Volume 51 Number 56
                    Produced: Fri Mar 10  5:42:42 EST 2006

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Benching in a hurry
         [Matthew Pearlman]
Common Mispronunciations
         [Alan Rubin]
Counting for a Minyan
         [Ari Trachtenberg]
Golem of Prague
         [Shnayer Leiman]
Jewish vs. non-Jewish Calendars (2)
         [Gershon Dubin, Mike Gerver]
Midreshei Bitya Bat Pharaoh & Simkhes Toyre Lid le-Rivkah Tiktiner
         [Yael Levine]
         [Martin Dauber]


From: Matthew Pearlman <Matthew.Pearlman@...>
Date: Thu, 9 Mar 2006 14:34:20 -0000
Subject: Benching in a hurry

The question was asked "At all too long wedding meals, people are often
seeking 2 more to answer so they can bench and run (escape?)  Which
brings up a new question -- if someone asks you to answer their zimmun
under such circumstances what is your "status" -- can you later do the
same (answer again) for another person at the table" to which someone
replied "The halacha is specific: only one zimmun per meal."

I have now had a chance to look this up in the Mishna Berurah (end of
para 200) and the halacha seems quite complex.

It seems a clear halacha that if 2 completely new people come along and
he eats some food with them, then he can answer another zimun.

However, if there are 5 at the table eating together, and A answers a
zimun for B&C, he cannot answer another zimun for D&E as effectively D&E
no longer have a zimun "parcha hazimun" (once ABC have made theirs there
are only 2 people left).  The Mishna Berurah notes that this seems to be
the case even if AD&E continue eating together afterwards.  However, the
Aruch HaShulchan says that he can indeed (or rather must) answer with
D&E if he ate more food with them.

If there were 7 at the table, and A answers a zimun for B&C, then he can
answer another zimun for DEFG since the zimun had not disappeared (lo
parcha hazimun) when ABC made their zimun since there were 4 left at the

More surprising to me is that if there are 10 at a table and 3 of the 10
break off to answer a zimun (with shem Hashem), then if those 3 continue
eating together, they can make their own zimun again later.

I am sure that there are plenty of in between cases, and I would be
interested to hear of these.

Matthew Pearlman


From: Alan Rubin <alanrubin1@...>
Date: Thu, 9 Mar 2006 11:19:41 +0000
Subject: Re: Common Mispronunciations

Arie wrote
> i don't know how fair that is to say. i know highly israeli-yeshiva
>educated people who say hodu instead of hodo, not only as the sefer is
>returned to the aron, but also in psukei d'zimra, in the hallelukahs.and
>they say it because they heard it from others as they grew up. and it
>sort of fits.

I must own up to this one. I used to say hodu until my error was pointed
out to me after I started davening at the amud as an avel. At first I
could not believe that I was wrong because I was convinced that one sung
hodu when returning the sefer torah to the aron. That was what I
remembered from when I was growing up. I had to consult a few siddurim
before I would admit the error to myself. What is interesting is that I
must have read the word thousands of times without the correct
pronounciaation ever registering.

Alan Rubin


From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Thu, 09 Mar 2006 09:09:01 -0500
Subject: Re: Counting for a Minyan

> From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
> Once the sheliach tsibbur has begun chazarat hashats, he may complete it
> and say the kaddish titkabal sfter it even if there is no longer a
> minyan so long as the majority (6) remain.

Interestingly ... Chabad seems to require seven (7) [I suppose 6 beyond
the public leader].  Does anyone know the reason for the discrepancy?


Ari Trachtenberg,                                      Boston University
http://people.bu.edu/trachten                    mailto:<trachten@...>


From: Shnayer Leiman <sid.leiman@...>
Date: Thu, 09 Mar 2006 14:07:48 -0400
Subject: Golem of Prague

The March 1, 2006 issue of _Dei'ah Ve-Dibur_ -- a haredi journal --
includes an essay entitled: "The Golem of Prague -- Fact or Fiction?."
Adducing evidence from a variety of sources, the essay concludes that
"it is unclear whether or not the Maharal ever made a golem."

Much of the blame for leading people to think that the Maharal had made
a golem, the essay suggests, rests with Y.Y. Rosenberg [sic: while all
the other rabbis mentioned in the essay are entitled "Rav" or "Rabbi,"
only Y.Y.  Rosenberg, who was a distinguished rabbi with ordination from
the greatest rabbis in Poland, is defrocked], whose 1909 volume on the
Golem of the Maharal (Sefer Nifla'ot Maharal) is identified as a
forgery. The essay concludes with appropriate warnings that one should
rely only on literature that is "historically reliable."

