Volume 53 Number 63
                    Produced: Sun Jan  7 14:57:34 EST 2007

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Embezzlement Is Found in Many Catholic Dioceses
         [Joel Rich]
Italian Bread
King Saul
         [Brandon Raff]
Late Prayers
         [Mechy Frankel]
Political Science (sic)
         [Carl Singer]
Rabbainu Tam
         [Carl Singer]
Rabbeinu Tam Time
         [Alex Heppenheimer]
Tikkun Chatzot
         [Yisrael Medad]


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Fri, 5 Jan 2007 08:05:59 -0500
Subject: Embezzlement Is Found in Many Catholic Dioceses


Embezzlement Is Found in Many Catholic Dioceses

A survey by researchers at Villanova University has found that 85
percent of Roman Catholic dioceses that responded had discovered
embezzlement of church money in the last five years, with 11 percent
reporting that more than $500,000 had been stolen.


Is anyone aware of any similar surveys done within the Jewish community?

Joel Rich


From: o7532 <o7532@...>
Date: Fri, 5 Jan 2007 13:55:34 -0500
Subject: Italian Bread

Bellacicco Bread out of Queens, NY is under OU supervision, including
the open bagged Italian bread.  Other OU products when sold loose,
however, are considered to no longer be under supervision.  Does an open
bag with a symbol suffice as a hotam, does bread differ from other food,
or is there some other distinction.


From: Brandon Raff <Brandon@...>
Date: Fri, 05 Jan 2007 17:08:05 +0200
Subject: Re: King Saul

At 04:36 PM 2007/01/04, <Gevaryahu@...> wrote:

      King Saul was one year old when he was appointed king (I Samuel
      13:1), but he was already taller that the average person before he
      was anointed (I Samuel 9:2), probably already a father of children
      (14:49). Obviously these two pesukim cannot co-exist. It is the
      Gemara cited by you above attempting to make the "one year old"
      into an allegory. Some LXX MSS have the age as 31, suggesting that
      the word "sheloshim" was missing from the text.

While I do not necessarily agree with the need to amend the text, I do
believe Saul was older than even 31 when he became king. Saul was most
likely between 45 and 50 when he became king. David was very good
friends with Saul's son Jonathan. They fought in battle together
etc. David was 30 when he became king (which was two years after Saul
became king). So Jonathan must have been around that age as well. If we
assume that Saul was at least in his late teens before he fathered
Jonathan, then that would make Saul around 45 to 50 when he became king.

If we are to read the text purely on a pshat level, without the need for
Chazal's explanations, as per Batya, then we do have a serious problem
regarding the age of Saul when he became king. The pshat clearly says he
was one year old. Chazal explain it to mean it was in the first year of
his reign and the reason it phrased that way was to teach that he was
sin free.



From: Mechy Frankel <michaeljfrankel@...>
Date: Thu, 04 Jan 2007 20:16:06 -0500
Subject: Re: Late Prayers

> From: Menashe Elyashiv <elyashm@...>
> Is the late Kabbalat Shabbot for Rabanu Tam people? Or, as I have seen
> here in the summer, some who want to eat early, but not to pray Arvit
> in daytime (pleg haminha), say Kabbalat Shabbot before dinner, and
> pray Arvit at Rabanu Tam time (about 9:15). OTOH, in the "old days",
> when B'rchu was said, everyone & everything stopped. This of course
> was before sunset...

It may be of interest that the precise suggestion followed by this
poster's neighbors in summer - to bring in shabbos early and then eat -
but wait till much later at what the poster calls "Rabbeinu Tam time" to
daven mairiv (OK, ma'ariv), was very specifically and sharply rejected
by none other than Rabbeinu Tam himself.  Just such a position was
advocated by a number of R.  Tam's contemporaries to solve the "problem"
of a need to eat dinner at a reasonable hour during the long summer
days, but still be yotzei saying q'rias sh'ma after nightfall, which in
summer is quite late.  Rabbeinu Tam attacked this innovation (he was not
the kinda guy who looked favorably on any innovations that changed local
practice), complaining among other things that it looked like they were
returning to chol after they had already accepted shabbos.  i.e. if they
lit candles, presumably made qiddush and then ate shabbos dinner, but
then did mairiv much later, they were effectively accepting shabbos a
second time (which is what mairiv on shabbos will accomplish for you),
seeming to announce that the first qabboloh didn't take.

