Avodah Mailing List

Volume 12 : Number 118

Monday, March 15 2004

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Sun, 14 Mar 2004 15:51:04 +0200
From: Eli Turkel <turkel@post.tau.ac.il>
brit of triplets

My niece recently gave birth to triplets (3 boys - natural) and the
question of the brit came up since onviously all will have to be pushed
off (they were born in the 8th month!).

The question is whether there is any flexibility in scheduling the
britot so that all or at least 2 are together. The LOR indicated that
a short delay of a few days would be tolerated to allow a "combined"
brit but not more than that.

Is that generally accepted psak?

Eli Turkel,  turkel@post.tau.ac.il on 3/14/2004
Department of Mathematics, Tel Aviv University

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Date: Sun, 14 Mar 2004 15:54:25 +0200
From: Eli Turkel <turkel@post.tau.ac.il>
learning as much as possible

> Not unless you can change the Tomchei Shabbos deliveries to a time when
> you don't have a regular seder..... Otherwise it seems to me that you
> should not be m'vateil from learning to do other mitzvos

The issue came up years ago in terms of Hatzalah.
By definition there is no specific time for hatzalah and one goes when
needed. I recall that R. Schach objected strongly to boys in yeshiva
joining hatzalah but did recommend that those who had already left
could/should join. I vaguely recall that others disagreed on the grounds
of pikuach nefesh.

Eli Turkel,  turkel@post.tau.ac.il on 3/14/2004
Department of Mathematics, Tel Aviv University

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Date: Sun, 14 Mar 2004 15:59:39 +0200
From: Eli Turkel <turkel@post.tau.ac.il>
havdalah after megillah

On Mon, 8 Mar 2004 08:28:43 -0600, Avodah wrote:
> The halachos listed in the ezras torah luach indicate that havdala is
> said after kerias hamegilla. I understand this to be an issue of not
> drinking prior to fulfilling the mitzva. Am I correct?

> The nafka mina is for women who are going to the second keria - I am
> suggesting there is no reason for my wife to wait for havdala until
> after  she hears the megilla at the second reading, since she isn't
> drinking the wine anyway.

In our community almost all the shuls said megillah 45 minutes to an
hour after shabbat with people going home in between.
One of the local rabbis paskened that in that case they should say
havdalah immediately at home with the family before even the first
megilah layning. i.e. havdalah after megillah makes sense only if the
megillah is read immediately after maariv. But if there is a considerable
break then there is no purpose to delaying havdalah until late at night.

Eli Turkel,  turkel@post.tau.ac.il on 3/14/2004
Department of Mathematics, Tel Aviv University

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Date: Sun, 14 Mar 2004 16:08:58 +0200
From: Eli Turkel <turkel@post.tau.ac.il>
megillah in Yerushalayim

> what determines yerushalayim for shushan purim purposes? municiple
> boundaries? if new shchunot are added they get the same halacha?
> if it urban-sprawled out to suburbs, would they take on the halacha
> by contiguity?

I believe that different communities in Ramot still layn on different
days and so this is controversial because of the gap. In Neve Yaakov
until recently everyone layned on the 15th. I heard that this year some
shuls insisted on also layning on the 14th.

Even more controversial is the situation in other towns. Does the safek
of Tiberias relate only to the old section of Tiberias or also to new
suburbs far away? Anyone know what is done by most shuls in real life
in taveryah, safed, lod etc

BTW I have always been confused by this halachah since historically
it is clear that these cities are not that all, i.e. Tiberias is named
after Augustis Caeser and safed is not particularly old. If there were
Tanach cities on these sites that could apply to many other modern cities
in Israel.

Eli Turkel,  turkel@post.tau.ac.il on 3/14/2004
Department of Mathematics, Tel Aviv University

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Date: Sun, 14 Mar 2004 14:50:34 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: brit of triplets

On Sun, Mar 14, 2004 at 03:51:04PM +0200, Eli Turkel wrote:
: The question is whether there is any flexibility in scheduling the
: britot so that all or at least 2 are together. The LOR indicated that
: a short delay of a few days would be tolerated to allow a "combined"
: brit but not more than that.

: Is that generally accepted psak?

With our boys (the third triplet is a girl), the berisim were months
after their birth. (Which was also just around their due date, b"H.)

R' Yonasan Sachs was quite clear in not allowing ANY further delay beyond
what was medically required. If "baby C" was declared healthy the first
morning of ch"m Sukkos, the beris must be by that afternoon.


