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Volume 14 : Number 082

Wednesday, February 16 2005

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2005 16:27:42 EST
From: RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com
Re: It recently became kefira

In a message dated 2/8/2005 4:56:51pm EST, micha@aishdas.org writes:
> RDIC <bdcohen@optonline.net> wrote:
>> How does this apply to those today who try to do things l'chol hadeos --
>> e.g. those that put on Rabbenu Tam tefilin in addition to rashi's. Hasn't
>> the normative halacha determined that the correct mesora (by majority
>> opinion) is Rashi tefilin, and that, the subsequent wearing of Rabbenu
>> Tam tefilin is to follow an incorrect rejected or discarded opinion
>> which should not be relied upon.

> But that's not someone who accepts the ruling of beis Hillel, but chooses
> -- qua personal lifnim mishuras hadin -- to also do what beis Shammai
> said. In that case, he's not defying halachic practice, but using a
> rejected position as a suggested "qadeish es atzmekha" while recognizing
> it's still "mah shemutar lakh".

There is another chiluk here

Beis Shammai's shitos were specifcally rejected by the Gmara, while
Rabeinu Tam's shita was not been rejected by the Gmara. So you have to
answer the question: Why is one NOT yotzei following the shita of Rabbeinu
Tam since after all Rabeinu Tam's shita is NOT in conflict with the Gmara!

Kol Tuv,
R. Rich Wolpoe

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Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2005 19:43:55 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Mezuzah

On Fri, Feb 11, 2005 at 01:19:55PM -0500, Zev Sero wrote:
: I've already cited the examples of tzedakah and korban, where it's also
: clear that a person does not get the schar mitzvah if it didn't work out,
: even though he did all he was expected to...

There are two things being jumbled here: oneis be'isurim, and an oneis

Last time around this bend (v5n67, 68) RCBrown (based on a m"m in the
Y-mi that he could not recall) that oneis Rachmanah patrei is a pestur
oneshim. RGStudent replied that R Elchanan Wasserman in the begining of
kesuvos and R' Chaim Brisker are choleiq about whether one did a ma'aseh
aveirah. RCB also cited the aforementioned Ran.

But that's WRT violating issurim.

We have a pretty clear RSZAurbach quoting Shu"T Rav Poalim 4:2,
that somene gets sechar for wearing tefillin that turn outo to be
pasul. RYZirkind said the maqor for the teshuvah is the mishnah on 66b,
from "barukh H' cheilo."

WRT fulfilling an asei, one DOES get sechar when relying on a chazaqah

Which is why I asked:
:> 2- How can "keman de'avad lo amrinan" apply, since he actually was avad?

R' Zev Sero wrote on Feb 11, 2005 at 03:12:45pm -0500:
:> And a mezuzah that lost a letter while being rolled up after checking?

: The same as a kohen who became a baal mum while getting dressed after
: his last physical, or a mikveh that became pasul a minute after its
: last measurement. It's still objectively verifiable, and therefore
: not like a ben grusha...

It's not like either the baal mum or the ben gerushah, as neither are
about getting sechar bedi'eved, but about deciding lechat-chilah whether
he should do avodah. 1- Efshar levareir would be a non-issue bedi'eved.
2- The lav vs asei distinction made above.


Micha Berger             When you come to a place of darkness,
micha@aishdas.org        you don't chase out the darkness with a broom.
http://www.aishdas.org   You light a candle.
Fax: (270) 514-1507        - R' Yekusiel Halberstam of Klausenberg zt"l

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Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2005 20:29:41 -0500
From: "Cantor Wolberg" <cantorwolberg@cox.net>

Zev Sero wrote:
> I just can't see how a magical scroll on your door at home can protect
> you when you're thousands of miles away. And I certainly don't see how
> the magical hypothesis can possibly work for tzedakah. The protection
> that tzedaka gives *has* to come from the mitzvah. To say that the coin
> you give is imbued with magical protective powers when you give it to
> an ani miyisrael (but not to anybody else), and it retains those powers
> even after the ani spends it, just boggles the imagination.

