Volume 55 Number 47
                    Produced: Mon Aug 20  9:57:35 EDT 2007

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [David Cohen]
Conversational Hebrew
         [Batya Medad]
Kashrut & Minyanim in Paris, France
         [Carl Singer]
Lying for Peace (2)
         [Joel Rich, Batya Medad]
Names of Plants
         [Carl Singer]
Nekudas HaBechira
         [Carl Singer]
Obligations to the government/was Finances and Judaism
         [W. Baker]
Sarcasm not Recognized
         [Eitan Fiorino]
Using someone else's property
         [Keith Bierman]
Yerushalmi & Ashkenaz
         [Binyamin Lemkin]


From: David Cohen <ddcohen@...>
Date: Sun, 19 Aug 2007 17:05:20 +0300
Subject: Re: Assimilation

 Perets Mett wrote:
> In what way am I lesser Jew if I do not know how to order a pizza in
> Hebrew?

I don't think that one who can't order a pizza in Hebrew is a lesser Jew
at all.

That being said, we see that Chazal instituted many things to support
"yishuv Eretz Yisrael" by making it easier to settle in EY.

The question of whether or not one is ideologically inclined to
attribute inherent religious value to the ordering of pizza in a dialect
that is closely related to lashon hakodesh is besides the point.  The
simple fact is that modern Hebrew is the everyday language spoken by the
Jewish community in Eretz Yisrael today, including the vast majority of

People are much more likely to feel comfortable living somewhere if they
have a good command of the language.  I know that my knowledge of modern
Hebrew has made my first year living in Israel much easier than it has
been for some of my fellow olim.

Thus, I think that making sure that Jewish children in chutz la'aretz
are given a reasonable command of modern Hebrew would go a long way in
facilitating yishuv Eretz Yisra'el.



From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Sun, 19 Aug 2007 20:50:50 +0300
Subject: Re: Conversational Hebrew

> In my opinion, the real problem is that without an ability in modern
> conversational Hebrew, the day schools are not preparing children to
> live in Israel, where they can best fulfill the mitzvot and the
> mission of the Jewish people.

> Rose Landowne

My gut feeling is that it's not "by chance."  Most parents don't want
their children to make aliyah, so fluent conversational Hebrew is not
desired by them.  And for the past twenty years or more, the programs in
Israel for foreign students isolate the kids from "the natives."

Way back when, in the 1960's every program considered Hebrew a priority,
and we interacted with your ordinary Hebrew-speaking Israeli.



From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Sun, 19 Aug 2007 11:44:35 -0400
Subject: Kashrut & Minyanim in Paris, France

Dear list,

A friend and neighbor of mine is going to Paris on a business trip --
and needs information re: kashrut and minyanim.  If you wish, reply to
me offline and I will forward same.



From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Sun, 19 Aug 2007 11:08:53 -0400
Subject: Lying for Peace

> There is a well-known phrase in the Mishna Brura (156:4), "mipnei shalom
> mutar l'shanot" [purposefully untranslated due to ambiguity], which is
> used to justify "white lies" for the sake of peace.
> 1.  Can anyone explain to me how this justification proceeds, since the
> plain text does not seem to support this directly.
> 2.  How is this reconciled with the Biblical injuction "mid'var sheker
> tirhak" (Sh'mot 23:7) [from a statement of falsehood should you distance
> yourself]
> Ari Trachtenberg,            

Because life is not as black and white as we might like it to be and
often requires a shikul haddat.  As one who was brought up on truth
being the highest priority I have learned that while it is nearly always
the highest and one must be extremely careful when not cleaving to this
priority ( since in my mind Freud was right on when he said all men are
geniuses at rationalization) there are times when "the whole truth must
give way".

For example see Beitzah 20a by Hillel Hazaken and Rashi's explanation
(here a seemingly complete lie) or the more famous kallah naeh vachasuda
(ketuvot 17A where your question is explicitly raised (although here one
could argue it is not a complete lie-each wife is "beautiful" to the

As R' Soloveitchik pointed out about tzitzit - the white represents
situations of complete clarity, the tcheilet all the rest!

