Volume 47 Number 76
                    Produced: Thu Apr 21  5:33:12 EDT 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Anti_semitism in Literature
         [Carl Singer]
AP test grading
         [Janet Elise Rosenbaum]
Developing Halacha
         [Carl Singer]
Gefen / Gafen
         [Emmanuel Ifrah]
         [David Eisen]
         [Avi Frydman]
Religious Zionism
         [Yisrael & Batya Medad]
         [Jay F Shachter]


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Wed, 20 Apr 2005 06:18:01 -0400
Subject: Anti_semitism in Literature

>As to "The Merchant of Venice," well, I don't see how it affects the
>argument. English literature until modern times is rife with
>anti-Semitic stereotypes, and Shakespeare seems to have been among the
>least offenders- what he writes is remarkable for his time and place.

Interestingly (?) Shakespeare may never have met a Jew in his life time

Quoting from the internet http://www.historyofengland.net/judaism/

England was the first country in Europe to expel Jews (1290) and under
Oliver Cromwell (1656) the first country to welcome them back into an
environment where they could live at peace with their neighbours for the
first time for over 1000 years.



From: Janet Elise Rosenbaum <jerosenb@...>
Date: Mon, 18 Apr 2005 15:42:11 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: AP test grading


Has anyone here ever graded Advanced Placement (AP) exams?  My brief
correspondence with the Educational Testing Service (ETS) seems to
indicate that they require graders to grade for seven consecutive days,
so no one who is shomer shabbat could ever grade AP tests.

That seems unlikely to me, so I'm hoping that ETS has a policy to
accommodate shomer shabbat graders which they simply haven't revealed to

Also, if you know someone who has graded AP exams, please forward this
to them.

Thanks for any help you can give,


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Tue, 19 Apr 2005 08:36:14 -0400
Subject: Developing Halacha

The APPLICATION of halacha to emerging situations (or evolving
understanding) is quite interesting.  Many different situations have
arisen and will likely arise.

Consider situations where we try to maintain the status quo ante:

I walk a few blocks (less than half a mile to my shul.)  Nothing
remarkable about that.  But now some of my neighbors have floodlights
with sensors -- should I consider my walk to shul an obstacle course and
zig zag across the street or walk in the middle of the street to avoid
these various lights.  I recently found out that the gas station (they
used to be called "service stations" :) at my corner has a 24 x 7
security camera -- same question.  There are now psak halacha addressing

The world is changing, Jews walk to shul on Shabbos -- we need to
accommodate their doing so.

Consider situations where we try to "improve" on our observance where
"leniencies" were once necessary.

Peanut Oil comes to mind.  I remember growing up with Peanut Oil as THE
kosher for Passover oil.  I don't think Cottonseed was commercially
available then.  I imagine if Peanut Oil had been ossured, all Pesach
cooking would have been done with schmaltz or butter (fleishig /
milchig) Today the application of halacha in the Ashkenas world I
believe universally shuns Peanut Oil.  I don't know what the formal psak
is from the various hashagochas.

The world is changing, if there are more acceptable alternatives we tend
towards them.

I'm sure there are other categories of change and myriad other examples.

Carl Singer


From: Emmanuel Ifrah <emmanuel_ifrah@...>
Date: Wed, 20 Apr 2005 01:51:34 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Gefen / Gafen

> A remark about the sefaradim (or "Mizrahi" Jews).  Often what
> look like discrepancies between their siddur and the Ashkenaz are
> actually the result of the European Jewish Enlightenment (haskalah)
> -- the Sefaradi siddurim did not undergo Biblicization.  Hence, they
> have "geshem," "gefen," even at the end of a sentence.

I have always heard my paternal grandfather (may Hashem grant him a
refu'a shelema) say "gafen" and not "gefen" in kiddush. He was born and
raised in Morocco and began working young enough to be sure that any
exposure to "Haskala" in any form is less than probable as far as he is

>From someone of the same generation (aged 80-90), I have heard the
classical grammatical explanation that it is due to the fact that
"gafen" is the end of the sentence.

Finally, I know it is not easy from the "outside", but the culture of
North African Jews -- in terms of Halacha, of Minhagim, etc. -- has
often very little to do with the one of "Mizrachi" Jews, from the Middle
East.  This is why the project of "harmonization" (if not
"standardization") conducted by some of our generation's formeost poskim
is often outrageous to Moroccan or Algierian Jews who cherish their own
minhagim. Maghreb means "Ma'arav", not Mizrach!  (Maybe Tunisia is an
exception as it is the most "Eastern" country of the Maghreb.)

