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Volume 06 : Number 153

Sunday, March 11 2001

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Thu, 8 Mar 2001 23:34:32 +0200
From: "Carl and Adina Sherer" <sherer@actcom.co.il>
Re: Purim seudah on Friday

On 8 Mar 01, at 13:58, C1A1Brown@aol.com wrote:
>> therefore although both are reading on Thursday the "ben prazim"
>> has a stronger obligation and cannot be yotzeh by a mukaf chomah.

> However, R' Akiva Eiger at the beg. of Megilla points out that it is
> mashma from Rashi that when the bnei hakefarim come to the city a ben
> ir reads for them, even though the ben ir has no chiyuv till the 14th
> (Turei Even writes Rashi means the bnei hakefarim would read along milah
> b'milah, but this is not pashut pshat in Rashi, see T"Y on the first
> Mishna in Meg.)

I think the better comparison would be in a normal year when if a 
mukaf read for a paruz on the 14th. Would that be the same din? 
What if the Mukaf was reading for the paruz on the night of the 14th 
and intends to return to Yerushalayim before alos? What if 
l'maaseh he doesn't leave? What about a paruz reading for a mukaf 
on the 15th? There not only does the paruz have no chiyuv - he has 
already been yotzei. Is that weaker? (OTOH, when I was a bachur, 
we spent the 14th outside Yerushalayim and the 15th in 
Yerushalayim and we always assumed we had a real chiyuv on the 
15th albeit not as strong a chiyuv as someone who spent the 14th 
in Yerushalayim).

-- Carl

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Date: Thu, 8 Mar 2001 23:34:37 +0200
From: "Carl and Adina Sherer" <sherer@actcom.co.il>
Re: Purim seudah on Friday

On 8 Mar 01, at 4:41, Menachem Burack wrote:
> Rav Zvi Pesach Frank in Mikoei Kodesh (I think siman 51) says that since the
> "ben prazim" is chayav midivrei kabbala (neviim) and this year the mukaf
> chomah is only chayav midivrei chochomim (the halacha for a mukaf chomah to
> read on tes-vov is midivrei kabala but when Purim falls on Shabbos Chochmim
> were mesaken to lein on Thursday) - therefore although both are reading on
> Thursday the "ben prazim" has a stronger obligation and cannot be yotzeh by
> a mukaf chomah.

If that's the case, all of the Mukafim should be able to make themselves
into pruzim bnei yoman and attain the higher level of chiyuv. According
to the Mishna Brura, even though I already heard Megilla tonight, I can
still make myself into a paruz ben yomo by leaving Yerushalayim before
alos. But I heard Megilla IN Yerushalayim (okay, not bein ha'chomos). So
are you saying I would have to hear it again if I decided to leave
Yerushalayim tonight? According to the Chazon Ish this is not an issue,
because where you are at tzeis is what is kovea.

-- Carl

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Date: Fri, 9 Mar 2001 09:19:17 EST
From: C1A1Brown@aol.com
Re: Purim seudah on Friday

> I think the better comparison would be in a normal year when if a 
> mukaf read for a paruz on the 14th. Would that be the same din?

That gufa is why Tos. in Yevamos 14a is choleik on Rashi.  The Yerushalmi 
writes that a ben ir cannot be motzi a ben krach (on 15), and there is a 
safek if a ben krach can be motzi a ben ir (bec. hakol yotzin b"14 b'dieved). 
 Pashut pshat is that a ben ir whose chiyuv is on 14 cannot read for a ben 
kfar on 11,12,13.  However, the Yershalmi doesn't say that explicitely, and 
it is mashma from Rashi and R"AB that the ben ir can read for a ben kfar.  R' 
Akiva Eiger and the Tiferes Yisrael discuss.

Voss iz der chiluk (to borrow YGB's formula) acc. to Rashi between a ben ir 
reading for a ben krach on 15 and a ben ir reading for a ben kfar on 11,12,13?

Good Purim!

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Date: Thu, 08 Mar 2001 20:10:51 -0600
From: "Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Re: Toras Purim

At 01:49 PM 3/8/01 -0500, Gershon Dubin wrote:
>         I too was going to ask for elaboration,  as I understood this
>part but not what it had to do with Chatzar Adar,  nor what the five
>locations are or what they mean.  Spell it out for us dummies,  please.