As for the "problem" that was being solved by this rejected solution -
there was no problem in the first place according to Rabbeinu Tam.  As
far as t'filas mairiv was concerned, Ashkenazim have always had the
minhog to daven during full day. (in the really old days this even
included before p'lag hamminchoh - see note below, but certainly after
the p'lag nobody ever had a problem).  The only real issue was with
q'rias sh'ma.  And it is Rabbeinu Tam's emphatic position (also the
Ra'avan's) that q'rias sh'ma said during early - daytime - mairiv
fulfills that obligation quite nicely and there is no need at all
(indeed one shouldn't attempt) to bundle that obligation into the later
q'rias sh'ma al hammitoh -a compromise suggested, inter alia, by rashi-
B. B'rokhos 2)

it may also be of some interest that in the true "old days", nobody much
cared about waiting till p'lag hammninchoh either. T'rumas Haddeshen
records - albeit with disapproval - an old ashkenazi custom to m'qabbeil
shabbos and daven maariv many hours before nightfall, eat shabbos
dinner, and only and then go for a walk along the river (while it was
still light), yosef ometz records the old frankfurt minhog of davening
maariv well befor p'lag hamminchoh in summer with approval and there are
many indications that mairiv before the p'lag was well accepted. the
later pos'qim however discouraged or outright assered it. (The Rema
recommends going along with it, if unable to change it).

It would seem likely that this kind of loosness - or better, flexibility
- about acceptable times for mairiv (day, night, whatever) stems from
its fundamentally different status from the other fixed and
unquestionably obligatory prayers prayers - shacharis and
minchoh. Mairiv is basically a t'filas r'shus - a voluntary prayer,
which probably also started as t'filas yochid rather than a public
prayer.  Over the generations the chakhomim managed to raise its status
until in the public mind it became an equal status partner in a daily
liturgical triumvirate.  But clues remain to its originally
inferior-status origin, and this is one of them. (needless to say, this
is a historical note, not a suggestion to demote mairiv back to
voluntary status).

Mechy Frankel
(301) 593-3949


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Fri, 05 Jan 2007 07:38:33 -0500
Subject: Political Science (sic)

This may be a bit off topic but following up on the comment made re:

>> despite its unemotionaland fact-based public persona, science is a
>> highly political animal.

In support of the above statement -- A friend of mine who is a full
professor at a major university and has spent stints at the NSF
(National Science Foundation) sent this note to me in response to my
sending him some Hubble Telescope photographs.

> All good, but how could they omit all planetary photography?
> According to my source (XXXX), the real substance of the "Pluto is not
> a planet" vote was the stellar and galactic astronomers beating up on
> the planetary astronomers for telescope time and budget.  Dave Barry's
> end of year piece featured a cartoon with a Disney Pluto in the
> witness box and a barrister asking, "Are you now or have you ever been
> a planet?"  That's about the seriousness of the discussion (beyond the
> $$).

XXXX The source he quotes (and I've chosen to delete that name) is an
astronomer of note -- and has a comet named after him.  XXXX was my
friend's mentor.

Carl Singer


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Fri, 05 Jan 2007 07:45:16 -0500
Subject: Rabbainu Tam

What I don't understand about Rabbainu Tam is .....  in contrast to the
Asay lecha Rav (get yourself a -- single -- Rav / Posek) ....  there are
many who hold by Rabbainu Tam for calendar times, but ignore his rulings
on many other topics, for example, glass dishes (and they go into
convoluted discussions re: glass, rather than Rabbainu Tam) --
Basically, I see (an observation on my part and a question -- not a
criticism) many who pick through rulings (and Rabbi's) like a Chinese
Restaurant Menu (one from column A, one from column B.)  -- What is the
rational / legitimacy of this approach -- or is it some striving for

Carl Singer


From: Alex Heppenheimer <aheppenh@...>
Date: Fri, 5 Jan 2007 08:17:03 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re: Rabbeinu Tam Time

Some comments on Mechy Frankel's posting in MJ 53:57 concerning Rabbeinu
Tam time:

