Volume 52 Number 72
                    Produced: Thu Sep 14  5:21:36 EDT 2006

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Alarm Clock on Shabbat
         [Deborah Stepelman]
Birkat HaMazon - not guest and not home
         [David Curwin]
Bshem HaShem
         [Ephi Dardashti]
Hebrew on my computer
         [David Charlap]
Images on Gravestones
         [Saul Mashbaum]
Jewish children named Yitro (3)
         [Kenneth H. Ryesky, Ben Katz, Aliza Berger]
Lost and Found Advice
         [Perets Mett]
Meat in the Nine Days
         [Batya Medad]
Tunes and Personalities
         [S. Wise]
Turning off Electrical Devices on Shabbat
         [Ari Trachtenberg]
What is the Talmud?
         [Ben Katz]
Why do people have to live in fear?
         [Jeanette Friedman]


From: Deborah Stepelman <stepelma@...>
Date: Thu, 14 Sep 2006 01:16:32 -0400
Subject: Alarm Clock on Shabbat

Several former problems concerning alarm clock on shabbat and yom tov
have been eliminated thanks to modern technology.

There are many extremely inexpensive digital, battery operated alarm
clocks on the market which automatically turn themselves off after a
given number of seconds.  In addition, most cell phones have built in
alarms that can be set before shabbat and which only ring for a short
while.  In fact, there are usually several alarms available in one cell

I use a digital kitchen timer which can be set for up to 99 hours in
advance and which has 3 different setting.  When set in conjunction with
the cell phone alarms, we are able to have alarms go off to wake my
husband for hashkama, with reminders and then others for me.  This
arrangement is also very helpful for 2 days of yom tov or even that
followed immediately by shabbat.

debby stepelman


From: David Curwin <tobyndave@...>
Date: Wed, 13 Sep 2006 10:31:57 -0700
Subject: Birkat HaMazon - not guest and not home

There is a section of Birkat HaMazon where a guest asks God to bless his
host, and if one is at his own table he asks God to bless himself and
his family. What is one supposed to do when in neither of those
situations?  In a restaurant, a work lunchroom, or a park?


David Curwin
Balashon - Hebrew Language Detective


From: Ephi Dardashti <ephidardashti@...>
Date: Wed, 13 Sep 2006 11:48:49 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Bshem HaShem

I do not know the source of the expression Bshem Hashem, however the
Moslems begin most salutations with Bsimllah........, i.e. In the name
of Allah. In book dedications, when screening movies, in private
intimate environments all activities are commenced after reciting

Ephi Dardashti


From: David Charlap <dcharlap@...>
Date: Wed, 13 Sep 2006 12:33:16 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Hebrew on my computer

Tzvi Stein wrote:
>I just figured out how to type Hebrew on my Linux computer, and I sent a
>Hebrew email to someone in Israel.  Isn't that cool?  On Windows you
>need a special program for that, don't you?

It depends on the version of Windows.  Modern versions (Windows 2000 and
XP) have the support built-in.  You simply have to enable it with the
appropriate control panels (and maybe insert your installation CD.)

Some older versions (Win98 and NT 4, for instance) can get Hebrew
support as an optional component of Internet Explorer version 6.  Go to
Windows Update and you should be able to select it as a component.

If you're on Win95, you'll need third-party software.  But if you are
still running Win95, you should seriously consider an upgrade anyway.

-- David


From: Saul Mashbaum <smash52@...>
Date: Wed, 13 Sep 2006 14:12:00 +0200
Subject: Re: Images on Gravestones

Bob Kosovsky asks, in v52n69,

> What are the halachic issues with having an image of the deceased on
> the stone?

I am not familiar with halachic issues, but I can relate to practice of
about 50-100 years ago.

I grew up near Mt Hebron cemetery in Queens, and walked along its edge
on Main Street, from which many gravestones could clearly be seen,
countless times, so I had more exposure to gravestones than most
people. Some of the gravestones in Mt Hebron had small photographs of
the deceased on them; this was rare, but by no means unique. Very sadly,
some of the pictures were of babies or young children, something that
gave me pause as a child, although for the most part the stones and the
cemetery didn't bother me at all.

