Volume 49 Number 78
                    Produced: Sun Aug 28  7:36:47 EDT 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

bet resh kaf
         [Yehoshua Steinberg]
Hats for Tefila
         [Stephen Phillips]
Hot Water on Shabbat
Post-dated checks
         [Yehonatan Chipman]
Revisionist history?
         [Gilad J. Gevaryahu]
Seat Belts
         [Gershon Dubin]
Seat belts
         [Kenneth H. Ryesky, Esq.]


From: Yehoshua Steinberg <ysteinberg@...>
Date: Fri, 26 Aug 2005 12:52:32 +0000
Subject: Re: bet resh kaf

From: Ira L. Jacobson <iraeljay@...> Date: Thu, 25 Aug 2005 09:50:58 
>That's the point.  One does not question a derush.

As an aside, I think many people misunderstand the phrase "ein meshivin
al haderush", treating it as If it means "ah, who cares anyway, it's
just derush." To my knowledge, the expression is found only in the
achronim, but not in the Talmud itself. What is found in the Gemara is
"ein meshivin al hahekesh", and this is certainly not said to dismiss
hekeshim, Rather to give them more weight - See Rashi on Menachos 82b
who equates hekeshim with Gezeros shavos. This of course means that it
cannot be dismissed when it can be assumed that a tradition of such a
hekesh exists. If derush is therefore compared to hekesh, it would lend
further weight to the derivation, not the opposite.

>But you should really take it for granted that Hazal did not think that
>they Were describing the etymology of the words, but rather making a
>"play on words" to derive a message.

Why on earth would I take that "for granted"? What I do take for granted
is that they knew Hebrew a whole bunch better than we do, and that until
Yehuda Hayyuj in the 11th century there was a whole different
understanding of the etymology of the language. Triliteralism may be
much "neater," and fit in with linguistic theories better, but it
appears to me that Chazal had a different view. They can teach us a
lesson because of the fact that they understand the underlying roots
hidden beneath the surface (divested of the he'emantiv letters:

For instance, in Midrash Tanchuma (Vayakhel 7): al tikrei machon ela
mechuvan. A modern Hebrew speaker could dismiss this as a "play on
words" at best, more likely snickering to himself about how these Rabbis
knew nothing about grammar. Anyone with an ounce of respect, and a few
minutes to spend examining the words more closely will see an entire
world opened before him. The world is that of the root caf-nun which
underlies both "machon" and "Mechuvan".  Machberes Menachem lists 7
"disparate" meanings deriving from this root.  Disparate, that is, to
the unlettered - after all, what do "yes" and "chair" have in common,
and what does "readiness" have to do with "alignment"? But with a
minimum of respect and equally minimal effort, the answer reveals
itself: "ken" doesn't just mean "yes", it means "founded,"established,"
"rooted"; and *therefore* "ready". The "machon" -the Holy Temple- is the
anchor of the universe. "Mechuvan" means that one object or concept is
anchored and aligned with another. "Ken" means the words can be trusted
as if they were anchored and rooted to the spot - the story will not
change the next time you ask. And can anything be considered "muchan"
-ready- unless it is reliable, i.e.  properly aligned etc?

>I once heard of a rav (not necessarily the gedol hador) who said that
>the blessing of one's sons,"Yesimcha," shows that we must bless them
>with simcha.

With all due respect, this is quite irrelevant. As mentioned above in
regards to "hekesh," the point of departure must be tradition.

>The derush may have lots of meaning, but linguistically--let's say it
>lacks something.

As above, the meaning is firmly anchored in the underlying root - for
those willing to dig a little to discover it.

>I don't think that they intended their folk etymology to be used
>scientifically.  What makes you think otherwise?

I'd ask that you refrain from dismissive expressions for the sake of
argument.  The vast majority of drashos I've examined teach a profound
lesson based on a profound understanding of an orderly,
precision-engineered language.

>What you imply is that Hazal had no sense of language whatsoever R"L,
>and they confused one root with another.  That they thought that bet
>nun (banayikh) and bet nun heh (bonayikh) were the same root.  Needless
>to say, I reject that, and I am certainly not alone.

