Volume 55 Number 86
                    Produced: Mon Nov 26 22:41:10 EST 2007

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Avi Feldblum]
Avinu Malkenu on Shabbat/Yom Kippur
         [Noach Stern]
Chanukah on the J Site and 136 holiday links
         [Jacob Richman]
Kiddush bemakom se'udah
         [Moshe Flohr]
No Tachnun at a Bris
         [Carl Singer]
Rambam, commentary Efodi
         [Joseph Ginzberg]
Shaot Zemaniyot,Alot HaShaHar, & Earliest time for Talet & Tefilin
         [Joseph Mosseri]
Updated List of Jewish and Israeli Groups on Facebook
         [Jacob Richman]
Virtual Glyph Theory
         [Jay F Shachter]


From: Avi Feldblum <feldblum@...>
Date: Mon, 26 Nov 2007 22:30:41 -0500
Subject: Administrivia

Hello All,

Thanks to all who asked about my absence, and my apologies to all on it.
I am now back and mail-jewish will continue to go out.



From: Noach Stern <noach@...>
Date: Sun, 11 Nov 2007 23:05:32 +1100
Subject: Avinu Malkenu on Shabbat/Yom Kippur

Thank you to Akiva Miller for bringing the moving argument of R
Kamenetzy, which I have just now had the opportunity of reading.

May I add a much less learned but nonetheless deeply felt chime of

Last Yom Kippur, the absence of Avinu Malkenu except at the end
underlined a central truth for me - the *whole* of YK is a request, of
the kind that we would "normally" omit on Shabbat (i.e. the weekday
bracha in tephillah of "Selach lanu avinu ki chat'anu, mechal lanu
malkenu ki phashanu").

It seems to me that it is with an appeal to pikuach nephesh that we
"override" the Shabbat to allow YK to take place alongside it, as it
were. The entry at the last minute of those ancient pleas is not only a
cry of desperation that we usually out aside on Shabbat, but it is also
a culmination, lending a special emphasis on something so strong as to
put Shabbat aside - almost - for a night and a day.

Perhaps the bracha that seals the weekday "selach lanu avinu/mechal lanu
malkenu" is a factor amongst the reasons we refrain from making too much
of avinu malkenu on Shabbat - in a way, the bracha is for a benefit
which we are not so sure of receiving as this particular Shabbat departs
with its somber companion.

Noach Stern


From: Jacob Richman <jrichman@...>
Date: Sun, 11 Nov 2007 15:24:30 +0200
Subject: Chanukah on the J Site and 136 holiday links

Hi Everyone!

Chanukah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, is observed for eight days,
beginning on the evening of the 25th day of the Hebrew month of
Kislev. This year Chanukah starts at sundown, Tuesday, December 4, 2007.
Chanukah is a wonderful holiday of renewed dedication, faith, hope and
spiritual light. It's a holiday that says: "Never lose hope." Chanukah
commemorates the victory of a small band of Maccabees over the pagan
Syrian-Greeks who ruled over Israel.

The J Site - Jewish Education and Entertainment 

has several entertaining features to celebrate Chanukah:

Jewish Trivia Quiz: Chanukah

What does the Hebrew word Chanukah mean ?
What type of foods do we specificaly eat on Chanukah ?
What activities are forbidden during Chanukah ?
Are woman obligated to light the menorah ?
How many candles do we need for all of Chanukah ?
Which family was Judah the Maccabee from ?
How many branches did the menorah in the temple have ?

The above questions are examples from the multiple choice 
Flash quiz. There are two levels of questions, two timer settings.
Both kids and adults will find it enjoyable.

Additional Chanukah resources and games on the J site include:
Free Chanukah Clipart 
The Multilingual Word Search Game (English / Hebrew / Russian)
The Hebrew Hangman Game 
My Hebrew Songbook (Hebrew Song Lyrics)
My Jewish Coloring Book (online / offline)

The J site has something for everyone, but if that is not 
enough, I posted on my website 136 links about Chanukah, 
from laws and customs to games and recipes.
Site languages include English, Hebrew, Russian, Spanish,
French, Portuguese, German and Italian.

All 136 links have been reviewed / checked this week.
The web address is:

Please forward this message to relatives and friends, 
so they may benefit from these holiday resources.



