Volume 50 Number 13
                    Produced: Tue Nov 22  5:55:10 EST 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz]
         [Bernard Raab]
Christian Directories
         [Bill Coleman]
Davening in a non-denominational chapel
         [Meir Shinnar]
Ibn Ezra -- He Was Frum -- Why he said the things he did
         [Russell J Hendel]
Ibn Ezra - ve-hakena`ani az ba-aretz
         [Ben Katz]
ketubat non-betulah
         [Frank Silbermann]
Wearing Jackets to Prayer
         [Bill Bernstein]
Wearing jackets to shul
         [Dov Teichman]


From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabba.hillel@...>
Date: Fri, 18 Nov 2005 08:14:19 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Re: Brit/giur

>From: Israel Caspi <icaspi@...>
>Yasher koach and thank you to all who responded so eruditely on and off
>the list to my question about the b'rachah recited at the circumcision
>of a convert, all of whom pointed out my lack of knowledge of the fact
>that the b'rachah recited at the circumcision of a ger is different from
>the standard b'rachah that is recited at the brit milah of a
>natural-born Jewish child.  In addition, Martin Stern goes on to say
>that "the tevilah should take place asap after the milah has healed to
>avoid leaving the child's status in limbo."  That leads to the question:
>why doesn't the t'vilah precede the milah?  If it did, the status of the
>ger would not be an issue and the b'rachah at the brit could be the
>usual one.

I think that a tevilah is done in order to actually change the level of
kedusha involved.  THus, a person who is tamei becomes tahor, a woman
who is asur becomes mutar, a female ger goes to the mikvah *after*
having been megayer by the bais din, etc.  Similarly, a male ger could
not undergo tevilah until after the geirus is complete and all that is
lacking is the change in status.  I think that is why he must wait until
after the bris.  Beforehand he has the status of a nonJew.  After, he
has the status of a Jew who must change his level of kedusha.

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


From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Fri, 18 Nov 2005 12:28:05 -0500
Subject: RE: Chapel

>From: Eitan Fiorino:
>Let's also not forget that there was clearly a polemical aspect to this
>psak - it is not entirely clear that technically it is preferable to
> [snip]
>In any event, I think it is unwise if not flat-out wrong to extend this
>psak to circumstances to which it was not initially addressed -
>certainly, non-denominational prayer rooms in hospitals, airports,
>etc. can hardly be viewed as falling under the purview of the ruling.

Bravo and a hearty yasher koach to Eitan. I was thinking about
submitting the same sentiments exactly but thankfully I procrastinated
long enough to allow him to say it so much better that I could have.

I recently attended a family simcha in the party room of a Conservative
synagogue. When the time came to daven mincha, we gathered in a corridor
leading into the sanctuary, which was being constantly used by the wait
staff passing between the kitchen and the party room. My suggestion that
we actually enter into the empty (and beautiful although mechitza-less)
synagogue was abrubtlly rejected by my frum relatives. Looking through
the glass in the door at the beautiful Aron Kodesh which I assumed
contained many kosher Sifre Torah, I felt a strange sensation that we
were shaming ourselves and our heritage by preferring to huddle in a
corridor rather than to daven in their presence.

In the same era, Rav Soloveitchik also paskened that YU rabbis should
avoid joining rabbinic organizations, such as the New York Board of
Rabbis, together with Conservative and Reform rabbis. As a result, the
voice of the Jewish community was weakened when it should have been
influential. I believe the same polemic was at work there amd I wonder
if he would pasken the same today considering the growing strength of
Orthodoxy and the declining status of the other streams.

b'shalom--Bernie R.


From: Bill Coleman <wbcoleman@...>
Date: Thu, 17 Nov 2005 22:35:05 -0600
Subject: Christian Directories

Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...> wrote:

> Assuming for argument's sake that the Jews represent 3% of the US
> population, there is a quantitative and qualitative difference between
> a Jewish directory, suggesting that the 3% of the population by from
> its members, and the 97% suggesting that they buy from their 97%. When
> 3% of the population buys in a restricted market, that hardly affects
> the commerce of the 97%. When 97% refrain from buying from the 3%,
> that can be an end of the 3%'s existence commercially.

Who is refraining from buying from anyone?  These directories take
advertisements.  Some readers choose to support the advertisers.  Do we
think that anyone -- Jew or Christian -- restricts his or her purchasing
to the directory advertisers?  Does some fundamentalist Christian refuse
to buy from, say, WalMart if WalMart doesn't buy an ad?  Besides, how
many people use the directories in the first place?  Aren't the Jewish
directories influential only within Orthodox communities?  What
percentage of the U.S. population could possibly be using the Christian
directories?  Ten percent of the relevant population in either case?
(My guess -- way less.)