I totally agree with your premise regarding how a scroll on your door
can be magical and protect you (the scroll, that is). I agree with Micha
that it's the mitzvah that protects you. However, I must disagree with
your analogy of the coin and comparing the mezuzah in the same breath as
the coin. True, the coin is the means of achieving tzedakah (and so is
a check and a credit card for that matter). But there is no intrinsic
holiness in a coin or check. There certainly is holiness attached to
a mezuzah. If you dropped the mezuzah, your reaction would be quite
different from dropping a coin. The only person I ever saw who kissed
a coin when dropping it was an apikorus. But I concur with your analogy
that neither the mezuah nor the coin is imbued with magical protective
powers. Actually, we live in a society where many consider that money
definitely has protective powers.

The analogy brings us to the conclusion that just as the coin is a means
to an end, so it is with the mezuzah. What is the end regarding the
mezuzah? The end is following HaShem's directives, and it matters not
if that is with a mezuzah, with tefillin, with tzedaka or anything else.

Richard Wolberg

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Date: Tue, 15 Feb 2005 02:12:59 GMT
From: "kennethgmiller@juno.com" <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
Re: It recently became kefira

I wrote:
> In a personal discussion with Rav Ahron Feldman (current RY at NIRC)
> in my Ohr Somayach days, he explained... There are several practical
> results of this situation, as he explained it to me: (1) Because of
> the pasuk "acharei rabim lehatos", we have permission to rely on the
> majority view, even though we are not sure it to be the correct one. (2)
> Because we not sure which view is correct, it is meritorious to fulfill
> both, when feasible. (3) Because we not sure which view is correct, we
> can rely on the minority view, b'shaas had'chak. (My use of the word
> "correct" above might not have been the best choice. "Authoritative"
> might be better. There are probably even better words, but I hope you
> get what I mean.)

R' Micha Berger pointed out:
> I don't get it, I could use help. A literal translation of eilu ve'eilu
> would mean they're both correct. OTOH, problem is that RAF is saying
> that without nimnu we don't have the authority to select one over the
> other. So, how could one be the "authoritative" position -- the point
> is the absence of authority?

Excellent points. The bottom line is that I don't know.

At one extreme, I don't know how an authoritative halacha can exist
without nimnu. (I'm open to suggestions!) At the other extreme, if there
is no authoritative halacha, then everyone can follow whoever they want.

Perhaps our terms need to be defined better. I would suggest that we do
not have any people or group which has the authority to declare that
"the halacha is such-and-such". Nevertheless, there *is* a level of
observance which HaShem expects me to reach.

To give a concrete example, there is a certain time in the morning,
after which HaShem will consider my Krias Shema invalid. I may or may
not have a way of establishing when that limit occurs, and it may or
may not be the same limit as for someone else.

We are now faced with a practical problem. We have no Sanhedrin, nor even
any Real Musmachim who have the authority to answer these questions. But
the questions have got to get answered (unless you are prepared to go
lechumra on every single shaila you have).

So we resort to Plan B: The halachic process as developed through the
centuries and as summarized by Rav Feldman above (keeping in mind that
"the majority view" and "the minority view" can be very different to
different people).

Akiva Miller

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Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2005 21:44:40 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Mezuzah

On Mon, Feb 14, 2005 at 08:29:41PM -0500, Cantor Wolberg wrote:
: The analogy brings us to the conclusion that just as the coin is a means
: to an end, so it is with the mezuzah. What is the end regarding the
: mezuzah? The end is following HaShem's directives, and it matters not
: if that is with a mezuzah, with tefillin, with tzedaka or anything else.

Is that really the ends WRT tzedaqah? Does bein adam lachaveiro derive
its value from bein adam laMaqom, or is it a value in itself?

