Volume 56 Number 91 
      Produced: Mon, 13 Jul 2009 20:29:40 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

How Many Halachic Jews Are There?  
    [Menachem Petrushka]
"yuhara" nowadays (3)
    [Harry Weiss  Martin Stern  Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz]
female scholarship (was women rabbis) 
    [Alexander Seinfeld]
Gaza (was "Esther") 
    [Michael Gerver]
Norms of Halacha 
    [Yisrael Medad]
Otam in place of Itam? 
    [Martin Stern]
    [Mordechai Horowitz]
Translation - Sack's Koren Siddur 
    [Yisrael Medad]
Why Cheshvan and Kislev are the variable months 
    [Michael Gerver]
you must be joking! 
    [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz]
Z'manim on an airplane 
    [Bernard Raab]


From: Menachem Petrushka <Menachem_Petrushka@...>
Date: Wed, Jul 8,2009 at 11:01 AM
Subject:  How Many Halachic Jews Are There? 

David Olivestone's surprise over Leah Aharoni's assertion that there are
3 million Halachic Jews in the United States is a classic example of
people not speaking the same language. I developed my whole career out
of such a misunderstanding but that story is not for now.

Mr. Olivetone understands Halachic Jews in the US to mean the number of
Jews who follow Halacha.  Ms. Aharoni used Halachic Jews in the US to mean the
number of people that Halacha recognizes as Jews whether they follow Halacha or not

Menachem Petrushka


From: Harry Weiss <hjweiss@...>
Date: Fri, Jul 10,2009 at 01:01 AM
Subject: "yuhara" nowadays

<jgbiz120@...> wrote:
> Example: The Chida bans wearing Rabbenu Tam tefillin except for a 
> well-known tzadik.  The Mechaber bans re-davening for an early maariv
> service, again unless the person is known as a super-Jew, because otherwise
> it would appear to be Yuhara.

Much of this was in communities where everyone kept one custom.  things may 
be different now with people for numerous communities being toegether and 
the shrinking wold

> So, when a regular guy says, I don't eat there, I don't like the hechsher, 
> why isn't that yuhara?  (assuming the machshir [kashrut supervisor --MOD] is a
> qualified Rabbi).

There are somethings that may be legitimaitey different between people and 
which chumras [stringencies -MOD] they wish to keep and which communities they
are from.  If I would go to my cousin's (who is married to an Iranian Jew) house
on Pesach I would not eat the rice there, nor could someone a Sephardic/Edot
Hamizrach background eat meat that is not according to Bet Yosef standards.

However keeping some strignencies in public, especially in someone else's 
home or shul could be a serious problem, if they['re] just a stringency, but end
up creating divisiveness.

> Another case: Can a shul ban one from davening because they, for example, 
> use the eiruv [legal aggregation of property to permit carrying on 
> Shabbat --MOD]?
Again those who come from Sephardic background follow the Rambam who 
disagrees with Tosfos about what qualifies as a Toraitic public domain. 
Most of our Eruvs are only valid in Rabbinic public domains and not in 

> More, why is it even allowed to say things like I don't use the eiruv/ 
> this hechsher- wouldn't it be both Yuhara and lashon hara ["gossip" --MOD],
For someone from Sephardic, Askenzaic, Chassidic, etc background to follow 
their tradition, is not Yuhara or Lashon Hara.

Harry J. Weiss


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Fri, Jul 10,2009 at 07:01 AM
Subject: "yuhara" nowadays

On Mon, Jul 6,2009, Yossi Ginzberg wrote:
> I'm looking for an up-to-date definition of "Yuhara", and how it is to be
> applied today.
> Another case: Can a shul ban one from davening because they, for example, use
> the eiruv [legal aggregation of property to permit carrying on Shabbat --MOD]?
> (Again, assuming that at least some qualified Rabbis support that eiruv).

This is a very sore point in some places but, since virtually every "town
eiruv" depends on numerous disputable leniencies, it is up to the rabbi of
each shul to rule on how its members should comport themselves. It would be
best if he says precisely that and not that the eiruv is pasul
[disqualified] since it has been constructed on the basis of some reliable
authorities, even if your Rav disagrees.
> More, why is it even allowed to say things like I don't use the eiruv/ this
> hechsher- wouldn't it be both Yuhara and lashon hara ["gossip" --MOD],
> reflecting as if there was something wrong with it?

