Volume 9 Number 77
                       Produced: Sun Oct 31 15:59:47 1993

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

3 questions
         [Morris Podolak]
Flood Accounts
         [David Sherman]
         [Yisrael Sundick]
Pronunciation - Havara
         [Meylekh Viswanath]
         [Meylekh Viswanath]
         [Benjamin Svetitsky]
Various Siddur Related Items
         [Percy Mett]


From: Morris Podolak <morris@...>
Date: Sun, 24 Oct 93 06:02:31 -0400
Subject: 3 questions

> Morris Podolak <morris@...> writes:
> > 1. The standard answer is that Shabbat is holier than Yom Kippur.  The
> > argument is that on Yom Kippur you only call up six people to the torah
> > reading, while on Shabbat you call up seven.  In addition, the
> > punishment for working on Shabbat is more severe as well.
> Isn't this backwards?  That is, don't we call seven people on Shabbat
> and six on Yom Kippur *because* Shabbat is holier, rather than saying
> Shabbat is holier because we call more people?

I'm sorry, I guess I wasn't very clear.  What I intended to say was that 
"the argument people give to show that Shabbat is holier is that on Yom
Kippur ..."  Your standard case of "chasoorei mechasrei"

> > recommend.  On the other hand, Rav Hirsch's commentary to the Torah
> > presents a pretty convincing argument that there is alot going on behind
> > the stories and the "thou shalt"s.  Any open minded, intelligent person
> > could benefit greatly from reading it (it is available in English
> > Hebrew, and I suspect German).
> Rav Hirsch's commentary was written in German, and translated into
> English and Hebrew.  If you use the Hirsch Chumash, be cautioned that
> the English translation of the text of the Torah was made not from the
> Hebrew, but from Hirsch's German translation of the Hebrew, so it is
> one step more removed than a translation made directly from the
> Hebrew.
What I meant when I said that I suspected a German translation was available,
was that while Rav Hirsch certainly wrote in German, and so a German 
translation must exist, I was not sure whether this translation was
easy to find in the bookstores or libraries.  That is what I intended
when I used the word "available".  Sorry for the confusion.


From: <dave@...> (David Sherman)
Date: Mon, 25 Oct 93 22:58:09 -0400
Subject: Re: Flood Accounts

> From: Allison Fein <fein@...>
> In response to David Sherman's comment on the problems with the flood,
> most ancient studies academics (who are not usually apt to prove
> biblical accounts) agree that a flood occurred.  The exact dimensions,
> such as the surface area of the water or how many days it rained, are
> unclear.  However, the Biblical account, for accuracy, is as good as
> any.

I have no problem at all with there having been a flood.  Is it
universally accepted within Orthodox philosophy that the flood covered
the entire world as we now know it?  The Chumash tells us that it
covered "ha'aretz"; can that be something less than the entire planet?

Are there Flood accounts from the folklore of the native tribes of the
Americas?  (I'm asking, not challenging.)

>      Study of these subjects, although uncommon in Orthodox circles, can
> make the superiority of Judaism so much more apparent.  Compare: an
> erratic group of Gods who think nothing of destroying the world, and are
> able to be conquered by man; to an all-powerful G*d who hates immorality
> but is merciful enough to save the world.  Judaism always comes out on
> top.

Of course; I don't question that in the slightest.  The moral/religious
message isn't affected at all by treating the account of the Mabul as
something less than literal.  That's what I'm trying to find out.  The
problem I have with the literal account, aside from the issues of
species local to particular parts of the earth (which was raised by
another poster), is one of logistics.

David Sherman


From: Yisrael Sundick <sas34@...>
Date: Fri, 29 Oct 93 01:25:27 -0400
Subject: Mechizot

	I know this topic has passed but I wanted to get this in and I
was just able to get some information for this.
	As I understand it, the difference in Mechizot is based on a
question of purpose, is it just to provide two seperate areas or a much
greater all encompasing seperation. I have not seen it mentioned here,
but THE book on the subject is "The Sanctity of the Synagoue." This book
is the direct result of a court case brought by Baruch Litvin in
Michigan in the mid 1950's over removing a mechizah from a synagouge
which had been founded under an orthodox charter. After hearing tshuvot
from numereous rebeim including the Sanzer Rebbe, I believe the Rov, Rav
Moshe and others, the secular court ruled that the mechitzah could not
be removed.  The book contains most of these tshuvot in English and is
probbably the most complete source book on the subject of mechizot.
	According to some jewish historians, the most significant
outcome of this trial is that it resulted in a change in attitudes
amoung many still religious jews from "I am still orthodox" to "I am
orthodox and proud." Even a quick review of Orthodoxy in the US at that
time shows that other than in the Chasidic comunities, almost NO
Orthodox males wore kipot outside or in public. It is this change in
attitude which has made a visible religious comunity a possiblity.