I ask because I have an instinctive discomfort with the invocation
of "tzelem E-lokim" to motivate others to respect people. The true
development of ahavah lerei'akh is hampered because the person isn't
seeking the rei'ah in his actions. There is a basic paradox in the
concept of bein adam lachaveiro lishmah: if the lishmah is "lesheim
mitzvah" then it actually gets in the way of connecting to shoreshei
hamitzvah (to borrow the chinukh's term). And if the lishmah is having
in mind the shoreshei hamitzvah, then one is simply following what
seems right, with no connection to avodas H'.

I was actually going to explore this further to write about it on my
blog. But now that is was raised here...


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: (270) 514-1507      trust and not be afraid.'" (Isa 12) -Shalhevesya

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Date: Tue, 15 Feb 2005 14:22:46 GMT
From: "kennethgmiller@juno.com" <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
From Mishkan to Mikdash

Beginning this past Shabbos, we find many parshios about the building
of the Mishkan, and many haftoros about the building of the Mikdash. I
have had a great difficulty, though, in finding information about the
transition from the former to the latter.

For example, I understand from Zevachim 118b that the last stop for the
Mishkan, prior to the building of the Beis HaMikdash, was in Giv'on. Are
there any stories about that final dismantling of the Mishkan? Can
I presume that the various kelim (menorah, shulchan, k'aros, kapos,
etc.) were moved from one to the other, or were new ones made? What
was done with the things that did not get moved over, such as the walls
and curtains?

Were there any objections to this transition? I have heard that objections
were raised to Mordechai's innovation of a new yom tov, and I have
heard that some objected to Dovid's lineage because "v'lo moaviya"
wasn't yet fully accepted. In that light, I'd expect that there'd have
been some people who would have objected to the innovation of replacing
the Mishkan with another structure. Are there any such stories?

I understand from the haftara for Shmini that the Aron had been in
Kiryas Yearim for twenty years prior to bringing it to the newly-built
Beis Hamikdash. Why wasn't it in the Mishkan?

There seem to be many places where we can learn about the military and
political events of that era. But we are taught that Shmuel and David and
Shlomo were not merely military and political leaders, they were also
*religious* leaders. If so, I'd expect that there would be, somewhere,
a coherent account of the *religious* events of those times. Can anyone
suggest such a source?

I asked this question to two different people on Shabbos, both of
whom have a much better grasp of Jewish history than I do. They gave
similar answers, namely that I don't appreciate the severe lack of
Shmiras Hamitzvos which was so rampant in those days. Hardly anyone was
aware of the Mishkan, they said. I find that response very difficult to
accept. Surely there were at least a few thousand or a few hundred of
G-d's faithful who would have cared deeply about these things? If not,
if David and Shlomo were among a literal dozen people who knew enough
Chumash to have appreciated the importance of the Mishkan, then that
casts a very bad light on "the Kuzari proof", which makes me exceedingly
uneasy. I hope someone can offer me some direction on these questions.

Thank you,
Akiva Miller

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Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2005 22:04:35 -0500
From: "Moshe Y. Gluck" <mslatfatf@access4less.net>
Re: Age of the universe and R' Shimon Schwab ZT"L

I'm really not qualified to discuss this, but as an outsider to this
topic, I'd like to post the following two stories (I'm saying them as
I remember hearing them from the ba'al ha'ma'asos (a mechanech of many
years) this past Shabbos.):

Story One:
A relative of mine was in the Torah v'Da'as Semicha program. That year
was the first year of Torah u'Mesorah's Teacher Training Program, and R'
Yaakov Kamenetsky, ZT"L, required all the Semicha Program participants
to attend Torah u'Mesorah's program. The history class was split in two.
Half of the class was in MTJ, and the rest somewhere else (I forget where,
possibly Torah v'Daas). One class was taught by R' Shlomo Rottenberg,
and the other by Rabbi Elias (of Monsey and Breuer's). My relative was
in R' Rottenberg's class. One day, the week after R' Shimon Schwab (RSS)
published his article on the missing years in Jewish History (which
I have not read - perhaps someone has an URL for it?) R' Rottenberg
got up and gave a fire-and-brimstone lecture against the article - and
against RSS personally (apparently they went to Yeshiva together in the
Mir). I don't see a point in repeating what he said - but, trust me,
it was strong. At the same time, unbeknownst to each other, R' Elias
gave a lecture praising the article.

