Volume 59 Number 53 
      Produced: Thu, 14 Oct 2010 01:47:55 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

A good way to learn mishnah? (2)
    [Carl Singer  Batya Medad]
Am I too rational? (3)
    [Eitan Fiorino  Carl Singer  Robert Israel]
ATID Podcast: "Understanding Reb Chaim" 
    [Jeffrey Saks]
Christians and Moslems 
    [Ira Bauman]
Halacha for Secret Agent on Special Ops 
    [Yisrael Medad]
How many? 
    [Frank Silbermann]
Lo Yishama al Picha (It shall not be heard through you) (2)
    [Alexander Seinfeld  Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz]
Mezonos bread/hamotzi cake 
    [David Ziants]
Prohibition of entering a church (2)
    [Frank Silbermann  Chana Luntz]
Shower on second day yom tov  (2)
    [Akiva Miller]


From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Tue, Oct 12,2010 at 05:01 PM
Subject: A good way to learn mishnah?

My wife is a professor of education  -- she suggests the following articles:

Singer, M.J. (2008, June).  Accessing the musical intelligence in early
childhood education. *Early Childhood Australia.*, *33 *(2), 49-56.

Also Multiple Intelligences by Howard Gardner.


As someone who grew up in Hebrew schools where rote repetition was
considered the primary teaching methodology, it's nice to see some progress
being made.


From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Tue, Oct 12,2010 at 11:01 PM
Subject: A good way to learn mishnah?

In reply to David Ziants (MJ 59#52):

The tune idea is good, but the instrumentals are a big problem.  I 
suggest talking to the teacher about having them practice without the 
actual music and letting the kids know that they should be singing it on 

Batya Medad


From: Eitan Fiorino <afiorino@...>
Date: Tue, Oct 12,2010 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Am I too rational?

Shmuel Himelstein wrote in MJ 59#52:

> With all the different "cure-alls" we read about in the 
> religious press in the guise of rabbi's-wife-endorsed wines 
> or reciting passages from the Zohar as "guaranteeing" one's 
> receiving a positive verdict on the high Holydays, I wonder 
> what it means that we are told that "Action X" is a "Segulah Beduka"
> - a proven supernationally based method - for a Shidduch, 
> livelihood, health, etc.
> Maybe I am too rational, but to me for something to be 
> "proven," it would need to be shown - e.g., by using a 
> control group - to show its efficacy.

You are simply observing the debasement of Orthodox Judaism into a post-modern paganism of personal satisfaction, in which performance of magical rituals is claimed or believed to dictate the actions of God and consequently of the universe.

One need not be "too rational" to be offended and/or saddened by this phenomenon.


From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Tue, Oct 12,2010 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Am I too rational?

Shmuel Himelstein (MJ 59 #52) notes:

> Maybe I am too rational, but to me for something to be "proven," it would
> need to be shown - e.g., by using a control group - to show its efficacy.

Without digging too deeply into abstract truths -- why not simply ask if
faith is rational? Does one need to "prove" the rationality of faith?


From: Robert Israel <israel@...>
Date: Tue, Oct 12,2010 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Am I too rational?

In MJ 59#52, Shmuel Himelstein  wrote:

> With all the different "cure-alls" we read about in the religious press in
> the guise of rabbi's-wife-endorsed wines or reciting passages from the Zohar
> as "guaranteeing" one's receiving a positive verdict on the high Holydays, I
> wonder what it means that we are told that "Action X" is a "Segulah Beduka"
> - a proven supernationally based method - for a Shidduch, livelihood, health, 
> etc.
> Maybe I am too rational, but to me for something to be "proven," it would
> need to be shown - e.g., by using a control group - to show its efficacy.

