Volume 48 Number 93
                    Produced: Tue Jul 12  5:47:15 EDT 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Banned books - a bad idea? (2)
         [Eli Turkel, Gilad J. Gevaryahu]
Kiddush Levanah - Tamuz
         [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz]
Obligation to Pay a Worker when there are insufficient funds
         [Russell J Hendel]
Otiot Kiddush Levana
         [Andy Goldfinger]
Rashi holds Hitpael is INTERACTIVE--4 Rishonim views on Hitpael
         [Russell J Hendel]
Recitation of Vayechulu Following the Amidah on Friday Night
         [Steven M.Kapnick]
Secular Translations of Torah
         [Russell J Hendel]


From: Eli Turkel <eliturkel@...>
Date: Mon, 11 Jul 2005 12:42:58 -0400
Subject: Banned books - a bad idea?

<It is my view that throughout history dealing with the problematic
content on a point by point refutation proved to be more effective than
ad hominem (pejorative treatment of the author rather than with the
content), or charamim (against the author or the book).>

I disagree. If one looks at R. Schach's speeches and bans through the
years they all avoid getting into details. He makes clear that a point
by point refutation is a weak argument since it leads to a debate about
each point.  His point was to ban works and people without getting into
this debate.  If one looks into R. Feldman's defense of the ban on
Slifkin's books it has lead to a whole industry of those that disagree
with individual points.  With personal attacks without backing them up
you either agree or disagree - no debate is possible.

Eli Turkel

From: <Gevaryahu@...> (Gilad J. Gevaryahu)
Date: Mon, 11 Jul 2005 13:26:54 EDT
Subject: Banned books - a bad idea?

I wrote: <<<It is my view that throughout history dealing with the
problematic content on a point by point refutation proved to be more
effective than ad hominem (pejorative treatment of the author rather
than with the content), or charamim (against the author or the book).>>>

Eli Turkel reacted with:
[See submission above. Mod]

The issue here is not if Rabbis (and or their respective Batei Din) have
the right to ban, just what is the most effective way to reduce
readership. Generations ago when Rabbis had authority (Rabbinic and
political) in their respective communities, people had no choice but
adhere to the cherem, and it was effective. But as soon as it came to a
debate, that is, two disputants got a cherem against each other by
different Batei Din, or by different gedolim, then the cherem had no
power. The ban on Slifkin's books is a good example of that as R.
Kaminesky in Philadelphia muted the ban. Likewise today, when a cherem
is issued, and the majority of Jewish people think about the cherem as a
joke, with no political power to enforce such a cherem even within
Orthodoxy, then a cherem is not effective. Therefore R. Schach's
charamim/ot were not effective, and if anything caused for more people
to want to buy the books etc. Point by point will educate the people
about the issues involved, even if it will elicit counter points. So at
least we'll learn something from the dispute.

The result is that a banned book today will sell more copies than books
that were not banned, and if the desire is to reduce the readership, a
ban is a bad idea.

Gilad J. Gevaryahu


From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabba.hillel@...>
Date: Mon, 11 Jul 2005 08:34:32 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Re: Kiddush Levanah - Tamuz

>From: <Danmim@...>
>for tamuz can we mkadesh lvanah this saturday night or is it to early?

While it is too late, I think that I can point out what the calculation
is for the future.

The URL here is the basis for my descaription

The time announced in shul for the molad, is Yerushalayim Standard Solar
time.  The Torah Tidbits of the OU Torah Center in Yerushalayim
calculates the actual clock time based on the fact that Yerushalayim is
not in the center of the time zone.  Thus, clock time in Israel is about
20.5 minutes less than Solar time.  Since it is now Summer Time in
Israel (and hour added with spring ahead) this must be taken into
account.  The earliest time for saying kiddush levana, is 72 standard
hours after the molad.

For Tamuz the clock time of the molad (not the announced time) was 9:16
PM Israel Summer Time on Wednesday night.  Thus, the earliest time was
9:16 PM Israel Summer Time Motzaei Shabbat *in Israel*.  Tuus, in
Israel, the gap between the end of Ma'ariv and the start of kiddush
levanah was probably too long for the minyan to wait.