My relative, who grew up in Washington Heights, and was personally close
with RSS was extremely disturbed. He went (together with one of the
Heinemann brothers from Monsey) into R' Yaakov's (RYK) office and said,
"Rosh Yeshiva: Is taf-shin-chaf-beis an ikar of emunah?" RYK answered,
"Efsher nit." RYK hadn't heard about the article until my relative told
him. Apparently, although he didn't feel that it was incompatible with
yiddishkeit, he was very disturbed about it - he felt that such things
shouldn't be discussed in a public forum.

Story Two:
The same person told me that RSS told him a number of times: "Open up
to the first page. It says, 'Be'raishis bara Elokim.' If you can handle
that, good, read further. If not, close the book!"


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Date: Tue, 15 Feb 2005 08:46:44 -0500
From: "H G Schild" <hgschild@hotmail.com>
Source in Masechta Megilla

In Megilla 12a there is a discussion that leads to a footnote (#422)
in the Chavruta (Vagshal) commentary that a sefer "Shar Bas Rabim"
brings in the name of the "Sheires Yisroel" that the big Tav and big
Ches in the Megilla refer to Tach (1648) (v Tat) in the massacres there
of. I do not know whose sefer this is and which "Sheires Yisroel" is
being quoted. Can someone please tell me who they are as I have seen
this vort otherwise quoted with no attribution in the Chasam Sofer inside.

HG Schild

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Date: Tue, 15 Feb 2005 10:39:52 +0200
From: Ari Zivotofsky <zivotoa@mail.biu.ac.il>
Re: Singing in Shower

kennethgmiller@juno.com wrote:
>R' Ari Zivotofsky wrote <<< Thus, playing devil's advocate I can argue
>that because the tzo'a sits there until flushed it takes on the status
>of a regular beis kisei and not a beis kisei haParsi. >>>

>Granted that the tzoa does sit there until flushed, which is far longer
>than until it rolls out of the beis kisei haParsi. But on the other hand,
>it gets covered in water immediately, even slighty faster than how long
>it takes to roll out of the BKhP.

>Some may object to the above, because the tzoah is sometimes submerged
>only partially. Okay, but the BKhP wasn't teflon(r) was it? Surely a
>mashehu remained without rolling away?

You are correct that it is covered with water immediately (except in
airplane bathrooms). But is water enough? It may have to be colored
water. I discuss all of this in an article that appeared in the JHCS in
1995 that I hope to have posted on a website soon.

[Email #2. -mi]

Micha Berger wrote:
>Thanks for pointing our that last sentence. I didn't think of the status
>being determined by anoything other than current state. I took it for
>granted that a gerah shel re'i was never odorless.

>However, I think you are very much underestimating the odor of Persian
>bathrooms. First, your "theoretically" is far from what I expect was
>the reality. I don't want to get too scatalogical, but I doubt all the
>disposal was immediate. Second, odors can travel diagonally.

I am sure you are correct that the beis kisei haParsi was not a perfect,
odor-free disposal system. But we are not given standards of odor in the
gemara but rather several categories in which to work and we have to
use those as a construct. there is no question that the our bathrooms
are cleaner, more hygienic and odor free than probably any room in
a talmudic period house. But we have to fit it into one of the given
categories, i.e. the three rooms of a beis hamerchatz, a beis kisei
haParsi, a standard beis kisei, etc. The closest and the "best would be
to classify it as a beis kisei haParsi.