KT (and let me kick of my first elul post with a request for mchilla
from any I have wronged this past year - it was not advertent!)
Joel Rich

From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Sun, 19 Aug 2007 20:56:20 +0300
Subject: Re: Lying for Peace

> There is a well-known phrase in the Mishna Brura (156:4), "mipnei
> shalom mutar l'shanot" [purposefully untranslated due to ambiguity],
> which is used to justify "white lies" for the sake of peace.

I highly doubt that the "peace" in question is the "Nobel" kind.  It's
peace between family members and neighbors.  Your next door neighbor
just spent a lot to plant yellow roses, and you only like white ones, so
don't tell the truth.  It's more important to be a good neighbor.



From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Sun, 19 Aug 2007 09:56:03 -0400
Subject: Names of Plants

From: Harlan Braude <hbraude@...>
> Carl wrote:
>> Regarding Pizza, words like "mushroom", "eggplant" or "pepperoni" (?)
>> may not appear too often in their lemudei Kodesh.  Similarly, if they
> I've been stumbling my way through the Mishnayos Kilayim and found that
> - even with the assistance of the English Kahati - I've had a tough time
> deciphering even some of the translated names of plants.
> Oratch? Lupine? Lotes? Rue?
> I ended up buying a book on Botany with photos to help me along. 


You are to be commended for slugging through the plant names.  Some of
the species are/were regional and even botanists cannot always identify
/ agree.

On the other hand, years ago when I learned Daf Yomi that was conducted
at the Philadelphia Yeshiva -- levels of interest as to exact definition
varied greatly by participant.  Some wanted to go to latin genus
species, others were happy with "a meen gevakst" (i.e., a generic, "some
type of plant")



From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Sun, 19 Aug 2007 10:14:34 -0400
Subject: Nekudas HaBechira

With Schroedinger's cat safely locked up in my library along with my
Feynman lecture series -- Danny provides an interesting insight.

Are we saying that we make sequential decisions each to be evaluted (re:
Bechira) in the immediate context of the instance?

That is at some instance in time (and circumstance) we make a decision
(or equally, decide not to make a decision) and this needs to be
evaluated as such.

But then again, in life, as in chess, one may think many moves ahead --
thus is the "instance" not a single decision, but the series or sequence
of interdependent decisions.

Gut Voch,



From: W. Baker <wbaker@...>
Date: Sun, 19 Aug 2007 12:23:30 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Obligations to the government/was Finances and Judaism

> From: David Maslow <maslowd@...>
> It would be of interest to hear if there are any halachic discussions on
> the obligation of the Jewish community toward the broader civic
> community including but not exclusively focused on schools. It would be
> best if these were from relatively recent American experience since we
> are living in a generally friendly environment as contrasted to 19th and
> early 20th century Europe. Should we object equally to the funding of
> community centers for teens not frequented by Orthodox youth, to
> community swimming pools not used by our community, to Fourth of July
> celebrations held on Friday nights, etc.?
> This question does not involve a discussion of the politics of
> government roles, but simply the obligations of the members of a
> halachic Jewish community to the secular government of the political
> entity in which they live.
> David E. Maslow

Well, David has pushed my button!

As the person at my synagogue who does chesed work in reclamation of
food and clothng, this is a big issue for me.  We collect from shul
members and distribute from those who have to those who need, regardless
of religion, etc.  This has been a guiding principle of the Food Funnel
program since its inception, over 20 years ago, under the inspiration of
our then rabbi, Saul Berman.

We find organizations that can best use the things we collect, distributing 
clothing to a senior homeless shelter that houses 90 elderly people, a 
rehabilitation and prison prevention program that takes non-violent drug 
offenders and gives them treatment and job training.  They get most of the 
men's suits, so they can go out on job interviews.  We also give to an 
Orthodox organization in Brooklyn that distributes to Jews in the area. 
We decide which group can best benefit from a certain type of garment, not 
the donor, who may well say "I want my clothes to go to Jews."  We, of 
course, advise them of this policy.

