Volume 8 Number 69
                       Produced: Fri Aug  6 10:17:03 1993

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Calendar Algorithms
         [Dov Bloom]
         [Aliza Berger]
Counting the Torah in a Minyan
         [Jonathan Baker]
How to Treat Old Tallit
         [Cindy Carpenter]
Internet Connection in Yerushalayim
         [Neil Parks]
Spiritual Growth: How High Can One Go?
         [Scott Spiegler]
Suggestions for Jewish Fiction??
         [Scott Spiegler]
Ta'am Elyon/Tachton
         [Josh Klein]
Women Making Kiddush/Hamotzi
         [Scott Spiegler]


From: Dov Bloom <bloomdov@...>
Date: Sun, 1 Aug 93 12:16:14 +0300
Subject: Calendar Algorithms

After reading parshet VaEtchanan this Shabbat I came across the
following drash of Rav Yochanan in Shabbat 75a on a verse in our
parsha, that brought to mind the recent flurry of calendar algorithms
on mail-jewish. Rav Shmuel bar Nachmani says in the name of Rav

What is the source in the Torah that one is obligated to figure out
the equinoxes and _mazalot_ [Zodiacal signs - Ed.]? It says ".. and
you shall observe and do, for that is your wisdom and understanding
(hochmatchem u-vinatchem) before the eyes of the nations ..." (free
translation). What is wisdom and understanding before the eyes of the
nations? Say that it is the calculation of equinoxes (tekufot ) and
mazalot. "

The question is , when one _uses_ these calendar algorithms, is that a
"kiyum" [fulfillment - Ed.] according to Rav Yochanan? What if one
_wrote_ the algorithms?

Dov Bloom


From: Aliza Berger <A_BERGER@...>
Date: Tue, 3 Aug 93 03:14:07 -0400
Subject: Coeducation

Just to address two small points that Eitan Fiorino brought up in a
previous issue:

>The issues of equality in education are perhaps independent of
>"segregated" versus "intergrated." At a school like Yeshiva Flatbush,
>all the limudei kodesh classes are separate, but the same faculty
>teaches and the same exams are given and the same expectations exist
>for both sexes.

As a graduate of the Yeshiva of Flatbush, I can say that neither of
these statements are true, with negative consequences. That is to say,
SOME limudei kodesh [religious studies - Ed.] classes are coed, and
equal, but some that are separate are NOT equal, most notably a
special "Beit Midrash" program which gives some students more time for
Talmud. Both boys and girls participate in this program, but the boys
have more hours than the girls. Also, in my experience, the boys had
better teachers than the girls. But since I graduated the last
situation has probably improved.

> As to the
>relative quality of the limudei kodesh options available at Stern versus
>Yeshiva College, I am unable to comment due to lack of experience. And
>certainly, Revel is open to women as well who wish to pursue higher

As a graduate of Revel, I know that there's a reason that most (if not
all) of the men who study Talmud at Revel also study it at RIETS,
which is closed to women. At Revel one learns about structures and
history of the compilation of the Talmud, while at RIETS one learns
Talmud. To ask a female graduate student to limit herself to the
undergraduate level studies she got in Talmud at Stern while she is
engaging in graduate study at Revel only holds her back from advancing
to the best of her ability. Study at Drisha is not up to the level of
study at RIETS, either. So there are a few women who are definitely
being left out at the high end of the women's Talmud study spectrum.
There aren't any halakhic barriers to these women studying at RIETS,
only sociological ones. This is not a clamor for coeducation, just a
practical issue that could be dealt with right now, instead of waiting
for the women's institutions to catch up with the men's.

Aliza Berger


From: <baker@...> (Jonathan Baker)
Date: Sun, 1 Aug 93 14:36:32 -0400
Subject: Counting the Torah in a Minyan

The source for this is in the Gemara, Brachot 47b, in the middle of a
discussion on what consitutes a zimmun (the quorum of 3 for the
introduction to the Grace after Meals).

Rav Huna said, "Nine and an Aron [ark] are included [as a minyan]."
Rav Nachman said to him, "The Aron is a man?!" But Rav Huna said,
"Nine that look like ten are included." They said to him "When they
are crowded together", and they said to him, "When they are scattered

Basically, the idea is that if you can't count the 9 accurately,
either because they're jammed together, or because they're wandering
randomly around the room, and the count could be nine or ten, they
could count as a Minyan.

In the commentary of Eliezer Moshe haLevi Horowitz of Pinsk (in the
back of the Gemara), he explains the "nine and an Aron" as nine that
are crowded together so close that each is 2 cubits from the guy next
to him and 1.5 cubits from the guys in front of or behind him, that
being the size of the archetypal 'aron'. (paraphrased)

So usually, this is not understood as allowing nine men and a sefer
Torah to count as a minyan. I have been in a situation where the rabbi
allowed it: at Scout camp, where in the last week, most of the Jewish
troops had gone home, and we only had 9 by mid-morning that Shabbat,
even with the rabbi and the mashgiach. But generally, when I have
tried to invoke this idea, (like at college) it has been rejected.


From: Cindy Carpenter <ccarpent@...>
Date: Mon, 2 Aug 93 10:39:51 EDT
Subject: How to Treat Old Tallit

My husband and I came across an old tallit in a bin at a thrift store.
We were sure that wasn't the right place for it and brought it home,
but now aren't sure what to do with it. It's a bit worn, with a couple
of small holes and has lost some of the cloth fringe, but my husband
says it has all of its knots. Can it be used in this condition? Can I
repair the holes with wool thread? Does it need to be re-dedicated
with a blessing (other than the usual blessing before donning a
tallit)? Thanks in advance for your help.


