Volume 59 Number 68 
      Produced: Thu, 28 Oct 2010 16:14:45 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

The end of Kedusha 
    [Ira L. Jacobson]
A good way to learn mishnah? (2)
    [Jerry Weinberg  Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz]
Ata Kadosh 
    [Eitan Fiorino]
Christians and Moslems 
    [Emmanuel Ifrah]
digital phones and more 
    [Dr. William Gewirtz]
Does use of a digital telephone on Shabbat involve Torah prohibiti ons 
    [Akiva Miller]
    [Carl Singer]
Girls and Women 
    [Joseph Kaplan]
Hechsher on the Label 
    [Prof. Reuben Freeman]
Inviting deceased relatives to a wedding 
    [Joel Rich]
    [Leah S.R. Gordon]
Mordechai, Esther and the King 
    [Abe Brot]


From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Thu, Oct 28,2010 at 10:32 AM
Subject:  The end of Kedusha

I had stated in MJ 59#66:

> Daniel Goldschmidt, in his most precise siddur for Nusah Sefard, 
> says that most congregations say "Atah qadosh" for musaf qedusha, 
> while some say "Ledor vador."

Needless to say, Nusah Sefard says "Ata qadosh" in the qedushot of 
shaharit and minha .  In addition, Birnbaum's nusah Sefard siddur has 
only "Ata qadosh" in all musaf qedushot except for rosh hodesh.  And 
a new, very qabbalistic nusah Sefard siddur called Matok Midevash for 
weekdays has only "Ata qadosh" for all musaf qedushot (hol hamo`ed 
and rosh hodesh).

I am ignoring Rinat Yisrael.

Sefardim, of course, say only "Ata qadosh" in every qedusha.



From: Jerry Weinberg <wjerryes@...>
Date: Wed, Oct 27,2010 at 09:01 AM
Subject: A good way to learn mishnah?

I have seen classes of high school boys singing sequential mishnayos of
Messeches Brachos at a Purim chaggigah after hearing the "Mishnah
Project". Every mishnah is linked to a melody for today.

In Israel tunes are used as well. Repetition combined with song yields greater
retention results.

Jerry Weinberg

From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahillel@...>
Date: Thu, Oct 28,2010 at 10:32 AM
Subject: A good way to learn mishnah?

David Ziants <dziants@...> wrote (MJ 59#67):

> Sammy Finkelman<sammy.finkelman@...> continues further in MJ 59#65 ,
> quoting my reply to his points as above:-

>> I think what they really like is the sayings of Hillel and I don't
>> think they so much study it, as quote from it. I think it would be fair
>> to say that they don't quote things from Tanach very much.
>> What they really like from Hillel is "What is hateful to yourself
>> don't do to others" and "If I am not for myself, who should be for me,
>> and if I am only for myself, what am I, and if not now, when."
> What is wrong with that?

I think that the point is that they like to quote the sayings but
ignore the rest of the Torah. It is like quoting the story of the
gentile who wanted to convert and asked to be taught the Torah "al
regel achas" (standing on one foot - an idiom). Hillel answered "What
is hateful to yourself don't do to others", but many people
(deliberately?) drop the end of the sentence "that is the basic
principle, now go and study". The basic sentences are fine only they
are used as the beginning and not the end of study.

   Sabba  -     ' "    -  Hillel
Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz 

From: Eitan Fiorino <afiorino@...>
Date: Thu, Oct 28,2010 at 10:32 AM
Subject: Ata Kadosh

In MJ 59#67, Menashe Elyashiv wrote:

> Other examples of compromising: the 2 different Nusah 
> Ashkanaz versions for the introduction to the shaharit 
> kedusha: one for weekdays and one for Shabbat. The Sefaradi 
> Nusah is allways to say the short one, the Yemenite Nusah is 
> kind of the long one, everyday, and also for minha. The short 
> kedusha seems to come from Bavel, the long one from Eretz 
> Israel. BTW, the Italian Nusah is to say the short keter 
> version, shaharit & minha.

