Volume 53 Number 22
                    Produced: Fri Dec 15  5:38:17 EST 2006

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Carrying an Infant on Shabbat (3)
         [Dr. Josh Backon, Elazar M. Teitz, Carl Singer]
         [Russell Jay Hendel]
Not Avoda Zoro
         [Perets Mett]
Siyyum Tanach
         [Dov Teichman]
Vote for President Joel (2)
         [Joel Rich, Norman Miller]


From: Dr. Josh Backon <backon@...>
Date: Thu, 14 Dec 2006 15:49:42
Subject: Re: Carrying an Infant on Shabbat

The sugya is in the gemara in Shabbat 94a. Since (as per the first
Tosfot in Shabbat) the prohibiton of HOTZA'A (carrying) is a MELACHA
GERU'A (and thus if the actual act wasn't identical to the type of
activity in the Mishkan (tabernacle in the desert) since *chai nosei et
atzmo* the prohibition is only rabbinic.

However, there are exceptions. One may shlep a toddler as long as
one of his feet is on the ground the whole time (Shulchan Aruch ORACH
CHAYIM 308:41 re: *medadeh*). And even a sick toddler WHO KNOWS HOW
TO WALK but finds it difficult even in Reshut haRabbim (see: Shmirat
Shabbat k'Hilchata 18:51). However one is prohibited to carry an infant
who has never walked. 

Thus, there's a huge distinction between an infant (one is prohibited
to carry it on shabbat even in a Karmeit) and a toddler who knows how
to walk even with difficulty.

Josh Backon

From: Elazar M. Teitz <remt@...>
Date: Thu, 14 Dec 2006 19:35:42 GMT
Subject: re: Carrying an Infant on Shabbat

     The rule that "chai nosei es atzmo" (a living creature carries
itself) is restricted, in Talmud Shabbos 94a and Orach Chaim 308:39- 41,
to (a) a human being who (b) is capable of moving himself. If he is
tired, or too sick to walk, one may _not_ carry him in the street, or
from indoors to the street.  The same applies to a child who cannot
walk.  The prohibition is d'oraisa (by Torah law) if the street is
halachically a r'shus harabim (public domain). If, however, he can walk
when someone holds his hands (that is, he can put one leg in front of
the other), then it is only a rabbinic prohibition; but it is a
prohibition nonetheless.  What can be done, if necessary, is to carry
him less than six feet, stop, and start again, but at the very least
when crossing domains from public to private or vice versa, have the
child do the walking while being held, not carried.

Elazar M. Teitz

From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Thu, 14 Dec 2006 07:55:58 -0500
Subject: Carrying an Infant on Shabbat

Avi is correct, I was pointing towards the obvious issue of sakuneh.  

But I'd like to turn down the heat, so to speak.  

For instance you are two blocks from home safely on the sidewalk (and it
is or isn't raining / cold, etc.)  Do you stand there waiting for sunset
or do you carry the infant home?

And which is more meritorious?  What is the Halachic basis for your 

Here's a another situation to ponder:
Shabbos, no eruv, etc.
You are walking down the street and a old, frail person drops their 
glove and walks on -- perhaps 20 feet in front of you.

Do you   (1) - ignore it and keep going
         (2) - call out to him and tell him he's dropped his glove 
then keep walking
         (3) - pick up the glove and catch up with him returning 
it to him.
         (4) - ??? your suggestion

You can embellish this, you are dressed "Frum", he is or is not Jewish,
the item dropped is or is not muktzeh (a fountain pen / wallet, etc.)
.... and please respond with the HALACHIC reasoning for your decision?

Carl Singer


From: Russell Jay Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Thu, 14 Dec 2006 15:47:07 GMT
Subject: Katonti/Kotonti

 I have explained this several times the difference between Revii vs
Azlah geresh on the Hebrew word KATONTI in Gn32-11. I have explained the
differences from 3 points of view: a) Authoritative texts b) Rules of
trope c) Why the mistake happened.

Before proceeding, I should point out that there are several LEINING
email groups. One such group is <LEINING@...> Issues such as
these are discussed there.

AUTHORITATIVE TEXTS: The Leningrad 19b codex is the oldest complete
codex of the Bible that we have. The Leningrad 19b has an AZLA GERESH.