If you are following your Rav's ruling this should not be seen as yuhara
and, in any case, not to make use of an eiruv is hardly a visible act.
Anyone familiar with the laws of eiruvin will realise that refraining from
using a particular eiruv also has a sound halachic basis.

Martin Stern

From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahillel@...>
Date: Thu, Jul 9,2009 at 11:01 PM
Subject: "yuhara" nowadays

<jgbiz120@...> wrote:
> More, why is it even allowed to say things like I don't use the eiruv/ this
> hechsher- wouldn't it be both Yuhara and lashon hara ["gossip" --MOD],
> reflecting as if there was something wrong with it?  If a qualified Rav said X
> is mutar [permitted --MOD], I obviously can (quietly) decline to use that heter
> [permission --MOD], but am I allowed to tell anyone that, since I am in effect
> both maligning the Rav and presenting myself as a bigger scholar to differ with
> him?

If you say that "I follow Rav Y who does not agree in that situation" 
then that should be OK.  Of course you need to follow what Rav Y says 
both when he allows or forbids.  One should not pick and choose as even 
if always choosing the stricter decision, one can easily fall into a 
contradiction and wind up doing what is forbidden.

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


From: Alexander Seinfeld <seinfeld@...>
Date: Wed, Jul 8,2009 at 06:01 PM
Subject: female scholarship (was women rabbis)

If you are interested in the philosophical/spiritual significance of women's
Torah scholarship, I would encourage you to read the ground-breaking new
book, The Moons Lost Light by Devorah Heschelis.
Heres a link: http://tinyurl.com/moonslight


From: Michael Gerver <mjgerver@...>
Date: Wed, Jul 8,2009 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Gaza (was "Esther")

Ben Katz, in v56n86, quotes Mark Steiner,

> Thus, if you want
> to know why `aza is spelled Gaza in the English bible, look at the LXX.

and then comments,
> As Dr. Steiner implies, 'aza is transliterated Gaza due to the original guttural
> pronunciation of the ayin, although not every word that begins with an ayin is
> transliterated that way (eg gan eden).

The Hebrew letter ayin actually conflates two phonemes in most other Semitic
languages, one of them pronounced like Hebrew ayin, and the other one
pronounced more like a hard "g".  Arabic, for example, calls these letters
"ayin" and "ghayin," and the Arabic word for Gaza starts with ghayin, not
ayin. To be sure, there were no Arabs living in Gaza until long after the
Septuagint was written, but the name "Gaza" goes back before there were any
Hebrew speakers living there too. So perhaps the people living there at the
time the Septuagint was written pronounced the initial letter of the name
more like a ghayin than an ayin, going back to its original pre-Hebrew name,
and that is why the Greeks transliterated `Aza with a "g" at the beginning
(actually a gamma), but did not transliterate `Eden that way.

This distinction between ayin and ghayin can be useful in etymology. For
example, the Hebrew root ayin-resh-beit meaning "evening" or "west" begins
with a ghayin in Arabic (hence "Maghreb") while the Hebrew root
ayin-resh-beit meaning "wilderness" or "hinterland" (hence "Arava" and
probably "Arab") begins with ayin in Arabic. Any attempt to find a common
meaning to these two roots is thus doomed to failure.

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Sun, Jul 5,2009 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Norms of Halacha

In Sefer Shoftim, Hilchot Aveil, Chapt. 14, No. 1, the Rambam lists as a 
Rabbinic "social mitzva", among others, the carrying of a deceased 
person to his funeral on the shoulders.

Since I have been to too many funerals here in Israel and a good few in 
other countries, and, except for military funerals, never seen this, I 

a) if the deceased were carried on the shoulders of the 'accompaners' 
today, would there arise a protest and outcry or would it pass quietly?
b) would the list members think this an oddity and frown on it?
c) if they knew the Rambam held this custom as Halacha, would they 
immediately adopt it or reject it as being not their "custom"?
d) would Hareidim in general reject this as "copying" the military custom?