From: Moshe Flohr <ezf613@...>
Date: Fri, 19 Oct 2007 01:28:09 -0400
Subject: Re: Kiddush bemakom se'udah

In vol. 55 number 85 the question of Kiddush bemakom se'udah for succos
and all-year-round was brought up. A number of issues concerning this
need to be discussed.

First, it would seem from the Magen Avraham in Siman 291 s"k alef that
an egg size (plus a bit more) is required for a valid se'udah. On this
the Mishna B'rura states that "yesh omrim" that an olive size is enough
but one should try to eat an egg size if possible. [So too states the
Bikurei Ya'akov in Siman 639:21, that an olive size would be considered
bedi'eved a kevias se'udah on Shabbos and Yom Tov. He states that the
egg size shiur is lechatchilah.]

(It should be noted that whichever shiur one follows, it needs to be
eaten "kday achilas pras" (within 3 to 9 minutes) for it to be
considered kevias se'udah.)

Concerning succos, on the first night of succos the Shulchan Aruch
writes in Siman 639:3 that it is considered kevias se'udah even if
eating only an olive size. For the rest of succos the Shulchan Aruch
639:2 states that an amount of bread a little bigger than an egg size is
considered a kevi'us and requires a succah (and b'racha of lei'sheiv

[Concerning kevi'as se'uda in the succah the question of k'day achilas
pras comes up. The Mishna Brurah in 639:22 writes that on the first
night the size of an olive needs to be eaten during this time
period. Concerning the rest of succos when the amount is an egg size he
does not mention this requirement. Bikurei Ya'akov 639:13 and others say
that the din is the same (albeit for the larger amount of an egg). But
the Chochmas Shlomo on 639:7 says that one is not patur from the succah
(on the other days of succos) if he eats the shiur of an egg even if he
intends to eat it longer than k'day achilas pras. (I am not clear if he
holds that one makes a lei'sheiv in such a case or just that he must go
into the succah for this type of eating.)

There is an additional question if on succos one makes a b'racha of
lei'sheiv when eating mezonos (i.e. cake and cookies) even when eating
an egg size amount. The Shulchan Aruch HaRav, Aruch HaShulchan and
Mishne B'rurah say yes, the Bikurei Ya'akov (639:16) says not to. He
says therfore to be ko'vay'ah to eat "more" than an egg size (bi'ke'day
achilas pras) then make a lei'shiv and then to say Bircas Hamazon! So
agrees the Kaf HaChayim.  (The Bikurei Ya'akov (ibid) does hold that on
Yom Tov/ Shabbos when you are eating an egg size of mezonos in order for
it to be considered kiddush bemakom se'udah then you can make a
lei'sheiv (and al hamichya). But on chol ha'moed he says it would be an
error to make the brachah of lei'sheiv for eating mezonos.)

Moshe Flohr, pres.
Otzar HaChochma Inc, USA


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Tue, 23 Oct 2007 09:12:49 -0400
Subject: No Tachnun at a Bris

It was my pleasure to be Sandak at my grandson's bris this past Sunday
 -- reading through the brief instructions in the Artscroll Siddur:

[tachnun is not said] In the synagogue where a circumcision will take
place later that day or in the presence of a primary participant (i.e.,
the father, the mohel or the sandak) in a circumcision that will take
place later that day.

I wanted to explore this in more detail.  

I heard / read (? -- don't recall which or where) that "in the old days"
 there was no tachnun in the entire town when there was a bris.

Also, (on the other hand) as many shules have multiple minyanim in
multiple rooms how does this apply.  Say, for example, that there's a
7:00 AM minyan in the main sanctuary, a 7:30 in the library, and the
bris will take place at the 8:00 minyan which is in the main sanctuary
and there's a 8:30 minyan in the library.

Which, if any, of these 4 minyanim say tachnun?

Also, what about tachnun at mincha?



From: Joseph Ginzberg <jgbiz120@...>
Date: Sun, 28 Oct 2007 11:11:14 -0400
Subject: Rambam, commentary Efodi

In an old edition of the Rambam's Guide, the commentary Efodi makes a
comment that has been deleted in recent editions. He seems to be saying
(beginning of chapter 46) that both the story of Jonah and the story of
the Akeda were visions, rather than real events. Is this a correct
interpretation of his words?