Ah, certain Toireh can only be said with the proper hashro'oh. Call me 
during the se'udah :-) - toorrow after 12 noon (or tonight after 11:00 p.m. 
my time - one hour earlier than you. 773 267 6963. But remember: Half of 
Rah  (Chetz Resh) = 145, Kahal.

[Sorry, I approved this email to late for RGD to see it in time to call.

ygb@aishdas.org      http://www.aishdas.org/rygb

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Date: Fri, 9 Mar 2001 09:25:34 EST
From: C1A1Brown@aol.com
Meg. thought

The Megilla ends with telling us that the episode of Purim was recorded in 
the books of malchei paras u'madai (10:2).

Why is this relevant to us and included in the Meg.?

I think pshat is based on the gem. in Meg. 7 that when Esther asked kav'uni 
l'doros the Chachamim answered that celebrating Purim would be m'oreir sinah 
among the aku"m (aside: it is a pliya that Chazal were willing to be doche 
being kovea Purim bec. of the impression it would make on the aku"m, and I 
don't think it means pikuach nefesh per se!).  Esther responded that the 
aku"m already know what happened from the chronicles of malchei paras u'madai.

So the meg, is not just telling us history, but the record of malchei paras 
u'madai is a 'matir' to be koveia the whole Y"T.


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Date: Fri, 9 Mar 2001 16:44:10 +0200
From: "Carl and Adina Sherer" <sherer@actcom.co.il>
Bar Mitzva on Purim

In an earlier post on the Halachic issues for Purim in Yerushalayim
I wrote:

"6. I saw brought down that if a boy becomes Bar Mitzva on Shabbos he
has to read the Megilla on Shabbos. Why is this not a Shema Yaaveerenu
problem? I guess because there's no choice, since the alternative would
be to mevatel the mitzva altogether. It's good our calendar doesn't
allow the second day of Rosh HaShana to come on Shabbos or we could
theoretically have the same problem.... "

One of the chaverim wrote me privately and asked for a source. It's 
brought in Mikroei Kodesh of R. Zvi Pesach Frank Siman 52. 

I thought of one other din that we have in Yerushalayim - there's a 
din of "shoalin v'dorshin" in Hilchos Purim here tomorrow. Now 
granted that there is always a din to be shoel v'doresh in Hilchos 
Chag b'Chag, but in the ordinary case, I think Purim gets short 
shrift in that area. Not this year. My shul has a shiur tomorrow 
afternoon by one of the talmidei chachamim who lives in the 
neighborhood (R. Avraham Yaakov Zalaznik), and since it's after 
my nap time, I have a better chance than usual of being awake 
BE"H :-)  

Freilichen Purim.
-- Carl

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Date: Sun, 11 Mar 2001 01:50:27 +0200
From: "Carl and Adina Sherer" <sherer@actcom.co.il>
Re: Bar Mitzva on Purim

On 9 Mar 01, at 13:19, avodah@aishdas.org wrote:
> "6. I saw brought down that if a boy becomes Bar Mitzva on 
> Shabbos he has to read the Megilla on Shabbos. Why is this not a 
> Shema Yaaveerenu problem? I guess because there's no choice, 
> since the alternative would be to mevatel the mitzva altogether..."

> One of the chaverim wrote me privately and asked for a source. It's 
> brought in Mikroei Kodesh of R. Zvi Pesach Frank Siman 52. 

Actually, my original source for this was a review of the dinim of 
Purim Meshulash that went up on the bulletin board in shul along 
with the davening schedule. That review was replaced, and over 
Shabbos I looked at the Mikroei Kodesh inside and found out why. 
Although he does raise a hava amina that a Bar Mitzva boy on 15 
Adar on Shabbos in Yerushalayim should read Megilla. However, 
l'Maskana he says otherwise - Ayein Sham.

