Volume 50 Number 20
                    Produced: Fri Nov 25  8:16:01 EST 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Baal Koray vs Rabbi (was LCOL MARAY AYNAY HACOHEN)
         [Russell J Hendel]
Davening with a minyan
         [Martin Stern]
Hebrew source of English words?
         [Yehoshua Steinberg]
Internet Bans
         [Chaim Shapiro]
Ketubat non-Betulah (2)
         [Frank Silbermann, Asher Grossman]
Tearing Shirt in Gaza
         [Stuart Pilichowski]
Text of Torah
         [Russell J Hendel]


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Thu, 24 Nov 2005 08:40:17 -0500
Subject: RE: Baal Koray vs Rabbi (was LCOL MARAY AYNAY HACOHEN)

This has happened to me many times (I think a torah is posol and a
Rabbi, possibly with good eyesight says it is OK). Here are some points
(1) The baal koray is at most reading the biblical text---the only
problem is saying blessings on a posol sefer torah---so the baal koray
can continue and refuse aliyoth. (2) I was once explained that BREAKS IN
definitely posol. However a break where the break is dotted or shaded a
light grayish black are not necessarily breaks that posol (of course
they should be fixed. (3) Finally the code of jewish law (Code of Jewish
law) clearly states that in cases of doubt use a minor ages 6-10---if he
recognizes the letters/words then you can continue leining.

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


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, 24 Nov 2005 16:28:58 +0000
Subject: Davening with a minyan

on 24/11/05 9:17 am, <MIKE38CT@...> (Michael Feldstein) wrote:
>> Changing the subject slightly, the impression I have is that most
>> Americans (I don't know the situation in England) suffer sleep debt, and
>> getting more sleep (e.g. on the night daylight savings time ends)
>> reduces traffic fatalities in the aggregate.  Would one consider someone
>> who drives daily skipping minyan to get more sleep as fulfilling the
>> mitzvah of pikuah nefesh, or is pikuah nefesh only a posteriori [once
>> someone is actually endangered rather than potentially endangered]?
>> David Riceman
> A bit far-fetched, don't you think?  How about going to sleep an hour
> earlier instead to make up the time?

I think that Michael's suggestion might be hinted in the Shema where it
says twice, once with reference to the principles of Judaism and the
other time its practices, that one should study them 'beshokhbekha
uvekumekha - when one goes to sleep and when one arises in the
morning'. The order of these terms is strange, one would expect it to be
reversed since one is more likely to need to be aware of one's duties
during the day than when asleep at night. Perhaps this is a hint that
one should retire sufficiently early so that one can get up fully
refreshed in time the next day.

Martin Stern


From: Yehoshua Steinberg <ysteinberg@...>
Date: Thu, 24 Nov 2005 11:04:16 -0500
Subject: RE: Hebrew source of English words?

From: Nathan Lamm <nelamm18@...>
>Simply because the theory has nothing to back it up.  Too often, it
>takes words whose origins are well known and removes "roots" from them
>that don't really exist, and then tries to find a Hebrew source.

I'm not quite sure that can't be said just as easily for the desire to
find consistent Indo-European "roots" that may or may not exist.

>I'm afraid that some people have a mistaken notion that a religious Jew
>*must* believe that all langauges come from Hebrew, or that Hebrew was
>the "original" language. These theories come from this belief; however,
>there is no such requirement.

I don't know if there is such a belief or desire, but as I've mentioned
several times, it is hardly a stretch to imagine that the most
widely-read book in history would have lent a sizeable number of words
to societies which held it in such high esteem.

Another example that comes to mind offhand is the word eye, which Am.
Her.  attributes to: Middle English, from Old English ge, age.

One is left wondering if the editors had ever heard of the word ayin, as
in Ex. 21:24.

In any case, there is serious research by at least one serious scholar,
and his work in MHO deserves more than cursory consideration and
flippant dismissal.  For Hebrew readers, I'd also recommend R. Aharon
Marcus' "Barzilai." Marcus was a master not only of many European
languages, but of Eastern and some African dialects as well, and posited
many interesting connections worthy of study.

Yehoshua Steinberg


From: <Dagoobster@...> (Chaim Shapiro)
Date: Thu, 24 Nov 2005 09:51:53 EST
Subject: Internet Bans

I am not going to take a position on the Internet ban, pro or con.  But,
I must say I find it fascinating that the guarantors of the ban are the
children.  Presumably, the ban makes two assumptions (neither of which I
find surprising), The people in Lakewood care enough about the education
of their children to the extent that they will modify personal behavior
to ensure it.  And second, the only form of education that would be
considered is Orthodox Jewish education.