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Date: Tue, 15 Feb 2005 23:36:07 +0000
From: "Rael Levinsohn" <rael12345@hotmail.com>
Re: Torah and Science and Jewish vs. Secular chronolgy

Dear all

I have typed up a relevant extract, which I feel is relevant to the topic
of chronology. It is an excerpt from Universal Jewish History Vol 1by
Philip Biberfeld published by the Spero Foundation, New York 1948. It
is a whole series dealing with chronolgy and archaeology, etc. I found
it in a second hand book store in Boro Park in 2003 while studying at
Ohr Somayach, Monsey. It is a rare find. A relevant section of how he
attempts to reconcile the dates between our chronolgy and the secular
chronology is availible here

(Thanks to Rabbi M' Berger for converting the word document to PDF and
placing on the site, much appreciated)

Also while on the net I found two audio shiurim about the topic on this
website (<http://www.judaic.org/lectures/lectures.htm>).

Two relevant lectures are:
Rabbi Dr. Jacob Reiner
After the Destruction of the First Temple: Prelude to Shivat Zion - Ezra - 

Prof. Moshe Sokolow
History & Chronology of the Return to Zion


It is interesting to note that In Rabbi Jacob Reiner's lecture he mentions
that in a personal conversation with Rabbi Shimon Schwab, Rabbi Schwab
mentioned that before publishing his article he showed it to Rabbi Moshe
Feinstein and Rabbi Aaron Kotler (I cannot recall whether he mentions
that they actually read the article or the ideas of the article were
presented to them) and they both gave permission for him to publish
it. This can be found around the 58th minute of the above shiur.

Hope this helps,
Rael Levinsohn
Sydney, Australia

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Date: Tue, 15 Feb 2005 11:19:26 -0500
From: bdcohen@optonline.net
Re: Gedolim

From: "Moshe Y. Gluck" <mslatfatf@access4less.net>
> R' DC makes an interesting point. I don't think he's right, nor do I
> think that my post implied his conclusion, but I appreciate the chance
> to clarify!

> Talmud Torah, IS, of course incumbent on all. Why bother learning
> Torah?Because the Torah says so! We have to learn and understand
> the Torah anyway, regardless of what the Gadol says.

But why does the Torah command Talmud Torah?
Certainly it is not a chok with no reason. Talmud is incumbent upon us
for many reasons, not the least of which is so that we know what it is
that Hashem requires of us. While the pashut yid may never come close to
knowing enough to pasken shaalos, at least Talmud torah gives him (us)
an understanding of where the halachic minefields are that require us to
inquire of those who can pasken. Without a basic modicum of understanding
of Torah, one would not even know enough to know that a questionable
area is being approached.

> However, many of the
> predicaments that affect the modern-day Jew are not directly addressed
> in the classic seforim of Klal Yisroel. We need to clarify with the
> Gedolim when we don't know what to do based on our own limud
> Torah, and when we learned something incorrectly.

Absolutely. And that's why we have poskim. But our derech limud for
thousands of years has not just been code-based. Our seforim are not just
"the halacha is x" (if that was the case, the entire Iggros Moshe, for
example, woud be less than 50 pages). The sources, the argument, the
discussion are an integral part of our understanding and appreciation
of a psak.

And if that is the case where the question is e.g. what bracha to say,
how much more so should it be required when we are confronted with issues
that more directly affect ikkarei emunah. And this is especially so in
situations where we are now being told that issues that were subject to
various opinions among the gedolim of prior generations have now been
decided to the extent that reliance on the other sources is forbidden.
The sources are out there. A thinking hamon am needs to be taught why
those sources are no longer normative, i.e. how do we grapple with
seemingly diverse opinions from impeccable sources? If we were meant to
be unthinking followers, then fine. But then the role of talmud torah ,
in the form in which we learn. becomes totally irrelevant, rather than
the most important of mitzvot.


> I cannot recall any situation of the Gedolim treating the
> hamon am as mindless. Present situation included - you can't expect
> every Gadol to write all his cheshbonos and sources in quotable,
> sound-bytable snippets complete with footnotes in a missive
> intended for mass publication!

