Volume 50 Number 07
                    Produced: Thu Nov 17  6:58:41 EST 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

"Adulterous" (was Shomer Shabbat Ketubah Witnesses)
         [Martin Stern]
         [Yehoshua Steinberg]
A Ger Who Had Milah But No Mikvah
         [Martin Stern]
Ibn Ezra - ve-hakena`ani az ba-aretz
         [Mark Steiner]
Noah and Da Vinci Code (4)
         [David Curwin, <bernieavi@...>, Dov Teichman, Reuben Rudman]
Wearing jackets to shul
         [David Mescheloff]


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Wed, 16 Nov 2005 11:26:49 +0000
Subject: Re: "Adulterous" (was Shomer Shabbat Ketubah Witnesses)

on 16/11/05 10:16 am, Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabba.hillel@...>

> I believe that there is a gemarah (mishnah?) that says that
> if a woman has relations with her chasan during the time between eirusin
> and nisuin, then he cannot reject her for not being a besulah at the
> time of nisuin. 

I do not recall such a Gemara but the discussion of ta'anat betulim in
Ketubot seems to be where the man claims that kallah was not a virgin
and therefore must have had relations with someone else between eirusin
and nisuin, which would be the capital offence of adultery.

Perhaps Hillel is thinking of a more modern situation where the ketubah
of a previously unmarried girl specifies 200 zuz as for a virgin. In
many cases, outside Orthodox circles, the couple have been living
together prior to the wedding so this might not strictly be the correct
sum. Should the husband try to wriggle out of his obligations under the
ketubah at some later date by making a claim that she was be'ulat atsmo
and therefore only entitled to 100 zuz, this would be rejected since
Beit Din would rule that he wrote the larger amount at the time as a
mark of his love for her and a wish to avoid the embarrassment the lower
sum might cause her.

Martin Stern


From: Yehoshua Steinberg
Date: Wed, 16 Nov 2005 14:11:19 -0500
Subject: RE: Cover

Robert Israel <israel@...> wrote:

>I don't think the English "cover" is at all related.  "Cover" is from
>Latin "cooperire" which is a combination of the intensive prefix "co-"
>and "operire" (to cover).  "Operire" goes back to the Indo-European root
>"wer-".  Other derivatives of this root include overt, warranty, garage,
>garrison and garnish.  See e.g.

I'd rather not digress too much into this arena because I'm no expert,
and that's why I just mentioned it offhand with the caveat, "some may
even claim."  That said, see Mozeson's "The Word," where he lists
thousands of words in English that are normally attributed to
Indo-European roots which could just as easily be attributed to Hebrew
origins. While some of his derivations admittedly seem a bit of a
stretch, I don't see how deriving "garage" from "wer" is much more

For example, American Heritage lists the etymology of "base" to a Greek
root. I wonder how many Biblical scholar the dictionary have on their
staff who may have considered Is. 14:19 "kefeger muvas" - as a trampled
corpse, or Jer. 12:10 or Ez.  16:6 "va'erech misboseses" "I saw you
down-trodden in your blood" as possible sources for this word, as they
certainly are for the Talmudic term "basis." Something that is trampled
or trodden upon is in a "base" state, and it is a "basis" for the

Mozeson compares 19th-century linguistics to some of the other
enlightenment sciences which emerged during that period, which were
decidedly secular in nature, some would say militantly so. It may well
have served their purposes to ignore some of the obvious biblical
influences on Western languages, for fear of lending credence to such
primitive beliefs as an "Edenic" tongue spoken prior to the Tower of

I suggest looking at "The Word" and deciding for yourself if there may
be any merit to the arguments.



From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Wed, 16 Nov 2005 11:11:10 +0000
Subject: A Ger Who Had Milah But No Mikvah

on 16/11/05 10:30 am, Tal Benschar <tbenschar@...> wrote:
> Acc. to many Rishonim, the mila is itself part of the process of
> conversion, along with the tevillah in the mikveh.  The geirus is not
> complete until all steps are performed.
> An interesting question is what is the status of the person who has only
> undergone some but not all steps of geirus.  Is he Jewish?  IIRC, there
> was a raging controversy about this in early 20th century Yerushalayim.
> A man was megayer, had a milah, which was not healing so well, so the
> mikveh had to be postponed until it healed.  Meantime, Shabbos came.
> Was this person supposed to keep Shabbos as a Jew, or was he required to
> be mechallel shabbos, as a non-Jew?  (A non-Jew may not keep Shabbos.)
> This was a cause celebre for a while in some circles at the time.

