Volume 57 Number 49 
      Produced: Thu, 03 Dec 2009 07:36:55 EST

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

    [Mark Steiner]
Beer (2)
    [Perets Mett  Dr. Josh Backon]
Cameras and sensors (2)
    [Jack Gross  Mark Symons]
How much did he pay 
    [Charles Chi (Yeshaya) Halevi]
Middle Names 
    [Fay Berger]
Moses Montefiore and Kever Rachel 
    [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz]
Prayer Concerning Women who have been Murdered by their Spouses 
    [Ira L. Jacobson]
    [Irwin Weiss]
Standing at the side of the bima when saying the Haphtarah (4)
    [Orrin Tilevitz  Immanuel Burton  David Tzohar  Evan Rock]
The Making of the Jewish People 
    [Robert Schoenfeld]
Three Steps at the Start and End of the Prayer 
    [Larry Israel]
Visiting graves 
    [Alexander Seinfeld]
Why is Moses Surprised  
    [Elazar M. Teitz]


From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Wed, Dec 2,2009 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Aramaic

Some remarks on the importance of Aramaic:

1.	Rav J. B. Soloveitchik, in a letter to the Morgen Journal (a Yiddish
newspaper), recently republished in his collected Yiddish works, states that
Yiddish, though it has no intrinsic holiness, has acquired holiness, just as
the tefillin bag acquires holiness.  Yiddish was the vehicle for
transmission of Torah in Ashkenaz for 1,000 years and should be cherished.
Aramaic was just as important, or even more so, as it was the vehicle for
transmission of the Oral Torah both in Israel and Babylonia.
2.	Aramaic was and is the langaguage of halakhic documents, such as the
ketubah.  For ideological reasons, some have wanted to replace the Aramaic
ketubah with a Hebrew version.  This is dangerous, as we see from the Talmud
that the words of the ketuba were chosen very carefully, and nuances can
change the meaning.  I have heard Hebrew translations of the ketuba read at
weddings, which would be invalid were they used as the "real" ketuba.
3.	The Targum we read to ourselves, and the Yemenites still aloud, is
not just a translation.  It contains an enormous amount of halakha and
aggadah as well as theology.  The Rambam, in Moreh Nevukhim, and R. Saadia,
in Emunot ve-Deot expound on the greatness of the Targum, which
systematically avoids coporeality and anthropomorphism, and maintain that
the Targum is a repository of Torah, just as the Babylonian Talmud.  No
"official" Hebrew translation could replace the original phrases of the
Targum on these points, just as nobody would ever replace the Talmud by any
Artscroll, Hebrew or English.  A translation into Hebrew might erase some of
the insights that the Targum transmits.  Example: the term ba`al appears
numerous times in the parsha Mishpatim, and the Targum translates "mana" in
all but one place: "ba`al isha" (husband).
4.	I met a ger tzedek recently from Birmingham, Alabama.  He knew no
Jews, but in a local library encountered a set of heavy tomes, written in a
language he didn't understand.  He asked the librarian for the name of the
language, and she said: Aramaic.  Being a brilliant person, he taught
himself Aramaic, fell in love with the Talmud, and converted!  (He now
refers to himself as an "oberlander," as do some on this list.) 

Mark Steiner


From: Perets Mett <p.mett@...>
Date: Wed, Dec 2,2009 at 06:01 AM
Subject: Beer

> may be permitted provided
> the drink is not an
> expensive one like rum or PARTAR (I have no idea what this is).

The word is "porter" ( a bitter beer) and it is the same in English.  
Guinness is  a porter beer.

Cognac is used as  a generic term for spirits.

Perets Mett

From: Dr. Josh Backon <backon@...>
Date: Wed, Dec 2,2009 at 06:01 AM
Subject: Beer

I wrote:
 >may be permitted provided the drink is not an
 >expensive one like rum or PARTAR (I have no idea what this is).

Perets Mett wrote:
>The word is "porter" ( a bitter beer) and it is the same in English.
>Guinness is  a porter beer.
>Cognac is used as  a generic term for spirits.

