Volume 48 Number 61
                    Produced: Fri Jun 24  6:03:25 EDT 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Accepting Psak without reviewing
         [Ari Trachtenberg]
Accepting Psak without reviewing sources
         [Saul Mashbaum]
Chillul Shabbos Minimization
         [Andy Goldfinger]
Ignorance and Kashrut
         [Shmuel Himelstein]
Kavod Habriyos
         [Ira L. Jacobson]
Kiddush Levanah
         [Mark Steiner]
Looking for a sefer
Milel Hebrew
         [Meir Shinnar]
Mishnah Yomit
         [Allen Gerstl]
Origin of "daven"
         [David Curwin]
Self Identification (4)
         [David I. Cohen, Robert Israel, Ira L. Jacobson, Freda B
Stress-shift in Modern Hebrew
         [Ben Katz]


From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Jun 2005 10:42:49 -0400
Subject: Accepting Psak without reviewing

Avi Feldblum wrote on 06/22/2005 05:22 AM:
> I'm not sure what you mean above when you refer to "modern rabbis". Are
> you distinguishing between Rabbis of the last say 200 years vs Rabbis
> from say 500 years ago or are you distinguishing between classic S'mecha
> from the Tanaitic era to post S'mecha rabbis?

All of the above, but especially classical S'micha versus post S'micha
rabbis.  Post s'micha, it would seem to me that there should be no
halahic difference between a rabbi and a (Jewishly) learned person
 ... they're just people who know a lot about our tradition.

> The issue of what responsibility is held by each party in the case of an
> erroneous p'sak din, especially in financial matters, is well documented

What about for moral matters that have no tangible financial value, or
are between man and G-d?

> marginally relevent to the discussion. First, you refer to it as
> "implicit acceptance". By definition, this is not a p'sak din and as
> such has marginal relevance (I do not say no relevance, since we have
> discussed in the past the idea of later p'sak being based on observed
> practices).

More than this, halacha may often be inferred from currently-observed
practices.  For instance, in a new community you may assume to be kosher
a restaurant that is widely regarded as kosher (without investigating
the details yourself).  Marit ayin (refraining from a permitted action
because it looks like something that is prohibited) is a clear example
of a sensitivity to this kind of inference.

> him their halachik authority. If such individuals have accepted him for
> all areas of halacha, and he gives a psak and they hold that you cannot
> go to someone for a second opionion, then those individuals would be
> bound by his p'sak. 

What you say is true by definition ... the more important question is
whether these individuals would be morally culpable if the p'sak is

Ari Trachtenberg,                                      Boston University
http://people.bu.edu/trachten                    mailto:<trachten@...>


From: Saul Mashbaum <smash52@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Jun 2005 11:09:32 +0200
Subject: Re: Accepting Psak without reviewing sources

Y. Askotzky <sofer@...> wrote about Rav Michel Twerski, who once
refused to counsel a couple

>He told [his rebbetzin] that it was obvious to him that one of the
>spouses had no interest in hearing what he had to say and thereby knew
>that he would not have siyata dishmaya to help them.

Rav Herschel Schacter once told a similar story about the Noda B'Yehuda;
in this story, the role of siyatta d'shmaya was the converse of that in
R. Michel Twerski's case. Opponents of the NB once came to him with a
question on treifot. The case is not dealt with in the Shulchan Aruch,
and was contrived to trip up and embarass the NB. After pondering the
matter for a while, the NB correctly accused the questioners of trying
to fool him with a contrived question. When the questioners asked how
the NB could possibly have known their motivation, he said that the
sense of siyyata dishmaya he normally has when dealing with a genuine
question was missing, leading him to the conclusion that the question
was contrived.

Saul Mashbaum


From: Andy Goldfinger <Andy.Goldfinger@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Jun 2005 10:55:10 -0400
Subject: Chillul Shabbos Minimization

My daughter is a physician, and her Posek (Rabbi) has Poskined (decided)
that she often must use the telephone on Shabbos due to Pekuach Nefesh
(risk to a patient's life).  He has told her that in so doing she should
minimize the violations of Shabbos as much as possible.  She has two
telephones. One is a regular telephone service (copper loop to the local
office) while the other is a VOIP service through a computer and cable
modem connection.  She and my son-in-law have asked me if one of these
is preferable to the other in terms of minimizing the doing of melacha.
In thinking it through, I could not immediately see any difference.
Both involve the removal of the phone from its cradle, thereby making a
circuit (melacha).  Aside from this, since they both use tone dialing,
everything else is probably electronic (I assume relays are no longer
used).  I would be interested in other readers' opinions on this.

