Volume 6 Number 23

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Eli Turkel]
Conservative Responsa (3)
         [Cheryl Mack, Meylech Viswanath, David Kaufmann ]
Name Replacement
         [Finley Shapiro]
Sending Away the Mother Bird
         [Laurent Cohen]
Takanot for Synagogues
         [Neil Parks]
words in the Torah
         [Eli Turkel]


From: <turkel@...> (Eli Turkel)
Date: Sun, 24 Jan 93 11:12:08 +0200
Subject: Berachot

     As far as making a beracha on making a succah i quoted the language
of the rishonim (eino gnar mitzva [it is not the completion of the
miztah - Mod.]). I assume that this is equivalent to saying that
building a succah is only a hechsher mitzva [A preperation for a miztvah
- Mod.].  By the way the Talmud yerushalmi says that one does make a
beracha on building a succah, weaving a tallit etc.

     In terms of sending away the mother bird see the next to last mishna
in Hullin. There is a disagreement between the Sages and R. Yehuda.
According to the sages it seems that the mitzva to send away the mother
bird only is applicable if one trangressed the first sin and took
the eggs (lav ha-nitak la-aseh). Hence this mitzva is connected with
an averah.



From: <ce157@...> (Cheryl Mack)
Date: Sat, 23 Jan 93 23:20:08 -0500
Subject: Re: Conservative Responsa

In the posting on the Conservative psak about driving to shul on
Shabbat, the assumption seems to be that this is a non-halachic
decision. To my understanding the rabbis who wrote the teshuva based
their decision on halacha. I am an observant Conservative Jew who does
not accept this psak and in fact thinks it was a huge mistake,
especially in light of the fact that it is so widely misunderstood and
abused.  Nonetheless serious Conservative Jews who rely on this psak
would not agree that "it is better not to drive". Until I am more
knowledgeable myself I am reluctant to say so. I simply believe that not
accepting this heter makes my observance of Shabbat more complete and

I recommend: The Halachic Process: A Systemic Analysis by Rabbi Joel
Roth for anyone who is seriously interested in understanding
Conservative halacha. (I believe that Rabbi Roth does not drive on
Shabbat and disagrees with the 1950 psak) I would hope that your respect
for different opinions extends to non-Orthodox Jews.

[This last line points again to one of the fine lines that we try to
walk here in this mailing list. While it is clear to me that we need to
treat all Jews with respect, Orthodox or non-Orthodox, and I think we do
that here in this mailing lists, we clearly do not accept all "different
opinions" as valid. There is much that the Conservative  movement has
promulgated as "halakha" that virtually all Halakhic authorities are of
the opinion are clearly outside what can be done within the system. An
analysis of the Halakhic reasoning underlying a Conservative Responsa,
is a valid topic of conversation. However, the fact that many, if not
most or all, Halakhic authorities view this and other similar responsa as
without validity, means that for the purpose of discussion within the
mailing list, the assumption and/or statement can be made that this
action is not permitted by halakha. Mod.]

 Cheryl Birkner Mack

From: <VISWANATH@...> (Meylech Viswanath)
Date: Sun, 24 Jan 93 10:10:15 -0500
Subject: Re: Conservative Responsa

Yosef Bechhofer writes:

          The Conservative "Responsa" on driving to shul on Shabbos are
  published in the Rabbinical Assembly yearbook for, I believe, 1950.
  Their "position" is that since the internal combustion engine did not
  exist at the time of Mattan Torah, it does not fall into the d'orysa
  category of forbidden Ha'varah (lighting fires on Shabbos). No serious
  Posek has ever bothered to waste time refuting this untenable
  "position" in writing that I know of.

I believe Yosef when he says that no serious posek has bothered to
refute this "position."  However, this "position" apparently is that of
the Ra'ah.  Or similar to it.  Sometime back, I had asked my rabbi if
electricity was mideoraysa or miderabbanan.  He mentioned, inter alia,
that the Ra'ah held that since electricity did not exist at the time of
the beys ha mikdesh, it was not deoraysa; this, it seems, was a
necessary condition.


From: David Kaufmann  <david@...>
Date: Sat, 23 Jan 93 22:43:42 -0500
Subject: Re: Conservative Responsa

Gary Davis <davis@...> writes [post edited]:

>  Everyone does things that he or she knows is (or was) wrong.
> Discussion of it is better than ignoring or suppressing it and may be a
> step towards a change in behaviour.  If a Conservative Jew drives to
> services, and knows that it would be better to walk, it is better than
> if he did not go to services, and it is better than not knowing it would
> be better to walk.  Even NOT going to services and knowing the above is
> better than not knowing it, I suppose (although it is getting very
> distant from appropriate behaviour).

