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Volume 12 : Number 099

Sunday, February 22 2004

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Wed, 18 Feb 2004 15:04:06 -0500 (EST)
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Euphemisms and Idioms

R Akiva Miller wrote:
> One might suggest that in all cases, a ramp allows one to sort of
> "shuffle" along without putting much distance between the legs at all, and
> that this cannot be done even on a very shallow staircase. But according to
> the Mishna (Yoma 2:1) the kohanim used to "run up the ramp", literally
> racing each other to the top, and this would seem to preclude this sort of
> "shuffling".

But not the kohein gadol, who also had to be accomodated. The me'il is
generally understood to be full-length, but the kohein hedyot's kutones was
only a shirt. Even if it was mid-calf, like our first cousins wear, it was
nothing you'd trip on.

> If the word "ratz" in that Mishna means anything even similar to what we
> mean in English by the word "run", then they *did* put significant distance
> between their legs...

(Back when I was going for my MS, I wrote some software trying to get a
four-legged robot to balance while walking on rugged terraine. Why rugged?
Because smooth terrain can be navigated by wheels. Why design a robot with
legs if you don't expect difficult terrain? This off-topic tangent says
something about ramps vs steps, so I'll leave it in.)

To run is not merely to walk quickly. When you talk, you put down your front
leg before lifting your back one. There is a moment when both legs are on the
floor. When you run, you pick up your back leg before the front one hits the
floor. For that moment, you're not touching the floor. Or in the case of the
kohanim, they're not touching the ramp.

The tzeni'us problem of pisuq raglayim is learned from nidon didan. (R'
Gershon asked back in vol 2 why then it doesn't apply to men, but I couldn't
find anyone's answer.) That should make it pretty clear what is meant.


Micha Berger             A cheerful disposition is an inestimable treasure.
micha@aishdas.org        It preserves health, promotes convalescence,
http://www.aishdas.org   and helps us cope with adversity.
Fax: (413) 403-9905         - R' SR Hirsch, "From the Wisdom of Mishlei"

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Date: Tue, 17 Feb 2004 22:41:37 -0500
From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@juno.com>
wine and cleaning ladies

From: Kenneth G Miller <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
<<Suppose you're with her, and you see her pour from the bottle into
something else, without ever touching the wine? Surely you would agree
that it is prohibited in such a case?>>

No; she didn't touch the WINE, only the bottle. Seals are meant for when
she accesses the wine without anyone around. If you see what she does,
and it's not what the S"A cites as assuring the wine, then it's not assur.


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Date: Wed, 18 Feb 2004 17:17:31 -0500
From: Yisrael Dubitsky <Yidubitsky@JTSA.EDU>
Dror Yikra

>Could anyone send me the text of the stanzas from Dror Yikra that apparently
>were deleted by the medieval censors? We had a Shabbos guest from Israel
>recently that said the stanzas could be found in the Machzor Vitry.

Can be found in MV siman 195-196. But I wouldnt say it was "censored" out. 
The stanzas that appear "extra" in the MV probably are another, independent 
piyyut (entitled, after its opening lines, "Edom aker"); this, based on the 
fact that the meter is different for these stanzas than for the rest of the 
Deror yikra. The last stanza in our versions ("de'eh hokhmah") may perhaps 
also belong to another piyyut by the name "Deleh shovav" (so N. Allony).

Yisrael Dubitsky

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Date: Wed, 18 Feb 2004 20:51:10 -0500
From: "David Cohen" <ddcohen@verizon.net>
Re: Censored Stanzas from Dror Yikra

My Machzor Vitri (a reprint of ed. Nurnberg 1923) has two separate
piyutim by Dunash ben Labrat, as simanim 195 and 196, both of which
have the D-V-N-Sh acrostic for some stanzas and not for others. The
"Dror Yikra" that is in our bentschers today consists of the first five
of the eight stanzas of the first piyut, and the last of the five stanzas
of the second piyut.

