Volume 48 Number 56
                    Produced: Wed Jun 22  4:43:58 EDT 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Gas and Loans
         [Eitan Fiorino]
Guests on Shabbath vs Guests on Yom Tov
         [Russell J Hendel]
Halachically acceptable business practices
         [Carl Singer]
Is it theft not to return a borrowed article
         [Richard Dine]
Lo Tachmod (Don't Covet)
         [Ben Katz]
Need a Quote on Helping our Elders
         [Richard Dine]
Second Job / Volunteering (2)
         [Jeanette Friedman, Carl Singer]
         [Ben Katz]
Yiddish Etymology (2)
         [Jay F Shachter, N Miller]
Yiddish expressions
         [Rhonda Stein]
Yiddish Mailing List
         [N Miller]


From: Eitan Fiorino <AFiorino@...>
Date: Tue, 21 Jun 2005 07:53:46 -0400
Subject: Gas and Loans

Re: the case of someone who never paid for the gas they promised to pay

It seems clear to me this is a form of a loan - it was basically the
extension of a line of credit - goods or a service were provided in
exchange for a pledge that it would be paid for later.  Which is now in

As for shmitta, does it wipe away debts that are already in default?  I
would assume so given that the Torah does not make the distinction, but
perhaps there has been such a distinction made in halacha.



From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Tue, 21 Jun 2005 22:25:53 -0400
Subject: RE: Guests on Shabbath vs Guests on Yom Tov

RE: Carl's question (v48n55) I heard the following from a lecture by the
Talner Rebbe, Rabbi Dr Isidor Twersky.

Rabbi Twersky made the following succinct distinctions: Shabbath
requires PLEASURE (ONEG) while Yom Tov requires HAPPINESS
(Simchah). PLEASURE as defined by Halachah means RAW PHYSICAL PLEASURE
(Good clothes, eating and marital relations). By contrast
HAPPINESS(Simchah) corresponds to being in the PRESENCE OF GOD and
refers to both SOCIAL ACTIVITIES (Being with ones family or the poor) as
well as good food. Rabbi Twersky also noted that the idea of marital
relations as a fulfillment of SIMCHAH on Yom Tov does not exist in
Jewish law (presumably because the emphasis is on pleasure rather than

The shiur lasted an hour and he brought many sources (and answered many
questions). The above is a rough outline which indicates basic ideas.

Russell Jay Hendel; Ph.d. A.S.A. http://www.Rashiyomi.com/


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Tue, 21 Jun 2005 07:08:42 -0400
Subject: Halachically acceptable business practices

Several years ago my new mortgage company paid an incorrect amount for
my real estate taxes.  Although they were only off by $75 this triggered
my being put on a tax delinquent list, sheriff's sale, etc.  Although
the situation was cleared up with a few telephone calls I got a barrage
of letters / offers to "help" me.  The tax delinquent list is public
record and various firms purchase this list.

The same thing happened to a friend of mine the other day.  As a result
he got a letter in the mail offering to lend him money at 15% interest,
with 4 points -- between two or three times the market rate.  The letter
was from a "frum" firm.  (Which we determined by location and name of
principals.)  Clearly they were simply using the delinquent list and
bulk mailing.

Here's the halachic question -- may a Jew lend to another Jew under
these circumstances?

Carl Singer


From: Richard Dine <richard.dine@...>
Date: Tue, 21 Jun 2005 08:30:14 -0400
Subject: Is it theft not to return a borrowed article

Two comments on the borrowing/theft threads:

1.  A Rabbi I know who fixes and sells tefillin said he sometimes has
    problems collecting payment.  He said he was careful to be Mochel on
    such people so they would not be guilty of wearing stolen tefillin.
    I am not sure I could rise to his level of Chesed, but this sense of
    Mochel (forgiving the payment) may be something to consider when a
    neighbor "accidently" fails to return a pen or somesuch.

2.  On the post from the person who spent money on diesel fuel, the
    issue is also one in US law.  For much of my career I was
    responsible for collecting bad (corporate) loans and we often had
    the issue of whether to pay certain creditors directly or trust the
    borrower to make the payment.  Leaving aside certain technical
    issues, we had to be careful and go through many hoops when paying
    directly that the Borrower could not later argue that the payment
    was not part of its loan obligation.

