Volume 50 Number 11
                    Produced: Tue Nov 22  5:32:21 EST 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Attire and Eliyahu
         [Yehoshua Steinberg]
Mem het lamed (2)
         [Ira L. Jacobson, Ira L. Jacobson]
Og Melech HaBashan
         [Martin Dauber]
Orthodox Legal Source encouraging Observance of Thanksgiving
         [Russell J Hendel]
         [Carl A. Singer]
Starbucks and the 'Holiday' (2)
         [<mrosenpsi@...>, Sigrid Peterson]
Starbucks and the Holiday Spirit
         [Baruch C. Cohen]
Text of Torah
Yeridos HaDoros
         [Bill Bernstein]


From: c.halevi <c.halevi@...>
Date: Sat, 19 Nov 2005 20:39:19 -0600
Subject: Attire and Eliyahu

Shalom, All:

The discussions revolving around what is proper to wear in shul suddenly
reminded me tonight that many stories about Eliyahu HaNavi (Elijah the
Prophet) depict him dressed in anything but "proper attire".  In fact,
in many stories, Eliyahu is depicted dressed as a desert Arab.

One moral of many of these stories, so central to Judaism, is that we
must not let our noses get out of joint because of the way someone is
dressed. Even the most ragged beggar could be Eliyahu in disguise.

Kol Tuv,
Yeshaya (Charles Chi) Halevi


From: Yehoshua Steinberg
Date: Sun, 20 Nov 2005 12:53:15 -0500
Subject: RE: Cover 

 From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...> (mail-jewish Vol. 50 #10 Digest)
>         I think two points need to be made:

I would add another point for the record. This was merely a digression,
and again, I stressed only that "some may claim" that "cover" may be an
English cognate of "kofer", since the latter clearly includes that core

>it is best when data are approached without preconceived notions

Which advice would be well directed to academic linguists who ceratinly
seem to go to great lengths to avoid any Hebrew influences on Western
languages. One more example that comes to mind offhand is the word
"cable." American Heritage launches into torturous contortions in its
etymological speculations, to wit:

Middle English, from Old North French, from Late Latin capulum,

One wonders if the editors have ever troubled to open a copy of Psalms,
e.g. where the root kaf bet lamed signifies chains and fetters:

Ps. 105:18 Inu cechevel raglav (they afflicated his legs with fetters);
Ibid. 149:8 Venichbedeihem bechavlei barzel (their honored ones in
fetters of iron).

Or for that matter the root chet vet lamed which denotes ropes as in e.g.
I Kings 20:32.

At the very least I'd like to know why sources such as these are
rejected out-of hand without so much as mention in passing. I suppose
that the fact that for centuries virtually the only literate citizens of
Europe happened to be clergymen whose obvious preoccupations were
Hebrew, Latin and Greek could not conceivably lead to disproportionate
introduction of words from these languages into the vernacular in
societies where religion reigned supreme.

In any case, I suggest people see "The Word" and judge for themselves. I
certainly think it raises some leitimate questions at the very least

Yehoshua Steinberg.


From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Thu, 17 Nov 2005 22:20:26 +0200
Subject: Re: Mem het lamed

Yehoshua Steinberg stated the following in Vol. 50 #04: 

      I'm afraid you may have to concede this one, Ira. Again not one of
      the sifrei Hashorashim, not Radak nor Rabeinu Yona, not to mention
      Menachem and Yerios Shelomo or  4 other traditional sources I know
      of list mem-chet-lamet as a root. What books are you looking at?

I must say that I am at a loss on how to handle this one.  I say three
times a day, "Mehal lanu malkenu ki fasha`nu."

Far fewer times do I recite "BA"H melekh mohel vesole'ah la'avonoteinu .
 . . ."

The Mishna about five times in Terumot states "Im ratza hakohen limhol,
mohel."  (Or "eino mohel.")

In Bava Qama 9:6, mohel is used to mean forgive a debt, for example.

