Volume 57 Number 56 
      Produced: Mon, 21 Dec 2009 12:40:55 EST

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Bowing at Gadlu 
    [Haim Snyder]
Global Warming? 
    [Baruch C. Cohen]
Judith and Hanuka 
    [Eitan Fiorino]
k'hayom hazeh (2)
    [david guttmann  Alex Heppenheimer]
Prayer Concerning Women who have been Murdered by their Spouses (2)
    [Rabbi Meir Wise  Yisrael Medad]
THIS Jordan? 
    [Sapper, Arthur G.]
Two Birkat Hamazon questions (2)
    [David Curwin  Mark Steiner]


From: Haim Snyder <haimsny@...>
Date: Mon, Dec 21,2009 at 02:01 AM
Subject: Bowing at Gadlu

In Volume 57 #52, Eitan Fiorino stated:
> Regarding this discussion - I was
> told many years ago by an extremely learned fellow that one is permitted to
> bow during tefila only at the places that chazal were m'taken that this was
> required, and nowhere else.  He mentioned this to me with regard to bowing
> while one one says barchu before birkat hatorah during keriat hatorah (an
> example, he said, of a situation in which one should not bow). 

According to the compiler of the siddur "Azor Eliyahu" (which is according
to the nusach of the G"RA), the G"RA held that since chazal stipulated only
4 places for bowing, all in the Sh'mona Esrei, one is not supposed to bow
elsewhere, not for barchu, aleinu nor in the kaddish.

Haim Shalom Snyder


From: Baruch C. Cohen <adbarcoh@...>
Date: Sun, Dec 20,2009 at 11:01 PM
Subject: Global Warming?

The 1st of the Rambam's 13 Principles of Faith is "I believe with perfect faith
that God is the Creator and Ruler of all things. He alone has made, does make,
and will make all things." Further, when we daven before the Shema, we say:
"Hamechadesh betuvo bechol yom tamid maasei bereishis" "In His goodness, He
renews daily, perpetually, the work of creation."

Do these principles mean that there cannot be a real crisis of global warming?
To my limited perspective, besides the fact that I think the "scientific
evidence" of global warming is nonsense, I believe that the idea of the world
eroding based on global warming is inconsistent with the above beliefs in
Hashem. What are your thoughts?

Baruch C. Cohen, Esq.
email: <BCC4929@...>


From: Eitan Fiorino <afiorino@...>
Date: Mon, Dec 21,2009 at 11:01 AM
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?

> From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...> 
> 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.

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

So I poked around at this question a bit, with the following approach in mind: 
it appears the two earliest sources mentioning the custom are from 14th century
 Europe, one from Provence (the Kol Bo) and one from Spain (the Ran).  Rashi
actually brings down the story of how Jewish brides had to submit to the
governor (same story as in the Sheiltot) to explain the Gemara's statement that
women were involved in the miracle, but makes no mention of Judith or eating
dairy, so it is probably reasonable to assume he had never heard of this custom.

So, I think what one would be looking for is not an absence of meat in general
for the entire winter, but rather an absence of meat that was limited both
regionally AND temporally (because, if the hypothesis is indeed correct, then
the motivation to eat dairy on hanuka was completely lost by the time the Kol Bo
and the Ran offer their explanations, which relate the practice to Judith.

According to John Cooper's "Eat and Be Satisfied: A Social History of Jewish
Food," meat consumption in Europe increased markedly between 1350 and 1550. Also
during the Middle Ages in Europe, there were many restrictions placed on Jewish
trade in meat in in some places Jews lost control of sources of meat, being
forced to buy either cattle or meat itself from Christians.  In places in which
Jews were dependent upon Christian merchants and/or butchers for access to meat,
one can imagine that Jewish access to meat could be limited by circumstances
beyond their control (e.g., Cooper does cite a teshiva from Austria in the 1500s
regarding consumption of chicken on shabbat owing to a shortage of meat).  We
know that abstinence from meat was a prominent feature of both the period of
Lent, which seems to fall out a little late to be of use here, and a less
prominent and pervasive feature of the period of Advent, which would fit
perfectly as it would coincide with Hanukah most years if not every year.  Is it
possible that there was a regional practice of eating dairy on hanuka that was
related to a lack of availability of meat during Advent?  Obviously this is
purely speculative, but it is at least a specific hypothesis that could be
investigated and perhaps supported or refuted.

