Avodah Mailing List

Volume 04 : Number 019

Tuesday, September 28 1999

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Mon, 27 Sep 1999 17:27:00 -0400
From: "Clark, Eli" <clarke@HUGHESHUBBARD.COM>
Yerushalmi citations by Rishonim

"Dr. Jeffrey R. Woolf" <woolfj@mail.biu.ac.il> writes:

>2) The fact that Tosafot cites a Yerushalmi which is not in our text is
>common. There were all sorts of Palestinian collections floating around
>which were known as 'Yerushalmi.' Prof Yaakov Zussman of Hebrew U has
>done alot of work on this and published a long fragment of such a
>collection in a journal called Qobez al Yad.

Daniel Sperber, in various volumes of his Minhagei Yisrael, also
identifies many citations by Rishonim to the "Yerushalmi" which
apparently refer not to the Palestinian Talmud, but to other texts known
by that title.

Mo'adim le-simhah,

Eli Clark

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Date: Mon, 27 Sep 1999 23:46 +0200
From: BACKON@vms.huji.ac.il
Rambam on Spanish paytanim following BEHAG

In a curious twist on ashkenazi payytanim being the mimetic tradition,
I found that the Rambam in his hakdama to Sefer Hamitzvot talks about
Spanish payytanim whose AZHAROT piyut follows the halacha of the BEHAG
(Baal Halachot Gedolot, an 8th century CE gaon [Shimon Kayara].


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Date: Mon, 27 Sep 1999 17:52:32 -0400 (EDT)
From: micha@aishdas.org (Micha Berger)
Re: Women's wear WHERE?

Moshe Feldman <moshe_feldman@yahoo.com>:
> What are differences between men's and women's shrouds?

Saul guberman <saulguberman@juno.com>:
} The main difference is the head covering.  Men have a hood.  Women have a
} cap (bonnet) and a separate veil.  All have pants,shirt, kittel and a
} belt.

A member of Avodah who prefers not announcing to the world that he's a member
of the chevrah kaddishah of his community asked me to forward the following:
: We dress niftarim in a shroud which has a separate "hood" piece for the head;
: I can't speak for the clothing elements used for niftaros.


Micha Berger (973) 916-0287          MMG"H for 27-Sep-99: Levi
micha@aishdas.org                                         A"H 
http://www.aishdas.org                                    Pisachim 44b
For a mitzvah is a lamp, and the Torah its light.         Nefesh Hachaim II 9

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Date: Tue, 28 Sep 1999 00:08:42 +0200
From: D & E-H Bannett <dbnet@barak-online.net>
Sparking or arcing

R'Micha Berger asks:
>First, can't you use a capacitor to avoid the sparking issue?

>Second, a DC motor or an AC motor whose speed isn't determined by the line
>frequency ...snip .... Isn't there sparking each time the plate under the
>brush changes?

First the second question, hahu de-salik minei

Yes there is arcing as the brushes go over the commutator segments. D-c motors 
and a-c variable speed motors such as the motor on a sewing machine have 
commutators and sparks.  But fan motors, as noted in my posting, are induction 
motors a type that has no brushes and no arcing during running. (To answer the 
question that hasn't been asked yet: Fan motors are basically single speed as 
determined by the 50 or 60 cycles per second of the a-c supply. The speed changes 
are accomplished by variation of slip.)

With fan motors, sparking occurs at the on-off switch mainly when switching off.  
Capacitors can cut down the amount but adding a capacitor is not a do-it-yourself 
item. While cutting down arcing on disconnect it can also cause your on-off switch to 
burn out when you connect.  A resistor of appropriate value should always be put in 
series with a proper value of capacitor. And I think that's about as technical as I 
should get on this subject.

Electro-mechanical switches can be replaced by electronic switches that  have no 
arcing at all.