If anybody is interested in the actual text, I would be happy to send
it to you once I get around to installing some Hebrew fonts on my new

As a side point, the Machzor Vitri has the words "vegam Edom asher
gaverah," which makes sense as the stanza is a reference to Yesha'yahu
63:1-2 (as evidenced by the mention of "Botzrah" and "derokh purah").
So I had assumed that these were probably the original words, and that
the censor changed "Edom" to "Bavel." However, with the news coming
from southern Iraq last year, I became aware that there is a "Botzrah"
(=Basra?) in Bavel after all, so now I wonder...


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Date: Wed, 18 Feb 2004 20:34:18 EST
From: Rebelkrim@aol.com
yom hashishi in kiddush

I've heard another reason why people begin at vay'hi erev... Because the
midrash notes that tov m'od is death, people opt to skip it and begin
immediately afterwards.

Elly Krimsky

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Date: Thu, 19 Feb 2004 07:47:25 -0500
From: "David Riceman" <driceman@worldnet.att.net>
Re: Yom HaShishi in Kiddush

R Harry Maryles wrote:
> Most Poskim say that we should start Veyhi Erev which is the beginning of
> that Pasuk because of the Halacha of Kol D'Lo Pasik Moshe, Anan Lo Paskinan.

I am aware that some poskim say that, but was unaware that most did.
Literally it's not "paskinan" anyway, since we don't stop it before the
end, we just start it after the beginning.

David Riceman

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Date: Thu, 19 Feb 2004 20:44:12 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: yom hashishi in kiddush

On Wed, Feb 18, 2004 at 08:34:18PM -0500, Rebelkrim@aol.com wrote:
: I've heard another reason why people begin at vay'hi erev... Because the
: midrash notes that tov m'od is death, people opt to skip it and begin
: immediately afterwards.

This would lead to the ironic result that we're intentionally skipping
that which Hashem called "tov me'od" because it's evil.

(I realize one could answer based on the difference in perspective.)


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Date: Wed, 18 Feb 2004 18:34:59 -0500
From: Yisrael Dubitsky <Yidubitsky@JTSA.EDU>
Re: Waving at Candles

>Whence the minhag of "waving at the candles" before lighting the
>neiros Shabbos?

Prof Ta-Shma has an interesting article re this in his *Minhag Ashkenaz
ha-Kadmon*. He cites the 15th cen as the earliest recording of this
minhag (together with the regular explanation of *over la-asiyatan*
and *shelom bayit*). See Leket yosher and Darkei mosheh to OH 263.
But it was no doubt an earlier custom as it is sort of mentioned in the
name of R Shalom of Neustadt (d. ca. 1420).

The early minhag involves merely stretching one's hands out towards the
flame (in order to shield the flame from one's eyes), not necessarily
covering one's eyes, which is a much more recent minhag. This custom,
Ta-Shma suggests, is a remnant of the custom of prostration that
accompanied all tefilah be-Mikdash (think Aleinu on YK or daily Tahanun).
Since women's lighting was usually accompanied by a tehinah for their
children, and because they maintained the minhag of stretching forth
their hands during tefilah as a continuation of the minhag of prostration
(although men did not), the two acts were forever after done together.

So much for the historical end of things. Re RRF's "spiritual"
explanation, I can do no better than quote Rabbenu Tam (in Sefer
ha-yashar, helek ha-shu"t, 48:7, cited by TaShma) who was also baffled
by the women's custom but ceded "im einan nevi'ot, benei nevi'ot hen."

How did R. Reisman explain it?

Yisrael Dubitsky

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Date: Thu, 19 Feb 2004 20:29:29 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: waving at candles

I wrote:
: I would appreciate a maqor min haTorah for the notion of a person's
: sevivah being light-like...

R' Michael Poppers suggested the end of Ki Sisa, "ki qoran or panav".

It's an extrapolation from that to saying that a person's sevivah in
general is somehow connected to light. To me, it seems to say the
opposite, that Moshe was unique in that way. It doesn't for example,
talk about the quantity of or, but rather that he had this qeren at


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Date: Thu, 19 Feb 2004 00:57:10 +0200
From: Daniel Eidensohn <yadmoshe@012.net.il>
Re: Rambam and the Creation of the world

Micha Berger wrote:
>Actually, I agreed that the Rambam said it. I disagreed with your assumption
>that the Rambam thought the antecedent were possible. He says that if they
>conflicted one would have to re-interpret the Torah, and the *text* admits the
>possibility of such a reinterpretation.

