Volume 55 Number 42
                    Produced: Wed Aug 15  5:08:04 EDT 2007

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

303 pictures of the new olim from North America and England
         [Jacob Richman]
         [Eitan Fiorino]
Hebrew Proficiency of US Yeshiva High School Graduates.
         [Carl Singer]
Number of Halachot and Chapters in Sefer Zmanim? (2)
         [Alex Heppenheimer, Jonathan Baker]
Reciting Tehillim at night (2)
         [Batya Medad, Matthew Pearlman]
Shva na or shva nach in artscroll
         [David Curwin]
Using someone else's property (2)
         [Ari Trachtenberg, Elazar M. Teitz]
Yerushalmi and Ashkenaz
         [Alan Rubin]


From: Jacob Richman <jrichman@...>
Date: Tue, 14 Aug 2007 19:03:13 +0300
Subject: 303 pictures of the new olim from North America and England

Hi Everyone!

Congratulations to the 275 olim that made aliyah today from North
Amercia and England. The two aliyah flights included 49 families with
122 children and 25 singles.  The youngest oleh in the group is 6 weeks
old and the oldest oleh is 89 years old.  The flight from the USA
included 3 dogs and 2 cats.

I was at Ben-Gurion airport to greet the new olim.  Prior to the arrival
of the flights, there was a Rosh Chodesh (Elul) morning prayer in the
terminal one arrival building.

I took 303 pictures of the historic event and posted them online at:

When the first page appears, press the F11 key to view the full length
of the pictures. To move from page to page, use the navigation buttons
on the bottom of the screen.

May the aliyah from all over of the world grow and bring more Jews back
to their homeland, Eretz Yisrael.

Have a Good Month,
Chodesh Tov,


From: Eitan Fiorino <AFiorino@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Aug 2007 13:21:44 -0400
Subject: RE: Assimilation

> This same statement cannot be made about many US yeshiva high 
> school graduates. I have met American students who after 12 
> years of yeshiva and a year of seminary in Israel are not 
> proficient enough in Hebrew to order a pizza! Furthermore, I 
> still can't forget one of my yeshiva high school Judaic 
> teachers (he went on to head a well known yeshiva high school 
> shortly afterwards), who confessed in class to not 
> understanding all the text in yom tov davening.
> Leah Aharoni  

Oh, come now - given the fact that people make entire academic careers
out of deciphering the allusions to Tanach and rabbinic literature
contained within medieval piyutim, and given the fact that such piyutim
make up a significant portion of the yom tov tefila particularly in
nusach Ashkenaz (although the trend in America has certainly been to
eliminate piyutim except on R.H./Y.K.), I think that the vast majority
of Jews, Israeli or otherwise, could make the same confession as your
former teacher.  The only other possibility - that this teacher was
saying he did not understand the yom tov amidah - seems extremely

As far as ordering a pizza in Hebrew - well that is clearly a part of
modern conversational Hebrew but it is not a skill necessary to read and
comprehend Biblical and rabbinic texts. It obvious that native Hebrew
speakers have a far superior command of conversational Hebrew than those
who learn it as a second language in the diaspora - I don't think that
is a topic worthy of debate - and it is no stretch to say that a speaker
of modern Hebrew would have an easier time handling religiously
important Hebrew texts than one who has done a poor job of learning
Hebrew as a second language in the diaspora.  However, I would strongly
diagree with the notion that growing up as a speaker of modern
conversational Hebrew automatically unlocks access to either Tanach or
rabbinic literature.  And while there are no doubt many problems with
Hebrew language instruction in the diaspora (some might include among
the problems that it is largely taught by Israelis), I believe that for
the most part those who are interested in and motivated to understand
Tanach and/or rabbinic literature are able to extract from their Hebrew
curricula knowledge sufficient to allow them to engage in limud Torah,
which is after all the fundamental reason one needs to understand the
Hebrew language.  Certainly it is more important from a religious
perspective to understand Biblical and Mishnaic Hebrew than it is to
understand modern conversational Hebrew, and this priority is magnified
in the diaspora, where I think one could legitimately claim there is no
particular reason at all to learn modern conversational Hebrew.  I for
one would gladly trade the time my children currently spend learning
modern words and usages for increased time spent on a more sophisticated
understanding of Biblical and Mishnaic Hebrew and Aramaic.