Over the years I have found that most people are certain that the main issur in 
electrical devices is the sparks, that is, except for the poskim.  RShZA states quite 
clearly that he sees no issur. Rabbi LYHalperin in a longer teshuva disagrees with only 
one of RShZA's reasons but ends up with tzarikh iyyun. However, in nearly thirty years 
of working with RLYH and often mentioning their unavoidable presence, it never 
resulted in his rejection of Sabbath use of electrical devices.

And I believe it was R' Micha Berger who pointed out correctly in Avodah not long ago 
that the physical reality of an electrical spark is completely different from that of the 
halakhic nitzotz. This doesn't make the electrical spark muttar or assur, it just makes 
it difficult to learn the din of one from the other.

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Date: Tue, 28 Sep 1999 00:08:46 +0200
From: D & E-H Bannett <dbnet@barak-online.net>
Hafetz Hayyim's cup; Hazon Ish's matza

The Hafetz Hayyim's cup not meeting the Hazon Ish's revi'it may be a legend  .It is 
almost certainly not a legend that the kazayit matza that the Hazon Ish used at his 
seder, as witnessed by R' Hayyim Kanievsky, was approximately half of the kazayit he 
lists in his Kuntress Ha-shiurim. 

This was published (in Moriah??) quite some years ago and was quoted a few years 
ago by Prof. Avi Greenfield  in his article on the relation between the beitza and kazayit 
(it might have been in Tehumin). If somebody 
insists, I can probably find the exact source by searching in my piles of paper or, 
probably ,much easier, get it by telephoning to Prof. Greenfield


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Date: Mon, 27 Sep 1999 15:16:08 -0700 (PDT)
From: Moshe Feldman <moshe_feldman@yahoo.com>
Re: Women's wear WHERE?/ beged ish

> > What are differences between men's and women's shrouds?
> Saul guberman <saulguberman@juno.com>:
> } The main difference is the head covering.  Men have a hood. 
> Women have a
> } cap (bonnet) and a separate veil.  All have pants,shirt, kittel
> and a
> } belt.

Given the fact that women who passed away wear a kittel, does that
mean that a kittel is not beged ish?

Kol tuv,
Do You Yahoo!?
Bid and sell for free at http://auctions.yahoo.com

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Date: Mon, 27 Sep 1999 22:27:41 -0700
From: Ezriel Krumbein <ezsurf@idt.net>
Lo Shibash and Kittels on Yom Kippur

> Date: Mon, 27 Sep 1999 13:59:46 -0400
> From: rjhendel@juno.com
> Subject: ISSUR TORAH in women wearing a Kittel
> The prohibition of not wearing gender specific clothing
> applies to exactly that...clothing that is specifcially designed
> for specific genders.
> ...
> (Note my assumption: I hold that FUNCTION not USAGE creates
> the issur...perhaps there is a teshuva of an acharon that 
> overrides me on this that I am unaware of)
> Russell

I don't think you need to see an acharon the SA YD 182 end of sif 5
specifily staes that it depend on usage.  However the T"az in note 4
says thet the isur does not apply if one wears clothing of the opposite
gender for protection from the rain or the cold. I heard that the isur
applies when one is wearing the clothing to look like the opposite
gender.  This may be applied in the kittel case.  If a woman would wear
a kittel to be just like a man then it might fall into the category of
lo sibash.  But if she would wear th kittel for the under lying reasons
then may be it would not ...?

Kol Tov
Gut Moed

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Date: Mon, 27 Sep 1999 23:14:05 -0700
From: Ezriel Krumbein <ezsurf@idt.net>
Megilah Daf 18 a

Recently in the daf yomi megila 17 b - 18 a the gemara gives the reasons
for the order of the Shemoneh Esrei.  It gives the order of redemption. 
First the the wiping out of evil, then the raising up of the righteous.
The raising of the righteous occurs in Jerusalem. Then the return of the
Davidic kingdom.  Once the Davidic kingdom comes preyer returns.  Once
prayer returns the service in the Temple returns.

What is the seperate aspect of prayer that is different from the service
in the Temple that will be returned in the end of days?