> I thought of one other din that we have in Yerushalayim - there's a 
> din of "shoalin v'dorshin" in Hilchos Purim here tomorrow. Now 
> granted that there is always a din to be shoel v'doresh in Hilchos 
> Chag b'Chag, but in the ordinary case, I think Purim gets short 
> shrift in that area. Not this year. My shul has a shiur tomorrow 
> afternoon by one of the talmidei chachamim who lives in the 
> neighborhood (R. Avraham Yaakov Zalaznik), 

I got the first name wrong. It was R. Dov Aaron Zalaznik.

Freilichen Purim (yup, we're still celebrating here).
-- Carl

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Date: Sun, 11 Mar 2001 10:10:02 +0200
From: Chaim Turkel - Israel <ChaimT@gilat.com>
Half a purim

This past Shabbat, I had guests from Jerusalem. We seemed to overlook the
problem of one coming from Mukaf to Prazot. I looked it up, and there seem
to be than all possible combinations have been made. I would like to point
out, that for the view that if you left Jerusalem on Friday for Shabbat, you
are not considered part of Jerusalem (the more logical one). Than it turns
out that you have forfilled only half of Purim. The migila you did no matter
what you are (mukaf or prazot), but the rest you cannot forfill.

Chaim Turkel
E-mail: chaimt@gilat.com

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Date: Sun, 11 Mar 2001 04:42:06 +1100
From: "SBA" <sba@blaze.net.au>
ush'lolom lovoz

A pshat from the Chasam Sofer z'l in Al Hanissim:
"Keshe'omad aleihem Homon Horosho bikesh ...laharog...
es kol hayehudim...ush'lolom lovoz"

He asks the obvious question, here we are talking about Homon attempting
to wipe out Klall Yisroel and we seem concerned about " ush'lolom lovoz"
- the goyim looting our possessions !?

The CS answers, that 'ush'lolom lovoz' was part of Homon's gezeiroh -
ie that the person who kills a Yid RL, will become the owner of that
Jews fortune. This was done to encourage the goyim to join in the killing
of Jews...

The Ksav Sofer z'l explains thru this the posuk "hakessef nosun loch
veho'om laasos bo katov b'einecho". Lechoreh, it should have stated:
"Veho'om - aseh bo katov b'einecho".

But according to the above pshat, Homon offered the 10,000 shekel to make
up for the loss to Achashverosh of the Jews' possessions which normally
would belong to the king, but he - Homon - wanted for the killers.

But Achashverosh told him: "Hakesef Nosun loch" - keep your 10,000
shkolim, "Ve'ho'om" and the people (the killers) 'laasos bo" - may do
with the Jews, 'katov b'einecho" - as you wish, ie - keep the loot...


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Date: Thu, 8 Mar 2001 23:34:33 +0200
From: "Carl and Adina Sherer" <sherer@actcom.co.il>
RE: Rt, Mincha/Maariv

On 8 Mar 01, at 12:39, Wolpoe, Richard wrote:
> the Piskeiy MB "sham" sk 3
> 1) Lechatchila until shkia
> 2) Bedi'avad and bish'as hadchak gadol 13.5 minutes after Shkiah

1. Could it be that 13.5 minutes after shkiya was specific to Radin? 
For example, I know that it is generally accepted that shkiya in 
Yerushalayim is 2.5 minutes after what is listed on most luchos. In 
New York that is 7 minutes, although I heard in Rav Moshe's name 
20 minutes. Could 13.5 minutes have been specific to Radin?

2. Isn't it always the case that if you are anus and don't daven 
Mincha, you can follow RT and daven even more after shkiya so 
long as you wait at least 72 for Maariv?

Freilichen Purim!

-- Carl

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Date: Fri, 9 Mar 2001 10:02:14 EST
From: Phyllostac@aol.com
Chasam Sofer re nightfall

From: Phyllostac@aol.com
> I heard an address a while ago by the renowned Rabbi Dr. Shneur Z. Leiman....
>           when the teshuvos (or another sefer) of the Chasam Sofer were...
> that they davened maariv 20 something minutes after the shkia and perhaps ten
> minutes later on (motzei)  Shabbos...
> Someone didn't like those numbers evidently - so he changed them to be more
> in line with the Rabbeinu Tam shita.
From: Moshe Shulman <mshulman@ix.netcom.com>
: Considering that he has a tshuva that states clearly that he holds like RT 
: (as did his father in law R. Akiva Eiger) I find this quite intetresting.

