Volume 52 Number 73
                    Produced: Fri Sep 15  5:30:41 EDT 2006

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Alarm Clock on Shabbat
         [R E Sternglantz]
Famous Jethro's
         [Joel Rich]
Hebrew on my computer
         [Ira L. Jacobson]
Jewish children named Yitro (3)
         [David I. Cohen, <soferim@...>, Josh L]
Tunes and Personalities (5)
         [Joel Rich, Lipman Phillip Minden, Harold Greenberg, Eitan
Fiorino, Michael Gerver]
What is the Talmud?
         [David Charlap]
Why do people have to live in fear? (2)
         [Carl Singer, Bernard Raab]


From: R E Sternglantz <resternglantz@...>
Date: Thu, 14 Sep 2006 06:21:52 -0400
Subject: re: Alarm Clock on Shabbat

Since this thread has morphed from heterim that might permit one to turn
an alarm clock off on Shabbos to ways of avoiding the problem in the
first place, be warned that not all alarms on personal digital devices
turn off after a few seconds, although some apparently do.

I learned this the hard way, when I set my BlackBerry alarm to wake me
up on Shabbos morning when I was out of town at a conference. The alarm
went off and kept cycling every few minutes, with a piercing beep that
could not be muffled. Fortunately, I was able to spend most of the day
out of my room.



From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Thu, 14 Sep 2006 08:18:55 -0400
Subject: Famous Jethro's

>  But, I don't know any Yitros."

Jethro Tull? Clampett?

Joel Rich


From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Thu, 14 Sep 2006 14:48:27 +0300
Subject: Re: Hebrew on my computer

Tzvi Stein stated:

      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

No.  Hebrew and many other languages are built into Windows XP.  I
presume also into Windows 2000.  You just have to know how to find it.
Hint: Control Panel > Regional and Language Options > Languages >
Details.  You may need your original installation CD.

There is often an encoding problem between different computers and
different email programs and settings within the programs.

IRA L. JACOBSON         


From: <bdcohen@...> (David I. Cohen)
Date: Thu, 14 Sep 2006 16:27:57 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: Re: Jewish children named Yitro

Ben Katz wrote:
> "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)."


Rabbi Dovid Silber of Drisha has a son named Abaye.

David I. Cohen

From: <soferim@...>
Date: Fri, 15 Sep 2006 07:26:46 +0200
Subject: Re: Jewish children named Yitro

Aliza Berger <alizadov@...> wrote:

> 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.

Actually, it is the father himself who is named Yitro, and many of the
family names echo those from the family of the historical Yitro and


From: <shuanoach@...> (Josh L)
Date: Thu, 14 Sep 2006 10:51:02 -0400
Subject: Re: Jewish children named Yitro

B. Katz mentioned that no tannaim and amoraim were named Moshe. This
question (along with the fact that no tannaim or amoraim are named
Abraham) is mentioned by Chid"a in his Shem ha-Gedolim, s.v. Abraham

josh l.


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Thu, 14 Sep 2006 08:23:24 -0400
Subject: RE: Tunes and Personalities

> 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 

This begs the question of where did the current nusach come from. I
doubt that it dates back to the bet hamikdash and suspect you will find
local roots for much of the nusach.  My major objection is when the mood
of the music doesn't support the words (although I suppose Country Joe
and the Fish would disagree about this issue as in "Whopee we're all
gonna die")

Joel Rich

From: Lipman Phillip Minden <phminden@...>
Date: Thu, 14 Sep 2006 12:40:13 +0200
Subject: Re: Tunes and Personalities

As opposed to what exactly: Romanian peasants' dances? Russian Orthodox
liturgical music? Bellowing of drunken cosacks? Soviet pioneer songs?
American cheesy musicals? German romanticism? Mid-west folk songs? The
occasional Basque lullaby or Czech composition?

Or the same, just on a more primitive musical level, and sung violently
to words of Toure or meshichism - because that's what passes as Jewish
(?) music (?) these days.

The tunes that might have a slightly better claim are the older yekkishe
so-called miSinai tunes and some others from this region, and even these
developed parallel to non-Jewish music. The same is be true for dome
other regions, though not for Eastern Europe, which was populated by
Jews much later.

Lipman Phillip Minden

From: Harold Greenberg <harold7@...>
Date: Thu, 14 Sep 2006 16:44:24 +0300
Subject: Tunes and Personalities

> ...the broader question of using non-Jewish music for anything holy.

Once I brought a young man home for lunch after shul Shabbat morning.  I
told him that we sing the Shir Hamaalot before the benching to secular
tunes - Waltzing Matilda, It's A Small world, John Brown's body etc.  It
turned out that he was studying to be a chazzan, and told us that he had
heard of a midrash that every tune that the world would ever hear was
sung in the Bet Hamikdash.

Eilat, Israel

From: Eitan Fiorino <AFiorino@...>
Date: Thu, 14 Sep 2006 10:41:51 -0400
Subject: Re: Tunes and Personalities

And what makes you think that many of the tunes in use for various
liturgical purposes (including shabbat and yom tov tefilot, across every
nusach) were not either (1) taken directly from contemporaraneous
surrounding music at some point in the past 500 years or (2) composed
and arranged by Jewish musicians/composers who were trained in and
influenced by local and broader contemporaneous musical traditions?  Do
you cringe when singing Maoz Tzur to the traditional Ashkenazic tune, as
one example?


