Volume 51 Number 20
                    Produced: Tue Feb  7  6:11:00 EST 2006

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Advice of Yose ben Yochanan Ish Yerushalayim
         [Susan D. Kane]
Excessive talking to women
         [Bernard Raab]
Excessive Talking to Women [by Men]
         [Mickey Rosen]
Yiddish in Ritual (6)
         [Eitan Fiorino, <ERSherer@...>, Stephen Phillips, Ira L.
Jacobson, Perry Zamek, Alan Friedenberg]


From: Susan D. Kane <suekane@...>
Date: Mon, 6 Feb 2006 19:11:35 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Advice of Yose ben Yochanan Ish Yerushalayim

A quick internet search reveals at least two other interpretations of
"al tarbeh", courtesy of ChaBaD.


"Let your house be wide open [for guests]; treat the poor as members of
your household; and do not indulge excessively in conversation with the
woman." (1:5)

QUESTION: What is the connection between not indulging excessively in
conversation with a woman and practicing hospitality?

ANSWER: The Gemara (Bava Metzia 87a) says "Women do not have a good
attitude towards guests." This may mean that when guests come to the
home, it is the burden of the women to make all the preparations, and
thus, due to the bother, they would rather not have the guests at
all. Yosei ben Yochanan is indicating that one's house should be wide
open for guests and that one should invite poor people to one's home and
make them comfortable. A person may find it difficult to follow this
advice due to his wife's reluctance to cooperate. Therefore, he advises,
"Al tarbeh -- do not go out of your way with lavish preparations --
sichah im ha'isha -- should be the conversation between you and your
wife." Thus, she will cooperate with you to open your home wide for

"And do not indulge excessively in conversation with the woman" (1:5)

QUESTION: Why is the Mishnah so adamant about even speaking to one's own

ANSWER: Instead of "Al tarbeh sichah im ha'ishah" -- the woman --it
could have said just "im ishah" -- with a woman? The Mishnah is teaching
that when it is necessary for one to engage in conversation with a woman
and, for that matter, even his own wife, his thoughts should not be
centered on "ha'ishah" -- the feminine features of the woman -- but
rather he should consider her as another person with whom he needs to

Susan Kane
Boston, MA


From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Tue, 07 Feb 2006 02:27:59 -0500
Subject: RE: Excessive talking to women

As someone who has never been very good at "small talk", I fail to
understand why this mishnaic statement should occasion so much
discussion today. Certainly we can agree that "excessive" conversation,
which must certainly include gossip, slander, and all forms of "lashon
hara" must be avoided between all parties.

The fact that the mishna appears to apply a special stricture against
"excessive" conversation with women cannot be used to "prove" that the
same would not apply to conversation with men. Does anyone really
suppose that the mishna intends to say that we are free to engage in all
sorts of idle useless conversation with men without limit?

Let us agree that all forms of useless, unecessary and destructive
conversation be eliminated between all people, and this will surely
encompass the mishna as well.

b'shalom--Bernie R.


From: Mickey Rosen <mrosenpsi@...>
Date: Mon, 6 Feb 2006 06:37:49 -0800
Subject: RE: Excessive Talking to Women [by Men]

> 'We need to find ways to interpret the Mishna'? Thats sounds awfully
> close to reform theology.

Daniel is being a bit sloppy in terms of his understanding of Reform
Theology. Reform does not need to find ways to interpret Mishnah that is
different that the ways that other Jews interpret Mishnah. (In fact
interpretation of Mishnah is a "reform" as old a Mishnah cf. "chisorah
mechsarah" when the Talmud claims that a Mishnah does not mean what it
says since there is an ellipses. Rather Reform believes that we can
claim that the previous understanding of Jewish law and obligation is no
longer binding. These are two quite different claims.


