Volume 47 Number 15
                    Produced: Sun Mar  6 14:11:24 EST 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

12th Daf Yomi Calendar?
         [Shmuel Himelstein]
Government of Israel
         [Akiva Miller]
Grammar Question
         [Gershon Rothstein]
Hebrew for 'ladybug'
         [Shayna Kravetz]
Is Biblical Government Monarchy vs Democracy
         [Russell J Hendel]
Isaiah Berlin Discussion Group
         [Norman Miller]
Ladybugs - past infestations on the MLJ list
         [Paul Shaviv]
         [Gil Student]
Purim procedures this year in Jerusalem
         [Shmuel Himelstein]
Separate Seating At Funerals
         [Perets Mett]
Simcha Deliveries
         [Russell Levy]
Touro Synagogue
         [Carl Singer]


From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
Date: Sun, 06 Mar 2005 10:28:36 +0200
Subject: 12th Daf Yomi Calendar?

Does anyone know of a URL with the 12th Daf Yomi cycle calendar?

Shmuel Himelstein


From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Tue, 1 Mar 2005 21:23:13 GMT
Subject: Re: Government of Israel

Bernard Raab wrote <<< The type of government described in Tanach and
discussed in Talmud is a monarchy, the only form of government known in
the ancient world. And of course it is supposed to be a monarchy driven
by Torah Law. >>> 

What about prior to King Saul, the period of the Judges? Or before that,
the period of the Prophets? I suppose one could refer to those as
monarchies as well, but was the Judge a monarch/dictator who was
answerable to no one, or was he simply the head of a Court, which made
decisions as a governmental body? (Those are real questions. My
knowledge of that sort of history is very weak.)

<<< But the Tanach is testimony to the violent and corrupt nature of
this form of government in practice, even before David and Solomon,
... And the Jewish kings who followed were far less interested in Torah
and more and more devoted to survival and succession, the natural
obsession of all monarchs. >>>

Don't criticize the institution based on what was done by some - or even
the great majority - of the people who belong to that institution. If I
were to do that, I would have abandoned Torah long ago. And that's not
rhetoric - I really would have. Instead, I learned to judge the Torah by
what the Torah says, not by the way certain people act in the Torah's
name. So too, let's judge the monarchy by what it ought to be, not by
how many kings failed at it.

<<< Is there anybody out there who would really like to try a Jewish
version of this today? I ask again: Have they thought it out in any
depth? >>>

Yes, and yes.

Akiva Miller


From: Gershon Rothstein <mocdeg@...>
Date: Fri, 4 Mar 2005 08:57:51 -0500
Subject: Grammar Question

Many have responded to the question of how slight changes in Torah
readings can change the meaning of the verse. I just happened to come
across a small monograph (about 50 pages) called Mishmeres Hakoreh that
can be found in the back of the book Pe'as Sadcha part 1 by Rabbi Shmuel
Dovid Munk z"l, published in 5761. In it, he covers many of these places
in the Torah and Haphtorah readings.

I would also like to add an additional place not mentioned in the
monograph that we read every day in our morning prayers. In the shirah
prayer of the morning service the words "yidmu c'aven" can mean that
they will be like a stone (domeh meaning similar to), or that they will
be silent like a stone (domem meaning silent). The different meaning
depends on whether the dalet is pronounced with a sheva nach or a sheva
nah. Since we read this every day, we should probably try to get it

Shabbat Shalom,


P.S. By the way, in the aforementioned book, he also has an interesting
discussion of how to read the word "zecher" or "zaycher" in the upcoming
Parshas Zachor.

Gershon Rothstein


From: Shayna Kravetz <skravetz@...>
Date: Fri, 4 Mar 2005 13:43:25 -0500
Subject: Re: Hebrew for 'ladybug'

 Ben Katz <bkatz@...> asked us:
>Why is a "ladybug", in Hebrew, called "porat moshe rabeinu" (literally
>"the cow of Moses, our teacher")?