WHY THE MISTAKE HAPPENED: Modern notation has vastly improved the way
trope are indicated. For example the modern KORAIN Tanakh mentions in
its introduction that it goes out of its way to vary the dot size
between REVII and CHOLAM (Both of which are dots). The KORAIN also
varies HOW HIGH above the line the TROPE vs CHOLAM are placed. This
facilitates readability.

However 9 centuries ago the TROPE notation was poor in some respects. A
REVII and CHOLAM looked the same size and appeared in the same positions
(On top of the letters) It is therefore not hard to see how a scribe
seeing the DOT over the TET in KaTonTi confused it with a REVII.

Azla Gereshs 9 centuries ago were not curved the way they are today. All
the curved trope such as mayrchah, tipchah, azlah geresh were vertical
slanted lines. It is not hard to see how the AZLAH GERESH which was a
slanted line on top of the TET looked like a TAG of the tet (Many
letters have TAG EMBELLISHMENTS on them).

In summary: The CHOLAM looked like a REVII (Dot on top) and the AZLAH
GERESH looked like a TAG EMBELISHMENT on the TET Hence the confusion and
resulting error.

One more comment on the error: The suggestion was made that it would be
"improper" to have an ascending note like AZLAH GERESH on the word
KATONTI which indicates humility. I acknowledge that such homilies
appear from time to time in the literature. However with one exception
the TROP never reflect inuendoes on meaning. The one exception occurs in
Is 45:1, and is explicitly mentioned in the Talmud. For more details see
my article Biblical Puns which appeared in the jewish Bible Quarterly
and can be found at http://www.RashiYomi.com/puns.pdf.

3) THE RULES: By way of background let me explain that just as there are
rules for conjugating verbs so too there are rules for taking a verse
and placing trop on them. The trope rules work 80-95% of the time (We
dont fully understand all trope matters but we do know most of them).

Second: I am sometimes criticized for justifying something according to
rules. Clearly the trope are a matter of mesorah (tradition). I have
already cited authoritative texts above. It appears to me that if three
things are present a) we have an authoritative text b) the rules agree
with the authoritative text and b) we have no exception list that lists
this text as an exception to the rules---if we have these three things
then we are justified in deciding in favor of one version over the other
(that is, we can and even should declare the other versions "wrong").
Moreover such great Later authorities (Acharonim) as the RVVH (Rav Wolfe
Heidenheim) changed texts when 1) the changes were consistent with rules
2) there was no known exception lists listing these exceptions and 3)
there was serious confusion in the texts.

My point here is not that this is a black and white issue...rather my
point here is that "rules" are a serious part of the legal rulings EVEN
on matters of tradition and there is room for serious discussion here
(perhaps a mj thread:))

Let me now try and show how the rules justify the azlah geresh. To
punctuate with trope any verse we need to know 2 things: I) How the
verse is "read" and "Understood" and II) The trope hierarchy.

Following Baer's "parenthesis" notation we can read Gn32-11 in two ways:
Method 1: I have become unworthy from (the grace and truth) that you
have done for me. Method 2: (I have become unworthy from the grace) and
([I have become unworthy] from the truth) that you have done for
me. Here the bracketed expression indicates elliptic material...that is
words not explicitly in the text but understood to be there. Such
elliptical material is common in Biblical literature and in fact almost
all the verses from Psalms which we recite every day illustrate

Next we explain conceptually the difference between method 1 and 2. In
method 1 "grace and truth" is one concept. Rashi in VayChi notes that
"grace and truth" is an idiom ("truthful-grace") and refers to burial
since burial is the only true grace (Since you do the deceased a favor
but never get this favor returned (because the recipient is dead). Other
graces are not as "truthful" since the favor might be returned.

Finally we discuss trope hierarchies. According to both methods the word
truth has a level 1 trope (Zakef Koton). Here I refer to ethnach and
end-verse as level 0 trope and to Zakef, Segol and Tipchah as Level 1
trope. According to method 1 the word "unworthy" is one level below the
terminating Zakef trope (The reason it is one level below is because in
method one "Grace and truth" forms one unit and therefore "unworthy" is
one level below. Now the REVII and PASTHAH are the level 2 trope that
are one level below the Zakef and hence method 1 would require a REVII
(or pasthah but not an azlah geresh which is a level 3 trope)

By contrast in the method 2 reading, the word "unworthy" is two levels
below the terminating Zakef. The reason it is two levels is because the
verse now has 3 units: "unworthy" , "unworthy from the grace" and
"unworthy from the truth". Hence since Truth has a level 1 trope, the
zakef, therefore, "grace" would have a level 2 trope, and "unworthy"
would have a level 3 trope. The 3 level 3 tropes are "geresh", "pazer"
and "telishah". Consequently if using the method 2 trope the word
"unworthy" would have an "azlah geresh".