I cannot find a dictionary that does NOT list mem het lamed as a root (in
Rabbinic Hebrew).

      OK, we're ready for your next example.

Do I really need to supply more examples?  How many?  I suspect that the
gemara alone has 100 or several hundreds.

            You mean that after all this you REALLY think that Hazal
            really believed that the two words have the same root?!

      Using a ridiculing tone does not make the argument any stronger,
      nor indeed my Case any less cogent IMHO.

Then let me try again.  Do you think that Hazal did not understand that
mehal'lo and mohel are linguistically unrelated?  Why do you belittle
their understanding?  As I have already stated:

>Sorry.  That is not at all what they did.  Instead, they took words
>that sounded similar but were unrelated, and they made a play on the
>words to teach a lesson.  Believe me, the lesson loses nothing if we
>come to grips with the fact that Hazal were not as simple as you make
>them out to be.

To which YS responded:

      It's unfortunate that these arguments tend to stray from the issue
      by insinuating that anyone with a different opinion is a
      simpleton. To return to the intellectual plane, I firmly believe
      that there are connections between Biblical words stemming from
      the same root.

Yes, but you have been claiming just the opposite.  You seem to claim
that Hazal confused different roots, while in fact they were relating to
similar sounds (not linguistically related) for the sake of

And it has already been pointed out that there are even several
unrelated words that share the same root letters, as in bet resh kaf,
for example.

IRA L. JACOBSON         

From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Fri, 18 Nov 2005 13:11:21 +0200
Subject: Re: Mem het lamed

I had stated:

>And it has already been pointed out that there are even several
>unrelated words that share the same root letters, as in bet resh kaf,
>for example.

By coincidence, Avshalom Kor on the radio this morning referred to the
roots `ayin resh peh, which have three separate derivations, the most
interesting one of which is from the Arabic, meaning knowledge.



From: Martin Dauber <mhdauber@...>
Date: Mon, 21 Nov 2005 12:36:01 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Og Melech HaBashan

We know that Og held on to the Taivah (ark) of Noach in the year 1656.
Og also was encountered by Avraham Avinu (approx 2047).  Moshe Rabeinu
then defeated Og and the Bashanites (Bashanians?) in the years
surrounding the exodus ( circa. 2450).

Does anyone know where Og's age at death is recorded/reported?  Did his
years exceed those of Metushelach?  Was Og a "real" figure ?

moshe tzvi dauber, md
Department of Anesthesia and Critical Care
University of Chicago


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Sat, 19 Nov 2005 19:13:32 -0500
Subject: Orthodox Legal Source encouraging Observance of Thanksgiving

There was discussion about OUR observance of SECULAR Holidays a while
back.  Finally found the source I was looking for: See the HALACOTH of
BEN-ISH-CHAI (A well known Sefardic luminary)---Year 1, Parshat Reey,
Paragraph 17 who says >>There is a custom in many households to make a
HOLIDAY(Yom Tov) >>yearly on ones birthday and to have a party. THIS IS
A NICE CUSTOM >>And we behave this way in our own house.

If the BEN ISH CHAI supports Birthdays (Which have no element of
thanksgiving) how much more so would he support a holiday like
Thanksgiving whose PURPOSE is to thank God. (In passing the BEN ISH CHAI
states this on the obligation to have offerings (of thanksgiving) on
Jewish holidays

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


From: Carl A. Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Thu, 17 Nov 2005 21:11:03 -0500
Subject: Starbucks

Interestingly, when the question re: Starbucks was originally posted on
a community list here in Passaic, one of the responders gave public
musser re: the kashruth (or lack thereoff) Starbucks.  (Something to the
effect that only the such and such is kosher.)


