Volume 57 Number 55 
      Produced: Sun, 20 Dec 2009 21:22:24 EST

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Chareidi Internet 
    [Stuart Wise]
doctoral thesis on bal tashchit 
    [Akiva Wolff]
Judith and Hanuka 
    [Akiva Miller]
k'hayom hazeh 
    [David Curwin]
Misheberach for cholim 
    [Emmanuel Ifrah]
On being a patient in a hospital. 
    [Joel Wiesen]
Prayer Concerning Women who have been Murdered by their Spouses 
    [Ira L. Jacobson]
Sh patrani m - onsho sh laze 
    [Alex Heppenheimer]
THIS Jordan? (2)
    [Earl Maser  Yisrael Medad]
Torah Reading on Chanukah 
    [Shmuel Himelstein]
Two Birkat Hamazon questions (2)
    [Alex Heppenheimer  David Ziants]


From: Stuart Wise <smwise3@...>
Date: Thu, Dec 17,2009 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Chareidi Internet

I am somewhat perturbed by the proclamation by rabbanim in Israel who have made 
 so-called chareidi Internet off limits. It seems to me that aside from 
feeling  like something the Taliban would do, why is it not a concern that so 
much  strictures would drive people away from Judaism, or, at the very least 
to the  non-"kosher" Internet. I am not sure but my sense is the kol koray 
was not based  on the personal experience of the signatories but from what they 
have been told. If  that is so, it is somewhat troubling, as was the campaign 
by the rabbis in Bnai  Braq to close a pharmacy because they sold cosmetics 
and perfume.
Stuart Wise


From: Akiva Wolff <wolff@...>
Date: Thu, Dec 17,2009 at 06:01 PM
Subject: doctoral thesis on bal tashchit

Dear fellow readers and contributors,

I would like to bring your attention to a recently published online
doctoral thesis on the subject of bal tashchit.

This thesis attempts to answer three basic questions: 1) what exactly 
is bal tashchit? 2) How, if at all, might a principle of bal tashchit 
be applied to current environmental problems? 3) What contributions 
might a principle of bal tashchit make?

As a theoretical approach to the management of current environmental 
problems, the principle of bal tashchit is applied to the recurring 
water crisis in the land of Israel, and more peripherally, to the 
problems of climate change and loss of biodiversity.

I hope to soon publish a book on this subject, based on the thesis, but 
in a less academic form, and would welcome your comments. The beginning 
of the thesis, as well as a more detailed summary are available at:
http://hdl.handle.net/1887/14448. Anyone interested in more information 
about the thesis can contact me directly at: <wolff@...>

Akiva Wolff


From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Thu, Dec 17,2009 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Judith and Hanuka

Eitan Fiorino wrote:
> Not to be completely mundane about this - but did they even have meat
> in the middle of the winter in Europe in the 12th and 13th centuries?

Great question. But I'll bet that if the lack of meat was that significant, we
would read about it in the halachos of what to eat on Shabbos.

Compare it to our knowledge of the availability of wine, which we learn from the
halachos of saying the evening Kiddush on challah, and the lunch kiddush on
liquor. But I have yet to find any zemiros which long for the summer when we can
have meat for Shabbos again.

On the other hand, maybe that's exactly where the custom of eating fish on
Shabbos comes from?

Akiva Miller


From: David Curwin <tobyndave@...>
Date: Sun, Dec 20,2009 at 01:01 AM
Subject: k'hayom hazeh

Can anyone give a good explanation of the phrase "k'hayom hazeh" in Al
Hanisim? It seems pretty clear that it's influenced by Nechemiah 9:10 (which
appears in Pesukei D'Zimra), but while there it's talking about how God's
name is great "until today", in Al Hanisim it's hard to accept that the
composers meant that the salvation of Chanukah lasted "until today". The
other uses of the phrase in Tanach all seem to mean "until now" or "now".
Any ideas?

