Volume 7 Number 50

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Jewish Calendar Book
         [Ed Cohen]
Kiddush Hashem
         [Josh Rapps]
Nachem (3)
         [Dov Bloom, Yisrael Medad, Michael Pitkowsky]
Nachem and assorted responses
         [Morriso Podolak]
Norelco Shavers
         [Howie Pielet]
         [Zev Farkas]


From: Ed Cohen <ELCSG@...>
Date: Wed, 19 May 93 14:40 EDT
Subject: Jewish Calendar Book

Some have already replied to Shlomo Kalish's search (v.6,#79) for a
Hebrew *computer* calendar program.  Those looking for a *book* with
matching Jewish and civil dates from 1900-2100 can find them in _The
Comprehensive Hebrew Calendar_ by Arthur Spier, Feldheim Publishers,
Jerusalem/New York, 3rd revised edition, 1986.  This is not only a
calendar-date book, but easily gives anniversaries, Parashioth,
Haphtaroth as well as elements of calendar calculations without straing
one's eyes at the computer.

Ed Cohen     <elcsg@...>
University of Ottawa, Canada


From: <jr@...> (Josh Rapps)
Date: Wed, 19 May 93 03:19:02 -0400
Subject: Kiddush Hashem

While the Salute to Israel Parade is behind us, I wanted to respond to a
comment made by Eitan Fiorino regarding my use of the Gemara in
Sanhedrin 74 with regards to drawing a line in the sand and refusing to
compromise that line. I don't believe that Eitan understood the point
that I was driving at. I was noting that according to the interpretation
of the Rishonim (The Rashi on 74b that I noted as well as the Chidushei
HaRahn on Sanhedrin 74a) that Gemara goes beyond the classical 3 cases
of Kiddush Hashem (sanctifying G-Ds name).  It lays down a fundamental
principle as to under what conditions a line is to be drawn. To
translate the Rahn: "In times when the nations of the world see an
opportunity to render the Torah insignificant to Yisrael we must take
additional steps to strengthen Torah and to make sure that their desires
do not come to fruition".  The Rahn uses the term levatel yisrael min
hatorah. In this context I would add as additional definitions for
'levatel' to trivialize, that society is stating that it has moved
beyond 'the narrow' interpretations of the Torah regarding some Halachic
issue. Society is trying to tell us 'get with the program'. In society's
opinion some previously unacceptable behavior is now considered
acceptable.  Just as society is willing to be progressive, Judaism
should show flexibility as well.

My point was that in such situations Kiddush Hashem means we have an
obligation to draw a line and "just say no". And as the Rahn notes, the
Torah community should be prepared to accept the resulting sand storm.
Also, the notion of Kiddush Hashem Bepharhesia [sanctifying G-Ds name in
public and the definition of same] is found in the same Gemara. In my
humble opinion, the parade fit the criteria of Bepharhesiah.

While the parade issue is gone (at least for this year) I think it's a
safe bet that there will be future situations that we will have to again
play in the sand.



From: <bloomdov@...> (Dov Bloom)
Date: Wed, 19 May 93 03:19:09 -0400
Subject: Nachem

Jeff Woolf questioned about versions of Nahem in keeping with the
present situation in Jerusalem.

Rav Goren based his suggested version of Nahem on the text in the
Yerushalmi (and I think the Rambam).  His version appears in Siddur
Tzahal and was reprinted in America by Yavne in a booklet called Hinneni
(I think) about 15 years ago.

Checking the older versions of this prayer and comparing different
nushaot (the version of the sfardim, geonic siddurim and versions in
early rishonim) I believe will show that parts of what we the Ashkenazim
say (mainly the parts that seem unacceptable at present) are relatively
late additions, and these parts were excised by Rav Goren.

Rav Moshe Feinstein is supposed to have answered a questioner about
saying two phrases in Nahem refering to Yerushalayim being desolate of
inhabitants etc. that these 2 phrases are patently untrue now and one
should omit them, since one cannot say a lie in Tfila.

The most extensive tshuva I know of is from Rav Chaim David Halevi in
"Asey Lecha Rav" where he also agrees that some parts may not be said
now. He suggest a different emendation than Rav Goren.

Interestingly enough, Rav Tzvi Yehuda Kook, asked immediately after the
Six-Day-War, answered that we should not change Nahem, for the primary
desolation we bemoan is that of the Beit Hamikdash and that is of course
still desolate.

              Dov Bloom                      <Bloomdov@...>

From: OZER_BLUM%<YARDEN.DECNET@...> (Yisrael Medad)
Date: Wed, 19 May 93 04:55:26 -0400
Subject: Nachem

	Re J. Woolf in V.7 No. 41 and S. Meth in V.7 No. 47:
	Rav Goren has indeed altered the traditional text and although
it isn't official (that is, the Chief Rabbinate has not issued a takana
as far as I can recall), his version is used widely.
	If anyone is in Jerusalem on Tisha B'Av, you're invited to Rav
Goren's minyan on the Temple Mount at 4 PM at the Machkema (the Border
Police post next to the Gate of the Chains).  The Machkema has a portion
that is inside the Western   Wall but as it is inside a building, it
isn't provocative to Moslem [in]sensibilities.  Usually 100-150 take part
and Rebbitzen Tzvia Goren & friends have an Ezrat Nashim.  Rav Goren will
recite his version of Nachem and during Shmoneh Esra, if i remember
correctly, instead of saying during the brachot (blessings): "baruch Hu
uvaruch shmo", he insists on: "baruch shem kvod malchuto l'olam va'ed"
as he claims was the custom when the Temple was extant.

