Volume 61 Number 99 
      Produced: Thu, 28 Nov 13 13:29:09 -0500

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

A pronunciation problem 
    [Martin Stern]
Electric Menorah 
    [Carl Singer]
Necromancy (2)
    [Harlan Braude  Irwin Weiss]
Preparing during shmoneh esrai 
    [Harlan Braude]
Riding a bicyle on Shabbat 
    [Irwin Weiss]
Rosh Chodesh musings 
    [Harlan Braude]
Sheitel Length 
    [Carl Singer]
Shir shel yom 
    [Dov Bloom]
Toveling electronics 
    [Joel Rich]
Why Chanukah will no longer occur on Thanksgiving. 
    [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz]


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Nov 17,2013 at 04:01 AM
Subject: A pronunciation problem

Irwin Weiss wrote (MJ 61#97):
> There have been some posts by Martin Stern and Art Sapper relating to the NG
> pronunciation of the Ayin, amongst Portuguese/Dutch Jews. I recall seeing a
> siddur brought to the US by a friend's parents from Holland.  The English
> transliteration of Shema Yisrael was Shemang Yisrael.

I have a copy of the siddur used by the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogues
with English translation by Rev D A De Sola which refers to chatsi kaddish
as Kadeesh Le-gnela in the English instructions.

Martin Stern


From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Tue, Nov 26,2013 at 11:01 PM
Subject: Electric Menorah

It should be noted that nursing homes, among other establishments, use
electric Shabbos Candles as well as electric menorahs in patient rooms for
obvious safety reasons.

*Carl A. Singer*


From: Harlan Braude <hbraude@...>
Date: Sun, Nov 17,2013 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Necromancy

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 61#98):

> "Dialing the dead: Rebecca Rosen is psychic to the stars"
> with the subtitle "The Conservative rabbi's sister says everyone could
> [...]
> Does the Conservative movement really condone this sort of thing?

It might make sense to first ascertain whether the movement *believes* this
person is doing what she claims. I'd be surprised to learn that they do.

Assuming they don't believe it, a better question is whether they condone
"gnaivas da'as" (fooling someone; in this case, her clients). That wouldn't be
conclusive, either, as they may assume it's entertainment, like a "magician"
performing card tricks, etc.

However, even ignoring all of that, the actions of a relative of someone somehow
affiliated with a group implies no representation of that group.

In all, this seems like a tempest in a teapot to me.

From: Irwin Weiss <irwin@...>
Date: Tue, Nov 19,2013 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Necromancy

Martin Stern inquires (MJ 61#98) whether the Conservative movement approves of
necromancy (speaking with the dead).

I don't regard myself as a spokesperson for the Conservative movement by
any means.  That said, here is a post which suggests that the Conservative 
movement does NOT approve of necromancy:


In that commentary, the author, a teacher at the Conservative-run JTS in New
York, says: 
> The threshold between life and death must not be crossed by the
> living - certainly not for consultation with the dead, and in the case of the
> priest not even to attend a funeral (at least in principle). Necromancy is an
> egregious transgression, intolerable under any circumstances.

A second Dvar Torah can be found at: 


The author characterizes necromancy as terrible.

Now, if there are others who regard themselves as part of the Conservative 
Judaism movement who believe/act otherwise, it is just one more piece of 
evidence that the Conservative movement is erratic and fractured or, at least, 
inconsistent.  I don't think you'll find anyone in the leadership of the 
Conservative Movement who will deny that there are large disagreements within 
the movement over many things. Of course, other movements have wide varieties of 
practices and beliefs as well.

I think it is fair to say that normative Conservative Judaism regards persons
who believe in necromancy as, politely speaking, misguided.  

Irwin Weiss
Baltimore, MD


From: Harlan Braude <hbraude@...>
Date: Sun, Nov 17,2013 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Preparing during shmoneh esrai

Yosi Fishkin wrote (61#98):

> At my shul, every year on the first day of Sukkos, immediately after Kedushah, 
> the Chazzan pauses, and the Rabbi makes an announcement to the effect of, 
> "In order to avoid disturbing chazaras hashatz, we request that people do not
> prepare their lulav and esrog at this time. Before we start Hallel, we will
> leave some time for people to do their preparations." This leads to much better
> decorum, and I think it's a great system.

Yes, it is a great system, but does that work on Chol HaMoed (the intermediary
days), too?