The variability, compromising and co-opting between competing liturgies can be
illustrated by the example of Italy.  The late medieval siddurim (specifically
the Bologna and Soncino machzorim printed in the late 15th century and the
Moscowitz manuscript, also from the 15th century, which I just checked) have
"keter" as the introduction to kedusha for shacharit and mincha.  I've not
exhaustively researched this, so I wouldn't be surprised if there were earlier
geographical variations, but this does suggest that a fairly uniform nusach with
regard to kedusha had been established by this time.  Though this is still the
usage in many places in Italy, in Rome and Milan, kedusha begins with
"nakdishach" while in Turin it begins with "nekadesh" (likely representing
Sephardic and Ashkenazic influences, respectively).  Indeed, Turin so
"standardized" the Italian nusach as to eliminate some of its most distinctive
elements, such as "asher kila maasav bayom hashvii" and "v'emuna bashvii
kiyamta" in birkat keriat shma for shabbat arvit.

As for Nusach Ari/Nusach Sefard, Daniel Remer published _Siddur and Sefer
Tefilat Chaim_ in 2003, a treatment of the Spanish-Portuguese published in
Venice in 1524 (which he reproduced in its entirety) and the Shaar Hakavanot of
Chaim Vital in an attempt to reconstruct the nusach used by the Ari.  He also
discusses various hasidic variants, which arose because of the belief that the
nusach of the Ari had a special efficacy in that it can allow individuals of any
shevet [tribe - MOD] to reach the "13th gate."  

Interesting to note that hasidic reconstructions of the nusach Ari don't
actually match the actual nusach Ari that emerges from Remer's work.  Maybe they
are counting on a 14th gate??  But seriously - if someone uses nusach Sefard/Ari
because he/she actually believes that it is the correct nusach because of this
"special access" to the "13th gate," and it can clearly be established that the
various forms of nusach Sefard/Ari in use are actually NOT what the Ari used,
how does the believer  deal with that contradiction?



From: Emmanuel Ifrah <emmanuel_ifrah@...>
Date: Thu, Oct 28,2010 at 10:32 AM
Subject: Christians and Moslems

Re the posting from Eitan Fiorino <afiorino@...> (MJ 59#55):

The king who protected the Jews in Morroco during WWII was Mohammed V, not IV.
Mohammed VI is the current king, son of Hassan II.


From: Dr. William Gewirtz <wgewirtz@...>
Date: Thu, Oct 28,2010 at 10:32 AM
Subject: digital phones and more

In MJ 59#66, David Ziants asks about a digital phone. I do not believe even old
ESS (electronic switching systems) going back to the 1970's had any incandescent
bulbs. Nor do I believe a normal (digital) phone is fragile or its use is in any
sense overly restricted, like a precision instrument. I love getting calls from
my 2 year-old grand-daughters.

I would assume a phone is classified as "uvdan d'chol" used for daily, secular
purpose and under normal circumstances moving it (and certainly using it) would
be forbidden. However, in the situation described, I would assume many would be

Of course, over time these issues involving electricity and technology have
taken on an important religious practice element that often colors the way they
are analyzed halakhically. Clearly, we do not want to turn Shabbat into a
weekday! I will leave how to delineate that to others much more versed in this
area to decide. I once asked a distinguished posek, why changing an internal
configuration of bits, with no external manifestation whatsoever, was any more
problematic than changing the position of a Shabbat lamp? He looked at me like I
had three heads, without any answer. My real concern is that as technology
advances we will have to re-address how we deal with these issues, perhaps
sooner than we think. I wonder if my natural instinct to forbid many things is
well grounded? Might we one day see a "Shabbat mode" Kindle? I would appreciate
feedback and more knowledgeable criticism.


