Volume 64 Number 04 
      Produced: Tue, 16 Oct 18 12:07:56 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Did they not die? 
    [Martin Stern]
Eleven uneventful years? 
    [Irwin Weiss]
Minyan Choices 
    [Joel Rich]
Perfume on Yom Kippur (3)
    [Martin Stern  Dr. Josh Backon  Yisrael Medad]
Restaurant doings 
    [Carl A. Singer]
Seeking easy-Hebrew, high-interest books for 8 year old boy  
    [Yehuda Wiesen]
Set aside established practice 
    [Asher Samuels]
The true meaning of 'temimot' 
    [Martin Stern]
Vavei ha'amudim 
    [Martin Stern]
Were they triplets? 
    [Martin Stern]


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sat, Oct 13,2018 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Did they not die?

I noticed today, in the genealogies at the end of Noach, that, unlike those
at the end of Bereishit, the word 'vayamot [and he died]' is omitted. Does
this omission have any significance and, if so, what is it?

Martin Stern


From: Irwin Weiss <irwin@...>
Date: Mon, Oct 15,2018 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Eleven uneventful years?

The Rabbis make something of the 3 days that went by between Avraham leaving
with Yitzchak on the way to the Akedah, with nothing set forth in the text as to
what was happening on the way.  They pack up and leave, and then the text says
On the third day.... (Bayom Hashlishi).

In this weeks Parsha, In Breishit 16:16, the text says Avram was 88 when
Yishmael was born.  In the next sentence, which is 17:1, Avram is 99.

What went on during those 11 years? Nothing eventful?  

Irwin Weiss


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Sat, Oct 13,2018 at 09:01 PM
Subject: Minyan Choices

If you were in a situation where you could only pray with a minyan once that day
(Shacharit or mincha - assume a non-Torah reading day), which would you choose?
Why? Would your answer be the same if it were an ongoing situation?

Joel Rich


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Oct 7,2018 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Perfume on Yom Kippur

Carl A. Singer wrote (MJ 64#03):
> I always forget to send this inquiry in a timely manner.
> Today - Shabbos Shuva -- a guest walked into the Women's section wearing
> perfume. My wife moved, coughing, to the other side of the room -- but to
> little avail -- and lost her voice (It was still raspy at lunch when when she
> related this to me.)

Perhaps this is a case of "ishah lerei'ach nicho'ach" with whom in mind Carl
might well choose to say "shelo asani ishah" with a mappik heh!

Martin Stern

From: Dr. Josh Backon <backon@...>
Date: Sun, Oct 7,2018 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Perfume on Yom Kippur

Carl Singer asked about permissibility of perfume on Yom Kippur (MJ 64:3).

Unless one suffers from major body odor, use of perfume on Yom Kippur is
not permitted. See:


Josh Backon

From: Yisrael Medad  <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Sun, Oct 7,2018 at 02:01 PM
Subject: Perfume on Yom Kippur

As for Carl's query (MJ 64#03) on the use of perfume by women on Yom Kippur, why
not be all-inclusive?

On many occasions, men come into synagogue, usually during mid-week but not
exclusively (perhaps for lack of time for a morning shower or they only shower
in the evening), doused in deodorant which can choke me, too. 

Is that permitted on Yom Kippur?
Yisrael Medad


From: Carl A. Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Mon, Oct 15,2018 at 09:01 PM
Subject: Restaurant doings

My wife and I were in fairly small restaurant when the following happened:

We washed and began eating -- there was a large group (20+) in the same room but
with a folding screen mechitzah between us. We soon became aware that this was a
shloshim observance.  Someone finished a Gemorah and began saying the hadran --
When it got to kaddish, I stood up as my table was distant, but within earshot.

Then it turned out the group went on to daven Mincha (I had already davened). 
The women gathered on our side of the room / mechitzah. Should I have
interrupted my dining for kaddish, kedusha, etc?  What is proper under these
circumstances? [No there was no other dining area]

Carl A. Singer


From: Yehuda Wiesen <j_forward@...>
Date: Wed, Oct 10,2018 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Seeking easy-Hebrew, high-interest books for 8 year old boy 

Seeking titles of books and names of authors of high-interest children's books
in easy Hebrew (both Judaic and non-Judaic topics).   



From: Asher Samuels <asher.samuels@...>
Date: Mon, Oct 8,2018 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Set aside established practice

Leah Gordon wrote (MJ 64#03):

> In response to Irwin Weiss (MJ 64#02):
> The story he quotes is actually a side plot in a novel in which a woman ends 
> up having to marry a Cohen (or perhaps a Levi - I think it might be in the Faye
> Kellerman series) to avoid being in the pidyon haben "embarrassment situation".
> I'm pretty sure it's apocryphal and morphed into a "story of something that
> happened".  Since when do you know women who have out-of-wedlock children and
> are in the kind of community that on the one hand wouldn't notice this, and on
> the other hand, would pressure them about a pidyon haben?

Following on from Leah's comment, it was in a Faye Kellerman novel. Peter
Decker's birth mother married either a kohen or Levi (it's been many years) to
avoid disclosing that she had a previous child.

I think that this is mentioned in "Day of Atonement".

Asher Samuels


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, Oct 16,2018 at 12:01 PM
Subject: The true meaning of 'temimot'

Though it might seem not the appropriate time of year to discuss the timing of
ma'ariv on the first night of Shavuot, it happens to be a subject currently
under study by the Daf Yomi cycle.

One of my pet peeves is that it is almost impossible nowadays to find a minyan
for ma'ariv before nightfall. While this is no problem for members who live in
the Southern hemisphere where Shavuot falls in mid-winter, nor those in the
Northern hemisphere who live nearer the equator, for those who live in the
higher northern latitudes, it is extremely inconvenient since nightfall at that
time of the year can, in Manchester, be almost 11 p.m.

