Volume 56 Number 64
                   Produced: Mon May 25  7:45:46 EDT 2009

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Asher Yatzar
        [Martin Dauber]
Asher Yatzar after a birth?
        [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz]
        [W Gewirtz]
Grave Stone Question
Kadish after Krias Hatorah
        [Tzvi R]
More on Birchat Hachmah
        [W Gewirtz]
A plurality of customs
        [Martin Stern]
We don't paskin by Gra, Jeanette, OR Shulchan Aruch
        [Russell Jay Hendel]


From: Martin Dauber <mhdauber@...>
Date: Sun, May 24, 2009 at 9:17 PM
Subject: Asher Yatzar

David Ziants <dziants@...> writes:

> A lady, straight after child-birth, is still in life danger for a number
> of days after. Once this danger passes she recites the b'racha
> "hagomel". Hopefully, she has succeeded in saying asher yatzar many
> times before she is ready to say hagomel - the issues that need hagomel
> being much stronger.

And speaking of orifices...

What about after each exhalation? (The trachea and glottis are open at
this time (Oh yisatem echad meihem..) Or inhalation?
And what about after opening the esophagus (to burp or vomit)?

Chazal seemed to have established the beracha for certain activites.
Period. Not that the others are less "important" in the building of
emunah. (Think about a time when you have been nauseated but unable to
rid your stomach of poison.!)

moshe tzvi dauber, md
anesthesia and critical care
university of chicago


From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahillel@...>
Date: Fri, May 22, 2009 at 10:04 AM
Subject: Re: Asher Yatzar after a birth?

> From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
> In the brachah, asher yatsar, the Almighty is praised for creating the
> human being with many orifices and organs ... if one of these should be
> open or closed at the wrong time it would be impossible to exist.
> In former times obstructed labour was a major cause death in childbirth
> of the mother or the baby, or both.
> In light of this can anyone suggest why it is not said by the mother
> after a safe delivery since its wording would seem particularly
> appropriate at that time?

I would say that is why the mother says "birchas hagomel" after a
birth. Asher Yatzar *seems* to be a recognition that matters have
continued correctly as set up by Hashem. I would say that going to the
bathroom is not the same as giving birth, even though the wording would
imply that a punishment of the type visited on Pharoah or Avimelech as a
result of kidnapping Sarah would lead to the same result.

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz | Said the fox to the fish, "Join me ashore"
 <SabbaHillel@...> | The fish are the Jews, Torah is our water


From: W Gewirtz <wgewirtz@...>
Date: Fri, May 22, 2009 at 12:11 AM
Subject: Calendar

> it is off about 0.75 days per hundred years, which is why the
> traditional time to insert vetayn tal umatar moves up about a day a
> century.

I forgot to comment and i am not sure who said the above. But this is
mixing tekofot of shmuel off by roughly .75 days/century as stated and
tekufot of R. adda off by about .4 day / century. The key thing to
remember is that except for equinox related events, nothing else in the
jewish calendar is strongly solar dependant. (keeping pesach in
season is not particularly challenging and despite so-called drift, this
will not be an issue for roughly the next two thousand years.) the
accuracy of the lunar month used by r. adda, however is off less than 1/2
second per month or an hour every 600 years. the hard question is how so
accurate a number was known.


From: SBA <sba@...>
Date: Sun, May 24, 2009 at 9:25 PM
Subject: Re: Grave Stone Question

From: David Ziants <t>
> ... Teimani (Yemenite) custom of putting the Stone on the grave
> straight after "shiva". ... it is also the old Ashkenazi Jerusalem
> custom ... and also not to engrave the letters on the Stone, but to
> write them on with a paint. I think this (similarly to wanting to bury
> the dead at night in Jerusalem), very much indicates the sensitivity
> to Tuma in the Holy City, and preventing having a grave exposed even
> for a day longer than necessary.