From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Thu, Oct 28,2010 at 10:32 AM
Subject: Does use of a digital telephone on Shabbat involve Torah prohibiti ons

David Ziants (MJ 59#66) asked:

> Looking up shmirat shabbat k'hilchata 33:3 and footnote 23* one understands
> that the telephone of that time (not so long ago actually) might involve
> lights in the operators' room and so is a Torah prohibition on Shabbat. ...
> Do such lights exist nowadays in the telephone exchanges? Are there other
> reasons, assuming one is not following the Chazon Ish, that use of a digital
> telephone might still be forbidden as a Torah prohibition?

I'd like to begin with a side point, which is that when I first read the section
David cited, it seemed to me that although the Shmirat Shabbat was indeed saying
the the telephone involves a Torah violation, it was not so clear to me exactly
what that violation would be. However, that footnote ended with a comment to
"see below, chapter 38 note 20", and that note does make it very clear that the
problem is the lights which light up at the telephone exchange.

Anyway, I mentioned a few months ago that a new edition of the Shmirat Shabbat
was recently published. I have not bought it yet myself, but I did see that he
included a section which makes for a very simple cross-reference between these
two editions. If anyone has the new edition, could you let us know if he has
changed his views?

I would also like to point out that Rav Moshe Heinemann (posek of the Star-K in
Baltimore) explicitly holds that, in most cases, using the phone on Shabbos
would be only a rabbinic violation.

According to Rav Heinemann (in "Guide to Halachos" by Nachman Schachter,
published by Feldheim, pp 29-30): "... activating a device that provides
unnecessary heat or light, e.g. a phone with a lighted dial in an illuminated
room, is prohibited as a Melachah D'rabbanan." Clearly, if one's phone does not
have a lighted dial, it would certainly be no more than a rabbinic violation.

And even if today's phone exchanges still have the sort of lights which bother
the Shmirat Shabbat, I cannot believe that any human would actually be looking
at these lights and making sense of them, which would put them in the category
of "a device that provides unnecessary heat or light", which to Rav Heinemann
would be only a rabbinic violation.

Akiva Miller


From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Wed, Oct 27,2010 at 08:01 AM
Subject: girls

In MJ 59#66 Yisrael Medad states:

> Maybe look at it this way:
> In Yiddish, veiber is "women" but it has a bit of a put-down connotation.
> Same with "girls".

Harkavy's Yiddish-English dictionary lists two Yiddish words for "women" --
"veiber" and "froyen"

Harkavy's Yiddish-English dictionary lists two Yiddish words for "wives" --
"veiber" and "froyen"

The equivalence is not accidental.

I disagree that "veiber" is pejorative - it's all in the context.

Again from the dictionary -- this time Merriam-Webster - these definitions
for "girl"

1 a: a female child from birth to adulthood 
  c: a young unmarried woman  
  d sometimes offensive: a single or married woman of any age

Terms used within a group to self-describe may not be as socially acceptable
for use outside that group.  "Girls" is one such term, "boys" is another,
the "N" word as it's referred to in U.S. society is another.  Whereas such terms
are used freely in conversation within the group they may be considered
pejorative when used by an outsider.



From: Joseph Kaplan <penkap@...>
Date: Thu, Oct 28,2010 at 10:32 AM
Subject: Girls and Women

In response to the discussion about the use of the word "girls" for adult
women, Martin Stern writes about the use of "veiber" in Yiddish (MJ 59#67):

> This reflects the German usage where the polite word for a woman is Frau or
> Dame, but Weib is pejorative.

That is exactly the point I think that Leah, and others, have been trying to
make; that is, in English, the use of the word "girls" rather than "women" when
referring to adult women is, in most cases and certainly when used by men,
pejorative.  (Just think of the male executive saying to his counterpart when
scheduling an appointment, "I'll have my girl call your girl" in referring to
secretaries who might be as old as the executives' mothers.)   Although the heat
may have been turned up a bit too much on this usage issue, the point, and
request, is really a simple one: when talking about female children use girls;
when talking about female adults use women.