David Curwin


From: Emmanuel Ifrah <emmanuel_ifrah@...>
Date: Fri, Dec 18,2009 at 04:01 AM
Subject: Misheberach for cholim

Ben Katz wrote:
> The misheberach (prayer for healing) for men usually includes the line about  
> the number of bones and sinews they have (248 and 365) while the misheberach 
> for  women does not include exact numbers (just stating "all" of them). I was 
> told the  reason is that "no one knows" how many bones and sinews a woman has, 
> and  hence the different versions of the tefillah (prayer).

The version of this prayer for women is "renav (252) evareah ve-shasa (365) gideah".

The current North African monhag is to say haskavot (prayer for the dead) and
misheberach separately for men (before) and women (after).
For men the version is "Misheberach avotenu" and for women "Misheberach imotenu".
You can find this in may sidurim.


From: Joel Wiesen <jwiesen@...>
Date: Sun, Dec 20,2009 at 04:01 PM
Subject: On being a patient in a hospital.


OU puts out a short "Guide for the Jewish Hospital Patient."


[A quick internet search found this book, written by Rabbi David Weinberger, is
available on the artscroll site for $3.99 +
shipping:http://www.artscroll.com/Books/u-hosp.html - MOD]


From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Thu, Dec 17,2009 at 04:01 AM
Subject: Prayer Concerning Women who have been Murdered by their Spouses

Yael Levine stated in mail-Jewish Vol. 57 #51 Digest:
>It is obviously not my job to compose prayers on all topics.

I wonder why Yael thinks that it is her job to compose prayers on any 
topics.  It seems to me that even greater Torah scholars, posqim and 
rashei yeshivot did not see such a need for themselves to compose 
such prayers (or did not regard themselves as able or qualified).

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

What I really wrote was as follows:
"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?

>You'll find some of the answers if you read the article in the link.

I learn from the article in Yael's link that her prayer was published 
in a booklet she put out herself and somewhere else.  Aside from 
that, her link gives no answers to my questions.

>The prayer is endorsed, inter alia, by Kolech, and many other organizations.

I did not ask about organizations, and it would not surprise me that 
Qolekh would endorse this sort of thing, in view of their 
agenda.  But since Yael mentions "many other organizations," perhaps 
she can mention their names, numbers and the size of their memberships.

>It is very widespread. You may not have heard of it where you live, 
>but in this case, "lo raita aina ra'aya" [your lack of seeing does 
>not constitute proof - MOD]. The prayer been printed in many places, 
>including "Tefillat Nashim", and is found on many internet sites.

I did not ask where the prayer has been PRINTED, nor who printed 
it.  I asked for quantification of the "shuls throughout the Jewish 
world" where this prayer is recited.  Because I know that I 
constitute a small sample, I specifically asked for numbers.  I will 
be pleased if you can supply them, even approximate, and perhaps 
mention by name the shuls throughout the Jewish world where this 
prayer is recited, and how "very widespread" this phenomenon actually is.

Actually, the phrase Yael used is commonly stated as "lo ra'iti eina 
re'aya."  Which translates to "the fact that I have not seen [a 
certain thing] is not evidence [that it does not exist]."

One more thing.  The text "By who did the prayer gain acceptance? Are 
there any specific Jewish organizations which endorsed or officially 
adopted the prayer?" is not mine.  I really do distinguish between 
"which" and "that," and between "who" and "whom."  I really truly do.



From: Alex Heppenheimer <aheppenh@...>
Date: Fri, Dec 18,2009 at 12:01 AM
Subject: Sh patrani m - onsho sh laze

In MJ 57:54, Evan Rock <theevanrock@...> asked:

>The Rambam (zt"l) mentions in his discussions of free will that a man may be
>punished for his hataim in this world. The punishment may be inflicted on his
>minor children since they are his chattel until such time that they are men ( I
>assume that means until they become bnei mitzva.)

>If I understand him correctly, since the minor may come to harm for the hataim
>of his father, wouldn't it be more appropriate for the bar mitzva in a
>respectful manner recite the brakha "sh patrani m - onsho sh laze? " Since he
>has survived the danger of potentially being punished for the hataim of his father.