When I was young, most shuls davenned much earlier but there has been a shift to
this stringency over the years. This is based on the claim is that the Torah
specifies that Shavuot should take place after "sheva shabbatot temimot [seven
complete weeks]" and that implies that one has to wait until it is definitely night.

I have always argued that this is based on a misunderstanding of the phrase.
Basically we consider that "miksat hayom keyom kulo [a part of a day is
equivalent to the full day]" so it would seem that one could daven ma'ariv from
plag hamincha [the earliest time for ma'ariv] onwards, and then make kiddush and
eat one's Yomtov meal - which in Manchester at that time of the year is about 3
hours earlier.

I wrote some 13 years ago (MJ 48#26) when we last discussed the topic:.

> The Yoseph Omets, dayan in Frankfort about 400 years ago writes
> (paragraph 850) that one should not wait until night to make kiddush on
> Shavuot and suggesting that this is a lack in 'temimot' is a
> misunderstanding. In fact he implies one should daven ma'ariv at the
> time Yom Tov commences and then make kiddush on returning home, long
> before night, and not follow 'the new custom coming from Poland' of
> delaying.

Though there are other opinions, many of which were quoted by others in the same
digest, I fear this insistence on the chumra is counterproductive, as the Yoseph
Omets himself points out (ibid.) that it leaves little time to learn that night.

Rabbi David Hoffman, the major posek in Germany some 100 years ago, ruled in his
Shut Melamed leho'il (108) that it was not necessary to wait until such a late
hour but our brethren of East European origin now dominate most communities and
ignore such opinions. In Manchester, as far as I am aware, the only early minyan
is in the Old Age Home.

However, in the Daf Yomi shiur we learnt (Menachot 65-66) the true meaning of
"sheva shabbatot temimot" and that it does not mean that one has to wait until
it is definitely night. The principle of "miksat hayom keyom kulo" applies here
as well but there is one slight problem in its application.

This is highlighted by the insistence that the cutting of the omer has to take
place immediately on Motsa'ei Yom Tov [on the NIGHT after the first day of
Pesach]. It would have seemed more appropriate to wait until the next morning so
this strange rule has to be explained.

The Gemara relates it to the principle of "sheva shabbatot temimot", pointing
out that if the reaping were left to the morning this principle would be
violated. It follows that the principle of "miksat hayom keyom kulo" means that
the word "hayom" here means "DAY" as opposed to "NIGHT" and so "temimot" would
be violated if one waited until daybreak.

Thus the argument from "temimot" for waiting until night AFTER the seven weeks
is fundamentally flawed - it refers to the beginning of the count and NOT its end.

While I have no objection to those who wish to take on this chumra for
themselves, it has now reached the stage where it is being forced on the
community in general and those who object are treated as being quasi-Reform,
which is a terrible calumny.

Martin Stern


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, Oct 15,2018 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Vavei ha'amudim

In Tenach, some words can be spelt malei, with a vav to indicate either the
vowel cholam (O) or shuruk (U), or chaseir, with the vav omitted. There seems to
be no difference in the peshat [plain meaning] though these 'extra' letters are
sometimes used for derash [homiletic exposition] and we do not really know why a
particular word is spelt one way in one case but the other way elsewhere [ein
anu beki'in bemelei'ot vechaseirot].

Words with a cholam are often found spelt, apparently randomly, with or without 
a vav - its absence or presence having no consequences. On the other hand a
shuruk is usually a tenu'ah gedolah [long vowel] whereas its potential
replacement the kubbuts is a tenu'ah ketanah [short vowel] which would have to
replace it in a closed unstressed syllable - which might explain why it is very
rarely omitted (some hold that when it is used for the copula [and] it is short
and the following sheva must be nach but that is irrelevant to the present
problem). The short vowel equivalent of the cholam is the kamats katan
which frequently replaces it, in particular when the monosyllabic word kol [all]
is attached to the following word by a makaf [hyphen] and loses its stress.

Two examples are the words totafot and mezuzot which are spelt differently in
the first and second paragraphs of the Shema, despite being mentioned in almost
identical verses. This got me thinking as to what might be its significance.

One approach was to count the number of occurrences and I found the following:

Shema (including Barukh shem) - 6 cholams, 14 shuruks (including 8 for the
copula) and 10 consonantal (including 6 for the copula), in total 30 (of which
3, 2 and 1 occur in Barukh shem, respectively).

Vehaya im shamo'a - 8 cholams, 14 shuruks (including 9 for the copula) and 26
consonantal (including 19 for the copula), in total 48.

Vayomer - 3 cholams, 7 shuruks (including 2 for the copula) and 16 consonantal
(including 10 for the copula), in total 26.

On the other hand, there are 34 occasions where a vav representing a cholam, and
1 representing a shuruk, are omitted, 

This makes a grand total for the three paragraphs of 104 which is 4, the number
of 'worlds' - Atsilut, Beriah, Yetsirah and Asiyah - through which, according to
the Kabbalah, the Infinite HKBH communicates with us finite mortals, multiplied
by 26, the gematria of the unpronounced Divine name (in the above counts I have
treated its vav in as a consonant, presuming it to be grammatically related to
the root H-Y(V)-H [to be]).

Is this a pure coincidence or does it have some deeper esoteric meaning?

Martin Stern


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sat, Oct 13,2018 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Were they triplets?

In Ber. 11:26, it states that "And Terach was seventy years old, and he
begot Avram, Nachor and Haran ...". Does this phraseology imply that they were

Martin Stern


End of Volume 64 Issue 4