Richard Dine
Silver Spring, MD


From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Mon, 20 Jun 2005 18:22:04 -0500
Subject: Re: Lo Tachmod (Don't Covet)

         I always thought that lo tachmod was not wanting a specific object 
THAT BELONGED TO SOMEONE ELSE.  I am allowed to want a beautiful chanukiyah 
for example, or even a beautiful wife.  I just can't want YOUR chanukiyah 
or YOUR wife.

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: Richard Dine <richard.dine@...>
Date: Tue, 21 Jun 2005 09:05:49 -0400
Subject: Need a Quote on Helping our Elders

For a paper I am writing I would like to have a good quote from Tanah or
Talmud or other halachik sources on the importance of the Jewish
community helping its aged.  The responsibility of children to help
parents is obvious but in today's society it often takes much outside
help to preserve the dignity and independence of our elders.  I am the
volunteer President of a small agency that does this and am writing a
paper about it.

So far I have Isaiah 1:17 as a useful quote to start my paper.  If you
have others/better, please let me know.


Richard Dine
Silver Spring, MD


From: <FriedmanJ@...> (Jeanette Friedman)
Date: Tue, 21 Jun 2005 09:50:32 EDT
Subject: Re: Second Job / Volunteering

      As some of you know, I do a lot of writing which appears primarily
      on the internet in various blogs and sites.  I don't get paid for
      my articles.  A number of years ago, when I was barely dabbling
      and not yet blogging a freelance writer told me how people like me
      make it hard to make a living from writing. Why should they pay
      her/him when they get quality stuff for nothing?  Ok, papers like
      the Post don't want to pay me or know me, but lots of publications
      today are based on what they can copy off the net.  And yes, I'd
      love to get paid, but the hassle of the hustle puts me off.  Do
      people like me really make it worse for those who really need the
      parnasa from writing?

Yes, as a professional writer and editor I can honestly say that you
definitely do make it extremely hard, and I have had to give my work
away for free and give up generally from making a living at Jewish
journalism.  This very day I am headed for Boston to the American Jewish
Press Association conference to discuss this exact problem with all the

We get paid little enough as is, and this is an issue that has come up
again and again.


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Tue, 21 Jun 2005 06:50:39 -0400
Subject: Second Job / Volunteering

Is it stealing from one's employer to use one's work email address for
personal business?  Given that, for example, you may when conducting
business via email need to filter through routine, non-work related
(personal?) email during work hours as a result.

Similarly, cell phone usage has certainly changed many jobs.  In the old
days there were policies about limiting (or banning) personal calls at
work.  Consider now, for example, a truck driver.  Pre-cell phone he /
she when driving might think about many things, perhaps work related,
perhaps otherwise (we don't have the thought police) likely a
combination of both.  Today, with cell phones, this driver can drive
their rounds spending their time in personal conversation, even (in an
extreme) running a business of their own -- is this an issue?

Recently when making a purchase at a store -- the clerk was heavily
engaged in a personal phone call and although she was able to accomplish
the sale (that is ring up the sale and make change) she wasn't paying
attention to me, the customer.  She thus made no effort to sell me
add-ons, or for that matter to simply provide a positive corporate

Carl Singer


From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Mon, 20 Jun 2005 18:32:35 -0500
Subject: Re: Yiddish

>From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
>2.  Though Dr. Katz is undoubtedly correct that the formal commemoration
>of the yohrtsayt began in the Middle Ages, there are at least nine
>references in Hazal (Bavli, Yerushalmi, Midrashim) to "yom shemet bo
>aviv" as a fast day.  This is quite a mouthful, and a Hebrew word could
>easily have been coined, but it seems that it was Yiddish that coined
>it.  By the way, I believe that the word "yortsayt" is in use among
>Moroccan Jews!

         good point, although we observe yahrzeit's not only for
fathers, so in yiddish one would still have to say "yahrzeit for my
father" or the equivalent, which is more than one word.

