Volume 49 Number 59
                    Produced: Thu Aug 18  4:54:28 EDT 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

An Aramaic Answer
         [Ben Katz]
Chassidic Stories
         [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz]
Jackets for Tefillah (6)
         [Stuart Pilichowski, Ben Katz, Charles Halevi, Akiva Miller,
Yisrael Medad, Joseph Ginzberg]
Jews and "ogresses"
         [Shayna Kravetz]
Separation of Church and State
         [Lisa Liel]
Tisha B'Av in Gaza
         [Ari Trachtenberg]


From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Mon, 15 Aug 2005 09:55:34 -0500
Subject: Re: An Aramaic Answer

         One anecdote for whatever it is worth: I have a friend who is a
sometimes lurker on MJ who has a chavruta who is a professor of aramaic
who claims that it does not seem to help when they study talmud

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: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabba.hillel@...>
Date: Mon, 15 Aug 2005 10:13:46 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Re: Chassidic Stories

>From: <FriedmanJ@...> (Jeanette Friedman)
>      1) a person who didn't know how to daven, so on yom kippur in shul
>      he, according to different versions, either whistled or said the
>      aleph bet instead of the text of the tefilot, and was criticized
>      by baale batim next to him, until the end when it was revealed, in
>      diff.  ways in diff.  editions, that his tefilah is the greatest
>      of all those in the shul.
>No, it was a mute boy who took out a flute...and it was Reb Nachman, if
>I remember correctly who said that his flute opened shaarei shamayim to
>the tefillah of the kehilla.
>would that such tolerance be displayed today.

I think The story is also told about the Baal Shem Tov and others


Nachlei Binah P. 317 #632 Tehillim Ben Beiti, Rabbi Eliezer of Komarno 


Many of the dominant themes in the Besht's teachings became the central
emphases in the Hasidic movement that his followers developed. There
were statements of the Besht, not entirely innovative, which placed
great stress on aspects of Judaism that the Mitnagdim generally ignored:
the heart, for example. The Besht was particularly fond of a talmudic
statement, "God desires the heart" (Sanhedrin 106b), which he
interpreted as meaning that for God, a pure religious spirit mattered
more than knowledge of the Talmud. It is told of the Besht that one Yom
Kippur a poor Jewish boy, an illiterate shepherd, entered the synagogue
where he was praying. The boy was deeply moved by the service, but
frustrated that he could not read the prayers. He started to whistle,
the one thing he knew he could do beautifully; he wanted to offer his
whistling as a gift to God. The congregation was horrified at the
desecration of their service. Some people yelled at the boy, and others
wanted to throw him out. The Ba'al Shem Tov immediately stopped
them. "Until now," he said, "I could feel our prayers being blocked as
they tried to reach the heavenly court. This young shepherd's whistling
was so pure, however, that it broke through the blockage and brought all
of our prayers straight up to God."


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


From: Stuart Pilichowski <cshmuel@...>
Date: Mon, 15 Aug 2005 15:32:30 +0000
Subject: Re: Jackets for Tefillah

>From: <Smwise3@...> (S. Wise)
>While I realize that there are many shuls that allow men without jackets
>to daven for the amud, and in Israel I notice there are many people as
>well who do, is it not more respectful to Hakadosh Baruch Hu to come
>properly dressed to daven to him, with a jacket, socks and shoes?  I am
>not the first to make this comparison, but there are occasions when even
>these casually people will dress for a client or an important person.
>Doesn't Hashem deserve the same?

I guess after living in Israel for a few years and before that in NJ,
after growing up in Brooklyn, I'm appreciative of the more relaxed
atmosphere when it comes to certain rituals like davening.

I see folks davening in shorts and sandals with more kavannah than those
dressed in suits, ties, gartles, hats, and 613 dips into the mikveh
before going to shul.

Your same arguement can be made re bentching - get the jacket and hat

My personal feeling is that it's important to look neat and kempt
always, not just when standing formally in front of HKBH; after all,
aren't we always standing in front of Hashem, aren't we always, more
importantly perhaps, representing Hashem?

Stuart Pilichowski
Mevaseret Zion, Israel

From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Mon, 15 Aug 2005 10:06:04 -0500
Subject: Re: Jackets for Tefillah

         I think the issue is 1 of repetition or familiarity.  I doubt
any causal sort who was meeting the same important person 2-3 times a
day every day would keep getting dressed up each time.  Once (shabat),
or a few times week (chagim), is probably plenty.

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: Charles Halevi <c.halevi@...>
Date: Fri, 12 Aug 2005 17:39:33 -0500
Subject: Jackets for Tefillah

Shalom, All:

            The issue of people being denied the chance to daven before
the amud because they lacked a jacket is astounding to me. In the
Lincolnwood Jewish Congregation (Chicago-area) there are always at least
three sizes of nice looking sport coats or suit jackets that people
gladly donated to the shul for use in the minyan. If the hook could hold
more, there'd probably be six.

            A lighter closet at home and an ongoing mitzva all rolled
into one - why doesn't every shul have such a supply on hand?

Yeshaya (Charles Chi) Halevi

From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Mon, 15 Aug 2005 16:13:04 GMT
Subject: Re: Jackets for Tefillah

The first half of this is not quite exactly the same as the second
half. In the second half, we have the principle that one should dress
for HaShem at least as nicely as for an important person, and I totally
agree with that. In the first half, we have an example of how to
implement that principle, and that might not be the same across all

In some places, it might be insulting to appear before an important
person without a particular garment; in others, that garment might
constitute being overdressed. And depending on many factors,
"overdressed" might be unneccesary or even silly, and I'd say that
crossing the line into "silly" is counterproductive if we're trying to
honor the One we're dressing for. One needs to look carefully at the
standards of the local customs.