And no one seems to have turned up with the midrash that I grew up with.
(Source: my parents A"H.)  The ladybug was called "Moishe Rabbeinu's
kiye'leh" because of this story: When Moshe was in the teivah floating
along the river, he grew hungry as babies are wont to do.  While waiting
for the Egyptian princess to draw him out, he was fed by ladybugs each
of whom brought him a drop of milk that they placed on his lips.  (Where
the ladybugs got the milk from, I can't tell you!)  Since the ladybugs
gave Moshe milk, they became known as his cows.

Have a good shabbat and a frivolous Adar.  (And no, the above is not a
Purim maiseh.)

Shayna in Toronto


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Tue, 1 Mar 2005 22:13:32 -0500
Subject: RE: Is Biblical Government Monarchy vs Democracy

A quick answer to Bernie (v47n12) who apodictically declared that the
Biblical governments are monarchys that showed much corruption.

The essence of democracy is majority rule. But majority rule was
introduced by the Bible (See Rambam Courts Chapter 8:1 who lists this as
a positive commandment).

Quite interestingly Biblical government was "more" democratic than say
America: In American one needs a 2/3 majority rule to override a
presidential veto. Jewish law knows nothing of a monarchial veto. In
short Biblical law is based on the Majority of scholars in the Supreme
court---the so called King has no rights.

Furthermore in many regards American and Jewish law parallel. For
example an American President can't just declare war without the consent
of congress; similarly in Jewish law, declaration of agressive wars
requires the Sanhedrin's consent (Kings Chapter 5).

Thus the DAY TO DAY running of society was similar in both Jewish and
American law

There are of course differences: Some notable ones are that a) the
Jewish King WITHOUT PARLIAMENT could levy taxes (Kings 4); b) There was
a requirement to bow to Kings; c) Kings had rights to execute people who
showed excessive disrespect.

These differences however dont warrant calling biblical government
monarchial. If anything the chilling story of Achav and Navoth is proof
that kings could NOT do what they wanted and were subject to balance of
power retribution (In Jewish law instead of a 3 part
government---executive, judicial, parliamentary---there was a 5 part
government--monarchy, parliamentary, priesthood, prophets, people).

Obviously a whole book could be written about this but one more closing
example: It is well known that a congressional amendment, Prohibition(of
drinking liquor), was passed in American law. The people did not put up
with it. But the people paradoxically did not have the authority to
override the law. America is a demorcratic republic not a true
democracy.  Prohibition had to be repealed by Congress becausethe people
had already vested their rights in the republican representatives and
thereby lost their rights!!!)

Not so in Jewish law. The Great Sanhedrin ordained Purim a holiday AND
forbade work. The people simply did not listen to the work prohibition.
The result: in Jewish law an enactment that was not accepted is
automatically repealed---that is, the people retain power.

So the situation is complex. My point is not that "we have to think
about it"; rather,my point is that it is "false". The ruling body, the
Sanhedrin, was based on scholarship and anyone from any socio-economic
class could make it (If you think I am joking read Chapter 1 of Courts,
Rambam...he describes the process......every court had students sitting
on benches....students had rights to offer defenses in cases....as their
arguments were accepted they got promoted until, to use the Rambam's
language, 'they went up to Jerusalem'). I can't think of a nobler
testament of equality then the fact that ANYbody could , by offering
legal defense arguments, could without a law degree, without family
lineage, without money, witout political alliance, could end up on the
High Courts).

Of course we as Americans are proud of what we have achieved. But the
denigration of Biblical government is uncalled for. Let us never forget
that it is the Bible that introduced the fact that 'all people are
equally created in Gods image'.

Russell Jay Hendel http://www.Rashiyomi.com/


From: Norman Miller <nm1921@...>
Date: Sun, 06 Mar 2005 13:24:02 -0500
Subject: Isaiah Berlin Discussion Group

After a lot of hesitation I've decided to try to start a serious Jewish
list to discuss everything except religion, an area that's already
well-covered.  It is dedicated to the spirit of Isaiah Berlin.  It will
be moderated. My hope is for intelligent, civilized talk. Its success
will depend on who joins, which is why you're being invited. I hope
you'll join.