Kol Tov
Gut Moed

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Date: Wed, 29 Sep 1999 01:50:35 +0200
From: "Berger" <rachelbe@netvision.net.il>
Beracha on medicine

Upon receiving eye drops from my doctor for an infection, he said "and, of
course you say the Beracha for Refuah." It was a new one on me, but a clear
Magen Avraham (Be'er Heiteiv) O"H 230:6 (in the Magen Avraham). The Taz and
Be'er Heiteiv indicate that the "beracha aharona" on the medicine should be
made with Shem U'malchus.
Is this common practise that I have somehow missed up to this point? Are
there contemporary Teshuvot on the matter?

Moadim L'Simcha,
Shalom Berger 

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Date: Mon, 27 Sep 1999 17:53:12 -0400
From: Sadya N Targum <targum1@juno.com>

Rabbi Sholom Berger writes, "The Ran suggests that when one is in
agreement with the statement of another, the common expression used was

What the Ran says is that people would say "Ashkyach," meaning "I'll
treat you to a drink." This is manifestly *not* the source for
"Shikoyach," which is undoubtedly a corruption of the correct form (just
as many mispronounce Im yirtzeh Hashem as "mertzeshem," and just as
"ba'al habayis" has become "balehbus").  Incidentally, isn't the correct
Hebrew form "Yiyshar" and not "Yiyasher"? (as in the K'hoshata part of
Shabbos Hoshanos)

As for Moshe Rayman's comment, "Another question comes to mind (this
question equally applies to my original suggestion, as well as Sadya's),
bishlama with the original nusach, we are praying for something (albeit,
to the wrong entity).  With this 
corrected version, we are merely stating, "we are asking for rachamim",
what is 
the point?  There are similar statements elsewhere in selichos where we
things like that, "tamachti yeseidosay... lachen shafachti siach...".

The same phenomenon can be found in Tanach, e.g. Thillim 142: "Koli el
Hashem ezak, koli el Hashem eschanon.  Eshpoch l'fanav sichi, tzorosi
l'fonov agid."  Also, the shatz in Musaf says "Ochilah la'e-l avaksho
fonov, eshalo mimenu ma'aneh loshon."  It should apparently be understood
as though the reference to Hashem were in the second person; that is,
"Hashem, I beseech You," which is itself a form of prayer, rather than a
statement, "Look, I'm praying."

Sadya N. Targum

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Date: Tue, 28 Sep 1999 14:40:20 +0200
From: "malloy" <malloy@metroweb.co.za>

This is a multi-part message in MIME format.

I am trying to obtain a copy of a sefer called LOMDUS
by YITCHOK ADLER.Any leads would be greatly appreciated.
Kol Tuv
Yonason Diamond(S. Africa)

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Date: Tue, 28 Sep 1999 09:39:06 -0400 (EDT)
From: micha@aishdas.org (Micha Berger)
Succo[w]s as Grammar

According to Russel Hendel's presentation of RSRH's view, Succos spelled
chaseir means "multiple but not necessarily all". What I don't understand
is why he takes it here to mean mean "not all walls". Bipashtus, this
defficient pluralization would apply to the number of Succos, not the number
of walls. After all, that is the underlying noun being pluralized, and would
therefore better parallel the case of k'ranos (sprinkle on more than one,
but not necessarily all k'ranos).

Perhaps now is also a good time to reopen my question as to whether malei
vichaseir is technically d'rashah or remez. And, does remez come in miSinai
and asmachta bi'alma forms, as does d'rashah?

A related observation: R' Akiva and R' Yishmael appear to disagree as to
whether d'rashah is syntactic or semantic. R' Akiva is more syntactically
oriented, and therefore darshons ribui umi'ut, which is more about particular
words than the meanings of phrases. (R' Akiva lishitaso when he's described
as darshaning tagim.)

For example, "es" is a ribui, despite the fact that it means nothing of the
sort. "Ach" and "rak" are mu'atim. Rashi and the Ramban on "ach es Shabsosai
tishmoru" argue as to whether "ach" is necessarily mima'eit the thing it
refers to grammatically.

