Volume 60 Number 75 
      Produced: Thu, 12 Apr 2012 14:12:00 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Beshalach: Why Israel sinned in the desert - childishness and immaturi 
    [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz]
Jewish Sectarians in the 600s? 
    [Sammy Finkelman]
Low Gluten or Gluten Free Matzoh 
    [Carl Singer]
relations between minim 
    [Frank Silbermann]
Review Essay re "A Daughter's Recitation of Mourner's Kaddish" 
    [Yael Levine]


From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahillel@...>
Date: Wed, Apr 11,2012 at 07:01 PM
Subject: Beshalach: Why Israel sinned in the desert - childishness and immaturi

Here is a new posting about Bnei Yisroel in the desert. I was listening to
Dennis Prager and was reading Rabbi Sorotzkin's "Insights to the Torah" and
posted the following:


Beshalach: Why Israel sinned in the desert - childishness and

       Sabba     -          ' "        -     Hillel
Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz | Said the fox to the fish, "Join me ashore"
 <SabbaHillel@...> | The fish are the Jews, Torah is our water


From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Tue, Apr 10,2012 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Jewish Sectarians in the 600s?

Robert Schoenfeld wrote in Mail Jewish Vol 60 N 74 (thread "Tefillin"):
> For instance it has been suggested that Mohammed learned about Judaism
> as told in the Qura'an from sectarians.

It doesn't have to be sectarians that are responsible for his errors -
but just plain ignorance and talking to Jews who didn't know too much
or didn't tell him too much.

Mohammed actually placed Haman in the time of Pharoah! (I learned this
originally from Rabbi Avigdor Miller's book "Rejoice O Youth")

He only mentions him twice, in passing, with no details.

Now I think I can figure out how this happened:

Years earlier he had observed that the Jews celebrated a holiday
called Purim, where there had been a plot to kill them all. At that
time, especially in that region, they used to hang Haman in effigy in
the street. So he knew there was a certain person called Haman who had
wanted to kill all the Jews.

Now there's story in the Talmud, which he may have heard secondhand
from some Jews during the long camel journeys he used to take, which
is found at Sotah 11a, and also Sanhedrin 106a - I think that means it
was told over and over again - and it may be some other places in the
Babylonian Talmud also.

The story, attributed to a Rabbi Simai, who probably deduced this out
of his own head, is that when Pharoah ordered every Jewish baby boy
born cast into the canal, he consulted advisers beforehand. And who
were these advisers? Well, they are people we know: Balaam, Iyov (Job)
and Yisro. Balaam was the one came up with the idea, Iyov kept quiet
and that's why he suffered, and Yisro, the father in law of Moses, ran

Now my feeling is that when Mohammed heard this story, he confused
Balaam with Haman, because the names sound a little bit similar
(Bilum, Huh-mun) and the name Haman was familiar to him, but he knew
nothing of the plot or even when it happened, but he knew he had come
up with a plot to kill the Jews which was foiled and didn't happen,
and the name Balaam was not all familiar to him. (The name is in the
Torah, principly at Bamidbar 22:2 to 24:25, but he wouldn't know that,
because he didn't have the Bible. He never had the Bible; Moslems
don't have it in their scripture 'til this day.)

As proof he didn't have the Bible in any language, he came up with a
totally different version of the story of Joseph and Potiphar's wife,
in which they both desired each other but both were voluntarily chaste
- probably based on his own life. (He had loved his boss's wife - he
married her finally when he was forty when her husband died.) And he
also gave her a name - Zuleikah - which maybe also came from Jewish
sources - and this name, Zuleikah, I understand, is one of the most
popular girls' names in Iran!

Now there have been other explanations offered as to how Mohammed put
Haman in the time of Pharoah, but this one I think makes much better
sense than any of them.


From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Mon, Apr 9,2012 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Low Gluten or Gluten Free Matzoh

In M-J V60#74, Leah Gordon (60#74, thread "Low-gluten matza") discusses spelt 
matza as a potential solution for those who are gluten-intolerant:
> Martin Stern (MJ 60#72) suggested that "gluten-free matza" might be
> made of oats, lower in gluten than wheat. I don't know if this is true, and
> certainly oat matza is sold. However, my sister, who has a gluten
> allergy/intolerance, needs to eat spelt matza rather than either wheat
> or oat (both of which give her symptoms). I believe that spelt is the one
> of the "five grains" that has the least problems for those such afflicted.

I applaud her seeking a solution.   When researching this subject on behalf
of a friend who is gluten-intolerant, I was appalled to find a barrage of
negative warnings carping on how such "crackers" are not halachically
suitable for the Seder, etc.   It would seem that since gluten intolerance
is not uncommon, that some food scientists and some Rabbis would focus
positive energy on solving this problem by creating an halachically
suitable, gluten-free matzoh.

Carl A. Singer, Ph.D.
Colonel, U.S. Army Retired


From: Frank Silbermann <frank_silbermann@...>
Date: Thu, Apr 5,2012 at 12:01 PM
Subject: relations between minim

The talk about different orders in the tephillin, Karaites, and tephillin found 
among the Dead Sea scrolls got me wondering.  Does the Talmud contain any 
discussions concerning marriages with descendents of Zedukim / Saducees (I believe 
that normative halacha treats the Saducee-like Karaites as mamzerim -- prohibiting 
marriage with them) or concerning the Jewish status of the converts of Zedukim?

Frank Silbermann             Memphis, Tennessee


From: Yael Levine <ylkpk@...>
Date: Thu, Apr 12,2012 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Review Essay re "A Daughter's Recitation of Mourner's Kaddish"

I'd like to bring to your attention the review essay I wrote about "A Daughter's 
Recitation of Mourner's Kaddish" by Rahel Berkovits. It can be found via the 
following link: 

Chag Same'akh and Shabbat Shalom,
Yael Levine


End of Volume 60 Issue 75