Volume 56 Number 92 
      Produced: Wed, 15 Jul 2009 21:28:52 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Adath Jeshurun 
    [Yisrael Medad]
Birkat Kohanim in Haifa 
    [Meir Possenheimer]
Distancing The World, Part 1 of 2 
    [Russell J Hendel]
Gaza (was "Esther") 
    [Alex Heppenheimer]
Hasgacha was Streits 
    [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz]
Otam in place of Itam? (2)
    [Yisrael Medad  Mark Steiner]
shma israel 
    [Ari Trachtenberg]
Sink Drain Strainers 
    [Joel Rich]
Translation - Sack's Koren Siddur (2)
    [Martin Stern  Michael Poppers]
you must be joking! 
    [Ben Katz]
    [Yossi Ginzberg]


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Fri, Jul 10,2009 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Adath Jeshurun

It was suggested to me to deal with this topic off-list but since yet
another post is up, I will relate.

I have read that:
> What Martin Stern is describing is a practical halachic situation.  I don't
> believe that he's bringing it up to say lashon hara ["gossip" -- Mod], and in
> fact, I don't believe he's mentioned any names.  Rather, he's bringing it up
> because it is a violation of halacha that is affecting him personally, and
> he's looking for any advice or help that he can get.

a) I do not think there is any real "practical" aspect in this situation.  It
seems to me sui generis and any practical aspect cannot be dealt with [on] this
list (see d).

b) I do not think there is much halachic aspect either as it seems to be on of
social and political not to speak of demographic issues.

c) I do believe he has mentioned every single office holder involved, has
pointed us to newspaper stories, and described all the main dramitis personea in
such a way that they are easily identifiable.

d) If it is affecting him personally, he needs a personal solution, several of
which have been proferred to him.  If he can't get a Bet Din to remedy his
situation, what does he want here - after dozens of posts - from a list that has
no Halachic authority.

e) I do not think he is looking for advice but rather seeking to mobilize and
garner support to reverse a situation that is beyond the control of, as I have
written previously and not as yet been contradicted or corrected, almost
everyone on this list unless Chief Rabbi Sacks is lurking out there.  In fact,
perhaps replies that have appeared here have been sent to various Rabbinical and
lay leaders in Manchester of the United kingdom for all we know.  Of course, if
this list serves as an outlet for frustration or one that provides psychological
ease, I think that has been done already.

And to assure one and all, I have nothing but the highest respect for Martin as
a Jew, a mensch, a scholar and a supporter of Torah and Eretz Yisrael.  But I do
think his needs lie in other directions than this list.



From: Meir Possenheimer <meir@...>
Date: Thu, Jul 9,2009 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Birkat Kohanim in Haifa

Does indeed sound strange. As far as I am aware, though I stand to be corrected,
the two practices in Israel are those in Yehuda and in the Galil. The minhag
[custom --MOD] in Haifa, being in the Galil, is to have Birkat Kohanim [priestly
blessing --MOD] only in Musaf, whereas in Yehuda both in Shacharis and Mussaf.


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Sun, Jul 5,2009 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Distancing The World, Part 1 of 2

Yaakov Schachter addresses the notion that "it is better to introduce a
non-observant male friend to a non-Jewish woman than to introduce him to a
Jewish woman who will not practice the laws of nidda (marital separation)".
I find this concept offensive for several reasons.

First: It is a cardinal principle of Judaism that people can change. Judaism
more than any other religion believes in repentance. No one is "stuck" in their
ways. So it is wrong to assume a woman has the status "that she will not observe

Second: Judaism believes that the wedding day erases all sins. That is why Jews
fast on their wedding day since it is like Yom Kippur. Jewish law learns this
from of all people, the wicked Esauv. His wifes name was Bathmat but the Bible
changes the name to Machalat which means (forgiven - mechilah). So the Midrash
says that EVEN the sins of the wicked Esauv were forgiven on the day he married
Third: Rabbi Manus Friedman points out in his book that many cultures observe
"separation periods" in marriage. Why should anyone find it odd that a married
couple might discover that they are staying together too much and need some
space and separation Happens all the time. And the separation is the "hard part"
of observing Niddah. (Going to mikvah (place of ritual immersion) is "the easy"

So what do I advise: Certainly you should tell people about a potential partners
current practices/affiliations. Certainly people should reveal where they are on
this. But to go so far as not wanting to introduce people UNDER THE ASSUMPTION
THAT THEY WONT CHANGE is contrary to Jewish law.

The above is my halachic objection to the notion cited by Yaakov. But I have
objections as a mathematician and actuary.  Are there any stats on this? Does
anyone know that woman who don't observe niddah will really not change?  Let me
give a few points on stats (a very tricky subject). The issue is not how many
non orthodox observe niddah but also how many orthodox observe niddah. A second
issue is not how many people change but rather how many people change when
introduced and educated to the idea.

