Volume 59 Number 62 
      Produced: Tue, 19 Oct 2010 11:54:59 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

A good way to learn mishnah? 
    [Sammy Finkelman]
Friday night Kiddush: Ashkenaz vs. Sephard 
    [Perets Mett]
Halakha for Special Agents (3)
    [Josh Backon  Menashe Elyashiv  Michael Rogovin]
Hechsher on the Label 
    [Orrin Tilevitz]
Martyrdom and suicide 
    [Joel Rich]
Polling Places in Religious Buildings (3)
    [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz  Carl Singer]
Ruth as a Hebrew Name 
    [Lisa Liel]
Special Agents / Women and Language 
    [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz]
Yahrzeit of Rachel Imeinu 
    [Deborah Wenger]
Zemanim? (2)
    [Martin Stern  Dr. William Gewirtz]


From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Mon, Oct 18,2010 at 08:01 PM
Subject: A good way to learn mishnah?

David  Ziants wrote (MJ 59#57):

> If you were able to see the video

Maybe you give a more specific URL?

> you would see the kids pass the "Torah" to each other to demonstrate
> that after Moshe passed away, the Torah is still kept alive.

A very nice idea - but this sounds like it would more fit with something for
Simchas Torah or some other event but not something that would be called "Mishnah"

Is the subject called Mishnayot - Pirkai Avot or Mishnayot (but this
year Pirkei Avos)?

> My daughter is beginning to understand the difference between "Torah
> shebiChtav" [the Written Law] and "Torah sheba'al Peh" [the Oral Law].

Maybe you could even say that the Torah shebe'al peh is the real Torah
- or the living Torah - and the Torah shebiChtav" is the witness
(that Torah sheba'al Peh" is correct)

A witness, but not the thing itself.

Devorim 31:24-26 (old JPS translation):

"And it came to pass, when Moses had made an end of writing the words
of this law in a book, until they were finished ... that Moses commanded the
Levites, that bore the ark of the covenant of the Lord, saying:'Take this book
of the law, and put it by the side of the ark of the covenant of the Lord your
God, that it may be there for a witness against thee.

Now that was mostly about exile, but still.


From: Perets Mett <p.mett@...>
Date: Tue, Oct 19,2010 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Friday night Kiddush: Ashkenaz vs. Sephard

Bob Kosovsky (MJ 59#60) wrote:

> If one compares the nusach of Friday night Kiddush between Ashkenaz and
> Sephard, one can see that several words are not said in the latter.
> (Nevertheless, I've met a number of people who daven nusach Sephard and say
> the "longer" kiddush.)
> Is there a reason why those words are omitted in nusach Sephard?

Vaychulu has 35 words. The Sfard nusach of kidush has 35 words, to parallel the
35 words in Vaychulu

Adding the two introductory words "yom hashishi" gives a total of 72 words,
corresponding to one the names of HKBH

Perets Mett


From: Josh Backon <backon@...>
Date: Tue, Oct 19,2010 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Halakha for Special Agents

Michael Rogovin wrote (MJ 59#61):

> Therefore, he concluded, citing the psak that is the subject for this
> discussion, if the military leadership felt that this was an essential
> mission and we were in a war (he did not opine as to the halachic status of
> the current conflict), it would be an appropriate assignment for any
> soldier, male or female, religious or not. If one can murder, one can
> certainly torture, send soldiers on "suicide missions," or do anything else
> that is necessary to win. There might be consequences (probably not a good
> idea for the wife of a Cohen, for example). Losing a just war in order to
> uphold our rules for ethical peacetime conduct, is not, in his view, a
> positive Jewish value.

Regarding suicide missions, here is a post I may have once put on MJ:

The recent situation in the Gaza Strip where 11 soldiers
were blown up and other soldiers had to risk their lives
to retrieve body parts for kevura, has lead to extensive
debate. To what extent can one (or must one) put oneself
in danger? Choshen Mishpat 420:31 indicates that one who
injures himself even though he isn't permitted to is not
subject to punishment. See also Yoreh Deah 155:1 in Shach
s"k 7.