What is, in this instance, the Halachic norm?



From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Jul 5,2009 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Otam in place of Itam?

Last Shabbat at minchah it struck me that there is a rather problematic
construction in "Uva Letsion" [part of the prayer -MOD]. In the verse (Yesh. 59,
21) we find "Va'ani zot briti otam ..." which obviously means "And, as for me,
this is my covenant with them ..." Surely the normal word for "with them" is
Itam not Otam which usually means them, the definite object of a verb
unspecified in this verse.  A cursory look at the commentators did not reveal
any explanation. Can anyone suggest why this unusual form is used here?

Martin Stern


From: Mordechai Horowitz <mordechai@...>
Date: Sun, Jul 5,2009 at 08:01 PM
Subject: Streits

Bob wrote:
> Some Vaad ha Kosherus' wouldn't allow Streits to be sold in their 
> supervised store because it didn't have a national kosher Hechsher. 
> Streits lost over $200,000 because of this this Pasech.  They now have 
> made an arrangement with the Kof-K for their heshshcher which will 
> appear in addition to the Soleveichik hechsher.

Mordechai asks

I don't understand what's your question?

Kashrut organizations often reject the validity of certain supervisions. 
Triangle K also isn't recognized by most certifications agencies.

The issue isn't the lack of a national hechsher its a lack of faith in the one
they have. 

It's very important that you understand that the question is not whether one 
trusts the Streit's company," said Rabbi Daniel Senter, the kashrus 
administrator of the Kof-K. "[They] are very honorable people.  The question is
... do they feel comfortable with an individual rabbi supervising something of
this scale."

"....You might be right," Rabbi Schonfeld said, but the issue "arose when the
matzos began to arrive and we felt that we just had to really think about this
hard and we just felt that we weren't comfortable accepting this matzo ... If it
was on borscht it's one thing, but we're talking about matzos."


I'm sure the Queens Vaad would be just as happy if they were hired for the job
as if they hired the Kof K.

Now why one hechsher is considered valid and another not is a different
question.  How much is halacha and how much is politics and how much is
attacking the competition.  

That's essentially Rav Soleitchik's defense.

As for working with the Kof-K again, Rabbi Soloveichik said, "I've worked with 
them before and we worked well together ... I guess [Streit's] feel it's a form
of protection to have a national hashgacha from people who would say all kinds
of things without having a real basis for it...."

"... do not believe that the major agencies were behind [the ban]. I don't think
they are morally inclined to engage in this kind of activity to drum up
business. We have good working relationships with the national agencies. They
are our friends, not our adversaries," Adler said. He added that since Streit's 
has never paid for supervision from local organizations such as the Vaad 
HaKashrus of the Five Towns and Far Rockaway, or the Vaad of Q eens, there is no
cause to suspect that financial motives were behind the ban 

There certainly has been some quite negative reaction to this change.

The sum and substance of their charges is that they 'just don't know this guy 
(i.e. Rav Moshe)'. How well do they know the Kashrus administrators of 
the national Hechsher organizations?  Do they know all the Mashgichim [kashrut
supervisors --MOD]? Every single one? - You know - the ones that are hands on?

Are they as Ehrlich [upstanding --MOD] as Rav Moshe? If I were to decide which
product to trust most it would be the one with the name Soloveichik on it, not
the one with a national symbol with no name on it.

Please do not misunderstand. I do not wish to cast any aspersions on any of the
national Kashrus organization. OU, Chaf-K, OK ... all good. I use their products
all year and on Pesach.  Not because I know the Rabbis and Mashgchim that are
responsible for the Kashrus.  But because I trust them.

But I trust Streit's more. I know the Rav HaMachsir.  And I will 
match his Ehrlichkeit against anyone at any of the national Hechsher 


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Wed, Jul 8,2009 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Translation - Sack's Koren Siddur

In the new Koren Siddur, the translation in the Viddui of Tahanun (p. 
136), of the verse from Shmot 34:5, "va'yikra beshem Hashem", is given 
as "You proclaimed in the name of the Lord".

There are two problems with that, I would humbly suggest.