From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Aug 2007 06:57:08 -0400
Subject: Hebrew Proficiency of US Yeshiva High School Graduates.

> This same statement cannot be made about many US yeshiva high school
> graduates. I have met American students who after 12 years of yeshiva
> and a year of seminary in Israel are not proficient enough in Hebrew
> to order a pizza!

I don't know that I'd rely on anecdotal comments like the above. But,
that said, many yeshiva students have not any courses in Modern Hebrew
-- perhaps we should focus on curricula choices that various types of US
schools make.

Agreed that a child growing up in Israel with only a secular education
and only knowledge of "modern" Hebrew will likely be reasonable
proficient, as stated, in being able to decipher a siddur except for
certain words.  But that child might stumble if going in-depth into a

Regarding Pizza, words like "mushroom", "eggplant" or "pepperoni" (?)
may not appear too often in their lemudei Kodesh.  Similarly, if they
stumbled onto the word "bevakasha" -- and used it, the proprietor might
give them a puzzled look having never heard that word in his / her shop.

Anecdotally, many Israelis are so anxious to improve their English, that
one doesn't get much of a change to exercise one's Hebrew.  I remember
leading a technical mission to Israel and having many of my Jewish
coworkers approach me with "Anee Midaber Ivrit" -- hoping that I'd
choose them for my team.  I knew language skills would be irrelevant as
the lingua franca in the technical domain was English.



From: Alex Heppenheimer <aheppenh@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Aug 2007 17:15:31 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: Number of Halachot and Chapters in Sefer Zmanim?

In MJ 55:40, David Curwin asked:

>Does anyone know the total number of halachot and chapters in the
>Rambam's Sefer Zmanim?

The daily study calendar for learning Yad HaChazakah at one perek per
day (English version at
shows that Sefer Zemanim, for the current cycle, started on the 3rd of
Kislev 5767 and ended on the 11th of Adar. That makes 98 days; so there
are 97 chapters, plus the Seder HaHaggadah appended to Hilchos Chametz

The e-text of Yad HaChazakah from Mechon Mamre (in their MTR program,
http://www.mechon-mamre.org/mtrpromo.htm) has (if I did my
search-and-replace correctly) 1738 halachos, plus another 41 for the
Seder HaHaggadah. Their edition is based on Teimani manuscripts; the
division of halachos is frequently different in the printed editions.

Kol tuv,

From: Jonathan Baker <jjbaker@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Aug 2007 10:43:15 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Number of Halachot and Chapters in Sefer Zmanim?

If by "halachot" you mean sections of "Hilchot XXX", ten.

Shabbat: 30 chapters
Eruvin 8
Shvitat Asor 3
Shvitat Yom Tov 8
Chametz uMatzah 8 + haggadah
Shofar/Sukkah/Lulav 8
Shkalim 4
Kiddush haChodesh 19
Taaniyot 5
Megillah/Chanukah 4

So 99 total.

The earliest versions of the Mishneh Torah didn't have paragraph breaks
as we now use them.

But, pasting the whole thing into one file, then passing it to VI to
count the lines, I get 1779 paragraphs.

        name: jon baker              web: http://www.panix.com/~jjbaker
     address: <jjbaker@...>     blog: http://thanbook.blogspot.com


From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Aug 2007 21:40:07 +0300
Subject: Re: Reciting Tehillim at night

I don't know the source, but my neighbor who organizes women to say
T'hillim is very insistant that it be said during the day.


From: Matthew Pearlman <Matthew.Pearlman@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Aug 2007 14:24:22 +0100
Subject: Reciting Tehillim at night

Brandon Raff wrote "It was mentioned to me that Tehillim is not recited
at night unless there are pressing circumstances. Has anyone heard about
this and / or know a source for it?"