Micha Berger             You will never "find" time for anything.
micha@aishdas.org        If you want time, you must make it.
http://www.aishdas.org                     - Charles Buxton
Fax: (413) 403-9905      

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Date: Sun, 14 Mar 2004 14:58:21 +0000
From: simchag@att.net
Re: big letters in the Megilah

From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@juno.com>
> Does the number of lines alter the mesorah of how large or small to write
> the letters?


the halacha is to write the aseres bnei haman in a row with each getting
their own line AND the word ish 'broish daf' and v'eis on the last line
of the daf as per SA OC 691:4..vayen bmishna brurah shom. s"k 20

because of this halacha, AND so that the daf with the aseres bnei haman
shouldn't look very skimpy, the soifrim started to write large letters
to fill up the daf. but there is NO mesorah to write large letters for
the aseres bnei haman EXCEPT for the vov of v'ayzoso (according to one
shitah in the ramah)...it was done purely for esthetics...(this i picked
up when i dabled with safris as a bochur)

the daf of aseres bnei haman contains 11 lines and when one writes a
megillah of 11 lines, the letters will be the same size as the rest of
the megillah and he surcomvents the problem of writing large letters
where there is no mesorah for it.


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Date: Sun, 14 Mar 2004 17:35:46 +0200
From: Daniel Eidensohn <yadmoshe@012.net.il>
Re: RYH on Moshe's first-luchos stay on Har Sinai

MPoppers@kayescholer.com wrote:
>In a beautiful s'udah-shlishis d'var Torah this past Shabbos ..., a
>JEC-of-Elizabeth member quoted from a translation of "The Kuzari" that...
>("MRah") told b'nai Yisrael ("bY") he would only be on Har Sinai for
>one day.

>1- If anyone has access to the Arabic manuscript and can check what RYH
>actually wrote in Part I, stanza 97, 3rd paragraph ... and if anyone with
>or given such access could translate ... or indicate the possible
>meanings of the Arabic, we might gain valuable insight into why the
>translators translated as they did.

Rav Kapach also translates "He departed them with the understanding
that he would return in a day" - the Arabic says min yuma - (Hebrew

The Nazir in his commentary to this says: The commentary R' Yehuda
Muscato objected to this statement of the Kuzari because of the gemora
Shabbos 89a. A similar objection can be raised from Shemos Rabbah #41...
We find in Ibn Ezra(Shemos 32:1) and Ralbag that after Moshe was there
for 2 or three days the people were afraid that he had died because they
did not know that he would be there for 40 days and apparently not even
Aaron knew this. This is also the view of the Chizkuni that it wasn't
known when he would return and similarly in the Akeidas Yitzchok #35.
Since there is no verse which states when he was coming down perhaps
even Moshe didn't know... Perhaps we are dealing here with conflicting
medrashim. Bereishis Rabbah 18:6 states that he was supposed to return
after 6 hours....

Daniel Eidensohn

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Date: Sun, 14 Mar 2004 10:50:55 -0500
From: MPoppers@kayescholer.com
Re: RYH on Moshe's first-luchos stay on Har Sinai

Thanks, RDE, for your speedy reply.

RDE wrote:
> Rav Kapach also translates "He departed them with the understanding
> that he would return in a day" - the Arabic says min yuma - (Hebrew
> transliteration)

Thanks.  That's precisely the kind of info. I was looking for.

> Perhaps we are dealing here with conflicting medrashim. Bereishis
> Rabbah 18:6 states that he was supposed to return after 6 hours....

It can be understood as saying that bY didn't wait the six -extra-
hours (i.e. not disagreeing with the other ma'amar CHaZaL), but thanks
for mentioning it -- as you say, "perhaps" it is in conflict with that
other ma'amar.

[Email #2. -mi]

...and I should add that it likely doesn't mean that bY expected MRah
to come back after six hours -- even with no Mon on Har Sinai (see ibn
Ezra on the Aigel episode), mortal man can live far more than six hours.
Also, six hours isn't the same as RYH's "min yuma."

[Email #3. -mi]

Last but not least, speaking of ibn Ezra, isn't it likely he would have
seen RYH's writings...and would he have agreed with a statement like
"MRah told bY he was coming back the next day"?