Andy Goldfinger


From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Jun 2005 13:01:58 +0200
Subject: Ignorance and Kashrut

A number of years ago, when Domino's Pizza lost its Hechsher in
Jerusalem (evidently because of Shabbat), a spokeswoman of the Israeli
company stated that she couldn't see why people could not keep using the
product, for after all both the cheese and the pepperoni used in it were

Shmuel Himelstein


From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Jun 2005 17:07:54 +0300
Subject: Re: Kavod Habriyos 

       I think I have made my opinion on kovod (not kvod which is
      Biblical Hebrew for the same thing) habriyos (NOT habri'os, which
      is BH for the same thing; Lamed-aleph verbs went to Lamed-heh
      verbs in MH--and the singular of briyos in MH is biryo

My dictionaries do indeed recognize a word birya, but it comes from the
root bet-resh-yod and means food.  They DO recognize that beri'a can
also be written beriya (that is, yod instead of alef), but the
vocalization remains sheva, hiriq, qamatz, and not "birya".

I always thought that pirya verivya was just an erroneous way of saying
peri'a urevi'a.  Is that not right?

And kavod in nismakh remains kavod?  Are you sure?  I can't find that in
my dictionaries, including the Bahat-Mishor one from 1995.  Nor in Lu'ah
Hashemot.  Nor on the website of the Hebrew Language Academy.

IRA L. JACOBSON         


From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Jun 2005 15:08:35 +0300
Subject: RE: Kiddush Levanah

Martin Stern attests to the following proverb, in the mouths of German
Jews: "In Kislev, Teves und Shevat, man bencht die Levonoh wenn man sie

For the Yiddish afficionados:

This vort is a perfect example of the survival of elements of Western
Yiddish (benshn, levone) in the speech of German Jews after what is
called the "emancipation."


From: J.B.Frank <cheski@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Jun 2005 12:45:47 +0200
Subject: Looking for a sefer

Dear all,

I am looking for a sefer that I once saw in a hotel that I really
enjoyed learning from (he wouldn't let me buy it off him). It was
published some 40 years ago, so I could imagine this might prove to be a
difficult one. However, perhaps some people could give me a lead.

Title: Divrei Yosher
Author: Rav Eliyahu Rozental, Rabbi of "Lev Tel-Aviv" (central Tel Aviv
area). Also authored a sefer called "Divrei Hefetz" 

He used to live in Rechov Wilson 5 and the printer was Dfus Zohar in Tel

Many thanks in advance for your help!
Kol tuv,
Cheski Frank,
Zurich, Switzerland


From: Meir Shinnar <Meir.Shinnar@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Jun 2005 10:32:15 -0400
Subject: Milel Hebrew

Mark Steiner has commented that there is growing evidence that Hebrew
was already pronounced mil'el in talmudic times.  I would be interested
in references (perhaps books), especially those available to those of us
without access to a good library, but access to an online bookstore.

Meir Shinnar


From: Allen Gerstl <acgerstl@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Jun 2005 08:06:38 -0400
Subject: RE: Mishnah Yomit

Janet Elise Rosenbaum <jerosenb@...>
>.. what other mishnah yomit resources are there?
>mishnahyomit.com has very little on it.
>R Kadish had a great idea a year and a half ago that someone could make
>a mishnah yomit website.  This is still a very tenable idea, since
>mishnahyomit.net and mishnayomit.* are still available!

This has a mishnah yomit calculator but not a calendar.

You could also send a letter requesting a printed calendar to:

Mishna and Halacha Yomit
American Office
Rabbi Elias Karp
4701-15th Avenue, Apt. 3D
Brooklyn, N.Y. 11210



From: David Curwin <tobyndave@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Jun 2005 12:58:16 +0200
Subject: Origin of "daven"

Mark Steiner <marksa@...> wrote:

> Thus, the license to daven (a Yiddish word for which I have not seen a
> satisfactory etymology)

I always assumed that it came from "divine". But I see from this page:


that there are many more possible theories.