Note that this is in Israel only.  It is a mistake to use 9:16 in other
time zones.  In New York for example, the equivalent is 2:16 PM EDT on
Shabbos afternoon so we where able to say it.

The main error that people make is often to subtract 7 hours from the
announced time (for time zone conversion) but to forget the 21 minutes
needed to convert to the clock time.

The same type of calculation is used for estimationg the last time to
say kiddus levana.

Start time - Subtract 20 minutes, add 3 days (gives Standard time not
Summer)- convert to local timezone.

End time - Subtract 20 minutes, add 2 weeks, 18 hours, 22 minutes for
Standard time - convert to local time zone.

The ease of calculation for the last is, take the same day of the week,
push ahead AM to PM (or PM to AM the next day) which is 12 hours and add
another 6 hours for Israel (and make time zone calculation) to get a
Standard time estimate.

Since New York DST is 6 hours less that Israel Standard Time, just not
adding the extra 6 hours give a good estimate for the US Eastern Time

Since the conversion to clock time subtracts 20 or 21 minutes and the
exact calculation also adds 22 minutes, just not doing either is also
close enough for an estimate.

Usually, the moon has set well before the time calculated so the last
time is often the previous night.

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz | Said the fox to the fish, "Join me ashore"
<Sabba.Hillel@...> | The fish are the Jews, Torah is our water


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Mon, 11 Jul 2005 23:29:47 -0400
Subject: RE: Obligation to Pay a Worker when there are insufficient funds

Nadine Bonner asks
> If the employer doesn't have the money to pay more, what is your
>solution?  Fire another worker? Cut everyone else's salary?<<

Actually this is covered in Jewish law also: 
Rambam, Laws of Workers Chapter 12, Paragraph 4 explicitly states
>>The employer is only in violation if (a) the employee demanded wages
(at the proper time) and (b) the employer personally had the funds and
(c) and refused payment. However if the employee did not request
payment, or the employer did not have funds, or if they agree a 3rd
party pays them, then the employer is exempt<<

In passing Carl Singer's original point >>Payment of wages IS a halachic
issue<< is right on target. I would like to see this thread continued

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


From: Andy Goldfinger <Andy.Goldfinger@...>
Date: Mon, 11 Jul 2005 09:14:47 -0400
Subject: Re: Otiot Kiddush Levana

A comment about big letters:

When I was young (hard to believe, but I was), whenever I bought a sefer
I tried to pick the edition with the largest letters, even if it cost
more.  My theory was that some day I would be old, and I would need the
big letters.  Well -- I am now old, and the theory was correct.

-- Andy Goldfinger


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Mon, 11 Jul 2005 23:37:57 -0400
Subject: RE: Rashi holds Hitpael is INTERACTIVE--4 Rishonim views on Hitpael

Ira Jacobson (mj v48#90) states regarding my description of Rashi's
>>>Russell Jay Hendel <rjhendel@...> asked whether perhaps "HITPAEL
      Toby (v48#82) states "there are many examples of hispael where the
      meaning is not reflexive"
Rabbanit Toby is, of course right.  Russel is giving us a somewhat
imaginative derush I could probably provide tens if not hundreds of
examples with the hitpa'el constructuion is not at all interactive.<<<<

I object on several grounds to Ira's description/response to what I
said: First: Ira must grant at the very least that he spelled my name
incorrectly (Russell has 2 els) Second: I did not say PERHAPS. Rather I
asserted this was Rashis view-- hitpael means interactive.

Finally Ira calls what I do an imaginative derush and states "I could
probably provide tens if not hundreds of examples".

Most people are rather surprised but there are way under 1000 usages of
hitpael in ALL of Tanakh. Which brings me to another point: At least I
gave 3 examples (Many from Rashi). If Ira thinks he can give several
hundred examples (Which as I just pointed out he cannot) could he be so
kind as to at least cite 3-4 verses and state why an interactive
interpretation is not valid.

