Volume 47 Number 66
                    Produced: Thu Apr 14 20:33:20 EDT 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Can you live 7 days w/o Potato Chips
         [Carl Singer]
         [Ben Katz]
Linguistic Source
         [Mark Steiner]
Megilla reading for women/women's education
         [Simon Wanderer]
R. Schwab
         [Mark Steiner]
Rabbi Schwab
         [Eitan Fiorino]
Women's Megila Reading
         [Prof. Aryeh Frimer]
"women's" readings
         [Janice Gelb]


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Tue, 12 Apr 2005 08:23:24 -0400
Subject: Can you live 7 days w/o Potato Chips

> It is, however, true to say that their list of Pesach-supervised goods
> is limited. The community for whom they cater is not interested in the
> thousands of products which are available elsewhere; they reckon they
> can survive for seven days without that wide range of choice.

Can you live for seven days w/o out any specific foodstuff (other than

About 20 years ago when we lived in Philadelphia, the day school
converted its gym into a kosher store in order to supply the local
community with foodstuffs that were not available from local stores.
Each parent was required to serve several shifts at this store.  That
year kosher for Passover potato chips first showed up on the shelves.  I
was doing cash register duty when a family checked out with a shopping
cart filled with nothing but potato chips -- I guess the answer was no

Seriously, my wife's family minhag is (a) not to eat in other homes for
Pesach (b) not to buy other than staples and things (such as jelly) that
would be most difficult or time consuming to make.  I do not think this
is that uncommon.

Carl Singer


From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Mon, 11 Apr 2005 09:35:19 -0500
Subject: Re: Kedusha/Kedosha

>From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
>Dr. Katz continues:
>"Also, as Tal pointed out in his accompanying volume to Rinat Yisrael,
>anyone with an ear for poetry can hear the cadence in the following:
>nachat ruach/safah berurah/neimah kedosha; the comma ruins that as
>This argument rests on the unargued assumptions, (a) that the siddur is
>written in poetry; (b) that we have here a poem; (c) that there is such
>a thing as "ear for poetry" which is invariant over 2,000 years.

         I believe that Dr. Steiner would agree that there is plenty of
poetry in the sidur (El Adon, Adonm Olam, Lecha Dodi ...) as there is in
the Tanach, and that even prose passages often have poetic styles to
them.  I do not necessarily agree therefore that we need to have an
obvious poem to have "poetry". (To take a nonJewish, but well known
example, Martin Luther King's famous I Have a dream speech is not a
poem, but it is poetic.)

>As a matter of fact, Tal's argument works the other way--one should
>always be suspicious when the text looks "too good."  I offer the
>following counter-hypothesis: Tosafot Hagiga 13b gives the following
>version of the prayer in question, which seems to me to be the actual
>text they recited daily (though this has to be checked further):
>venotenim resut zeh lazeh, kedusha kulam ke-ehad `onim..." making
>perfect sense, but "ruining" the poetry.  I offer the hypothesis that
>the words "besafa berurah uvene`ima..."  were added later, perhaps on
>the basis of R Natrunai Gaon (cf. above), then to make things "nicer"
>uvene`ima; kedusha... was revocalized by the Sefardim to get the
>"prettier" version Dr. Katz prefers.  Is this true?  Well, as they say
>in Yiddish, "True it should be yet?"

         Dr. Steiner is here raising the lecto difcilior arguement (that
the more difficult text to explain is often correct), but this must
always be tempered by a sense of esthetics, meaning and readability.
And it is also true that the sephardi sidur seems to be "tampered with"
more than the ashkenazi in at least some places.  For example, it is
unlikely that the rearrangement of the adjectives tithalal, titbarach,
titromam and titkadash in the befi yisharim prayer for shabat morning
were originally in the order spelling out Rivkah (using their 3rd
letters) and that the ashkenazi sidur lost it; it is much more logical
to assume that the sephardim rearranged it when they noticed the initial
letters of the first words (yisharim, tzadikim, chasidim, kedoshim)
spelled Yitzchak.  However, I am not sure that means that the line of
yigdal that contains "vechal notzar" instead of "lechol notzar" is not
correct, as in the latter case the last half of the verse has no