From: <aa640@...> (Neil Parks)
Date: Sun, 1 Aug 93 22:05:37 -0400
Subject: Internet Connection in Yerushalayim

In mail-jewish (Vol. 8 #63), Mike Gerver <GERVER@...> writes:

>Does anyone know of a reasonably affordable way for someone in
>Yerushalayim, not connected with any academic institution, to get
>access to Internet?

Yes. Drop an email note to Zvi Lando at Jerusalem One.

His internet address is:


(Fidonet) 157/200 (PC Ohio)
(PC Relay/RIME) ->(pending)


From: <cs004201@...> (Scott Spiegler)
Date: Sun, 1 Aug 93 13:57:36 -0400
Subject: Spiritual Growth: How High Can One Go?

As I am aware, there is a general principle that each succeeding
generation is at a lower spiritual level from the previous one. As I
understand it, the principle is derived from the notion that as we get
further and further away from the Creation (and Har Sinai??), the
further we are from the truths of the Universe and the emes of G-d's

At a Shabbos meal this Shabbos, one of the guests read a snippet from
a publication put out by the Breslovers. The article made the
statement that since we are all given Divine souls, the spiritual
heights we can achieve *are* as great as those of the Avos and the
Imos [the Patriarchs and the Matriarchs - Ed.]. That point of view
seems to be saying something very different than what I originally
understood do be the Torah point of view.

I tried to integrate both points of view into an answer for myself. My
thought was that: a) We do start off with a Divine soul of the sort
given to the Avos and Imos and b)Eventhough we may have more 'schmutz'
clouding our capacity to be at the same starting point as Avraham or
Sarah, we can work at cleaning the schmutz away, but c) Our ability to
do the work is limited to, at most, 120 years. And that limiting time
factor may be just the thing which prevents us from attaining the
heights of those in previous generations.

I'm not talking about the merit which our deeds earn. I'm simply
talking about absolute levels of spirituality. Do my thoughts seem
reasonable? Is the contrasting point I bring unique to Breslov or is
there some inyan [interest, concern - Ed.] somewhere in the mainstream
which supports this idea?? Has anyone else out there resolved this
question in their minds??

Shalom and a gutte voch, Scott


From: <cs004201@...> (Scott Spiegler)
Date: Mon, 2 Aug 93 14:56:12 -0400
Subject: Suggestions for Jewish Fiction??

I wanted to do some fiction reading, but with a frum/religious point
of view. There's lots of stuff out there in the Jewish Book store, but
hard` to distinguish what's good and what's just there. I read a lot
of quality, contemporary fiction and am pretty discriminating about
what I'll read.

Any suggestions?

Thanks and shalom, Scott


From: Josh Klein <VTFRST@...>
Date: Mon, 2 Aug 93 01:20:55 -0400
Subject: Ta'am Elyon/Tachton

THis past shabbos, the ba'al kriah read the aseret hadibrot (Ten
Commandments) using the ta'am tachton (alternate cantillation marks),
rather than the ta'am elyon. I had always thought that tachton was
reserved for use during learning, although frankly I have never heard
of anybody really *learning* Torah while 'leining'. In most chumashim,
it says at that point in both Yitro and Va'Etchanan that for reading
Torah in public, one uses the 'ta'am elyon', which is usually found in
the back of the chumash. In the 'gabboische luach' (Synagogue practice
calendar), though, it said that Sefaradim read aseret hadibrot (during
the aliya itself) with 'elyon' , while Ashkenazim use 'tachton'. A
genuine 100% German in our minyan told me that Ashkenazim use 'elyon'
only on Shavuot, and use 'tachton' on the two shabbatot that we read
aseret hadibrot. Does anybody know of any sources for these minhagim?

Josh Klein VTFRST@Volcani


From: <cs004201@...> (Scott Spiegler)
Date: Thu, 5 Aug 93 13:33:58 -0400
Subject: Women Making Kiddush/Hamotzi

I've noticed a number of articles addressing the concern about whether
it is permissible for a woman to make kiddush and/or hamotzi and for
others to be yotzei [discharge their obligation by - Ed.] her bracha.
I questioned my Rav (who is also the Possek in our community) who
shared the following with me. Apparently, anyone can me yotzei the
bracha made by a woman for any mitzvah which she herself is also bound
by. Since woman are obligated to hear kiddush and make hamotzi, anyone
(male or female) can be yotzei her bracha. If, on the other hand, she
is not bound by a particular mitzvah (like lulav and etrog or blowing
shofar) her making of the bracha and execution of the mitzvah does not
discharge others of their obligation.

Now, it is evidently the custom at most tables for the husband to make
these brachos. But, there does not seem to be *any* Torah prohibition
against it. I don't know whether the fact that there is a custom for
the men to do it gives any legalistic weight to the practice. One last
comment before I end...

My Rav also told me that the confusion as to whether a women can
recite kiddush/hamotzi for others stems from a statement made in the
Gemorrah. I paraphrase here, so please forgive me if I'm inaccurate.
The Gemorrah says something like, 'Woe be unto him who has a woman
recite brachos for him' [and here I can't recall whether that pertains
to all brachos that women are held to or just kiddush and hamotzi]. In
any case, the idea being that the man is in pretty sad shape if he
doesn't know how to do what he is expected to do for himself. *Not*
that something is wrong if a woman does it. That is an incorrect
reading of the passuk [verse - Ed.]. The point is that a man who can
not fulfill his own responsibilities is not someone to emulate or

I can see how the other reading can occur and this is why I wanted to
point it out. The only question I didn't pursue with him is: "Is there
any validity to the statement that, since a man is considered as head
of the household [that's the part that doesn't sit right with me, I
see it as a partnership], that he should make kiddush, even if there
is no legal problem if the wife does?".

Any help on that one?


PS- Wishing everyone a good Shabbos.


End of Volume 8 Issue 69