Volume 56 Number 88 
      Produced: Sun, 05 Jul 2009 08:26:21 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

    [Jack Gross]
Ground rules for studying Torah 
    [Jack Gross]
How Many Halachic Jews Are There? 
    [Leah Aharoni]
Instructions for the Shaliach Tzibur 
    [Carl Singer]
kissing the Torah 
    [Mark Steiner]
Siddur Page Number Display Board? 
    [Larry Israel]
The acronym Akru"t 
    [Martin Stern]
The Missing Hekesh 
    [Haim Snyder]
The missing Hekkesh (2)
    [Martin Stern  Martin Stern]
Women Rabbis (2)
    [Alexander Seinfeld  Frank Silbermann]
you must be joking! 
    [Bernard Raab]


From: Jack Gross <jacobbgross@...>
Date: Thu, Jul 2,2009 at 08:01 PM
Subject: Esther

Since the editors of KJV [King James Version [Protestant] of the bible -- MOD]
were conversant with the original Hebrew text, and apparently aware of some
European Rabbinic commentaries, it's not surprising if they sometimes ignore the
Latin and Greek renderings and render afresh based on the Masoretic reading of
the Hebrew.  

It would be interesting to compare the renderings in Tyndale's translation
(a transcription is available online at
http://wesley.nnu.edu/biblical_studies/tyndale/), and see where and how KJV
diverges.  I see T has "Moses" and "Aaron", which of course KJ retains; but
T's rendering of the first 5 vv of Exodus sticks very close to the Hebrew,
at least with respect to the consonants.  (The transcription seems to drop
N's frequently -- but even in words like "and", so that may be a
transcription error.)


From: Jack Gross <jacobbgross@...>
Date: Tue, Jun 30,2009 at 02:01 PM
Subject: Ground rules for studying Torah

<Smwise3@...> wrote:
> ... 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.
> ..

Think in practical terms:  A note of indebtedness is witnessed, so at least
two unrelated persons would be privy to the details.  And if it goes to
court for enforcement, the terms become common knowledge.


From: Leah Aharoni <leah25@...>
Date: Tue, Jun 30,2009 at 02:01 AM
Subject: How Many Halachic Jews Are There?

David Olivestone wrote: 
> I'm surprised that no one has yet pointed out that this number is so
> far off-base as to be laughable.  Of course, it is understandable to
> want to exaggerate your numbers somewhat so as to seem statistically and
> therefore politically more significant, but three million is just an
> impossibility.

When referring to "Halachic Jews" I meant Jews in accordance with Halacha
(Jewish mother/Orthodox conversion). I did not mean religiously observant.

So, with this clarification, does anyone know how many Jews (as defined by
Halacha) are there in the US?

Leah Aharoni


From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Mon, Jun 29,2009 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Instructions for the Shaliach Tzibur

Carl wrote:
> ... a very intelligent practice I once saw:  A laminated card
> with specific instructions for the Shaliach Tzibur detailing the minhagim
> of this particular congregation - for example, the Shaliach Tzibur is to say
> the entire Modim during the repetition.

SBA responded:
> That's a Minhag!?

Apparently some balabatim from other congregations say it only the first
line aloud - right or wrong.  So the minhag of this shule is to say it all
out loud.


From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Mon, Jun 29,2009 at 11:01 PM
Subject: kissing the Torah

(I'm writing off the top of my head.  I apologize if my memory fails me.)

Source in favor of kissing the Torah: the tefillah zakah, said before Yom
Kippur, attributed to the author of Haye Adam, refers to kissing the Torah on
Yom Kippur as a form of teshuva.

Source against kissing the Torah: Eydut Le'yisrael of Rav Henkin zatzal,
which states that by kissing the Torah, you ruin the fabric of the
"mantl" [covering - Mod] --I hope this is not a "fabrication" on my part, since
I haven't seen this sefer [book - Mod] for some time.  I believe that Rav
Henkin's grandson, yebadel lehayim [may he be distinguished (from his
grandfather) for life], reads mail-jewish and can corroborate or refute this

Mark Steiner


From: Larry Israel <larry.israel@...>
Date: Fri, Jun 26,2009 at 07:01 AM
Subject: Siddur Page Number Display Board?

> 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.

Might this not be considered writing on the Sabbath, as the numbers are being
constructed from lines?


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, Jun 30,2009 at 07:01 AM
Subject: The acronym Akru"t

Mark Symons wrote:
> Perhaps Vakru"t is the name of the place?

This is unlikely because it would then normally have been written Vakrut
without the " which indicates an acrostic.

Martin Stern


From: Haim Snyder <haimsny@...>
Date: Mon, Jun 29,2009 at 08:01 AM
Subject: The Missing Hekesh

In Vol. 56 #82, Martin Stern asked,
"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."

The Talmudic Encyclopedia gives a few answers to this question under the
term "Hekesh".  First, it says that there is an opinion that it isn't a mode
of interpretation, it is written in the body of the Torah that way.  Then it
gives 2 other opinions: that it is included in the mode "Davar halomaid
mi'inyano u'dvar halomaid misofo" (An interpretation may be deduced from the
context or from subsequent terms in the text) or that it is included in
"G'zaira shava" (Inferences from similarity of phrases in texts).