I might concede that initially because of a perceived imminent danger,
a short statement could be issued for immediate implementation, but it
must be followed up with a well reasoned teshuva supporting the original.
L'havdil, whenthe US Supreme Court puts out an emergency order, they
eventually follow later with a full opinion. Why? In order to give
guidance to those "in the trenches" who must apply the ruling.

> You CAN ask him, however, to explain it to you
> privately.

If we were talking babout private psak, then maybe. But with a public
bare bones pronouncement intended for all of klal yisroel, more should
be required.

> I understand and sympathize with your cognitive dissonance. However, I
> believe it can very easily be assuaged using the mehalech I posted.

While you have helped clarify my thinking, you have not resolved my
issues. But thanks for trying

David I. Cohen

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Date: Tue, 15 Feb 2005 12:18:12 -0800 (PST)
From: "a. adereth" <adereth2003@yahoo.com>
Re: Pakod Pakadti

RMB wrote: 
> I repeated a devar Torah that I honed in response to RGD, who had
> recalled hearing something similar to the original. So, I looked up the
> source. The Yalqut Shim'oni (64) who points out that Mosheh, being aral
> sefasayim, couldn't pronounce "BU"MaF", the letters formed with the lips,
> and therefore "paqod paqadeti" could only have been said bederekh neis.

> This only strengthens the qushya, as one can't simply answer "Micha erred"

There is no such thing in the location specified (Yalkut 64). What the
Yalkut there does say is that the mesorah was given to Serach bas Osher
and she is the one who told the z'keynim of the siman of "pokod pakaditi."
You originally wrote:

"Think about it. If everyone knew the siman, then any alleged moshia'
would have simply said the words. And if only a select few had the
mesorah, they could be accused of being in a plot."

The siman was in the hands of Serach bas Osher and not otherwise known.
(In answer to your second question I suppose that Serach bas Osher was
uniquely trusted b/c of zikna etc.).

I don't see any basis for the conclusion that Moshe's being an aral
s'fasayim is related to the siman.

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Date: Tue, 15 Feb 2005 14:11:06 -0700
From: Daniel Israel <israel@email.arizona.edu>
Re: Mezuzah

Cantor Wolberg wrote:
>  However, I must disagree with
> your analogy of the coin and comparing the mezuzah in the same breath as
> the coin. True, the coin is the means of achieving tzedakah (and so is
> a check and a credit card for that matter). But there is no intrinsic
> holiness in a coin or check. There certainly is holiness attached to
> a mezuzah. If you dropped the mezuzah, your reaction would be quite
> different from dropping a coin.

Although see the Beis HaLevi on last week's parsha who compares the ani
to whom one gives tzedakah to the esrog on which one makes a bracha and
concludes that in addition to the normal issue of embarrasing someone
there is an additional prohibition on embarrasing the ani because he is
the medium through which a mitzvah is being performed. I agree that there
is still a difference between a coin and a mezuzah, but is that because
of the intrinsic holiness, or because even when not in use (in fact,
even when it is pasul) it still has psukim and Shem HaShem written on it.

So, would a mezuzah klaf that became totally erased still require
the same respectful treatment? Perhaps one is obligated to treat
respectfully coins put aside as tzedakah (not waiting to become tzedakah,
but designated as tzedakah but not yet distributed).

Actually, come to think of it, there is a basic issue I don't understand
here. IIRC, after Sukkas an esrog is chol and we can, e.g., eat it.
But, again IIRC, the boards of the Sukka shouldn't be stepped on.
Is this correct, and why the distinction?

Daniel M. Israel
<israel@email.arizona.edu>		1130 North Mountain Ave.
Dept. of Aerospace & Mechanical		The University of Arizona
   Engineering				Tucson, AZ  85711

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Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2005 00:12:22 +0200
From: Dov Bloom <dovb@netvision.net.il>
Re: Gedolim who attended college.

