Volume 56 Number 67
                 Produced: Sun, 31 May 2009 20:26:44 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

A new topic for discussion (2)
         [Yakir,  Shayna Kravetz]
Daf Yomi
         [Fay Berger]
Der Yid Hakadosh (2)
         [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz, Akiva Miller]
The Apotheosis of R. Wein
         [Michael Frankel]
The name of the Amora Plimo
         [Martin Stern]
Wearing a Kipa at Work
         [Mark Goldin]
What's in a name?
         [Shmuel Himelstein]
Zman Shacharis/t on the plane
         [Bernard Raab]


From: Yakir <yakir@...>
Date: Sun, May 31,2009 at 08:01 PM
Subject: A new topic for discussion

I can think of a number of reasons why saying Asher Yatzar after childbirth
would not be the most appropriate bracha.
However, I am fairly sure that, if I was a woman I would be rather upset and
disturbed by the connotations of having to say Asher Yatzar after
childbirth, notwithstanding various logical and anatomical explanations.
(I don't even think I will ask my wife about this, I can anticipate the

- Yakir.

From: Shayna Kravetz <skravetz@...>
Date: Sun, May 31,2009 at 07:01 PM
Subject: A new topic for discussion

In response to a note from Martin Stern
<<mailto:<md.stern@...>md.stern@ntlworld.com> on Wed, May 20,
2009 at 7:55 AM:

> In the brachah, asher yatsar, the Almighty is praised for İİcreating 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 am surprised that no one has pointed out that, since 'asher yatzar'
refers to a condition that makes it 'impossible to exist', it is not
appropriately applied to the birthing of a child. There are plenty of
human beings who exist and who have not either begotten or born
children. Indeed, three of the foremothers had 'womb troubles' and
managed to exist for many years until God granted them the gift of a

Kol tuv and welcome back, MJ!

Shayna in Toronto


From: Fay Berger <juniperviv@...>
Date: Sun, May 31,2009 at 07:01 PM
Subject: Daf Yomi

A short synopsis of Steinsaltz Daf Yomi is available daily at
You can sign up to receive this on a daily basis.

Fay Berger


From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahillel@...>
Date: Sun, May 31,2009 at 08:01 PM
Subject: Der Yid Hakadosh

> From: J Friedman<FriedmanJ@...>

> I have just finished reading For the Sake of Heaven by Buber and am stunned
> at some of the goings on between the Choser of Lublin, Rabbi Shimon Deutsch,
> Der Yid, Reb Dovid of Lelov and the others. It astonished me that the Choser
> in particular used whatever means necessary to hasten Moshiach by supporting
> Napolean Bonaparte because he thought Napolean was the leader of Gog.
> Does anyone have more information about this? The idea of using kaballah to
> strengthen Napolean to bring Moshiach---isn't Hashem's place to do that and
> not man's?

I think that the idea is that even though we know that he will come
when Hashem decides that it is time, we are still required to perform
our hishtadlus (effort). It is like making an income or buying
insurance. Even though it is really up to Hashem, we are still
required to go to work. Similarly, we are still required to go to the
doctor when sick even though it is Hashem who makes one sick or cures

In regard to this I saw the following.

Q: Why did Hashem create atheism

A: So that when a poor person comes to us, we should say "It is up to
me to help" and not "Hashem will provide".

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

From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Sun, May 31,2009 at 07:01 PM
Subject: Der Yid Hakadosh

Jeanette Friedman asked:
> Does anyone have more information about this? The idea of
> using kaballah to strengthen Napolean to bring Moshiach ---
> isn't Hashem's place to do that and not man's?

On a related note, I've long wondered where we draw the line between
what is Hashem's job, and what is ours.

For example, there was a time in our history when the Oral Law was
transmitted orally, and *only* orally. People would write personal
notes about the Torah they knew, but these were kept strictly
personal: Nothing was published. (That is, in the era before the
printing press, no Oral Law was given to scribes for mass copying.)
But as time went on, things got forgotten, and the leaders of the time
became afraid that Judaism might be lost unless certain things got
codified and published for posterity. Thus the Mishnah, and a few
hundred years later the Gemara, and so on.

But I must wonder: Is it OUR job to insure that Judaism survives? Or
is that G-D's job?

It seems quite evident to me OUR job is to OBSERVE the Torah as best
as we can. What comes of that is for Hashem to worry about. And so I
wonder why it was so necessary to change the rules and allow the Oral
Law to be published.

The only answer I've heard to this question (so far) is that
publication of the Oral Torah was never really *forbidden*, but merely
discouraged, and so it could be done when the times demanded it. But
again, did the times really *demand* such a change to tradition?
Indeed, the Battle of Chanukah was another time when we feared that
Judiasm might be wiped out, and yet we praise them for their
insistence on using one pure oil for the menorah, even though impure
oil was technically allowed by the letter of the law.

... Just airing some ideas, hoping to continue the discussion. Thanks!

Akiva Miller


From: Michael Frankel <michaeljfrankel@...>
Date: Sun, May 31,2009 at 08:01 PM
Subject: The Apotheosis of R. Wein

Since in the pre-resurrection days of MJ the conversation occasionally
strayed to R. Wein, i thought the chevra might be interested to know of a
recent - i really don't know quite what to call it - breakthrough?
milestone? i was giving a talk in Minneapolis the other week and dropped
in to the local shul for minchoh maariv (apparently it was the more modern of
the two local shuls) and the rav was out of town on some errand. as is
customary in many places a d'var torah is on the agenda for the intervening
five minutes before maariv and with the rav absent, a member of the
congregation filled in. you can imagine my surprise (make that slack-jawed
amazement) when the lecturer opened up his sefer - which turned out to be
one of R. Wein's coffee table history books - and proceeded to read out loud
a paragraph from the book. after completing this recitation of r. wein's
prose, the qohol proceeded to stand and recite qaddish d'rabbonon. and
nobody seemed to think anything extraordinary had happened. had i stayed
longer perhaps i would have had the opportunity to observe whether many of
the reverential courtesies common in some circles to the handling of
chumoshim - no piling on top of other books, turning it over so the front
cover is on top, even a quick kiss if inadvertently dropped? - were
accorded R. Wein's tomes. i do not really know if this reflects some
broader sociological current, but there it is.

