Volume 52 Number 50
                    Produced: Mon Jul 17 22:44:34 EDT 2006

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

"Be your own best Jew"
         [Ari Trachtenberg]
It's a girl
         [Chana Luntz]
Kohen on an Airplane
         [Eli Turkel]
Midrash Aggadata
         [Ben Katz]
         [Shoshana L. Boublil]
Natural Disasters
         [Eli Turkel]
Protocols in Marriages
Saying the name of allah
         [Stu Pilichowski]
Transliteration (2)
         [Minden, Perets Mett]
The Week of the Chatuna


From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Mon, 10 Jul 2006 11:36:42 -0400
Subject: Re: "Be your own best Jew"

From: Joseph Ginzberg <jgbiz120@...>
> Isn't that contrary to both the halachic view of having a personal
> "posek", as well as against the correct philosophical view of "Aseh
> Lecha Rav", both of which would seem to me to be specifying that to be a
> "proper" Jew, one needs to have a connection to a Rabbi?
> I would think it inevitable that one who is their "own best Jew" will
> inevitably end up perverting halacha in favor of their own personal
> biases.

I don't think that there is a halachic requirement to have a personal
"posek".  The verse in Pirkei Avot refers to finding yourself a rav
(literally someone "larger" than yourself) so that you could get rid of
the doubt (for example, not knowing whether you are own biases are
influencing your understanding of G-d's laws).

Unfortunately, you can never entirely abolish the doubt because:
a.  your rabbi is human and fallible (by most opinions :-),
b. he's not around all the time,
c. you choose which rabbi to follow.

As such, you always end up having to "be your own best Jew" at some

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


From: Chana Luntz <chana@...>
Date: Mon, 17 Jul 2006 12:22:48 +0100
Subject: It's a girl

It's with much pride and gratitude to the Almighty, that Robert and I
would like to announce the safe arrival of the latest Sassoon - a baby
girl at 17:25 (5.25pm) on Thursday (17 Tammuz/13 July) - weight 7lb
13.6oz or 3.562kg.  Sister for David Yechiel and Eli Clement (Eliyahu

Given that I'm posting, I guess it is reasonably obvious that both
mother and baby are both home (discharged Friday morning) and doing
well.  Naming delayed for the Zeved Habat which will probably, given the
three weeks, be Shabbas Nachamu.



From: Eli Turkel <eliturkel@...>
Date: Mon, 10 Jul 2006 12:54:56 +0200
Subject: Kohen on an Airplane

> As a kohen myself , we rely on opinions that since any coffin has also
> to be enclosed in a metal box and then placed in a seperate hold this
> suffices to prevent the impurity rising. Rabbi Bleich has a long
> article in his latest book - vol 5 of his halachic discussions in
> English

Having recently finished the article it seems difficult to permit it as
most answers have serious problems. OTOH in practice almost no Cohen
stops flying to Israel. He did mention one story of dayan who wrapped
himself in plastic for a few minutes with British air allowing it and El
Al contending it was a saftey hazard. In my flights I have never seem
anything like this.

My expereince is that there are several questional areas that have
become so prevelant that even machmirim assume the kulah position.
Chazon Ish already mentions the problem of taking interest from a bank
especially in Israel. To my mind the heter iska used is fairly
ridiculous as no bank or individual intends to keep by the conditions
and many loans are not for business.

The gemara notes that one should not use paper to wipe oneself in the
toiletroom. In general they should be outside the house and toilets and
beds should face certain directions. In all this cases there are grounds
for a kulah if one is looking for it. I have heard of poskim insisting
on using a douche. However, the overwhelming precentage of observant
Jewry ignores all the problems even those who normally insist on every

Eli Turkel


From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Mon, 10 Jul 2006 12:34:58 -0500
Subject: Re: Midrash Aggadata

> > "Anyone who takes the midrash literally is a fool and anyone who does
> > not is an apikoreis."

>Indeed it is.  I have heard it as "... and anyone who does not take them
>seriously is an apikoreis".