In most countries, there are regulations requiring drugs and therapeutic 
devices to be proven safe and effective before being marketed.  Such proof 
generally includes controlled clinical trials.  It's interesting to 
imagine similar requirements for those promoting "segulahs".  But of 
course it's not going to happen.  For one thing, this might be seen as a 
violation of the right of Freedom of Religion.  For another, there's 
probably not enough money in the segulah market to justify the costs 

Robert Israel                                <israel@...>
Department of Mathematics        http://www.math.ubc.ca/~israel 
University of British Columbia            Vancouver, BC, Canada


From: Jeffrey Saks <atid@...>
Date: Tue, Oct 12,2010 at 06:01 AM
Subject: ATID Podcast: "Understanding Reb Chaim"

In this month's ATID Jewish Educators Book Club, we talk with Rabbi
Yonoson Hughes about his new book "Understanding Reb Chaim: Reb Chaim
Soloveitchik zt"l of Brisk - Translated, Interpreted and Elucidated".

MP3 available at http://www.atid.org/misc/booksrss.asp or from iTunes store
(search for "Jewish Educators Book Club").

(For more info on the book visit
Rabbi Jeffrey Saks
Director, ATID - Academy for Torah Initiatives and Directions
9 HaNassi St., Jerusalem 92188 ISRAEL
Tel. 02.567.1719 | Cell 052.321.4884 | Fax 02.567.1723
E-mail: <atid@...> | www.atid.org | www.WebYeshiva.org
GoogleTalk/Skype: jeffreysaks


From: Ira Bauman <irabauman1@...>
Date: Wed, Oct 13,2010 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Christians and Moslems

I've been following the discussion whether Christianity and Islam are forms
of *avoda zara* or not.  I'd like to ponder the issue from a different and
theoretical perspective.

The nevi'im often talk about a time when the nations will recognize the One
True G-d.  We say* aleinu* and *al kein nekaveh* every day and confirm that
goal.  We are to be an *or lagoyim,* a light unto the nations and lead the
way to this lofty goal*.

What do we envision the world to be like when this endpoint is reached?  Do
we see throngs of people hanging out outside our shuls wishing they were
Jews?  Of course not.  There is no obligation for them to adopt our
practices, just our monotheism.  As difficult as it would be for us to
practice our monotheism without a framework of ritual and practice, it would
be unreasonable to assume others would.

In our day, much of the world practices monotheism.  The structures that
they created to allow them to do so are Christianity and Islam.  Issues of
shituf and the trinity aside, why aren't we embracing Protestantism and
Islam as the endpoints of the prophetic vision?  The halachic issues raised
over the centuries may be just measures enacted to distance ourselves from
these forms of monotheism when ours is the only one that we are to adhere

Joshua was not asked to slaughter all the idolatrous inhabitants of Eretz
Yisrael, only the ones steeped in cruel and abominable practices. If other
religions are monotheistic and not engaged in disgusting behaviors why must
we demonize them?

Ira Bauman


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Tue, Oct 12,2010 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Halacha for Secret Agent on Special Ops

I had received this two weeks ago but now that it has gone MSM 
(Mainstream Media), I presume it is okay to float this.  This may be a 
break from the discussions on homosexuality.

Israeli Rabbi Blesses Honeytrap Sex For Female Spies
Mossad Agents Can Trade Sex for National Security

Oct. 11, 2010

An Israeli rabbi has blessed the use of female spies in "honeytrap" or
"honeypot" stings against terrorists, according to a study called
"Illicit Sex for the Sake of National Security."

The ruling by Rabbi Ari Schvat, contained in a study published by the
Zomet Institute, was first reported by the news agency DPA and
published by Haaretz.com. ... according to Haaretz.com, Rabbi Schvat wrote that
honeypot missions are "not just a thing of modern-day espionage."

In fact, honeypot missions are rooted in Biblical lore, according to
the report. "Queen Esther, who was Jewish, slept with the Persian king
[Ahasuerus] around 500 BC to save her people," Schvat noted.  And, the report
noted, Yael, wife of Hever, slept with the enemy chief of staff Sisra to tire
him and cut off his head.