I don't know about that.
But I do know that many Chassidim - worldwide- have the Minhag of
putting up the Matzeva at the end of the Shiva,



From: Tzvi R <TzviR@...>
Date: Sun, May 24, 2009 at 6:15 PM
Subject: Kadish after Krias Hatorah

Minhag Yisroel Torah he. Several years ago I read a tsuvah regarding the
Kadish after Krias Hatorah, the conclusion was that it belongs to the
Baal Koreh

As to a rabbi introducing new minhagim or changing old ones we have
experienced this in our Shule. When the new rabbi was confronted with
the question Why? his answer was, that is how the rabbi of his yeshiva
had the minhag. Minhagim may not be changed by any new rabbi who is new
to the congregation.



From: W Gewirtz <wgewirtz@...>
Date: Wed, May 20, 2009 at 11:37 AM
Subject: More on Birchat Hachmah

From: Michael Gerver <mjgerver@...>

> <wgewirtz@...>, in v56n53, writes:
> > On 1: birchat hachmah is further off than the Julian calendar ~ 16 days
> > versus ~19. This may be a major issue/hint. A mathematican in israel
> > in an article in the Jerusalem post i believe, happened to to answer
> > this in manner that is IMHO is a tad less than believable.
> I don't know what explanation was given in the article, but I believe it
> can be explained as follows. The vernal equinox in the Julian calendar
> was set at March 21 by the Council of Nicea in 325 CE, and the Gregorian
> calendar was set up to also have the vernal equinox on March 21. Since
> the Julian calendar and the Gregorian calendar differ by 1 day every 133
> years, the Julian calendar is now off from the Gregorian calendar by
> (2009 - 325)/133,  13 days, approximately. The solar calendar of Shmuel,
> which is used to define the date of Birchat Hachamah, was similar to the
> Julian calendar (i.e. 365 day years with one leap day added every 4
> years), but had the vernal equinox on March 25, about 4 days later than
> the astronomical vernal equinox. Since Shmuel lived about 100 years
> before the Council of Nicea, his calendar has also drifted by one day
> more than the Julian calendar, and the calendar of Shmuel is now off by
> about 18 days from the Gregorian calendar, with the vernal equinox on
> April 8. The question is why Shmuel's vernal equinox was 4 days later
> than the astronomical vernal equinox when he set it up. Though I don't
> know the answer to this question, my guess is that he was using a Greek
> calculation that was correct around 300 or 400 BCE, and had since drifted
> off by 4 days. It is worth noting that the standard way of numbering
> years in contracts in Shmuel's time, both in the Jewish and non-Jewish
> world, was the Seleucid era, which began in 312 BCE. It is also worth
> noting that the Greek astronomer Meton, who established a lunar calendar
> with 235 months in 19 years, similar to the Hebrew lunar calendar, is
> said to have made an accurate measurement of the summer solistice in 432
> BCE, and used it as the basis for his calendar.

some thoughts:

The explanation i cannot find to explain further being off more than the
Julian calendar was that the start point was in the early days of Bayit
sheni. He attributed it to a complex calculation based on entirely
jewish sources; i like your attribution to an earlier greek tradition.
however, i am still bothered, in either case, by how it was carried
forward during the time before the Julian calendar.

I suspect Abaye or perhaps shmuel would prefer the roman date of march 25
over the more accurate date of the babylonians and that adopted a few
years after abaye by the Nicean council. what i was hinting at was the
reason - to avoid making a beracha on a zoroastrian chag. i suspect
those in bavel decided not to follow a custom to make a yearly beracha
on that day and created a tradition to do it only on wednesday every 28
years. as i stated this idea that it is also around the date of
creation is a later invention/error.

if we want to be creative, we can pick a six hour period (say 6-12 am
jerusalem time)and make the beracha only if the actual equinox falls in
that period ona wednesday. we would end up making the beracha in an
irregular sequence averaging once every 28 years.


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, May 25, 2009 at 5:25 AM
Subject: Re: A plurality of customs

On Tue, May 19, 2009 at 7:09 AM, Joseph Kaplan <penkap@...> wrote:

> I have great sympathy for Martin Stern concerning the unfair treatment
> and pain that he has been put through, but my advice, given
> reluctantly, is to let it go. I say this, I emphasize, not because I
> think he has acted improperly in any way. Based on what he has written
> (and as a lawyer, I must say that we have heard only one side,
> although it certainly has the feel of truth), he has acted in a
> restrained and dignified manner.