I cannot relate to the religious orientation of those who chose to place
photographs on the gravestones.

I was recently in the Har Hertzl military cemetery in Jerusalem for an
unveiling, and saw on an adjacent gravesite a photograph of the
deceased, so apparently the army rabbinate, which runs the cemetary,
permitted it, possibly after the fact. Unlike the small pictures I saw
in my youth, black and white of course and about the size of the palm of
a hand, the photograph in question was a large color photogragh. As a
matter of taste, not halacha, I was unhappy with the picture, but I am
very reluctant to judge the grieving family that chose to so honor the
deceased, who was apparently a young man.

Saul Mashbaum


From: Kenneth H. Ryesky <khresq@...>
Date: Wed, 13 Sep 2006 07:08:58 -0400
Subject: Jewish children named Yitro

Scott Spiegler posts in 52/70:
>"Given that Yitro was a pretty important person in Moshe's life and a 
>parsha was named after him, I would think that parents would use his 
>name for the children. But, I don't know any Yitros."

Jethro K. Lieberman is an Associate Dean at New York Law School

-- Ken Ryesky
E-Mail:  <khresq@...>

From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Wed, 13 Sep 2006 11:09:14 -0500
Subject: Re: Jewish children named Yitro

>From: Scott Spiegler <scottspiegler@...>
>Given that Yitro was a pretty important person in Moshe's life and a
>parsha was named after him, I would think that parents would use his
>name for the children. But, I don't know any Yitros.
>I wonder whether this lack of use has to do with the fact that Yitro
>didn't stay with klal yisrael and rather returned to Midian?

         Jewish names are a very interesting and I believe understudied 
topic.  There are many related questions that can be asked: For example, 
why are there no tanaiim or amoraiim named Moshe?  Why is no one today 
named "Abaya"?  There is also the phenomenon (discussed in the gemara) of 
"non-Jewish names that only Jews have" (I am not sure of the Aramaic 
equivalents, but names like Seymour come to mind).

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: Aliza Berger <alizadov@...>
Date: Wed, 13 Sep 2006 14:00:38 +0200
Subject: Jewish children named Yitro

A few months ago a teenager from a settlement was kidnapped and,
unfortunately, killed by Palestinians. His father was a ger (convert),
(who I think had made aliyah from Australia), and the boy's middle name
was Yitro.



From: Perets Mett <p.mett@...>
Date: Wed, 13 Sep 2006 13:47:11 +0100
Subject: Re: Lost and Found Advice

Sholom Parnes wrote:
> Do any MJ'ers know of any lost and found lists that cater particularly
> to the Jewish Orthodox crowd?
> Specifically, I am looking for leads to return a siddur that I found.

Have you tried http://www.hashovasavaida.com/

Perets Mett


From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Wed, 13 Sep 2006 16:26:00 +0200
Subject: Re: Meat in the Nine Days

> What is the source for not eating meat in the nine days?  Is it Minhag
> or Halacha?

First of all Eidot Mizrach don't consider it "9 days," so it already
weakens the halachah.  The only keep "shavua she heichail bo," the week
9th of Av occurs.

There are also people with various medical conditions who eat meat,
since they can't eat other proteins.  There are seudot mitzvot,
according to psak.

So for sure if one has a meat restaurant, one does not have to eliminate
meat from the menu, just add more parve to keep your customers.

http://shilohmusings.blogspot.com/ ; http://me-ander.blogspot.com/         


From: <smwise3@...> (S. Wise)
Date: Wed, 13 Sep 2006 08:57:06 -0400
Subject: Re: Tunes and Personalities

> From: Michael Gerver <mjgerver@...>
>Orrin Tilevitz writes, in response to my posting about using tunes from
>"Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" for Yom Kippur:
>         I think I would find any pop composer, no matter how moving the
>      tune and how Jewish the subject matter, beyond the pale for Yom
>      Kippur - though perhaps not for Shabbat.  Also IMHO, the words of
>      the original tune, not merely the tune, should evoke the thing
>      it's used for or at least not contradict it;
>In general, I would agree with you. But Jesse Hefter, the chazan at
>Congregation Kadimah Toras Moshe (Brighton, MA) for the Yamim Nora'im,
>really thought it out carefully, and did it in a beautiful way. You
>would have to be there to appreciate it. The only example I can think
>of, right now, is "Kol Ma'aminim" to the tune of "Close Every Door To
>Me." He didn't use that tune for all the verses, but varied it with more
>traditional niggunim. There were a few other tunes from "Joseph" that he
>used for other piyyutim. Maybe someone who has davened there can give us
>some other examples.