I was just reporting what I heard from a famous authority. As I recall,
the change was to a list of minhagei Pressburg recorded by the Chasam
Sofer and appended to the sefer. It is possible that the minhag Pressburg
was different than the Chasam Sofer's personal view.

Also, could you please give the mareh mokom for the tshuvah you cite.

A freilichen Purim - 
Mordechai (being mikayeim mitzva deoraysa of talmud Torah on Purim not 'under 
the influence')

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Date: Sun, 11 Mar 2001 01:26:46 -0500
From: Isaac A Zlochower <zlochoia@bellatlantic.net>
RTam and astronomical tables

I fail to understand some of the critiques of the astronomical tables
for sunrise, sunset, and duration of twilight such as those produced by
the US Naval Observatory that are available from their website.  Dr.
Mechy Frankel claims that those tables are based on the center position
of the sun and do not take atmospheric refraction of the solar rays into

While I do not claim expertise in the relevant calculations, nor do I
know the equations actually used by the Observatory for their
calculations - I do note what the Naval Observatory has to say about
their definitions of sunrise and sunset.

"For computational purposes, sunrise or sunset is defined to occur when
the geometric zenith distance of the center of the sun is 90.8333
degress [0.8333 deg. below the local horizon - YZ].  That is, the center
of the sun is geometrically 50 arcminutes below a horizontal plane.  For
an observer at sea level with a level unobstructed horizon under average
atmospheric conditions, the upper limb of the sun will then appear to be
tangent to the horizon.   The 50 arcminute geometric depression of the
sun's center used for the computations is obtained by adding the average
apparent radius of the sun (16 arcminutes -[the apparent angle subtended
by the sun - YZ]) to the average amount of atmospheric refraction at the
horizon (34 arcminutes)."

So, the Naval Observatory, at least, does take the apparent size of the
solar disk and some average of the refraction of solar rays when the sun
is somewhat below the horizon into account.  The Observatory goes on to
discuss the accuracy of the computations.

"The times of rise and set phenomena cannot be precisely computed,
because, in practice, the actual times depend on unpredicatable
atmospheric conditions that affect the amount of refraction at the
horizon.  Thus, even under ideal conditions (a clear sky at sea) the
times computed for rise and set may be in error by a minute or more.
Local topography (e.g. mountains on the horizon) and the height
[altitude - YZ]of the observer can affect the times of rise and set even

Since sunset as seen from sea level (the table values) occurs some
minutes before sunset as seen from mount Carmel - the reference point
used by some authorities, then use of the tables (subtracting a few
minutes for possible atmospheric conditions) should be acceptable
(IMHO).  The question of bein hashemoshot is, however, complicated (even
without the shita of Rabbenu Tam) by a definition of zeman tzet
hakochavim.  What star sightings are to be used as the criteria for
nightfall?  Mechy's simple 3 "medium" stars (I also used that criteria
in my younger days) would not be accepted by many poskim based on some
criteria mentioned near the beginning of  Yerushalmi Berachot.  The
stars should be "close" according to one criterion.  Then there is the
puzzling statement that the proof stars must be average in both
brightness and size.  As far as I know, prior to more recent centuries
the only distinction made in stars (not planets) was whether they were
sufficiently distant from the solar system as to be considered "fixed"
(relative positions unchanged as the earth moves from one side of the
sun to the other in its orbit).   There was no way of establishing
absolute size.  In any case, the practical implication of the latter
"kepeda" was that we need to sight 3 "small" stars.  It would have been
desirable for the sages and the later poskim to have specified certain
star groupings as being adequate for determining night such as the stars
in the "belt" or the constellation Orion (or perhaps the "sword").  In
the absence of such guidance, what stars shall we use?  The astronomical
tables from secular sources are of little help here since they give
twilight times according to only a few conventional definitions:
end of civil twilight - when the solar center is 6 deg. below the
   "   "  nautical "       - "        "       "       "         12
"       "        "     "
   "   "  astronomical "  "        "        "      "          18 "
"        "     "

Civil twilight roughly approximates the bein hashemoshot of the Gaon -
if we use the 3 "medium" star criterion.  Reasonably accurate tables
based on various times after sunset for bein hashemoshot according to
the leading opinions that are consistent with astronomical observations
would be valuable.  I understand that such tables are available -
possibly even on the internet.  Does anyone have information on their
accuracy?  I assume that such tables published by Dr. Yehuda (Leo) Levi
would be reliable since he is an expert on optical phenomena.