Interestingly enough, in poking around for sources I discovered that various
forms of fried pancakes were (and are) popular foods across Europe at Carnevale,
the pre-Lent celebration (derived from "Carne vale, or "farewell meat;" aka
Shrove Tuesday and Mardi Gras).  Since Carnevale tends to fall out close to
Purim (the custom of wearing costumes on Purim is thought to have originated
with the use of costumes on Carnevale), I'm not sure it makes sense to think of
it as a source for possible cross-cultural influences during hanuka.  More
likely, fried pancakes (not necessarily of potatos, which were not introduced to
Europe until the 16th century) were common elements of a shared cuisine.



From: david guttmann <david.guttman@...>
Date: Sun, Dec 20,2009 at 11:01 PM
Subject: k'hayom hazeh

My concordance refers me to Breishit 39:11 and Devarim 6:24 where it means
after a time according to Ibn Ezra or special day according to Rashi (both
in Breishit). Rashi's interpretation fits al hanissim better probably the
reading made by the author who inserted those words. Rambam's Nussach at the
end of Sefer Ahavah has a different one without those words.

David Guttmann

From: Alex Heppenheimer <aheppenh@...>
Date: Mon, Dec 21,2009 at 11:01 AM
Subject: k'hayom hazeh

In MJ 57:55, David Curwin <tobyndave@...> asked:

>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?

Perhaps indeed it means exactly that, and is meant to contrast Chanukah with all
of the other occasions during the Second Temple era in which Hashem saved us
from enemy attack or other difficult situations(and which are recorded in
Megillas Taanis).

There is a discussion in the Gemara (Rosh Hashanah 18b ff) about whether the
festive days listed in Megillas Taanis are still in effect (insofar as not being
allowed to eulogize and/or fast on them). The final decision is that they are
not, because they lost their significance with the destruction of the Beis
Hamikdash - in other words, that in retrospect they were all just temporary

The Gemara then entertains the idea that this should apply to Chanukah as well,
and Rav Yosef replies that it does not, because Chanukah has the associated
mitzvah of lighting the menorah, and "its miracle is famous" - as Rashi
explains, "it is known to all Jews because they observe its mitzvah, and hold
fast to it as though it were a Torah law." So perhaps this phrase in Al Hanissim
is meant to stress this idea as well: Hashem saved us in a way that reverberates
down "until today," and the holiday is therefore to be still celebrated long
after the military victories mentioned in this prayer have faded into history.

Kol tuv,


From: Rabbi Meir Wise <Meirhwise@...>
Date: Mon, Dec 21,2009 at 03:01 AM
Subject: Prayer Concerning Women who have been Murdered by their Spouses

I am surprised that the prayer for beaten wives is appearing in every  

I should just like to draw your attention to the comment of the Baal  
Haturim on Genesis 3:12.

The verse says ....she gave me from the tree (it should have said the  
fruit) and I ate.

The Baal Haturim says: according to the PESHAT (the simple literal  
meaning) that she beat me with the tree until I listened to her words  
and ate!
Hence the first case of spouse abuse was a woman beating her husband.

When I have time I will think up some ceremony and a prayer as an  
atonement for Chava and as a segulah to prevent it happening again!

While we are on the subject the Rabbinate of Israel has published  
statistics that there are many more women refusing to accept a get  
(divorce) than there are men refusing to give one!

Whilst I do not condone any type of abuse or bad behaviour, constantly  
taking a one-sided approach does not further the case of women whom I  
have championed for years.

I hope everyone is keeping healthy and warm

Rabbi Wise (London) holidaying in the Holy Land

From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Mon, Dec 21,2009 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Prayer Concerning Women who have been Murdered by their Spouses

While Ira L. Jacobson has a point on pressing Yael for actual numerical
proof of her claims of her prayer's recital, his other point - "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)" - is a bit more problematic.
a)  we've had loads of prayers composed and published here in
Eretz-Yisrael over the past decade or two on security issues, as well as
social concerns.  My Rav here at Shiloh composed at least four prayers
for specific occasions or circumstances.
b) the Shlah's prayer for children, 200 pages of prayers by Rebbe
Nachman, and other examples would place Yael closer to mainstream than
Ira's doubting would do.