>A. The time interval between sunset and tzais hakkochovim (nightfall,
>taken as the appearance of three bainoni/intermediate stars) is given
>in the g'moroh as 4 mil. (for completeness, there's also a shitoh of 5
>mil, but we won't look any further at that).  The two major definitions
>of a mil are 18 minutes and, famously by the Gra, 24 minutes.  (there's
>at least one other version of a mil at 22.5 minutes but that doesn't
>seem as popular).  That means the interval from sunset to nightfall
>given in g'moroh may range from a minimum of 72 to as much as 96
>minutes.  This is already difficult since in eretz yisroel or bovel
>where this was asserted, nightfall comes much, much more quickly than

And indeed, that's not the only Gemara that bears on this; indeed, some
Acharonim (Maharam Alashkar, the Maharal, the Vilna Gaon) hold that the
4 or 5 mil figures have no halachic standing at all. There's another
sugya in Shabbos (34b-35b) that gives values ranging from half a mil to
3/4 mil (in minutes, respectively according to the various temporal
definitions of a mil: 9-12, 11.25-16.88, or 12-18). The big question is
how to reconcile these two Gemaras, assuming that both of them represent
the final halachic view. (R' Yehudah (Leo) Levi, in his Jewish
Chrononomy, pp. 22-24 of the Hebrew section, lists six approaches to
doing so that have been put forward by various Rishonim and Acharonim;
and of course Rabbeinu Tam's opinion - in all of the variations that
Mechy cites - uses some of these.)

>1. Gaonim: This is relatively simple to articulate.  Sunset marks a
>period called Bain Hashsh'moshos (henceforth BH) in which m'lochoh on
>Friday is forbidden.  This whole period lasts a total of 3/4 of a mil
>(i.e. only 13.5 to 18 minutes).  After which it is halachic night - 3
>intermediate stars are visible. <snip> Perhaps some israeli locals
>might do a time test on a clear night in march.

Already done. See Jewish Chrononomy, p. 37 of the Hebrew section, in
which R' Levi records the results of his experiments: for a person with
normal vision and no particular expertise in stargazing, 3 intermediate
stars are indeed (barely) visible in Eretz Yisrael around 18 minutes
after sunset at the spring equinox.

>...the Shulchon Aruch - a mideastern work - amazingly ruled like R. Tam
>against the gaonim.  Equally amazing, the mid easterners,
>i.e. sefaradim who always follow maran, did not do so in this case.
>some want to claim that R. Karo later changed his mind, or else didn't
>mean it to apply where there waere existing minhogim to the contrary,
>but that's hard to swallow).

See Seder Hachnosas Shabbos by R' Shneur Zalman of Liadi (published in
his siddur, and available online at
in which he says exactly that: the Beis Yosef changed his mind, since in
Hilchos Milah (Yoreh De'ah 266:9) he rules that bein hashemashos begins
at sunset and no later.

>Who followed Rabbeinu Tam?.  Until the twentieth century (with notable
>exception of the Gra who followed the gaonim) pretty much everyone in
>Europe.  (All the major rishonim, almost without exception, pasqin like
>R.  Tam)

But see R' Shneur Zalman's Seder Hachnosas Shabbos (my translation):
"Rabbeinu Tam and his followers are [only] individuals, as against the
earlier gaonim Rav Sherira and his son Rav Hai (quoted in Teshuvos
Maharam Alashkar no. 96), followed by Rabbeinu Chananel (in Shibbolei
HaLeket), the Rif, the Rambam, the Raavan, and their followers. [His
opinion] is also against Ri the Tosafist and the author of Ittur, and
their followers, who were later authorities [and whose opinion therefore
carries greater weight in certain cases]; they disagreed with Rabbeinu
Tam, as mentioned by the Rosh in the name of the Ri."

See also Gil Student's article on the subject at

Kol tuv,


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Sat, 06 Jan 2007 23:07:03 +0200
Subject: Tikkun Chatzot

Here in Shiloh, they will be saying on Thursday nights the Tikkun
Chatzot at midnight (23:45 local time).  Is this minhag observed
anywhere in Galus?

Yisrael Medad


End of Volume 53 Issue 63