Volume 8 Number 23

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Bay Area Responders, Moskowitz, Medad, Lasson, and Haramati
         [Arthur Roth]
Calendar algorithms
         [Mike Gerver]
Employment Search in Israel
         [Jeff Finger]
Haifa - apt. and car
         [Elchonon Rappaport]
Sukkah for Sale
         [Samuel Gamoran]


From: <rotha@...> (Arthur Roth)
Date: Tue, 6 Jul 93 15:54:05 -0500
Subject: Bay Area Responders, Moskowitz, Medad, Lasson, and Haramati

  1.  Many thanks to all the responders to my request for information on
San Francisco/San Jose.  I received no fewer than 12 responses
(privately and via MJ combined), and the information will be invaluable
to me.  THANKS!!!
  2. Len Moskowitz tells us of a minyan in Teaneck that recites all
three paragraphs of shema during birchot hashachar.  Len, is this at all
times of the year or only at certain times?  To my knowledge, this
should be done only if the deadline for saying shema will pass before
the minyan reaches the regular shema that is part of shacharit.  The
mitzvah of shema should preferably be done with the usual brachot before
and after (which are part of both shacharit and ma'ariv).  In cases
where a minyan will not reach the brachot on time, it is permissible to
fulfill the mitzvah of shema without brachot in order to daven with the
minyan.  In such a case, the brachot (which are a mitzvah in their own
right) are said later, and the shema included with these brachot becomes
just Torah learning, since the mitzvah of shema has already been
fulfilled.  The preference for having the brachot surround the
particular shema which fulfills the mitzvah is pretty strong.  In fact,
in "close" cases where it is doubtful whether or not the minyan will
reach shema on time, I have seen some people say all three paragraphs
during birchot hashachar with an interesting t'nai (condition): that
this recitation be considered a fulfillment of the mitzvah if the minyan
reaches shema too late, and that it be considered just plain Torah
learning otherwise, so that the mitzvah would be fulfilled later when
shema is said with brachot.  Needless to say, there are times of the
year when the time for shema passes even before birchot hashachar; on
those weeks, if an earlier minyan is not an option, shema must be
recited even before coming to shul.
  3. Yisrael Medad asks about M&M's.  About 10 years ago, the Mars
company negotiated with the "OU" people for supervision.  The
negotiations broke down over some problems with one of their OTHER
products, but the "OU" people were satisfied that M&M's were OK.  Rabbi
Alvin Marcus in West Orange, New Jersey, whose father-in-law is a rabbi
involved with "OU" kashruth supervision, can fill in more details if
anyone is interested.  On this basis plus the fact that it would be rare
for anything in the production of such a product to change, a number of
Orthodox people decided to eat M&M's at least for awhile.  However, it
would seem foolhardy to rely on this sort of thing without further
investigation ten years after the fact.  In addition, I heard in April
'92 (from someone whose reliability I cannot fully vouch for) that M&M's
definitely contained non-kosher ingredients as of that time.
  4. Elliott Lasson asks about "al" vs. "le" in brachot.  The issue is
discussed in Masechet Brachot.  Several criteria are proposed, but they
all have problems with certain counterexamples.  Several commentators in
the Talmud seem equally unsuccessful.  I once heard a brillaint shiur
attributed to the Rav which elegantly resolved the difficulties and
really clarified the issue --- but I don't remember the details at this
point.  Perhaps someone else heard this shiur and can comment.  I would
like to add something to one of Elliot's examples, though.
Specifically, Elliott mentions "al hamilah".  However, the wording "al
hamilah" applies only when (as in most cases) the mohel acts in behalf
of the baby's father (or in behalf of the community in the father's
absence) to perform this mitzvah.  The Gemara specifically tells us that
the father should say "limol" (not "al hamilah") if he does his son's
brit milah himself.  Many of the attempts to understand the criteria
that distinguish "al" from "le" focus on the fact that the language of
this bracha changes depending on who says it.
  5. Regarding the topic of sheva merachef, thanks to Raz Haramati for
reminding me of the name of the term "t'nua kalah", which I had
forgotten.  (In my posting on this topic, I called it an "intermediate"
vowel.)  I agree with Raz, as I originally stated, that the "sheva
merachef" concept is more widely accepted than the "t'nua kalah" and
that the majority of grammarians regard the second sheva as a sheva
nach.  However, I do not accept his contention that regarding the sheva
as na would be inconsistent because of an unaccented open syllable with
a short vowel (t'nua k'tanah).  Any word with a sheva na has more
"sounds" (i.e., syllables in the English sense) than "syllables" (in the
traditional Hebrew grammar sense).  For example, "sha-meru" has three
sounds, but two syllables, since the two sounds me-ru are defined to be
just one syllable, since they contain just one vowel (plus one sheva).
Thus, one could define a t'nua kalah to behave like a sheva in this
sense (which is consistent with its origin), i.e., that it does NOT
create a separate syllable even though it makes a sound and looks like a
vowel.  Once we allow words with more sounds than syllables (which all
grammarians do) then it is not inconsistent to argue that a word like
"bifenei" may be regarded as having only one syllable (and three
sounds).  This allows pronunciation with a sheva na without creating the
inconsistency that Raz alludes to, and it also eliminates the clumsy
property of the t'nua kalah that he alludes to, namely that it must be
defined to affect the "beged kefet" letter following the next sheva.  In
effect, the word begins with two items that are STRUCTURALLY sheva'im
and treated as closely as possible to sheva'im without writing them both
as sheva'im (or chatafim).  Again, I fully acknowledge that I'm in a
small minority here --- but my posiiton, which seems more sensible to me
for reasons stated earlier, is still internally consistent.


