Volume 8 Number 2

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Anim Zemirot
         [Janice Gelb]
Bay Area and San Jose
         [Arthur Roth]
Chachomins Understanding
         [Danny Skaist]
Levi Doing Haftorah (2)
         [Isaac Balbin, Shaul Wallach]
         [Elisheva Schwartz]
Ovulation and maternal instinct
         [Warren Burstein]
Woman as Sofer Stam
         [Gilbey Julian]


From: <Janice.Gelb@...> (Janice Gelb)
Date: Mon, 28 Jun 93 12:47:26 -0400
Subject: RE: Anim Zemirot

Regarding the recent discussion about Anim Zemirot, here's an 
explanation from the book "The Joys of Hebrew" by Lewis Glinert 
(a book, btw, I highly recommend for its examples of use of common 
Hebrew expressions in English sentences):

"This hymn ... [is] deliberately omitted in many circles because 
its praise of G-d was felt to be excessive (the Talmud cautions 
against excessive paeans of praise). And so other circles responded 
by having a child, an innocent, sing it."

Janice Gelb                  | (415) 336-7075     
<janiceg@...>   | "A silly message but mine own" (not Sun's!) 


From: <rotha@...> (Arthur Roth)
Date: Mon, 28 Jun 93 10:56:02 -0500
Subject: Bay Area and San Jose

    My wife and I will be in that area August 8-15.  I have business 
in San Francisco until the 12th, and we will be staying over Shabbat
to make the airfare reasonable.  There is a good chance (not definite)
that we will be spending Shabbat in San Jose.  I'd like to know: 

1. What provisions for kashruth exist in the Bay Area?  Below is a
copy of an MJ posting from Daniel Lerner on this topic from July '92,
which can be used as a starting point for letting me know about any
changes without having to start from scratch.
2. Same question about San Jose or anything along the route (just an
hour, from what I understand) between San Francisco and San Jose.
3. If we wind up staying in the Bay Area for Shabbat rather than going
to San Jose, can anyone suggest a hotel/motel within walking distance 
of a shul (Nusach Ashkenaz preferred) that doesn't have the obvious
problems (electronic room keys, access to rooms only through elevators, 
rooms begin on high enough floors that walking up and down is a chore, 
etc.)?  We are not looking for luxury.  We've stayed in our share of 
Motel 6's, and we're looking for the least expensive option that is 
clean and not extremely noisy.  
4. Is there an eruv anywhere in the Bay Area, or in San Jose?

Thanks very much.  Daniel Lerner's posting follows.

 Date: Tue, 21 Jul 92 19:22:38 -0400
 From: <lerner@...> (Daniel Lerner)
 Subject: Kashrut in the bay area

Asher Goldstein asks about kosher restaurants in the bay area.  There's
Holyland (yes it's really called that) in Oakland on Rand (near Lake
Merritt and Grand Ave) and Natan's at Geary and Mason in San Francisco
near union square.  Also Stella's Cafe on Columbus in North Beach.

Some people go to the Lotus Garden, but there are problems with the
hashgacha in that the workers are allowed to cook treif in their own

Also, there's a kosher bagelry in berkeley (Noah's Bagels) at two
locations.  Also, the grand bakery on grand avenue in Oakland, which is
two doors down from the kosher butcher (Oakland Kosher).

In addition, there are about three kosher butchers in San Franscisco,
but there are problems with the kashrut, so it is advisable to buy only
packaged products there.

geographical note:  Oakland and Berkeley are across the bay
from San Francisco, about a 20 minute ride on BART from downtown SF.


From: DANNY%<ILNCRD@...> (Danny Skaist)
Date: Sun, 27 Jun 93 06:52:03 -0400
Subject: Chachomins Understanding

>Moshe Sherman,  Rutgers
>Two questions for the group:
>a)  What sources, if any, indicate that the chachomim understood
>female ovulation - that is to say, that the woman contributes seed ?

Lev. 12:2 (loose translation) "When a woman has "given a seed" [tazrea] and
given birth to a male..".  The gamorra, says that when the womans seed gets
there before the male seed, the child will be a boy.
In the early 70's science confirmed and explained the gemorra's statement.
It seems that the  "Y" sperm cells are faster then the "X", although  the
"X" have a longer life. Therefore, if the egg is already in place the odds
are that it will meet a faster "Y". If however the sperm is there first the
odds are that only "X" will be left viable when the egg arrives. (learning
science to learn pshat in the gemorra)

b)  In what sense do the chachomim assume maternal instinct ?
    In what way(s) does this maternal instinct express itself ?

I don't know source.  The word "Rachamim" [mercy] is derived from the word
"rechem" [womb].  Maternal instinct is mercy.