In that case, according to the Aruch Hashulchan Yoreh Deah Siman 114 
# 9-12, all FANCY beer and alcohol (e.g. Chivas Regal) would fall under the 
prohibition of drinking with a non-Jew.

Josh Backon


From: Jack Gross <jbgross@...>
Date: Tue, Dec 1,2009 at 10:01 PM
Subject: Cameras and sensors

"The other problem with the Chazon Ish's understanding is: why wouldn't
closing a door be "boneh" (building) a wall?"

There are three qualifications in order for the closing/opening of a
building's door not to constitute boneh/soser (construction/dismantling)
1.  The status of the building as a "structure" must not depend on the door
-- it is a structure when the door is open, and when it is shut.
2.  The door must be attached to the building -- removing the door is Soser,
and attaching it is Boneh.
3.  The door must be designed to be opened and closed.

The electric switch fails the first test:  The components of the circuit
serve no function, other than "stand-by", when the switch is "open".

From: Mark Symons <msymons@...>
Date: Wed, Dec 2,2009 at 02:01 AM
Subject: Cameras and sensors

Martin Stern <md.stern@...> wrote:
> So long as the door is attached by its hinges, shutting it is not considered
> building.
Ben Katz <BKatz@...> wrote:
> The other problem with the Chazon Ish's understanding is: why wouldn't closing
> a door be "boneh" (building) a wall?

Isn't there a major difference between a wall and an electrical
circuit in that the wall exists as a substantial effective entity
regardless of whether a gate in it is open or closed; whereas an
electrical circuit doesn't exist at all unless the circuit is

Mark Symons


From: Charles Chi (Yeshaya) Halevi <c.halevi@...>
Date: Tue, Dec 1,2009 at 11:01 PM
Subject: How much did he pay

Shalom All:

If I may be permitted to add my 2 cents worth regarding the worth of the
shekalim Avraham paid to bury Sarah in the cave of Machpela, I'd note that the
shekel of one kingdom probably had a higher higher or lower silver content than
a shekel of another land -- even if that land was only 2 miles down the pike.

Also please consider: an American dollar has a value which is different than a
Canadian or Australian dollar. And keep in mind inflation -- some of us on this
list still remember when gasoline was 25 cents per gallon, postage was 3 cents etc.

Charles Chi (Yeshaya) Halevi


From: Fay Berger <JuniperViv@...>
Date: Tue, Dec 1,2009 at 08:01 PM
Subject: Middle Names

If one has two names both should be used-"nisht tzu farshemen di mes" not  
to shame the person after whom he is named.
Fay Berger


From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahillel@...>
Date: Tue, Dec 1,2009 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Moses Montefiore and Kever Rachel

I have been told that there are those that say that Moses Montefiore
built Kever Rachel in the wrong place. Could someone send me some
links to places that discuss this. I do know that there are those that
say that kohanim (priests) would even be allowed to enter the building
because it is not necessarily a kever (grave). I have tried googling
but I have not gotten a good set of search terms.

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


From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Mon, Nov 16,2009 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Prayer Concerning Women who have been Murdered by their Spouses

Yael <ylkpk@...> stated in  mail-jewish Vol.57 #42 Digest:

>The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women 
>will be marked on Wednesday, November 25th. A Prayer Concerning 
>Women who have been Murdered by their Spouses 

I am puzzled by the choice to pray for the elimination of one type of violence.

Where is the prayer for elimination of violence against children?
Or a prayer for elimination of violence against Jews by Muslims?  Or by police?

>is scheduled to be 
>recited on that day, as well as on November 21, Shabbat Parashat 
>Toldot, in shuls throughout the Jewish world. 

I wonder if we could quantify the statement that this is "recited on 
that day . . . in shuls throughout the Jewish world."  How many, and 
where?  I don't know of a single one, but I 
agree that I am not a very large sample after all.  I have asked 
friends in what might be classified as liberal Orthodox 
congregations, but they have not heard of such a prayer.

> The prayer (Hebrew) was composed by myself in 2001, and, filling a lacuna, 
> soon gained acceptance.

By who did the prayer gain acceptance? Are there any specific Jewish
organizations which endorsed or officially adopted the prayer? 