Since folks are in a hurry to be off to work (yes, sadly, some folks do have 
to work on Chol HaMoed), folks are packing up to leave during chazaras hashatz 
(musaf). In fact, where I daven, that seems to be how things are every workday 
morning the whole year! :-(


From: Irwin Weiss <irwin@...>
Date: Wed, Nov 20,2013 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Riding a bicyle on Shabbat

I was surprised to see a man this past Shabbat riding a bicycle down my street.
 I did not know him. He was unmistakably dressed in the manner of an Orthodox
man, and had tzitzit outside his garments.  We are within an eruv. Yet, I always
thought it was not just not Shabbosdik to ride a bike but also not
permissible since one might be tempted to repair the bike were it to break.

Do some Orthodox Jews condone riding a bike on Shabbat?

Irwin Weiss


From: Harlan Braude <hbraude@...>
Date: Sun, Nov 17,2013 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Rosh Chodesh musings

Chaim Casper wrote (MJ 61#98):

> Yet l'ma'aseh (in practice), this has been a source of friction.
> [...]
> But there are a number of members who always feel a need to hit a desk, slam a
> shtender closed, etc. at the beginning of the Amidah. I have had to explain to
> them the above halakhah and say 

> A) the halakhah talks about the shaliah zibbur (or gabbai) making an 
> announcement and 
> B) the halakhah does not talk about other people making noise (to which I add
> that the weaker daveners may not catch the hint as to what is to be done 
> during the amidah).

I think you're fortunate, Chaim, that you have, by and large, a cooperative 
group. In a minyan I frequent, the start of the silent Shacharis shemoneh esrei
on R"C has some resemblance to the Megillah reading on Purim.

However, the marching orders I have received as gabbai of that minyan from 
the rav of the shul is not to ask anyone to change their behavior (not just
about this issue, but about anything). His justifiable concern is causing
arguments among members and hurt feelings. He will give the mussar when, to whom
and in the manner he thinks is appropriate.

So, some folks klap on shtenders, holler "ya'aleh v'yavo" either before or
during the shemoneh esrei (or both), or exhibit other "interesting",
not-confined-to-R"C behaviors (e.g.: competing with the chazan at a different
pace,  drowning out other mourners when reciting the Kaddish, charity collection
at random times - sometimes with announcements!, marathon shemoneh esrei
daveners blocking aisles and doorways, the chronically late, noisy early
departers, "wandering Jews" (constantly pacing in and out of the shul), men in
the women's section when no women are present (what's up with that?), etc.).


From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Sun, Nov 17,2013 at 07:01 AM
Subject: Sheitel Length

A dear friend who has moved to warmer climes recently stopped by for a brief
visit with my wife and me. She mentioned that in a community (I won't say which)
a Rabbi paskened that women's sheitels should NOT be beyond shoulder length.
Apparently many members of this community have hearkened to the voice of this
Rabbi, and local sheitel-machers are offering free cuts.

This leaves me wondering about several factors:

1 - Is this really a p'sak halacha or an edict -- I recall that a p'sak is in
response to a question.  A proper response to a unilateral "p'sak" might be a
polite "thank you, but I didn't ask."

2 - Presuming the "why" is that, because long sheitels are alluring, they may
not be sneeusdik -- if so, why not any sheitel that is styled or colored to be

3 - The dynamics of a community where a Rabbi's statement (be it p'sak or edict)
and/or social pressure causes a radical change.



From: Dov Bloom <dovbbb@...>
Date: Sun, Nov 17,2013 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Shir shel yom

The present day minhag  of saying Shir shel yom in our davening is a
(relatively) late minhag. Time of the middle rishonim, I believe -- a R Eliyahu in
Ashkenaz 12-13 century. (I am writing this without scholarly references.) The
discussion in Yerushalmi Shekalim is the Shir of the Leviim in Beit Hamikdash,
not our present day shir shel yom.

If you look at the sources from hazal times of tfilot of the kohamin in the
mikdash - or yisraelim in the maamad (as opposed to mikdash ritual) - you'll find
they said dibrot - bereshit - shma but no amida with yaale veyavo, and no shir
for the yisraelim, I believe.  The shir shel yom was sung by a magnificent choir
of Levites accompanied by numerous musical instruments. So getting it wrong was
a major error. Plain old people did not just 'say' it.

>From its wording our yaale veyavo seems to be post-mikdash. I believe the maggid
shiur's off the cuff remarks were anachronistic - like asking did the kohanim
wear their black hats above or below their migbaot ... The maggid shiur is sure
they wore black hats. He just has to fit it in to the words of the  gemara...