That's hardly what I think anyone who gives it more than a few seconds
of consideration would conclude. I believe that Chazal gave us a gift
here of being able to see just a little deeper, i.e. that there is an
underlying root bet-nun that precisely describes both progeny and
project. Furthermore, the other three "disparate" meanings listed in the
Machberes for this root bear this out as well.

>>Would you seriously contend that verbs are never derived from nouns in
>>everyday life? Have you ever salted your food? Do you ever go for a
>>walk or do you prefer to walk? What came first, the smile or smiling?

>Hebrew is a language of roots, and the nouns and verbs are derived from
>the roots.  The roots are not derived form the nouns.

There most certainly are roots - who's arguing with that? If you mean
because I quoted Menachem as saying that to "bless" is related to
"knee", you read that wrong. They are both derived from the root
bet-resh-kaf, from which they both borrow a kernel of meaning, described
in earlier posts.

>One need not deny the brilliance of Hazal to accept the fact that their
>"al tiqrei" suggestions were intended as derush and not as though they
>actually thought that these were linguistic derivations.  Quite the
>contrary: Hazal understood the language and could therefore play with
>it.  To think otherwise is to do Hazal a disservice.

I think this comment has been adequately addressed above. In any case,
the commentators throughout the ages have striven to show the
connections between words sharing a root, apparently with a long
tradition dating back to Chazal and beyond. Sometimes it takes some
digging, and even plowing, but the afforts bear fruit in the form of
something more than a superficial understanding of Hashem's intention

Yehoshua Steinberg


From: Stephen Phillips <admin@...>
Date: Fri, 26 Aug 2005 13:36:27 +0100
Subject: Re: Hats for Tefila

> From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
> I have heard that R. Soloveitchik, zatzal, added a further aspect to
> wearing a hat for tefila.  This is the law that one who prays should
> enwrap his head (`ituf).  When wearing a talis, this means to cover
> one's head with the talis; otherwise, to wear whatever hat in that
> society enwraps the entire head--in Western countries, the ordinary hat.
> I assume this is a practice that expresses humility before the Almighty.
> I mention this because the discussion to now has focused on clothing as
> expressing respect for the Almighty, a different thing.

Last week, when I was in Yerushalayim, we davened at Rav Ovadiah Yosef's
Beis Medrash; it was my grandson's Chalaka (first haircut) and my
son-in-law (a Sefardi) wanted Rav Ovadiah to be the first to do the
cutting. As it happens we were privileged that also davening there that
morning was Rav Shlomo Amar, the Sefardi Chief Rabbi of Israel, and he
had a snip as well.

Anyway, I was surprised to see that Rav Ovadiah did not at any point in
the davening put his Tallis over his head (he was wearing a yamulke, not
a hat). Is doing so only an Ashkenazi minhag? I never thought that was
the case.

Stephen Phillips


From: <aliw@...> (Arie)
Date: Fri, 26 Aug 2005 14:37:10 +0200
Subject: Re: Hot Water on Shabbat

in mj 49/74, Gershon Dubin wrote:
>> From: <aliw@...> (Arie)
>>similar to heating or even cooking food in the direct sun - which is
>>not considered cooking on shabbat, except that in a solar hearter the
>>sun is direct on the panels, not on the water.

>I don't know enough about the technology to discuss the pesak, but
>clearly from the halacha, something cooked DIRECTLY in the sun is
>called Chamei Chama and is permitted (mutar lechatchila) while
>something heated by the sun (e.g. the panels) that heats food is Toldos
>Chama and is asur miderabanan (rabbinically prohibited).

i will b'li neder post the mar'ei makom for Rav Frank zatza"l's psak,
but everyone who uses a solar heater in israel (just about everyone in
the country) on shabbat (lots and lots - can't guarantee everyone)
relies on that p'sak.



From: Yehonatan Chipman <yonarand@...>
Date: Fri, 26 Aug 2005 15:39:34 +0200
Subject: Re: Post-dated checks

On the other hand, in Israel postdated checks are completely accepted
and in certain situations even required.  For example: parents at many
religious high-schools, which have substantial tuition -- possibly
itself illegal, but unavoidable -- are asked to give a set of postdated
checks.  "House committees" -- i.e, the group of neighbors that sees to
central heating, cleaning, gardening, and lighting in the hallways in
the average resident-owned apartment building (condominium is too fancy
a word most of the time) -- usually take six or more postdated checks in
advance.  Or if one wishes to purchase some item by installments, but
for some reason doesn't wish to use credit card.  etc.  In brief, it's
part of the Israeli way of life.