OTOH, k'lal ufrat requires that one noun phrase include all the items of
another noun as a subset, even if that inclusion is implied by the definition
of the nouns (e.g. beheimah vs tzon), and there is no actual word that refers
to quantity in the pasuk.

Which gets us back to the question of "word games" (IMO, a very poor turn
of phrase). "Es" is a ribui. Grammatically, it's an article used to
differentiate the object of a sentence from its subject. The grammar and
the d'rashah are totally disjoint.


Micha Berger (973) 916-0287          MMG"H for 28-Sep-99: Shelishi
micha@aishdas.org                                         A"H 
http://www.aishdas.org                                    Pisachim 45a
For a mitzvah is a lamp, and the Torah its light.         Nefesh Hachaim II 10

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Date: Tue, 28 Sep 1999 09:41:00 -0400 (EDT)
From: Sammy Ominsky <sambo@charm.net>
Re: Tosafot and Ashkenaz

Micha Berger wrote:
> Yet another example (and I think the list so far is sufficient to show it's
> more common than I originally thought): Megillah 31a on the haftorah for
> Zos haB'rachah. (Gemara: Chunukas Bayis Rishon, Melachim I 8:22; Ashkenaz:
> continuing the naarative with Yehoshua 1:1; Sepharad: ?)

Sefaradi: In Eretz Israel: Yehoshua 1:1
In Hutz L'Aretz on Shemini Atzeret: Melachim I 8:22; Simhat Torah: Yehoshua 1:1

Of course we only read Zot Ha'Beracha on Simhat Torah, so I guess it's the same.


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Date: Tue, 28 Sep 1999 10:04:47 EDT
From: Kenneth G Miller <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
Moaday Kadshecha

I don't know a lot of dikduk, but one of the rules I understand is that a
second-person singular possesive noun -- "your thing" -- (generally?)
ends with a shva-kaf-kamatz. However, if this word is at the end of a
phrase or sentence, the shva is replaced with a segol. Thus, for example,
we say "amcha yisrael" (with a shva) in Sim Shalom, but "yisrael amecha"
(with a segol) in Retzeh.

How does this rule apply to the phrase "moaday kadshecha" which is said
on Yom Tov, in the Amidah and in Kiddush?

In the Amidah, we have the phrase "V'hanchilenu... b'simchah uv'sasson
moaday kadshecha." Because the word "kadshecha" is at the end of this
phrase, the letter shin is properly voweled with a segol in every siddur
I've seen.

But in Kiddush, that phrase appears as "U'moaday kadshecha b'simcha
uv'sasson hinchaltanu." It seems to me that since "kadshecha" is not at
the end of the phrase, the shin should be vowelled with a shva na, and it
would be pronounced "kadsh'cha".

My problem is that the siddurim are not unanimous in this. Artscroll,
Rinas Yisrael, and many many others have the segol. Birnbaum, the old RCA
siddur, and Redelheim have the shva. The segol also appears in the vast
majority - but not all - of my Hagados.

I'd like to hear some input from the list about this. I can see at least
four possibilities:

(1) The rule as I described it is inaccurate or debated, and both the
segol and shva can be considered "correct".

(2) The rule is correct, the segol is wrong, and only a few editors have
corrected it.

(3) The rule is grammatically correct in theory, but the segol has become
traditional, similar to other cases in the Siddur. "Va-vo-vam" on Shabbos
is the best example that comes to my mind.

(4) I suppose one could also argue that the word order (object preceding
the verb) would need a comma, which would need the segol: "u'moaday
kadshEcha, b'simcha uv'sasson hinchaltanu."