Now for the punchline. As Rashi indicates in VAYEHCI the phrase unit
"Grace and truth" is an idiom that ONLY refers to burial. Jacob was not
being buried here. Hence method 1 is not an acceptable
interpretation. It follows that the correct reading of the text is
presented by method 2 and consequently the correct trope is Azlah

For those interested in examples similar to the above---delicate blends
of interpretation and Trope grammar---please read Breuers books on trope
(Edition 1 or 2).

Dr Russell Jay Hendel; http://www.Rashiyomi.com/


From: Perets Mett <p.mett@...>
Date: Thu, 14 Dec 2006 12:45:48 +0000
Subject: Not Avoda Zoro

Actually there is difference between making an image of a human and
making an image of an animal.

According to Shulchon Orukh YD 141 the former is forbidden (irrespective
of the purpose for which it is made) while the latter is permitted. That
would explain the lions sometimes found on a poroches (or a tfilin

Perets Mett

>> I was walking by a new frum-owned silver store and couldn't help
>> noticing in the display window a sterling silver horse, maybe a 18
>> inches hight [sic] and two feet long, could be bigger.  I couldn't
>> help thinking GOLDEN CALF!  Aside from being excess, I am wondering
>> whether there is any halachic issue in owning such a piece. While it
>> isn't avodah zarah, obviously, would it not consistute a graven image
>> that should be avoided? Unless some ostentatious frum person buys it,
>> I suppose it's there for the general public, but should a frum person
>> be selling it?"
> TTBOMK, the issur is not about making a representation of a living
> thing itself, but rather making it for the purpose of bowing down to
> it or bowing down to an existing representation as though it was a
> god.


From: <dtnla@...> (Dov Teichman)
Date: Thu, 14 Dec 2006 09:43:09 -0500
Subject: Siyyum Tanach

Regarding Hadran on Tanach, there is a hadran printed in some Sukkos
Machzorim after the final chazak on Vzos Haberacha. It reads something
like "Hadran Alach Oraisa Kadisha, etc."

However, I recently read that there is no need for a hadran on Torah
Shebiksav. The point of saying "hadran aloch" is to emphasize the
constant need for chazorah of Torah SheBaal Peh, which is not meant to
be written down, rather memorized. (I think I saw this in the Artscroll
IYOV with Rav Schwab's commentary).

Dov Teichman


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Thu, 14 Dec 2006 08:09:39 -0500
Subject: RE: Vote for President Joel

> [I normally would not pass something like this to the list, but I think
> it is interesting and potentially significant. Newsweek has an on-line
> poll as part of their "Boomers at 60: Hall of Fame" for the "best of the
> best" in 9 catagories. Education and Religion is one of these, and they
> have 12 people on the poll. With over 22,000 votes, there are two people
> with more than 20% of the votes (the rest are under 10%). One is Richard
> Joel, as YU President, the second is Tom Ark from the Gates foundation.
> I think that having a Jewish educational institution and individual so
> widely recognized is a positive thing. Mod.]
> Vote for President Joel in a poll in newsweek for top educator!

OK - I've received a number of these and at the risk of getting flamed
for trying to have an objective discussion, might I ask the question -
does my almost namesake represent the best of the best in education and
religion?  Put another way, here is a quote from the website on another
candidate - "Our Editor's Pick: Rick Warren "Warren is changing the
paradigm of what it means to be an evangelical Christian." -Lisa Miller"
Does one need to feel the same way about President Joel (not the
evangelical part:-)) or even if one doesn't should one vote to "make a
statement" about one of ours even if objectively someone else on the
list deserves it?

Joel Rich 

From: Norman Miller <nm1921@...>
Date: Thu, 14 Dec 2006 13:32:27 -0500
Subject: Vote for President Joel

It is certainly a good thing that someone like President Joel receives
that many votes because it means among other things that Yeshiva
University is now a mainstream institution.  But I don't see why,
without knowing a lot more about him and his competitors, I should vote
for him.  To vote for a Jew simply because he's a Jew is an example of
particularism that contradicts the universalist principles that Yeshiva
University endorses and without which it could not be a mainstream

Noyekh Miller


End of Volume 53 Issue 22