Halachic discussion on danger has ranged from diets (Iggrot
Moshe CM II 65), aesthetic plastic surgery (IM CM II 66,
Chelkat Yaakov III 1, Minchat Yitzchak VI 105 #2, Tzitz
Eliezer XI 41), performing a mitzva (e.g. drinking wine
at Seder for someone with a severe allergy to wine (Halacha
u'Refuah Sefer Daled p. 125), undergoing risky medical
procedures (Shvut Yakov III 75; Achiezer II 16 #6; Binyan
Tzion I 111; Beit Meir YD 339 #1; Yad Halevi I YD 207; Harav
Unterman in NOAM Vol. 13, p. 5; Tzitz Eliezer IV 13 and X 25
#17; Shearim Metzuyanim B'Halacha 190 s"k 4; Mor u'Ktziya 328),
volunteering for medical research, and others.

discussed in Choshen Mishpat 426:1. Although the Yerushalmi
indicates that a person MUST place himself in a *possible*
risk in order to save someone else, see the SM"A there that
this isn't brought down since most Rishonim didn't hold this

HOWEVER: the Pitchei Tshuva CM 426 s"k 2 indicates that although
a potential rescuer should evaluate risks, he shouldn't be
overly cautious. The Mishna Brura OC 329:19 states that there
is no obligation in risking one's life to save another but still
does mention this Pitchei Tshuva. More relevant is the Tzitz
Eliezer XIII 100 who rules that in time of war, one may take
extraordinary risks in order to save others. Rav Elyashiv in
his Kovetz Tshuvot #124 (re: doctors' chiyuv to treat everyone
any time of day or night) states that one must undergo pain
and suffering in order to save the life of someone else (he
does mention the Rambam in Sefer hamitzvot Lo Taaseh #297 and
the SM"A in CM 426 quoting the Yerushalmi).

On the one hand, halacha (YD 252) holds that Pidyon Shevuyim
is the highest mitzva. Needless to say this refers to live
humans who are being mistreated (Rambam indicates those who
are starving, in tatters). On the other hand, we have the case
of Maharam mi'Rottenberg who forbade his disciples from ransoming
him from jail (7 years) and from ransoming his body (14 years)
to prevent blackmail of the Jewish community.

The only historical precedent I could find for endangering
one's life to retrieve body parts is the story told in
Shmuel Alef 31 (and in Divrei haYamim Alef 10:12) about the
residents of Yavesh Gilad who risked their lives to retrieve
the body parts of Shaul HaMelech and his sons who were killed
in battle with the Pelishtim. I checked all the mefarshim in
both places and the only relevant one was Rashi in Divrei
HaYamim who specifically indicates how the residents of Yavesh
Gilad MASRU ATZMAM B'SAKANA. Since Rashi makes no negative
comment about their actions (and indeed seems to praise it)
it looks like it's permissible to endanger one's life to retrieve
body parts for kevurat yisrael.

Dr. Josh Backon  (who got out as a captain in 1979 and who then rose
                            through the ranks)

From: Menashe Elyashiv <Menashe.Elyashiv@...>
Date: Tue, Oct 19,2010 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Halakha for Special Agents

Thanks to the posters that sent the link to R. Shevat's article. After 
reading it, I see that it would have been wise if his critics would have 
read it before they commented here.

Btw, on Yael, the RaDaK wrote that Yael did nothing other than calling Sisra 
into the tent, fed him, and then killed him. He was so tired from trying 
to escape Barak, that she was able to kill him with a hammer and a nail. 
RaDaK wrote - that the derash is far out

From: Michael Rogovin <mrogovin118@...>
Date: Tue, Oct 19,2010 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Halakha for Special Agents

Leah Gordan (in 59#61) rails against those who use the term girls in place of
women. While I agree with her basic point, as directed to those who posted
on this list and used the word girls, Ms. Gordan should heed the advice of
the other posters in the same digest: read the original. A quick glance at
the article, which was written in Hebrew, reveals that R Shvat does NOT
refer to girl, but rather to "isha", that is woman. Thus, the anger toward R
Shvat is misdirected. As others in the same digest pointed out, R Shvat did
not write many of the things that were attributed to him.