1.  The Hebrew verb is "va'yikra" so the subject is third person 
singular, "he".  Is that "he", Moses as the Sacks' translation seems to 
indicate or is it Hashem?

2.  In some siddurim, there is a separation mark between "b'shem" and 
"Hashem" and, as The Stone Edition Chumash of Artscroll has it, the 
verse could be translated as "and He called out in the name (or as I 
would suggest, using the name) Hashem".  Another version could also be 
"called out loud: Hashem".
In other words, either "b'shem Hashem" go together, or it's "b'shem - 

Comments are welcomed.



From: Michael Gerver <mjgerver@...>
Date: Sun, Jul 12,2009 at 06:01 AM
Subject: Why Cheshvan and Kislev are the variable months

Regarding my post on this topic v56n89, Elazar Teitz pointed out to me that
there are sometimes going to be three 29-day months in a row, and there are
sometimes going to be three 30-day months in row, regardless of which two
consecutive months are chosen as the variable months. So I do not have any
explanation for why Cheshvan and Kislev were chosen as the variable months
rather than Tishrei and Cheshvan.  It seems that either choice would work
equally well. But either of those choices would work better than putting off
the variable months for a longer time after Rosh Hashanah, for the reasons I



From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahillel@...>
Date: Sun, Jul 5,2009 at 05:01 PM
Subject: you must be joking!

Bernard Raab wrote: 
> > 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?

This reminds me of those who think that the aron (ark) had an 
antigravity machine in it, since it "carried its bearers", as well as a 
radio that Moshe was able to use to contact the mother ship (:-) In any 
case, since the moon colony was founded by those who fled Sancheruv (at 
the destruction of the Northern Kingdom) and who did not want to settle 
beyond the Sambatyon river, of course the modern Jewish astronauts will 
follow the local minhagim (customs).
(end of joke)

> 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.

The point was not that the first Jewish refugees did not trust the local 
community, but that it appears as if the consensus seems to have moved 
towards a general acceptance. Similarly, the people on a space station 
(which is indeed moving rapidly) and come from different "home" 
locations will need to have a common clock and calendar.  Thus, a Jew 
who was boosted into orbit from Cape Canaveral, Florida meeting a Jew 
boosted into orbit from Russia (is it still Baikonur?) would have the 
problem of when Shabbos starts.

Once a "settlement" arises, whether in Antarctica, in orbit, or even on 
Mars, the clock time of that settlement would have to be "fixed" in some 
way.  The rules for traveling between locations would be different, as 
shown by the air travel discussions.  Similarly, the discussions of how 
to count the omer when crossing the international date line. I know of 
people who have gone to Australia from the United States who are careful 
not to make that trip between Pesach and Shavuos.

Consider the situation of a city through which the international date 
line runs.  Crossing the street could put you in a different day.

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


From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Thu, Jul 9,2009 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Z'manim on an airplane

Our recent thread on this subject was quite reasonably exhausted, although
without much resolution. A recent article in the (New York) Jewish Press,
however, suggests that modern technology may have arrived with a resolution, at
least for air travelers as well as for the more sedentary Jew:


The article, entitled: "How Apple Made Me A Better Jew", by Yoni Glatt,
describes an "app" available for the iPod and for the iPhone, which provides a
listing of the z'manim at your location as determined by a GPS link. The app,
called "Siddur", which has many other features which would have been viewed as
sheer fantasy just a few years ago, would obviate the need for estimations
downloaded before your flight which are based on the published flight schedule,
but which may be upset by schedule changes or delays.

I became aware of another feature of this technology a few weeks ago when a
young man I had not seen before appeared at our weekday Mincha-Maariv minyan.
After davening I approached to greet him and asked him what brought him to our
shul. He whipped out his iPhone and showed me an app titled "Minyan". He touched
the icon and the name and address of our little shul appeared on his screen
along with a listing of the time of our minyanim for that day. Another touch
brought up a map of our location. The app automatically provides the minyan
closest to your location, as well as every other minyan within a 40-mile radius,
if you keep tapping the screen. 

Apparently the "Minyan" app is also available as a subset of the "Siddur" app,
which has many more features, including that week's weekday Torah reading.

Amazing!--Bernie R.


End of Volume 56 Issue 91