This begs the broader question of using non-Jewish music for anything
holy. I cringe when I hear pisukim put to reggae-style music, or riffs
from rock and roll songs (direct ripoffs, or sampling, which is illegal
unless one gets permission) appearing in Jewish pop music. I have heard
it said that it's a device to attract kids who would otherwise listen
to the non-Jewish songs and their suggestive or more lyrics. But to me
it seems that the Torah and all that derives from is on a level of
holiness that would discourage this practice. Incorporating music from
a Broadway show (an icky one at that), to me, shows bad taste,
especially for Yom Kippur or Shabbos.

S. Wise 


From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Wed, 13 Sep 2006 10:14:13 -0400
Subject: Re: Turning off Electrical Devices on Shabbat

> From: <smwise3@...> (S. Wise)
>> I have received heterim over the years from various rabbis for turning
>> off fans or adjusting thermostats in Shabbat if these appliances were
>> preventing sleep on Shabbat, especially for an elderly person ...

> This discussion on heterim strikes me as strange. ...  At the very
> least, I would think, one should try to find a non-Jew and hint at
> what must be done, ...  What are the "strong opinions" that turning
> off appliances is less problematic -- and what does less problematic
> even mean.

My guess is that these heterim [leniencies] are based on
a.  an understanding of electricity as esh d'rabbanan [fire by
rabbinical decree]. 
b.  an understanding of an elderly person as a sick person whose life
might be in danger.

In these cases:
1.  The shulkhan arukh (o"h 278:1) states that one may put out a flame
so that such a sick person may sleep.  This, together with the
commentaries, seems to suggest (to me) a difference in severity between
putting out the flame and starting it up.  Also, the fire prohibition is
based on the positive formulation (do not "kindle" a fire).

2.  Similarly, in o"h 328:12, the shulkhan arukh makes the clear
statement that we prefer to have knowledgeable Jews perform violations
of shabbat for such a sick person, rather than someone who is not Jewish
or a youth.

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


From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Wed, 13 Sep 2006 10:54:22 -0500
Subject: Re: What is the Talmud?

>From: Andy Goldfinger <Andy.Goldfinger@...>
>On numerous occasions, I have been asked "what is the Talmud?"  Usually
>it is a non-Jew asking the question, and there really isn't enough time
>to get into a detailed explanation.  I have answered with such
>statements as:

         Many standard reference books (which people don't use as much 
anymore because it is so much easier to look online for everything) define
the Talmud something like "the corpus of Jewish thought".  I like this 
definition because it encompasses everything from Bible to philosophy to 
folklore/superstition (I will preempt some of the criticism I can already 
feel directed at the last comment by saying that yes, there is superstition 
in the Talmud, eg astrology).

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: <FriedmanJ@...> (Jeanette Friedman)
Date: Wed, 13 Sep 2006 06:49:38 EDT
Subject: Why do people have to live in fear?

>In order to avoid publishing for our highly respected LOR without his
>permission, and also to avoid the inevitable attacks he would be
>subjected to, I ask that this submission be accepted anonymously.

I would appreciate it if the readers of the list looked at this closing
to a post that describes an LOR who decided that the chumrah of the month
club was WRONG.

Imagine having to post anonymously because there are observant Jews
terrified of reprisals of one sort or another (probably their children
would NEVER find a shidduch!!!!) from their neighbors and acquaintances.

What kind of people make decent, law abiding Jews so afraid of being
part of the community that they have to hide who they to protect
themselves and their leaders from attack?

How disgustingly scary is that?

Think about what that kind of community does that--a community that
causes fear and loathing, trembling, hiding and punishment on those who
do not obey religious strictures according to "religious" leaders who
say it's their way or the highway?

Jeanette Friedman


End of Volume 52 Issue 72