Volume 56 Number 83 
      Produced: Thu, 25 Jun 2009 15:09:29 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Adath Jeshuron (2)
    [Martin Stern  Francine Weistrop]
Esther (3)
    [Alan Cooper  Martin Stern  Mark Steiner]
Ground rules for studying Torah 
Jewish resources in Cambridge/Somerville, MA 
    [Ruth Sternglantz]
Rabbi Great Grandfather Search 
    [Marilyn Tomsk]
Rebbe as Moshiach? 
    [Mordechai Horowitz]
Siddur Page Number Display Board? (5)
    [Ken Bloom  Michael Poppers  Janice Gelb  Bernard Raab  Meir Possenheimer]
the acronym Akru"t 
    [Martin Stern]
The missing Hekkesh 
Women Rabbis 
    [Rose Landowne]
you must be joking! 
    [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz]


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Fri, Jun 19,2009 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Adath Jeshuron

Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...> wrote:
> 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 beg to differ. There are many people around the world who read mail-jewish
and the force of public opinion might eventually have some effect. It is
only the cabal who have taken over the shul who have an interest in hushing
things up.

Martin Stern

From: Francine Weistrop <francine.weistrop@...>
Date: Sun, Jun 21,2009 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Adath Jeshuron

While I am an interested reader to this forum, I never write because I  
do not feel qualified to enter into halachic discussions.  I do feel that
my main reason for reading Mail-Jewish is to add to my knowledge of  
halachah.  But this I do know, I am very uncomfortable with the  
discussion that has taken place in the last several weeks on the subject of the  
shul in Manchester.

If this had been a conversation about the difference of opinion of the  
kinds of davening before and after the new rabbi arrived, that would  
have been a legitimate area for discussion.  But, in my eyes, this has long  
since become a forum that borders on lashon ha ra [loosely "gossip" - Mod]
concerning the rabbi as well as some of the members, their character, their
intellectual honesty, his qualifications for his position, etc.  Very few of us
are involved in a first hand observation of what transpired and even if we were,
that conversation could be equally tainted by our personal opinion and could
degenerate into name calling, character assassination and all that has taken
print here.

I would like this forum to go back to its original purpose, as I have  
been led to believe it is: to discuss with dignity and respect, the  
various halachic issues that Torah Jews legitimately have.  Thus, it could
continue to be an avenue for learning, and not an opportunity for diminishing

Francine Weistrop  Milton, Massachusetts


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Jun 21,2009 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Esther

Yisrael Medad wrote:
> c) Transliterations are notoriously subjective, remember the "z" with a dot
> underneath for a "tzadi"? or the similar "h" for CH?

The true reason why the English spell Esther with 'th' is that the
Septuagint uses a theta to represent the tav and the Vulgate replaced it
with 'th'.

Martin Stern

From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Sun, Jun 21,2009 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Esther

The reason that Esther is spelled traditionally with the "th" sound, is that
the English names of the Tanakh are derived from the Greek versions of the
Hebrew in the Septuagint (LXX).  In the Septuagint the Hebrew name 'ester is
transliterated with a theta.  Why this is so, you will have to ask a
linguist, because sometimes the Greek transcription is not a mistake but an
earlier reading tradition we have lost today.  This is true of many Biblical
proper names in English--they come to us through the LXX.  Thus, if you want
to know why `aza is spelled Gaza in the English bible, look at the LXX.

In light of the above, we see that the question asked was a very good
question, and may well have halakhic implications.

Mark Steiner

From: Alan Cooper <amcooper@...>
Date: Sun, Jun 21,2009 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Esther

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

Yisrael Medad responded:
>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?

With respect, I think that Mr. Pearlman deserves a more serious 
response.  The obvious answer to his question is that the English 
spelling is based not on the Masoretic tradition, but on the Greek 
transcription of the name, which renders the Hebrew tav with 
theta.  The Latin follows suit, representing the theta as /th/, and 
the name as "Esther".  What is less obvious is why the Greeks should 
have used theta (instead of tau) in the first place, and there are a 
couple of possible explanations for that, both more or less 
speculative.  One of my teachers proposed a Persian etymology for the 
name in which the /s/ would have been followed by a schwa, leading to 
the spirantization of the following /t/.  Perhaps the Greeks heard it 
that way and transliterated accordingly.  Another possibility is to 
consider the "gentile" version of the name propounded by R. Nehemiah 
in B. Megilla 13a, namely /'sthr/, the medial /h/ suggesting that 
some aspiration was heard following the /t/, consistent with the 
Greek and Latin transcriptions, and ultimately yielding the English 
spelling of the name.