Yitzchok Zlochower

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Date: Sun, 11 Mar 2001 13:18:55 -0500
From: "Noah S. Rothstein" <noahrothstein@mindspring.com>
Re: Tartei D'Asrei

From: "Stein, Aryeh E." <aes@ll-f.com>
> In Halichos Shlomo ("HS"), it is brought that RSZA was "against" early
> minyanim on Friday nights and that b'nei torah should daven b'zman. (I
> forget the exact lashon; if anyone wishes, I can check the HS.)

Thank you for replying.

I would be interested in knowing the reason. My understanding is that
it says in halacha that it is best for one to daaven maariv after tseis
but that most poskim hold just the opposite the erev Shabbos- that b/c
of the greatness of tosfos Shabbos it is praiseworthy to daven maariv
and make kiddush early on Friday night.

- Noach

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Date: Sun, 11 Mar 2001 13:28:29 -0500
From: "Noah S. Rothstein" <noahrothstein@mindspring.com>
Latest Time for Mincha

From: Kenneth G Miller <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
>See also Archos
> Rabbenu, vol. III, p. 225, where the Chazon Ish is quoted that even prior
> to shekiyah, if one will not have enough time to finish praying before
> shekiyah he should refrain from praying Minchah and instead recite the
> Shemoneh Esreh of Ma'ariv twice!

That is actually a question in general about whether starting shmoneh
esrai before the deadline in question is sufficient. I believe that it
is also applicable to z'man tefilah and chatzos for shacharis and alos
hashachar for maariv.

I recall hearing that the shito that says that merely starting is
sufficient bases it on a posuk
in Bereishis regarding Yitzchok Avinu but I don't recall which one.

Hopefully someone will elaborate and clarify.

Thank you.
- Noach

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Date: Thu, 8 Mar 2001 16:33:17 -0500
From: "Wolpoe, Richard" <Richard_Wolpoe@ibi.com>
RE: Rabbinic authority

R' Richard Wolpoe wrote:
> The authority for Halachah was vested in the Sanhedrin At the Churban,

Akiva Miller:
: Was it that late in history? Who had the authority before that? I thought
: that the authority began with Moshe Rabenu and the Zekenim. The Zekenim,
: as a group, were later referred to as the Anshei Knesses Hagedolah, and
: as the Sanhedrin, but those name changes did not impact on the question
: at hand. Or did it?

The Bes Din Hagadol (BDG)is derived form the shi'vim hazkeinim. The Bes
Din in the Lishka was vested with the authority of Torah She'bal Peh
(See Rambam's Yad Hil. Mamrim 1:1)

The name Sanhedrin is a later (Greek) term for an older institution. 

The Anshei Knesses Hagdola (AKG) is referred to at times as Ezra uveis
Dino. I don't assume that Ezra was necessarily a contemporary of Shimon
hatzaddik any more than I assume Derek Jeter is a contemporary of Babe
Ruth because he plays in the House that Ruth Built. Ezra INSTITUTED
this Bes Din, it survived as AKG for several generations. Ezra got the
proverbial ball rolling.

Why Ezra?

Well he started Bayis Sheini. Therefore a Bes Din Hagadol in the lishka
has to get off the ground somehow. Ezra probably appointed all 70.
But - the Anshei Knesses hagedola were 120! I dunno how that worked
exactly. After the first 70, there was {probably} turnover that included
50 succesors. At somepoint there must have been a BDG w/o AKG, because
Shimon HaTzazddik was one of the last (circa 325 BCE when Alexander the
Great came to Yerushalyaim). Yet BDG continued.


re: the Greek term Sanhedrin, {like ther term Senate and perhaps even
Soviet}, it is a term for a council that has authority. It is likely
that the Sanhedrin in the lishka was a HOLY Sanehedrin and that there
were civil or secular "Sanhedrins" in parallel. (source: Professor Reiner
at BRGS)


Good Purim
Rich Wolpoe

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Date: Thu, 8 Mar 2001 16:54:31 -0500
From: "Feldman, Mark" <MFeldman@CM-P.COM>
RE: making brachos on Sifrei Torah

From: Feldman, Mark 
> Somehow, I thought that there's a tzad l'hakel based on the [Machaber and]
> Ramo who says that b'dievad (and I mean b'dievad--when it was 
> unwittingly done) one can rely on the shittah that one may be 
> yotzai kriyas hatorah on a sefer torah which one *knows* to 
> be pasul...