 I can't disagree with the logic or conclusion here, but I think it
raises two points: First, it demonstrates the danger of labels, since
the "argument" is equally valid for a Jew of any (or no) affiliation.
Any learning process requires degrees and stages, but the direction and
attitude are critical. Second, it illustrates the danger of an
organization sanctioning activities that, by their nature, deter further
growth or learning (and this also applies across labels)

David Kaufmann
INTERNET:	<david@...>


From: Finley Shapiro <Finley_Shapiro@...>
Date: 23 Jan 1993 20:06:51 U
Subject: Name Replacement

I'd like to know about the tradition of saying "HaShem" instead of
"Ad-nai" in non-prayer situations.  "Ad-nai" itself is used in the place
of TheName which we do not pronounce, so it seems surprising that we use
a replacement for a replacement.  In addition it is common to say
"Elokim" for "E--him" in some situations.  This is also surprising,
since "E--him" is used in many places for other nations' gods, so it
would seem unnecessary to protect the word's sanctity by not pronouncing
it exactly.

Here are a few situations one comes across.  In the song "Tsur Mishelo"
the rhymes clearly suggest a pronounciation of "Ad-nai" for TheName.  In
modern performance pieces which use prayer or biblical texts, some
singers and choirs replace "Ad-nai" with "Adhashem" to make the sylables
work out right.  Other singers and choirs sing "Ad-nai."  On the other
hand, in some modern songs (for example by Rabbi Shlomo Carlbach) the
rythms of the music clearly lead to a pronounciation of "HaShem" for
TheName.  This can lead to an awkward situation when one wants to use
such a melody during prayers, when the common pronounciation would be

Finley Shapiro


From: Laurent Cohen <cohen@...>
Date: Sun, 24 Jan 93 15:59:10 +0100
Subject: Re: Sending Away the Mother Bird

Ben Svetitsky says that this mitswa should apply only for someone
starving. Does it mean that one fulfilling the mitswa has to eat the
eggs? and by the way is this mitswa possible only on kosher species of

Laurent Cohen


From: <aa640@...> (Neil Parks)
Date: Tue, 19 Jan 93 13:30:05 -0500
Subject: Takanot for Synagogues

>I have been entrusted with the task of composing *takanot* (rules &
>regulations) for our synagogue here in Shiloh.  I am looking for advice
>and examples.  

"No talking during davening and Torah Reading."

Reference:  This rule is posted in Oer Chodosh Anshei Sfard shul in
Cleveland, Ohio.

Neil Edward Parks
INTERNET: <aa640@...>
(Fidonet) 157/3 (Nerd's Nook)
(PC Relay/RIME)  - PCOHIO in Common conf


From: <turkel@...> (Eli Turkel)
Date: Sun, 24 Jan 93 14:18:22 +0200
Subject: words in the Torah

     The following numbers are taken from Torah Shelema of Rav Kasher
Ztl on Shemini (vol 28 p286-289)   

Number of verses in the Torah:

according to Talmud Kiddushim 30a:                 5888
according to the same Gemara in other editions     8888
Yalkut Shimoni Ekev                                5842
R. Hai Gaon (about 1000 years ago)                 5884
present mesorah                                    5845

Number of verses in Tehillim:

according to Talmud Kiddushim 30a:                 5896
R. Hai Gaon                                        2524

Number of verses in Divrei ha-yamim:

according to Talmud Kiddushim 30a:                 5880
R. Hai Gaon                                        1970

    Suggested answer: count verses in Torah (5845) plus those Torah verses
that are repeated in Tehillim (8) or Divre hayaim (35) gives 5888
as in the Gemara in Kiddushin.
    However according to the gemara in kiddushin teh number of verses
is an even number while according to the mesorah it is an odd number.
     there is a verse that was counted as one verse in babylon but three
verses in Israel which accounts for some of the differences.

middle of the Torah (Kiddushin 30a)

letters - vav of Gachon (Vayikra 11:42)
words   - dorash darash (Vayikra 10:16)
verses  - ve-hitgalach  (vayikra 13:33)

number of letters:

Zohar                                             600,000
Hatam Sofer                                       320,464
mesorah                                           304,805

   according to our mesorah half the Torah is 152,402 1/2 letters
while the vav of Gachon is 157,236 Hence the entire Torah would be
314,472 a difference of 9667 letters from the mesorah (just under
3% for the mathematicians)

number of words:

Dorash darash is words 40,921 while according to the mesorah there are
79,080 words and half way is 39,990 (2 1/2 % error)

    The question of the letters has been discussed by the Hatam Sofer
and Pnei yehoshua among other gedolim. Rav kasher gives an answer based
on Rav Silber of Bnei Brak that the signs in the Gemara kiddushin are not
the middle of the entire torah but the middle of the "unusual" letters
in the Torah (i.e. small, large, upside-down etc.)



End of Volume 6 Issue 23