Volume 56 Number 82 
      Produced: Sun, 21 Jun 2009 12:13:04 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Adath Jeshuron (2)
    [Stuart Feldhamer  Meir Possenheimer]
    [Yisrael Medad]
Ha-Gomail by women 
How many halachic Jews are there? 
    [Carl Singer]
Jewish Chaplains 
    [Ira L. Jacobson]
Kaddish after krias HaTorah - to whom does it belong? 
    [Stu Pilichowski]
Limitations on G-d 
    [Ari Trachtenberg]
Siddur Page Number Display Board? (2)
    [Carl Singer  Shayna Kravetz]
The missing Hekkesh 
    [Martin Stern]
Women Rabbis 
    [Heshy Summer]
You must be joking! (2)
    [Russell J Hendel]


From: Meir Possenheimer <meir@...>
Date: Fri, Jun 19,2009 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Adath Jeshuron

>> And since none of us can alter, influence, change or whatever the
>> situation in Manchester (or is there someone out there listening in?),
>> nor do more than one of us on the list have a stake in the situation,
>> can we get off the topic?

I personally would leave it to the moderator to decide if and when any topic 
should be regarded as one to be removed from discussion.

>From an equally personal viewpoint, I find many submissions to be of no interest
whatsoever.  However, I just move on to the next topic without asking the author
or even the moderator to remove such items.  As it happens, Mr Stern is making a
very valid point in one of the few forums where he is able so to do and, as 
this appears to be a situation which by all accounts - including some already
aired in MJ - has already arisen elsewhere and which, unfortunately may well do
so in the future, other persons' opinions and experiences are to be welcomed.

Meir Possenheimer

From: Stuart Feldhamer <stuart.feldhamer@...>
Date: Sun, Jun 21,2009 at 01:01 AM
Subject: Adath Jeshuron

Yisrael Medad said:

> P.S.  And since none of us can alter, influence, change or whatever the 
> situation in Manchester (or is there someone out there listening in?), 
> nor do more than one of us on the list have a stake in the situation, 
> can we get off the topic?

First of all, I am getting more from this particular topic than any of the
others currently making the rounds of the list. Second of all, I disagree
that only Martin Stern has a stake in this situation. All of us have a stake
in this situation, not only because of the principle of areivus, but also
because if it could happen in Manchester, it could happen anywhere. We all
have a responsibility to prevent injustice wherever possible.

Furthermore, I think to say "can we get off the topic" is insensitive. You
posted just now (a post that didn't add much to the conversation). If you
want to get off the topic, then don't post. But to say "get off the topic",
a topic that is surely causing Martin tremendous anguish, shows a lack of
empathy. I know that if that happened to me in my shul, I would be extremely
disturbed and I wouldn't give up very easily.

Stuart Feldhamer
Brooklyn, NY


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Fri, Jun 19,2009 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Esther

Matthew Pearlman wrote:
> Does anyone know why Esther is traditionally transliterated with "th"
> given that the taf has a dagesh?

a) I doubt this has anything to do with Halacha
b) Maybe the first person lisped?
c) Transliterations are notoriously subjective, remember the "z" with a dot
underneath for a "tzadi"? or the similar "h" for CH?



From: <chips@...>
Date: Fri, Jun 19,2009 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Ha-Gomail by women

> As far back as I remember, I never saw a woman say hagomel. This
> seems to be a newer practice. What is the difference between child
> birth and a flight or sailing? or a desert vacation?

It is at least 40 years that women have been saying Ha-Gomail, though I
have also seen husbands saying Ha-Gomail with the wife in mind if they
both went through [the] same experience.

As for going through childbirth - maybe because there was a Korbon [Mod -
sacrifice] set up in the Torah for childbirth, the custom never developed for



From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Fri, Jun 19,2009 at 07:01 AM
Subject: How many halachic Jews are there?

Doctor Katz' suggested looking to the survey conducted on behalf of the
Jewish Federations -- this may be a start, but certainly cannot provide a
useful answer - see the following website for details of statistical
sampling methods used, etc.:


I've excerpted a key portion of the screening (initial) questionnaire below:

> The NJPS Screener included four questions and these were used to classify
> respondents as Jewish, PJB or non-Jewish:
> 1. What is your religion, if any?
> 2. Do you have a Jewish mother or a Jewish father?
> 3. Were you raised Jewish?
> 4. Do you consider yourself Jewish for any reason?

Note:  NJPS == National Jewish Population Survey
       PJB == "people with Jewish background"

A .pdf entitled "American Jewish Religious Denominations" was among the


Carl A. Singer


From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Fri, Jun 19,2009 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Jewish Chaplains

David I. Cohen <bdcohen@...> stated in Vol.56 #77:
>Some YU musmachim were given a heter to go to these shuls with the 
>idea of preventing them from becoming Conservative, with the proviso 
>that the Rabbi had a finite amount of time to eliminate the mixed 
>seating and have a mechitza installed, or he had to leave.