Sending a female (or for that matter male) soldier/agent on a mission to
lure an enemy into a sexual relationship is repugnant to many of us. But
then again, so are many of the actions involved in war. The proper response
is to work toward a world that is at peace. Until such time, we are
compelled to defend ourselves with whatever means we have at our disposal.
The Torah does not give blanket permission to act immorally, God forbid. But
under limited circumstances, when conditions warrant, there will be times
when extremely repugnant acts may be necessary in order to preserve life.
That Rabbis are willing to discuss such matters seriously and with a full
understanding with all of the implications, militarily, psychologically and
halachicly, is a tribute to Torah.


From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Mon, Oct 18,2010 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Hechsher on the Label

I recently tasted a product whose label lists only natural fruit flavors but which taste like artificially-flavored cough syrup. According to the label, the product has a hechsher from the OU and another organization whose insignia I didn't recognize. Let's say that in fact the flavorings are artificial but reliably kosher, and the OU found out about this. Would the OU demand that the labels be changed on pain of withdrawing their hechsher, or would they say "the product is kosher, and our responsibility ends there"?


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Tue, Oct 19,2010 at 06:01 AM
Subject: Martyrdom and suicide

In mail-jewish Vol.59 #61 Digest Akiva Miller said:

> It is my understanding that in a situation where halacha requires martyrdom,
> what this means is that we must not violate the halacha, even if we are
> threatened with being killed. But I have not heard that we must commit
> suicide to prevent the enemy from forcing the violation upon us. In fact,
> I have heard that suicide is forbidden even in such a case.

> Am I mistaken? Does anyone actually hold the halacha to endorse suicide in
> these cases? Many people praise the Jews of Masada for their suicide, but
> I don't think I've ever heard a rabbi approve of it. Has anyone else?

See Gittin (57b): It was taught: There was an incident in which 400 boys and
girls were captured for prostitution. They realized what their captives wanted
and they asked, If we drown ourselves in the sea will we get the World to Come?
The most important of them interpreted Tehilim (68:23): The L'rd said, I will
bring again from Bashan, I will bring again from the depths of the sea. This
means that G'd will bring again all those who drown in the sea. When the girls
heard this they all jumped into the sea. The boys drew the follow conclusions
from this. They reasoned that if the girls committed suicide to avoid being
forced into a normal sexual intercourse then in the case of boys shouldn't they
commit suicide to avoid unnatural sexual intercourse? They then also jumped into
the sea. Concerning them Tehilim (44:23) says: For Your sake we are killed all
day long, we are considered as sheep being slaughtered.

May hkb"h protect us from such situations.
Joel Rich


From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahillel@...>
Date: Mon, Oct 18,2010 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Polling Places in Religious Buildings

Leah S.R. Gordon <leah@...> wrote (MJ 59#60):

> Would that this were so in the United States, Chana! In fact, often voting
> stations are in churches. My parents voted "absentee" for this reason for
> many years in Illinois. Here in Massachusetts, I have not heard of voting
> in a church, and perhaps it varies by state requirement. I have a vague
> memory of reading that a reason for an absentee ballot may be obtained if
> one has religious/moral objections to entering one's assigned polling place,
> but I cannot remember if I read that in Illinois, Texas, California, or
> Massachusetts, all places that I have lived in at one time or another.
> Someone who knows more case law than I do could speak to whether voting in a
> church has been challenged in the USA, and if so, whether it was thought
> that allowing an absentee ballot in this case is reasonable accommodation.
> Our current polling station is an elementary school. There are definitely
> rules about what kinds of religion/state things can occur in each others'
> spaces in the United States, e.g. I know that certain religious groups are
> not allowed to meet in public schools, particularly it has come up for
> groups that use religion to discriminate against other kinds of people
> against USA law.