Alan Cooper 


From: <Smwise3@...>
Date: Sun, Jun 21,2009 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Ground rules for studying Torah

I don't want to sound like an apikorus [deliberate rebel against the Jewish way
of life --Mod.], but I am increasingly frustrated by the "ground rules" for
studying gemara [the Talmud --Mod.]. Things don't make sense to me, and often
when attending a shiur [lecture on Jewish learning --Mod.], the person giving it
will gloss over oddities, whether it involves switching the names of the tanaim
[Sages who lived before and during the time of the writing of the Mishna --Mod.] 
offering the opinion to make it fit, or, as it occurs more often, dealing with 
institutions that were made because of hard-to-imagine scenarios whereby
outsiders would suspect a non-Torahdik behavior. For example, in Bava Metzia, in 
discussion of ribis, charging interest, there are contracts that are considered 
violative of Rabbinic law because of their appearance. But how often are 
outsiders privy to the terms of a private contract that such bans on certain 
transactions are deemed valid.  In another example, in Meseches Megillah, we 
learn that the days on which the megillah [the Scroll of Esther --Mod.] can be 
read change according to where one lives. At one point, it appears that 
institutions were made because if it is read too late people may eat chametz on 
Pesach. Why? Because people know that Pesach is 30 days after Purim, but how many 
people actually lived in such isolation that they would not be aware of the fact 
that no one else around them is preparing for Yom Tov.
I hesitate to challenge things because it seems there are certain ground  
rules one must abide by when studying gemara, but I do find it frustrating 
when the only answer is that one has to be at a certain level to understand  


From: Ruth Sternglantz <hiraeth613@...>
Date: Tue, Jun 23,2009 at 09:01 PM
Subject: Jewish resources in Cambridge/Somerville, MA

I will shortly be moving to Somerville, MA, and would be grateful for info
regarding kosher shopping in the Cambridge/Somerville area. I know about the
resources in Brookline, but would like to know what I can access closer to home
(e.g., supermarket that carries Empire poultry products). 



From: Marilyn Tomsk <jtomsky@...>
Date: Sun, Jun 21,2009 at 11:01 PM
Subject: Rabbi Great Grandfather Search

I would like to know, if there is any way that I could find out about my
paternal great grandfather Rabbi Harry Cohen, who was an Orthodox rabbi in
Brooklyn, NY from the early 1900s.   Thank you to anyone who could advise

Marilyn Tomsk


From: Mordechai Horowitz <mordechai@...>
Date: Mon, Jun 15,2009 at 10:01 PM
Subject: Rebbe as Moshiach?

If you want a point by point rebuttal here is an article refuting him 
point by point by Rav Shochet:



From: Ken Bloom <kbloom@...>
Date: Sun, Jun 21,2009 at 02:01 PM
Subject: Siddur Page Number Display Board?

I think you might be looking for something resembling these scoreboards

While some such scoreboards are very clearly meant to be scoreboards,
there are others where the spacing between the digits is uniform, and
they don't say "Home" and "Away" at the bottom (so the only giveaway
that the numbers are for different teams is that they're in different
colors, e.g. red and green). If you buy two scoreboards, then you can
swap the digits between them so that you get one board with all red
digits and one with all green digits.

However, every shul that I've seen with a page number display uses a
custom-built one.

From: Michael Poppers <MPoppers@...>
Date: Sun, Jun 21,2009 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Siddur Page Number Display Board?

In M-J V56#81, Janice Gelb asked about "a board that we could mount that
would display page numbers."  While I can't directly answer her query, I
wanted to note a solution created (specifically for the Yamim Noraim [Rosh
haShanah and Yom haKippurim]) at my Shul by my brother-in-law: laminated
photocopies of large-print numbers displayed upon a musician's stand
(details upon request :)).  Perhaps that concept could be helpful to Janice
or to others....

All the best from
--Michael Poppers via RIM pager

From: Janice Gelb <j_gelb@...>
Date: Sun, Jun 21,2009 at 07:01 PM
Subject: Siddur Page Number Display Board?

--- On Sun, 6/21/09, Michael Poppers <MPoppers@...> wrote:
> I wanted to note a solution created (specifically for the Yamim Noraim
> [Rosh haShanah and Yom haKippurim]) at my Shul by my
> brother-in-law: laminated photocopies of large-print numbers
> displayed upon a musician's stand (details upon request
> :)).  Perhaps that concept could be helpful to Janice or to
> others....

Thanks to Michael and to everyone else who wrote 
in response to my query. We knew there were various 
handmade solutions we could develop but were interested 
in finding out whether anyone knew of professionally 
made objects.

If we decide to go with this method, we're likely 
to buy one of these:


Again, thanks to everyone who took the time to write.

-- Janice

From: Meir Possenheimer <meir@...>
Date: Mon, Jun 22,2009 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Siddur Page Number Display Board?

Why go to all this trouble? The Gemara in Sukka 51b describes the procedure 
in the Shul in Alexandria which was so large that people were unable to hear 
when to say Amein after the beracha of the Sheliach Tzibbur and a flag was 
waved to tell them when to do so. Here, too, all it needs is for a person to 
hold up a sign indicating the page number of the Siddur - providing, of 
course, that everyone uses the same edition.

