Volume 49 Number 64
                    Produced: Mon Aug 22  6:15:23 EDT 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Yehoshua Steinberg]
bet resh kaf
         [Ira L. Jacobson]
Blackberries (2)
         [Perets Mett, Chaim Shapiro]
Chassidic Stories
J/J Campaign (6)
         [Harry Weiss, Chaim Shapiro, Janet R., Iris Engelson, Shayna
Kravetz, Janice Gelb]
Some good news during these hard times
         [Jacob Richman]
Tisha Baav and WW 1 revisted
         [Chaim Shapiro]


From: Yehoshua Steinberg <ysteinberg@...>
Date: Tue, 16 Aug 2005 11:45:00 +0000
Subject: Re: Berakha

Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...> wrote:

>I would say that both words have the same root, bet resh kaf.  Since
>berakha appears in three books of the Torah, as well as in the prophets
>and the writings, whereas bereikha does not appear in the Torah at all,
>assuming that the former is derived from the latter appears to be
>another case of popular etymology.

Menachem ben Saruk (entry kuf-dalet) says the word comes from 'bircayim'
(knees), just as 'lichroa' comes from 'kara'aim' (legs). Likewise
'veyikod' derives from the bending of the 'kadkod' (head), as
'hishtachavaya' comes from shechoach (bending). Praying involves active
demonstration of subjugation to Hashem's will.

The Talmud (Yevamos 63a) derives from 'venivrichu' (Gen. 12:3) that Ruth
and Naama will be "attached" ('muvrach') to the Jewish people. Hakesav
Vehakabbala on the verse, Yerios Shelomo (1:88b) and Cheshek Shelomo
(entry aleph-resh) are also of this opinion.

RSR Hirsch (Gen. 24:11) does mention the connection to 'breicha'
(wellspring), but he traces the source of that word itself back to
'berech' (knee).

Anyway, may we be blessed!

Yehoshua Steinberg (<ysteinberg@...>)


From: Ira L. Jacobson <iraeljay@...>
Date: Tue, 16 Aug 2005 22:09:49 +0300
Subject: Re: bet resh kaf

At 15:23 16-08-05 +0000, Yehoshua Steinberg stated the following:

      Menachem ben Saruk (entry kuf-dalet) says the word comes from
      'bircayim' (knees),  just as 'lichroa' comes from 'kara'aim'
      (legs). Likewise 'veyikod' derives from the bending of the
      'kadkod' (head), as 'hishtachavaya' comes from shechoach
      (bending). Praying involves active demonstration of
      subjugation to Hashem's will.

We have already been informed that there are several roots bet resh kaf,
with distinct meanings.

Be that as it may, I have never heard of any theory that involves a root
being derived from a plural noun based on that root.

Kadkod is pronounced kodkod because the first vowel is qamatz qatan.

      The Talmud (Yevamos 63a) derives from 'venivrichu' (Gen.
      12:3) that Ruth and Naama will be "attached" ('muvrach') to
      the Jewish people.

The Talmud also has a derivation of afikoman that I don't think anyone
is expected to take as being linguistically serious.

IRA L. JACOBSON         


From: Perets Mett <p.mett@...>
Date: Wed, 17 Aug 2005 13:47:46 +0100
Subject: Blackberries

Immanuel Burton wrote:

      Having recently discovered a blackberry bush growing in my garden,
      I was struck by the following: According to "The Halachos Of
      Brochos" by Rabbi Yisroel Pinchos Bodner (published by Feldheim),
      the blessing on blackberries is Ho'Aitz, i.e.  that for the fruit
      of trees.  Given that blackberry plants are considered as fruit
      trees with regards to the blessing, does orlah [prohibition on the
      eating of the fruit of the first three years] apply?  Perhaps more
      relevant to my gardening exercise, does the prohibition of
      uprooting fruit trees (as per Deuteronomy 20:19) apply, even
      through a blackberry bush does not have the same physical
      appearance as a tree?

the first question has to be " Does blackberry in the US mean the same as
blackberry in England?"

From: <Dagoobster@...> (Chaim Shapiro)
Date: Wed, 17 Aug 2005 11:41:20 EDT
Subject: Blackberries

Am I the only one that thought Immanuel Burton's question had to do with
modern technology?