> Furthermore, no Jewish directory would or could be used to foster
> "anti-Christianity", while a Christian directory can certainly be used
> to foster anti-Semitism. If you're not on the list, you're part of "the
> other," with all the implications of that status.

I'm just befuddled by this claim.  What possible evidence exists to
support it?

Personally, I think the directories are just fine, no matter who issues

Bill Coleman


From: Meir Shinnar <Meir.Shinnar@...>
Date: Fri, 18 Nov 2005 10:21:07 -0500
Subject: Re: Davening in a non-denominational chapel

Paul Azous 
>Many poskim, including the Rav, write that one cannot even pray in
>a conservative synagogue, as the shul itself has no "sanctity". It is
>reasoned that one, therefore, for sure cannot pray in a church, or
>non-Jewish chapel.

The rav's position was, to the best of my knowledge, that one couldn't
pray with the regular services in a Conservative synagogue - because
such services violated the halacha of prayer without a mechitza - not
that one could not organize a minyan with a mechitza (or without women)
in such a synagogue.

There is also a substantial difference between a room intrinsically
dedicated to activities that are viewed as antihalachic, and a room open
to all - both halachic,nonhalachic, and antihalachic.  Which is why the
rav did allow prayer in such a chapel 

Meir Shinnar


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Sat, 19 Nov 2005 19:42:04 -0500
Subject: RE: Ibn Ezra -- He Was Frum -- Why he said the things he did

I was surprised to see the anti religious citations against Ibn Ezra
(IE) cited by Dr Backon, Dr Katz, and Maharshal. Let me therefore set
the record straight:

ApPROACH (found at http://www.Rashiyomi.com/rashi.pdf) I cite (footnote
#1) the following excerpt from the introduction of IE to the torah who
speaks about Midrash in the 5th of his 5 categories of interpretation

>If we find 2 interpretations to verses and one interpretation is like
>that of our sages, who were all righteous, then we will rely on their
>truth WITHOUT DOUBT and with strong support. And GOD FORBID that we
>should mingle with the Sadduccees who states that their interpretation
>contradicts the text and/or grammar.  rather our sages our true AND ALL
>THEIR WORDS ARE TRUE and God the Lord of truth will lead his servant in
>the path of truth.

How can anyone after reading this doubt the absolute peity of the IE. He
was obviously a religious person who deeply believed in the Torah and
Chazal. How could anyone,after reading the above, claim that he beleived
that words were inserted in the Torah when there are no Chazalian
statements to support this. In passing IE was a Rishon: He greatly
advanced our knowledge of Hebrew Grammar. Paradoxically we all use his
methods when we teach our children (Radack lived after IE and built on

I of course still have to explain why the IBN EZRA acted the way he did
(sometimes). In a short mljewish digest it is hard to fully defend this
but a rather lengthy example is presented on the Rashi website
http://www.Rashiyomi.com/h1n23.htm Here is a brief summary

(1) Chazal and Rashi claim that YRKRK-means INTENSE GREEN (YRK). In
other words the doubling of ROOT Letters -- YRK=GREEN YRKRK=PURE INTENSE
GREEN , -- this doubling connotes intensity. (See Lv 13 end of Chapter;

(2) On the Rashi website I give a partial list (the whole list is about
3 dozen) showing that this principle of Rashi and Chazal works in ALMOST
ALL But two cases. Here is one example; root QDX means SPARK; Double
ROOK QDQD means a SPARKling stone (Same metaphor in English and
Hebrew!)How therefore could anyone suspect that IE disagreed with this
list(At least grant that IE knew Tanakh!!!)

(3) However there are two exceptions and IE was probably asked about
these two cases which he didnt know how to answer. IE therefore devised
distinctions to account for the two exceptions. (To PROVE that IE did
believe Chazal but ONLY modified a rule to explain exceptions you MUST
read IE on Ps45 on the double root YFYaFITA).

(4) Finally I answer IE in the sense that I show how to resolve the two
exceptions without modifying the rule (See #6 below)

(5) But this is the important point: If you just read the IBN EZRA on
Lv13 you think (because he says so) that he is disagreeing with Chazal
AND Rashi AND 3 dozen examples. But by reading the IE on Ps45 you find
out that IE did NOT disagree with Chazal--he at most suggested a
modification of a known rule!