1) The author of the Efodi had a very strange personal history (Forced
conversion, reaccepted on the condition he move to Jerusalem).  Is the
fact that he said it, and that his commentary is used even in the most
religious circles, proof of acceptability?

2) Does anyone know of any mainstream authorities that would agree with
this opinion?  While it sounds very logical to me, it does fly in the
face of standard, traditional "cheder" education.

3) If it's not okay, why is this commentary used? If it is okay, who
censored it out and why?

Also, if anyone has a clear copy of the page in the old print and could
send it, I'd appreciate it. I have a copy of a copy that is very

Yossi Ginzberg


From: Joseph Mosseri <joseph.mosseri@...>
Date: Sun, 21 Oct 2007 22:30:40 -0400
Subject: Shaot Zemaniyot,Alot HaShaHar, & Earliest time for Talet & Tefilin

My query is multifaceted.

We are all aware of Sha'ot Zemaniyot but how do we calculate Alot
Hashahar based upon Sha'ot Zemaniyot?

Should we or shouldn't we? Why?

This brings me to the next major part of this post and that is, How much
time after Alot Hashahar can one put on Talet & Tefilin with a berakhah.

How do we calculate the time that the talmoud lists as MiSheyakir ben
Tekhelet LeLaban?

Thank you,

Joseph Mosseri


From: Jacob Richman <jrichman@...>
Date: Wed, 17 Oct 2007 12:19:42 +0200
Subject: Updated List of Jewish and Israeli Groups on Facebook

Hi Everyone!

In August I created a list of Jewish and Israeli Facebook groups.
The list started with 300 groups.

Since then, I have been updating the list and today it has 737 groups.

The address of the list is:


Feedback is welcome!

Have a good day,


From: Jay F Shachter <jay@...>
Date: Sat, 13 Oct 2007 23:53:28 -0600 (CDT)
Subject: Virtual Glyph Theory

Toward the end of this week's parasha, the name Avram is changed to
Avraham, by acquiring the Hebrew letter "hé", and the name Sarai is
changed to Sarah, by replacing the Hebrew letter "yod" with the Hebrew
letter "hé".  Our sages have taught us (Palestinian Talmud, Tractate
Sanhedrin, Chapter 9, Halakha 6) that this paired change illustrates the
law of conservation of gematria, which asserts that in a closed system
gematria can be neither created nor destroyed.  The change in Avraham's
name, which involved a +5 change in gematria value, is offset by the
change in Sarah's name, which involved a -5 change in gematria value.

One would expect, however, that this paired change would proceed in the
following manner: The yod in "Sarai" decays into two hés, one of which
remains bound to the other two letters while the other is emitted.  The
emitted hé is then captured by Avram. who absorbs it and becomes
Avraham.  The point is that, in all frames of reference, the change in
Sarai's name must precede the change in Avram's name, as the hé capture
which results in the formation of Avraham is made possible only by the
prior yod decay involved in the formation of Sarah.  Empirical evidence,
though, contradicts this theory.  Avram became Avraham sometime after
Genesis 17:5, but no later than Genesis 17:9, whereas six verses later,
at the beginning of Genesis 17:15, Sarai was still Sarai, and she did
not become Sarah until the end of the verse.  Thus, in at least one
frame of reference, the hé capture preceded the yod decay, which is a
violation of the conservation law.

Apparently, the law of conservation of gematria can be violated for
short periods of time.  The hé that Avraham absorbed was not emitted by
Sarah.  Rather, it was a virtual glyph.  Virtual glyphs can exist for a
small number of verses, but then they must disappear; the product of the
gematria of the glyph, and the number of verses, must be less than or
equal to Shachter's Constant.  Virtual glyphs can become real only if
the deficit is made up elsewhere through the annihilation of a glyph, or
glyphs, of equal gematria.

I am currently exploring the idea that the attraction between Avraham
and Sarah may be caused by the constant exchange of virtual glyphs,
which cannot otherwise be detected.  I cannot predict yet where the
equations will lead but I expect that the results will be cause for
laughter in certain quarters.

Jay F. ("Yaakov") Shachter


End of Volume 55 Issue 86