Volume 51 Number 18
                    Produced: Mon Feb  6  5:17:25 EST 2006

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Does Learning prevent forbidden Thoughts
         [Russell J Hendel]
Idolators and Hindus
         [I. Balbin]
On the use of Yiddish
         [Mark Steiner]
Patriarchs and Matriarchs in Mi Sheberach for the Sick
         [Orrin Tilevitz]
Wearing Jackets to Prayer/Clothing to Tefillah
         [Sammy Finkelman]
Women Mohalot
         [Michael Pitkowsky]
Yiddish in Ritual (4)
         [Carl A. Singer, Bill Bernstein, Tzvi Stein, Gilad J.


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 5 Feb 2006 22:04:53 -0500
Subject: RE: Does Learning prevent forbidden Thoughts

Recall I had written a long posting about the need to satisfy
intellectual needs in learning.  I cited several people who
intermarried, left Judaism, had suicidal thoughts (and in one case the
problem left when they started learning properly)

Akiva Miller agreed it is tragic.  But he then states 'we must remember
that their is a variety of learning possibilities.'

Akiva and I seem to agree that THERE is a problem and there is a variety
of learning possibilities...but I have to reemphasize again that not all
learning is intellectually challenging.

Rather than attack the Rashbam again (that is not my goal in life) let
me give a simple example (From the Rav, Rabbi Soloveitchick).  The
opening Rashi in Vayishlach speaks about the verse where Jacob stated 'I
have lived (GARTI) with Laban till now' Rashi notes that a rearrangement
of the letters of GARTI is TARYAG. Rashi then points out that we infer
that Jacob observed all TARYAG (613) commandments.

I cite the Rav's original comments on this: "What type of Rashi comment
is this? Is Rashi becoming a Chasidshe Rebbe? ... If it were any other
Rishon I would't bother to defend it. But Rashi never talks like this."

The Rav then gave an explanation (which his son pointed out to me is
mentioned by the Chizkuni). There are two Hebrew words for residence:
Yud-Shin-Beth=residence and Gimel-Resh-Tauv=sojourning. Yaakov who lived
in a town for 20 years, married two women and earned alot of wealth
speaks about "sojourning" indicating he felt uncomformtable because his
religious way of life differed from Laban.

Now here is my point of contention with Akiva. Playing games with
letters (GARTI TARYAG) may give you a momentary high but it cannot be in
the long run challenging. By contrast differentiating between synonyms
is challenging.

Akiva would probably respond..."No...maybe someone gets challenge from
Gematrias." ANd that is my whole point: If we saw a friend involved in a
social relationship because of externals wouldn't we try and help
him...wouldnt we try and make him aware that he is looking at externals
and there should be more. Why should learning be different. Just as we
respect people to chose their own mates so we respect people to chose
their own learning. And just as we DO try and prevent relationships
based on externals so TOO we should prevent learning relationships based
on externals.

It is this which I have been arguing for. We have to collectively
develop STANDARDS and see to it that people have a learning variety from
learning situations that are intrinsically challenging. Otherwise we
will continue to have the tragedies of intermarriage, avoiding learning,

I again request fellow group members to share their definitions of
challenging learning. Last time I asked this I received a barrage of
'you keep to your lists and we will keep to what we want..." No one felt
an obligation to discuss it. There ARE people suffering out there and we
can help by making ourselves aware of what works and what fails.

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


From: I. Balbin <isaac@...>
Date: Mon, 6 Feb 2006 13:02:54 +1100
Subject: Re: Idolators and Hindus

> From: P.V. Viswanath <pvviswanath@...>
>I. Balbin <isaac@...> writes in 51:10:

>>My own extensive contact with Hindus indicates that they are not at
>>all monotheists. Rather, from a range of idols/gods, they each have
>>their "chosen" god/idol. The reasons for a particular god may relate
>>to family/location/etc

> The issue is not as simple as Isaac thinks.  The problem is in
> translation and in what terms are taken to mean by the different
> parties.  The word "god" is not invested with the same semantic range
> for Hindus as for Jews.

Indeed. I have found that there is a very great gap between Hindu
theologians and the knowledge/practice of the people.  In many cases,
especially amongst those who are less fortunate, the reality of the
religion as they and their parents and grandparents see it, is very
simplistic and directed towards "their" god.  One could argue that their
practice doesn't define the religion, but that practice is what is in
the mind of the worshipper, and one can cogently argue that it is
precisely what is in the mind of the worshipper that defines the
religion in this case. My feeling is that in general, whilst they
certainly know at different levels about the relationship of their god
to other gods and the "big gods" they do tend to be exclusivist in the
practice of channeling their religious practice towards one particular
god (amongst a range of possibilities)

> Can a Hindu read about the ten sefirot and infer that there is a
> pantheon of gods in Judaism?  Presumably not.

They can theoretically do that, but I'd suggest that nobody worships a
particular Sefira or Mido of Hashem and then places it into the form of
an idol.  We can have different biases in our religious practice eg
through more simcha, more introspection etc but at the end of the day we
don't worship "simcha" or "bino" or ...

> Another interesting aspect of Isaac's posting is his statement
> regarding Hindus that "they are not at all monotheists."  How did he
> determine that some of them were, indeed, monotheists?

I meant that in the main I don't consider them monotheists.  I have
probably talked to thousands from all around India (except Kashmir)

> And, if there are indeed Hindus who are monotheists, what do we do
> about the status of the Hindu temple?  Do we take a poll?  A global
> poll or a different poll in each locale?  Or do we look at the Hindu
> books that discuss the nature of God?