It is number 19 in the list of 32 modes of Eliezer b'Rabbi Yossi Haglili.

I hope this adds to what Martin had previously heard.

Haim Shalom Snyder


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Fri, Jun 26,2009 at 08:01 AM
Subject: The missing Hekkesh

<chips@...> wrote:
> 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.

I think chips has got things a bit confused.  For a hekkesh to be valid, we
require a 'mesora' [tradition] to that effect.  Thus there are inevitably
arguments about whether a particular hekkesh is valid. This does not apply
to the concept of hekkesh which is universally accepted, even by Rabbi
Yishmael who uses it on numerous occasions.

In fact there is a general principle of "ein meishivin al hahekkesh - one
cannot question an established hekkesh", which implies that it is a stronger
hermeneutic rule than a gezeirah shavah (linkage through superfluous words).
This, though it also requires a tradition, can be broken by showing the link
word is not really superfluous. It, in turn, is stronger than a kal vachomer
(a fortiori), which does not require a tradition and can be applied by
anyone's logical reasoning but can be broken by showing that there is some
weakness in the more stringent case. All are stronger than a binyan av
(generalisation) where the slightest objection renders it inapplicable. Yet
all four are treated as in some way similar in the discussion in Zevachim
41a ff. on the validity of using one rule after another in a linked

On the other hand, some of 13 rules are very rarely used and one, in
particular, seems redundant, namely the tenth one (anything that is in a
general category, and is extracted to teach about something of a DISSIMILAR
nature, can be used for a leniency OR a stringency) that would appear to be
implied by the ninth (anything that is in a general category, and is
extracted to teach about something of a SIMILAR nature, can ONLY be used for
a leniency AND NOT a stringency), without any need to be specified

Martin Stern

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, Jun 29,2009 at 03:01 AM
Subject: The missing Hekkesh

Russell J Hendel wrote:

> The simple answer to Martin's question "Where is Hekkesh mentioned in the
> Rabbi Ishmael rules" is that it is subsumed under "Matters inferred from
> context" since Hekkesh refers to two laws in the same verse (and hence
> the context rule applies).

I did not ask "Where is Hekkesh mentioned in the Rabbi Ishmael rules" but
"Why is Hekkesh not mentioned (at least explicitly) in the Rabbi Ishmael

The only problem with Russell's explanation is that one would have expected
the term Hekkesh to be listed rather than "Matters inferred from context"
since that is the way this rule is usually termed in the Gemara.

Martin Stern


From: Alexander Seinfeld <seinfeld@...>
Date: Wed, Jul 1,2009 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Women Rabbis

David Ziants wrote:

> The problem with this solution is that a "Rebbetzin" or "Rabbanit" is the
> Rabbi's wife.

That is how the term started. However, things have changed. There are
already women in the Orthodox world who are prominent scholars and teachers
in their own right:

Rebbetzin Holly Pavlow of Shearim =>
Rebbetzin Heller => http://www.tziporahheller.com/
Rebbetzin Jungreis

And others.

Someone pointed out that rebbeztin began as an honorific for the rabbis
wife; no longer these women stand on their own as scholars and teachers.

From: Frank Silbermann <frank_silbermann@...>
Date: Thu, Jul 2,2009 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Women Rabbis

The question was what title learned Jewish women should use to get access as
clergy when doing Chessed (compassionate work with patients) in hospitals.

My sister's father-in-law was not a rabbi but he worked as "ritual coordinator"
for a large Conservative synogogue (he helped administer the religious
activities and gave Bar Mitzvah lessons, all subject to the authority of the
synogogue's rabbi).  He used the title "Reverend."  (Rev. SoAndSo vs. Rav. SoAndSo?)

Frank Silbermann, Memphis, Tennessee


From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Fri, Jun 26,2009 at 04:01 PM
Subject: you must be joking!

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz wrote:
> I have seen a number of articles pointing out the inventions that were
> made due to the *manned* space program ...

OK, we are getting seriously off-mission for M-J here, [I'd like to limit
future discussion to M-J relevant topics -MOD] but just allow me to say
that of your list only one item (medical sensor instrumentation) can be remotely
attributed to man-in-space.  ALL of the others were either developed by and for
commercial use on the ground (Tang, velcro, cellphones) or developed by unmanned
space missions (GPS, weather satellites, booster rockets--I can give you a much
longer list).  We can be justly proud of the benefits of our space program, but
the manned program is another matter entirely. I used to think it beneficial
enough if it brought the budget to do some seriously useful science and
engineering, but after the loss of life in the two missions I mentioned (and one
earlier), I changed my mind. 

> 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] ...
I am not aware of the psak given for nuclear submarines, but your "solutions"
are all dealing with fixed (or slowly moving) locations. I was trying to induce
a discussion of solutions dealing with rapidly changing locations, starting with
those in long-distance air travel, and proceeding onto space travel.  Are you
suggesting that the first Jewish astronauts on the moon follow the practice of
the local community?

BTW, the first frum Jewish refugees to arrive in Japan in World War II did not
trust the calendar being observed by the small local community and some observed
two days of Yom Kippur as a result.

Yes--swim away from the rocks--Bernie R.


End of Volume 56 Issue 88