Volume 52 Number 76
                    Produced: Wed Sep 20  5:05:57 EDT 2006

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

3 weeks
Alarm Clock on shabbat
         [Deborah Stepelman]
All of Sephira
         [Jonathan Baker]
Birkat HaMazon - not guest and not home
         [Akiva Miller]
Historical Information on Tzedakah
         [Aliza Berger]
         [Jacob Gross]
Monsey Meat Debacle
Protocols in Marriages
         [Peretz Zvi Davidson]
         [Joel Rich]
"Rupture and Reconstruction" at ATID
         [R. Jeffrey Saks]
         [Mike Gerver]
         [Joel Rich]
Tunes, Tunes and more tunes
         [Mark Symons]
Yom Kippur
         [Richard Fiedler]


From: Menashe <elyashm@...>
Date: Wed, 26 Jul 2006 08:57:16 +0300
Subject: 3 weeks

Historical speeking, the Mishna has 3 periods of pre Tisha B'Av
mourning.  From (today), Rosh Hodesh, minimizing happiness, & from
Moseai Shabbat, the week of Tisha B'Av, no laundry and haircuts. Seuda
Mafseket, the meal before the fast, no meat. Over the generations, some
of these have been extended. The general Minhag Sefarad is:

3 weeks: no Shehehiyanu on weekdays, no music execpt at Seudot Misvah
(e.g. - bar misvah or wedding)

10 days: no meat or wine, no weddings

week of: like in the Mishna, no laundry, haircut, and also - no bathing
in hot water.


From: Deborah Stepelman <stepelma@...>
Date: Tue, 19 Sep 2006 16:35:31 -0400
Subject: Alarm Clock on shabbat

Saul Mashbaum recalls the wind-up clocks whose alarms stopped after a
short finite time.

However, those clocks could not be set more than 12 hours in advance.
So, for example, if shabbat began at 5:30, you could not set the clock,
before candle lighting time, to ring at 7 AM.

It is, indeed, modern technology which allows us to set the alarm for
any time, sometimes any date, multiple settings, etc.

So, either for free if you have a cell phone, or for less than $10, you
can avoid the problem of looking for a heter on this topic.

debby stepelman


From: Jonathan Baker <jjbaker@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Jul 2006 11:37:44 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: All of Sephira

> A friend who recently visited family in Israel related to me that they
> were shocked when they found him listening to music.  He told them that
> he kept the "first part" of sefira (i.e. until Lag B'Omer) and they told
> him that it is not allowed to listen to music the *entire* sefira period
> (Pesach until Shavuos).  I had never heard of that sheeta.  Is it a
> meshugas or is it a real sheeta?

Lubavs hold that way.  I think other Chasidim may as well.

As I had heard it:
  Ashkenaz: until Lag Baomer
  Sefard: from Rosh Chodesh Iyar (which makes some sense, as we don't say 
    Tachanun until after Rosh Chodesh Iyar)
  Chasidic: the whole thing, justifying it as "49 less Pesach, Shabbatot,
    Rosh Chodesh, gives 33 actual days of restricted activity".

However, when I actually look into the Mishna Brura (ch. 493), I see
that the Beis Yosef (Sephardi, basic idea) is until Lag Baomer, while
some Ashkenazim (Chayei Adam reports from Vilna, Mishna Brura implies
that others do the "Chasidic" opinion above) hold the Rosh Chodesh Iyar
onwards position.

So all three seem to be genuine shitot.  However, I don't think your
friend's relatives should have claimed "it is forbidden".  This kind of
elevation of "my custom" to "the law" is very annoying.

Jonathan Baker
Blog: http://thanbook.blogspot.com   Web page http://www.panix.com/~jjbaker/


From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Wed, 20 Sep 2006 02:05:31 GMT
Subject: Re: Birkat HaMazon - not guest and not home

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz wrote:
> I have been told that "kol bnai bris b'makom hazeh" is a valid
> formulation.

Why would one go to the effort of excluding the non-Jews? Why not just
bless everyone?

(I do realize that we have plenty of prayers where we ask for good
things for our fellow Jews, but those are in Jewish contexts. The
context here is to bless the other people who are present, and so it
seems odd to me that one would be selective to bless only some of those
present and not others.)

Akiva Miller


From: Aliza Berger <alizadov@...>
Date: Tue, 19 Sep 2006 16:27:50 +0200
Subject: Historical Information on Tzedakah

I am looking for historical information (all periods) on tzedakah
(charity)-giving, e.g., did Jewish kehilot (communities) force
contributions of ma'aser (tithes) or make other assessments.



