Volume 9 Number 25
                       Produced: Mon Sep 20 12:46:57 1993

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Celebrating the Birth of a Daughter (2)
         [Prof. Aryeh Frimer, D.M.Wildman]
Correction to Shir HaMaalot translation
         [Larry Weisberg]
Date of Destruction of First Temple (3)
         [David Clinton, Joel Goldberg, Yosef Bechhofer]
Knots on Tefillin
         [Seth Magot]


From: Prof. Aryeh Frimer <F66235@...>
Date: Mon, 20 Sep 93 03:31:45 -0400
Subject: Re: Celebrating the Birth of a Daughter

         Firstly, I feel it important to point out that a celebration
upon the birth of a daughter is an old Sefardi custom and is called
"Zeved ha-Bat" (the gift of a daughter). It is a much more beautiful
name and certainly more traditional than "simchat bat". Indeed if one
looks in any Sefard siddur (I'm not referring to Nusach sefard - but
nusach eidot haMizrach, the Real sefardim) one will find a beautiful
text to be said at the Zeved haBat, starting with the verse from the
Song of Songs "Yonati beChagvei ha-Selah". Sefardim use this opportunity
to give the daughter a name, though ashkenazik usage is to do so when
the father gets an aliyah in Shul. According to the Mishnah Berurah,
Shehechiyanu can be said at the birth of the daughter, but this should
be said as soon as one sees her, which is therefore immediately after
         At my daughters' (I've been blessed with three) Zeved haBat, my
wife said the text appearing in the traditional zeved habat ceremony and
a modified form of a prayer appearing in the Hertz Siddur (Former Chief
Rabbi of England). She Then gave a Dvar Torah about the Korban Todah
(thankgiving offering) and said Birkat ha-Gomel. We involved our parents
by having them speak about the lives of the people after whom our
daughter was named. This was followed by a seudat Shevach ve-Hodayah (a
meal of praise and Thanksgiving) which is one of the four types of
Seudot mitzva discussed by the MaHarshal.
    We found this combination of Tefillot, divrei torah, good food,
singing and Chevrashaft (comradery) and extremely meaningful experience.

From: <dmw2@...> (D.M.Wildman)
Date: Mon, 20 Sep 93 12:15:23 -0400
Subject: Celebrating the Birth of a Daughter

Robert Klein has inquired about alternative modes for celebrating the
birth of a daughter.  At the risk of repeating my posting in mail-jewish
back in its infancy, I'll share the little we uncovered in our prior
searches and what we ultimately did to mark the birth of each of our
three daughters.

In the Ashkenazic practice, we found no sources for anything more than
the traditional aliya laTorah [being called up to the Torah],
accompanied by the brief misheberach [blessing] naming the girl.
However, we did find citations and personal testimony about the "Zeved
Habat" ["Presentation of the Daughter"] ceremony found in some Eidot
Hamizrach communities, notably Jews from Greece and Spain. In the siddur
of our local Sefardic shul, we found a page of "Seder Zeved Habat" that
described an embellished aliya-laTorah ritual. Specifically, the steps
included (from memory):

1. Presenting the newborn
2. Congregational recitation of the verse from Shir HaShirim 
   (Song of Songs 3:14) "Yonati b'chagvei hasela, ..." 
   ["My dove, in the clefts of the rock..."]
3. For the first girl in a family, an additional verse from Shir
   Hashirim (6:9) is recited by the congregation: "Achat hi yonati.."
   [My perfect dove is one/unique, one to her mother..]
4. The father receives his aliya, followed by the MiSheberach
   [blessing] naming the girl. The Sefardic text is slighlty longer 
   and more poetic than the standard Ashkenazi text. (I believe there
   exists an even longer and more poetic version than the one
   we used, that I had heard at a previous ceremony, but I was
   unable to find it.)

Although we are Ashkenazim, we based our practice on this ceremony,
with a few frills of our own that were consistent (perhaps mehudar-
preferred) with Halacha.

1. We assigned people to carry the baby into shul for her presentation.
   By assigning this task, it had the aura of a kibud (honor), similar
   to the qvaterin at a Brit Mila.
2. After the naming MiSheberach, my wife recited Birkat HaGomel.
3. After davening, we adjourned to the shul kiddush room for a
   se'uda not unlike the meal at a Brit Mila. A D'var Torah [Word of
   Torah] was delivered during the meal in which the derivation of
   the baby's name was discussed, followed by bentching [Grace After
   Meals] with a (men's) mezuman [invocation?].

Our format happened to fulfill a number of alternate needs for my wife.
First, she has a family tradition that the first venture out of the
house after childbirth should be to hear kiddusha at Shul.  Second, she
needed to recite HaGomel, particularly after her long and arduous
labor/section. We also felt strongly that the baby - and her mother -
ought to be present at her naming. In our situation, and for all three
daughters, this entailed a delay in naming until a week after birth,
when my wife was able to attend. We checked with our Rav who felt that
the delay was not a problem, although normally it is preferable to name
as soon as possible.

As a footnote, our use of this format - with the two verses from Shir
HaShirim - was particularly appropriate for our first girl.  We had
chosen her name to be Yonit Nava, as translations of the Yiddish names
of two of her great-grandmothers (Teibel and Bayla).  Not only do both
verses include the root "yona", but the first verse ("Yonati b'chagvei
haSela,..) starts with the root "yona" and ends with the root "nava."
This happy coincidence (?!) made making the Dvar Torah quite easy.

