Volume 63 Number 38 
      Produced: Fri, 07 Jul 17 07:41:20 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Grey issues on a ketuba 
Is Mincha Different? 
    [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz]
Tefillin check (2)
    [Steven Oppenheimer  Carl A. Singer]
The Dweck affair 
    [Susan Buxfield]
Was there a third Amorite state? 
    [Martin Stern]
Which Town (was Letter from Europe) (2)
    [Yisrael Medad   Martin Stern]


From: Anonymous
Date: Thu, Jun 29,2017 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Grey issues on a ketuba

Since in this posting sensitive family issues are  mentioned, the poster, who is
known to me, asked that it be posted anonymously. (MOD)

I have had two issues concerning ketubot in my family, discovered after all
relevant parties were deceased.

For the first case, I already received a p'sak [Rabbinic Ruling] as in the case,
at the time I asked, there would be no reason to invalidate a ketuba.

The situation (in the UK) was someone when born, was given civil name "Aaron",
and later on in life, before he married, he changed his civil name to "Jack" by
"deed of poll" and at the same time anglicizing his family name. It is Ya'akov
that is written for him on all relevant ketubot, and this is the name that I use
at the time of azkarat neshamot [Prayers for the Departed]- for example "... bat
Yaakov". "The name Aharon m'shakar" ["Aharon is the name that is false"] - is
what the posek [Rabbi qualified to make rulings such matters] told me without
having to do any research on the matter, but just checked with me that there are
no longer any potential legal issues.

My question is theoretical, that if it was found out in the end that his shem
b'yisrael [Jewish name] that he was given at the time of his brit really was
Aharon, but at the time he civically changed his name to "Jack", he also started
presenting his name when receiving aliyot l'torah as "Yaakov" - could this be
enough to make Yaakov the correct name to go on the ketuba on the outset (unless
G-d forbid we really had a need to invalidate a ketuba)?

This question is theoretical, thus I do not need to discuss the issue further
with the posek, but think that this is a good point of discussion on this forum.
We are talking about a man who grew up in pre-WWII Britain in a religious family
but did not show himself to be very knowledgeable in Torah, was married under
orthodox auspices, but after that belonged to the Reform Movement in the UK and
sometimes kept a little bit of tradition.

The second case concerns another relative whose name comes up at the time of
azkarat neshomot. I do not feel I need to ask a she'ela [Rabbinic question] here
because from my perspective it is clear cut that the shem b'yisrael of this
person is "Alter Yosseph" as written on a ketuba of which I have a copy of. On
civil documents I have seen, he sometimes signed his name "Alter J." There are
ketubot in the family, though, that have his name just "Alter". Just the name
Alter is on his grave stone and those of some of his children, but I see this
less critical. Since, obviously, there were many relatives including children
who were unaware that his full name was "Alter Yosseph", as everyone just knew
him just as "Alter", could a ketuba that just contains the name "Alter" for the
father (i.e. "... ben Alter" or "... bat Alter"  be considered 
valid? (At least de facto - unless of course G-d forbid we needed to find reason 
to invalidate it.)

In this case the man - who was born in E. Europe, immigrated with his family to
the UK at the beginning of the 20th century and passed away at the end of the
1930s - was (or at least tried to be) fully observant, but most of his children
belonged to the "orthodox" but unfortunately were not properly observant as they
didn't have the education.


From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahillel@...>
Date: Tue, Jun 27,2017 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Is Mincha Different?

Haim Snyder wrote (MJ 63#38):

> Joel Rich (MJ 63#35) brings down a quote  from the Shulhan Aruch which mentions shaharit and arvit 
> but not minha, and then asks if minha is different.
>   I wonder why he had to refer to the Shulhan Aruch for this. Every morning, after the blessings on the
> Torah, most people read the quote from tractate Shabbat 127a which says, among other things,
> "v'hashkamat beit hamidrash shaharit v'arvit" which also doesn't  refer to minha. Here, I think the 
> absence is more pronounced, since many people go to minha and stay for arvit, not making a special trip
> for arvit.

Actually a person is going to shul for arvit and is coming a little early in order to be able to say mincha with 
a minyan. The phrase "shacharit v'arvit" refers to the two extreme times of the day when a person is able to 
go to the bais hamidrash. In the middle of the day (mincha), a person is usually unable to take off from 
work in order to spend the time.

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz


From: Steven Oppenheimer <steven.oppenheimer@...>
Date: Tue, Jun 27,2017 at 08:01 PM
Subject: Tefillin check

Joel Rich (MJ 63#38) mentioned utilizing a PET scan to check tefillin.  I do not think that would be helpful.  
You would see *nothing* with a PET scan which is made to visualize injected radioactive isotopes of a 
certain type.