Start with the Yekkim: SR Hirsh's Rav Muvhak Yitzhak Bernays (Rav of
Hamburg) went to University in Wirtzberg.
Next Generation: R Dr. SR Hirsh in Frankfurt. R Dr. Azriel Hildesheimer
in Berlin.
Next Generation R Dr. D Z Hoffman in Berlin. R Dr Y Breuer of Aguda
fame. R YY Weinberg Rav Dr. Munk ( was chief Rabbi of Paris). This was
apparently common for chachamim from Germany to have a doctorate, and most
went to University. R YY Weinberg's talmid muvhok was R Eliezer Berkowitz.
The former Chief Rabbi of Naharia R Dr. Keller z"l (also a yekke).

The Chief rabbi of Haifa, son of the Nazir, who has a law degree R Shear
Yashuv Cohen, of course. Uncommon for Israeli Rabonim.

And don't forget the former chief Rabbi of Israel R Yitzhak Herzog,
who wrote his doctorate (in Dublin?) on techelet!! See his tshuvot for
an appreciation of how European and Israeli Gedolim wrote to him and
treated his tshuvot, or see how RSZ Auerbach spoke with awe of him.

Transplanted Americans: The Lubavitcher Rebbe. Rav DR YB Soloveitchik. R
Aharon Soloveitchik had a law degree. R Dr A Lichtenstein in Gush Etzion.

Dov A Bloom

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Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2005 00:13:27 +0200
From: "David Eisen" <davide@arnon.co.il>
RE: Singing in the Shower

In response to RAM's and RMB's various posts on the halachic status of
modern-day bathrooms, I am pleased to attach, with RAZ's permission, a
link to R. Ari Zivotofsky's comprehensive article published a number of
years ago in RJJ entitled "Your Camp Shall be Holy: Halacha and Modern
Plumbing" that addresses virtually all of the points raised in this
discussion. Since this article may be republished in the near future,
Ari and I would greatly appreciate any of your comments to this article.
Feel free to forward them directly to RAZ or myself.

The link for accessing the article is the following URL:

B'virkat HaTorah,
David Eisen

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Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2005 14:11:07 -0500
From: Mlevinmd@aol.com
Was kefira or Age of U. or something along those lines.

It came to me, as dispute and controversy swirled around in the past
couple of months, that there may exist in the past something to learn
and perhaps even a key that can resolve or at least illuminate the
profound questions that have recently been so extensively discussed in
this forum. What I mean is the Azariah DeRossi (min hoadumim) controversy.

In brief, in 1772 Azaria De Rossi pubished a tri-partite work "Meor
Einaim". There are uncanny similiarities between then and now. My
information about this comes from Reuben Bonfil's selected chapters from
the work (which has not been reprinted since then) with an extensive
and erudite introduction. It was published by Mosad Bailik.

The first major issue was that hea rgued that the world was older
(by about 50 years, not billions) than it is according to the usual
belief. He determined that by following conventional chronology as it was
available to him but against Seder Olam. He justified it by pointing out
that Chazal can err in matters of science and quoted many of the sources
that were brought up on Avoda. He was also criticized for following the
gentile sages over chazal, for making the world older than it was and
causing potential problems and for claiming that chazal may have erred
in science. He also did not accept all the agados as making sense and
implied that some of chazal may not have understood what they received
properly or that they actually believed in them literally. He fully,
however, accepted their competence in matters of halakha.

The history is:

1. As it was being published there was opposition which has not remianed
on the level of discussion. A ban by a single individual was written -
it was not really a ban but a requirement that any reader obtan permission
from local rabbis to read the book.

2. Once the book came out, two rabbonim of Ashkenazi origin publicized
a ban (again simply a requirement that anyone who reads the book get
permission from rabbis) and it was signed by many others but it was not
signed by most other rabbis of Italy and not by the best known ones. Some,
especially those who knew the author defended him.

3. Azariah changed and edited some of the objected to passages and
reprinted his book in a new edition. He also wrote a lengthy response
to critics but it was not ever published. This setteld the issue in Italy.

4. In Tsfas, R. Yosef Karo led the opposition and a ban (curiously not
signed by him) was formulated adn circulated. Additional opposition
but not as a ban came from Maharal in Prague and a number of other
Ashkenazi Rabbonim.