There is one other possibility that needs consideration. There was an
assertion made in a study I recently read ("What we know about Jewish
Education" Stuart Kelman)) that Orthodox parents sending their children
to Orthodox schools (and I'll add Orthodox schools that represent the
parent's Hashkafa) is more about the parents and confirming their
beliefs (I'll add the possibility of confirming their status in the
community as well) than the education of their children.  In this model,
parents will concede their Internet to ensure that THEY confirm their
religiosity and their place in the community (if we accept my
assertion).  It is interesting that Internet use, and the lack thereof,
does not follow a similar structure (i.e. that community members reject
the Internet as a confirmation of their beliefs nor does Internet use
apparently threaten community status).  This would make a fascinating
dissertation topic, IMHO.  As I am nowhere near the Lakewood area, I'll
have to stick to vouchers in the Orthodox community.

Chaim Shapiro


From: Frank Silbermann <fs@...>
Date: Thu, 24 Nov 2005 14:18:19 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Re: Ketubat non-Betulah

Responding to the statement that, for the purposes
of the ketubah, we assume that a convert is not a virgin:

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

Asher Grossman <asherg@...> replied in V50 N18:
> A convert is considered to be a new person in such as he has
> no connection to his old life as a gentile.  Thus familial
> relationships are severed (...exceptions mentioned) and
> transgressions committed in his gentile days are expunged.

So far, so good ....

> However, physical aspects are not removed or changed.
> Just like you wouldn't expect a missing limb to regenerate
> just because he/she is considered a "new person" you cannot
> expect the Betulin to regenerate.

No, but there are surgeries available for that.  (I've heard these are
popular in some Muslim societies among women who don't wish to be
murdered on their wedding night.)

I had guessed that the Torah would be more interested in sin or marital
history than in the physical aspects of betulin -- though I might well
be wrong if the law is more concerned with the groom's feelings.
Speaking of grooms, what about the possible physical effects of
horseback riding, or gymnastics?  Would that affect the ketubah?  (Or is
loss of the betulin from horseback riding a convenient myth, much like
getting venerial disease from a toilet seat?)

Frank Silbermann	Memphis, Tennessee

From: Asher Grossman <asherg@...>
Date: Fri, 25 Nov 2005 02:57:19 -0500
Subject: Re: Ketubat non-Betulah

Still along the same topic, in answer to Frank Silbermann, I wrote:

      > However, physical aspects are not removed or changed.
      > Just like you wouldn't expect a missing limb to regenerate
      > just because he/she is considered a "new person" you cannot
      > expect the Betulin to regenerate.

and he replied:

      No, but there are surgeries available for that.  (I've heard
      these are popular in some Muslim societies among women who
      don't wish to be murdered on their wedding night.)

      I had guessed that the Torah would be more interested in sin
      or marital history than in the physical aspects of betulin


      what about the possible physical effects of horseback riding, or
      gymnastics?  Would that affect the ketubah?

Let's get some facts straight.

A distinct separation must be made between the "Betulin" and the
"Betulah". A Betulah is a girl or woman who has never cohabited with a
man. Existence of the Betulin is a physical proof that the woman had
never cohabited with a man; however, they do not categorically prove
that the woman is a Betulah - as Biah Shelo Kedarkah may have
happened. Lack of Betulin is not ultimate proof that she is not a
Betulah - as she may have lost the Betulin in an accident. (A concept
known as "Mukat Etz" - literally "Struck by wood").

Whether a woman who has lost her Betulin due to an external cause is
entitled to the full Ketubah of a Betulah depends on a Machloket in the
first Perek of Masechet Ketubot. The Gemara discusses several situations
where the groom appears before Bit Din claiming he found no evidence of
Betulin, and therefore suspects that his bride had an adulterous
relationship during the period of their betrothal (Kiddushin). She has
three defences that may be acceptable: 1. This had happened before
Kiddushin, and therefore it was not adultery. 2. I was raped. 3. I was
"struck by wood", i.e. a physical mishap caused the loss of the Betulin
- not cohabitation. Obviously, answer 1 is radically different than the
other two, since she is in fact saying that she has misled her groom. He
had assumed he was marrying a Betulah, while she was not.