All the best from
 - Michael Poppers via RIM pager

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Date: Sun, 14 Mar 2004 11:15:02 -0500
From: "Sholem Berger" <sholemberger@hotmail.com>
Re: omek pshuto shel mikra

>RML spoke of the Semitic worldview, one in which something being
>objectively real doesn't mean that only one accurate interpretation
>exists. Because the typical non-O Jew buys into the Yefetic-Greek-Western
>worldview, they think that such plurality implies subjectivity.

This is a fascinating statement, but every time I think I understand it,
it slips tantalizingly out of reach.
So please don't think I'm being flippant when I ask these questions:

In the context of this claim, how would you define "objective,"
"subjective," and "accurate"?
Who is representative of the Semitic worldview? Chazal, or other people as
well? Who is representative of the YGW worldview? Aristotle, or others
as well?
Is the Greek worldview representative of the Western worldview? For
example, are Kant, Wittgenstein, and Hegel all reducible to Aristotle?

I know I'm getting quibbly on the details here, but detailed philosophical
claims are hard for me to understand unless I properly grasp the terms.

Sholem Berger

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Date: Sun, 14 Mar 2004 22:42:36 +0200
From: "David Eisen" <davide@arnon.co.il>
RE: Riddle

From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@juno.com>
> We're all familiar with the pasuk "Layhudim haysa orah vesason vykar"
> to which we, during havdala, add "ken tihyeh lanu"

> I'm looking for other instances where we add our beracha to the pasuk.
> I have one other example in mind but am looking for others I have not
> thought of.

How about the words spoken to Iyov by his "friend" Bildad HaShuhi:
"Oseh shalom bimromav" (Iyov 25:2) to which we add everyday in Qaddish
and Shmone Esrei the following supplication: "Hu ya'aseh shalom aleinu
v'al kol yisrael v'imru amen" a la Ken tihyeh lanu.

Perhaps one can also suggest "Ken yehi ratzon" said in response to each
of the 3 sections of Birkat Kohanim recited when Nesiat Kapayim is
not performed; however, these words are said by the Qahal and not by
the Sha"tz himself so I am inclined not to lump this with oseh shalom


David Eisen
Yigal Arnon & Co.
The Round Tower
One Azrieli Center
Tel Aviv 67021 Israel
E-mail: davide@arnon.co.il

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Date: Sun, 14 Mar 2004 12:04:45 EST
From: Zeliglaw@aol.com
Re: Rambam, Torah and Philosophy

> Yes. However, the Moreh is proceeding from the assumption that philosophy
> has proven certan things - and therefore the onus is to understand how
> torah can be reconciled. If the philosophy is in doubt (as in the issue
> of aristotelian eternity), then one can look at both sides - but it is
> important in the rambam to understand that certain philosophical truths

What if the philosophical issues are irrelevant to our times ? Why not ignore 
them completely ?

Steve Brizel

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Date: Sun, 14 Mar 2004 12:52:39 -0500
From: Isaac A Zlochower <zlochoia@bellatlantic.net>
ikkarim of dwarves

I find the statement below to be highly problematic.

"But now, in the post-Chazal era, we lack the ability and/or permission
to come up with anything new. Under these conditions, a student cannot
possibly know more than the sum total of what all his teachers know,
and will in all likelihood know less than they do. This might not be
the dictionary definition of "niskatnu hadoros", but will anyone deny
that it is a pedagogic reality? Rabbi Akiva may have had a fuller and
deeper understanding of Torah than Moshe Rabbenu, but no one in recent
centuries can measure up to the Geonim or Rishonim, can they?"

The Torah testifies that Moshe's access to Divine knowledge is without
peer. Yet, some people seem to believe that certain later individuals,
who were not even prophets, had greater knowledge of Torah (whether niglah
or nistar). I believe that our chaver is misinterpreting the aggadah in
shas about Rebbe Akiva and Moshe. What Moshe, according to the aggada,
did not understand was the basis for R' Akiva's seeming derivation of
halachot from the shape of letters and their crowns. He was then put at
ease by the explanation that these halachot are really based on an oral
tradition stemming from Moshe. In other words, these deroshot used by R'
Akiva were clever mnemonic devices to remember halachot whose source was
an oral tradition. The halachot were not new, they had already been
taught by Moshe Rabbenu. There is no implication that R' Akiva had a
better understanding of the Torah than he who brought it down to man.