-David Curwin


From: <bdcohen@...> (David I. Cohen)
Date: Thu, 23 Jun 2005 13:03:03 -0400
Subject: Self Identification

In MJ V48N60, Leah Gordon wrote;
> As for Avi's comment:
> "[Note: That while the referenced individual above self-identifies
> himself as an "Orthodox" Rabbi, I believe that the overwhelming majority
> of the Orthodox Rabbinate rejects his contentions. Mod.]"
> It remains my strong opinion that people may self-identify as they
> choose, and that it is disrespectful for others to challenge that.

Baruch hashem, our First Amendment allows us to self identify any way we
want, but for purpose of a list such as this, that is irrelevant.

As the term "orthodox" is commonly used in this forum, there are certain
practices that are commonly accepted as being beyond the pale of
"orthodox" practice.  So, no matter what label I give myself, I am not
actually within the camp if I, for example, habitually eat my McDonald's
cheeseburger and claim that it is acceptable to do so.

If this person is claiming that homosexual acts are permissable, then no
matter how he self-describes, that's not within the purview of
"orthodoxy" as the term is commonly understood.

David I. Cohen

From: Robert Israel <israel@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Jun 2005 11:25:18 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Self Identification

I know nothing of this particular individual, but just want to comment
on the "self-identification" aspect.  Some forms of
"self-identification" are fine, but others are not.  They may even be
criminal: e.g. if I called myself a medical doctor the government could,
quite properly, prosecute me for doing so.

I think the basic issue is what consequences this self-identification
will have for others, in particular if it is likely to cause them to
give this individual some extra trust or credence.  I have no problem
with anybody claiming to be an "Orthodox Jew", as long as the person is
in fact Jewish.  The details of someone else's relationship with God are
not my business.  But if someone is an "Orthodox rabbi", there is the
presumption that (1) this person has certain qualifications (Orthodox
smicha), and (2) this person's statements on matters of halacha are in
accordance with generally accepted Orthodox positions.  As a result,
people might reasonably rely on such statements.  Thus if either of
these presumptions is not true, there is good reason to object to such a

Robert Israel                                <israel@...>
Department of Mathematics        http://www.math.ubc.ca/~israel 
University of British Columbia            Vancouver, BC, Canada

From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Jun 2005 14:41:53 +0300
Subject: Re: Self Identification

And if I choose to call myself a surgeon (or a rhinoceros, for that
matter), would you respect my right to do so?  Or was the comment not
formulated precisely as had been intended?

IRA L. JACOBSON         

From: Freda B Birnbaum <fbb6@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Jun 2005 08:50:27 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Self Identification

Thanks for clearing the record on the other item; I have his book and in
working through it I will keep an eye out for that.

I agree with the above up to a point, for example the way over the
decades the way Negro/black/Afro-American/African-American/Black people
have preferred to be called, but at the point where, say, a Jew for J.
"chooses" to refer to himself as an authentic Jew, or a fulfilled Jew,
or a completed Jew, I take issue with that, or the point where I refer
to myself as a rocket scientist... You'd be perfectly justified in
challenging me if I claimed to be a rocket scientist, or a Roman
Catholic, or....

When people move over a clearly-defined boundary other people do define
them differently, and IMHO are entitled to do so.  Admittedly when the
issue is beliefs rather than behavior the boundary may not be so clear.

Avi's statement that "the overwhelming majority of the Orthodox
Rabbinate rejects his contentions" is accurate and does at least raise
the question of whether the individual making those contentions is still
"Orthodox".  One could discuss that without disrespecting the person
holding the views in question.

Freda Birnbaum, <fbb6@...>
"Call on God, but row away from the rocks"


From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Jun 2005 10:29:19 -0500
Subject: Re: Stress-shift in Modern Hebrew

>From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
>Dr. Katz is right about this, of course.  (However, in my infamous
>yasherkoax posting I pointed out that the "mil`eilization" of Hebrew
>occurred probably already in the Talmudic period, and has nothing to do
>with Yiddish.  This is a thesis accepted by leading Hebrew linguists,
>even though I know most readers won't believe it.)

         If the shift occurred in the Talmudic period, why wasn't it
accepted by Sephardi Jews by and large, since they are more closely
descended to the Babylonians in any case?

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@...>


End of Volume 48 Issue 61