> Could someone please find the cite to that Ramo?

Thank you, RYZ, for pointing me to OC 143:4.  See also MB sk 13, which has a
nice overview of the issue.  Based on this, and particularly the fact that
when a mistake is found we don't start again at the beginning, I am
surprised that anyone would create a chumrah not to make more brachos on a
sefer torah not checked by the Vaad.  Isn't this the classic case of motzi
laaz al rishonim?--until the Vaad, people felt that their sifrei torah were
"good enough" to make brachos upon.

Kol tuv,

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Date: Thu, 8 Mar 2001 17:52:16 -0500
From: "Seth Mandel" <seth.mandel@sacapital.com>
Re: parshat zachor

> I've been doing some research into the nature of the chiyuv of zachor
> and ma nishtana hazachor hazeh which requires a special kria. It appears
> to me that those who say that the chiyuv of kriat parshat zachor(vs just
> talking about it) is duraita base it on the gemora in megila 18b which
> uses a gezera shava (zchira,zchira) between the megila and the tora. Any
> ideas how a limud based on such a gzera shava would be considered
> duraita?

I have waited with this until well after the ma'ase to prevent too many
brickbats from being thrown. But, as I seem to recall mentioning in the
past, this whole idea is a late invention.

I am not talking, of course, about the idea that parshas zakhor is
d'orayso. The source of that is the famous Tosfos on B'rokhos 13a that
mentions both parshas zakhor and parshas poro are d'orayso. It does not
say that the reason is because the q'riah of parshas zakhor includes the
word zakhor, nor give any reason at all. Some of the aharonim, convinced
by the notion that the posuq "zakhor" does indeed refer to some sort of
public reading, have edited Tosfos to remove the word parshas poro. I
believe the first to do so was the Maharshal. But factually he is wrong:
all of the older printings, all manuscripts, and all rishonim (whithout
exception) that quote this view fully mention both parshas zakhor and
parshas poro (e.g. Tosfos hoRosh on Brokhos and the Ritva in Megilla).

Your question would indeed be a good one, were it true. Of all the
so-called "6 zkhiros" none involve a public reading. Indeed, none
involve ANY reading or recitation (saying these in the morning has no
basis whatsoever in halokho and only has a purpose 'al pi qabbolo) with
the exception of z'khiras shabbos, which does involve proclaiming orally
that the shabbos day is holy. When was the last time you heard someone
claim that that means you have to read the parsho of zakhor es yom
hashabbos from the Torah every shabbos?! Furthermore, when Shmuel told
Shaul to kill Amaleq, the only occasion in the T'NaKh that we find the
mitzva of zakhor observed, he did not even use the exact words of the
zakhor, so he certainly wasn't leining it from a sefer Torah.

Rather, any p'shat in Tosfos must explain how parshas Poro can also be
d'orayso, since it lacks the supposed magic word of z'khira.

To me, the answer is poshut, and the fact that people don't see the
answer is a result of the Rambam's overwhelming influence in Europe on
basic matters that started, if I am correct, with the Enlightenment.
Such things that are "gor poshut" to everyone today, such as the 13
principles of faith (or at least what little people understand of them
based on the various popularized versions) and the Rambam's principles
about how to count the 613 mitzvos d'orayso, were NOT a matter of common
acceptence by Jews in Christian Europe at the time of the Rambam nor for
some many years thereafter.