Yehonatan Chipman


From: <Gevaryahu@...> (Gilad J. Gevaryahu)
Date: Fri, 26 Aug 2005 09:25:57 EDT
Subject: Revisionist history?

Yossi Ginzberg (MJv49n76) made good arguments, amongst them:
> There are many unpleasant things that can be blamed on the "frumming"
> of American Jewry, such as the rise in acceptability of white-collar
> crime, price-gouging on kosher products, and the like. To blame the
> frummies for restricting your choice of hat and kipa colors is like
> blaming the fall of the Wiemar republic on the bicycle riders.

I would like to call your attention to "Revisionist history" of headwear
of the Lubavitcher Rebbe. As you probably know, up to the last
Lubavitcher Rebbe prior to Menchem Mendel Schneersohn, the Chabbad Rebbe
and Chassidim wore a shtreimels on Shabbat, Yom Tov, & s'machot. For
reasons that were discussed in this forum before, the last Rebbe decided
not to wear a shtreimel any more. However, someone with graphic skills
removed the shtreimel off the head of Rabbi Joseph I. Schneersohn, as if
he did not wear it. But he did not do such a good job, as anyone can
still tell that a shtreimel was removed

The picture can be seen in _Lubavicher Rabbi's Memoirs_, Published by
Otzar Hachassidim, Brooklyn, NY, 1966, between pages xiii and page 1.

Gilad J. Gevaryahu


From: Gershon Dubin <gdubin@...>
Date: Fri, 26 Aug 2005 13:43:31 GMT
Subject: Seat Belts

From: Carl A. Singer <casinger@...>

<<1 - Is it halachically permitted to drive without seat belts?>>

No. Where a clear danger to one's life has been demonstrated time and
again, ignoring the danger is a transgression of venishmartem me'od

<<2 - Has anyone paskened on this?>>

Besides me, you mean <g>; I don't know.

<<3 - What is one's responsibility to one's fellow (wo)man re: same --
if you're in car with them, otherwise.>>

I don't think it matters whether you're in the same car or not, it's lo
saamod al dam re'echa.

The only difference I could see whether you're in the same car or not is
if you're the driver and stand to get a ticket for another person in the
car not wearing a seat belt (although for an adult I believe they get
their very own ticket), but as far as the ticket is concerned, you have
an obligation to protect someone else's money as well as your own.


From: Kenneth H. Ryesky, Esq. <khresq@...>
Date: Fri, 26 Aug 2005 08:45:59 -0400
Subject: Seat belts

Carl writes [re seatbelts]:

"What is one's responsibility to one's fellow (wo)man re: same -- if
you're in car with them, otherwise."

[Don't get me started with the apparently high rate of seatbelt disuse
in the Frum community, and the shnors we keep getting to help families
of those who are killed in automobile crashes and who were not wearing

Interesting that this should come up at this time.  Within the past 72
hours, while waiting outside a Philadelphia-area restaurant, a van full
of children who apparently were not required by the driver (presumably
their father) to use seat belts prompted my comment to a friend on this
very issue.

If you are in the back seat and I am in the front (whether as a driver
or front seat passenger), and the car is involved in a crash (or
otherwise suddenly stops it forward motion), those objects in the car
that were not secured will continue their forward motion, even after the
car has come to rest.

If you are in the back seat and are not wearing a seatbelt, then, in the
event of a crash, you become a forward-moving projectile, and, as such,
a potentially fatal threat to the lives of those in the front seat.

So you therefore owe ME the obligation to wear YOUR seatbelt,
notwithstanding any disregard you have for your own life or safety.

Once my father (who is trained as an engineer) first got seatbelts in
his car about 45 years ago, he would not drive until all occupants were
securely belted.  I have acquired this pet peeve of his; and, from all
indications, it has been passed on to my own son (who recently received
his learner's permit).

Kenneth H. Ryesky, Esq.
East Northport, NY 11731
E-Mail:  <khresq@...>


End of Volume 49 Issue 78