Volume 50 Number 40
                    Produced: Mon Dec  5  5:33:42 EST 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Ayin-Ghayn, Yankev
         [Nathan Lamm]
Cooking food on Shabbat - "Shabbat Jew"
         [Daniel Nachman]
Davening with a minyan
         [Martin Stern]
Hebrew source of English words
         [Art Sapper]
         [Nathan Lamm]
Kohein marrying Convert
         [Ben Katz]
Reality, Halachic Reality, and Bugs
         [Andy Goldfinger]
Source of Kaddish melody
         [Art Werschulz]
Tahanun and aversion
         [Martin Stern]
Tzur Yisrael
         [Nathan Lamm]


From: Nathan Lamm <nelamm18@...>
Date: Fri, 2 Dec 2005 05:49:23 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Ayin-Ghayn, Yankev

Richard Schultz makes a good point as to 'Ayin and Ghayn. However, he

"Arabic has two similar sounds, "ayin" and "ghayin."  Apparently, at one
point, Hebrew had these two sounds as well, but since the Phoenician
alphabet had fewer letters than Hebrew had sounds, both of these sounds
were indicated by the letter ayin, but when Hebrew ceased to be a spoken
language, the differentiation between the two sounds was lost."

It should be pointed out that some dialects (Iraqi, Yemenite) of Hebrew
have preserved the distinction, with gimel with a dagesh pronounced as a
soft g (as in "gem") and gimel without a dagesh being pronounced as a
ghayn. There's no hard g ("gift") in these dialects, just as there is
none in Arabic, although qaf can take that place, which is why the
leader of Libya is called either Qaddafi or Gaddafi.

Bernard Raab tries to connect "Jahn" with "Yankel" and "Jake." Alas,
Jahn, Johann, and John are all derived from the Hebrew
Yochanan. (Jonathan or Jon are from Yonatan.) The "k" in Jack (or
Yankee) is likely simply a dimunitive, or perhaps a remnant of the fact
that the "h" in these names is not the English sound, but comes from the
harder letter chet.

As for Freakonomics, there was a separate study recently that found that
black children who'd been given "black" names had one great difficulty
later in life: They were rejected for jobs sight unseen more than other
blacks with "standard" English names. I wonder how this impacts on the
Aris and Dovs of the world.

Nachum Lamm


From: Daniel Nachman <lhavdil@...>
Date: Fri, 2 Dec 2005 08:53:43 -0600
Subject: Re: Cooking food on Shabbat - "Shabbat Jew"

Here's an article that outlines the basic halacha:


D. Nachman


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Fri, 02 Dec 2005 12:27:47 +0000
Subject: Re: Davening with a minyan

on 2/12/05 9:59 am, Michael <mordechai@...> wrote:
>> 38 minutes >for Shachrit!)
> 38 minutes, what a slow minyan.  I can't imagine a Shacharit outside of
> yeshiva that goes longer than 35 minutes.

Our 'yekkishe' minyan (which does not say the extended korbanot only
parshat hatamid and eizehu mekoman) takes 40-45 minutes except on days
when there is kriat hatorah. I would rather daven at home than with a
minyan which races through in 35 minutes where I would have to skip one
mizmor in pesukei dezimra every time I had to blow my nose.

> I've had times where neitz is at 6:15 and my job started at 7 AM.  Not
> time for a drawn out Shacharit. Instead I was racing out of minyan
> early first thing in the morning.

Why did Michael go to an earlier minyan which davenned shemonei esrei
before haneits hachammah which is certainly permitted, at least in his
circumstances, and was the norm in Europe in previous generations? We
regularly do so in the winter in Manchester and only those with no need
to rush to work wait for sunrise.

By the way, neits is the name of a non-kosher bird, usually translated
as hawk or falcon, which was the symbol of the Egyptian sun-god. So
talking about neits hachammah might be bordering on acknowledging an
avodah zarah.  The hei at the beginning of haneits is not the definite
article but part of the word.