May I thank Joseph for his kind comments. I agree with him that one
should hear the opinion of the other side in the dispute and would
welcome their input to the discussion. If they feel I have acted
improperly I would be only too happy to be informed. I suppose it is
possible that I may have said or done something that was open to
misinterpretation but the only complaint they have expressed is that I
was being expelled "in the light of recent (unspecified) events" or
because I consulted other rabbanim about how I should proceed which they
took, incorrectly, as being with "the intention of denigrating [the] rav
and the shul" and described by them as constituting "an amazing degree
of azut". Since they could not be more precise as to the nature of their
claim, nor were not prepared to allow Dayan Berger to proceed to decide
whether these allegations had any substance, I cannot comment on them.

> But sometimes one must admit defeat, not because ones goal isn't just
> bit because victory simply is not possible. Let's say Martin "wins"
> Then what?  He'll be a shul where the rabbi and a large number of
> congregants revile him;

Apart from at most half a dozen die-hard supporters of the rabbi
(including the author of the 'anonymous' poison pen letter), I would
have no problems with most of the membership (nor they with me). They
are at present keeping a low profile because the other side have
intimidated them by, inter alia, publishing a notice that "anyone
assisting [me] is machzik bemachloket and mesayei'a yedei ovrei

> he'll be in a shul where there will be constant friction, debate and
> disagreement over procedures and minhagim; I believe that,
> unfortunately, as just as his cause is, he simply can't win.

Though it is unlikely that I will be able to "take over" the shul and
restore the status quo ante, I feel it is important that such behaviour
should be publicised so that the other side do not simply win by
default.  In effect, our shul has been stolen from us. The most I could
realistically expect would be that be, as a result of public opinion,
they are forced to apologise for their misbehaviour. This would act as
warning to other shuls or communal bodies that they cannot act with
impunity in such a high-handed and autocratic manner. As Edward Burke is
reputed to have said "The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is
for good people to do nothing."

> he'll be in a shul where his behavior, and that of the others
> including the rabbi, will be constantly under a microscope and will take
> precedence over tefillah. That is truly sad, but rather than spend
> his tefillah time in such an uncomfortable setting, he should try to
> find another place for tefillah where, even if the minhagim are not
> exactly those of his youth and the tradition of his family, the
> atmosphere and people among who he davens are such that his tefillot
> will bring him comfort rather than continued angst.

While there are plenty of shuls in our area where I can daven reasonably
comfortably on weekdays, and even Shabbat, there is a definite lack of a
congenial one for Yom Tov and, a fortiori, the Yamim Noraim. On these
occasions, I may be forced to go out of town to find a suitable place to

Martin Stern


From: Russell Jay Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Sun, May 24, 2009 at 9:14 PM
Subject: We don't paskin by Gra, Jeanette, OR Shulchan Aruch

I thank Binyomin Segal for his scholarly response to my original posting.

I completely agree with it (Including the implication that I have been
influenced more by Rav Moshe than by Rav Ovadiah Yosef)

My purpose in writing the posting was not to settle all halachic
problems but rather to show, as Binyomin notes, an important aspect of
the halachic process as well as to indicate sources that could help
other Mail Jewish readers ask good questions in matters of Psak

I think we can raise the mail-jewish discussions on halachic matters to
a new level if we include issues such as those raised by me and Binyomin
in our postings.

And as Binyomin notes we all miss Mail Jewish. I don^=D2t think we miss
psaks we miss the interaction. I in fact noted that the Shulchan Aruch
notes that stating a psak does not necessarily require a bircat hatorah
while analysis does.

All I can ask at this point is that we have these issues in mind when
halachic process is discussed and we bring in more examples

Russell Jay Hendel; Ph.d. A.S.A.; http://www.Rashiyomi.com/


End of Volume 56 Issue 64