Due to the financial undertakings involved, and the element of "Truth in
advertising" (so to speak), I have serious doubts whether this operation
you speak of would be allowed from a halachic point of view - except
perhaps in the case of a "Mukat Etz", and only according to the opinion
that she is still entitled to a full Ketubah of a Betulah. This would be
the only time when "the groom's feelings" might be considered here. Any
other scenario involves misrepresentation of the facts, and blatant

So we see that, although tied in to the existence of the Betulin, the
actual point is indeed the marital history of the woman. Sin is not
necessarily a factor, as a woman who has had marital relations as a
single woman did not commit a severe sin (although there is a rabbinical
prohibition against relations out-of-wedlock) and may marry anyone she
wishes - though not as a Betulah of course.

Now we come to the convert. Gentiles in the time of Chazal, (and indeed
in most time periods - including today), were extremely
promiscuous. Thus a female convert is assumed to have had some sort of
marital history, and the actual existence of Betulin is moot. She is
considered a Beulah even if the Betulin exist.

Thus it is the status of Betulah which is the point in question. I
return to what I wrote before. Just like you don't expect a limb to
regenerate, neither will the Betulin - in the sense that once she has
had marital relationships, it's a fact that cannot be expunged. There
may have been no sin involved, but it is a physical aspect we are
talking about, using the existence of Betulin as proof - but not proof
positive in either direction.

Asher Grossman


From: Stuart Pilichowski <cshmuel@...>
Date: Thu, 24 Nov 2005 19:06:06 +0000
Subject: Re: Tearing Shirt in Gaza

From: <DTnLA@...> (Dov Teichman)
>In Shulchan Aruch (OC 561:1) the halacha states that one who sees cities
>of Judah in their destruction must tear Kriah. The Bach adds some verses
>to say as well as the brocha of Baruch Dayan HaEmes (_without_ Hashem's
>name). Mishna Brurah states that this specifically applies to cities of
>Judah and not to other cities in the Land of Israel. Furthermore, the
>modern day poskim have said that we do not tear kriah even for cities of
>Judah, (either because they are under Jewish sovereignty or because we
>don't know their precise location).

The pain of withdrawal from Gush Katif was so great that regardless (!)
of what the specific sources cited state the people spoke and expressed
themselves by tearing kriah.

Perhaps the letter of the law wasn't followed to the exact nekudah, but
I highly doubt that after 120 years when they stand before The Boray
Olam, they will not be taken to task for making the bracha or tearing
their clothes.

Aleh-vie, that more Jews would follow their Rabbis example and act in
such a manner as they did in Gaza.

Stuart Pilichowski
Mevaseret Zion, Israel


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Thu, 24 Nov 2005 08:47:13 -0500
Subject: RE: Text of Torah

I thank Dr Katz for beginning to answer this question. I am surprised no
one else explained the basic setup. Prior to the formalization of vowels
in about the 9th century (by Ben Asher) scribes had scrolls of law,
written in Asyritic script, and conforming to all laws of Jewish Scroll
writing. When there were 'errors' one could look at majorities of
scrolls and make a determination. As for the pronunciation this was
handed down orally---so your Bible teacher new that the 2nd word of the
Torah was pronounced BaRaH (God CREATED) vs BeROH (In the WORLD
CREATION). These three factors (1) religiously written scrolls (2)
scroll majority (3) and oral traditions were the mainstay of our
knowledge of the Torah.

There was also a group of people called the Masorites who lived even
prior to the Geonim---they carefully listed all verses that looked
strange and all lists where there were exceptions. After the Masorites
the various "grammarians" like Ibn Genach, Rav Yonah, Ibn Ezra and
Radack arose---they helped finalize many rules. But and this is
important to emphasize, the grammarians BUILT on the works of the
Masorites (This is clear in the Radaks writings who cites the Mesorah
numerous time). In short the word Mesorah is a technical grammatical
term referring to compilations of 100s of verse pairs showing anomalies
in writing and pronunciation. The masorites actually memorized (or kept
in writing) their individual mesorahs and this preserved the Torah Text
without error.

In the last few 100 years there were great leining grammarians like the
REVAAH who further developed our knowledge of pronunciation and leining.
(The leining grammarians started in the time of the Rishonim)

This is a broad overview: But the progression a) Torah+Oral b)
Masorites, c) Grammarians d) Leining Grammarians sums up a very broad
history of 4000 years of an amazing preservation of a Biblical text

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


End of Volume 50 Issue 20