "sha-VAH" means she returns (present tense), and
"SHA-vah" would mean he captured (male), with the female form of
captured likely being "shavtah".

A better example that I should have used is the pasuk in Divrei Hayamim
Bet 6:38 -  it has both "ve-SHA-vu" meaning they returned and "sha-VU"
meaning they were captured.  


From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Wed, 09 Feb 2005 15:04:17 +0200
Subject: Re: Grammar Question: Great Flexibility of Hebrew Grammar

      It is a question about how we read and breath the Bible--how
      we invoke nuances and moods with verbs. I certainly think
      that this conversation belongs here on mljewish.

OK.  Here is a question with a similar background.

How is it that ne'eman (Psalm 89:38) has a hataf segol under the alef,
while ne'emnu (Psalm 93:5) has a full segol there?

Why are they not vocalized similarly, as in nikhtav and nikhtevu?

IRA L. JACOBSON         


From: <aliw@...> (Arie)
Date: Wed, 9 Feb 2005 16:52:23 +0200
Subject: Re: Grammer Question

 Jay F Shachter wrote in 46/85

> How would you expect the idea "I will have sinned" to be expressed 
> in Hebrew, a language that offers only two forms of the verb -- "I will
> sin" and "I have sinned"?  It isn't obvious, at least not to me, a man
> whose native language is English, so let's look at the Hebrew.  The
> Hebrew verb begins with a vav, but the accent is on the penultimate,
> not on the ultima, which means that the author chose the form 
> which in English would be considered past tense: "if I will not return 
> him to you, I have sinned against my father all my days".  If the 
> accent had been on the last syllable, the English rendering would 
> have been future tense, "if I will not return him to you, I will sin 
> against my father all my days".

That's the galus in you - I'm a native English speaker who has lived in
Israel for almost 34 years, but learned my dikduk in MTA.  That sentence
is conditional. Yehuda is explaining what his status will be should he
fail to return Binyamin. A Hebrew speaker reading that sentence would
understand vechaTAti as "I will have sinned" because Hebrew makes up for
its lack of verb forms with context.  That, btw, is why some people tend
to "forgive" the improper emphasis in a case of a vav hahipuch, relying
on the clarity of context; hence no change of meaning, which would
require having the person laining repeat the sentence.  



From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2005 17:45:05 +0200
Subject: Re: Kavanah

Define it first.  Doesn't it include comprehension and awareness?
Jewish prayer isn't a meditating "nituk," disassociation from what's
going on.  Therefore, even though sometimes we may forget, we should
have Rosh Chodesh on our mind as part of our kavanah, not separate from



From: <Danmim@...> (Dovid)
Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2005 19:58:20 EST
Subject: Re: Kiddush Levana this month

Can I get a fast answer? [Please email directly to Dovid if you have an
answer, as the next issues will likely not come out until after
Shabbat. Mod]

Rosh Chodesh Adar 1 is today on Thursday. Can we m'kadesh the levana on
Sat. night after Shabbos? References please.
Thank you


From: Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...>
Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2005 08:36:40 -0500
Subject: Re: Late to Shul

> The feeling of exaltation that one has upon praying with a large
> group, the enthusiasm, the excitement and fervor is overwhelming and
> inspiring. The words take on new meaning as one concentrates on their
> inner meaning, bringing one closer to Hashem.

I don't know about you, but I have been going to shul for a long time
and have not had any "overwhelming and inspiring" experiences there.

Also, forgive me if I share with you the fact that I did not find the
story of someone's store burning down as punishment for going to shul
late, in any way inspring.


From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Wed, 09 Feb 2005 14:26:49 -0500
Subject: letter from Dr. Klafter to Rabbi Dovid Feinstein

Thanks for publishing the letter from Dr. Klafter to Rabbi Dovid
Feinstein. Needless to say, those of us who have been trained in the
sciences who are observant and dedicated Jews, and would like to see our
children and grandchildren become baalei Torah and Mitzvos, have been
very distressed by this whole brouhaha. Perhaps if this letter gets
circulated among those who signed the ban, it would cause them to
reflect on the issues raised, and hopefully give them the understanding
that they do our religion serious harm by such acts.

The core problem, of course, is the distressingly poor secular, and in
particular, science education offered in the yeshivos and cheder
schools, as evidenced by some of the comments made by defenders of the
ban on R.  Slifter's books. Apparently, carbon dating and the fossil
record are viewed as the primary culprits to be attacked, as if this
would resolve the issue of the age of the universe. They are apparently
totally unaware of the many different radioactive and material dating
techniques, geologic evidence, and astronomical observations which
overwhelmingly combine to support the current estimates of the ages of
the universe (as we think we know it today) and of the Earth.