From: <GERVER@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Wed, 7 Jul 1993 1:09:45 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Calendar algorithms

Warren Burstein, in v7n75, asks someone to submit the algorithms for
conversion between the Hebrew and Gregorian calendars, and for finding
sunrise, sunset, beginning and end of twilight, etc. I will give here
all of the information needed for calendar conversions, and b'li neder,
some day when I have the time, if no one else does it first, I'll give
the algorithms for finding sunrise, sunset, etc. 

The Hebrew lunar calendar is based on two ratios: 1) the length of the
tropic year in synodic months, which is assumed to be 235/19, and 2) the
length of the synodic month in days, which is assumed to be 29 days,
12 hours, 44 minutes, and 1 chelek (where a chelek is 1/18 of a minute,
or 3 1/3 seconds). Both these figures are taken from Greek astronomy,
and the latter figure was extremely accurate when it was first calculated
by Hipparchus, by measuring the time between two lunar eclipses hundreds
of years apart, making use of Babylonian records. Even today it is off
by less than 1 second, due to the slowing down of the earth's rotation
rate caused by tidal drag, so new moons still occur very close to Rosh
Chodesh. The figure of 235/19 for the ratio of the tropic year to the
synodic month is less accurate, being off by 1 day about every 216 years,
and it is because of this inaccuracy that Pesach is drifting slowly into
the summer, as mentioned by Morris Podolak in v7n83. (Contrary to what
Morris said, this drift has nothing to do with the drift of tekufat
Tishrei, which is due to the difference between the Hebrew solar calendar,
essentially the Julian calendar, and the Gregorian calendar.) Chazal
were aware of this drift, but assumed that Moshiach would come before
it got too serious.

I will describe here how to find the number of days between any Hebrew
date and Rosh Hashanah for the Hebrew year zero. Knowing that, 
it is straightforward, if tedious, to find the Gregorian date, or Julian 
date. The Julian calendar, which was in use until 1572 C.E., is the 
familiar one which has 365 days a year and adds a 366th day, Feb. 29, on
years divisible by four. The Gregorian calendar started out in 1572 C.E. 
by pushing the Julian date ahead by 10 days, and thereafter eliminated 
leap years on years divisible by 100 but not by 400.

The first step in finding on what day a Hebrew date occurs is to find
the molad (mean new moon) for Tishrei of that year. In the Hebrew year
zero, the molad of Tishrei occurred on a Monday at 5 hours, 11 minutes
and 6 chelakim, on October 6, 3761 B.C.E. of the Julian calendar (don't 
forget that there was no year zero C.E.). You can think of this as 5 hours,
11 minutes, and 6 chelakim after sunset if you want, although it doesn't 
really matter. To find the molad of Tishrei for any succeeding year, first
find the molad of Tishrei for the beginning of that 19 year cycle.
This is done by adding 235 times the synodic month (i.e. 29 days, 12 hours,
44 minutes, and 1 chelek) for each 19 years. Then figure out how many
months there are from the beginning of the 19 year cycle to the beginning
of the year in question. This is done by taking 12 times the number of
non-leap years, plus 13 times the number of leap years (when Adar Sheni
is added). Leap years occur on the 3rd, 6th, 8th, 11th, 14th, 14th, and
19th years of the 19 year cycle. Adding the number of months times
the length of a synodic month to the molad of Tishrei at the beginning of
the cycle gives us the time of the molad of Tishrei for the desired year.