From: Irwin Weiss <irwin@...>
Date: Wed, Dec 2,2009 at 07:01 AM
Subject: Scales

Andy Goldfinger poses a question about "scales".  The phrase from Parshat 
Kedoshim, (Lev. 19:36) is that "You shall have true scales". The word for 
"your scales" is Ozney-- Aleph, Zayin, Nun, Yud.  . - " ' 
"  " " . (translation from Chabad website).
This type of scale is sometimes called a "balance" in English.  You put some 
stuff in the pan on one side and try to balance it with a known weight on 
the other side. This is what Andy is discussing from Gemorah.
Interestingly, we humans get our sense of balance (so we don't fall over) 
from something in our ear.  The Hebrew word for "ear" is "Ozen".  Spelled 
the same. As in Exodus 21:6......Parshat Mishpatim.....you shall bore a hole 
in his ear.  "  - :
Now, at the time of the giving of Torah, I don't think it was well known to 
humans that our sense of balance came from the ear.  Curious that the words 
should be the same.

Irwin Weiss
Baltimore, MD


From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Tue, Dec 1,2009 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Standing at the side of the bima when saying the Haphtarah

Um, most of us do in our little shul in Brooklyn. Why do I do it? The shul's custom is to put the covered sefer torah back on the shulchan after hagba and gelila and leave it there until yehalelu. The shulchan isn't all that large and most people who have maftir read from a full size book of haftarot--and some read from one of those big chumashim with Rashi . Even if there's only one sefer, and kal vachomer [a fortiori] if there are two or three, there's a lot more room to put the book down, without feeling crowded, if you face sideways, with the side benefit that you're directly facing the women's section so they can hear better.

Orrin Tilevitz
Brooklyn, NY

From: Immanuel Burton <iburton@...>
Date: Wed, Dec 2,2009 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Standing at the side of the bima when saying the Haphtarah

One of the reasons suggested for why some people stand at the side of the Bima
when saying the Haphtarah is so that one isn't standing with one's back to the
Sefer Torah which is being held by someone sitting at the back of the bima.  If
that is the case, then in those Shuls where the Leader leads the prayers from
the Bima itself, then shouldn't he also stand at the side when saying the
paragraphs of "Yukam Purkon", etc?

Come to think of it, on those occasions when two Sifrei Torah are used and one
of them is being held by someone sitting at the back of the Bima, shouldn't the
whole of the reading from the first Sefer Torah be conducted sideways so that
people aren't standing with their back to the second Sefer Torah?

Immanuel Burton

From: David Tzohar <davidtzohar@...>
Date: Wed, Dec 2,2009 at 07:01 AM
Subject: Standing at the side of the bima when saying the Haphtarah

Another reason to read the haphtara from the side of the bima
is so we should not confuse the reading of the prophets with the reading
from the Torah itself and not give the prophets the same importance as the
tora. This is especially relevant where the haphtara is read from a scroll.

David tzohar

From: Evan Rock <theevanrock@...>
Date: Wed, Dec 2,2009 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Standing at the side of the bima when saying the Haphtarah

I do believe that this practice of standing to the one side of the bima while
reading the Haphtara is a new and improved chumra. I have not seen this practice
over the past fifty years in synagogues in Europe, Asia, Eretz Yisrael. It is
over the past few years that naarim [lads -MOD] returning from yeshivot with new
hues of black hats and darker clothing have introduced this new and improved
devotion to U.S. synagogues.

While we honor the Torah, these sort of practices take on unintended air of
idolatry. In our endeavors to be more devout than our ancestors we may deviate
to unwanted territories.