Yisrael Medad

From: <mipitkowsky@...> (Michael Pitkowsky)
Date: Wed, 19 May 93 19:30:57 -0400
Subject: Nachem

One halachic authority to my knowledge who has advocated the 
altering of the traditional "Nahem" prayer on Tisha B'av is  R. Hayyim David 
Ha-Levy, the Chief Sephardic Rabbi of Tel Aviv-Yaffo who has said that "the 
city which -is- destroyed..." should be changed to "the city that -was- 
destroyed..."  R. Halevy sees this change as reflecting the reality of 
today's Jerusalem, especially after the Six-Day War.  His comments can be 
found in his book"Aseh L'cha Rav" vol. I pp. 46-48.  In vol. II pp. 139-148 
he responds to numerous reactions to his original statement.  R. Marc Angel 
quotes this opinion of R. Halevy in his book -The Rhythms of Jewish Living: 
 A Sephardic Approach-, Sepher Hermon Press, p. 169.  In my opinion R. 
Halevy's comments become all the more real when one celebrates Tisha B'av 
in the Jerusalem of our day which is the biggest city in Israel and 
expanding with each day.  As to the physical and the spiritual Jerusalem, 
allegorization and interpretation have their limits.

						Michael Pitkowsky


From: Morriso Podolak <morris@...>
Date: Wed, 19 May 93 06:01:07 -0400
Subject: Re: Nachem and assorted responses

The following are some comments which may be of interest:
Jeff Woolf asked about changes to the text of the Tisha B'Av prayer.
Two interesting sources are "Aseh Lecha Rav" by Rabbi Chayyim David 
Halevi, the Sefardi Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv, and "Yechave Dat" by 
Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the former Sefardi Chief Rabbi of Israel.  Rabbi
Halevi argues for a very minor modification of the text in order to
have it consistent with the truth.  Rabbi Yosef argues against any
change and explains why he feels the text is consistent with the 
truth as it stands.

Mike Gerver mentioned that before the era of electric shavers even
the very religious may have relied on some heter [special permission]
and used razors.  I think it is more likely that the clean-shaven
used some sort of chemical depilatory to remove facial hair.  I know
that practice was common even after electric shavers became available.

Susan Slutsky brought up the issue of mixed classes again.  In this regard
I recently came across a responsum of Rabbi Wosner (Shevet Halevi) who 
discusses the issue.  He is definitly against mixed classes, but he adds
an interesting insight.  One should not interfere with the decisions of 
the LOR in this matter.  It may be that he wanted to set up separate 
classes but the people involved wouldn't have it, or there may have been
some other reason.  In such a case mixed classes may be the best you can 
do under the circumstances, and we hope that the situation will eventually
improve.  Can anyone who is familiar with the situation comment on whether
this applies to Maimonides in Boston.

Joseph Greenberg said that a test of whether a shaver is "kosher" is 
to pass it over the back of one's hand while it is off.  If it doesn't
remove any hair it is kosher.  This reminds me of a test suggested by,
I think, the Chazon Ish.  Put some ink on the hand and let it dry.  Then
pass the shaver over it while it is on.  If it doesn't remove any of the 
ink, then it isn't hurting the skin and it is kosher.  It sounds to me
that this is the origin of the test Joseph heard about.

Finally, I will repeat a request that I sent in a while ago, but was 
apparently never posted.  My friend has the object code for a program
that converts the Jewish date to the rest of the world's date and vice
versa.  The program is called JCAL I think.  Can anyone supply me/him
with the source code, or, alternatively, an algorithm/reference for 
how it is done.

Moshe Podolak


From: <pielet@...> (Howie Pielet)
Date: Tue, 18 May 93 12:13:48 CST
Subject: Norelco Shavers

My understanding is that a halachic concern was raised a few years ago in
Israel concerning Norelco 'Lift-and-Cut' shavers.  This year's Pesach guide
by Rabbi Blumenkranz stated this concern.  (I don't know if he mentioned it
in previous years.)

On the other hand, a Norelco ad I saw several years ago for the 'Lift-and-Cut'
shaver stated that the blade does not touch the skin.

Howie Pielet   Internet: <pielet@...>  (East Chicago, Indiana, USA)


From: Zev Farkas <farkas@...>
Date: Tue, 18 May 93 10:12:42 -0400
Subject: Re: Shavers

Joseph Greenberg writes about a test for whether an electric shaver is
halachically permissible - with the motor off, run it along the back of
your arm. if it cuts hairs, it's like a blade and can't be used.  

from the technical point of view, i don't see this as solving the possible
problem with norelco razors.  the test doesn't seem to test the relevant
problem, since it is more a test of whether the comb is sharp enough to
cut by itself, or if the stationary blade and the comb form a V-shaped
notch that catches hair.  (ouch!)

The action of the norelco that might be prohibited seems to be very
dependent on the motor-driven blade rapidly running across the skin surface.

i would be interested if anyone knows of sources for this test.

Zev Farkas, PE                                :)
<farkas@...>       718 829 5278


End of Volume 7 Issue 50