Chaim Shapiro


From: <Shuanoach@...>
Date: Wed, 17 Aug 2005 09:00:02 EDT
Subject: re: Chassidic Stories

Art Werschulz asked:
> Has anybody ever followed the history of such tales, trying to figure
> out the original version, or exactly how such stories originated in
> the first place?

My original query on mail-jewish was related to my interest in your
question. Some work has been done by two scholars: Joseph Dan and
Gedaliah Nigal. I would recommend their books on the topic, esp. those
in Hebrew if they are accessible to you.

As for the sources of these two particular stories, I've received a lot
of responses off list.

As for the truth: There are in fact at least 3 editions of that story
among Hasidim. (In many instances fictional details are added by those
retelling the story to make it sound more believable, but that is
another issue.) The major difference: What does the person do in shul?

1) the person whistles
2) the person recites the aleph bais
3) the person plays his flute

#3 of course is most interesting - playing a flute on Yom Kippur is an
issur derabbanan. What's the moral of the story here - it's ok to
violate rabbinic prohibitions?

Of course the original version in the story occurs in medieval Ashkenaz
in Sefer Hasidim. There it is not at Neilah. It is not even Yom Kippur.
And the person isn't illiterate and he is not a child. He just doesn't
know the tefilot text, so instead he makes up his own text. (He is a
shepherd - i guess that didnt seem applicable to hasidim in 19th c.
poland or russia.)

Most importantly, i've found that the story is strikingly similar to a
popular medieval Christian story called "Our Lady's Tumbler" - Our Lady
of course is the Mary, mother of Jesus. In general, this type of story
is a dime a dozen, especially among hasidim, and in popular piety
movements (not just Jewish ones)- the whole point of stories like these
is that the rabbis or whatever religious authorities are out there are
not the sole decisors of what is of spiritual value. (very important in
the early yrs.  of hasidism - e.g. Toledot Yaakov Yosef's criticism of
the rabbis) These ideas are repeated ad nauseum in all movements which
are against institutional religion.

[This is all better than the bridge dream story - that one occurs in One
Thousand and One Arabian Nights. (the bridge is in Baghdad - the dreamer
is from Cairo. Krakow and Vienna etc. are strangely absent) A similar
story is in the Brothers Grimm as well. It may have become popular in
Jewish circles to explain the construction of a shul in Krakow by the
story's protagonist in the more accurate versions, R. Isaac Jekeles. I
have not checked histories of Jewish Krakow yet to confirm this.]  Of
course that there are these foreign sources doesn't mean that the
stories lack power or value.



From: Harry Weiss <hjweiss@...>
Date: Thu, 18 Aug 2005 14:03:40 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: J/J Campaign

> From: Andy Goldfinger <Andy.Goldfinger@...>

> I live in Baltimore, Maryland, and starting tomorrow the Jews for
> Jesus are starting a massive and well funded campaign to convert Jews
> in our neighborhoods.  Yesterday, I received their first mailing.
> They offer a free video tape to any non-believer who requests it.  The
> phone number to call is: 1-800-MESSIAH.

> I have called this number and ordered a tape.  I do not intend to
> watch it.  Instead, I will discard it.  But doing this does cost them
> money.  If we would inundate their phone number with requests we could
> cost them even more money, and prehaps prevent vulnerable people from
> receiving this material.  

Be careful of this approach.  While, in the short time you may cost them
more money, in the long term you will give the more statistics of people
who ordered their tapes and enable them to get more from their backers.

From: <Dagoobster@...> (Chaim Shapiro)
Date: Thu, 18 Aug 2005 12:17:13 EDT
Subject: J/J Campaign

Andy Goldfinger mentioned the disturbing attempt by J for J to convert
Jews in his neighborhood.  I have to wonder if ordering a tape and
discarding it as Andy recommended is the best thing to do.  I don't know
enough about this, but considering the support J for J gets for its
programs, I doubt even an organized campaign will prevent them from
sending tapes to all who order.  Even worse, what if their supporters
provide them with funds based on how many tapes they send out?  Ordering
their tapes may increase their reach, not decrease it!  Anyone know?