However there is a catch for married honeypots. "If it is necessary to
use a married woman, it would be best [for] her husband to divorce her. ...
After the [sex] act, he would be entitled to bring her back," Schvat wrote. 
"Naturally, a job of that sort could be given to a woman who in any event is
licentious in her ways."   Rules for male Mossad agents were not mentioned in
the writings.

Anyone interested in the text can contact me at <yisrael.medad@...>
Yisrael Medad


From: Frank Silbermann <frank_silbermann@...>
Date: Tue, Oct 12,2010 at 09:01 AM
Subject: How many?

Alexander Seinfeld wrote (MJ 59#52):

> How many people would Noach have to have reached out to in order to prevent
> the mabul (flood)?
> According to ... Rashi (Medrash) tells us that ... 9 is really enough,
> because Hashem can be number 10.  So back to Noach, how many
> people were on the Teiva (Ark)? 4 men + 4 women = 8.
> In other words, he was one short. Had he been able to reach out to one
> single person in those 120 years, he could have prevented the destruction of
> the world. That's why it's "Noah's flood". Ouch.

I hate to be a spoil-sport, but the Soncino Chumash cites Sforno and Nachmanides
in interpreting "Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen
righteous before me in this generations." as meaning "_Thee_ only, but not
thy family; they will be saved only for thy sake."

So I guess it wasn't that close after all.

Frank Silbermann        Memphis, Tennessee


From: Alexander Seinfeld <seinfeld@...>
Date: Mon, Oct 11,2010 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Lo Yishama al Picha (It shall not be heard through you)

The gods who inspired the names of the months (in Hebrew and English) and
days of the week (in English) have been nullified, no one worships them
anymore, so that is not an issue.

What is an issue, arguably, is writing 10/7/10 for today's date [this was posted
on 7th October = 29th Tishri - MOD]. The Torah states very clearly that Tishri
is the 7th month, so referring to this month as the 10th is possibly violating a
Torah prohibition.

There are some who specifically write the name of the month instead of the
secular number whenever possible, and when impossible write in small
letters "tav ayin" (ta'arich akum = gentile date).

Similarly, what's wrong with educated Jews, among ourselves, calling Sunday
"Yom Rishon" etc, since that's the way of the Torah? Maybe we should embrace
innocuous ways to feel more Jewishly connected in this non-Jewish world.

From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahillel@...>
Date: Tue, Oct 12,2010 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Lo Yishama al Picha (It shall not be heard through you)

Alexander Seinfeld <seinfeld@...> wrote (MJ 59#52):

> Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahillel@...> wrote (MJ 59#49):
>> An interesting point about the CE/BCE notation is that there are those
>> that regard it as an *insult* to the religion.
>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_Era
>> Some who oppose Common Era notation claim that its propagation is the
>> result of secularization, anti-supernaturalism, religious pluralism,
>> and political correctness.
> They are right; the common denominator is that it is anti-Christian-hegemony.
> Sabba Hillel's larger point is perhaps we Jews should consciously whenever
> possible refer to the Hebrew year, even though we're not used to thinking in
> those terms.
> I'm interested what members of this list do on birthdays. Do you celebrate
> or acknowledge your or your loved ones' solar (secular) birthday or the
> Jewish one, or both, or neither? And why?

I am known for saying "And when is your real birthday" when someone
(Jewish) gives the secular date.

I would say that it depends on practicality as well as the society in
which we live. Because I/we live in the United States, we tend to use
the goyish calendar for most areas. Because it is the world wide
convention, even people in Eretz Yisroel may have to use it on a
regular basis. I try to say (as an example) "My birthday this year
will be on October 17". However, at the doctor's office, dealing with
insurance, etc. I have to say "November 3, 1946". I do try to be
makpid [careful]  to write the date at "12 October, 2010" rather than
"10/12/2010".  However, many forms require the dates as numbers, as
reluctant to do this as we might be.