The other statements about the alleged post-talmudic inability to
originate halacha, or the alleged inferiority of any later authority to
the Rishonim is contradicted by the facts. The inferiority of later
generations has to do with the lack of true semicha and universal
acceptance by all the scattered communities of Jews. It is a question
of authority more than scholarship. The most graphic illustration of
the occasional ability to reverse the usual heirarchy of authority,
is the question of bein ha'shemoshot. The Rabbenu Tam overturned
the understanding of the prior authorities (including the Geonim)
on the definition of sunset. His authority was sufficient to induce
the subsequent Rishonim to follow his definition and have his opinion
stated as the halacha by Harav Yosef Karo. Yet, the Vilna Gaon (also
Harav Shneur Zalman of Liadi) disagreed vehemently with the pesak in the
Shulchan Aruch and had sufficient influence over the future generations
that their view and arguments are now normative (except in some Hassidic
circles). Does people really believe that those two latter luminaries
or R' Chaim were really inferior in knowledge and understanding of Torah
to all those who are considered rishonim?

Yitzchok Zlochower 

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Date: Sun, 14 Mar 2004 12:16:34 -0500 (EST)
From: "Jonathan Baker" <jjbaker@panix.com>
Marc Shapiro's New Book

From: "Gil Student" <gil@aishdas.org>
>Steve Brizel wrote:
>>WIthout having read RM Shapiro's books, don't his comments
>>render him vulnerable to an assertion that he is advocating
>>Orthorpraxy, as opposed to Orthodoxy?

>Micha wrote:
>>He is unabashedly advocating that position. That's
>>where he wants to be.

>But Shapiro avoided such claims and even criticized those who stated
>that Judaism does not have specific beliefs. He just wants a (much)
>wider pluralism than the 13 Ikkarim offer, but he never claims that
>one can go beyond what Chazal, rishonim or acharonim held.

Micha keeps insisting on this, but I don't see it in the book. Note,
I'm still in the introduction. But that's where he seems to discuss
the whole enterprise of catechism.

Even if he's holding of a more minimal set of ikarim, the whole idea
of ikarei emunah is itself the minimal set that can support praxis, no?
Rather than just a set of random beliefs that one *has* to hold.

Perhaps he has a specific quote or page in mind?

>Steve Brizel wrote:
>>One question-without having read the book in question, how does
>>R Shapiro deal with the inclusion of the ikarim as halachos in Sefer
>>Mada and Sefer Melachim by the Rambam?

>He doesn't. Bizarrely, he brings proof that the Rambam didn't really
>hold from the 13 Ikkarim because he did not mention them in the
>Mishneh Torah. This is, of course, incorrect and neglects Abarbanel's
>analysis in Rosh Amanah, ch. 19.

He does depend a lot on Rosh Amanah ch. 23, though.

What he demonstrates is that the Rambam didn't hold from the 13 Ikarim
as a catechism/doxology. The halachos are there, but not in that kind
of easily categorizable list. Further, he develops and recategorizes
things in Hil. Teshuva ch. 3 more precisely than he does in the early
Mishna Commentary - these are minim, these are apiqorsim, etc. Also, as
others have pointed out, the forumlation in Hil. Teshuva is in terms of
"saying" that there is no god, etc., not on *thinking* the idea.

As others have said, his set of ideas differs in the details between the
13 Principles list and the presentation in the MT, as does Abrabanel
in Rosh Amanah - which again damages the case being made by, e.g., R'
Bleich and R' Parnes that the Rambam's 13 Principles are the last word in
defining Jewish doctrine. They weren't even the last word for Rambam;
the versions popularly accepted don't even totally agree with Rambam;
why must they be for us? And even when they say that the 13 Principles
were accepted by klal Yisrael, which version? Rambam in PhM, Rambam in
MT, Ani Maamin, or Yigdal?

   - jon baker    jjbaker@panix.com     <http://www.panix.com/~jjbaker> -

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Date: Sun, 14 Mar 2004 15:55:36 -0800 (PST)
From: Harry Maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>
Re: The Chait HaEgel - Worshipping God in Our Own Way?

The question that is asked on the Chait HaEgel is, how is it possible
for the Bnei Israel to have been Oviedei Avodah Zara? They had just
seen the hand of God act on their behalf numerous times in miraculous
ways. And they had just heard the "voice" of God speak to them MiToch
HaEsh telling them not to make any idols. How could they them make a
golden calf and worship it?