Akiva Miller

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Date: Tue, 28 Sep 1999 11:04:14 EDT
From: Joelirich@aol.com
Re:Noraot harav

For those that asked - 

I spoke to the distributor and nothing has been done about reprinting back 
volumes or producing a hardcover compilation.  He expects this to occur 
eventually but not in the next 6 months.      )-:

Joel Rich

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Date: Tue, 28 Sep 1999 10:29:41 -0500
From: david.nadoff@bfkpn.com

There can be no question that g'matria is an hermeneutic principle of tannaitic
provenance.  It is explicitly included (along with notrikon) in the b'raisa of the 32 midos
shehaTora nidreshes
bahem found at the beginning of Midrash Hagodol on B'rayshis and quoted by the
Shalo"h (Torah Sheba'al Peh, Klal 1). It is generally used only for agadic
purposes, although
there are rare halachic applications like Shabbos 70a and Nazir 5a. There seems
to be general agreement that these halachik uses constitute asmachtos or mnemonics
Shalo"h, ibid., Payrush Haro"sh to Nazir 5a and Payrush Hamishnayos of Rambam on
Mishna there). G'matria is nevertheless a legitimate and hallowed method of
disclosing layers and aspects of the Tora's truth, at least in the agadic
sphere, and
should never be denigrated or dismissed as a game.

An interesting g'matria relating to Sucos on the verse Yoshev b'sayser elyon
b'tzayl Shakai
yislonan:   (dofen x 4 = 560) + (s'chach = 100) = (seser = 660). The miluyim of
the letters of
Shakai (yod and nun for shin; lamed and tav for dalet; and vav and dalet for
yod), referred to as
their tzayl, equal 500 -- the same as sucas dovid. From this, B'nay Y'sochor
suggests that we
sit within the shade of the dafnos and schach of the suca with  the hope to
hakomas sucas dovid.

Moadim L'simcha,
David (= chaim, using the method of g'matria known as haca'a, in which each
letter is squared;
= koach, using the method of g'matria known as reebu'a, i.e, d, dv, dvd; and =
dai, using the
standard method. Enough!)

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Date: Tue, 28 Sep 1999 11:42:48 -0400
From: richard_wolpoe@ibi.com
Minhag Ashkenaz, Piyyut

From: BACKON@vms.huji.ac.il
Subject: Tosafot and Ashkenaz: Addenda

I may have found another Tosafot that tries to reconcile different minhagim: 
Tosafot Chullin 47a d"h I' Shafchi  "vetov lizaher she'kol divreihem
divrei kabala".

And apropros: both Rashi and Tosafot (d"h U'le'erev asuru  Betza 24b) suddenly 
give us a "history lesson" on R. Kalonymous of Rome who is a "baki bechol 
ha'shas". Is this how they're telling us the old minhag ashkenaz is valid ??

Moadim L'Simcha


It is noteworthy that Rashi and Tosfos felt that not only was Minhag Ashkenaz 
{frequently} valid even in the face of the Bavli, but that the piyyutim were a 
legitimate source for drush etc.  Rashi in Chumash cites the "payyot" several 
times - Perhaps Dr. Hendel can furnish the specifics.

My point is not to CvS minimize the importance of the Bavli, it is to point out 
that there is more than JUST the Bavli.  And that it is a "faulty" premise to 
assume that every minhog MUST be reconciled to the Bavli or else it is to be 
deemed "wrong".  

Lemoshol: MTJ might have always paskend like R. Moshe when he disagreed with the
MB or the SA. Yet there is no way I know to learn Igros Moshe as a basic 
halachic text. So even within the confines of MTJ they would probably learn the 
SA/MB, but modify it on an as needed basis to conform to R. Moshe's decisions on
individual cases.  So too was the Bavli in Ashkenaz - as THE most complete text,
there was no comprehensive alternative, but those who learned it were probably 
aware of the various deviations that were due to Ashkenazic practice.       

The danger IMHO is that the pro-Bavli pendulum has swung too far, and people 
forget that within Ashkenaz there were otehr valid mesoros. They might have 
included Yerushalmi's Tosefta's Mechilto Sifro Sifrei, etc... 