Joseph Kaplan


From: Prof. Reuben Freeman <freeman@...>
Date: Thu, Oct 28,2010 at 10:32 AM
Subject: Hechsher on the Label

Carl Singer wrote in MJ 59#63:

> It should be noted that government labeling requirements (in the U.S.) vary
> from halachic requirements that the OU and other kashrut organizations may
> have. Specifically, government labeling requirements exempt items of a
> certain minimal percentage from needing to appear on the label.....
> Kashrut certifying agencies check all ingredients (and their sources) --
> whether or not they are on the label.

An interesting example of not requiring complete ingredient labelling is
filter cigarettes.  Apparently some of the filters may contain material
whose source is pig haemoglobin [pig's blood].  I have found that this
is quite unsettling to some "frum" smokers who otherwise rationalize away or
ignore the serious health dangers of smoking. I suspect that there may not
really be a "kashrut" issue here - Is inhaling smoke into the
mouth  considered "eating"?  Has the pig's blood been "transformed" into an
ingredient which may not be considered pig's blood?  Is "only a trace" of
the pig haemoglobin in an apparently non-edible product something that can
be legitimately ignored by even the stingently kashrut-observant?   Pig
haemoglobin is sometimes, but not always, used in cigarette filters so there
is a doubt whether it is in a particular filter or not.  In any case -
regardless of whether there is "really no kashrut problem" - the thought of
sucking on something possibly made with pig's blood  seems to disturb the
otherwise sanguine frum smoker more than the likelihood that he is
undermining his health.

Some links related to pig's blood in cigarette filters are:




http://hughryan.org/?p=126     (points out animal ingredients in lipsticks)



From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Wed, Oct 27,2010 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Inviting deceased relatives to a wedding

In MJ 59#67 the formidable Yisrael Medad replied to Aliza M. Silverstein's query
(MJ 59#65):

>> if one really wishes, one can invite deceased relatives to a wedding 
>> and they will attend. Does anyone have a citation for this?

> I would presume that some people can and will do anything that is not outright
> prohibited. Psychologically, some Rabbis think it's soothing to recall
> deceased under the Chupah.

I would say that many Rabbis and individuals feel this way; so much so that
while there is a debate in shas as to whether the dead have any knowledge of
what's going on in our world (see for example Brachot 18a and especially Tosfot
Sotah 34b d"h avotai. The Michtav M'eliyahu (Yamim Noraim) says those dead who
do know were at the lowest level of spirituality in this world and that's why
they remain connected to this world. So, imho, according to his opinion, it's
actually an insult to say they know what's going on.

However this, imho, is a great example man d'ama daba (look at what people do)
as a method of psak - people want to believe the dead know, so they do!

Joel Rich


From: Leah S.R. Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Wed, Oct 27,2010 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Midot

In M.J 59#66, Carl Singer writes:

> Perhaps because transgressions of proper behavior are so rare, when they do
> occur they stand out even more.

You are very generous to our people. I personally do not find etiquette
breaches to be rare in the frum community, alas.

> I was at a local pizza shop for lunch today.  Near me was a Rebbe with four
> 10 year old boys (my guess) from a local day school.
> After their meal they got up and left all their debris on the table -- this
> is a shop where people bus their own trays.
> I guess I should give them the benefit of the doubt -- but why do some of
> us find this especially annoying?

First, you don't have to ask why we find it annoying.  It *is* annoying.  It
is also brazenly selfish, this "someone will pick up after me" business.
(It's not limited to frum kids; my gentile students have to be reminded as
well sometimes.)  The appalling part of this story is that the teacher or
father or whoever he was, didn't change what was going on (or, it seems,
even bus his own stuff).

But, if you really want to know why some of us find it especially annoying,
it's because
(a) we always pick up our things and are thus resentful, and
(b) we like to find a clean table and are disgusted.  

So I'm right there with you.

Side question - did you say anything?  I wonder if that would have
accomplished any good.  Maybe if the proprietor had said something.