Martin Stern


From: <asapper@...> (Art Sapper)
Date: Fri, 2 Dec 2005 10:44:13 -0500
Subject: Re: Hebrew source of English words

Bernard Raab writes: >>"Yaakov" is pronounced "Yankov" in Yiddish,
"Jahn" (pronounced "Yahn") in Dutch, "Johan" (pronounced "Yohan") in
German , and "John" in English.<<

The standard derivation for "John" in English and Johan (pronounced
"Yohan") in German is the Hebrew "Yochanan," not "Yaakov."  The standard
derivation may be wrong, but it would be interesting to know why it
would be that far off.  The "k" sound in "Yankov" is too emphatic
(originally, it was a hard-clicked "quf") to have been so easily
dropped.  By contrast, the soft "ch" sound ("het", not "chaf") in
"Yochanan" frequently was softened as it passed from Hebrew to Greek to
Latin to German.  An example is "Anne", derived from Hanna (again with a
"het", not "chaf").

Art Sapper


From: Nathan Lamm <nelamm18@...>
Date: Fri, 2 Dec 2005 06:00:14 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Ketubah

"In it the bride was described as 'habetulah shemimenu nit'abrah'..."

Fascinating! And in full keeping with halacha: If a man seduces a
betulah, says the Torah, he marries her (or doesn't) paying the ketubah
of a betulah, pregnancy or not.


From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Fri, 02 Dec 2005 11:43:37 -0600
Subject: Re: Kohein marrying Convert

>From: W. Baker <wbaker@...>
>Elazar M. Teitz <remt@...> > Date: Mon, 28 Nov 2005 13:32:43 GMT
> > It's explicit in Shulchan Aruch (Even Haezer 6:8) that a kohein may not
> > marry a convert even if the conversion took place before the age of
> > three.
>That this is the halalcha I have no question with.  What I was stating
>was what Chazal , at the time of the formation of the Talmud,
>apparently, held such a view.  That the Shulchan Aruch seems to note
>that the kohein may not marry a convert, even if the conversion took
>place before the age of three, indicates that someone in the days before
>the Shulchan Aruch, felt that those converted under the age of three were
>in some form different than those converted over that tender age.  That
>is the only point I was making, not a discussion of current halacha.

         I have always been bothered by the fact that the 3 year cut off
that some use for when a cohen can marry a convert seems to originate
from or at least be related to the legend that Rivka was 3 when she met
eved Avraham.  What bothers me is that:

         1. There is no way any 3 year old could have given 10 camels
water to drink.

         2. To think that any girl over 3 is suspected of having had
realtions and thus is ineligible to a kohen is problemmatic.

         3. Deriving halacha from a midrash is usually not done.

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: Andy Goldfinger <Andy.Goldfinger@...>
Date: Fri, 2 Dec 2005 08:01:29 -0500
Subject: Reality, Halachic Reality, and Bugs

There is some controversy about the position of the Baltimore Vaad
HaKashrus (The Star-K) regarding insects in leafy vegetables.  Their
policy can be found in this article:


The controversy seems to stem from their position, as decided by the
Star-K posek R. Moshe Heinemann, to rely upon the halachic principle of
chazakah (not sure how to translate this into English).  Thus, the
Star-K allows the checking of a sample (e.g. three heads of lettuce) of
a shipment of vegetables to establish a chazakah on the remaining items
(e.g. the other heads of lettuce in the crate).

Opponents (who would require the checking of all the heads of lettuce)
maintain that three heads may be insect free, but there could still be
insects in the others.  (Recently, a Rav pointed out that insects had
been found in a pre-washed bag of leavy vegetables).

In thinking things through, it occurred to me that there seems to be a
difference between scientific reality and Halachic reality.  For
example, suppose I have a closed metal can of non-kosher dog food (e.g.
horsemeat).  Without opening the can, I put it into my chulent and leave
it there for a while while the chulent cooks.  Now -- from a scientific
viewpoint, there has been absolutely no contact between the chulent and
the dog food.  The latter is hermetically sealed (I love that term)
within the closed can.  However, the Halachic reality is different.  If
I understand correctly (please correct me if I am wrong), the treife dog
food is "absorbed" into the metal of the can, and this metal comes into
contact with the chulent making it treife (assuming more that 1 part in
60 etc.).

No real dog food in the chulent?  It doesn't matter.  Halachically, the
contact has been there.

Now, let's get back to insects.  Could there be real insects in the
unchecked heads of lettuce, and could a yirei shamayim end up eating
them?  Yes.  But -- does this matter?  According to R. Heinemann's psak,
no.  We rely on chazakah, and this is proper.  Just as no one who drinks
milk can be sure that the cow it came from (assuming it has not been
slaughtered) is not a treifa, and relies on chazakah to permit drinking
the milk (let's leave any questions about the statistics here to a
different discussion), and just as most of us eat meat from cattle that
have not been examined for all 18 possible treifos (relying on the
talmudic chazakah), R. Heinemann allows us to rely on chazakah in eating

Now, might we then eat insects?  Yes.  But -- might we be eating treife
meat from a hidden (not looked for) treife or drinking milk from a
treife cow?  Yes, also, but it does not matter.