From: <isaac@...> (Isaac Balbin)
Date: Mon, 28 Jun 93 18:53:48 -0400 
Subject: Re: Levi Doing Haftorah

  | From: <rotha@...> (Arthur Roth)
  | 3. The question of whether the Levi is allowed to forego the aliyah is
  | also interesting.  I have in my possession an article by Rav Hershel 
  | Schachter stating, based on the Iggerot Moshe, that the kohen today
  | (as opposed to other times in history, per details in the article) may
  | forego his aliyah only on weekdays and never on Shabbat or Yom Tov.
  | Rav Schachter does not cover the case of the Levi, but the same rules
  | would presumably apply to him as well.  If so, Steven Schwartz' solution

I have seen the original response from Rav Moshe, and it is not at all
clear to me that the case of the Levi is the same as that of the Cohen
and that `the same rules would presumably apply.'
There is no obligation of `Vechibadeto' [you shall honour (the Cohen)].
The Levi's position would appear to be subordinate and dependent on the
Cohen. I do not know if there is any impropriety involved in a Levi 
leaving the Shule so as to get Maftir instead. 
A solution is for the Levi to get the Levi aliya, but to read the Haftora
even though another person got Maftir. There is nothing wrong with
someone else making the brachos, and the Levi actually saying the

From: Shaul Wallach <f66204@...>
Date: Tue, 29 Jun 93 04:40:56 -0400
Subject: Re: Levi Doing Haftorah

      Arthur Roth (in Mail-Jewish 7:108) proposed a way for the Lewi
to say the haftara. With all due respect, I don't understand what the
problem is in the first place. Why can't the Lewi go up second and then
for maftir as well? There's nothing wrong with someone going up for two
`aliyot, even one after the other (eg. Cohen first and second where
there is no Lewi, as Arthur himself pointed out), and the case of Lewi
and maftir is even easier because the maftir is not one of the 7 basic
`olim. It is even permissible for the same person to go up for all 7
`aliyot if no one else knows how to read (Shulhan `Arukh, Orah Hayyim

     I did a quick search of this on our responsa database here at
Bar-Ilan, and found that R. Ovadia Yosef mentioned this in Yabia`
Omer (pt. 6, Orah Hayyim 25), where he expressly permits a Lewi who
has already gone up second to "buy" maftir. He also cites Resp. Torat
Yequtiel 45, according to which R. Nathan Adler (the Hatam Sofer's
rabbi) would always go up both as Cohen and Maftir.

     Arthur also says the following in case there is no Cohen:

>1. If there is no kohen present, there is no need to call a Levi for
>the second aliyah even if one or more are present.  The gabbai simply
>calls "ya'amod ploni ben ploni yosrael bimcom kohen."  Of course, it
>is permitted to call a Levi bimcom kohen as well.

     This might be phrased a bit more precisely. There is not only
"no need to call a Levi" second, but it is not allowed at all (Orah
Hayyim 135:6). Calling a Lewi first instead of Cohen, on the other
hand, is an issue in which there are differences of opinion. The
plain sense of the Rambam (Hilkot Tefilla 12:19) and the Shulhan
`Arukh (op. cit.) is that only a Yisrael should be called first,
while the Ram"a (op. cit.) permits it. Interestingly, R. Ovadia
Yosef (Yabia` Omer, Pt. 6, Orah Hayyim 24) agrees with the Ram"a
and I have seen a Lewi called first in a Sephardic synagogue.


Shaul Wallach


From: Elisheva Schwartz <es63@...>
Date: Tue, 29 Jun 93 10:19:07 EDT
Subject: Mice

It seems to me that conventional mousetraps and poison (which causes
death after several days by causing massive hemorrhaging) are
definitely za'ar ba'alei hayim (as well as a real danger to children,
particularly in the case of poison).  The have-a-heart trap is one
solution (you just have to be careful where you release them!),
although you may be trapping the mother of nurslings--I'm not sure
what the halakhah would be in such an instance.  Another solution that
works very well is to simply identify where the little critters are
getting into the house (try the basement first of all), and close up
the holes.  Additionally, try what a lot of pest control companies
charge a fortune to do--plug any openings around pipes, etc., with
steel wool.  If you do a thorough job of this, that should be the end
of your problem (both halakhik and otherwise).
Good luck!  
Elisheva Schwartz


From: <warren@...> (Warren Burstein)
Date: Sun, 27 Jun 93 03:18:05 -0400
Subject: Re: Ovulation and maternal instinct

Moshe Sherman writes:

>a)  What sources, if any, indicate that the chachomim understood
>female ovulation - that is to say, that the woman contributes seed ?

I'm sure lots of references to Masechet Berachot 60a ("ishah mazraat
techila, yoldeded zachar") will be received.  It's not clear what
mazraat means.  I've heard two suggestions, one of which is ovulation,
and just now found a third in Jastrow's dictionary (see bottom of
p. 414, left column).  The confusion, I think, is caused by the
uncertainty about just what aspect of the male's role is being
discussed, and so the doubt about what analogous function in the woman
is referred to.

I believe that there is a correlation between the time of ovulation
and the sex of the child, but I'm not sure if it is as suggested above
or the other way around.

 |warren@      But the Kibo
/ nysernet.org is worried.


From: <julian@...> (Gilbey Julian)
Date: Mon, 28 Jun 93 12:36:09 +0300
Subject: Re: Woman as Sofer Stam

Warren asks:
> As women are obligated to observe Mezuzah, why is there reason to
> think that might they not be allowed to write them?

The reason for women not being allowed to write tephillin appears to be
given as a gezerat hakatuv [decree of the Torah]: in the Sh'ma, it says:
'And you shall bind them ...[tephillin].  And you shall write them
 ...[mezuzah].'  And the learning is: anyone included in (the obligation
of) binding is included in the writing.  That is, even though women are
obligated in mezuzah, since they don't wear tephilin, they cannot write
mezuzah (or even a Sefer Torah for that matter).  There is, however, a
dispute among Chaza"l over whether this does in fact refer to mezuzah as
well as tephillin, and there is a discussion about this issue in the
commentaries on Shulchan Aruch, Hilchot Sefer Torah.



End of Volume 8 Issue 2