         As I am sure most people on this list know (but am surprised no
one has quoted yet) this is a paraphrase of what the Rambam's son wrote
in his Introdcution to the Ein Yaakov (collection of Talmudic aggadata),
which is available in English.

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: Shoshana L. Boublil <toramada@...>
Date: Mon, 10 Jul 2006 23:55:11 +0200
Subject: Mochiach

> From: Freda B Birnbaum <fbb6@...>

I am only responding out of disappointment with the following style of
response.  It appears that we are back to "only my culture is legitimate
and good.  Anything else should be abolished".

> recently on Mail-Jewish:
> > To be a Mochiach knowing that it will be in the headlines the next day 
> > is the height of insensitivity.

The same could be said for any Jewish activity that could be
misunderstood by anti-Jewish journalist.

Should this be our criteria for how we live our lives?

Does that mean that Jews have to hide and cannot enjoy freedom of
worship in Israel b/c people choose to misunderstand?

> >Second, style does not govern content: nowhere is it written or
> >required that fervent moral suasion be acted out with words that are
> >arrant as well as offensive nonsense.  The Christian world has its
> >Jerry Falwells and Pat Robertsons.  I see no need for Jews to try to
> >imitate their moronic examples.

This is truly insulting to Sefardi Jews who couldn't care less for the
Christian world.  Conflating the two is insuferable.

Are we back to the "colonial" style of culture superiority: "MY" culture
is superior "Their" culture is inferior and shouldn't exist?!

This whole paragraph is insulting and out of place. Rav Ovadia Yosef and
his community do not agree with this poster's opinion.  They do have the
right to enjoy their own culture and that their rabbi and leader supply
their community's needs.

Someone made a derogatory remark about broadcasting and public.  A
private shul is just that -- private.  The people who walk into the shul
choose to do so.  The lecture is broadcast over a private satellite
channel.  You have to pay to hear it.  If you don't want to hear it --
you don't have to go to the shul, and you don't have to purchase the
satellite channel.

> Many of the people who hear this stuff don't realize it is "only" a
> literary device, or rhetoric, or whatever.

This is where you are completely wrong.  The people who hear this stuff
are there BECAUSE they CHOSE to be there.  Or they chose to purchase the
satellite channel that shows this lecture.  They KNOW what to expect.
They understand the weight and the value and the intent.  Rav Ovadia
Yosef and other Mochi'chim do not stand up in Hyde park and start to
speak.  They are INVITED to do so by their communities.  Please show
some respect for other customs.

> > this causes a person to hate themselves, to despair of ever being
> > perfect of running away from judaism, of hating his/her fellow jews.

Again, this is NOT true for the community who WANTS to hear the
Mochiach.  It is their choice, and if you don't want to hear him --
Don't Go THERE!

Shoshana L. Boublil


From: Eli Turkel <eliturkel@...>
Date: Mon, 10 Jul 2006 12:43:23 +0200
Subject: Natural Disasters

On how to view natural disasters I highly recommend the book "Out of the
Whirlwind" based on lectures of Rav Soloveitchik.  While I cannot
summarize an entire book in a few lines one of the points that he
strongly stresses that one should not ask the question of why did G-d do
this as we cannot understand G-d's logic. Rather we should ask what does
this disaster teach me.

As a corollary (not mentioned by RYBS) the lessons should me personal
lessons, not some person or group is responsible but I am fine.

kol tuv
Eli Turkel


From: Anonymous
Date: Sun, 9 Jul 2006 09:17:42
Subject: Protocols in Marriages

Recently a Rav who has serviced a community for over 25 years attended a
wedding in his city . The chatunah took place in his city but not in his
shul facility. The Rav who is close to the family was not asked to
participate at all , because the Kallah's family was informed that only
the Chatan decides which rebbe and rabbis were to be the msader kdushin,
koreh ktuva or to address the couple.. The absence of the shtat rav at
the chupah was obvious and caused much unrest. What is the proper


From: Stu Pilichowski <cshmuel@...>
Date: Mon, 10 Jul 2006 15:53:26 +0000
Subject: Saying the name of allah

From: Joseph Ginzberg <jgbiz120@...>
>>Arabic speaking Jews use(d) "Allah," which, of course, is a generic word
><for "god", related to the Hebrew "El," and thus may refer to *the*
>>God. I wouldn't be surprised if the Rambam used this, or Jews in any
>>Muslim (not just Arabic) country.
>The Rambam in his responsa ruled that saying the phrase "Allah-hu
>Akhbar", required for hallal slaughter, is not a "hefsek" because it is
>just a reiteration and praise of the lord, and as such is part of the
>required blessing on slaughter.