Actually as far as I recollect I didn't take part in that debate.

>He does not say Torah as a whole does. We've argued before about what seemed
>to me to be a clear statement against forming new peshatim in contradiction to
>everything said by "nevi'im uzeqeinuim".

>But my point wasn't about whether the reinterpretation was valid, but whether
>the opportunity would arise. Since Judaism can not contradict wisdom obtained
>in other ways, and (AIUI) the Rambam gives the consensus of "our nevi'im and
>zeqeinim" an inviolatability, the eventuality under discussion couldn't

There is another Ralbag citation which supports your contention

Ralbag [1] <#_ftn1>(Milchemes HaShem 1:14): [[Prof Seymour Feldman
translation]] If anyone thinks that religious faith requires a conception
of human perfection different from the one we have mentioned because
a of certain passages about the Garden of Eden and Gehenna in various
Midrashim, Aggadot, and statements of the prophets, let him surely know
that we have not assented to the view that our reason has suggested
without determining its compatibility with our Torah. For adherence to
reason is not permited if it contradicts religious faith; indeed, if
there is such [a contradiction], it is necessary to attribute this lack
of agreement to our own inadequacy. Hence, it is clear that someone who
believes this [i.e., the view of the Torah] Should follow his religious
convictions. We, too, behave accordingly if we see that religion requires
a different view from the one that our reason has affirmed. This
is incumbent upon all the faithful; for if the door were open to any
philosophicaJ doubt with respect to religion, the religion would disappear
and its benefits for its adherents would vanish. Moreover [all kinds] of
controversiesb and confusion would arise among the believers unless there
is faith, and as the result of this, definite harm will come about. This
fact should not be overlooked. This point that we have made here should
be understood as applying to every other part of our book; so that if
there appears to be a problem concerning which our view differs from the
accepted view of religion, philosophy should be abandoned and religion
followed. The incompatability is to be attributed to our shortcomings. 1

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Date: Thu, 19 Feb 2004 00:30:47 +0200
From: Daniel Eidensohn <yadmoshe@012.net.il>
Re: Giyur

Gil Student wrote:
>It seems that I remembered correctly, more or less. According to the text
>in Pe'er HaDor (and the Freiman edition, that R' David Yosef quotes in the
>footnote to Pe'er HaDor), the Rambam is unclear whether he is referring to
>a Christian converting or merely adopting a Noahide life. The text in the
>Blau edition implies conversion.

I would put more emphasis on the less correct. Your previous positing 
questioned the accuracy of my presentation of the Rambam's letter

Rambam(Tshuva #149):
    ...It is in fact permitted to teach the commandments to Christians
    and to attract them to our religion - but not Moslems.

You wrote:
>My recollection of this teshuvah is that the Rambam does not specify 
>that it is to *our* religion. Rather, exactly to what we want them to 
>return (I believe "return" is the word he uses) is unclear. I think some 
>poskim (Seridei Eish and RYH Henkin) consider it to be the 7 mitzvos 
>and not full-blown Judaism. Again, this is just from memory and I 
>apologize if I am getting this wrong.

My original posting was to show that there are views that apparently
encourage or facilitate conversion. I cited the Blau edition of the
Rambam's letters - the most accurate text- which in fact states what
I said it does. R' Dovid Yosef confirms this understanding. Furthermore
he quotes the Meiri for also encouraging conversion through Torah study
for those who are genuinely seeking the truth. In addition you now
acknowledge - contrary to your original recall - the Seridei Eish also
acknowledges that the Rambam is encouraging conversion.

Of interest is the Chasam Sofer (Chullin 33) who also assumes that the
Rambam was lenient about teaching non Jews Torah - though he was unaware
of the Rambam's letter on the subject and he did not mention the issue
of conversion.