Food, collected as part of our chamatz drive, before Pesach, of course, 
goes to non-Jewish organizations, including the senior shelter, a soup 
kitchen and a food pantry that gives unopened packages of food to poor folks 
with kitchens, but nothing to cook in them.  Other food drives go either 
to a Jewish homeless day room, which gets our Purim contributions of ready 
to eat, Kosher, nutritious food as well as some light stuff for the Seudah 
run by the day room, and to the food pantry which gets some of our Asarah 
B'Tevet drive foods, again, based on our judgment of who can best use the 
particular contribution.

I don't know the halacha involved, but as someone raised both as an 
American and a Jew, it is the only way I can operate.  Much of these 
ethics I also attribute to my father, of blessed memory, who always voted 
FOR the school budget in the town where he had his summer home because he 
felt it his civic duty as part of the community.

Wendy Wisan Baker


From: Eitan Fiorino <AFiorino@...>
Date: Sun, 19 Aug 2007 14:02:36 -0400
Subject: Sarcasm not Recognized

My comments were intended to be a sardonic commentary on the previous
poster's suggestion that orthodox communities ought to balckmail their
local school districts by threatening them with a mass enrollment of new
students.  The point was to illustrate the falacy of this idea by using
the original poster's language but substituting a situation that would
adversely affect the orthodox community.  I thought the prior paragraph
in my posting (not cited here) made it clear this was not an actual
suggestion.  Local school districts are in fact mandated by Federal law
to provide many of these services, and I would not seriously suggest
that parents opting out of the public school system ought to lose this
benefit, or whatever extent of a benfit they receive.  I apologize for
the confusion.  Next time I'll strive to be more over the top with my


From: Keith Bierman <khbkhb@...>
Date: Sun, 19 Aug 2007 08:29:32 -0600
Subject: Re: Using someone else's property

> From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
>> From: Elazar M. Teitz
>> 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.
> Can we conclude, then, that the use of the left-behind batting helmet
> (the question that started this discussion) would be permitted as a
> matter of mitzvah (pikuach nefesh), since the person who left it
> behind can be presumed to want it to be used to prevent injury to
> another person?

I think it can be argued the other way around as well!

At least with motorcycle helmets, a single drop to the concrete is
formally considered to invalidate the certification (typically SNELL) as
the helmet is constructed to absorb shock by deformation of internal
structures. I presume that batting helmets have some similar properties.

So if the "borrowed" helmet is struck by a strong pitch, the owner
*ought* to know, so they can choose to take additional risk, or purchase
a new helmet.

If one has to assume that one's helmet has been used in one's absence,
one would have to assume it was hit, and purchase a new one (creating an
economic burden).

If one doesn't assume that, but goes ahead and uses a helmet which has
been used (and hit), one is risking one's health, and unknowingly! Thus,
the borrowing has created a hazard to pekuach nefesh.

Keith H. Bierman   <khbkhb@...>
<speaking for myself*> Copyright 2007


From: Binyamin Lemkin <lemkin@...>
Date: Sun, 19 Aug 2007 16:42:12 +0200
Subject: Yerushalmi & Ashkenaz

Rav David Bar-Hayim's beth din has published a preliminary siddur
containing the ancient nusach of Eretz Yisrael based upon the Talmud
Yerushalmi. This nusach was in use until at least the end of the period
of the geonim. As others have noted in previous postings many
similarities can be found between this nusach and nusach Ashkenaz,
though there are certain similarities to nusach Sefardi.

More information may be found about this topic on Rav Bar-Hayim's
website at www.machonshilo.org. Anybody who is interested in obtaining a
copy of the siddur should write to <office@...>

                                                  Binyamin Lemkin


End of Volume 55 Issue 47