Ben Z. Katz, M.D.
Children's Memorial Hospital, Division of Infectious Diseases
2300 Children's Plaza, Box # 20, Chicago, IL 60614
e-mail: <bkatz@...>


From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Tue, 12 Apr 2005 18:11:27 +0300
Subject: RE: Linguistic Source

Since I was asked about this: On penultimate stress, my primary source
is Professor Moshe Bar-Asher, president of the Hebrew Language Academy
of Israel, one of the great Hebrew linguists of today.  He, by the way,
is of North African origin, and for this reason can discuss Ashkenazic
reading traditions objectively, without the "hangups" connected with
haskalah, "anti-galut" mentality of many Zionist thinkers, etc.

Mark Steiner


From: Simon Wanderer <simon.wanderer@...>
Date: Tue, 12 Apr 2005 15:21:36 +0100
Subject: Megilla reading for women/women's education

Abbi Adest wrote: <<lack of equality in Jewish education may be a
peculiarly English pheonomenon. There are numerous opportunities for
high level Torah education for women in both Israel and America. Women
in Israel are taking the the rabbanut smicha exams and getting higher
marks then the men (shhh, don't tell). There are women engaged in very
serious Torah study at the high school, college and graduate levels. So
your generalization about the state of women's education simply doesn't
apply to many parts of the larger Jewish world.>>

WADR to Ms/Mr Adest, I believe I made the point most clearly that there
are many women have access to, and achieve, an excellent standard in
Torah education. One need only read this list regularly to see some fine
examples. My comments specifically included and emphasised the phrase
'on average' more than once. I fail to see how any fair-minded person
who mixes in orthodox circles anywhere could suggest that at present the
*average* standard of Torah education is as high amongst women as it is
amongst men.  Quoting unsubstantiated [though quite probably accurate]
reports of high standards exhibited by some women [who will be, in the
main, enthusiastically pursuing their education] does not really impact
on the correctness of comments which relate to the community at large. I
quite agree that this is situation is far from ideal, however, that sort
of social commentary falls far from my original post and I suggest those
interested start a new thread under a more suitable title.

She/he further comments <<In addition, your assumption sans proof that
mistakes invalidate the reading in addition to your tenuous analogy to a
pasul sefer Torah also makes your point somewhat dubious.>>

To me it seems *entirely* reasonable that *some* standard of accuracy is
required when reading the Megila. There surely is a point at which the
reader's departure from the text is such that he cannot be said to have
read the Megila at all. Were no standard to exist, this would render
meaningless the legal requirement to read the Megila.  In fact it seems
to me so utterly ludicrous and contrary to good sense and logic to
suggest that there is no standard at all required [as I noted
previously, I am not discussing the detail of how high to set the bar,
indeed it may be a surprisingly low standard that Halacha requires] that
I would think the burden of "proof" lies at the door of those who would
suggest that the Megila can be read with no regard to accuracy.

As regards the analogy to a Sefer Torah, this was initially raised by
another poster and I was responding in kind.  That being said, I feel it
is a quite apt analogy. Both the case under discussion and the analogue
are situations where one would avoid an increased risk of listening to a
reading that may be problematic [I have already acknowledged that many
women's readings may not present such an increased risk].  Perhaps Ms/Mr
Adest was attempting to be trite, I invite her/him to indicate why
she/he feels it is tenuous and if possible suggest a more useful

Perhaps it is a necessary element of Milchamta Shel Torah, but I do feel
the contrary [and at times even belligerent] tone of some posts is far
from civilised and far from helpful.



From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Tue, 12 Apr 2005 19:24:13 +0300
Subject: RE: R. Schwab

This is a comment on Dr. Rudman's posting on R. Schwab.

	There is no evidence that R. Schwab ever said to anybody that
one may publish a falsehood if it leads to yiras shomayim--Dr. Rudman
makes this point amply.  He did, however, write that one ought not to
tell certain truths if they serve no religious purpose, and therefore,
in some sense there cannot be an Orthodox history of the Jews.

	I would like to add to this, however, that my recollection of
the original article is that he was writing these words, not primarily
about the gedolim of Eastern Europe (which is what most people on this
list probably think), but about the previous generations of Orthodox
Jews in Germany.  (As Dr. Rudman writes, the article appeared in his
shul bulletin.)  To tell the truth about these people would compel us to
reveal their shortcomings, i.e.  their violations of halakha.