Thus, the usage is an uneasy compromise between principle and practicality.

This actually reminds me of a "one minute mystery" in which the vital
clue was that a date was written as 12/7/46.  In Europe, this means 12
July, 1946. In the United States, this means December 7, 1946. The
vital clue was that the context of the letter in which the date
appeared showed whether it was in the winter or the summer and
identified whether the letter writer was European (British) or
American as opposed to the person claiming to have written the letter.

   Sabba  -     ' "    -  Hillel
Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz 

From: David Ziants <dziants@...>
Date: Wed, Oct 13,2010 at 08:01 PM
Subject: Mezonos bread/hamotzi cake

So my original question (MJ 59#46) holds water.

The chareidi hechsher goes out of its way to say that you can say 
mezonot on this "bread",  and as a posting already stated, this is based 
on a halachic nuance of one of their poskim [halachic deciders] that one 
cannot consider "fixing a meal" in its formal sense, with a meal in an 
airplane. Yet, according to Martin's definition (MJ 59#52) of chareidi (and I
think that there are also social aspects that can make one chareidi), such a 
person should take the roll home, to eat together with normal bread. I 
don't think that anyone is going to starve if they do not eat the 
airline roll. So is the hechsher instruction addressing the non-chareidi 

But, there are some modern orthodox poskim, who do not hold of such a 
leniency even on an airline, and would insist that one washes for it if 
one wants to eat. If the toilet room is not clean and one cannot wash, 
then one does not eat the roll. A modern orthodox Jew might sometimes 
want to follow his Rav in everything he instructs (the ideal situation), 
but by the nature of being modern orthodox, he likes to look for 
leniences at different times. Is the chareidi instruction encouraging 
him with this endeavour? Should not a chareidi instruction take into 
account that there are stringent poskim (even if not part of their circle)?

David Ziants


From: Frank Silbermann <frank_silbermann@...>
Date: Tue, Oct 12,2010 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Prohibition of entering a church

Chana Luntz <Chana@...> wrote (MJ 59#51):
> But you don't need to know an awful lot about Christianity to know that the
> central point of the Catholic mass is the bringing of wine and bread in a
> procedure that:
> (i) is then considered by them to turn the wine and bread into the body and
> blood of Jesus;

I think I see your point.  If Christians believe Jesus is G-d and worship him,
and if Catholics believe that the bread and wine become his body and blood,
can we therefore conclude that Catholics are worshiping bread and wine?

> (ii) is offered on the altar (and is considered a re-enactment of Jesus'
> supposed original sacrifice in sacrificing his life analogous to the lamb
> offered as korbanos in the Beis HaMikdash);
> ...
> (iv) it is then eaten by those participating in the service as analogous to
> the way the priests in our temple ate from the sacrifices.

I don't think these points are relevant.  The issue is whether the bread
and wine are being worshiped, not whether they are being used in worship.

As an analogy, it was a sin for the Israelites to worship a calf, but it was
not a sin to offer one on the alter.

Frank Silbermann             Memphis, Tennessee

From: Chana Luntz <Chana@...>
Date: Tue, Oct 12,2010 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Prohibition of entering a church

Martin Stern writes (MJ 59#52):

> Can one infer from what Chana writes that we must make a distinction
> between those Christian sects who believe in transubstantiation, such as
> Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox, and those who reject this doctrine,
> like most Protestants who consider the bread and wine as merely symbols
> rather than real flesh and blood, as regards as being full-blown avodah
> zarah even for non-Jews?