> And do our teachers include midos and proper behavior (to be taught by
> example) in their curricula?

I don't know about others, but I am a teacher, honored to be considered
among "our teachers," and I teach midot every day in my secular physics and
chemistry classes:

Don't chew gum while you're talking to an adult; sit up straight; don't
touch anyone else in the class; arrive on time and with your things; push in
your chair when you leave the class; clean up your lab station promptly when
finished; speak kindly to other students and help them as needed; do work
that you are proud of and hand it in on time and looking presentable; pull
up your pants; pull down your shirt; use a proper tone of voice; don't
sharpen your pencil loudly when someone is giving a lesson...you get the
point.  :)

> Examples: Kissing a mizuzah with one's right hand, not putting a siddur
> on top of a chumash, not turning one's back to a Sefer Torah
> (these are all bain Adam l'Makom -- but there are social ones as well).

Ok, these I don't teach in a public school science class LOL.  However, it
does confuse me on one point - my teachers taught me that a chumash goes on
top of all books, except a siddur which can go on top of a chumash.  Is this
not the case?

My son has a pile of his bar-mitzvah preparation books, containing a siddur,
tikkun, and chumash.  (He also has other books like for his d'var Torah
work, but those can go on the bottom.)  What order should they be stacked in
- understanding that optimally they go right on the shelf, but there is some
backpack and table time unavoidably.

I had kind of figured that siddur/tikkun/chumash were all of equal
top-of-stack priority, and had not said anything different to him.  I think
he usually stacks them by size.

This is a boy who will definitely change his practice if it is incorrect in
this matter; when he was three years old and he was done "reading" a
machzor, and I said to close it and kiss it and put it away, he said, "and
hug too?" and hugged the book.

--Leah S. R. Gordon


From: Abe Brot <abe.brot@...>
Date: Thu, Oct 28,2010 at 10:32 AM
Subject: Mordechai, Esther and the King

Robert Book stated (MJ 59#66), on the subject of Esther's relationship with
Mordechai and the king:

> There are two other problems with this approach: First, given the
> views of the time -- that a woman who consorts with the King was not
> to consort with any other man -- it is highly unlikely that a married
> woman who wanted to go into the harem would be permitted to do so.
> Second, the notion that Esther would have done so is arguable a slur
> on Esther with no credibility whatsoever, and no support in the
> context described, which is of virgins (not married women) being
> conscripted into the harem by force (not voluntarily)."

On page 13a of Massechet Megilla, "Tana meshum Rabbi Meir" proposes that
where it states that Mordechai raised Esther as a daughter (bat), we should
read it as ba'it (home), the essence of which is his wife. Therefore we
should understand this to mean that Mordechai and Esther were husband and

This changes totally our understanding of the Megilla. Instead of Esther, an
unmarried orphan raised by her cousin, being forced into the king's harrem,
we have a married women being forced to submit to the king. There are severe
moral and religeous implications of this, leading to the question whether
Esther should have refused the king, even under penalty of death. Nowhere,
in the Megilla, is it reported that Mordechai and Esther are troubled by
this disruption of their mariage. Only when Mordechai asks Esther to speak
to the king on behalf of the Jews, she is wary of the consequences of
appearing before the king without an invitation. But she never questions her
marital relationship with the king and Mordechai.

Later on page 13b, the matter becomes even more extreme. "Rabba bar Leima
mishmei d'Rav" states that "Esther would rise from the king's bosom, immerse
herself (in a mikveh) and then lie in Mordechai's bosom".

How are we to understand this?  Are we to take Tana meshum Rabbi Meir's
words literally? Is there any halachic justification (even under penalty of
death) for a married woman to alternate between her husband and another man?
Interestingly, the Gemara does not state another opinion on this matter.
Perhaps we are not expected to take Tana meshum Rabbi Meir's words
literally, and return to the pshat of the Megilla where Esther and Mordechai
are just cousins.

Avraham Brot
Petah Tikva


End of Volume 59 Issue 68