	I would like to add further that to reveal the shortcomings of
these Torah Im Derech Eretz Jews would serve further to deligitimize the
ideology of Torah Im Derech Eretz itself.  Similarly, Rabbi
J. J. Schachter himself, though he castigates yeshiva circles for
falsifying history, had grave misgivings over publishing certain letters
written by Rabbi Y. Y. Weinberg (the "Sridei Esh") because they would
damage his reputation as a talmid hakham and thus damage what he stood
for, because most people cannot separate the message from the messenger.
In these two cases, a different ox is being gored.

	I write this not to contradict anything anyone has said about
these matters, but rather to shed a rather different light on the whole

Mark Steiner


From: Eitan Fiorino <Fiorino@...>
Date: Tue, 12 Apr 2005 11:07:44 -0400
Subject: re: Rabbi Schwab

> From: Reuben Rudman <rudman@...>
> In The Torah U-Madda Journal, Vol. 8, 1998-1999,page 233, Rabbi
> Dr. J. J. Schacter quotes Rabbi Shimon Schwab from his reference to
> Rav Schwab's "Selected Writings" (Lakewood, 1988) p. 234.
> Dr. Schacter also quotes it in greater length in Vol. 2, 1990, page
> 111.  Some of the statements of Rav Schwab are: "There is a vast
> difference between history and storytelling.  History must be truthful
> otherwise it does not deserve its name.... What ethical purpose is
> served by preserving a realistic historic picture?  Nothing but the
> satisfaction of curiosity. We should tell ourselves and our children
> the good memories of the good people...What is gained by pointing out
> their inadequacies...?  We want to be inspired by their example..."

Yes, I heard similar sentiments from a Holocaust denier recently.  And
in truth, it is hard to disagree with Rabbi Schwab - what ethical
purpose is served by preserving a realistic historic picture of what the
Germans, Lithuanians, Poles et al did to the Jews?  Just the
satisfaction of a morbid curiosity.  Let's just focus on the good
things, like that all those countries are now basically free of Jews.

To see such a preposterous (I am being quite generous here in my choice
of adjectives) view of the purpose of history is profoundly depressing -
and it would be sad enough if these statements were uttered by an
ignorant fool.



From: Prof. Aryeh Frimer <frimea@...>
Date: Tue, 12 Apr 2005 16:54:42 +0200
Subject: Re: Women's Megila Reading

> From: Simon Wanderer <simon.wanderer@...>
> Again, I may have been understanding the discussion from my
> perspective and I don't have the time to go through back issues, but I
> seem to recall discussion about whether women count towards the 10
> people required for the post-Megila blessing. This issue appears to me
> most relevant to the types of reading I described, where the
> congregation listening is composed primarily or exclusively of women.

"Women's Megillah Reading," Aryeh A. Frimer, In "Traditions and
Celebrations for the Bat Mitzvah," Ora Wiskind Elper, Editor; Urim
Publications: Jerusalem, 2003; pp. 281-304. PDF file available online
at: http://www.mail-jewish.org/Women%27sMegillaReadingArticle.pdf

Dr. Aryeh A. Frimer
Chemistry Dept., Bar-Ilan University
Ramat Gan 52900, ISRAEL
E-mail: <FrimeA@...>


From: Janice Gelb <j_gelb@...>
Date: Tue, 12 Apr 2005 09:30:39 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: "women's" readings

Leah S. Gordon <leah@...> wrote:
> I do agree that had he referred to "home-based" readings, there would
> have been no problem.  I further agree that the average member of a
> home-based Megilla audience is probably less likely to correct the
> reader.  For one thing, the listener may be fearing that s/he is
> inconveniencing the reader by having this special reading in the first
> place.

Speaking only from my own experience at home-based readings for the past
several years, I think the arguments previously presented regarding
all-women's readings still hold: people who are motivated to do a
home-based megilla reading so they can hear without being distracted by
a mob scene are more likely to be educated enough to make corrections
and to know that they are expected and not an inconvenience. (The people
who host the home-based readings that I attend even have their own
Megilla klaf!)

-- Janice


End of Volume 47 Issue 66