5. I add that his work led to a whole new approach to study of Aggadah
by Maharal, Gr"o and ultimately Mikhtav M'Eliahu by the way of having
to save aggadah from his criticism.

6. Meor Einayim continued to exert facination and was quoted by many
orthodox Rabbis, such as Mahariz Chiyos and R David Ganz, perhaps even
the Gr"o, (I recently discussed one example in Midrash and Method at
midrash@aishdas.org). It was embraced and Azariah was glorified by the
maskilim as  a harbinger of haskala. I must add that it is an extremely
erudite work quoting over 150 sources, more than a 100 gentile ones,
including Italian Renaissance works and Church Fathers asa well as
classical writers.

It seems to me that a detailed study of this historical event can a help
us decide how to treat the essentially identical issues that are coming
up again in our time.

I hope for contributions from this learned forum.

M. Levin

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Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2005 10:32:11 +0200
From: "reuven koss" <kmr5@zahav.net.il>

This morning I saw the Mishna B'rura in 271:9:41 that says one should have
the challos covered during kiddush and then one should have them uncovered
during hamotzi.If one is noheg like the Tos'fos and the Gra and brings
the challos to the table after kiddush, should they be covered or not?


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Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2005 11:56:50 +0100
From: "Schoemann, Danny (Danny)** CTR **" <schoemann@lucent.com>
Bikurim ("First Fruit") issues

Three Bikurim issues I'd like to share:

1. Wheat & Barley.

I was always under the impression that Bikurim only applied to fruit. When
my son asked me to prove this, I discovered it was untrue.

The mishna in Bikurim 1:3 says that we only bring Bikurim from the
7-minim. While the rest of the masechta seems to discuss tree-related
issues only, the R'Av MiBartenura clearly mentions Wheat, Barley,
Grapes, etc.

The clincher (that he wasn't "blindly" quoting the 7-minim posuk) came
from the comments of R' A Eiger who says that this only refers to wheat
and barley and not the other 5-minim, as in spelt, rye, etc.

Further research revealed the Vilna Gaon who brings a Yerushalmi. There
the original approach was that Bikurim applied ONLY to wheat & barley. The
rest of the 7-minim are learnt from a 2nd/extra posuk, IIRC.

A quick reading of the RaMBaM also gives the impression that Bikurim
is only fruit related, unless you pay attention to the wheat & barely
quoted in the 7-minim posuk.

My conclusions: 
- Bikurim applies only to the 7 minim; wheat, barley, grapes, figs,
pomegranates, olives & dates.

- From Bikurim 3:10 it seems that other fruit cannot become Bikurim even
if you tried.

2. Shvi'is

This morning somebody asked me if Bikurim applies during shmitta.

I have no idea. The mishna doesn't seem to talk about it, nor does
the RaMBaM.

Can anybody bring a proof either way?

I thought I could prove something from the 2nd perek of Bikurim where
it contrasts Bikurim with Teruma & Maaser, but I was unsuccessful.

3. Nowadays

A few years ago I asked R' Dovid Morgenstern shlyt"a if one can fulfil
the mitzva of Bikurim nowadays (not realising that it didn't apply to
my Esrog tree).

He told me to make sure to NOT try make Bikurim, as that would create
fruit that needed to be brought to the Beis haMikdash - an issue I didn't
want to have to deal with, (yet).

 From this I gather that when the mishna in Bikurim 2:3 states that
Bikurim doesn't apply if there's no Beis hamikdash, it means that one
doesn't/shouldn't do it. However, if one did, the fruit would be Bikurim
(and a headache.)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Written on the occasion of the siyum we made this morning in the vasikin
minyan's daily mishna-shiur on completing Seder Zero'im in our 2nd
cycle. The shiur was started in memory of our late member R' Dovid ben
Moshe (Katorze) HY"D who was murdered by Arabs on his way to our minyan,
on Tu Bishvat 5758.

 - Danny

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