Another view that one does not discourage conversion is Rav Chaim
Shmuelevitz's understanding of the Meiri;

Rav Chaim Shmuelevitz (Sichos Musar #27 5732): Judaism differs from other
religions especially with regards to the minor commandments. The Meiri
(Yevamos 47a) says that when a non-Jew comes to convert he should be
told only some of the minor commandments - otherwise he might reject
Judaism. That is because other religions do not control every aspects
of life as if their members were servants. Judaism in contrast has
commandments that govern all aspects of life - even how to dress and
eat. For a non-Jew this total subservience is alien to his understanding
of what religion is all about. Presenting the neophyte with the degree
of subservience which is expected of him - might cause him to change
his mind. Thus it is actually easier for him to accept the major mitzvos
than the minor. In contrast a Jew welcomes the detailed directions that
mitzvos provide and views it as a great kindness from G-d.

                            Daniel Eidensohn

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Date: Thu, 19 Feb 2004 11:21:56 -0500 (EST)
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Giyur

R Daniel Eidensohn wrote:
> 1) We should strongly reject the belief that yiddishkeit is transient and
> that all aspects are dismissable because they are only products of specific
> historical conditions.

As I view TSBP as a process, I could split this statement in two. The TSBK is
either (or according to some, both of): notes for remembering the process
and/or the raw material the process works upon.

Much of yahadus is transient.

However, none of the process itself is. All of the transiency follows the
rules for growth and change. Including the halakhos with define those rules.
(Changes could be valid in one era which would not be valid in another.)

The beris Sinai is in conforming to and partnering in the creative evolution
of that process (RYBS stresses the latter in Ish haHalachah), not the
individual dinim. And that was given in Sinai.

Eilu va'eilu is because the process can produce conflicting answers.
(Otherwise, Goedel's theorem would require it to be incomplete.) However,
Hashem knew both possibilities; He allowed us multiple answers within the
beris that satisfy the goals of that beris and advance the relationship its
founded upon.

There are also strong implications about what this means when speaking of
observing kol haTorah kulah before ma'amad har Sinai. "Kol haTorah kulah"
refers to the process that produced the Mishnah Berurah and Ben Ish Hai, not
necessarily to their contents.

The horror of the loss of the Sanhedrin and the reliance of texts is that the
process is broken, most of its tools are unapplicable and many that could be
used are forgotten. We're really living with just a shadow of the true Torah,
the Torah of the 2000 years of Torah.

This is why dinim, results, get concretized over time. It's not the ideal for
the ideal world. It's the means for accomplishing the goals of galus Edom.

(Since this has been phrased in relation to C and R, let me add that this is
the notion they lack. In particular C, which thinks its a "halachic movement".
They look at change in halakhah but not at the the halakhos for such change.
Rather than salvaging what's applicable of the process in our era, they try to
reproduce the old malleability by breaking the process.)


Micha Berger             "The most prevalent illness of our generation is
micha@aishdas.org        excessive anxiety....  Emunah decreases anxiety:
http://www.aishdas.org   'The Almighty is my source of salvation;  I will
Fax: (413) 403-9905      trust and not be afraid.'" (Isa 12) -Shalhevesya

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Date: Thu, 19 Feb 2004 01:13:48 +0200 (IST)
Email file (TEACHING.)

The sources on the prohibition of a Jew teaching a gentile Torah are:
Gemara in Chagiga 13a "ein mosrin divrei Torah l'Akum". The Rambam in
Hilchot Melachim 10:9 "ein manichim otam l'chadesh dat v'la'asot mitzvot
l'atzman m'da'atam". The Yam Shel Shlomo on the gemara in Bava Kama 38a
(4th Perek) categorically prohibits teaching them anything. See also
the Sefer Chassidim 235 "lo yilamed adam otiot l'galach".

There is a difference of opinion if only teaching them the Oral Law is
prohibited (Shita Mekubetzet end of 2nd perek in Ketuvot 21a; Tiferet
Yisrael on Mishna in Zevachim 14:4; Meshiv Davar III 77; Rabbenu Gershom
M'eor Hagola on Bava Batra 21b "b'tinokot Akum, im rotzeh lilmod sifrei
refuah oh mikra, yachol l'akev alav..."; Meharsha on Chagiga 13a (sitrei
torah) or if even the Written Torah is included in this prohibition
(Tosfot Chagiga 13a d"h ein; Tosfot Bava Kama 38a d"h kar'u); RASH in
Mishna in Machshirin 2:7).