Emmanuel Ifrah


From: David Eisen <davide@...>
Date: Wed, 20 Apr 2005 14:11:58 +0200
Subject: RE: Quinoa

Jon Baker wrote: 

>Anyway, my mother made quinoa for a seder last year.  It's a big fuss
> to make, takes a lot of cooking, and doesn't really taste like much
> except what you use to flavor it.  Why bother?

In response to Jon's above final remarks regarding quinoa, I would like
to add - though this may be somewhat off-topic - that quinoa is one of
the healthiest, protein-rich grains knows to man; with respect to its
preparation, see below a great recipe courtesy of my dear wife, Sara.

*Toast 1 cup quinoa (pre-checked before Pesah) in a bit of oil in a
medium or large pot.  
*Watch it well and keep it moving b/c it burns easily. 
*Add saut'ed chopped onion or two (depending on size); you can also add
saut'ed chopped mushrooms and / or celery and / or zucchini - very
small bits.  
*Shut off flame and add:
	bit of garlic powder,
	bit of salt, bit of sugar (about three tablespoons),
	bit of onion soup mix,
	about 1/4 cup chicken soup mix.
	(Never add pepper, do not go well together.)
*Stir mixture well.
*Add 2 1/4 cups boiling water, stir around, bring mixture to boil.
*Simmer until liquid absorbed - watch carefully. 
*Keep covered with flame off for a while until really absorbed, fluff
with fork.  
*You can double this but not triple.

This dish reheats well, but don't plan this for third day of three day
Yom Tov as it tends to spoil after two days or so.

Preparation time from start (vegetable chopping) to finish (flame off)
not more than forty minutes, once you get the hang of it, thirty. Not
too bad.

Hag Kasher V'Sameach -


From: Avi Frydman <frydman@...>
Date: Tue, 19 Apr 2005 13:06:06 GMT
Subject: Quinoa...warning

My family has used Quinoa since the Star-K informed us about its
availability for Pesach. The WARNING is that before you prepare it you
MUST RINSE IT.  Each kernel is covered with a soap-like powder that I
believe prevents animals from eating it.  Just rinse the kernels a few
times and then use it like rice in your receipes.

P.S. A close friend of ours called me last year to complain that her
Quinoa always tasted bitter and soapy.  Her children had been to our
home during a prior Pesach and raved to her about this new product.
Needless to say, she hadn't read the preparation instructions on the
box/bag.  I shared the above information (my not so secret cooking
"secret"). She called after Yom Tov to say that she redeemed her
reputation as a gourmet cook.

Betayavon and Chag Kasher V'Sameyach
Avi Frydman


From: Yisrael & Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Tue, 19 Apr 2005 16:36:11 +0200
Subject: Religious Zionism

> In my (humble) opinion, the NRP "went wrong" decades ago, when it seemed
>to have subsumed all the other Mitzvot to that of "Yishuv Eretz
>Yisrael." Can anyone remember a single piece of legislation introduced"

Sorry, but not so.  First of all, NRP is just a political party and the
majority of religious Zionists don't vote for it for various reasons.
Being a religious Zionist isn't membership in a club or party.

We've been in Israel since 1970, and our kids went through the state
religious school system, and I teach in a yeshiva high school, and we
live on a religious yishuv, and these things give quite a perspective.

Comparde to the '70's now many more MMD schools separate the boys and
girls.  There are many more religious studies hours than before.  Bnai
Akiva is more separate; when the Shiloh snif began in the mid '80's we
were one of only two in the country.  More hs graduates study in
yeshivot, whether hesder, michinot or g'vohot before the army and many
more girls in sherut le'umi and "midrashot" afterwards.  Many kollels
for married "crocheted kippot" including learning for dayanut and
rabbanut.  Many more religious in the army, keva, that is those who make
it a career.  Kippot and women with hair covering are seen in great
numbers in all sorts of professions, more than ever before.  I could go

Many of us don't see any reason for the NRP to exist.  It would be
better to think of ourselves as normal part of the country and not a
small special interest group.

And about the important mitzvah of yishuv ha'aretz.  I'd say that we
havent done enough.  The fact that Moetzet Yesha looks like an alumni
reunion from Merkaz Harav is the big problem.  There should be
bare-headed men and bare-armed women working together with the kippot
and tzitziot, and a few more women with kisu'i rosh would help, too.