Many commentators deal with that question but I found the Beis Halevi's
Pshat to be quite interesting as a Limuid Zechus and as a Mussar Haskel
for our time. The BH states that when the Bnei Israel saw that Moshe
hadn't come down from Har Sinai at the designated time, they wanted to
make an object designated for the Shechina. This is in fact ultimately
what the purpose of the Mishkan was. All of the Kelim of the Mishkan were
in fact Remazim of various aspects of the secrets of Heaven such as the
Seder Maaseh Bereshis or the Maaseh HaMerkakva. The Mishkan represented
the earthly manifestation of all of these things and was therefore the
"earthly" "presence" of the Shechina. What we do on earth has impact
in Heaven and by the building this "Makom", it was in fact believed
to be the appropriate avenue for worship in order to benefit us in the
corporeal world.

So, the Bnei Israel in complete sincerity and L'Shem Shamayim knew that
their knowledge of God's will was incomplete and therefore went to Aharon
HaCohen who was greater then them and knew the depths of heavenly secrets
more than anyone. They asked of him, "Arise, make for us... Their intent
was to build a a Makom for the resting place of the Shechina (as the
Mishakan was indeed later to become). Their Kavanos were totally L'Shma!

But their mistake was that they misunderstood the way a corporeal item
has impact in heaven. The only way an object on this world impacts
heaven is if it mandated by God. But, if one does any act that is not
mandated by God and motivated only through one's own intellect, it has
no impact at all. The primary impact of any human act is predicated on
the will of the Creator. Without it all of the good intentions in the
world do not help and in fact are looked upon as entirely sinful! This,
according to the BH, was the Cheit HaEgel. The fact is that when the
Mishkan was built every step of the process includes the phrase "Kasher
Tziva HeShem Es Moshe" and this demonstrates the importance of doing it
ONLY in the way in which God commands us. The Medrash tells us that the
work of the Mishkan was the Kaparah for the work of the Egel.

It was in fact the intent L'Shem Shamyim of Bnei Israel in the building
of the Egel HaZahav that saved them from annihilation by God because
Moshe begged mercy and "pointed out" to God, "Look at Your people, this
great nation!"... Meaning that even when they sin... even at the level
of idol worship(!)... it was not because they wanted to rebel against
God but because they wanted to come closer to him.

I believe that a similar point can be made in reference to the sin of
Nadav v'Avihu. They, too, wanted to worship God. In their zeal they
decided to offer an "Esh Zar" NOT TO AN IDOL... but to God! And they
were killed for their efforts. They were L'Shma but they acted on their
own rather than wait for God's directive and this, despite the best of
intentions, warranted their destruction!

Perhaps this lesson can be applied to some very divisive issues of our
time. Sincere people sometimes seek to worship God in a way that is
meaningful to themselves, even when the mode of worship is not mandated
by God or Chazal. One should be very careful when asserting methodologies
of worship so they not be guilty of trying to get closer to God in their
own way. They may in fact be getting closer to the Chait HaEgel.


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Date: Sun, 14 Mar 2004 19:18:48 -0500
From: "David Riceman" <driceman@worldnet.att.net>
Re: Marc Shapiro's New Book

I haven't seen the discussion so far, but I have read the book.  He's
collected raw material without drawing any conclusions.  He just lists all
the rishonim/aharonim he can find who disagree with any of the 13 Ikkarim,
without trying to make a coherent argument of any type.

I found that disappointing, but I think he's hoping that someone else will
analyze the material.

David Riceman

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Date: Mon, 15 Mar 2004 4:43 +0200
Needle in liver

The "problem" on the gemara in Chullin 49a isn't a problem. The fact that
this is halacha pesuka in Yoreh Deah 41:6-7 is obvious. Interestingly a
search on MEDLINE http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed turned up a whopping
409 cases in the medical literature of swallowed foreign bodies ranging
from needles (!!!) toothpicks to fishbones puncturing the liver.


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Date: Mon, 15 Mar 2004 09:30:46 -0500
From: Mlevinmd@aol.com
Re: Treifa

Thank you [R Dr Josh Backon] for the references. They don't, though,
address the problem - the gemara's assertion that a needle can somehow
pass into the liver without perforating any structure that would make
the animal into a treifah. Rashi explains it by assuming that it can be
aspirated and then pass into the blood vessel leading into the liver
because he holds that trachea and knei halev communicate. That was
Galenic medicine but now known to be not so. It is difficult to say
nishtane hateva in something so basic.