To join, go to http://groups-beta.google.com/group/Isaiah-B. 

Norman Miller


From: Paul Shaviv <pshaviv@...>
Date: Wed, 2 Mar 2005 11:35:02 -0500
Subject: Ladybugs - past infestations on the MLJ list

Ladybugs appeared and were discussed on MLJ in January 1996, Vol 22 #90
and Vol 23 #05 

Paul Shaviv / Toronto


From: Gil Student <gil_student@...>
Date: Tue, 1 Mar 2005 14:04:48 -0500
Subject: Re: Mechitza

I caution listmembers that when offering possible explanations for the
need for a mechitzah, we are only speculating. The obligation is
absolute and our explanations are mere suggestions.

Many poskim are of the view that synagogues requires mechitzot because
they are to be built similar to the Temple (at least in certain
respects) and the Temple required a mechitzah to prevent frivolity in
that holy place.

Gil Student


From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
Date: Sun, 06 Mar 2005 19:35:08 +0200
Subject: Purim procedures this year in Jerusalem

This year is one of those odd ones, where Jerusalem Purim comes out on
Shabbat. According to the Tukechinsky (Jerusalem) Lu'ach, the procedures
are as follows for Jerusalemites:

Ta'anit Esther -Thursday.

Thursday night - Megillah reading (NO "al hanissim" in the prayers)

Friday morning - Megillah reading (NO "al hanissim" in the prayers)

Friday - Matanot L'evyonim (gifts to the poor - so they will have for

Shabbat - at all prayers and Grace after Meals -"al hanissim" - might add
something to the meals to commemorate the day, but this is not the

Shabbat - Special Purim Maftir and Haftarah

Sunday - regular prayers (no "al hanissim")

Sunday - Mishloach Manot and Purim Se'udah

Shmuel Himelstein


From: Perets Mett <p.mett@...>
Date: Sun, 6 Mar 2005 17:25:14 +0000
Subject: Re: Separate Seating At Funerals

I do not propose to discuss **separate** seating at funerals

To me, the whole idea of seating at funerals is novel. I have never seen
it anywhere in England or in Israel. The prevailing (universal?)  custom
in these countries is to stand, and no seating is provided.

Is sitting at a funeral an Amecian custom?

Perets Mett

Orrin Tilevitz wrote:
> Must men and women sit separately at a funeral, and if so, is there any
> source for the requirement?  (In response to this question, my rabbi
> showed me a zohar at the beginning of parshat Vayakhel.)  Also, if so
> and one must attend a mixed-seating funeral, is the best practice to 
> (1) sit with one's wife, (2) sit in the corner away from one's wife, or (3)
> stand in the back?


From: Russell Levy <russell@...>
Date: Sat, 05 Mar 2005 21:19:19 -0500
Subject: Simcha Deliveries

A friend of mine, Effy Unterman, co-runs an organization called /Simcha
Deliveries/. Last Purim, over 150 YU students went around to hospitals
in the NY area delivering mishloach manot and entertaining any Jewish
patients that they found. It's being done again this year, and they have
a new website at http://www.simchadeliveries.org . You can sign up for
it there.

For information, you can also send an e-mail to either 
<simcha.deliveries@...> or info@simchadeliveries.org (really, you 
can put anything before the @ symbol of the e-mail, they all go to the 
same place).

The website was just put up yesterday, so there is a severe dearth of 
information there, but it's going up.



From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Sun, 06 Mar 2005 12:01:14 -0500
Subject: Touro Synagogue

As I understand it,  Shearith Israel in NYC has generously assumed the
responsibility for maintaining Touro. 

Carl Singer

From: Shaya Potter <spotter@...>
>>From: W. Baker <wbaker@...>
>>Touro is the oldest synagogue BUILDING, but not the oldest songregation. 
>>That is Shearith Israel in NYC, the one we have been talking about.
> well, Touro is part of Shearith Israel now 


End of Volume 47 Issue 15