The Rambam's First Principle in Sefer haMitzvos is that a mitzvo
d'rabbonon cannot be counted as one of the 613. This, to us, and to the
Rambam, looks to be a simple matter of common sense. But, as the Rambam
notes, his predecessors counted miqro megillo, ner hanukka, 100 b'rakhos
every day, nihum avelim, hallel, and other things among the 613 mitzvos
of the Torah. The B'HaG did, R. Sa'adya Gaon did, the S'MaG did, just to
mention the biggies. But in fact, everyone preceding the Rambam that we
know of counted at least one or two mitzvos that to us are clearly
d'rabbonon among the 613 mitzvos of the Torah. My goodness, leapin'
lizards, what could they all have been thinking?

And let me show you something else, a siman right there in the SA in
front of everyone's eyes, and not in the middle of Hoshen Mishpat,
either: OH, siman 580: "On the following days when tzoros befell our
ancestors, it is proper to fast." (Included, of course, is the 7th of
Ador. Tell all the people, and, as R. Joel Rich notes, the custom is
indeed widespread nowadays, that think there is some excuse not to say
tahanun on that day, that although it is clear you do say tahanun then,
there is an inyan to fast, mentioned by such obscure sources as the SA
and the MB. Just see what an enthusiastic response you get then!)

This siman in the SA is lifted word for word from the Tur, except that
the M'habber, k'darko in the SA, is m'qattzer and does not list the
Tur's source. Listen to how the Tur brings this: "The B'HaG wrote that
on the following days one must fast *min haTorah,* and one may not eat
or drink until nightfall.[he enumerates, and finishes saying] The
abovementioned days are those that *Yisrael received min haTorah*."
Asterisks added by me. And lest you mistake the B'HaG's drift, after
counting all the days that one must fast min haTorah, he adds (again,
quoting from the Tur, corresponding to siman 580:3): "[In addition,]
Rabbosenu were gozer the following occasions to fast." The Tur himself
does not apparently have a problem with the B'HaG that these would be
d'orayso. The Beis Yosef, of course, having the Rambam's view ingrained
in him, notes there that "even thought these fasts are taqqonos
Hakhomim, nevertheless you can call them "min haTorah since." However,
the B'HaG clearly felt that there is no problem calling them min haTorah
or d'orayso, any more than he had a problem counting miqro m'gilla among
the 613 mitzvos given to Moshe Rabbenu.

I am not going to go into what this shitta really means; people complain
that my posts are too long as it is (and I agree, but my shorter posts
have led to too much misunderstanding). But, once you realize that this
shitta exists, I don't think it is too hard to explain it conceptually.
You just have to turn your back on the Rambam's logical framework, and
that is what is hard for many people nowadays.

At any rate, there are a couple of Tosfos I have noted along the road
that seem to accept some of the premises common before the Rambam's
logic swept the playing arena in this regard. It is clear, at least to
me, that this Tosfos about parshas Zakhor and parshas Poro fits squarely
in that non-Maimodean framework. Tell me, why should it be any harder to
coneive of Parshas Poro as being d'orayso if ner hanukka is d'orayso or
miqro m'gilla? And the same for Parshas Zakhor: not because it has the
word "zakhor," but precisely because it is like Pashas Poro.

So, you will ask me, then why not the other 4 parshiyos also? Well,
Tosfos does imply that reading other parshiyos are d'orayso, since it
says "[the g'moro] is talking about cases where the parshiyos are
required to be read d'orayso, for example parshas Zakhor and parshas
Poro." To me that means that there are others, and they may well include
the others of the 4 parshiyos. Then again, maybe not, but I can find
hilluqim to explain why these two are, for instance, and not Parshas

Of course, the Rambam doesn't mention anything about parshas Zakhor
being d'orayso. Good heavens, he doesn't even consider the mitzva of
z'khrias 'Amoleq as being d'orayso unless you are about to be m'qayyem
the mitzva of m'hiyyas 'Amoleq. As mentioned in other posts, the Rambam
thinks that neither can be applicable nowadays, and so they are both
excluded from the list the Rambam gives at the end of the Asehs in Sefer
haMitzvos of the mitzvos that are noheg bizman hazzeh. But even when
there could have been a mitzva d'orayso of z'khiras 'Amoleq, it is clear
from the Rambam both in hil. M'lokhim and in hil. T'fillo when he talks
about parshas Zakhor that parshas Zakhor is just a taqqono d'rabbonon
regarding the leining, just like leining certain parshiyon during the
yomim tovim.