I think it very appropriate to cite a story I heard from Rabbi Friedman. He was
once giving a lecture and speaking about the importance of observing Niddah. He
noticed one couple upset. He spoke to them afterwards. The woman started crying.
She had gone to an orthodox Rabbi for their marriage and asked that everything
proper be done. The Rabbi had not mentioned the laws of Niddah. So Rabbi
Friedman next time he met this Rabbi asked him why he didn't mention it. The
Rabbis (incredulous) response was "I didn't think they were the type that wanted

I think the story is clear. Let us not "Type" anyone. Let us not assume that
people don't change. And let us certainly not state "well known statistical"
results that in fact were never proven or taken. People change all the time,
some suddenly. It is important to bear the above in mind.

Finally I mention a long posting of mine addressing some of the issues when this
topic first came up. To avoid repetition we read in Parshat Balak and Pinchas
how the acts of seduction by Moab was considered an act of war and justified a
military response (I emphasize....the ONLY aggressive act done by Moab was
seduction). I think it very clear that relations with a non-Jewess is far more
worse than violating niddah.
Russell Jay Hendel; Phd ASA; http://www.Rashiyomi.com/


From: Alex Heppenheimer <aheppenh@...>
Date: Tue, Jul 14,2009 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Gaza (was "Esther")

In MJ 56:91, Michael Gerver <mjgerver@...> wrote:

>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.

That may be overstating things a bit. Who says that these two phonemes in Arabic
(and, by assumption, Hebrew) didn't themselves split from a single proto-Semitic
phoneme, in which case the two roots may well be related after all?  Compare the
fate of Common Germanic /w/, which has diverged into the phonemes /w/ (in
English), /v/ (in German), and /g/ (in most of the Romance languages that
borrowed such words); thus "war" and "guerrilla," "warden" and "guard," etc.

Kol tuv,


From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahillel@...>
Date: Tue, Jul 14,2009 at 02:01 AM
Subject: Hasgacha was Streits

Mordechai Horowitz wrote:
> 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
> organizations.

This is how I explain the "kosher symbol" to goyim (or
nonreligious Jews) who ask me.  I tell them that if someone's signature
appears on the certification, I may not know the individual, so I would have
to ask my rabbi who he is.  Therefore, a group might get together and
get a copyrighted symbol.  However, there are many groups and symbols
and one cannot know them all. People often remember a few of the most
common ones and it is just easier to get those and not rely on any
others *even if the others might be "better"*. The example given of
the triangle k comes to mind. It could be perfectly valid (now) but
people remember that (at one time) it wasn't as trusted (for valid or
invalid reasons).  I knew someone whose uncle was (a long time ago)
the mashgiach (supervisor) for Hebrew National.  He trusted his uncle and
considered the brand completely permissible.  Other people just looked
at the advertising and where it was sold and did not touch the
products under any circumstances.  Once a reputation is made (for good
or bad) people will continue to react on the basis of that reputation
no matter what might have changed.  For example, Brand X might have
one factory that is completely trustworthy and another factory that is
not.  People aware only of one factory or the other would react to the
entire product line based on their "knowledge."  People will react to a
particular symbol based on the reputation of the rabbi in charge fifty
years ago and not consider that an entirely new generation is running
the organization (for better or not quite as good).

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


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Tue, Jul 14,2009 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Otam in place of Itam?

I spoke with Dr. Avshalom Kor and he pointed out to me that "et" can 
mean 'with' as in "et Noach".

As for the special form of "otam" instead of "itam", he referred me to 
an opinion that somehow the form changed, especially in the writings of 
Yirmiyahu and Yechezkel.

Two examples:

I Kings 20:25 - "otach"; "otam"

I Kings 22: 7-8 - "mei-oto" (twice).


From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Tue, Jul 14,2009 at 02:01 AM
Subject: Otam in place of Itam?

In mail-jewish Vol.56 #91 Digest, Martin Stern <md.stern@...> wrote:
> 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 ..."
> ....

Wait till Rosh Hashana, when you'll say "vezakharti 'ani et beriti OTAKH
biyemei ne`urayikh" (Ezekiel 16:60), before asking this question.

Compare also Malachi 2:4, beriti et levi...

Mark Steiner


From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Mon, Jul 6,2009 at 10:01 PM
Subject: shma israel

As long as I can remember, I understood the sh'ma yisrael statement
from Dvarim 6:4 to mean:

"Hear Israel, [the] Lord our God, [the] Lord is one."

In this case, "our God" is an adjective modifying "Lord".  Our
Lord is one ... though the other nations may believe otherwise.

This appears
to be consistent with Rash"i, who explains (loosely) "Hashem, who is
our God not God of the nations, his future is to be one Hashem 
[literally, the name] (to all)."

Nevertheless, I recently came across another, apparently normative,
translation (I don't usually look at the translations, so I never
thought to question my initial understanding):

"Hear Israel, [the] Lord is our God, [the] Lord is one."