The fundamental problem, certainly as far as Jews is concerned, is belief in
the trinity.  Even if you were to accept the understanding of Tosphos as
being that shituf [partnership] is not forbidden for non-Jews, it is
unquestionably and completely forbidden for Jews, punishable by kares at
least (the gemora that I quoted originally refers to being uprooted from the
world (Sanhedrin 63a)) and it would seem probably from the Mishna there, by
stoning, certainly if there is any form of verbal acceptance.  Any
characterisation of the trinity as shituf would not differ between
Protestants and Catholics.  Now for those who believe in transubstantiation,
one might well say that the objects that are used in this process are
potentially idols themselves, whereas in other cases they are not, but I
don't see a great deal of difference ultimately, because even the
Protestants are attempting offerings which would seem to bring what they
offer into the definition of tikrovos [sacrifices] and the halacha is, based
on a pasuk (it not being something that seems innately logical), that
tikrovos can never be nullified while in fact the idols themselves can, so
tikrovos (so long as they are of the form found in the Beis HaMikdash) have
a more stringent halacha than the idols themselves.

So I suspect they stand and fall together in that regard.  And even the fact
that the Catholics tend far more to have statues and the like does not seem
to me to change the matter much, as it seems reasonable to say that these
statues are considered decorative rather than being actual idols, especially
those that are statues of saints and the like, whom they agree are
representations of historic people (the Rabbanu Yerucham actually suggests
as much (in the name of his Rav) ie that even in relation to the mother and
son and crosses with figures hanging on them that these can be considered to
be merely decorative and not actual idols forbidden to benefit from,
although he does conclude that it is fitting to be machmir [stringent] given
that we are dealing with a Torah prohibition).

> How would she view Unitarianism which explicitly rejects the attribution
> of divinity to the founder of Christianity, for which many other Christian
> denominations do not consider it a form of Christianity at all?

Well Rav Henkin in Bnei Banim (vol 3 Siman 35 p117, right above where he
discusses Monday and Tuesday and the like) even though he does generally
forbid going into churches and the like says explicitly that the Unitarians
and similar who do not believe in the divinity of Jesus are not involved in
idol worship and in theory there should be no problem entering their
churches not at a time of prayer just like one can go into a mosque but that
in practice one should not do this because most people don't understand the
distinction and will not distinguish between churches and churches.

The analogy to a mosque does make sense, because the Muslims are the classic
case of people recognised as monotheists, and whose houses of prayer are not
deemed idolatrous (and as previously noted, in order to save their lives
Jews did at times convert to Islam), but that does not make Islam an
acceptable belief system for a Jew.  There is a fair bit of literature on
interactions with Muslims, and it might well be that Unitarians would be
deemed to fall into the same category. 



From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, Oct 12,2010 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Shower on second day yom tov

Ben Katz <BKatz@...> wrote (MJ 59#52):

> There is at least one other difference between 1st and 2nd day yom tov that I
> can recall, related to the above issue:
> If one wishes to have marital relations on the 2nd night of yom tov, one may
> put a candle into a dish of water (presumably right below where it is burning)
> so that the candle will extinguish itself.

Why should one want to do this? All one needs to do is pick up the candle
(in its candlestick) and take it into another room - and one could do that
on the first day as well.

Martin Stern

From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Tue, Oct 12,2010 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Shower on second day yom tov 

Ben Katz (MJ 59:52) wrote:

> There is at least one other difference between 1st and 2nd day yom tov that
> I can recall, related to the above issue: If one wishes to ...

There are *many* other differences. Here are two more:

1) On Pesach, after the Seder is over, we do not drink any more. Mishna Brura
481:1 explains which drinks are avoided, and in the very last line there, he
explains that - when necessary - one can be more lenient on the second night
than on the first.

2) If even a tiny bit of chametz gets mixed into a food during Pesach, it cannot
be ignored. But on the eighth day, according to Mishna Brura 467:44, these rules
are relaxed a bit.

[I have often wondered if a man who makes use of these leniencies (on the
grounds that "perhaps today is not really Yom Tov") ought to be penalized by
having to put his tefillin on (on the grounds that "perhaps today is not really
Yom Tov"). My guess is that such a penalty would have been adopted at some
point, if not for tefillin's status as a muktzah object.]


End of Volume 59 Issue 53