Akiva Miller

From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Mon, 15 Aug 2005 20:09:02 +0200
Subject: Jackets for Tefillah

well, if they daven as they used to at the kibbutzim of the Kibbutz Dati
movement, shorts and sandals are de rigeur and normative.  I guess they
meet and discuss matters with Hashem in the fields they work so that is
where they develop their modes of respect, all relative, and why they
dress as they do.

if Levy Yitchak of Berditchev could tolerate the flute (from the
Chassidic stories postings), I presume shorts and sandals are not that

Yisrael Medad

From: Joseph Ginzberg <jgbiz120@...>
Date: Mon, 15 Aug 2005 12:05:44 -0400
Subject: Jackets for Tefillah

Realizing that the Mishna Berurah does specifically mention wearing a
hat and jacket as a sign of respect, I must say that this is all
subjective, and "in the eye of the beholder" to decide what is or isn't
respectful.  The bigger question to me is what to do when one's own
opinion is being ignored.  Seems to me most sensible and respectful to
igore it, and be respectful of the others variant opinion.

When saying kaddish and davening for the Amud once in a Flatbush
shteibel, I wore a very expensive knit jacket, suitable for all but the
most dressy affairs.  The Rabbi had no problem with it, but an elderly
man came over to me after davening and gave me a dressing down for
wearing it instead of a jacket.  This man had no problem, on other
occassions, with men wearing dirty "shul supply" jackets or very casual
golf-type jackets.  No accounting for tastes, but clearly he was out of
line IMO, especially since he had no idea of where I was at religiously.

Bottom line, to me anyway- Think what you want, but keep it inside!

Yossi Ginzberg


From: Shayna Kravetz <skravetz@...>
Date: Mon, 15 Aug 2005 11:06:31 -0500
Subject: Re: Jews and "ogresses"

Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...> writes:

>But I guess I should admit that of all these, "Jewess" is the only one
>referring to a religion or nationality, nor are any of them
>capitalized. We don't find Baptess, Hindess, Frenchess or Chiness, for
>As usual, Jews are the exception to the rule...

The problem is that half your comparators are primarily used as
adjectives, not nouns -- unlike Jew, which is exclusively a noun in
normative English.  (I say "normative" to exclude ignorant and offensive
appositive usages such as 'Jew boy' or 'to jew someone'.)  French and
Chinese are never used in the singular to refer to a person.  One cannot
say "the French is" but one can say "the Jew is".

The interesting question is why, for example, we don't see Christianess,
Muslimess, or Hinduess, since we could say, "the Christian is", "the
Muslim is", or "the Hindu is".  A quick Google disclosed no literary or
conversational instances of Hinduess (other than as an artificially
formed comparator in this context) and one conversational instance of
Muslimess.  Tons of "Christianess" examples but mostly by sources who
didn't know how to spell "Christianness" -- i.e., the state of being
Christian.  I had expected to see at least some such usages in
Victorian-era British literature or earlier and was quite stymied not to
find them.  My OED offers only "Mussulwoman" as the counterpart of
"Mussulman", an antiquated form for Moslem.

As for the idea of -ess being offensive in itself, I offer "empress"
(having just mentioned Her Late Majesty, Queen Victoria).  The issue
here, as so often with language, is the status of the person who's being
referred to -- not anything inherent in the language.  No one would have
dared to suggest to Victoria that Empress of India was a minimizing or
derogatory term.  She would not have brooked any such notion.

In our discussion, it is the hidden assumption that a Jewess is a
powerless or evil person that makes us think of "Jewess" as a negative
term.  Attack the assumption, not the language which is itself neutral.

Kol tuv from
Shayna in Toronto (whose ancestresses were also Jewesses)


From: Lisa Liel <lisa@...>
Date: Mon, 15 Aug 2005 10:57:12 -0400
Subject: Re: Separation of Church and State

From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
>From: Lisa Liel <lisa@...>
>>From a First Amendment point of view, proclaiming God's existence 
>>is certainly an establishment of a religious point of view.  It's 
>>a good thing to do from a religious standpoint, but it's dangerous 
>>to us.
>But specifically taking God out of existing material (such as coins)
>is an establishment of a different religious point of view - 
>atheism.  The correct stance for the government is non-religious, 
>not anti-religious.

I hear what you're saying, Ari.  Honestly.  But I disagree.  Replacing
it with, "God who?" would be promoting atheism.  Taking it off of the
money would simply be recognizing that it had no place there to begin
with.  Recognizing a mistake isn't a bad thing.

Back when the government didn't have a monopoly on issuing banknotes, it
was legitimate for any issuer to print them as they saw fit.  But this
country is not supposed to promote any religious view.  Yes, that
includes anti-religious views, but anti-religious and religion-neutral
are not the same thing.

Just for a little thought experiment... you realize that Christians are
a majority in this country.  Suppose that back when they started putting
"In God We Trust" on the money, they'd used the J word, rather than
"God".  I'm sure you realize that to most Christians, removing that
would seem like "supporting atheism".  Even changing it from the J word
to "God" would seem like a deliberate attack on their religion.

Thinking "In God We Trust" when we look at a dollar bill is a good
thing.  Printing it there is just asking for trouble.



From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Mon, 15 Aug 2005 10:57:44 -0400
Subject: Re: Tisha B'Av in Gaza

From: Jacob Richman <jrichman@...>
> I posted on my website pictures of Tisha B'Av in Gaza.
> http://www.jr.co.il/rally/r100.htm

Who can view these pictures of our Jewish family's suffering and not


End of Volume 49 Issue 59