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Date: Thu, 19 Feb 2004 12:37:40 -0500 (EST)
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Learning as much as possible

R Akiva Miller wrote on Areivim:
>             Everyone (well, boys and men, at least) *SHOULD* be learning as
> much as they can. We just need to realize that for many people, "as much as
> they can" might be a bit less than 16 hours a day.

Are you saying that other mitzvos that have no minimal chiyuv should only be
done when one can't learn? For example, if I can learn every evening, I
shouldn't the volunteer for tomchei shabbos deliveries?

I mean that as a question. I would think one needs to strive for
well-roundedness. Even if that formula gives more priority to Torah than other
mitzvos, I didn't think it would mean that other mitzvos are on minimal
priority, run only when the CPU is available.


Micha Berger             "The most prevalent illness of our generation is
micha@aishdas.org        excessive anxiety....  Emunah decreases anxiety:
http://www.aishdas.org   'The Almighty is my source of salvation;  I will
Fax: (413) 403-9905      trust and not be afraid.'" (Isa 12) -Shalhevesya

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Date: Thu, 19 Feb 2004 13:54:53 +1100
From: "Meir Rabi" <meirabi@optusnet.com.au>

Please help me find the RaMBaM referred to below

Volume 07 : Number 021
From: "Stein, Aryeh E." <aes@ll-f.com>
> I'm preparing my tikun lail shavuot on this topic.  Other than R' Moshe's
> tshuva concerning giving an honor to a doctor who married a non-jew, are
> there any other tshuvot relating specifically to this subject?

I just listened to a R' Y. Reisman tape (Shmuel Bais, beginning of ch. 15)
on chanifa (or, to be accurate, "chanufa," although RYR acknowledged that
everyone pronounces it chanifa.) He mentioned how some count chanifa
as a lav (Sefer Yereim), but most don't (Rambam, Ramban, Chinuch, R'
Saadya Gaon).

RYR also mentioned that Rashi is mashma like the R' Moshe (the root of
the isur of chanifa is " Lo Sarshiun) and that the Ramban is mashma like
the Satmar Rebbe (chanifa is any kind of false flattery). (RYR later
explained that there is no real machlokes here. R' Moshe agrees that
any type of false flattery is chanifa, except that chanifa is mutar (and
even a mitzva) in certain situations, and asur in certain situations.)


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Date: Thu, 19 Feb 2004 18:34:17 +0200
From: Akiva Atwood <akiva@atwood.co.il>
Foods for shalach manos

[From Areivim:]
>> The guidelines I remember are 2 items of 2 Berachot.  It was also
>> recommended that they be stuff that can be used for the Se'uda.

> AFAIK, there is no need to have two items of two different
> brachos - IIRC, according to RSZA, even two different pieces of
> chicken are sufficient to fulfill the requirement of shaloch manos.

According to Guidelines on Purim, the Aruch HaShulchan (70:14) says they
must be different foods.


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Date: Fri, 20 Feb 2004 12:01:26 -0500 (EST)
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
AishDas Melaveh Malka

AishDas will be again be joining Kehal Sha'arei Shalom for a melaveh
malkah this Motza'ei Shabbos, February 28th at 8:00pm at KSS in
Flatbush. At the melaveh malkah, we will be making a communal siyum on
Maseches Megillah.

Anyone who would like to join us, kindly RSVP to myself or RGS
<gil@aishdas.org>. We're still accepting offers to learn blatt toward
the siyum on a voluntary basis.

And as usual, if you're comming in from Jersey, I'm hunting for a lift...


Micha Berger             "And you shall love H' your G-d with your whole
micha@aishdas.org        heart, your entire soul, and all you own."
http://www.aishdas.org   Love is not two who look at each other,
Fax: (413) 403-9905      It is two who look in the same direction.

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