From: Jacob Gross <JacobBGross@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Jul 2006 12:48:59 -0400
Subject: Re: Ketuba

Every kesuba contains major elements of fiction: It is rare to find a
chasan who has spoken the precise words reported in the document to the
bride and to the witnesses.  The witnesses may sign, provided he agrees
to be bound by the contract as written.  Such is hilchos shtaros.

So even if the kesuba obviously describes the bride inaccurately, it is
of no concern to the mesader kiddushin unless a "takala" can ensue.
(For example, if she is ineligible to marry a cohen, her status of
giyores or megoreshes or chalutza must be noted in the document.)

Similarly, the couple, as contracting parties, can write any financial
terms they choose, provided the amount of the kesuba obligation he
undertakes is not below the statutory minimum.

She can even wear white.


From: <smwise3@...> (S.Wise)
Date: Mon, 18 Sep 2006 11:09:03 -0400
Subject: Monsey Meat Debacle

I can't help feeling a great amount of dismay and despair, especially at
this time of year, to read the details of how one seemingly religious
man could mislead the public in such a hideous way, and profit from his
scheming for years and still receive the blessings of heaven. Of course,
we haveno idea why Hashem would allow this to continue. I can offer
reasons of my own, but were all the people who ate non-kosher because of
this person worthy to this? was the perpetrator such a tzaddik that he
was permitted to carry on like this, if true, for as long as he did? It
makes one wonder he nature of sin and punishment. While I understand
that each person is judged according to his own level, what lesson does
this mean to the individual about violating a mitzvah, causing others to
sin, the reliance on those we put our trust in?  Help please.



From: Peretz Zvi Davidson <perzvi@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Jul 2006 15:45:30 GMT
Subject: Protocols in Marriages

Having just gotten married myself (Vuv Tammuz), I would like to
interject a few things.

First, the reason for limiting contact during the engagement probably
has as much to do with providing an incentive (especially in the case of
an older couple) to schedule the chasuna relatively quickly after the
engagement.  If a couple is allowed to see each other as frequently
during their engagement as during courtship, there would be more of an
incentive for an indefinite platonic relationship (which is definitely
discouraged in Torah).

Second, we split kibbudim down the middle -- as there were no real
mechutanim, we worked things out with the Messader Kiddushin who we both
agreed upon.

Peretz Zvi Davidson
Flatbush, NY       


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Tue, 19 Sep 2006 08:05:41 -0400
Subject: Rally

> Therefore, after consultation with the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah and
> following the precedent of the previous generation's Gedolim in similar
> circumstances, we urge all who are able to do so to participate in the
> planned gathering. 

I am truly pleased to hear of AI's participation. I'm curious as to what
the precedent was and how it was formulated to differentiate between
circumstances. Any insiders?

Joel Rich


From: R. Jeffrey Saks <atid@...>
Date: Wed, 20 Sep 2006 10:47:16 +0200
Subject: "Rupture and Reconstruction" at ATID

Prof. Haym Soloveitchik will discuss his essay "Rupture and
Reconstruction: The Transformation of Contemporary Orthodoxy" at an ATID
Erev Diyyun, on the first night of Hol HaMoed Sukkot (Sunday, October 8)
in Jerusalem.

When the essay appeared (in Tradition, Summer 1994) it awakened
considerable discussion, interest, and debate within the Modern Orthodox
community. It has provided a lens through which some amongst us view
contemporary Jewish life and learning, as well as our work in Torah

The event is by invitation only, and is geared for those who have read
the essay in advance (available online at:
www.lookstein.org/links/orthodoxy.htm), prepared with questions and
comments for discussion. For information or an invitation, contact ATID
at <atid@...>

Rabbi Jeffrey Saks
Director, Academy for Torah Initiatives and Directions
9 HaNassi Street, Jerusalem 92188 Israel
Tel. 02-567-1719 | Email <atid@...> | Web www.atid.org 


From: <MJGerver@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Tue, 25 Jul 2006 16:17:25 EDT
Subject: Sephira

Tzvi Stein writes, in v52n63,

      A friend who recently visited family in Israel related to me that
      they were shocked when they found him listening to music.  He told
      them that he kept the "first part" of sefira (i.e. until Lag
      B'Omer) and they told him that it is not allowed to listen to
      music the *entire* sefira period (Pesach until Shavuos).  I had
      never heard of that sheeta.  Is it a meshugas or is it a real