Mechy Frankel


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, May 31,2009 at 08:01 PM
Subject: The name of the Amora Plimo

I often wondered as to the origin of the name Plimo and have not found any
very satisfactory explanations. In the Steinsalz Talmud, it claims that the
name comes from the Greek Palaimo, derived from the Greek adjective palaios
meaning old. Quite apart from not being able to find such a Greek name
mentioned anywhere, palaios is only used in reference to things (e.g. in
palaeontology) and the equivalent adjective for old people is geros (e.g. in
gerontology) as in the name Geronimos (Jerome).

After much thought I have come up with the following hypothetical etymology.
I think that the name is a corruption of the very common Greek name
Philemon. Because of the rules of the Hebrew letters BGDKPT, it is assumed
that when one of them appears at the beginning of a word it is the plosive
form (i.e. with a dagesh) rather than the fricative. Therefore the initial
phei would be misread as a pei. Furthermore the vowels would not have been
indicated leading to a complete misreading of them by those unfamiliar with
the original.

That leaves the final n to be explained. I think that in the Aramaic of the
Bavli a final n is often dropped, probably associated with the nasalisation
of the preceding vowel as happened when Latin developed into French. This
can be seen by comparing the words in kaddish, for example, with their
Talmudic equivalents e.g. chayeichon in kaddish becoming chayeicho, or
mispronounced chayeichoo, in the Bavli.

I would very much welcome any comments from other people on these ideas.

Martin Stern


From: Mark Goldin <goldinfamily@...>
Date: Sun, May 31,2009 at 07:01 PM
Subject: Wearing a Kipa at Work

I wonder if many Mail-Jewish readers in the US have struggled with the
decision to wear a kippah to work. I never did, and would eat at my
desk without saying a bracha. I know many frum people who do the same.
I should point out that I live in LA and imagine this challenge exists
everywhere in the USA outside of New York. I'd prefer to focus on
regions where fear of actual physical danger is not the issue.

I have asked my Rabbi about this, and he referred to the famous psak
of Rav Moshe who allowed "bare-headedness" earlier in the last century
when parnasah was a problem. He did not know how to advise me
regarding eating and seemed bothered by this.

Anyway, after being inspired by something I read in Rav Soleveitchik's
machzor last RH, and also after learning of 2 kippah-wearers holding
similar, senior positions in other companies, I decided to stop
removing the kippah. I was looking for a job at the time, and made the
difficult decision to wear it to interviews and to start any new job
that way.

I have no idea to what extent this affected my job search. Did it
repel potential offers? Could it possibly have endeared me to certain
employers? I did receive a total of 2 offers, one from a Jewish
company, which I accepted, but I was on the market for a long time,
albeit during one of the worst of recessions.

Am I over-analyzing this, being self-conscious where no-one cares or
even notices? Was I foolishly jeopardizing my financial security
against the advice of my rabbi? Or is the mesirut nefesh involved
praiseworthy and an example for others? Is there a bitachon issue
here? How concerned need one be about the feelings of direct reports
who might feel offended or intimidated? I once had someone turn down a
good job offer because one of the interviewers had a bible in his
office. Both parties were goyim.

I have many other questions, but I am more interested in the
experience of others and any discussion around this. I also don't
understand why wearing the kippah is considered a minhag when it
appears as halacha in the SA. Needless to say, one's behavior must
be beyond reproach in the workplace.

Mark Goldin


From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
Date: Sun, May 31,2009 at 07:01 PM
Subject: What's in a name?

I recently Davened in an Eidot Mizrachi (so-called "Oriental") Minyan,
and heard the rabbi tell the Chazan to recite "Kaddish al Yisrael." It
took me a short time to realize that that is the Kaddish Ashkenazim
refer to as Kaddish deRabbanan. The source for that name is obviously
the beginning of the extra paragraph, "Al Yisrael ve-al Rabbanan." I
vaguely believe that by the same token I heard a reference to what
Ashenazim call Kaddish Yatom as "Kaddish Yehei Shlama," but I'm not
sure of that. Someone else who is more familiar with is phrase might
be able to comment on this.

Shmuel Himelstein


From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Sun, May 31,2009 at 07:01 PM
Subject: Zman Shacharis/t on the plane

> Check out
> http://www.chaitables.com
> which allows one to calculate zemanim when traveling by airplane.
> The inputs are:
> (*) where you're leaving from,
> (*) where you're going to,
> (*) departure time,
> (*) arrival time.
> The website calculates the relevant zemanim. What's especially nice
> is that it gives a table saying that if the plane takes off x minutes
> late (where x is 15, 30, 45, etc.), then the zemanim are such and
> such.

Forgive my innocence please, but why is it necessary to check times
and data tables when the rising of the sun is always and immediately
visible from an airplane at 30,000+ feet? Even with the shades drawn
the sun's rays will be clearly visible on the shades on one side of
the plane or the other. It is true that on the ground below the sun
may not yet have risen, but that would be rectified in just a few
minutes, and anyway, we are on the airplane and not on the ground.

Am I missing something?

Bernie R.


End of Volume 56 Issue 67