Volume 60 Number 02 
      Produced: Mon, 04 Apr 2011 16:25:33 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

A conversion criterion 
    [Lisa Liel]
Haftarah for Parshat Zachor query (3)
    [Gershon Dubin  Martin Stern  Larry Israel]
New Online: Learn Hebrew Phrases with Audio 
    [Jacob Richman]
Purim message 
    [Mark Symons]
Q on Megilla reading 
    [J Wiesen]
Q on shalom aleichem 
    [J Wiesen]
Sefarim Wanted 
    [Michael Rogovin]
Shlach Monos 
    [Perets Mett]
Tazria/Metzora query 
    [Martin Stern]
The Katzav case (2)
    [Jeanette  Friedman  Avraham Walfish]


From: Lisa Liel <lisa@...>
Date: Fri, Mar 25,2011 at 02:01 PM
Subject: A conversion criterion

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 59#99):
> This would provide an asmachta (biblical support) for the halachah 
> that the conversion of someone who accepts all the mitzvot except one 
> is invalid ab initio (Bechorot 30b and Rambam Hil. Issurei Biah 14.8).
> Any comments?

Yes.  Lama li kra?  Svara hi.  (Why is there any
need for biblical support?  It's simple logic.)  Look at the
Rambam in Hilchot Teshuva.  When a Jew transgresses, it harms him,
it harms the entire Jewish people, and it harms all of creation.  It
is something to be avoided.  We have quite enough Jews who
transgress already.  The idea of creating a new Jew is indefensible
unless there is strong reason to believe that he intends *not* to

There are sources which say that accepting converts isn't even permitted
when yad Yisrael takifa (when the Jewish people are ascendent).  Which, while it
may not technically be the case now, is much closer to it than any time in the
last couple of millenia.

When we're getting herded into shuls which are then set aflame, and when
we're subjects of antisemites, someone who wants to convert has a pretty
good chance of being sincere.  Why would anyone want to put themselves in
such a situation if they didn't really feel it?  If they weren't truly
committed?  But when being Jewish can get you tens of thousands of dollars 
in perks from the Israeli government, and when false "Judaism"s proliferate, 
as is the case today, it seems to me that the burden should, if anything, be
heavier for a potential convert to establish that he's planning on being
observant.  To do otherwise, particularly for nationalistic reasons, is both
cynical and negligent, and reflects a serious decline in how seriously people
are taking Judaism.



From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Fri, Mar 25,2011 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Haftarah for Parshat Zachor query

Since Shaul kept bakar (cattle) as well as tzon (sheep), maybe it should have
said (additionally) "umooo" kol habakar? He did mention the bakar but without
the question mark, see the pasuk (verse) there.


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sat, Mar 26,2011 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Haftarah for Parshat Zachor query

Many thanks to all those who replied to my Haftarah for Parshat Zachor
query. I was aware of the onomatopoeic aspect but wondered if there was
some other reason for the variation between MAH and MEH. 

It occurs in other places. For example, in birchot hashachar, we find "MAH
anachnu, MEH chayeinu, MEH chasdeinu, MAH tsidkeinu, MAH yeshuateinu, MAH
kocheinu, MAH gevuroteinu ...." Similarly, the second perek of Massechet Shabbat
commences "BAMEH madlikin UVEMAH ein madlikin ...."

The bleating of sheep would not explain these cases, so is there some other, more
linguistic explanation?

Martin Stern

From: Larry Israel <larry.israel@...>
Date: Wed, Mar 30,2011 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Haftarah for Parshat Zachor query

Or, it might be, that 'meh' is used when the next word starts with a guttural, such as 'kuf' might be.


From: Jacob Richman <jrichman@...>
Date: Sun, Mar 27,2011 at 11:01 PM
Subject: New Online: Learn Hebrew Phrases with Audio

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From: Mark Symons <mssymons@...>
Date: Sat, Mar 26,2011 at 07:01 AM
Subject: Purim message

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 59#99):

> Having received many mishloach manot packages with cards wishing "Purim
> sameiach", it occurred to me that this may not be grammatically correct.
> Since Purim is plural, which the qualifying adjective should also be, i.e.
> "Purim smeichim". The same might apply to "Channukah sameiach" which
> grammatically should be "Channukah sameichah". Any explanations?

Perhaps that's why the more traditional greeting is Simchat Purim, or
Simches Peerem; though I would suggest that Purim Sameach is actually
shorthand for Chag Purim Sameach.

Mark Symons
Melbourne, Oz


From: J Wiesen <wiesen@...>
Date: Sun, Mar 27,2011 at 09:01 PM
Subject: Q on Megilla reading

A minyan is required to say the bracha after the megilla reading.

Why does that bracha require a minyan and not the brachot before the  
megilla reading?