Such a critical reading of Jewish literature -- and concern with
historical truth -- is certainly a welcome breath of fresh air from a
circle that has not always covered itself with glory regarding such
matters. Alas, the essay fell into the very trap about which it was
warning others: beware! One paragraph reads:

"At one point the author [Y.Y. Rosenberg] of the book actually admitted
that he had invented the story. In _Halelu Avdei Hashem_, which contains
stories in Yiddish about HaRav Moshe Aryeh Freund zt"l, av beis din of
the Eida HaChareidis, Rav Yechezkel Halberstam zt"l of Shineveh, author
of _Divrei Yechezkel_, is quoted as having made the following
comment. "A shochet ubodek from Antwerp heard from the Rov z"l, who
heard from his father the Rov of Honiad (an important Jewish community
in Hungary), who heard from the Rov of Shineveh (eldest son of the
Divrei Chaim zt"l of Sanz). The Shinever Rov said that whenever he sees
the book _Niflo'os Maharal_ it pierces him because the author of the
stories personally admitted to him that he fabricated the whole thing."

Leaving aside significant errors of translation, the Shinever Rov -- Rav
Yechezkel Halberstam, author of _Divrei Yechezkel_ and eldest son of the
Divrei Chaim -- died on 6 Teveth, 1898. Rabbi Yehudah Yudl Rosenberg
published his _Nifla'ot Maharal_ for the first time in Warsaw, 1909. It
can easily be proven that the book did not exist until shortly before it
was published in 1909. The Shinever Rov never heard of the book, never
saw it, and was not "pierced" by its content.

Indeed, one should rely only on literature that is "historically

Shnayer Leiman


From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Wed, 8 Mar 2006 21:08:08 -0500
Subject: Jewish vs. non-Jewish Calendars

From: <MJGerver@...> (Mike Gerver)

> There would have been no need to use such a precise value, if they
> weren't setting up a fixed calendar that might have to stay accurate
> for thousands of years. If all the Beit Din wanted was to know, each
> month, when the ibbur would be, to within a fraction of an hour, then
> it would suffice to use a much less precise value for the length of
> the synodic month, and make corrections every few years when there was
> a lunar eclipse visible, to keep things from drifting.

The Gemara says that someone who knows how to calculate tekufos and
mazalos and does not, is guilty of ignoring the masterful Hand of Hashem
in Creation.  There is, therefore, intrinsic value in knowing the molad
to the greatest possible accuracy.  (Some say this is even the reason
that we announce the molad nowadays, as there is no practical value to
knowing it.)


From: <MJGerver@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Thu, 9 Mar 2006 17:13:54 EST
Subject: Re: Jewish vs. non-Jewish Calendars

Gershon Dubin writes, in response to my posting in v51n50,

      The Gemara says that someone who knows how to calculate tekufos
      and mazalos and does not, is guilty of ignoring the masterful Hand
      of Hashem in Creation.  There is, therefore, intrinsic value in
      knowing the molad to the greatest possible accuracy.  (Some say
      this is even the reason that we announce the molad nowadays, as
      there is no practical value to knowing it.)

Of course there was value in calculating the time of the new moon, above
and beyond the need to decide when Rosh Chodesh would be, in the days
when it was decided by a Beit Din. The question is, what method did they
use in those days? Did they always use the method used now in the fixed
calendar, independently finding the length of the synodic month before
Ptolemy did? Or did they use a different method, for example using a
less precise value for the synodic month, and adjusting the time
whenever they observed a lunar eclipse. The latter method would actually
be more accurate over a period of, say, a thousand years or more. Over a
thousand years, the difference between the calculated mean new moon,
using a value for the length of the synodic month that is exact
initially, and the actual mean new moon, will be about one hour, due to
the slowing down of the earth's rotation period due to tidal drag, and
the periodic changes (over an 80,000 year cycle) in the length of the
synodic month, due to the effect of Jupiter and other planets, which at
present is causing the synodic month to become shorter with time. On the
other hand, if you constantly correct your calculations every few years
when you observe a lunar eclipse, particularly if you know how to
correct for the difference between the mean and actual full moon, then
you will stay accurate forever, to within about 10 minutes if you are
using the positions of the stars, and/or water clocks, to measure the
time of the eclipse. Does anyone know of any sources that describe what
method the Beit Din used, at different times in history, to calculate
the molad (mean new moon) or the ibbur (actual new moon)?