There are two kinds of disagreement on Mail Jewish: Statements of
feeling ("I could probably provide....imaginative derush") and
counterexamples. The thread would flow more smoothly if Ira provided

As long as Ira brought up the whole subject: There are 4 views among
Rishonim on the meaning of Hitpael. My understanding is that Rashi
believed that they are ALL interactive. Rashi is a respected rishon and
Ira owes Rashi (and the rest of us) the courtesy of providing some

I look forward to a further posting of Ira(And my response)

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


From: Steven M.Kapnick <rsmk@...>
Date: Sun, 10 Jul 2005 23:31:59 -0400
Subject: Recitation of Vayechulu Following the Amidah on Friday Night

Pursuant to the discussion re: the Additional Recitation of Vayechulu
Following the Amidah on Friday Night - it has been noted that although
Vayechulu has already been recited as part of the Friday night Amidah
proper, it is repeated following the Amidah as a "Lo Plug" - that is
because this recitation is not included in the evening Amidah of a Yom
Tov that falls on Friday Night and is therefore recited following the
Amidah on that occasion - it is to be recited every Friday night as part
of the "standard" Shabbos liturgy as well.

Can anyone offer a reason why Vayechulu is in fact not included as part
of the Yom Tov liturgy recited on Friday night and therefore
necessitating this additional recitation? We find other references to
Shabbos in the Yom Tov Amidah recited on Friday night so why could
Vayechulu not have been included as well and therefore dispensing with
this additional recitation altogether.


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Mon, 11 Jul 2005 23:57:39 -0400
Subject: RE: Secular Translations of Torah

Several points should be made. First: This is not a new issue: There are
historical precedents for banning translations which is very reasonable.

Most people are unaware that originally a Rabbi did not deliver sermons.
Rather the reading of the Torah on Shabbath took 3-4 hours. Each verse
was read in Hebrew: Explained by a translation in the native aramaic:
Then the Hebrew verse was read again. In this way the entire sedrah was
reviewed every week in detail.

But during the middle ages not everyone spoke Aramaic. One could have
substituted other translations. But there was fear that the Christians
would use their own translations (which justified the trinity) in rural
areas where people had no access to true translations. Because of this
fear, reading translations of the bible (in public) was banned. The
Rabbi's sermon was created as a compromise for the loss of Torah (I do
not know why the traditional reading has not been recreated today).

A second point is that many people are opposing BANNING books. But how
about advice!. Is it wrong to advise to someone new to Judaism to get to
know the basics before reading what other scholars are teaching. There
are many good books on Chumash and/or Chumash and Rashi: (Hertz, Stone,
Rav Hirsch, Sharfman Linear translation). A person new to study could
profit extremely well by regularly reading and mastering the contents of
these translations. Once they have a solid background they can read
other books. No one has really addressed the issue of advice...after all
we give advice all the time...is the advice not to read a book per se
wrong?  If it isnt then WHEN do we give advice for/against?

Gilad Gevaryahu brought some excellent points: a) point by point
refutation is superior to book banning b) encourage reading scholarship.
However I would challenge Gilad that his viewpoint is valid for people
like himself who are learned. Would Gilad really give such advice to
people who are not trained (Again I am not advocating banning -- just
advice not to read).

Finally: Several discussants have claimed that this translation
advocates a literary approach to the Bible. But IF you are interested in
a particular approach to the Bible would it not be preferable to FIRST
obtain it from someone within the religious camp who uses that approach.
In this case Aviva Zornberg has used a literary approach (Her Ph.d.is in
English)---one of the nice things about her approach IS the use of
literary techniques. And her books are filled with references to
midrashim. (In passing: My own Rashi website (URL below), advocates
understanding certain exegetical rules in terms of literary
techniques...agains the emphasis is on understanding the Talmudic
midrashim). (For any Aviva fans out there, she told us in Baltimore that
she is taking this year off to write another book).

To summarize: Some good arguments have been made a) against banning
books b) for being aware how to respond to certain approaches to the
Bible c) to use literary techniques in the bible. Surprisingly however
we have NOT dealt with the original question!!! Should we advise people
to avoid the translation? Is the author religious (I still dont know)?
Should we give advice to new or experienced students? Instead of
answering these questions we have gone out on a tangent and attacked
banning! I for one would like to see the original question discussed.

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


End of Volume 48 Issue 93