Mazel Tov, Robert, on your Rosh Hashana present, and may she be named
into the congregation of Israel with all due celebration!

G'mar chatima tova to all.

Danny Wildman


From: Larry Weisberg <WEISBERG@...>
Date: Mon, 20 Sep 93 09:27:46 IDT
Subject: Correction to Shir HaMaalot translation

I recently wrote:
>          Naphshi LaDoshem MiShom'rim LaBoker (pause!). Shom'Rim LaBoker.
>  There is an Etnechta under Hashem, not under the 1st LaBoker.  The
>  explanation I heard is as follows:
>          My soul (waits) for G-d, as the morning watchmen (the 1st
>          "Shom'rim" refers to the watchmen) watch for/wait for/
>          anticipate the morning (the 2nd Shom'rim refers to the
>          action of watching or waiting).

It was pointed out to me that I made an obvious mistake in my translation.
It should read "My soul (waits) for G-d, MORE THAN the morning watchmen"
rather than "... as the morning watchmen...".  (Thank you, Rabbi Zanitsky)

Larry Weisberg (<weisberg@...>)


From: <ai917@...> (David Clinton)
Date: Sun, 19 Sep 93 17:14:01 EDT
Subject: Date of Destruction of First Temple

Hello David Kaufmann,

>It raised, however, another question that has also bothered me off and
>on for some time: traditional chronology dates the destruction of the
>First Beis HaMikdash in the mid-400's, some 130 or so years later than
>the scholarly 586/7. I think this is based on dating Sancheriv at 720
>vs 600. Yet the best scholarship agrees with tradition on the dating of
>the Exodus until David.

There's a lot of literature available on the discrepancy - and has been
for some time: there were Gaonim (perhaps R' Hai Gaon?) who were aware
of the secular dating system and disagreed with it.  The Abarbanel
followed the same path and even Josephus dates his history according to
the Talmud's chronology.  For the exact sources (which I've
unfortunately forgotten), see the Artscroll "History of the Jewish
People - Second Temple Era" - in an appendix at the back somewhere.  See
also a series of articles and letters in "Jewish Action" (sometime
around a year and a half ago).

The problem surrounds the start of the Persian Empire.  Our chronology
places the ascension of the Persians to TOTAL power only after the death
of Nevuchadezzer's grandson - Evil Merodach (What a name!) - that being
fifty years(?) after the destruction of the 1st Temple (c. 370 BCE).
There followed some twenty years (wherein took place the action of
Purim) before the Persian emperor, Koresh, allowed the Temple to be
rebuilt.  The Talmud (Avoda Zara 9a) gives the Persians no more than 34
more years on top, then Alexander the Pretty Good (ok, the Great) took
over.  There were, in total, four Persian kings.

The secular historians, on the other hand, consider the length of the
Persian empire to span 20 kings - and 165 extra years.  The crucial
difference is that they place the end of the Babylonians before the
FIRST Persian king (not the 17th - whom we considered the first EMPEROR.
That pushes the date of the building of the 2nd Temple back 165 years
and lengthens the time it stood by the same amount.

Dr. Chayam Chafetz (see Jewish Action articles) traces the secular
approach to early Greek and Roman historians who wrote as they did for
many and varied reasons - few of them objective or scientific.  The
Modern system of dating is wholly dependent on the reliability of these

There was one attempt at reconciliation by HaRav Shimon Schwab, Shlita,
in an article decades ago.  But in the recently published book "Selected
Speeches" (CIS Publ.), he basically recanted.  Both the original article
and the later amendment make very interesting reading.

Hope this is of some help

David Clinton

From: <goldberg@...> (Joel Goldberg)
Date: Mon, 20 Sep 93 04:11:15 -0400
Subject: Date of Destruction of First Temple

   I think a resolution will be very hard to come by. The Persians collided
with the Greeks in the decade 450-440 B.C.E. at such places as Thermopalae
and Marathon. The order of the countries, from east to west, is Persia,
Babylonia, Israel, Greece. It doesn't seem likely that Persia would be
fighting Greece while Babylonia was invading Israel. 
Take comfort in the idea, which I'm sure someone can source for us, that
the sages deliberately misstated the date in order to prevent people from
calculating the arrival of Moshiach. [See other two responses that
reference R' Schwab's opinion. Mod.]

From: <YOSEF_BECHHOFER@...> (Yosef Bechhofer)
Date: Sun, 19 Sep 93 17:16:45 -0400
Subject: Date of Destruction of First Temple

A good discussion if the topic of the dates is to be found in "Jewish
Action" Magazine (published by the OU), which printed an article and
some interesting correspondence on the issue, with much good source
material a couple of years ago, although the exact number of the issue
escapes me at the moment (we do have a treatment of the issue on two
tapes, EH 36-37, available from the Frumi Noble Night Kollel Tape
Library which also deal with an amazing approach by Rabbi Schwab to
the isuue, in which he claims that Chazal "concealed" 165 years!)


From: <MAGOT@...> (Seth Magot)
Date: Mon, 20 Sep 93 12:15:19 -0400
Subject: Knots on Tefillin

I live on Long Island, and have a 'minor' problem.  The knot on my rosh
tifilla has become, for want of a better word, out-of-shape.  Is there
anyone/place that I could go to to have it corrected?  If you want you
can answer me publicly or privately at:



End of Volume 9 Issue 25