My suggeston was that a needle can dissect within the wall of the trachea
without puncturing it. When it finally punctures into inferior van cava,
the original upstream puncture of the trachea is already sealed. It then
either dissects into vena cava the same way as described above or does
it within the lung where an internal puncture does not produce a treifa.

It must be noted that even if that does not often happen now, the fact
that the needle is facing out of the liver is a proof that it happened in
this case. Also, regarding this it is reasonable to say nishtane hateva;
in other words, in the past that may have been how foreign bodies traveled
even if now it tends to happen differently.

M. Levin

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Date: Mon, 15 Mar 2004 13:09:33 -0000
From: "Countrywide" <countrywide@tiscali.co.uk>
Parshas Zochur Piyut

In the Piyut of Kalir for Parshas Zochur we read, "Umach Shemo Vezichro,
Venimach Zchuro Milhazkiro....."

The translation of Zchuro is surely "his males". Is this not the
repetition of an ancient error - Zochor instead of Zecher ?

Elozor Reich

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Date: Tue, 16 Mar 2004 00:54:35 +1100
From: "SBA" <sba@iprimus.com.au>
Targum Sheni - 'sheeyeh peeyeh'

I am putting this off-list discussion [plus some additional material]
back on list..
From: Gershon Dubin
> One of Haman's "complaints" was that the Jews were lazy and always blaming
> their non-availability for work [Avodas Hamelech] on "Shai Pai" which is an
> acronym for Shabbas Hayom, Pesach Hayom.

I am trying to work out the correct pronunciation [if there is one] - is it
'sheeyeh peeyeh' or 'shay pay'?   I have heard both versions.

Targum Sheni [in the TT Chumash] has "Shi'hei Pi'hei"
Artscroll [Megilla 13b] has "Shehi Pehi" [with a shvo].

I did a search on my BI CD and it didn't find the gemoro! [Why?]
But it came up with 2 tshuvos [from the Chido] - where AIUI he
uses it as a description for idle chatter/gossip [I may have misunderstood].

BTW, I saw a pshat from the Ben Yehoyodo on why Homon mentioned Pesach?
Bishlomo Shabbos - comes once a week, so it makes sense that Jews
used it as an excuse to get out of Avodas Hamelech on a regular basis,
but Pesach is only 8 days a year?

He explains that Homon complained that Jews claim that they have to prepare
for Pesach ALL year long. Planting and growing wheat for matzos, grapes
for wine etc etc - so the Pesach excuse is just as strong as Shabbos.

And BTW again, the TS's 'report' on Homon's description of the lifestyle of
Jews to Achashveirosh is fascinating reading.
He describes the whole year cycle [plus] and how we do it all.

Here are a couple of interesting points.
[Where I quote - it is from the LHK translation 'Pas'shegen Haksov']

"Misangin beposhrim biyemei Teves veyoshvim bemikros biyemei Tammuz.
[I presume he is referring to the Jewish minhag of going to Florida in
winter and the Catskills in summer...]
He describes a day in the life of a Jew [lechoreh mashmeh that
this was the timetable - not at 'normal' times, but rather when it
was their turn for Avodas Hamelech!!!]
1st hour - they say Shma, 2nd - they davven, 3rd - they eat bread,
4th - they bentch, 5th - they go out [to work?], 6th - they return,
7th - their wives greet them with 'come and eat [grissin] - after
working so hard for the wicked king'.

Every 30th day they call 'Chodesh' - with one 'choser' and the other
'molei'.   [Why should this upset them?]

That big 'baal horachamim' Homon complains about the cruel Jews
who make a bris on their 8-day old sons - 'v'ein merachamim aleihem'!
He mentions how Jewish women when needing to tovel,
went to the river - 'bechatzos leiloh'.
Homon tells how on Shovuos they go to the roof of the Shuls
where they spread out roses and apples and then gather them up.

He claimed that on Yom Kippur they mercilessly force 'tapeihem
veyonkeihem' to fast. [Again..the groyseh baal horachamim!]

On Sukkos they go out to the 'ganos upardeisim' to cut lulovim, esrogim
and arovos [no hadassim!?], ripping down branches and destroying the
parks and gardens...
[Which shows that Homon knew that Achashverosh was a 'greenie'.