The Levush (Orach Chaim 225:2) in fact understands the blessing exactly that
way: the father is thanking Hashem that his child will no longer be punishable
for his (the father's) sins. (According to this, we would have to translate the
last phrase of the blessing as "exempted me from being punished through him,"
rather than "for his actions.") Presumably, according to this explanation, the
reason the Bar Mitzvah boy doesn't recite the blessing is that there really is
no respectful way for him to do so without implying that his father is a sinner.

Incidentally,based on this understanding,the Levush questions whether it's
appropriate to recite the blessing at all: there are indeed cases where a person
can be held accountable for his ancestors' sins - when he continues to act the
same way - up to three or four generations later, as stated in several places in
the Torah. For this and other reasons, the common practice is to recite it
without Hashem's name.

Kol tuv,


From: Earl Maser <earlmaser@...>
Date: Fri, Dec 18,2009 at 08:01 AM
Subject: THIS Jordan?

>From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...
>>In Sedra Vayishlach, Yaakov Avinu says "Ki vemakli avarti et hayardein HAZEH
> - I have crossed THIS Yardein" (my emphases) which would seem to imply that
>there is another Yardein which he did not cross. I am unaware of any other
>river of that name yet none of the meforshim I consulted commented on this
>apparently superfluous word nor could anyone I asked offer an explanation.
>Can anyone suggest why the word HAZEH is used here and in several other
>places in Tnakh? 

Our Sages provide some answers which link Yakov's staff with a miracle enabling
him to cross over the obstacle posed by the Yardein ( = "Hayardein HAZEH").

Rashi, on Bereshis 32:11, refers to the Midrash that Yakov touched the Yardein
with his staff (Bemakli) and it split to let him pass and flee from Esav.

The Midrash (Bereshis Rabba 76:4) elaborates: Rabbi Yehudah ben Rabbi Simon
taught in the name of Rabbi Yochanan:  
B'nai Yisrael crossed the Yardein only through the merit of Yakov.

The Etz Yosef there quotes the Nazer Hakadosh (76:4) that this miracle for Yakov
was to serve as a sign for us - maasei le'avot siman lebanim (see Sefer Yehoshua

The Zohar (169a) draws another lesson, a model for us to follow. 

Yakov praises Hashem before asking for what he needs. That miracle of the
Yardein that split (Hayardein HAZEH) was a special kindness to Yakov that he now
acknowledges just before his request in the next verse.

Another lesson is from a recent web dvar torah by Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitz. The
term "Hayardein HAZEH" represents turbulent waves that threaten, and Yakov's
staff represents Emunah and hope in Hashem. This staff serves as our protection
-- "Ki vemakli avarti et hayardein HAZEH ( Vayishlach, 5770).

The term HaYardein HAZEH in other places in Tanach (e;g. beginnings of
Vaetchanan and Vayelech , and in Sefer Yehoshua) may serve to indicate and
accentuate the Yardein nearby.

Kol Tuv

Yitschak Maser
Montpellier, France

From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Fri, Dec 18,2009 at 09:01 AM
Subject: THIS Jordan?

Lisa wrote:
>I remember learning that most rivers flow south to north.
The Mississippi flows south.  The Amazon east.
Well, the Nile does flow north.
It's a simple matter of geography and the lie of the land.
I would presume that the use of "this" is simply for emphasis of
The Medrash HaGadol implies a link between Yaakov crossing with a staff
and the Bnei Yisrael crossing with Yehoshua, so "this" would mean "this
very same river now and in the future".  The same term/phrase is found
in Yehoshua 4:22


From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
Date: Thu, Dec 17,2009 at 11:01 PM
Subject: Torah Reading on Chanukah

The Minhag of the Torah reading in Israel during Chanukah is that the Kohen
has the first part of that day's Korban read, the Levi the second part, and
the Yisrael the entire day's Korban reread. Outside Israel, I understand
that the Yisrael has the next day's Korban read. Can anyone explain what is
involved here?

Shmuel Himelstein


From: Alex Heppenheimer <aheppenh@...>
Date: Fri, Dec 18,2009 at 12:01 AM
Subject: Two Birkat Hamazon questions

In MJ 57:53, Lisa Liel <lisa@...> asked:

>I've run across a custom of adding a four verses to the end of Shir 
>HaMaalot before birkat hamazon. Tehillat Hashem yedaber pi, 
>Va-anachnu nevarech Kah, Hodu LaShem ki tov, and Mi yemallel yeshuot Hashem.