From: Sapper, Arthur G. <asapper@...>
Date: Mon, Dec 21,2009 at 12:01 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?

I am no linguist, and certainly no expert in biblical Hebrew, but I wonder if
the phrase "this Yardein" might reflect an ancient Semitic meaning of the word
"yardein."   The root seems to be y-r-d, which means to descend to a lower
point.   The Jordan River lies in the Jordan Valley, which is a low point and
lower than the nearby mountains, such as Mount Nebo.  So perhaps the word
Yardein in the verse orginally referred to a river valley, down which one would
descend; it might by extension have become attached as well to any river in that
river valley.  This would mean that the verse is saying, "I have crossed over
this river valley [or valley river]."   In the Land of Israel, however, where
this particular river valley and its river are the most prominent river valley
and river, the word "y-r-d" would have eventually become a proper name for
either the valley, the river or both.


From: David Curwin <tobyndave@...>
Date: Mon, Dec 21,2009 at 02:01 AM
Subject: Two Birkat Hamazon questions

Alex Heppenheimer <aheppenh@...> wrote:
 (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.)

I've heard the same thing as Ben (I even discussed it here back in 1994:
http://ottmall.com/mj_ht_arch/v15/mj_v15i37.html#CIH ).

I think it's possible that even if the verses were originally added before
Zionism, they might have gained popularity later when Zionism became more of
an issue.


From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Mon, Dec 21,2009 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Two Birkat Hamazon questions

On the question how to understand "leyom shekulo shabbat umenuha le hayey
ha`olamim" Alex says to read it:
"leyom shekuko Shabbat--umenuha lehaye ha`olamim," for the following reason:

"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."

There is no question that this is correct, but it leads me to the opposite
reading.   The seventh millennium is Hashem's "Shabbat umenuha," and
therefore it should be read: leyom shekulo Shabbat umenuha--lehayey
ha`olamim.  This reading is buttressed by the Kaufmann ms. Of the Mishnah
(available at the website:


where the text reads "Shabbat menuha" without the vav, which makes Alex's
reading impossible.  (The Parma ms also is missing the vav, see
criptindex=2&k= )

Some more comments about the text of this Mishnah (Kaufmann) based on this
ms.  The vocalization of the word h-y-y (I use h for het) is hayiy, not
hayey.  The former form is the Mishnaic form of the word "hay" or "one Who
lives."  The expression "hay `olamim" is quite prevalent in the siddur and
particularly the piyyutim ("ha'aderet veha'emunah lehay `olamim...).
Actually the verb "hay" or "lives" is spelled in the Mishnah also with one
y, hayi (hiriq UNDER the yod), as in Pirkey Avot (`al korhakha atah hay):


and is pronounced haiy (the so-called "hiriq genuva" like the patah genuva
of mizbeha, where the "a" is pronounced before the "h").

Nevertheless, the Tosfot Yom Tov, cited by Alex, recommends, on the basis of
a verse in Daniel, the pronunciation "hey" (tsere), as is usual in the
Ashkenaz siddurim "barukh hey ha`olamim, melekh..hey ha`olamim."  I take it
that the Rambam would not like the suggestion that Hashem is the "life of
the worlds," but rather would prefer "hay ha`olamim" (Hashem simply lives

Where then did the pronunciation "hayey" come from?  Perhaps a confusion of
Biblical with Mishnaic Hebrew, but, if I may be allowed to speculate, the
idea of the seventh millennium is a mixed blessing, since the Talmud states
that the world will be destroyed and Hashem will remain in splendid
isolation.  (This idea appears in Adon `Olam also.)  Why pray for the world
being destroyed?  Perhaps then the prayer is for us, not for Hashem--to give
US eternal life "hayey `olamim" in the World to Come--which of course is not
the intent of the Mishnah, from which this prayer stems.  Again, only a


End of Volume 57 Issue 56