So when you confront a piyyut like Amitz Koach, and you relaize it does not 
conform to the Bavli, rather than conclude it is in error or mistkaen, conclude 
that is was likely to reflect that alternate mesoroh that was in Ashekenaz. And 
that explains how Amitz Koach was accpeted as valid w/o reservation. Lehalocho 
one may now say, well we probably lean more to Bavli than did our Rishonic 
predecssors, but that does not mean the non-Bavli edition of the Avoda was 
invalid or possul, etc.

Now tampering with texts is a slippery slope.  Birnbaum - who omits various 
piyyutims fomr the machzor - decries tampering with a classic text such as the 
siddur.  And a Yasher koach to Artscroll for presenting both sides of the 
Mchnisei Rachamim controversy.  The text is left in, but we are informed that it
is a controversial, iow the text is untampered, but we are warned that many skip
parts of the text.

Similary, when the Rav says he doesn't say Ein Keilkeinu, it does NOT imply he 
wants it ripped out of the siddur.  There are simply those things in the Siddur 
that we say and those that we skip!  So it is not inconsistent for him to lament
the missing piyyutim from the Birnbaum, because even the unrecited piyyutim have
value!  (Perhaps academic value over liturgical...)

There is a a parallel here:
Some Gemoros  are learned but ignored legabei psak. 
Some Piyyutim are recited but ignored legabbei psak. 
Some Piyyutim are published but are not recited.

(Yet it woudl be questionable to remove those piyyutim form the text or to 
re-write them to be correct by today's standards) 

Gershon Dubin:
>> Only half true.  He   **preferred**   ata konanta because its language 
indicated to him that it was of much older (tekufas bais sheni) origin 
than the amitz koach.  He did not reject amitz koach. <snip>
He "darshened" many piyutim and brought proofs from them
to halacha/hashkafa positions he took in those derashos.  That would 
include a tefila such as amitz koach which,  while of more recent origin,
 is certainly "yesudaso beharrerei kodesh"<<

Let me emend what I said to mean that it was presented to me as a case that 
since the Rav held Ato Konanto was closer to the Bavli therefore he (i.e the one
who told this to me) considered it more authentic or superior to Amitz Koach. 
The Rav himself might not have drawn that conclusion.

Moadim Lesimcho
Rich Wolpoe

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Date: Tue, 28 Sep 1999 15:38:14 -0400 (EDT)
From: Sammy Ominsky <sambo@charm.net>
Re: Moaday Kadshecha

Akiva Miller wrote:

> I'd like to hear some input from the list about this. I can see at least
> four possibilities:
> (1) The rule as I described it is inaccurate or debated, and both the
> segol and shva can be considered "correct".
> (2) The rule is correct, the segol is wrong, and only a few editors have
> corrected it.
> (3) The rule is grammatically correct in theory, but the segol has become
> traditional, similar to other cases in the Siddur. "Va-vo-vam" on Shabbos
> is the best example that comes to my mind.
> (4) I suppose one could also argue that the word order (object preceding
> the verb) would need a comma, which would need the segol: "u'moaday
> kadshEcha, b'simcha uv'sasson hinchaltanu."

Interestingly, in my siddur (Ish Matzliah, by R' Meir Mazuz, _the_ recognized authority on dikduk
in the sefardi world) it is both 2 and 4. "Kad'shecha" (shva na), followed by a comma. 

You quote "u'moaday". Do you say that if the hag is on a weekday as well? We don't. it's "...
mikol-ha'amim (comma) mo'adei kad'shecha (comma) besimha u'vsasson hinhaltanu".

But yes, in the amida it says "mo'adei kadshEcha" with a segol. It seems, though, that the thought
is different here, with mo'adei kadshecha ending the phrase, and veyis'mehu vecha seperately ending
the thought. In which case the segol belongs.

Unfortunately, being in Baltimore, not B'nei Brak, it's hard for me to ask R' Mazuz questions


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Date: Tue, 28 Sep 1999 17:20:06 -0400 (EDT)
From: micha@aishdas.org (Micha Berger)
4 Minim: Ta'amei haMitzvah

I was trying to come up with a canonical list of significant features of the
4 minim, and trying to find an explanation for them.