This is an interesting use of the word "finite."  I suspect the 
intention was not so much a finite amount of time as "a predefined period."

In any event I am interested in knowing first-hand from David when 
his father's shul ended mixed seating on the Yamim Nora'im?  And when 
his father's shul put up a mehitza (other than the temporary one when 
there was a YUSCY event there).



From: Stu Pilichowski <cshmuel@...>
Date: Sun, Jun 21,2009 at 04:01 AM
Subject: Kaddish after krias HaTorah - to whom does it belong?

> From: Mordechai <Phyllostac@...>
> The most thorough study and survey of this, by far (or perhaps I should say 
> that only such one), appeared in print not that long ago in Yerushoseinu 
> (an annual dedicated to Toras Ashkenaz) volume I (Bnei Brak 5767), pages 
> 113-125.

I had the perfect setting this past Shabbat: The Baal Shachrit and the Baal
Koreh were one and the same.

Stuart Pilichowski 
Mevaseret Zion, Israel


From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Fri, Jun 19,2009 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Limitations on G-d

Ben Katz wrote:

> Obviously, there are lots of passages in Tanakh that suggest  
> otherwise. E.g., some pesukim depict Gd as becoming unhappy because of human 
> sin and, as result, deciding to do something about it--in particular, deciding
> to flood the world (Ber 6:5-7).  But on the view that Gd is immutable, these
> are supposed to be understood metaphorically.

After the flood, G-d is talking to Himself (el libo) promising (Rashi  
says swearing) that he will no longer smite all life *as he has done*.  How is
this apparent change in G-d's behavior understood metaphorically?



From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Fri, Jun 19,2009 at 07:01 AM
Subject: Siddur Page Number Display Board?

I've seen three different methods -- will not discuss the halachic
implications if any, only the mechanics.

Kesher Israel, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, has what was likely a hand-built
(and age old) device which consists of three continuous loops of numbers
(0 - 9) in a frame with allowing for number 0-0-0  to 9-9-9  to be
displayed. These numbers are very large as is appropriate for a large

Young Israel in Passaic, New Jersey, has a magnetic board (i.e., a black
metal board.)  Below it a tray with 10 bins to hold individual magnetic
numbers. I believe ordinary white plastic house numbers are used -- and
someone has glued the flat plastic magnetic strips to the back of these

I've seen several applications where there are vertical bins for each digit,
cards numbered 0 - 9 are placed  in these bins and as page numbers progress
the front card is placed to the back (thus maintaining order) and the page
number thus displayed.

All of these methods require someone to be there throughout davening to
maintain the accurate page number display.

An underlying assumption re: the utility of page displays is use of the same

Carl A. Singer

From: Shayna Kravetz <skravetz@...>
Date: Fri, Jun 19,2009 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Siddur Page Number Display Board?

Janice Gelb <j_gelb@...> wrote:
> ... We thought we might try to purchase a board
> that we could mount that would display page numbers...
> Does anyone have one of these at their shul?

The solution should be well within the capability of an average
carpenter.   You need a board, three or four  brads or pegs pounded
into it at an upslanted angle, and three or four sets of plasticized
cards numbered 0 to 9 with a hole at the top.  The cards would  have
to be purchased at a display equipment store, but the rest of the
apparatus would be easy, cheap, and quick to build or buy.  Then, as
the pages change, the designated human can put up the card with each
page number. This will handle everything up to 9999 pages.  (If your
R"H-Y"K makhzor is longer than that, you've probably got other
problems with your congregation!)

The only practical issue is the size of the board and cards, which
will depend on the size of your kehillah [Congregation - Mod].  The
larger the room, the larger the numbers so that everyone at whatever distance
can read them.

B'hatzlakhah [Good luck - Mod] and shabbat shalom or shavu'a tov, as the case
may be when you see this..

Shayna in Toronto


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, Jun 18,2009 at 03:01 AM
Subject: The missing Hekkesh

While Mail Jewish was in 'hibernation', I came up with the following query
that I would have submitted:

"In the Beraita of Rabbi Yishmaeil, that we say every morning, on the 13
modes of Scriptural interpretation there appears to be a glaring omission,
the Hekkesh, which we know he uses frequently throughout Shass. I am aware
of several explanations but find none entirely satisfactory so I wonder if
anyone can come up with one."

In the event I sent it to the Yated Ne'eman (Monsey) and the Jewish Tribune
(London) but none of the replies seemed to solve the problem completely. Now
that Mail Jewish is back, perhaps someone on it can do so.

Martin Stern


From: Heshy Summer <hhandls@...>
Date: Fri, Jun 19,2009 at 07:01 AM
Subject: Women Rabbis

> The goal of Orthodoxy is to study Torah and become a great scholar. This
> requires years of study and dedication. For a woman to follow this track
> would mean giving up much of family and home life.