Indeed. I say "Pook Chazee" Go out and see. What I "see" is a system of
favourite gods in practice

> I would also suggest that Isaac ask his Hindu friends if they believe
> that Siva and Vishnu (or the many manifestations of these primary
> "deities") are different manifestations of a single incorporeal
> Essence or Brahman.

I have had discussions on this sort of thing, and I found that one
person tells me the other had no idea what they were talking about and I
should ask XYZ. I had asked why they focus on their "favourite" god and
not just go to the "ceo"

> Ask them if they believe that their idol is God and whether the
> destruction of the idol is the end of their God.

They would never say that. I don't know that any idol worshipper would
say that, would they? Terach presumably had multiple models of the same
god?  One of my academic friends said that he can use a plastic duck if
he wishes to be the "form" for his particular god.

> I would be interested in their responses.


From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Mon, 6 Feb 2006 08:14:00 +0200
Subject: RE: On the use of Yiddish

On the use of Yiddish (one of my favorite topics):

The prayer "Got fun avrohom" is not, or not only, a tkhine.  It has the
status of havdalah (havdole) and allows doing "work" (melakha) after
shabbat (or shabbes).


From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Sun, 5 Feb 2006 19:46:13 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Patriarchs and Matriarchs in Mi Sheberach for the Sick

This posting is prompted by a broadcast news item I heard in New York
after Prime Minister Sharon suffered his second stroke.  In the
background, someone (I can guess who, and it might be relevant) was
chanting "mi sheberach avoteinu Avraham Yitzchak veYaakov ve'imhoteinu
Sarah Rivka Rachel veLe'ah" (and then the reporter chimed in, obscuring
Mr. Sharon's Hebrew name).

The Art Scroll siddur has "Avraham Yitzchak veYaakov Moshe Aharon David
uShelomo" in the mi sheberach for both men and women, omitting the
matriarchs in both cases.  (Art Scroll even omits the matriarchs from the
mi sheberach for the yoledet.) Other siddurim I've looked at, including
a guide for gabbaim issued by the Israeli Chief Rabbinate, add the
matriarchs to the mi sheberach for women only, and a siddur supposedly of
Rav Yaakov Emden adds it for both men and women.  I can't find the word
"ve'imhoteinu" in any printed version of the prayer.

Any comments on which is correct, or does it all depend on minhag (and if
so, what is the rationale for Art Scroll's approach)? And does the word
"ve'imhoteinu" belong in it at all?


From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Sun, 05 Feb 06 23:01:00 -0400
Subject: Re: Wearing Jackets to Prayer/Clothing to Tefillah

-> So this particular case would seem to be one where it was indeed
-> imperative, for the king's honour, for Yosef to dress up in all
-> finery and look the part of one important enough to advise the king

-> Your idea that Yosef dressed up when he went to Pharaoh because
-> Pharaoh needed him is an interesting hypothesis.  Do you have a
-> source for this? I personally doubt that Yosef really felt that way
-> when he was dragged out of prison to come before the ruthless
-> murdering dictator of the land, or if he felt more like a servant
-> preparing to plead his case.

Yosef didn't have a choice. They dressed him and did all these things to
him. This probably happened because the servants of Paroh felt you
couldn't bring someone the way he was to Paroh (and also maybe a little
bit to hide where they got him from or how things were there)

Or even better, what they did is they made him look like one of them.
With possibly very special clothing. Which might not even have bene
comfortable. An analogy today might possibly be putting on a tuxedo
which not too many like. The details here are not recorded. It's not
complimentary to Paroh and not really a lesson to us how people should
dress. That's what the royal court did, and it may be another thing
wrong there.


From: Michael Pitkowsky <pitab@...>
Date: Sun, 05 Feb 2006 20:59:20 -0500
Subject: Women Mohalot

A few weeks ago I blogged about women mohalot and wrote a brief summary
of the literature and rishonim.


Michael P.


From: Carl A. Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Sun, 05 Feb 2006 20:08:27 -0500
Subject: Yiddish in Ritual

> In the Birkat Hamazon, many people begin with the Yiddish: "Robosay mir
> veln benchn." (Heb: "Rabotai nevarech"). It occurred to me that that is
> the only place that I know of Yiddish in the ritual.
> Does anyone know of any other places where Yiddish is used as a norm,
> becides a few Techinos (Gott foon Avrohom ...)?
> Shmuel Himelstein

How about in announcing the Molad -- many of the calendars that are sent
out by various yeshivas have the information written in Yiddish and many
shuls announce the Molad in Yiddish.


From: Bill Bernstein <billbernstein@...>
Date: Sun, 05 Feb 2006 19:27:57 -0600
Subject: Yiddish in Ritual

Shmuel Himmelstein asks about using Yiddish in rituals.  I think there 
is a wide-spread practice to announce the molad in Yiddish, even in 
shuls that don't normally use that language.

Kol tuv,
Bill Bernstein
Nashville TN

From: Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...>
Date: Sun, 05 Feb 2006 20:20:22 -0500
Subject: Re: Yiddish in Ritual

I think I once saw "Bittul Chometz" and "Eruv Tavshilin" in Yiddish
somewhere, but I'm not sure.

From: <Gevaryahu@...> (Gilad J. Gevaryahu)
Date: Sun, 5 Feb 2006 21:25:35 EST
Subject: Yiddish in Ritual

In my current shul, the Lower Merion Synagogue, the minhag is to
announce in Yiddish the new molad time in Birkat ha-Chodesh.

Gilad J. Gevaryahu


End of Volume 51 Issue 18