Chaim Shapiro

From: Janet R. <j.zangvil@...>
Date: Thu, 18 Aug 2005 08:56:22 -0400
Subject: J/J Campaign

Andy Goldfinger suggested that we order videotapes from J4J in order to
exhaust their supply.  While that could work in the case of a small
organization with limited fund-raising abilities, it seems to me that
J4J has basically unlimited resources --- it has close ties with the
Southern Baptist conference --- and if they can say that they have
distributed a large number of videotapes in a small amount of time, that
could give them more ability to fundraise.  Plus, it may even help them
clear out their video tapes and move to DVD.


From: Iris Engelson <iris.engelson@...>
Date: Thu, 18 Aug 2005 10:44:07 -0400
Subject: Re: J/J Campaign

It does cost them money in the short run, but it also assists them in
raising more money.  If few people ordered the tape, the program might
not be funded further.  But if there are many phone calls received, the
program might be viewed as extremely successful -- and thus worth
extending nationwide.

The unintended consequence of a concerted effort to order and discard
these tapes might be that J4J might end up with a larger budget and even
more extensive advertising campaigns.  That they might be spending their
money somewhat inefficiently will be of little comfort.

Iris Engelson  <iris.engelson@...>

From: Shayna Kravetz <skravetz@...>
Date: Thu, 18 Aug 2005 10:28:26 -0500
Subject: Re: J/J Campaign

While I appreciate the motives that Andy has in doing so, the problem
here is that these people will use your call as evidence of success in
order to exhort the troops and gain more funding.  "Our 2005 campaign
drew X thousand phone calls and we were able to send out Y thousand
tapes to unbelievers.  Won't you help us fund our next campaign?"

And while we're talking about this kind of situation, I recommend
endorsing all missionizing material that turns up in the mail with
"Return to sender: Refused by addressee", then throwing it back in the
mailbox.  At least it gets it out of your house and I understand that
the sender is charged the postage costs for the return.  (Note: this
only works for mailed stuff, not the stuff that gets distributed by
couriers or hand-delivered.)

Kol tuv from
Shayna in Toronto

From: Janice Gelb <j_gelb@...>
Date: Thu, 18 Aug 2005 09:08:12 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: J/J Campaign

I'm not sure this suggestion would be as harmful as you are postulating:
first, not sure why sending them to people who discard would "prevent
vulnerable people from receiving the material." That assumes a limited
supply which, given the paltry sum required to buy and duplicate video
tapes in bulk, seems unlikely.

Also, even if you add in the postage required, the monetary loss to the
organization caused by spurious orders could be outweighed by the
propaganda gains when they cite order statistics as proof of how
successful their outreach is.

-- Janice


From: Jacob Richman <jrichman@...>
Date: Wed, 17 Aug 2005 18:41:55 +0200
Subject: Some good news during these hard times

Shalom Everyone!

Congratulations to the new olim who made aliyah today from the 
USA and Canada.

I posted articles and pictures on my site at:

If you do not see August 17, 2005 on the top of the web page,
hold the control key and press the F5 key to refresh your browser.

In Windows, press the F11 key for full page viewing.

May the aliyah from North America (and the rest of the world) 
grow and bring more Jews back to their homeland, Eretz Yisrael.

Please forward this message to relatives and friends.

Thank you,


From: <Dagoobster@...> (Chaim Shapiro)
Date: Wed, 17 Aug 2005 11:39:36 EDT
Subject: Tisha Baav and WW 1 revisted

We had a nice discussion about Tisha Baav and the start of WW 1 a few
years ago.  I'd like to add one point if I may, appealing to the
historians among us.  Presuming one uses Tisha Baav of that Year (August
1st) as the start date for WW 1 (a claim that is hard to justify as the
first declaration of War had been made several days earlier), the claim
that the rise of Hitler and the Holocaust were set into motion because
of WW1 has always bothered me.

I am not sure that WW 1 set the events in motion that produced the
holocaust as much as the resolution of that War.  If November 11th were
Tisha Baav, I'd see the point. But to illustrate the danger of trying to
fit historical pieces together that do not fit so neatly, I offer the
following.  The US joined WW 1 on the 14th of Nissan!  I could make a
historical argument that the entrance of the US on the eve of the day of
our redemption from Egypt, lead to the total humiliation of Germany and
ratification of a treaty that would cause Germans to turn to a person
like Hitler, causing the deaths of 6 Million Jews. Thoughts?

Chaim Shapiro


End of Volume 49 Issue 64