There have been cases which have challenged using a church as a polling place. 
For example:

> Thursday, November 30, 2006
> "Pro-life" banner at the Polling station set up in Emmanuel Catholic
> Church in Delray Beach, Florida

> At its official launch in Washington DC yesterday, the Appignani
> Humanist Legal Center (AHLC) announced its filing of a lawsuit in
> Florida challenging the use of a church as a polling place during the
> recent U.S. midterm elections. The AHLC is representing Jerry
> Rabinowitz and the action is against Arthur Anderson in his capacity
> as supervisor of elections for Palm Beach County. But the organization
> indicates that more lawsuits in other states are expected to follow "all
> being part of an effort to show that churches are improper polling places
> because they cannot be religiously and politically neutral and because
> their use is subject to widespread abuse.

> Churches are currently the most common polling location in America
> according to James Hurley, the lead attorney handling the case.
> Speaking at yesterdays press conference, Hurley noted that while some
> churches cover or remove religious symbols in those parts of their
> facilities used as polling places, not all do so, nor is the practice
> required everywhere. When asked, the Palm Beach County Supervisor of
> Elections Office said there was no rule requiring removal of such
> religious icons, Hurley added.


http://www.browardsoe.org/ElectionPollingPlaces.aspx?eid=0 gives a
list of polling places in Broward County, Florida. Many of the places
on this list are churches. Others are schools, country clubs, or other
areas that can handle groups of people.

Lebanon polling place moves to church
Published: Friday, September 17, 2010, 8:38 AM     Updated: Friday,
September 17, 2010, 8:39 AM

Top State Court Rejects Suit in Church Hall Voting

ALBANY, Oct. 18--The State Court of Appeals dismissed today an appeal
by a New York City resident, who objected to the designation of a
churchcontrolled hall as a polling place.

Many other articles were found using google searches.

   Sabba  -     ' "    -  Hillel
Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz 
From: Elie Rosenfeld <rosenfeld.elie@...>
Date: Mon, Oct 18,2010 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Polling Places in Religious Buildings 

I don't know about churches, but my shul social hall is one of the main
polling places for our town, and has been such for decades.

Which gives me an excuse to mention a funny story.  On election morning a
few years ago, as minyan in the shul bais medrash was ending, one of the
regular shnorrers was standing by the front door collecting handouts.
Meanwhile, voters were entering and exiting the building via the same door.
Noticing the schnorrer, one of the minyan attendees commented:  "I think
they may invalidate the election results here. There appears to be someone
collecting a poll tax!"

Wish I'd thought of that one!

Elie Rosenfeld - <rosenfeld.elie@...>

From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Mon, Oct 18,2010 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Polling Places in Religious Buildings

If this is halachically problematic or offensive one can simply vote via an
absentee ballot.


From: Lisa Liel <lisa@...>
Date: Tue, Oct 19,2010 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Ruth as a Hebrew Name

Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...> wrote (MJ 59#61):

> I just discovered that my late Aunt Ruth's Hebrew name wasn't Ruth 
> -- it was Rochel something-or-other. That did not surprise me, I 
> guess, because I was under the vague impression that Ruth was 
> primarily a name for converts. I checked quickly with my LOR, who 
> performs gittin [Jewish divorces} and he had to think hard before 
> coming up with someone whose Hebrew name was Ruth. Any Ruths (Hebrew 
> name) who aren't converts and subscribe to MJ? Anybody know any 
> other Ruths (English name) with non-matching Hebrew names? And any 
> idea why someone born in the U.S. before 1920 would be given a 
> biblical English name that didn't match her Hebrew name?

I have friends whose daughter is named Rivka Rus (that's how they 
pronounce it).  And I've heard of other people with the name as well 
who definitely aren't converts.

As far as your question, I assume that your Aunt Ruth was named for 
someone named Rochel.  And that they didn't want to use Rochel in 
English for the simple reason that it has a chet in it, and sounds 
less American.  My grandmother Rose was Rochel Leah; same kind of thing.