From: Eitan Fiorino <AFiorino@...>
Date: Mon, 6 Feb 2006 09:11:31 -0500
Subject: Yiddish in Ritual

> From: Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...>
> I think I once saw "Bittul Chometz" and "Eruv Tavshilin" in Yiddish
> somewhere, but I'm not sure.

These declarations must not only be recited, but must actually be
understood by the reciter, in order for them to be effective, so it
would make sense that they would be printed in the local vernacular as
well.  As far as I know, if one only recites them in Aramaic and doesn't
understand what one has said, then one has not actually been mevatel
one's chametz (I wonder if this is true to the same extent for erev
tavshilin since one also recites a bracha, but I've never lookied into

Really, this question should not be about Yiddish in ritual, since this
is a specific question that applies only to a portion of Jews.  The
question is about the ritual uses of the vernacular, and of course there
are many examples of that beginning with everything in the siddur which
is Aramaic.  Hagadot are a great source of interesting uses of the
vernacular; one can find many compositions in Yiddish, Arabic,
Judeo-Arabic, Ladino, Judeo-Italian, etc. etc.


From: <ERSherer@...>
Date: Mon, 6 Feb 2006 10:11:21 EST
Subject: Re: Yiddish in Ritual

> From: Bill Bernstein <billbernstein@...>
> 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.

    The announcement of the molad in Yiddish is not really a part of the
ritual. I think it stands alongside "the announcements". I consider it
as part of announcing davening times for the coming week, which are
appropriately in the vernacular of the people to whom the announcement
is directed. Announcing the molad, the davening times, and, on erev
Shabbos, the status of the eruv (if there is one in the community) is
properly made in the language which most of the community understands.

From: Stephen Phillips <admin@...>
Date: Mon, 6 Feb 2006 12:35:02 +0000
Subject: Re: Yiddish in Ritual

> From: Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...>
> I think I once saw "Bittul Chometz" and "Eruv Tavshilin" in Yiddish
> somewhere, but I'm not sure.

This is quite possible, as both these must be recited in a language
understood by the declarant (see Rama Siman 434:2 and 527:12). So if you
understand Yiddish then they can be recited in Yiddish.

Stephen Phillips

From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Mon, 06 Feb 2006 15:44:01 +0200
Subject: Re: Yiddish in Ritual

Mark Steiner <marksa@...> stated on Mon, 6 Feb 2006 08:14:00

      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).

Is that the same as stating that saying "Barukh hamavdil ben qodesh
lehol" permits one to perform melakhot?

IRA L. JACOBSON         

From: Perry Zamek <perryza@...>
Date: Mon, 06 Feb 2006 13:28:04 +0200
Subject: Re: Yiddish in Ritual

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

IMHO, these are slightly different than the other two examples that have
been mentioned, zimun before birkat hamazon and announcement of the
molad.  Why? Because they are both legal declarations, establishing a
legal (and halachic) reality, and, as such, need to be understood by the
person making them. (This is certainly the case for "bitul chametz", as
has been discussed in Mail.Jewish. I think it may logically be extended
to Eruv Tavshilin - perhaps also the other eruvin as well - but I have
never seen it stated in halachic texts.)

BTW, apart from the yiddish "rabosai mir vel'n bentch'n", there is the
Aramaic "hav lan venivrich", in some Sephardi minhagim. I have heard
(anecdotal evidence, hmmm?) that someone once led off with "Let's
bench", and the chavurah with whom he was eating proceeded to answer
"Yehi shem etc."

Perry Zamek

From: Alan Friedenberg <elshpen@...>
Date: Mon, 6 Feb 2006 06:38:36 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Yiddish in Ritual

This brings to mind something that happened in the huge tefiloh
gathering at the Kotel before the first gulf war.  Someone was making
announcments over a loudspeaker, and said something in Yiddish about
saying the tehillim "puseek b'puseek," then made an announcment in
Hebrew that included "pasook b'pasook."

Alan Friedenberg
Baltimore MD


End of Volume 51 Issue 20