The two best known ideas: taste and/or smell and parts of the body do
not uniquely specify the 4 minim. I am personally dissatisfied with the
Rambam's approach of "Something had to be chosen, and if the mitzvah would
have specified something else, you would have asked why that and not this."

Here's what I can think of off-hand. I'm excluding obvious issues like
sh'leimus, non-yaveish, lack of spots on the esrog, etc... which appear to
make sense regardless of the purpose behind the choice of these four fruit.

1- P'ri Eitz: sheta'am eitzo upiryo shaveh (as per Ma'aseh B'reishis)
2- Hadar:
   2a- Rav: Hadir (like a stable, both large and small are on the tree)
   2b- R' Avodhu: Hadar b'ilano mishanah lishanah
   2c- Ben Azai: Hydro (water); l'inyanei Tu Bishvat, it's a vegetable
3- Possibly the Eitz haDa'as
4- Bottom-to-top: Ukitz, indentation, rows of bumps, migdal, pitom, shoshanta
5- Heart
6- Taste and Smell (Torah and Mitzvos)

1- Kapas/Kapos timarim
2- Straight
3- Spine
4- Taste but no Smell (Torah w/out Mitzvos)

1- Anaf - braided
2- Three sticks of triplets of leaves
3- Ta'am eitzo upiryo shaveh (see Sukkah 32b)
4- Eyes
5- Smell but no [Nourishing] Taste (Mitzvos w/out Torah)

1- Arvei nachal - water
2- Red stems
3- Smooth leaves (at least in one direction)
4- Lips
5- No taste or smell (No Torah or Mitzvos)

Attached to the bottom of this email is an excerpt of something I wrote on
the meaning of esrog. Comments invited, of course. If we extend R' Kook's
idea a bit further, perhaps we can suggest that "rei'ach" are those things
in which the process can hint at the goal -- if someone chooses to "smell"

This would fit well with the idea that taste represents Torah wisdom and
smell represents mitzvah observance. By doing mitzvos one imparts a rei'ach
of Torah to the process -- the olam (from ne'elam) hagashmi.

But that's as far as I've gotten.


Micha Berger (973) 916-0287          MMG"H for 28-Sep-99: Shelishi
micha@aishdas.org                                         A"H 
http://www.aishdas.org                                    Pisachim 45a
For a mitzvah is a lamp, and the Torah its light.         Nefesh Hachaim II 10

6.1. The Tree and the Fruit

We sometimes find that the Torah, instead of spelling the halachah out, uses
a more poetic - if less direct - phrasing. One example is in the mitzvah to
take an esrog. Instead of just calling it an "exrog", we are told to take a
"p'ri eitz hadar", a fruit of a tree that is superior.

From a legal perspective, something is lost in this wording. We need to
rely on Torah sheBa'al Peh to know that the pasuk refers to an esrog in
particular. The description, though, can tell us something of the why. More is
conveyed on the level of aggadah, instead of writing out the halachic detail.

The gemara (Succah 35a) explains, "'P'ri eitz hadar' - that its fruit tastes
like the tree." Aggadah makes a distinction between an "eitz oseh p'ri",
a tree that makes fruit, and when the two words are juxtaposed to make
"eitz p'ri" or "p'ri eitz". In the latter case, it refers to either a tree
or a fruit, respectively, where the fruit and the tree share the same taste.

A famous medrash (B'reishis Rabba 5:9) comments on the language of the creation
of trees. Hashem orders the earth on the third day to produce "eitz p'ri oseh
p'ri", fruit trees that bring forth fruit, yet the land actually produces only
"eitz oseh p'ri". Between the commandment and the fulfillment, something is
lost. Instead of the norm being that the wood of the tree would taste like
the fruit, this is now the exception. Somehow, the earth "disobeyed".