From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahillel@...>
Date: Tue, Oct 19,2010 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Special Agents / Women and Language

Leah S.R. Gordon <leah@...> wrote (MJ 59#61):

> In MJ 59#60, Orrin Tilevitz quotes me as saying that one should not
> refer to grown women as "girls," as well as other comments, and then states:
>> I have said this before, but it would be really helpful if people read posts
>> before they commented on them. As for Leah's comments, they should be
>> directed to Rav Schvat, not me.

I should point out that the article being referenced is in Hebrew and
would therefore not have the usage difference of "girls" and "women"
as in the English. There are also usages of the term "girls" that are
different from the connotation "children" and would not be an insult
in the context being discussed. I would suggest that we treat this
particular issue as similar to the the word "pants" in British and
American usage and make the appropriate mental "translation" to the
connotation that was meant by the writer.

You may now return to your regularly scheduled flame wars <grin>.

   Sabba  -     ' "    -  Hillel
Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz 


From: Deborah Wenger <debwenger@...>
Date: Tue, Oct 19,2010 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Yahrzeit of Rachel Imeinu

I have received a number of e-mails that state definitively that the yahrzeit of Rachel Imeinu is the 10th of Cheshvan (I think this is the day they meant).

How does anyone know the day of her yahrzeit? The Torah doesn't say what day she died?

Deborah Wenger


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, Oct 18,2010 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Zemanim?

Stuart Wise <Smwise3@...> wrote (MJ 59#60):
> I davened this morning in one of Boro Park's minyan factories, and I saw
> the following for this week:
> 1) The latest scheduled kabalas Shabbos is 2 hours after shekiah.
> 2) The latest Shabbos morning davening is 11:45 a.m. (weekday also has a
> similar late Shacharis)
> 3) The latest Maariv motzei shabbos is 10 p.m.
> I am quite aware that chasidim in particular follow late times, but 2 hours
> after sunset? This does not include mincha, but I also thought kabalas
> Shabbos is supposed to be said before the beginning of nightfall.
> Shabbos morning at 11:45 seems past all the accepted times for kerias Shema
> and shemoneh esrai for Shacharis.

Perhaps it is based on the verse (Ps. 149,5) "Y'alzu chassidim bechavod
yeranenu al mishkevotam", understood as "Let chassidim exult in glory; they
give praise on their beds"!
> I have mixed feelings about such scheduling. While it leaves little excuse
> for not davening with a minyan, it also seems to encourage such behavior by
> making it available.

I agree that minyan factories can have such a downside, allowing people to
lie in instead of rising early to serve their Creator as seems to be
recommended at the beginning of the Tur.

However I do see that they could be of value for minchah, and possibly also
ma'ariv, in that they give people an opportunity to slip out from work to
daven with a minyan when they can find the time.

Martin Stern

From: Dr. William Gewirtz <wgewirtz@...>
Date: Mon, Oct 18,2010 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Zemanim?

Stuart Wise in MJ 59:60 lists 3 practices wrt the times for tefillah, that he

The first two have no basis in the halakha in the world of the nigleh! A later
than acceptable shachris is an age - old issue. Davening Kabbalat Shabbat so
late is not as troubling, except for fear of what one might be doing prior to so
late a Kabbalat Shabbat.

Davening maariv late on motza'ai shabbat is more interesting and as you note
permissible. In terms of chumrot on the end of Shabbat, the Rav ztl waited 90
minutes adjusted by a depression angle for latitude and season. That is about as
machmir as one could be with broad halakhic support. This time of year that is
(close to its minimum of) about 100 minutes in the NY area. Even the rare and
highly questionable "zextel," depression angle adjusted, is only about 2.4 hours.

The shul seems to be waiting almost 4 hours, well beyond anything in halakha. in
fact, It is said in the name of R. Moshe Soloveitchik ztl that an adjusted
"achtel or zextel" is the limit for even tosefet Shabbat.

But then again if one davens shachrit at 1145am, it all seems to be weirdly


End of Volume 59 Issue 62