This is really a replay of the old conundrum of how it was possible for
the Avot to keep all the mitsvot before Mattan Torah if they might have
had non-Jewish status and so been forbidden to keep Shabbat. There are
many suggested solutions of which two spring to mind:

1.  Let him wear tsitsit and go into a reshut harabbim de'oraita. If he
is a Jew he is wearing an article of clothing whereas if he is not it is
an act of carrying which exempts him from having kept Shabbat.

2.  Let him do some act of melachah in the evening after the termination
of Shabbat. For a Jew this is no problem but for anon-Jew the night is
considered as part of the preceding day and he has done a melachah.

I am sure there are other ways round the problem which I do not recall
but others may like to bring to our notice.

Martin Stern


From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Wed, 16 Nov 2005 13:33:23 +0200
Subject: RE: Ibn Ezra - ve-hakena`ani az ba-aretz

Concerning Ibn Ezra "saying what he meant on ve-hakena`ani az ba-aretz".  

It is true that certain readers prefer to ignore what Ibn Ezra says, for
theological reasons, but it is also true that other readers, out of
wishful thinking, attribute to Ibn Ezra what they would like to say

Anyone who would like to attribute to Ibn Ezra the view that this verse
was written much later than the period of Moshe, at a time when the
Canaanites were no longer in the land, will have to contend with the
following remark by the same Ibn Ezra, to Gen 36:31, where it says,
similarly: These are the kings who reigned in Edom, before there was a
king of Israel:

"Some say that this section (parasha) was written prophetically; but
Yitzhaki wrote in his book, that this section was written in the reign
of Yehoshaphat...it is well that he is called Yitzhak, everyone who
hears this will laugh [yitzhak] at him.  Halila, Halilah (Heaven forbid,
forbid) that the matter is as he said, about the reign of Yehoshaphat,
AND HIS BOOK OUGHT TO BE BURNED...the truth is that the 'king' in
question is Moshe..."

	My own impression is that the Ibn Ezra was much "frummer" than
his critics, both on the Right and the Left, give him credit for.
Unlike the rishonim in Ashkenaz, who did not have to contend with the
Karaite threat to Orthodoxy, Ibn Ezra was much more careful than they
were in matters of essential dogma, so as not to give them ammunition.
An example could be the Rashbam's commentary on Vayehi `erev vayehi
voker... which the Rashbam understands to mean that day comes before the
night (`erev meaning sunset not evening as in the King James).  He may
not have known that the Karaites gave the same explanation, and used it
to draw operational conclusions against Judaism, that the sabbath begins
in the morning!  Ibn Ezra wrote an entire tract against this very


From: David Curwin <tobyndave@...>
Date: Wed, 16 Nov 2005 12:41:42 +0200
Subject: Noah and Da Vinci Code

>From this site:


which criticizes The Da Vinci Code, it appears that Brown's source is
from Enoch 1 106:2. While Sefer Chanoch is of Jewish origin, since it's
not in the Tanach, I don't know how well it fits with rabbinic

From: <bernieavi@...>
Date: Wed, 16 Nov 2005 08:26:08 -0500
Subject: Re: Noah and Da Vinci Code

>>  Da Vinci Code makes much of the 'fact' that Noah was an albino. Any
>> one familiar with a midrash that might say the same thing?
>I have no insight into any Jewish sources, but perhaps the confusion
>comes from the organization NOAH, an acronym for National Organization
>for Albinism and Hypopigmentation.
>Amnon Melzer

After much cogitation, I have concluded that this is not confusion, but 
another intentional play on our minds by Dan Brown.

From: <DTnLA@...> (Dov Teichman)
Date: Wed, 16 Nov 2005 08:27:07 EST
Subject: Re: Noah and Da Vinci Code

>  Da Vinci Code makes much of the 'fact' that Noah was an albino. Any
> one familiar with a midrash that might say the same thing?

The source is the Pseudepigraphal "Book of Enoch" (1 Enoch 106:2).
Jews and most Christians don't give this book any legitimacy.