>From my perspective the Islamic terrorists have turned the name of God,
"Allah" into a symbol for permitted killing of innocent people - mostly

I have a very frum sephardi nephew here in Israel that knocked my socks
off one day when he said, "In ShaAllah" (Please God / B'Ezrat Hashem.)
It seems to be part of the modern ISraeli vernacular; though not in my

I'm told the origin of saying, "B'Ezrat Hashem" stems from the sefardi
communities in their original Arab countries where they learned it from
their Muslim neighbors.

Stuart Pilichowski
Mevaseret Zion, Israel


From: Minden <phminden@...>
Date: Tue, 11 Jul 2006 13:07:45 +0200
Subject: Re: Transliteration

Ira L. Jacobson wrote:

> On the other hand, there is a rule known as "The One Immutable Law of
> Transliteration".

Correct. It's a convention. Of course, a country might proscribe a
certain system for official use, but a casual glance at Israeli street
signs might give you an idea how far this idea goes in a free society.

> No matter what system you adopt, someone will come up to you and say,
> "I showed your transliteration to six different people and not one of
> them could pronounce it correctly. Here's a much better system that
> I've developed."

To which you might answer: That's not a transliteration, that's a

Systems of transliteration aim at representing each *sign* by a unique
sign of the other alphabet, if need be with the help of diacritics like
umlaut dots or accents, or even with combinations of signs. The point is
to enable the reader to know exactly how it is written in the original
alphabet - it's reversible. Though this looks much more exact, serious,
scholarly etc., it's actually hardly necessary anymore, in my
opinion. As opposed to library catalogues up to some years ago, today's
computers can handle all kinds of alphabets - the only advantage would
be to have a common alphabetic order of titles that were written in
different alphabets originally. Still, Einstein and 'ayinshetayin would
be two entries.

A transcription tries to represent the sound, so in theory, it prompts a
person who doesn't know a language to pronounce a word as correct as
possible. You can transcribe French or English words for a speaker of
English, even though it's the same alphabet. Diacritics and the like are
used as well sometimes, but typically less than for a
transliteration. Transcriptions don't have to be reversible, so it would
be OK to use an s for both Samech and Sin, for instance.

Of course, people who use or design transcriptions aren't always aware
of this difference. They might differentiate between two letters of the
original that sound the same. Also, often reduced or dropped historical
sounds that are still represented in writing might be kept in order that
the word is still recognised. That actualy makes it something between a
transcription and a transliteration.


From: Perets Mett <p.mett@...>
Date: Tue, 11 Jul 2006 11:23:34 +0100
Subject: Transliteration

Ira Jacobson wrote:
> On the other hand, there is a rule known as "The One Immutable Law of
> Transliteration": No matter what system you adopt, someone will come
> up to you and say, "I showed your transliteration to six different
> people and not one of them could pronounce it correctly. Here's a much
> better system that I've developed."

Not in the least bit surprising when you consider that transliteration
has absolutely nothing to do with pronunciation. The purpose of
transliteration is to render in one script (eg Latin) a word that is
normally spelt using another script (eg Hebrew). The rule of
transliteration is that symbols in the original script should be
replaced consistently and uniqely by symbols in the target script.

Using another script to represent the way a word is pronounced is called



From: Anonymous
Date: Sun, 9 Jul 2006 09:19:40
Subject: The Week of the Chatuna

Where is the origin of the custom that a Chattan and Kallah do not see
each other for a week or day prior to the chupah?


End of Volume 52 Issue 50