There is a specialized  "CT scan type" technology that was used by archaeologists to decipher texts of a 
burnt Dead Sea scroll without having to open it. This is based on the differential density of the parchment 
and the ink. It is technically possible, but unavailable and impractical for tefillin.

See here:


Steven Oppenheimer, D.M.D.

From: Carl A. Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Wed, Jul 5,2017 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Tefillin check

Perhaps 35 years ago I thought I'd treat myself to a new pair of tefillin. Since
I frequently commuted to Wall 
Street from my home in suburban Philadelphia, I went down to the Lower East Side
-- where I bought. 

Years later when I had my tefillin checked it turns out that the erlach sopher
{honest scribe] from the Lower 
East Side had put used / taped together Klaf inside the new boxes.

I don't recall what my Rav said to do about this situation.

I was much more particular in selecting a sopher for my next pair -although he
was harder to get to. I 
went to the son of acquaintances whom I knew were impeccable in their midos
[character traits].

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


From: Susan Buxfield <susan.buxfeld@...>
Date: Sun, Jul 2,2017 at 06:01 AM
Subject: The Dweck affair

Martin Stern wrote in the (London) Jewish Chronicle (30 June '17):


> The latter (Louis Jacobs) denied some of the fundamental underpinnings of
> Torah Judaism, whereas Rabbi Dweck "only" used such ambiguous expressions
> as there were still ways in which two men could express their love for one
> another

The use of "only" as implying that ambiguous expressions intimating a permissive
behavior ("two men could express their love for one another"), which to most
people is indicative of homosexuality, as not denying some of the fundamental
underpinnings of Torah Judaism seems to lack intellectual credibility.

Moshe Rabbenu as a leader was severely punished for hitting the rock, an action
someone else not of the same calibre would presumably not have suffered the same

As such, any religious leader who appears to support even a slight deviance from
authentic halachic rulings should be severely dealt with. Otherwise by the same
reasoning the egalitarianism et al. of the "Open Orthodox" and "partnership
minyanim" should be also be permitted.



From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, Jul 3,2017 at 02:01 AM
Subject: Was there a third Amorite state?

In Parshat Chukat, after the defeat of Sichon and the conquest of his
kingdom (Bam. 21:21-31) and before that of Og (Bam. 21:33-35), the Torah
records (Bam. 21:32-34) that Mosheh Rabbeinu sent troops to spy out Ya'azer
and take it over from the Amorites who lived there, and was later recorded as
part of the lands of Gad (Bam. 32:36). Was it a separate independent state? If
so, why does the Torah make no further reference to it? 

A similar problem occurs at the end of Parshat Matot where, after Mosheh
Rabbeinu had assigned the lands of Sichon and Og (Bam. 32:33), Benei Machir ben
Menasheh are recorded as dispossessing the Amorites in Gil'ad (Bam. 32:39-40),
and Ya'ir ben Menasheh (Bam. 32:41) and Novach (Bam. 32:42) as doing similarly to
some Amorite groups, apparently also not subjects of the kingdoms of either
Sichon or Og.

Martin Stern


From: Yisrael Medad  <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Tue, Jun 27,2017 at 01:01 AM
Subject: Which Town (was Letter from Europe)

Joel Rich asks (MJ 63#37) which town believed that their hometown was where they
intended to wait for Moshiach whether moving to Eretz-Yisrael was possible or not.

If it wasn't Munkacz, then it was Everytown.

Yisrael Medad


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, Jun 27,2017 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Which Town (was Letter from Europe)

In response to Joel Rich (MJ 63#37), this story was attributed to Rishonim as
referring to the town of Worms in Germany who were said to have written along
these lines to Ezra when he called on all Jews to return to rebuild Eretz Yisrael. 

The Seder Hadorot by R. Yehiel Heilpern (1660-1746) cites the Sema (1555-1614)
who refers to the Sefer Ma'aseh Nissim (Amsterdam, 1696), attributed (probably
incorrectly) to R. Elazar of Worms (1165-1230), one of the last of the Chasidei
Ashkenaz and author of the Sefer Roke'ach, as attributing the many persecutions
suffered by the Jews of Worms more than any other community to this refusal. He
wrote that "Ezra sent letters to all the communities of the exile asking them to
ascend with him to Eretz Yisrael, one of which was Worms in Germany where Jews
lived at that time. They replied 'You may live in the Great Jerusalem  but we
live here in Little Jerusalem' ... [and] they did not ascend."

This story is clearly apocryphal since there were almost certainly no Jews in the
Rhineland at that time. The first documented reference to Jews in Worms is about
1000 CE though there is a legend that a congregation existed in Roman times. The
town itself was established by the Romans only in the first century CE at a
strategic cross roads on the site of an earlier Gaulish settlement known as

Martin Stern


End of Volume 63 Issue 38