In my opinion, the goal of Orthodoxy is to study Torah and to know as much
as possible for two purposes: 1) to live a Torah life to its fullest and 2)
to be able to pass this knowledge on to the next generations so that we can
perpetuate the Jewish people.

In this respect, I believe that women have as an important role to play as
men.  I am not sure why anyone (man or woman) needs the honorific in order
to accomplish this.

Heshy Summer
Bet Shemesh


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Tue, Jun 16,2009 at 08:01 PM
Subject: You must be joking!

Just wanted to add some logical points to Janet's objections to our
venturing in space.

First: The Rav (Rabbi Soloveitchick) cited Genesis 1. God bless Adam and
Eve (the human race) that they should "be fruitful and multiple ...fill
the world and CONQUER her." The Rav commented: CONQUEST is a military

In fact I heard this word of the Rav when one of the astronauts died in a
launch.  The Rav's point was that a) we (per the Biblical verse) bless
with world conquest b) we will ultimately achieve conquest over nature
but c) there are sometimes casualties along the way.

Second: Besides Janet's logical objections to citing death as proof that
God doesn't want us in outer space I might also cite some halachic
objections. Jewish law prohibits "teasing" - a prime example of teasing
is to cite Job 4:6 to a person in mourning "Is not your fear of God your
confidence? And your hope the uprightness of your ways?".  In other words
there are potential Biblical prohibitions against "talking like that." So
the issue is not "You must be joking" but "You are violating Jewish tease

Third: I once heard a lecture by one of the great Holocaust lecturers (I
forget which one). I asked in the Q&A session: "I agree with you that
e.g. you shouldn't go over to a cancer patient and tell them they are
being punished for their sins. But if the person is already known as a
sinner.... e.g. they are a person known to rob people or cheat on
investments and additionally they have cancer why is it wrong to tell
them that their cancer is a punishment for their sins?" In other words: I
(and perhaps Janet) does not object to tying catastrophes to sin
PROVIDED the act was ALREADY classified as sinful. But if the act (going
to outer space) was never classified as sinful one should not behave this

Russell Jay Hendel; Phd. ASA http://www.Rashiyomi.com/

From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Wed, Jun 17,2009 at 06:01 PM
Subject: you must be joking!

B. Raab wrote: 
> > Is KB"H telling us that Jews should not venture beyond
> > our home planet? Personally. I agree.

<FriedmanJ@...> responded: 
> I cannot believe this statement! ...
> Do you honestly believe that Jews are forbidden to travel in 
> space craft? Do you believe that Jews die as a punishment?

OK I wasn't "joking", but I was being a little too flippant, and I sincerely
hope that the families of Judy Resnick and Ilan Ramon do not read what I wrote
as it might cause them pain.  Surely, they were completely innocent. It honestly
never occured to me before I wrote that line above that both Jewish astronauts
met with the same horrible fate. I knew Judy Resnick slightly from my work with
NASA, and admired her enormously. I guess I was subconciously reflecting the
theology that Jews don't believe in coincidence. Of course, we don't want to
believe that they were punished for their ambition.

But there are two serious points that I would like to make; one for people in
general and one for Jewish people:

After a 40+ year career, most of it working in space science and satellite
design, I have come to believe that people (Earth-people if you insist) in
general, should not venture beyond our home planet. This is not to say that we
should not explore other worlds, well beyond our own. But this is best done by
robotic proxies. I am not so much concerned with danger to life, which Janette
has assumed is my concern, but rather the overall practicality (and cost) af
such ventures. It is my strong impression (informed but not supported by any
hard data) that the benefits to science and to mankind from robotic missions
exceed by a wide margin those of "manned" missions (apologies to the women but I
don't know the PC phrase), at a small fraction of the cost. But NASA insists on
a manned program because it understands all-to-well that the public interest,
hence congressional interest, hence budget, depend to a large extent on the
presence of man in space. C'est la vie.

As far as Jews are concerned, our entire Torah, and most of the mitzvos therein,
are predicated on life on Earth (in fact in the northern hemisphere to a large
extent). I asked, in my earlier post, how one should observe the mitzvos of
daily living on the moon, where NASA is planning to establish a permanently
manned base. Nobody responded, but it is at least possible to imagine following
the schedule of observances established at one's home on Earth. Following the
same prescription on a mission to Mars, however, would seem to be a "bridge too

We, all of us, not just Jews, were created (or have evolved) for life on Earth.
I am convinced that the urge to live elsewhere is just an artifact of our age,
to be abandoned after the initial excitement wears off. My purpose in raising
these issues is to question whether our approach to air travel, or travel to the
arctic or antarctic zones is the correct one, or should a new paradigm be developed?

think about it--Bernie R.


End of Volume 56 Issue 82