From: <mrosenpsi@...>
Date: Fri, 18 Nov 2005 08:02:20 -0500
Subject: Re: Starbucks and the 'Holiday'

>I can see that a respectful approach can and probably should quietly be
>made directly to a Jewish businessman about the impropriety of a
>Jewish-owned business in a 95 percent Jewish community displaying Xmas

Frankly the facts are wrong. Beverly Hills and Hancock Park are not 95%
Orthodox or even plain Jewish. These stores serve a larger population. I
actually think that people living in "95% Jewish neighborhoods" are well
served by this reminder that we live in a country that is not Jewish and
in which we represent less than 3% of the population. If the author of
the original complaint does not see this, maybe he should reflect upon
his three times daily yearnings to return to Zion! We voluntarily live
in galut for many good reasons. But we should not forget that we are a
minori ty culture and to remain a healthy one, it is important to be
realistic about our status and need to remember where we fit into the
larger mosaic of American life.

(Truth in advertising- I am a non-O member of the list although I am
sure that O members may feel the same as I do.)

From: Sigrid Peterson <petersig@...>
Date: Thu, 17 Nov 2005 21:31:50 -0500
Subject: Re: Starbucks and the 'Holiday'

A Jewish-owned department store in Salt Lake City, Utah decorated for the
holiday season with evergreens and tiny white lights.
Might I suggest the following message?

Dear Starbucks

    (In our area) we would be happy to continue our patronage of your
store during the late fall and early winter months if you interpreted
the Starbucks policy that mandates winter decorations in such a way that
your store would only include the display of evergreens and white
    Thank you for your consideration.

individual or group signature

Of course, that's probably only an opening salvo, but it should be tried.

NitzHia bat Sela


From: <Azqbng@...> (Baruch C. Cohen)
Date: Sat, 19 Nov 2005 21:14:06 EST
Subject: Starbucks and the Holiday Spirit

I complained to Starbucks and below please find it's response:

Dear Baruch, Thank you for contacting Starbucks Coffee Company. At
Starbucks Coffee Company, we value and embrace the diversity of our
partners (employees) and customers.  During the months of November and
December, a time when various holidays are celebrated, Starbucks retail
locations are decorated with fun, festive, and seasonal holiday colors
and icons.  Additionally, we offer customers seasonal holiday beverages
and merchandise.

During the holiday season, familiar icons can be seen throughout the
stores.  These include festive trees, silver bells, ornaments, candles
and snowflakes.  The seasonal colors representing the holiday season are
also used, including bright red, white and silver.  Over the years, our
customer feedback has indicated that these are the colors that exemplify
the holiday season. We work closely with our local operations teams to
identify the needs of local customers and to offer relevant merchandise
for specific holidays.  Many stores offer Hanukkah items during the
holidays. Upon request, a store manager can order a specific holiday
item for a customer.  Additionally, stores have core holiday items that
can be used to create a nice Hanukkah gift pack.  Again, thank you for
contacting Starbucks.  If you have any further questions or concerns,
please contact us at <info@...> or call 1-800-23-LATTE to speak
directly with a Customer Relations representative. Sincerely, Swati S.

Customer Relations Representative Starbucks Coffee Company.

Baruch C. Cohen, Esq.
Los Angeles, CA


From: <slefkowitz@...>
Date: Sun, 20 Nov 2005 20:30:37 -0500
Subject: Text of Torah

Some questions regarding the text of the Torah:

What is the source of the text we use? We use the Masoretic text, but
what did the Masoretes use as a source document?

>From the time of the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash, was there a
standard source document that copyists could check against?

There were about 1000 years between the destruction and the Masoretes.
Why are we so sure there were no copying errors during that period?

How did the Masoretic text become the standard?


From: Bill Bernstein <billbernstein@...>
Date: Fri, 18 Nov 2005 10:43:46 -0600
Subject: Yeridos HaDoros

One of the very commonly held beliefs in the Orthodox world is the idea
of yeridos hadoros, that generations decline in terms of their knowledge
and spirituality.  I am curious what the source of this belief is and
where it is applied.  Some statements and facts seem to contradict this
in some specific examples.  Is the statement applicable only to rabbis
or does it encompass all of klal Yisroel?

Thanks and KT,
Bill Bernstein
Nashville TN.


End of Volume 50 Issue 11