In this interpretation, "our God" is not an adjective, but rather
a predicate noun, with a subtle, but very different, meaning.  Now
the focus of the sentence is split two statements, one statement of
faith proclaiming who is our God, and the other identifying Him as one.

So, which is it?  Are there theological perspectives guiding the two
different translations?  Thanks,


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Wed, Jul 8,2009 at 07:01 PM
Subject: Sink Drain Strainers

Haim Shalom Snyder wrote:
> ... A learned man will tend to
> look for the answers himself from recognized sources and only turn to a
> higher authority when he can't find them.  In that case, he may well turn to
> his Rosh Yeshiva instead of the local rabbi since he is seeking a "higher
> authority" and the local rabbi may not qualify in his mind.

WADR for many, many questions (other than simple ones) this doesn't work because
there is no link to "the mesora" (practical tradition).  For these questions the
sources are clear but who we hold like is often not algorithmical (how many
times in a detailed practical halacha shiur do you hear something like "but in
this case our practice is to be choshesh(concerned) for the shita (opinion) of
the pri megadim (or substitute a[n] individual authority who is in the minority))".
Joel Rich


From: Michael Poppers <MPoppers@...>
Date: Tue, Jul 14,2009 at 02:01 PM
Subject: Translation - Sack's Koren Siddur

In MJ56 #91, Yisrael Medad wrote:
> In the new Koren Siddur, the translation...(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....
> 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 - 
> Hashem"

The ta'amei haMiqra (trop) separate "v'sheim" from "H'" ("v'sheim" is 
graced with a tipcha) while joining "vayiqra" to "v'sheim" (which is why 
the dageish qal [diacritic --MOD] of the beis is elided, hence "v'sheim" rather
than "b'sheim"), and ibn Ezra ad loc. apparently bases his explanation on the 
t'amim.  However, as RaShY notes ad loc., Targum Onqelos translates as 
"uq'ra vishma _da_H'" (emphasis mine), i.e. "sheim" is grammatically in 
s'michus [noun-noun juxtaposition --MOD] to "H'."  In other words, both
Yisrael's "either" and his "or" are supported.  Forgive me for further muddling
the waters rather than clarifying them :).

Going back to Yisrael's first "problem with Koren":
> 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?

Not seeing Koren but going solely based upon Yisrael's quote, I think it's 
possible that Koren meant the latter possibility ("You" with a capital "Y" 
;-)) even though Yisrael apparently didn't, and the simplest possible 
translation follows Targum Onqelos as mentioned above (although I would 
agree that Onqelos didn't change the person from third to second).  One 
would have to ask Koren to find out what the actual intent of the 
translation was.

All the best from
Michael Poppers * Elizabeth, NJ, USA

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, Jul 14,2009 at 02:01 AM
Subject: Translation - Sack's Koren Siddur

On Wed, Jul 8,2009, Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...> wrote:
> 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".
> 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 -
> Hashem".

A closer look at the source would show that the word beshem carries the
ta'am (musical / punctuation mark) tippecha which separates it from the
following word. This would suggest the meaning "called out loud: Hashem".

However there is one possible objection in that it often happens that in
this particular sequence of te'amim in a verse the tippecha has replaced the
expected mercha which would join it to the following word rendering the
phrase "and He called out in the name of Hashem".

Perhaps both meanings are correct and this is an example of Eilu ve'eilu
divrei Elokim chaim! [loosely, both have merit --MOD]

Martin Stern


From: Ben Katz <BKatz@...>
Date: Tue, Jul 14,2009 at 04:01 PM
Subject: you must be joking!

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz wrote:
> Consider the situation of a city through which the international date 
> line runs.  Crossing the street could put you in a different day.

Of course, the international date line runs through the middle of the Pacific
Ocean and avoids all land masses to avoid this situation.


From: Yossi Ginzberg <jgbiz120@...>
Date: Tue, Jul 14,2009 at 05:01 PM
Subject: yuhara

The various responses have mostly been variations on the theme of "various 
communities have their own minhagim" (customs) so one needn't keep 
non-indigenous customs or rulings.
This does not address the issue directly, rather they are the 
equivalent of saying that one is allergic and thus exempt from custom X.
My being exempt from Chumra X is very different from my being allowed 
to ignore it, and even further from my being disallowed to observe it 
because that would be yuhara.
Closest (IMHO) is Hillel Markowitz's, "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."
Thus the issue could perhaps be redefined as "Must one who adopts the 
chumrot (stringencies) of Rabbi X also adopt his leniencies?"
Somehow, we never seem to hear of such behavior.  What I see more of is 
the "I don't use hechsher X or the eiruv, so I am frummer" than those who 
use those things.  
Inflated self-esteem based on extra-halachic observances 
seem to be a commonly-observed phenomenon in many areas, and is not helping 
bring Jews together at all.
Yossi Ginzberg


End of Volume 56 Issue 92