From: Michael Gerver <mjgerver@...>
Date: Fri, 15 Sep 2006 11:20:03 +0200
Subject: Tunes and Personalities

S. Wise, commenting on my posting about the use of tunes from "Joseph
and the Technicolor Dreamcoat" for Yom Kippur davening, writes in

> Incorporating music from a Broadway show (an icky one at that), to me,
> shows bad taste, especially for Yom Kippur or Shabbos.

I'm not sure why you think "Joseph" was "icky." If you mean you didn't
like the music, fine, different people have different tastes in music.
But if you are referring to the way the story was adapted, I don't see
anything in the show that violates the spirit of the Joseph story. The
Tanach is an important part of Western culture, and there is a long
history, in the Jewish and the non-Jewish world, of adapting stories
from Tanach for all kinds of purposes, religious and secular. In
principle, I think this is perfectly legitimate, though in practice I
might or might not like the result in any particular case. Admittedly,
the musical "Joseph" was low brow. But it wasn't so different in nature
from Handel's adaptation of the story, over 200 years ago, in an
operetta, which was the pop music of the 18th century, though it is now
considered high brow.  Handel, in his "Joseph," took at least as many
liberties with the plot as Andrew Lloyd Weber did, elevating Osnat to a
major character, to provide the love interest expected in operettas.

I'm sorry you think it was in bad taste to use these tunes for Yom
Kippur. I believe this is very much a minority view. Of the over 100
families who daven in that shul, I don't think there was a single person
who thought it was in bad taste. People loved it! If anyone had objected
to it, I'm sure I would have heard--believe me, people there do not
hesitate to say so if they think something is in bad taste. I would like
to think that if you had been there, and heard it, you would not have
thought it was in bad taste.

> 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

Do you also cringe when you hear the traditional Ashkenazic "Adon Olam"?
That was originally a German drinking song, I think. Almost all
synagogue music was composed long after the time of the Beit Hamikdash,
and while some of it may have been composed by chazanim just for that
purpose, much of it, probably the great majority of it, comes from
popular secular songs. The only exception that comes to mind is the
wordless tune that the congregation chants during the Avodah of Musaf on
Yom Kippur. I have heard that slight variations on this tune are used by
Jewish congregations of all nusachot, which implies that the tune was
used during the Avodah at the Beit Hamikdash. And the trop for reading
Torah, Haftarah, etc. apparently goes back that far, too. In that case,
the non-Jewish world borrowed from us, with Haftarah trop being the
basis for Gregorian chants, and Gregorian chants being the basis for all
later Western music--including "Joseph" and German drinking songs.

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel


From: David Charlap <dcharlap@...>
Date: Thu, 14 Sep 2006 18:20:13 +0200 (GMT+02:00)
Subject: Re: What is the Talmud?

Ben Katz wrote:

>         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 to analogize it to secular legal systems.  For instance, I've
occasionally used the following description:

- The Torah is like the US Constitution
- The Talmud is like the US Code of law
- All of the subsequent books are like all the legal publications that
    explain and interpret the Constitution and the laws.

I realize that this analogy has some pretty big holes, but it seems to
convey the right general idea, especially to one who can't sit through a
proper explanation.

-- David


From: <casinger@...> (Carl Singer)
Date: Thu, 14 Sep 2006 12:35:41 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: Why do people have to live in fear?

> 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.

Although that may be -- even in the scientific community - I would not
be happy if someone misquoted me or quoted me out of context -- sure I
can try to "bullet proof" a journal article and, presumably, it will
stand the test of partial quotes, etc. -- but that isn't practical.

Similarly, if I were to quote someone based on his or her verbal
statements and possibly my memory (rather than verbatim notes) I'm
possibly doing that person a disservice -- perhaps they would like to
issue the statement on their own.

That said -- it's been often observed that the (younger?) more
inexperienced or more insecure poskim (pardon these negative
connotations) are more likely to be machmir or afraid to be maykel --
whereas the real "heavy weights" in learning and midos embrace
Yiddishkite in such a way that they have little fear of what others will
say or think, only of what the Aybishter might think and thus they can
be maykel where appropriate.


From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Fri, 15 Sep 2006 01:14:20 -0400
Subject: Why do people have to live in fear?

>From: <FriedmanJ@...> (Jeanette Friedman)
> >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?

I read that statement a little differently from Jeanette. Clearly, the
poster was intending to protect his Rav from attacks from the right. But
I think a more important reason is simply a recognition that a person
should be allowed to publish his thoughts himself without an intervening

The fact is that many a rabbi will give you a heter privately that they
would be loath to publish publicly. I used to think that this was
nothing but craven cowardice, but with age has come a broader
understanding. In many cases it is simply a matter of supporting the
majority view, so as not to cause dissension or unecessary conflicts
within the orthodox world. They feel a special responsibility, in most
cases, to maintain a unity at least within their peer group, their
yeshiva group, so that thay feel that it would be the height of
arrogance for one of them to take a position different from that of the
general consensus within their group. If change is necessary, they look
to their roshei yeshiva to lead.

The problem, of course is that the roshei yeshiva have their own peer
groups which enforce a similar discipline. Which is why, as I have
pointed out in the past, changes in orthodox practise must generally be
led by the observant lay population, and endorsement by the rabbis is
generally the final step in the process. (We had a fairly extensive and
interesting debate on this about a year ago which I have no burning
desire to revisit, so if you wish to do so please go to the archives.)

--Bernie R.


End of Volume 52 Issue 73