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Mon, Nov 18,2013 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Toveling electronics

This question and answer appeared in the Chicago Rabbinical Council's recent FAQ's:

> Q: Does one need to toveil a Keurig coffee maker?
> A: A Keurig coffee maker does not need to be toveled. Although there are some
> metal components on the inside, it is still considered to be a plastic 
> machine.
> Additionally, Rav Gedalia Dov Schwartz, Shlit"a is of the opinion that
> electronic machines that will be ruined by immersion in the mikva do not need
> to be immersed. An example of this would be a Keurig with an electronic
> screen.

Does anyone know the halachic reasoning for R' Schwartz's psak?

Joel Rich


From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahillel@...>
Date: Mon, Nov 25,2013 at 09:01 PM
Subject: Why Chanukah will no longer occur on Thanksgiving.

This year (5774) is the 17th year of the 19-year cycle. Since the leap 
month is not until Adar, Chanukah will be "early" in the solar year. The 
19-year cycle will cause any particular Hebrew date to fall on the same 
secular date every 19 years. It can differ by one day based on the Solar 
leap year adding in February 29 every four years. This will also be 
affected by the fact that the secular leap year will be dropped in 2100. 
The first day of Chanukah (25 Kislev) appeared as follows in the 
current (303) 19-year cycle, using the 0-based count.

year cycle     date of 25 Kislev

5757  0        Fri.  6 Dec.

5758  1        Wed. 24 Dec.

5759  2        Mon. 14 Dec.

5760  3        Sat.  4 Dec.

5761  4        Fri. 22 Dec.

5762  5        Mon. 10 Dec.

5763  6        Sat. 30 Nov.  (Thanksgiving was Thu. 28 Nov.)

5764  7        Sat. 20 Dec.

5765  8        Wed.  8 Dec.

5766  9        Mon. 26 Dec.

5767 10        Sat. 16 Dec.

5768 11        Wed.  5 Dec.

5769 12        Mon. 22 Dec.

5770 13        Sat. 12 Dec.

5771 14        Thu.  2 Dec.

5772 15        Wed. 21 Dec.

5773 16        Sun.  9 Dec.

5774 17        Thu. 28 Nov.     *THANKSGIVING*

5775 18        Wed. 17 Dec.

5776  0        Mon.  7 Dec.

Thus we see that in cycle years 6 and 17, the first day of Chanukah will 
be within a week of Thanksgiving as part of the regular cycle, depending 
on when the fourth Thursday of November occurs. Note the way the cycle 
of year 17 continues. Thus, in months with 5 Thursdays (it would be 29 
or 30 November), Thanksgiving is the week before (November 22 or 23).

5793 - Sun. 28 Nov

5812 - Wed. 29 Nov. - 2051 Thanksgiving is on November 23

5831 - Fri. 28 Nov. - 2070 the day after Thanksgiving

5850 - Mon. 28 Nov. - 2089

5869 - Thu. 29 Nov. - 2108 Thanksgiving is on November 22

5888 - Sun. 30 Nov. - 2127 Thanksgiving is November 28.

5907 - Mon. 28 Nov. - 2146 Thanksgiving is November 24

5926 - Fri. 29 Nov. - 2165 Thanksgiving is November 28

5945 - Mon. 29 Nov. - 2184

5964 - Thu.  1 Dec. - 2203 Here is the next change because of the century 

5983 - Sat. 30 Nov. - 2222 Thanksgiving is November 28.

As a result of the fact that 2100 is not a leap year, Thanksgiving can 
no longer match up with Chanukah. Since Passover *must* be in the 
spring, the calendar will skip a leap year once the Mashiach comes and 
the Sanhedrin is reinstated. This will move the dates back so they will not 
keep getting later and "wrap around" as does the Moslem calendar. We 
cannot calculate the dates using the current fixed calendar past that time.

Note that since 2100 was not a secular leap year, the first day of 
Chanukah is no longer Nov. 28 or 29 but begins appearing on November 29 
or 30. This will also cause the prayer for rain in the Shmoneh Esrei to 
move from December 4 or 5 (which started in 1900) to December 5 or 6. 
The change did not occur as we ended the last century because 2000 was a 
leap year since it is divisible by 400.

That is why 25 Kislev kept appearing on 28 November in the 1800's but on 
27 November in the 1700's.

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


End of Volume 61 Issue 99