This fits in well with a pshat my son [in Gateshead] told me.
The gemoro in Megila 16 relates: 'Vehamelech shov miginas habison' -
that A. found malochim - disguised as humans - chopping down his garden.
He asked them what they were doing and they said that they were
following Homon's instructions..
That [more than Esther's pleas], assured H's end.
A. may not have cared much about the lives of the Jews -
but being a Greenie, he was very upset about his beloved trees!! ]

Back to Homon's speech about Jews..
He claimed that on Erev Yom Kippur they shecht beheimos, chayos ve'ofos
and have a great feast with their families.
[Which brings me to a well-known story (originally related in 'Olomos
Shechorvu', but oft repeated) about how the late SR z'l zealously cared
about the kovod of Rishonim and Achronim.
On Purim 5706, when he was living in Yerushalayim, a local badchan was
singing and 'gramming' at his tish - while the SR was fulfilling 'Chayev
Odom lebesume bePurye'.
When chicken was served to the gathering, the badchan turned to the gabai
and asked: "Why chicken? Why not 'bosor beheimeh'? Bishlomo, Erev YK we
eat only chicken - because the Mogen Avrohom [OC 608:7] wanted it so.
But on Purim? Why no 'beheimeh fleisch'?"

The rebbe hearing this, took it as a slight at the MA.
He turned to the badchan and said:
"Homon Harasha didn't know MA - and neither do you.." [!]

The rebbe's SIL [the Sassover Rebbe/Semihaly Rov] asked the rebbe what
the connection was between Homon and the MA?

The rebbe replied bringing the above Targum Sheni, where Homon says
to A. that the Yidden shecht and eat beheimos on Erev YK. This clearly
shows that Homon didn't know the psak of the MA...

[I wonder why someone hasn't yet come out with an English translation
of Targum Sheni?]


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Date: Mon, 15 Mar 2004 12:07:25 -0500
From: Mlevinmd@aol.com
omek pshuto shel mikra

[R' Sholem Berger:]
>RML spoke of the Semitic worldview, one in which something being
>objectively real doesn't mean that only one accurate interpretation
>exists. Because the typical non-O Jew buys into the Yefetic-Greek-Western
>worldview, they think that such plurality implies subjectivity.

>This is a fascinating statement, but every time I think I understand it,
>it slips tantalizingly out of reach....
>In the context of this claim, how would you define "objective,"
>"subjective," and "accurate"?
>Who is representative of the Semitic worldview? Chazal, or other people as
>well? Who is representative of the YGW worldview? Aristotle, or others
>as well?
>Is the Greek worldview representative of the Western worldview? For
>example, are Kant, Wittgenstein, and Hegel all reducible to Aristotle?

I appreciate your interest in this fascinating topic but it is so hard to
explain it on regel achas. Maybe instead I would recommend books that go
into detail as well as Benno Jacobs commentary which uses it a lot. The
topic deserves serious study.

I quote from an article that I am preparing on a related subject:The
idea that there exists a specifically Jewish or Semitic mode of thought
was quite popular in Europe before WWII and it was shared by some Jewish
scholars, for example, Benno Jacobs (Quellungscheidung und Exegese im
Pentateuch, Berlin: Schocken, 1916, p. 46.) who used it quite effectively
in his Chumash commentary. For example, he writes in the introduction:
"[The Bible’s means of representation (Darstellungsweise)] may be termed
the semi-poetic or dichotomistic. It proceeds like poetry, but without
its strict measure [i.e., meter], employing instead paired thoughts,
patterns of words and clauses and syntax, in doublets, parallels and
contrasts; it is rooted, when all is said and done, in the Semitic [way
of thought], which grasps matters dichotomously. This manner of seeing,
conceiving and representing dominates the Hebrew language and literature
in its entirety, to its subtlest manifestations". Ktav translated his
commentary on Genesis and Shemos.

After the excesses of the Nazi era this idea lost popularity for obvious
reasons, however it is being resurrected by contemporary writers, such
as S. Handelsman and D. Boyarin.

Here is a list of some books and links to Amazon:

The Slayers of Moses: The Emergence of Rabbinic
Interpretation in Modern Literary Theory (Suny Series on
Modern Jewish Literature and Culture) by Susan A. Handelman

Thorlief Boman, Hebrew Thought Compared with Greek

For philosophically minded - warning, it's heavy going and tedious:
Shestov, Lev, Athens and Jerusalem (out of print but available through

I wish I could put this into a nutshell but grasping this takes a real
investment in time and effort but it is well worth it.

M. Levin

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