What does this medrash mean? Does the earth have free will, that it can
choose to disobey G-d? Rav A.Y. Kook explains:

    At the inception of creation it was intended that the tree have the same
    taste as the fruit. All the supportive actions that sustain any general
    worthwhile spiritual goal should by right be experienced in the soul with
    the same feeling of elation and delight as the goal itself is experienced
    when we envision it. But earthly existence, the instability of life,
    the weariness of the spirit when confined in a corporate frame brought it
    about that only the fruition of the final step, which embodies the primary
    ideal, is experienced in its pleasure and splendor. The trees that bear
    the fruit, with all their necessity for the growth of the fruit have,
    however, become coarse matter and have lost their taste. This is the
    failing of the "earth" because of which it was cursed when Adam was also
    cursed for his sin. (Orot HaTeshuva 6:7 Translation by B. Z. Bokser,
    The Lights of Penitence in "Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook," published by
    Paulist Press in the "Classics of Western Spirituality" series)

But every defect is destined to be mended. Thus we are assured that the day
will come when creation will return to its original state, when the taste
of the tree will be the same as the taste of the fruit. The "earth" will
repent of its sin, and the way of the practical life will no longer obstruct
the delight of the ideal, which is sustained by appropriate intermediate
steps on its way toward realization, and will stimulate its emergence from
potentiality to actuality. To R. Kook, this enigmatic medrash defines the
nature of kidushah. In the metaphor of this medrash, "fruit" refers to
the goal, and the "tree" is the means. In the ideal world, the tree would
share the taste of the fruit, that is to say, the means for achieving a
spiritual goal would generate the same excitement as the goal does. The soul
doesn't feel the same spiritual high because the earth, the physical world,
separated itself from the soul. The "new earth and new heavens" (Isaiah 65:17)
of the messianic age will come when this rift is healed. Returning to esrog,
it by saying "p'ri eitz", the Torah is telling us that the esrog is chosen
in part because it exemplifies this ideal. It represents the underlying
unity of secular and sacred.

However, the gemara continues, this does not uniquely identify the esrog! Don't
pepper plants also taste like peppers? Interestingly, the gemara elsewhere
(Succah 32b) ascribes the same property to hadasim. After proving this point,
the gemara looks to the next word, hadar, to provide more stringent criteria.

Rav, after some clarification, indicates that the word should be read as though
it were "hadir", the stable. Just as a stable has large livestock and small,
so to an esrog tree bears both large fruit and small. This describes the esrog,
which continues growing on the tree from one season to the next. At any time,
there are young fruit as well as larger ones that have been growing from
previous seasons. Rav Avohu presents the same idea slightly differently. He
reads the word as "ha-dar", that which lives, a fruit that lives on the tree
from one year to the next.

"R. Yochanan haSandlar says: Any congregation which is for the sake of heaven
will end up being permanent." (Avos 4:14) "Any debate which is for the sake
of heaven will end up being permanent." (Avos 5:16) The key to permanence
is in using the day-to-day in service of the sacred. By using means toward
their intended ends.

The last opinion offered is Ben Azai's. He finds in "hadar" a reference to
the Greek "hador" (c.g. the English "hydrolics", "hydroponics", etc...),
water. The esrog requires far more water than other trees.

"Water is never anything but Torah". The way in which one learns how to
properly unify the secular and the sacred is the Torah. The entire concept
of a halachic lifestyle is to bring sanctity to our daily activities.

This provides two approaches to the concept of hadar. To Rav and Rav Avohu,
the esrog is more of a p'ri eitz than most because it shares more properties
with the thing a p'ri eitz represents. Hadar means that esrog is a superior
metaphor. To Ben Azai, what is important is not merely the concept, what is
hadar is that it carries an implied imperative - that one should act to heal
this flaw. Rav Kook describes the relationship between chol and kodesh as
a consequence of the connection between the means and the purpose. Chol,
the physical world, exists to be the means for achieving kidushah. When
we looked at tum'ah and taharah, we spoke about freeing the ruach from the
influence of the nefesh. But being free is not enough. Freedom only has value
if we use it to seek some purpose. The ultimate purpose is the spiritual,
the drives of the neshamah.

Go to top.


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