Dov Teichman

From: Reuben Rudman <rudman@...>
Date: Wed, 16 Nov 2005 15:21:52 +0300
Subject: Noah and Da Vinci Code

The following is from a Google search for Noah +albino:

Noah--an albino: British Medical Journal 1958.
Noah--an albino: British Medical Journal 1958. Sorsby A. Publication
Historical Article MeSH Terms Albinism/genetics Albinism/history* ...
dopt=Abstract - Similar pages

      OMIM - Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man
      Evidence that Noah was an albino was presented by Sorsby
      (1958). Spooner was a
      brilliant classicist at Oxford whose amusing tendency to
      errors of speech ...
      ispomimTempla... - Similar pages
      [ More results from www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov ]

Crisis Magazine
For instance, the Opus Dei bishop encourages his albino assassin by
telling him
that Noah was also an albino (a notion drawn from the non-canonical 1
Enoch ...
www.crisismagazine.com/specialreport.htm - 50k - Cached - Similar pages

It appears to be a non-Jewish idea. 

A search of Midrashim does not show any similar comments.

Reuben Rudman


From: David Mescheloff <david_mescheloff@...>
Date: Wed, 16 Nov 2005 02:44:44 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Wearing jackets to shul

Three months ago, at the urging of one of my sons who was helping
dismantle greenhouses in Atzmona, Gush Katif, after the civilian
population had been uprooted, I went there for three days to help with
the salvaging of whatever could be saved.  (Whoever may be interested in
the "diary" report I wrote for my parents shlit"a and myself afterwards
is welcome to send an e-mail request, and I will gladly send an
electronic copy of my Word file, "Three Days in Atzmona"; please note:
it is not great literature, perhaps even a bit dry and drawn-out, but it
does tell the story.)  On the second and third days, those of us there
raced against the bulldozer and crane team knocking down the houses, and
the yeshiva.  But that is not why I write.

I went in my work jeans and a long-sleeved worn-out white work shirt (I
am, deep at heart, a simple Israeli farmer and maintenance man, with a
variety of experience in all aspects of plumbing, electric, gardening,
agricultural and building projects - all both in construction and in
dismantling).  I took my backpack, sleeping bag, Tallis and Tephilin,
siddur and (mini) gemara, a spare shirt and underwear, some sardines and
crackers and dried fruit, etc. - and a bag full of hand tools - a couple
of wrenches, screwdrivers, a hammer, a couple of knives, and an electric
tester - all of which I had occasion to use while I was there.  It did
not take long to get dirty.  I tore my shirt on purpose, with a bracha,
when I got to the shul, which was littered with broken window frames and
glass.  I worked hard, together with many others, in a variety of
salvaging projects in private and public property over the three days.
On the first night, I slept in my clothes on the grass next to the shul.
On the second day the electricity and water were turned off in Atzmona,
so we spent the second night sleeping on the floor of one of the yeshiva
dorm rooms in Neve Dekalim, while several mortar shells exploded nearby
in the middle of the night (the others were so exhausted they slept
right through the bombardment and knew nothing of it in the morning).  I
did manage to get a cold shower that second ni ght, but my clothes
remained the same - torn, worn and dirty shirt and jeans - until I
returned to civilization - whatever that may be in these crazy times -
late the third night.

Against that background I am left speechless by the debate here about
what clothes to wear while davening and/or in shul.  Indeed, everyone
surely acknowledges that the requirements during normal daily living
must be waived, or made more flexible - with different "bottom-line"
requirements - under exceptional circumstances.  Or does someone expect
I will have trouble when I appear before the divine tribunal because I
did not wear, during those days, the same Shabbat clothes I wore in that
shul when I stood on the bima a few months earlier, as a guest rabbi, to
give a drasha Friday night?  I rather hope that the tr ibunal will look
kindly on the brief drasha I gave, incognito in my dirty work clothes,
from the bare bima after mincha on the second day, after which everyone
(and I) got to work and cleared all the rubble out of the shul (the
improvement was astounding!).

Of course, we must provide guidelines, and teach the halachic
requirements, about proper dress during davening, to those who do not
know, and to those who want to know.  But can we not also find a place
in our hearts where we can entertain the thought that the person we see,
who is dressed differently from what we would like, may be experiencing
some exceptional circumstances?

David Mescheloff


End of Volume 50 Issue 7