(6)One of the two exceptions is the DONT FEAR ME BECAUSE I AM TAN
(SXRXR) (Songs 1)Now SXR means BLACK. If SXRXR means TAN then indeed
this is an example where the double root connotes weakness not
intensity. I get out of this problem by suggesting that SXR means DAWN
and SXRXR means RUDDY (like an intense dawn) which would correspond to a
translation of DONT FEAR ME BECAUSE I AM SUNBURNED (Songs Chapter 1).

Enough for now. I believe the above should point people in the right
direction. IE was a great Rishon; he enhanced our knowledge of Grammar;
he never doubted anything in the Torah. And before WE attack him let us
at least learn the exceptions that bothered him---perhaps this will lead
to greater appreciation of him. (In passing: The Jewish community as a
whole does not make mistakes; if IE was regarded as a Rishon then
overall he was respected--and if he was respected we should ask what was
bothering him (Just as we ask what was bothering Rashi))

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


From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Fri, 18 Nov 2005 11:29:02 -0600
Subject: Re: Ibn Ezra - ve-hakena`ani az ba-aretz

>From: Shalom Carmy <carmy@...>
>Mark Steiner writes:
> > 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:
>See also Ibn Ezra Bemidbar 21 on the Canaanite king of Arad.

         Even more amazing than the IE on this verse is that Abravanel
harshly castigates the Ramban (of all people) for writing (although it
is not in our texts of the Ramban) that this whole section of the Torah
was written later!

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: Anonymous
Date: Sat, 19 Nov 2005 19:20:15
Subject: RE: Ketuba

From: Joseph Tabory <taborj@...>

> I would like to point out that chazal stated that the reason for
> requiring a kesuba is so that a man may not divorce his wife freely.
> . .  .  the Rama states that in places where a man is not allowed to
> divorce his wife against her will, there is no need for a kesuba.  He
> adds that in "these countries", where herem derabeinu gershom is
> accepted, one may be lenient about writing a kesuba but this is not
> the minhag and one should not change the minhag.

I have observed some mesaddrei gittin routinely confiscate the kesubah;
Rav Moshe has a teshuva which asserts this to be normative practice
[whether the husband is present at the divorce or sends the get via a

I find that troubling, as it basically renders the husband's monetary
obligation uncollectible in case of divorce.  In effect, we are left
relying on the Remah's lenient theoretical position, even when the
kesubah is signed, read and delivered at the chupah.


From: Frank Silbermann <fs@...>
Date: Fri, 18 Nov 2005 07:49:10 -0600 (CST)
Subject: ketubat non-betulah

> I recall many years ago being at the wedding of a female convert to a
> born Jew,

In many ways a convert is considered to be a completely new person.  For
example, a brother and sister who convert are no longer considered to be
brother and sister.  (But we do not allow them to marry so that converts
do not to appear to be moving to a lower level of kedushah.)

> and after the ceremony asking the Rabbi (quietly and privately!)  how
> and why the ketubah was read aloud with 200 zuz and the betulah in it
> (since a non-Jewish girl is presumed to not be a betulah).

Apparently, there is are limits to the concept of a convert becoming a
completely new person ....

Frank Silbermann	Memphis, Tennessee


From: Bill Bernstein <billbernstein@...>
Date: Fri, 18 Nov 2005 08:17:46 -0600
Subject: Re: Wearing Jackets to Prayer

I'd like to expound a little on what Frank Silberman wrote about
"blue-collar" workers showing up at minyan.  Many times I went with my
father in law a'h to the afternoon minyan in Vineland NJ.  The minyan
was made up mostly of retired German-Jewish chicken farmers.  With the
exception of the de facto rav I do not recall any of the men dressing
with a jacket or tie.  They came as they would have come from work.  My
father in law, an electrician, did likewise.  I also don't recall it
being an issue, with the possible exception of the shaliach tzibbur.

Bill Bernstein
Nashville TN.


From: <DTnLA@...> (Dov Teichman)
Date: Thu, 17 Nov 2005 22:58:17 EST
Subject: Re: Wearing jackets to shul

David Mescheloff writes:

> I rather hope that the tribunal 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

On the other hand there is a certain dignity in trying to keeping one's
standards of respect no matter what predicament one finds themselves in.
It reminds me of a story of the previous Belzer Rebbe (Reb
Aharon). While he was in the ghetto in Crakow during WWII, he held
hakofos on Simchas Torah night amidst all the death and
destruction. After Hakofos they were about to lain, but he insisted that
they wait and search the ghetto for a Shtraimel and Razhvolke (overcoat)
as was customary in Belz for the Oleh to wear. They ended up finding
them, but the message is that it is important for minhagim to be
followed even in adverse circumstances.

Dov Teichman


End of Volume 50 Issue 13