Over 20 years ago, when I was trying to figure out what my family minhag
might be for sephira, I asked Rabbi Moshe Bick zt"l, who came to the
United States from Medzhibozh (the same shtetl my paternal grandfather
came from) when he was in his teens, what the minhag was there. He
replied that it was observed for the entire seven weeks. Although some
people have suggested to me that he might just have meant that they
didn't have weddings during the entire seven weeks, because different
people observed different minhagim, other people have told me that there
is, indeed, a minhag specifically to observe the restrictions of sephira
for the entire seven week period. I assume that Lag B'Omer itself was
not included, and the last three days before Shavuot, and maybe Rosh
Chodesh as well. I personally like this minhag, because it allows me to
exclude Yom Ha-Atzmaut and Yom Yerushalayim, while avoiding any problem
of observing a total of less than 33 days. It also has the benefit that,
if you need to, you can retroactively decide after Lag Ba'Omer to go
with the first part of sephira instead, since you have already observed
it. I did that, in a sense, this year, when I forgot to shave on Lag
Ba'Omer, and didn't want to wait until Yom Yerushalayim or Rosh Chodesh
Sivan, because I was going to the US in a few days to see my family, and
didn't want to look shlumpy. I figured that that reason alone might be
enough to justify shaving, but in case that wasn't enough, it could also
be justified by saying that I was observing only the first part of
sephira.  (I did not shave again until Yom Yerushalayim, though, in case
the first reason was enough.)

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Tue, 19 Sep 2006 08:08:58 -0400
Subject: Tunes

Ani Ldodi Vdodi Li

I was listening to an Aish shiur where the speaker quoted someone as
saying that classical music was based on Gregorian chants which were
likely influenced by the Levite's songs and thus "closer" to Jewish
music. Any thoughts?

Joel Rich


From: Mark Symons <msymons@...>
Date: Tue, 19 Sep 2006 23:09:43 +1000
Subject: Tunes, Tunes and more tunes

I'm pleasantly surprised, not to mention very impressed, that
non-Australians know of Waltzing Matilda - although it's our unofficial
national anthem - let alone knowing all the words.

(I like singing Shir Hama'alot to it, but my wife doesn't!)

Mark Symons
Melbourne Australia


From: Richard Fiedler <richardfiedler@...>
Date: Wed, 26 Jul 2006 00:54:06 -0500
Subject: Yom Kippur

>From my previous post of Rabbi Hiyah and the Old Moon I have
conclusively demonstrated the calculation for the Molad in use today was
in use 200 years before Hillel II at the time of Rabbi Hiyah.  It is
time for this calculation to come out of the closet and be given it's
true name of Sod HaIbur.

Mishnah Rosh HaShanah (19b): From the days of Ezra and onward we never
found Elul to be full.

Rashi would have us believe that the Mishnah is talking about a majority
and that out of need one can assume the date of Rosh HaShanah on this
basis. Applying the Nasa lunar conjunction data for the 2nd century C.E.
adding 24 hours for the presumed time of Re'ah I have found that to the
contrary that the length of Elul in at least the second century was 55
years of 30 days verses 45 years with 29 days.

And this must be so for:

Yerushalmi Rosh Hashana:
There, they are concerned and observe the fast of Yom Kippur for two
days. Rav Chisdah asked them, "Why are you concerned over such a
far-fetched possibility? One can safely assume that the court is not
negligent in this regard."

This is the reason we do not fast two days outside of Israel.

For those of you who require sources other that Nasa's 5000 years of
Historical Lunar Data.

Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld RABEINU
BACHYE (Parshas Bo 12:2) cites a very interesting opinion in the name of
RABEINU CHANANEL, which is also cited in the name of RAV SA'ADYAH GA'ON
(see TORAH SHELEIMAH vol. 13, #293, and OTZAR HA'GE'ONIM to Beitzah,
p. 3), that Kidush ha'Chodesh actually has nothing to do with
witnesses. Rather, it is determined solely by the calculations of the
Sod ha'Ibur given to Moshe Rabeinu at Sinai, with which the Beis Din
calculates the new month every month. Witnesses did not affect the
determination of the new month at all.

Rav Kornfeld does bring the Rambam who strongly disagrees but only now
am I sending Rav Kornfeld my Nasa Data.


End of Volume 52 Issue 76