I do not have a source, but I note that Rav Soloveitchik adds in
parentheses in one of his letters "By the way, there is a time-honoured
Jewish custom that no psalm be recited in the evening before midnight."
[Community, Covenant and Commitment p124]. Unfortunately Rav
Soloveitchik did not appear to quote many sources in his letters.



From: David Curwin <tobyndave@...>
Date: Wed, 15 Aug 2007 10:31:35 +0300
Subject: Shva na or shva nach in artscroll

After posting the original question, and seeing the responses here that
the Gra is the one that says it should be a shva na, I looked in Siddur
Ezor Eliyahu, which follows the version of the Gra.

I found it interesting, that similar to Artscroll, the different
versions of the Siddur Ezor Eliyahu had different comments on
uv'shochbecha. The 1998 edition had no comment at all. The 2000 edition
said that the bet is a shva na, as any shva after a meteg, but it is not
clear whether there should be a meteg here or not. The 2004 edition said
that the Gra (Dikdukei HaGra) held that there is a shva na after a "tnua
ketana" with a meteg, but the Minchat Shai in "Maamar HaMaarich" held
that it should be a shva nach. I know that there is a Simanim tikkun
with Minchat Shai - perhaps that explains why the Simanim text has a
shva nach here.

I guess my real question at this point is if there is a real
disagreement as to the correct pronunciation of a word in Kriat Shma -
why isn't this more well known? And why have we not ended up with two
readings, as with zecher / zeycher?

David Curwin
Balashon - Hebrew Language Detective


From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Aug 2007 15:12:41 -0400
Subject: Re: Using someone else's property

>> From: <meirman@...> (Meir)
>> How does this compare to using someone's tfillin, if you were
>> unexpectedly away from home or if you forgot to bring yours, if you
>> knew nothing about the owner except that he wasn't there, and there
>> were no other spare sets?
> IIRC, it depends on how likely it is that the item would become damaged,
> whether the item was left there on purpose or accidentally, and whether
> it is being used for a mitzva.  The ikkur is halachically "getting into
> the owner's head" and deducing whether he implicitly gives permission
> for other people to use it.

My understanding from the Shulkhan Arukh (14:4) is that you may use
another's tallit (or tefillin) without asking (assuming that you would
have permission) under certain general conditions (e.g. it's not easy to
find the owner, it is an irregular occurrence, etc.).  The same line in
the Shulkhan Arukh specifically doesn't permit borrowing a friend's book
under similar circumstances, as you might tear a page.

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

From: Elazar M. Teitz <remt@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Aug 2007 11:24:50 GMT
Subject: Re:  Using someone else's property

The halacha specifically states that "hashoeil shelo mida'as gazlan,"
one who borrows an object without the owner's knowledge is a
robber. (Shulchan Aruch, Choshen Mishpat 359:5)

Even if one is convinced that the owner would not object, it may still
be prohibited, falling into the category of "yiush shelo mida'as," which
states that what one would have done had he known is not considered as
done when he does not know. (It is stated in conjunction with finding an
object: if it is unidentifiable, and the owner is aware of his loss
prior to the finding, the finder may keep the object; but if it is
likely that it was found prior to the owner's awareness of loss, even
though he will certainly give up hope when he discovers the fact of
loss, the finder may not use the object.)

There is an exception regarding using an object for a mitzvah, where the
object will not suffer damage from use, because the halacha presumes
that one is happy to have a mitzvah performed with his possession.



From: Alan Rubin <alan@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Aug 2007 18:40:14 +0100
Subject: Yerushalmi and Ashkenaz

I have just been to the Sacred Texts Exhibition at the British Library.
Some of the documents can be seen on the web. In the blurb on their 13th
century Talmud as shown here


It says:

"From the Palestinian tradition of Jewish worship came the Ashkenazi 
rite used in Western and Eastern Europe and Russia. From the Babylonian 
tradition came the Sephardi rite followed in Spain, Portugal, North 
Africa, and the Middle East. Both rites, as well as some others, are 
still practised in Orthodox Jewish communities worldwide."

Is this true?

Alan Rubin


End of Volume 55 Issue 42