Halachic reality is different from scientific reality.

In discussing this with one of my sons, he commented that nevertheless
that is a negative spiritual effect on a person from eating something
non-kosher even if he does not know about it.  Thus, if someone serves
me pork and beans and I believe that it is kosher vegetarian beans, I
have unknowingly eaten treife and there is an effect on me.  I wonder,
however, whether this point is valid in the case of R. Heinemann's psak.
That is -- if the chazakah establishes a head of lettuce as mutar
(pemitted) to eat, aren't any unkown insects actually ochlim mutarim
(permitted foods) rather than ochlim ossurim (forbidden foods)?

-- Andy Goldfinger


From: Art Werschulz <agw@...>
Date: Fri, 2 Dec 2005 09:13:53 -0500
Subject: Source of Kaddish melody

Deborah Wenger <debwenger@...> asks:

> Does anyone know the source of the traditional (Ashkenaz) melody used for
> the Kaddish before musaf on Shabbat? (sorry I can't hum a few bars
> online...)

Do you mean the one at
or the one at

Art Werschulz (8-{)}   "Metaphors be with you."  -- bumper sticker
GCS/M (GAT): d? -p+ c++ l u+(-) e--- m* s n+ h f g+ w+ t++ r- y? 
Internet: agw STRUDEL cs.columbia.edu
ATTnet:   Columbia U. (212) 939-7060, Fordham U. (212) 636-6325


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Fri, 02 Dec 2005 13:57:40 +0000
Subject: Tahanun and aversion

on 2/12/05 9:59 am, Bernard Raab <beraab@...> wrote:
>> From: Martin Stern :
>> I cannot understand this aversion to tachanun. Surely the first sentence
>> of its concluding paragraph "And as for us, we do not know what to do
>> because our eyes are to You" is the most sublime acceptance that, in the
>> end, it is not our efforts that really count but, rather, HKBH's care
>> for us and it is in it that we trust.
> I think Martin has actually revealed the reason for the "aversion" . If
> tachanun consisted of the concluding paragraph only, there would be a
> chance that it would be recited with great devotion and kavanah. Who can
> deny the beauty and power of this entire module of prayer? But to recite
> it with the serious contemplation it deserves would require at least
> 10-to-15 minutes on Mondays and Thursdays, rather than the 1-to-2
> minutes usually assigned to it.

I think 5 minutes on Mondays and Thursdays would be adequate. Anyone
needing longer could carry on until kriat hatorah or bein gavra legavra.

I recommend that people should be particularly careful to read the
moving pizmon with the refrain 'Hashem Elokei Yisrael shuv meicharon
apekha ...", which we say on those days, which perhaps better than any
of our tephillot describes the Jewish condition.

> Coming at a weekday shacharit when all are hurrying to get to work or
> school, anyone who decides to actually contemplate the full text will
> have to turn out the lights and lock the door.

Come earlier and get ahead, the only real tephillah betsibbur is to
start shemonei esrei together so one could say berakhot and korbanot
beforehand, start pesukei dezimra while the tsibbur is saying them and
either have them catch up at barekhu or ga'al Yisrael. That would
'manufacture' extra time to allow for a bit more kavannah. The last
thing I would want to do is suggest forcing the others to slow down
excessively in order to accommodate this.

Martin Stern


From: Nathan Lamm <nelamm18@...>
Date: Fri, 2 Dec 2005 05:54:32 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Tzur Yisrael

I'm not sure how apocryphal this is, but I remember hearing that the
Declaration of Independence of Israel contains this phrase as
secularlists who signed on didn't want a mention of God, and so settled
for this (to them) somewhat vaguer term, open to interpretation.

Of course, it's not open at all: It clearly refers to God. I always
imagined that the authors of the Tefillah for the Medinah had this in
mind, making a subtle point: "You may fool yourself into thinking that
the Declaration (and the State) contains no mention of God, but let's be
honest: We all know who 'Tzur Yisrael' refers to. It's obviously Avinu

Nachum Lamm


End of Volume 50 Issue 40