Incidentally, there are two practical reasons for announcing the molad
these days. The first reason, pointed out to me by someone (I'm sorry
I've forgotten who) the last time this topic came up here, is to enable
people to figure out the latest time they can say kiddush levonah. The
second reason is to enable someone, who will become lost in the woods
within the next month, to figure out when the molad will be each month
(and hence when the chagim will fall), without having to go back and
calculate everything from year 1.

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel


From: Yael Levine <ylevine@...>
Date: Thu, 09 Mar 2006 17:53:29 +0200
Subject: Midreshei Bitya Bat Pharaoh & Simkhes Toyre Lid le-Rivkah Tiktiner 

Following is info concerning two publications, Midreshei Bitya Bat
Pharaoh & Simkhes Toyre Lid le-Rivkah Tiktiner (Tiktiner's Jahrzeit is
in Nisan).

Midreshei Bitya Bat Pharaoh: Iyyun Nilve le-Leil ha-Seder (A Seder
Companion), Jerusalem 2004 (68 pp.)

In the Be'er Avraham commentary to the haggadah, by R. Abraham Grate of
Prague, published in Sulzbach in 1708, several of the simanim of the
seder are interpreted as referring to Bitya, daughter of Pharaoh. R.
Grate explains the siman rahzah in connection with her bathing in the
Nile and rescue of Moses (3c). In his commentary to the siman mozih, he
writes, inter alia, that since Moses was considered equal to the sixty
myriads of Israel, the rescue of Moses by Bitya is to be regarded as
though she took the entire people of Israel out of Egypt (3c-d). Based
on the commentary of R. Abraham Grate concerning Bitya, the present
compilation offers an annotated compendium of sources from the talmudic
and midrashic literature concerning Bitya. This material is intended for
study on the seder night or in preparation for the Eve of Passover. The
chapters include: Midreshei ha-Ketuvim (midrashim to Exodus 2, 5-10 and
II Chronicles 4, 18), The Aramaic Translations, The Lists of Righteous
Women, The Entrance of Bitya to Gan Eden in her Lifetime, Midreshei
Eshet Hayyil.

The introduction includes a discussion of the various sources in the
midrashic literature that attribute the Exodus to deeds of female
biblical personalities: to the righteous women in Egypt who encouraged
their husbands during the bondage; to the women who kept themselves from
immoral behavior; to Miriam the prophetess; and to the Matriarchs.

Simkhes Toyre Lid le-Rivkah Tiktiner, by Yael Levine, Jerusalem 2005.
(31 pp.) [=Simchas Torah Song by Rivkah Tiktiner].

This publication contains presently the most comprehensive scholarly
biography of Rivkah bat Meir Tiktiner (d. 25 Nisan 1605) and her
works. A Yizkor prayer in her memory is published for the first time
from the manuscript "Kuntress Beit Knesset Altneushul bi-Prague" (Jewish
Museum of Prague, ms. 113). This prayer is the only known source which
makes mention of her husband. Tiktiner was the first Jewish woman to
compose a book, the Yiddish musar work for women "Meineket Rivkah"
(Rebeka's Nursemaid). Rivkah Tiktiner also composed a Yiddish song,
"Simkhes Toyre Lid." which was published for the first time in Hebrew
translation carried out in conjunction with Dr. Boris
Kotlerman. References to the motifs appearing in the song are also

Orders abroad may be placed with Sifrei Yerushalayim. Contact:
<jerbook2@...> or Tel.: 972-2-6433580. The publications are
available in Jerusalem at various locations, among them at Lichtenstein
Book Store, on Straus St., and at Nisan Levy Store, on 9 Keren
ha-Kayyemet St. in Rehavia. Mail orders within Israel may be placed
directly with myself.


From: Martin Dauber <mhdauber@...>
Date: Wed, 8 Mar 2006 08:08:54 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Mispronunciations

 ..and another,  usually sung on Shabbat an Yom Tov..
Umalchuto beratzon, (pause) ,Kibloo aleihem....

Oy vey !!
moshe tzvi


End of Volume 51 Issue 56