>I first saw this in a Conservative context, where it's very common, 
>but I've run into it in Orthodox homes as well.

>Does anyone know what the source is of adding these verses, and if 
>there are issues pro or con to adding them?

The Arizal's siddur has just the first two of these verses,and precedes them
with two others: "Avarechah es Hashem" (Psalms 34:2) and "Sof davar" (Eccles.
12:13). Nusach Sefard (the version used by most chassidim) and Nusach Ari (used
by Chabad and some others) follow suit. (Which means that Ben Katz's idea in
57:54 - 'I always thought that the 4 added lines were to "tone down" the Zionism
of the shir hamaalot psalm' - is questionable; Zionism was hardly a
controversial subject in the 16th century.)

The list of four verses you mentioned is Nusach Ashkenaz, and indeed I don't
know the source for it. A (Hebrew) article at
http://www.ashkenazhouse.org/minhagh.html identifies it as a German Jewish
custom (though it doesn't say how far back it goes, and I haven't found mention
of these verses in perusing old siddurim on www.hebrewbooks.org). Another
article (also in Hebrew) at http://www.piyut.org.il/articles/676.html attempts
to explain it as modeled on the Ashrei prayer,and thus as forming a thematic
bridge to Birkas HaMazon.

>The "harachaman" for Shabbat is punctuated differently by different 
>people. Some say "Hu yanchilenu yom she-kulo shabbat u-menucha -- 
>l'chayei ha-olamim", and other say "Hu yanchilenu yom she-kulo 
>shabbat -- u-menucha l'chayei ha-olamim". Is there any basis for one 
>of these being more correct than the other?

Seems like the second one is more correct. The source for the expression is in
the Mishnah, Tamid 7:4; the commentaries of Bartenura and Tosefos Yom Tov both
explain that the "yom shekulo Shabbos" is the seventh millennium since Creation,
and that this will be a time of "menucha lechayei haolamim," rest for [Hashem,]
the Life of all worlds. Indeed, the Gemara's citation of this mishnah (Rosh
Hashanah 31a) omits the last three words.

Kol tuv,

From: David Ziants <dziants@...>
Date: Sat, Dec 19,2009 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Two Birkat Hamazon questions

> From: Lisa Liel <lisa@...>
> > > I've run across a custom of adding a four verses to the end of Shir
> > > HaMaalot before birkat hamazon.  Tehillat Hashem yedaber pi,
> > > Va-anachnu nevarech Kah, Hodu LaShem ki tov, and Mi yemallel 
> yeshuot Hashem.

> From: Ben Katz <BKatz@...>
> I always thought that the 4 added lines were to "tone down" the 
> Zionism of the
> shir hamaalot psalm.

When I grew up in England, the older editions of the JNF (Jewish 
National fund) birkonim [= birkhat hamazon booklets] just had the first 
two lines, and so that was probably just what was (is) sang by 
Anglo-Jewry. The newer editions began to print also "hodu.." and "mi 
yemallel..". This was perceived to be "frumer" [=following a more 
"religious" line] (Note I put "frumer" in quotes as I am referring to a 
perception that should have no real Torah basis). Maybe the perception 
because all four were already printed in other birkonim that were more 
accessible to  families who had a stronger Jewish education.

The addition of these p'sukim is definitely very common Orthodox 
practice, although my household don't usually sing them these days. The 
first time I saw an aversion to singing them was when I was at a (very 
Zionist hesder) yeshiva in Israel. The boys from abroad were shushed 
when they tried to chime in the extra p'sukim.

Btw, my wife is originally from Holland, and the Dutch custom is to say 
"kol hanashama tahallel y_a halelluy_a" rather than "hodu..." in the 
four extra p'sukim   [= verses from scripture]. There are still four 
p'sukim. Why is their custom different? Is there any significant in 
specifically having four p'sukim?

David Ziants
Ma'aleh Adumim, Israel


End of Volume 57 Issue 55