From: Robert Schoenfeld <frank_james@...>
Date: Tue, Dec 1,2009 at 07:01 PM
Subject: The Making of the Jewish People

AS to why there is no direct proof the stories in the Torah about 
Abraham etc have been shown to have a real basis in the area. For 
instance the reason Abraham had to purchased Machpelah was if he didn't 
and buried Sarah there he might become a slave to the owner or something 
like that. Also the reason Abraham called Sarah his sister to the 
Pharoah was that he was a king and Sarah was his queen something the 
Pharoah would know intimately as that was exactly the case in Egypt. I 
also saw a scientific explanation for all the ten plagues including the 
killing of the first born. And also an explanation about the crossing of 
the Reed  (Red) Sea as seen by an Englishman in Egypt around 1850



From: Larry Israel <larry.israel@...>
Date: Wed, Dec 2,2009 at 04:01 AM
Subject: Three Steps at the Start and End of the Prayer

It is a custom to take three steps forward (and first back, if needed) at the start of the standing prayer, and three steps backwards and later forwards at the end.

A problem arises if the prayer area is very crowded, or if the pews are not far enough apart to allow the steps. I have seen some people take tiny vestigial steps, some step sideways if there is room, and others just take no steps if the normal steps can not be taken.

What are the various sources (if any) for these customs when the normal steps can not be taken?


From: Alexander Seinfeld <seinfeld@...>
Date: Wed, Dec 2,2009 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Visiting graves

Many practices border on superstition  think of segulas.

They are holy practices when the intent is to raise ones kavana.

I have visited graves both of ancestors and gedolim, and I can tell you how
it affects me personally.

It helps me get in touch with the greatness of that person and inspires me
to be better.... This person is not just a memory, not just an idea, they
really did walk this earth and do the things that I remember. They set a
high standard in the area of ____ and I need to emulate that. And life
really is short so its time to focus.


From: Elazar M. Teitz <remt@...>
Date: Wed, Dec 2,2009 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Why is Moses Surprised 

Russell Hendel writes:
> I recently answered the question "Why was Moses surprised when he saw the golden
> calf, given that God told him." I answered by citing Ex 32:18 and a Rashi and
> pointing out that Moses was surprised, not by the idolatry, but by the murder of
> Chur. I pointed out that the 3 Hebrew phrases "Anoth Gevurah" "Anoth 
> Chalushah"
> "Anoth" means "Victory refrain" "Helpless refrain" and "General refrain (Mob
> hysteria)", signifying a mob gone wild who without thinking killed Chur who
> protested the building of the calf.
> In v57n42 there was disagreement with this analysis. More
> specifically the dissenting person suggested (based on obscure grammatical
> differences) that the first two ANOTH mean REFRAIN while the last one means 

     The grammatical difference he refers to is that of a letter with a dagesh
chazak and one without it.  The presence of such a dagesh is tantamount to the
doubling of the letter in which it appears (hence the English term for the
phenomenon, gemination, meaning "twinning").  This may be deemed obscure to Dr.
Hendel, but it is known to virtually anyone who has learned the rudiments of
Hebrew grammar; and as a rule, it changesthe meaning.   As an example, "chata'im
g'dolim" in Koheles 10:4, with no dagesh in the tes, means "great sins," while
"b'derech chata'im," in T'hillim 1:1, with a dagesh in the tes, means "the path
of sinners."   In our case, too, the addition of the dagesh makes it a different
     Dr. Hendel proceeds to prove his case by citing the Radak.  It should be
noted that although the Radak in the work cited by Dr. Hendel does indeed
indicate a relation between the forms, he does not quite put the two forms
together, separating what he calls the "kaveid" (literally "heavy") form, by
which he means the one with the dagesh, from the "kal" ("light"), or
non-geminated form, and giving them distinct (albeit related) meanings.
     Dr. Hendel concludes with the remark that "I could . . .request that the
dissenter carefully check his sources before posting."  In point of fact, the
dissenter did just that.  His interpretation of the third "anoth" as
"oppression" (not torture, as misquoted) is to be found in Rashi on the verse
under discussion, and that source was referenced by the dissenter in his
dissent.  Might I be so bold as to suggest that Dr. Hendel check the sources
cited by a dissenter before dismissing the dissent as uncalled for? 
     In fact, should Dr. Hendel consult the Mosad Harav Kook Chumash ("Toras
Chayim") he will find that in the comment to that Rashi, the statement is made
that it was exactly the difference in the two forms of "anoth" that led Rashi to
his interpretation.  


End of Volume 57 Issue 49