*     Yisrael Sundick       *        Libi beMizrach VeAni                   * 
*   <sas34@...>    *             beColumbia                        *


From: <VISWANATH@...> (Meylekh Viswanath)
Date: Sat, 23 Oct 93 22:51:40 -0400
Subject: Pronunciation - Havara

From: Meylekh Viswanath (<viswanath@...>)
Subject: Pronunciation - Havara

Lon Eisenberg says:

>the SADeh (some incorrectly call it a TZAdiq). 

TZadiq is the _correct_ name for the letter in Yiddish.



From: <VISWANATH@...> (Meylekh Viswanath)
Date: Sat, 23 Oct 93 22:51:40 -0400
Subject: Rashi

Various computations on the size of the Jewish population today and the
size of the Jewish population in Rashi's time concluded that almost
everybody Ashkenazic today is descended from Rashi with a high

Perets Mett pointed out, that in spite of the argument by numbers,

>I think it reasonably safe to assume that very few Sephardim could claim
>descent from Rashi. 

It might be that this is true even among Ashkenazim for a similar
reason.  Conventional scholarship assigns the origin of East European
Jews to a movement from Western Europe.  However, Benjamin King of the
U. of Texas at Austin has published a paper analyzing the dialects of
Yiddish in Western and Eastern Europe, and his conclusion is that most
of the Eastern European Jews may not have come from Western Europe, but
perhaps from Asia or elsewhere.  This conclusion is derived from the
fact that there are very few (or no) dialectical features in common
between the dialects of parts of Germany other than the extreme East and
Eastern Yiddish.  (I apologise to Prof. King if I have misrepresented
the details of his theory, but I am pretty sure of his conclusions.)

Obviously, if most Eastern European Jews are not descended from the
original Western European Jews, this reduces the probability of claiming
Rashi as an ancestor.



From: Benjamin Svetitsky <bqs@...>
Date: Wed, 27 Oct 93 20:54:22 -0400
Subject: Shemittah

I disagree with Lon Eisenberg's distinction between keeping a mitzvah
and "circumventing" it.  There are two kinds of mitzvot, positive and
negative.  One KEEPS a negative mitzvah by simply refraining from
violating it.  If I don't light a fire on Shabbat, I have kept the
mitzvah, and it doesn't matter whether I sat in the dark or had the
light turned on by a Shabbat clock.  I have avoided culpability, and
thus avoided an annotation in the Book of Accounts.

Ben Svetitsky      <bqs@...>        (temporarily in galut)


From: <P.Mett@...> (Percy Mett)
Date: Tue, 26 Oct 93 12:49:44 -0400
Subject: Various Siddur Related Items

>From: Claire Austin <CZCA@...>
>Subject: Translation of the Siddur
>A related question, does anyone know of an interlinear translation of
>the Tanach (Bible)?  I have seen one (available in a Jewish bookstore in
>NY no less) put out by (I think) the Baptists.  Does anyone know of a
>"Jewish" edition, either linear or interlinear?

The Linear Chumash, translated by Rabbi Pesach Goldberg, is published by
Feldheim (1992). The ISBN for Bereishith is 0-87306-414-3. I don't know how
many volumes are available.

>2) In our synagogue they read H' H' kal rachum (megx lw 'd 'd) after opening
>the ark. In some siddurim it says not to say it on Shabbat, and some said
>to say it on Shabbat. Which is correct? Remember we're talking about praying
>in Eretz Yisrael, if it makes a difference as to the custom.
>|    David Ben-Chaim                      |

A bit belatedly: The question can refer only to Yom Kippur. On all other
yomim tovim there is agreement that the 13 midos & associated techinna are
not said when they fall on Shabbos. Matei Ephrayim (Siman 619 Seif 48) says
that on Yom Kippur it is said even when (as this year) it falls on Shabbos.
The rationale is that 13 midos (and techinnos) are said throughout the
tefillos of yom Kippur and not omitted because it is Shabbos. Others have
the custom (see Machzor Hamforosh) of omitting 13 midos when taking out the
Sefer Torah when Yom Kippur falls on Shabbos - presumably because of lo
plug, to keep it the same as other yomim tovim.

>From: <kessler@...> (David Kessler)
>Subject: Geshem, Gashem (or is that Gawshem?)

 It should be borne in mind, though, that Sephardim say =borei pri hagefen=
And not =hagafen= which might be expected.

Perets Mett


End of Volume 9 Issue 77