What I am claiming is that this is because the whole idea of parshas
Zakhor being d'orayso did not exist according to the Rambam's framework,
any more than parshas Poro being d'orayso. The whole idea that somehow
the q'riah of parshas Zakhor is connected with the mitzva of z'khiras
'Amoleq is a very late invention, is not correct according to any
rishon, and required the understanding of the mitzva of z'khrias 'Amoleq
to undergo several gilgulim before it became conceivable.

The G'moro that R. Joel quotes in M'gilla 18a indeed has led some people
(astray, in my opinion) into thinking that the g'moro itself indicates
that parshas zakhor must be done from a sefer just like miqro m'gillo.
The g'moro says: "how do we know that one who reads the m'gilla by heart
is not yotze? Rovo says: you learn z'khira z'khira. By the m'gilla it
says 'v'hayyamim ha'elle nizkarim' and by 'Amoleq it says 'k'tov zot
zikkaron bassefer': just as over there it is basefer, so here too [by
m'gilla] it must be basefer. But how do you know that that z'khira means
reading, maybe it just means plain 'iyyun? No, you can't say that,
because it says 'zakhor': maybe this means in the heart? No, it says 'lo
tishkah' and that covers not forgetting, so how are you m'qayyem zakhor?
With the mouth."

This would seem to mean clearly that zakhor means mentioning something
orally, and we also learn from 'Amoleq that it has to be from a sefer,
and so we learn that the m'gilla must be read out loud from a sefer.

The question is the status of this in halokho. No rishon quotes this
g'moro lahalokho as meaning that any of the times the Torah mentions
zakhor, including z'khiras 'Amoleq, it requires reading out loud, far
less from a sefer Torah. Even the Rosh ad loc. doesn't quote this
g'moro, nor does the Rif, although they all, without exception, bring
the following g'moro that you may write a m'gilla in Greek and read it
in Greek for Greeks, or in Coptic for Copts, etc. Nor does any rishon
attempt to use this g'moro to prove that at the very least reading the
Torah once a year should be d'orayso, so that we can be m'qayyem the
purported mitzva of saying each of the z'khiros from the sefer; the
rishonim who mention the custom of EY of reading the Torah over the
course of 3 or 3.5 years do not seem to see any problem with that.

I think it is apparent that all the rishonim take this g'moro as just an
asmakhto b'almo for reading the m'gilla out loud from a qlaf, something
that was part of the taqqono of hazal of reading the m'gilla. After all,
it is clear that reading the story was part of the taqqono of Purim from
the time of Mordokhai and Esther. One is certainly not going to claim
that reading the m'gillo on Purim is a d'orayso learned out from here (I
don't even think that this is the logic even of the B'HaG).

If you still want to go against all the rishonim and say that this
g'moro is indeed lahalokho, I encourage you to get a minyan together
every shabbos to lein zakhor es yom hashabbos, and maybe on Miryam's
yohrtzeit to lein about her zakhor, and also for mon,

And, to end with the plaintive wail of a CQ: even according to this
modern idea that parshas Zakhor is d'orayso because purported you are
m'qayyem some mitzva of z'khiras 'Amoleq, why, oh why, should that
require you to take any more care in leining it than any other part of
the Torah? Adrabbo, for sure mitzvas z'khiras 'Amoleq does not require
you to recite the posuq word for word in Hebrew.

Curmudgeonly yours,
Seth Mandel

Go to top.

Date: Fri, 9 Mar 2001 10:10:20 EST
From: Phyllostac@aol.com
learning Hilchos Aveilus

From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@juno.com>
> I was told tonight by someone that the Chasam Sofer opposed anyone
> (except rabbonim) learning hilchos aveilus,  and that dire things had
> happened to all the members of a certain chabura (IIRC in Lakewood many
> years ago) who undertook this limud.

I have not heard the story but am inclined to agree with R. Gershon.

People say that preparing 'karka' (a burial plot) for oneself is a segula for 
arichas yomim. So, using that same or similar logic, couldn't we say that 
learning hilchos aveilus is a segula for not needing to avail oneself of the 


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