From: J Wiesen <wiesen@...>
Date: Sun, Mar 27,2011 at 09:01 PM
Subject: Q on shalom aleichem

Why do we not modify the greeting "shalom aleichem" depending on the  
number and gender of the person/people greeted?




From: Michael Rogovin <mrogovin118@...>
Date: Mon, Mar 28,2011 at 08:01 PM
Subject: Sefarim Wanted

Congregation Netivot Shalom, a modern orthodox congregation in Teaneck,
NJ, recently purchased its building and is in the process of building its
library. We are looking for new or gently used sefarim to seed our library.
While we welcome donations in general, at this point there are specific sefarim
that we are looking for to fill in certain gaps in our growing collection. If
you or someone you know is looking to donate sefarim, or would like to make a
donation to dedicate new books in honor or memory of someone, please contact me.

Michael Rogovin


From: Perets Mett <p.mett@...>
Date: Sun, Mar 27,2011 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Shlach Monos

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahillel@...> wrote (MJ 60#01):

> According to the Rambam [Maimonides], the shalach manos should be food
> that is used for the Purim seudah [meal]. He also said that one should
> give the minimum and should increase matanos la'evyonim [gifts to the
> poor].

The Rambam does not say one should give the minimum shlach monos. He writes

"Whoever sends to many friends is praiseworthy"

Perets Mett


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sat, Apr 2,2011 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Tazria/Metzora query

It struck me that the order of topics in these sedras is a bit peculiar.
They start with the parshat hayoledet (woman who has given birth) and then
divert to the varieties of tzara'at (various 'plagues' affecting people, clothes
and houses) and their purification rituals before returning to the other
gender-specific tumot: zav, ba'al keri, niddah and zavah. It would seem more
logical for the yoledet to be included among the latter, so one might have
expected them to be listed together either at the beginning of Tazria or at the
end of Metzora. Has anyone seen an explanation for what appears to be the rather
strange order in the Torah? Is it supposed to teach us something additional?

Martin Stern


From: Jeanette  Friedman <FriedmanJ@...>
Date: Fri, Mar 25,2011 at 07:01 PM
Subject: The Katzav case

This is not an answer to the question. There was an investigation of abuse  
of power with the use of rape. There are many in the rabbanut who are in 
denial  and do not understand the crime of rape. The woman is always at fault 
in their  eyes. And besides, Katzav suddenly became a chozer beteshuva 
almost  immediately after he was indicted.  Is that why they supported him? Why
do many of them also shield recalcitrant husbands, wife batterers and  child 
abusers?  Because they cannot believe it can happen. But it  does.
We have children in yeshivot strung out on drugs, we have women battered  
and raped and children (boys and girls) who are sexually abused in the  
community, and no one wants to deal with these issues, so they are getting  
progressively worse and are continually swept under the rug. It is changing, but 
much too slowly.
The lack of understanding here is incredible.
Jeanette  Friedman, EIC

From: Avraham Walfish <rawalfish@...>
Date: Sat, Mar 26,2011 at 04:01 PM
Subject: The Katzav case

In MJ 60#01, Yisrael Medad surmised that the rabbis who proclaimed that
Moshe Katzav was innocent of rape were motivated by the following:

> But the only thing I have heard is that they were convinced that they
> way the women continued to work for him, asking for considerations, and
> one attempt at blackmail all indicated to them that there was no rape and
> that the women's testimonies could not be believed.

This more or less corresponds with what the rabbis - chiefly Rabbi Aviner -
have stated publicly, and it illustrates perfectly the dangers of taking
such a clear-cut stand without having all the information and without being
properly trained in evaluating evidence in criminal cases. A woman I know
who does volunteer work with rape victims has told me that continuing to
come into contact with the rapist is very common in rape victims. I don't
know what the psychological explanation is for this behavior - she compared
it to battered-wife behavior - but it certainly does not, in and of itself,
compromise the validity of their testimony.

Several MJ'ers noted - as did the rabbis in their letter - that Katzav had
been tried in the press, and that his chances for a fair trial were severely
compromised. Others noted that the vigorous prosecution of Katzav contrasted
sharply with the foot-dragging regarding accusations against Ezer Weizman
(and one could add - Ariel Sharon, Ehud Barak, and several others). Other
observers who read the published parts of the verdict detected signs of bias
in the way in which they evaluated the reliability of different testimonies.
These points may legitimately cast doubt on whether we can rely on the
correctness of Katzav's conviction, and the rabbis would have acted more
wisely had they confined themselves to voicing such doubts -  as did other
observers (journalists Ben-Dror Yemini, Orly Goldklang, etc.) - rather than
exceeding the bounds of their knowledge and expertise by asserting Katzav's

Avie Walfish


End of Volume 60 Issue 2