We should not expect our Torah scholars and gedolim to be knowledgable
in these sciences beyond the knowledge of any educated non-scientist,
perhaps. But we should expect them to respect the knowledge of those
scientists who do dedicate themselves to such studies, especially those
who are shomrai Torah and mitzvos, as for example Rabbi Slifkin. Is this
too much to ask?

b'shalom--Bernie R.


From: Shayna Kravetz <skravetz@...>
Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2005 08:29:41 -0500
Subject: Re: A Puzzling Story

Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...> asks about:
>the following anecdote:
>Once the mashgiach of the yeshivah came to R' Yosef Leib, the Rosh
>Yeshivah of Telshe, and complained that a certain student was not
>praying with kavanah, the proper concentration.
>"And who," R' Yosef Leib asked him, "does pray with kavanah? Had we
>really prayed with kavanah, how would we remember to add ya'aleh veyavo
>on Rosh Chodesh or al ha'nissim on Chanukkah?"
> *  * *
>This story has often puzzled me - maybe more so because today is Rosh
>Chodesh. How does one indeed draw the line between davening with real
>kavanah and yet remembering to add the appropriate special passages?

For me, the perfect analogy to prayer is the process of learning to play
a piece of music.  You practise scales and the piece itself repeatedly,
getting down the technique and learning each individual note.  But once
you've got it down in your memory and in your fingers, you can then
begin to interpret.  There's space for grace to enter your playing
because you've built the architecture of the piece solidly.  But your
fingers still know every rest and note in the piece; you have to or you
couldn't play it.

Likewise in prayer: I think you learn the prayers and pray repeatedly --
even on days when you don't have kavanah, on days when your head is full
of the rest of the world -- in order to set up the architecture of
prayer.  The more solidly the words inhabit your head, the more space
you have in which to 'look around' and draw some deeper meanings from
them.  But your eyes and mouth are still aware of each word as you say
it; they are the ones keeping track of whether you add "ya'aleh v'yavo",
so to speak.

Kol tuv and Merry Adar Rishon.
Shayna in Toronto

From: David E Cohen <ddcohen@...>
Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2005 12:36:44 -0500
Subject: Re: A Puzzling Story

 > "And who," R' Yosef Leib asked him, "does pray with kavanah?
 > Had we really prayed with kavanah, how would we remember to
 > add ya'aleh veyavo on Rosh Chodesh or al ha'nissim on Chanukkah?"

The story puzzles me because I find exactly the opposite to be true.

When I am davening with kavanah, thinking about the meaning of each word
as I say it, I will generally remember Ya`aleh ve-Yavo.

If, as sometimes unfortunately happens, I am saying the words on
"autopilot" while my thoughts have wandered to something else, there is
a good chance that I will forget to add it.


From: Michael Mirsky <mirskym@...>
Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2005 11:00:07 -0500
Subject: RE: A Puzzling Story

I also don't understand on the case of it.  At first glance, it seems to
suggest that davening with kavanah requires reciting by rote without
thoughts as to what you are saying ie. if you pause to think about what
to add, you break your kavanah.

There must be a different way to understand it.  It appears to me that
maybe this is a comment referring to the way we often rush into davening
without proper preparation and kavanot.  Perhaps it is suggesting that
we should take the halacha of spending time in preparation for davening
more seriously. In that preparation, we would internalize the fact that
today is Rosh Chodesh.  Then, when we we actually *do* daven, we will
not have to stop, think, calculate and realize that today is Rosh
Chodesh and so say Yaaleh v'Yavo.  Because of our preparation, it would
have flowed out smoothly without break in kavanah.

Michael Mirsky 


From: Joseph Ginzberg <jgbiz120@...>
Date: Wed, 09 Feb 2005 10:31:16 -0500
Subject: Shabbos Torah sheet distribution

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

I am pleased to see this brought up, as I have long had a problem with
the issue, but one slightly different from the above by Mordechai.

In my former shul there were many versions distributed, from many

One was from a local kolel, and contained ..well, let's charitably call
them "substandard" quality divrei Torah and observations, that reflected
poorly on theintellectual level of the institution.

The other was a very strong effort by a growing young neighborhood boy
to produce his own work.  It was quite good, for a child, and grew
better as he aged.  Still, it was childish but being distributed to

In both cases, though, I question the right of any individual to assume
that his interpretations are worthy of distribution. In the case of the
kolel, the rosh kolel needed to be told he was embarrassing the
institution, and the boys work was laudable, but IMHO should have been
confined to his own family.

I never spoke to either the kolel or the father. Perhaps I should have.

Yossi Ginzberg


End of Volume 46 Issue 92