The next step is to determine whether Rosh Hashanah falls on the day of
the molad or is postponed that year. Rosh Hashanah is postponed at least
to the next day if the molad occurs later in the day than 18 hours. It is
also postponed, an additional day if necessary, if it would otherwise
fall on Sunday, Wednesday or Friday. Also, Rosh Hashanah is postponed
to Thursday if the molad of Tishrei falls later than 9 hours, 11 minutes,
and 6 chelakim on a Tuesday, during a non-leap year, and it is postponed
to Tuesday if the molad of Tishrei falls later than 15 hours, 32 minutes,
13 chelakim on Monday during a leap year. (The reason for these odd
rules is to make sure that the number of days from one Rosh Hashana to the
next is always within one day of 354 days for a non-leap year, and within
one day of 384 days for a leap year.) 

The same procedure should be used to find the day of Rosh Hashanah on the
following year. If the two dates differ by 354 days (383 days for a leap
year), then the year is kesedra, if they differ by one day less then the
year is chasara, and if they differ by one day more then the year is 
shlema. In a kesedra year, the months alternate having 30 and 29 days,
starting with 30 days for Tishrei, except that Adar Rishon has 30 days
in a leap year. In a chasara year, Kislev has only 29 days, and in a 
shlema year, Cheshvan has 30 days. This allows you to find the number of
days between Rosh Hashana of Hebrew year zero (October 6, 3761 B.C.E. of
the Julian calendar) and any Hebrew date, and using this information
you can find the Julian date, and hence the Gregorian date.

The above should be enough information to write a calendar program. For
more details, including the Hebrew terms for all these things, and the
shortcuts used when doing calculations by hand, see Chapter XVII of
"Rabbinical Mathematics and Astronomy" by W. M. Feldman, third edition,
Sepher-Hermon Press, 1978.

Mike Gerver, <gerver@...>


From: <jfinger@...> (Jeff Finger)
Date: Tue, 6 Jul 93 11:32:29 -0400
Subject: Employment Search in Israel

There is a mailing list called "Computer Jobs in Israel."

To subscribe:
       mail to: <listserv@...>
       message: sub cji Your Name Here

They have a Frequently Asked Questions document called CJIFAQ you can
get from them. It's about 600 lines, so it probably does not make sense
to post it here. I have forwarded it to Aryeh Koenigsberg.

-- Itzhak Finger --


From: <rallan@...> (Elchonon Rappaport)
Date: Tue, 6 Jul 93 11:54:48 -0400
Subject: Haifa - apt. and car

We will i"yh be moving to Israel this August for what we hope will be a
 permanent stay.

We are looking to rent a 2-3 bedroom furnished apt. in an observant
 section of Haifa.  (Anyone living on a religious yishuv within
 commuting distance of Haifa please feel free to chime in here.)

We are also looking to buy a reliable used car to drive
 for a year or two until we decide what to buy as our "zechuyot" car.

I'll be hanging on to this id until the bitter end, so feel free to
 respond to me here.

Elchonon Rappaport


From: <shg@...> (Samuel Gamoran)
Date: Tue, 6 Jul 93 08:58:21 -0400
Subject: Sukkah for Sale

I forgot to put this on my list of things for sale -

Sukkah - wood paneling 6x8ft.x8ft. high
bamboo s'chach
Includes light, extension cord, window with screen and glass + some
decorations.  You can build it (as I did last year for a shalom zachar)
with only 3 walls propped against a house and almost double the seating

$100 - the bamboo alone is worth the price

Free delivery in the Highland Park area (you come over and help me get it on
the roofrack of my Voyager).

Sam Gamoran
908-545-6910 (home)
908-699-5218 (work)


End of Volume 8 Issue 23