This is too long.


From: Jay F Shachter <jay@...>
Date: Tue, 19 Apr 2005 23:42:40 -0600 (CDT)
Subject: Re: Truth

In mail.jewish v47n69, someone wrote:

> the Greeks made the mistake of always equating truth with goodness.  we
> know this is not the case, eg the white lies we tell for social
> purposes; even God Himself "lied" when He told Abraham that Sarah
> laughed saying "SHE was too old to have a child" (and not "My husband is
> too old").

There are two things wrong with this statement.  One is that it is
untrue.  The other is that it is irrelevant.  Other than that, I see
nothing wrong with it.

First of all, God did not lie when He told Avraham what Sarah had been
thinking.  Sarah thought to herself, "axarey vlotiy, haitha liy `edna"
-- "after I am used up, shall I have pleasure?" (Genesis 18:12).  She
added, as an afterthought, "vadoniy zaqen" -- "also, my lord is old".
God correctly paraphrased Sarah's thoughts in the next verse: "ha'af
'umnam 'eled va'aniy zaqantiy" -- "shall I truly give birth, when I am
old?".  This is as accurate a rendition of Sarah's first thought as an
indirect quote can be.  People who wish to lie when it is convenient,
and to call it moral, try to make something of God's not having
paraphrased Sarah's second thought as well, but Sarah's second thought
was not her main point, nor was it God's.  The point was that God can
make a miracle, and a miracle is when an old woman has a child, not when
an old man has a child, which is a minor point, and barely relevant.

Second of all, the imitatio dei argument is worthless.  That God does
something does not mean that it is moral by any human standard.  God
furnishes children with scarlet fever and ushers them into their teens
deaf, dumb, and blind for life.  God sends giant tidal waves to uproot
homes and throw hundreds of thousands of people into the sea.  Even if
God did lie in Genesis 18:13 -- which He did not -- that would hardly be
license for us to do the same.  We are not Christians.  We read the
Torah because we are the people to whom it is addressed, and we are
bound to do as the precepts of the Torah command us.  We do not
formulate our principles of conduct by picking and choosing object
lessons from the Torah's inspirational stories.  Leviticus 19:11 states
clearly, "vlo' thshaqqru 'ish ba`amitho" -- "you shall not lie to one
another".  Exodus 23:7 states "middvar sheqer tirxaq" -- not only may we
not lie, but also, we may not even come close to a lie.  I do not know
how the author cited in v47n69 intends to live his life, but as for
myself and my house, we shall do as the Torah commands.

Nowhere does our oral tradition tell us that we may lie.  Rambam
codified the laws of proper conduct in Sefer Hammada` (The Book Of
Knowledge), Hilkhot De'ot (the laws of character traits); in Hilkhot
De`ot 2:6, Rambam makes it clear that any form of lying is forbidden.
Beginning in Chapter 5 of Hilkhot De`ot, Rambam codified additional
rules of proper conduct that apply particularly to sages and community
leaders.  In Hilkhot De`ot 5:7, Rambam, who is more precise in his
choice of words than any writer I know, in any language -- more precise,
even, that the authors of the Mishna -- wrote "vlo' yshanneh bdibburo,
vlo' yosiyf vlo' yigra`, 'ella' bdivrey shalom vkhayyoce' vahen" -- "he
should not alter his reports, neither by exaggerating nor minimizing,
except in matters of peace and the like".  This is the one passage in
all of Rambam's code upon which liars attempt to find support for their
conduct, but note Rambam's choice of words.  He does not say "yshaqqer",
which means to lie; he says "yshanneh" which means to alter, by
emphasizing, or de-emphasizing.  Thus, even community leaders --
diplomats, ambassasadors, representatives at the royal court -- are
forbidden to lie; the only thing they may do, when the interests of
peace require it, is to minimize certain things, and emphasize others.

> In medicine, I will not always tell a distraught mother that
> she gave a disease to her baby, even if it is true; certainly not
> right away.

Any doctor who decides for himself in this way what information to
reveal to, and what information to conceal from, his employers, is [in
the author opinion]
unfit to practice medicine, plain and simple, and should hand in his
license, or have it taken from him.  I expect that the moderator of
this mailing list will want to remove my last comment, but I urge
him to leave it in [I mostly did and added the []'s above].

Jay F. ("Yaakov") Shachter
Chicago IL  60645-4111
<jay@...> ; http://m5.chi.il.us:8080


End of Volume 47 Issue 76