>4. The influence of Yiddish on Israeli Hebrew--on every phase of syntax
>and semantics--is extremely profound.  There are thousands of examples,

         another example of the yiddish influence on modern hebrew is in 
name pronounciations.  even in Israel, one tends to hear Sa'rah (not 
Sa-rah') and Mo'she as oppossed to Mo-she'.

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: Jay F Shachter <jay@...>
Date: Tue, 21 Jun 2005 10:18:10 -0600 (CDT)
Subject: Re: Yiddish Etymology

This topic is at the periphery of the topics discussed on mail.jewish,
or perhaps outside the periphery, as it involves, not Judaism, but the
etymology and orthography of a word that appears in a language spoken by
some Jews.  If I knew of an active mailing list on Yiddish language and
etymology I would have redirected my posting there, and in any event
will not condemn the moderator if he excludes it.

In mail.jewish v48n55, Noyekh Miller questions the Germanic etymology of
the Yiddish word "shtadlan" by pointing out that it is written with a
tav (or, as Noyekh writes, a tof) and not a tet (or, as Noyekh writes, a
tes).  Noyekh suggests that in Yiddish only words of Hebrew origin are
spelled with a tav.

It is true that in Yiddish orthography, certain letters (such as tav,
xet, sin, kaf with dagesh, vet without dagesh, final heh) are only used
for words believed to be of Hebrew origin, but it is equally true that
the writers who made that decision often did so out of ignorance.  The
instructive example of "makhn khoyzek", meaning to mock or ridicule, may
have escaped Mr. Miller at the time of his posting.  The latter word in
this phrase is universally (except in the Stalinist Soviet Union)
spelled with a xet, indicating the belief that it derives from the
Hebrew, but this is a belief stemming from ignorance.  It is actually of
Slavic origin (as is yarmulka, another word falsely believed by some to
be derived from lshon qodesh, or, as Mark Steiner would insist on
saying, lashon qodesh, or, as Noyekh Miller would insist on saying,
loshnkoydesh).  Thus, the standard spelling of shtadlan does not mean
that the word derives from Hebrew, only that it is believed to do so,
something which was already evident to us before.

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

From: N Miller <nmiller@...>
Date: Tue, 21 Jun 2005 12:10:01 -0400
Subject: Re: Yiddish Etymology

Jay Shachter writes:

> Noyekh suggests that in Yiddish only words of Hebrew origin are
> spelled with a tav.

I suggested no such thing.  My argument was based on two pillars.  The
first was that shtadlan, being spelled with a tof, is more likely than
not to be of Hebraic/Aramaic origin.  The second was that the proposed
derivation from Staatlan wasn't very likely because the Yiddish
equivalent of Staat (except in the U.S.) has never been 'stat'.  (No
surprise here, given that the notion of the Staat in Germanic culture is
comparatively modern and comes into prominence long after Yiddish and
its German cousins had much to say to one another.)

Moreover, I thought I'd made it clear that shadlan _might_ be a case of
'false' Hebraicization.  I don't think it is; I think the probablities
are stacked in favor of its being a Hebrew word; but I'm ready--as I
said before--to look at new evidence.

Noyekh Miller


From: Rhonda Stein <rhondastein@...>
Date: Mon, 20 Jun 2005 18:18:04 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: re: Yiddish expressions

Okay, who can guess the meaning of this favorite expression of my
grandmother o"h (born & raised in Dorchester/Roxbury/Mattapan,
Massachusetts by Yiddish-speaking Litvishe parents?



From: N Miller <nmiller@...>
Date: Tue, 21 Jun 2005 11:41:02 -0400
Subject: Re: Yiddish Mailing List

I'm going to limit my answer to Jay Shachter's stimulating post to his
statement that:

> If I knew of an active mailing list on Yiddish language and etymology
> I would have redirected my posting there, and in any event will not
> condemn the moderator if he excludes it.

Mendele, now in its 15th year, is a mailing list on Yiddish language and 
etymology as well as literature.
While I would never dream of hauling our genial host on M-J to a beys-din 
over matters of khazoke, I repeat the invitation made previously in these 
pages to subscribe.

Noyekh Miller


End of Volume 48 Issue 56