Meir Possenheimer

From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Mon, Jun 22,2009 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Siddur Page Number Display Board?

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

I can add two more methods not noted by Carl, both rather unique and seen some
years ago:

At the Harvard Hillel orthodox minyan, they had a display board, befitting the
location, in which the page numbers were formed by an intricate sliding action
of multiple layers to form numbers from segments on different layers, a method
which was commonly seen on the sidelines of football games to denote the down.
One needs only to pull a chain to form the next number.

Los Angelenos can help me here, but I believe it is in Beth Jacob Congregation
in Beverly Hills that the assistant rabbi has a mechanical control on the arm of
his chair which, I assume through a set of pullies, rotates three wheels set
high on the front wall, which designate the page number.

Either of these would easily win my award for coolest strictly mechanical page

Are they still in use?

Bernie R.


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, Jun 22,2009 at 03:01 PM
Subject: the acronym Akru"t

When I was in Budapest recently, I davened in the Beit Hamidrash of the
Kazincy Utca shul where there is a notice above the amud [the place where the
leader of the prayer service would stand --Mod.] forbidding the use
of any nusach tefillah [ordering and method of the prayer services --Mod.] other
than Ashkenaz. However, the wording, which began "Betakanat bd"ts vakru"t ...,"
was not entirely clear to me. Obviously bd"ts stands for Beit Din Tsedek [lit.
"just Court of Law" -- the reference would presumably be to the local Rabbinate
or its court --Mod.], but I have been unable to decipher the vav
(presumably a vav hachibbur [i.e. "and" --Mod.]) alef kuf reish vav tet, which
does not appear in any of the dictionaries of roshei teivot [acronyms --Mod.]
that I consulted. Can anyone provide a solution?

Martin Stern


From: <chips@...>
Date: Sun, Jun 21,2009 at 01:01 PM
Subject: The missing Hekkesh

Martin Stern wrote:
> 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 [comparing two subjects which are mentioned together in a verse
> --Mod.], which we know he uses frequently throughout Shas [the (six orders of
> Mishna and the) Talmud(ic discussions) --Mod.]. I am aware
> of several explanations but find none entirely satisfactory so I wonder if
> anyone can come up with one."

It seems to me that there are way more % of arguments on 'hekkesh'es that
are made than on any other of the 13 modes. The 'mesora' [tradition] on what is a
'hekkesh' appears to be much weaker than the rest.


From: Rose Landowne <Roselandow@...>
Date: Sun, Jun 21,2009 at 02:01 PM
Subject: Women Rabbis

Heshy Summer wrote:
> 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.

The fact is, that there is a small but growing number of women working  
in rabbinic positions in Orthodox synagogues. They visit the sick,  
facilitate funerals, teach the congregation, and even supervise the  
running of minyanim at shiva homes.  When these women find it  
necessary to deal in their jobs with outside officials, such as  
hospital administrators, it is difficult to break through the red  
tape, without the title of "Rabbi".  I recognize that there are two  
issues here, one personal title, and one job title, but what  
suggestions might be made to solve the dilemma?

Rose Landowne


From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahillel@...>
Date: Mon, Jun 22,2009 at 04:01 AM
Subject: you must be joking!

On Wed, Jun 17, 2009 at 06:01 PM, Bernard Raab <beraab@...> wrote:
> 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...
> But NASA insists on a manned program because it understands
> all-too-well that the public interest, hence congressional interest, hence
> budget, depend to a large extent on the presence of man in space.

I have seen a number of articles pointing out the inventions that were
made due to the *manned* space program ranging "from the ridiculous to
the sublime," such as (in no particular order) Tang, velcro, modern
medical sensor instrumentation, modern booster rockets, cell phones,
GPS, weather satellites, and on and on.  This is not to say that they
could not have been developed without the manned space program (or
would not have been) but that this is the way the situation occurred
and it could have taken a long time.  In testimony before Congress, the
famous author, Robert Heinlein, actually credited the medical
technology developed by the manned space program with saving his life (and 
that of many others).

As far as the timing and applicability of shmiras mitzvos [keeping the 
commandments] in space, there have been a number of shiurim [lectures from a 
Jewish-law perspective] by people such as Rabbi Yisroel Reisman dealing with 
the issue.  One of the main approaches is to treat it as similar to being in a 
nuclear submarine under the sea and out of touch with land.  One problem with 
using the point of departure or the "home base" of each individual would be 
when Jews from different locations get together. Perhaps it is like the 
situation in those locations where there is a community in the "disputed area" 
of the various psakim (decisions) regarding the International Date Line.
"If we are not nevi'im (prophets), we are Bnei Nevi'im (descendants of
prophets)."  The main way most (religious) people seem to behave is to
go along with the community that is already there (even if not a
community of religious Jews).  Consider Japan, Australia, Hawaii, or
Alaska as examples.

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


End of Volume 56 Issue 83