Avodah Mailing List

Volume 17 : Number 006

Thursday, April 6 2006

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Wed, 5 Apr 2006 15:02:28 -0400
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Minimal Seder

Someone wrote to scjm the following recipe for a bedi'eved minimalist
but kosher seider. I included his situation so that one can assess how
bedi'eved the context was. I am curious to know if anyone thinks one
would need to add anything or can get by omitting any of the below.

Here's a similar but more common question. Many of us have people at
the seider table who do not understand Hebrew. What items must one make
sure are also said in English?


The person writes:

Of the Pesah festivals I unfortunately spent interned in various
institutions, we had some fine full length seders. But there was one
where we informed in advance we would be strictly limited to forty
minutes total. I consulted rabbinic authorities, and was given the
following absolute minimum for fulfilling obligations of Pesah night:

1. Arrange masoth and other items on seder plate. Pour 1st goblet, say
Qiddush, drink.
2. Pour water on hands, no blessing.
3. Dip vegetable in salt water; say blessing, eat.
4. Break middle masah.
5. Recite abreviated Haggadah. Minimum is as follows:
    a) pour second goblet.
    b) say Mah Nishtanah passage.
    c) say 'We were once slaves unto Pharoh in Egypt, and our God took
       us out from there'.
    d) say 'Originally, our ancestors worshipped idols, but now God has
       brought us close to worship Him'.
    e) say 'When the holy Temple was standing our ancestors ate the
       Pesah sacrifice because God leapt over the houses of the Jews in
       Egypt when He slew the firstborn of the Egyptians and spared our
    f) say 'We eat masah because our ancestors left Egypt in haste and
       had no time to allow their dough to rise'.
    g) say 'We eat maror to remember the bitterness of our ancestors
       during slavery in Egypt'.
    Then raise the goblet, recite first two passages of Halel, drink
    second goblet.
6. Pour water on hands, with blessing.
7. Say Mosie blessing.
8. Say Masah blessing. Eat masah.
9. Say blessing and eat maror.
10 Eat korekh, masa-maror together.
11. Eat rest of meal, as mother's apetite allows.
12. Eat afiqoman.
13. Pour third goblet. Say birkath hamazon grace.
14. Pour goblet for Eliyahu Hanabhi here, or elsewhere during Seder as
per your custom. Pour fourth goblet. Finish Halel.

The above is an absolute minimum abbreviated Seder. It fulfils all
obligations, and is acceptable unto God when you cannot do more. It
can all be done in 20 minutes total. As more time and mother's energy
and attention span allow, you can add whatever passages are your
favourites. This was the seder as I was compelled to celebrate it in
the year 1990.

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Date: Wed, 5 Apr 2006 17:06:30 +0200
From: "Moshe Feldman" <moshe.feldman@gmail.com>
Fwd: The Secret of Eating at the Seder

Someone sent me this: <http://tinyurl.com/qrxnx>

    The great Kabbalist Rabbi Tzadok HaKohen revealed a deep secret about
    how to fix the way we engage with the world. He says that humanity's
    first sin was not Adam and Eve's eating of forbidden fruit, but rather
    the way they ate it. The Tree of Knowledge, says he, was not a tree
    or a food or a thing at all. Rather it was a way of eating. Whenever a
    person grabs self-conscious pleasure from the world, he falls, at that
    moment, from God consciousness, and eats from the Tree of Knowledge.

    All neuroses, personality imbalances, and existential
    dissatisfactions, teaches Torah, have their root in this first "sin"
    of unholy eating. Everyone has an eating disorder, for "eating"
    is much more than simply taking food into one's mouth. Material
    acquisition, sexuality, honor-seeking, addiction to power, praise,
    drugs, or even attention are all forms of eating.
    At these three moments of ingesting matzah, bitter herbs, and Afikomen
    (the half of the middle matzah which is hidden, then retrieved
    and eaten at the end of the meal), the channels from heaven to
    earth are perfectly aligned and the possibility of transformation is
    maximal. The root impurity of every human soul, its grabbing instinct,
    gets zapped by the healing light of the Seder's holy eating.

    To seize the moment one must bring prayerful intention to the meal.
    Part of Passover preparation should include a plan for utilizing these
    precious opportunities for deep soul healing. What is your prayer?
    Choose a meditation or prayer-focus to silently recite while eating
    the matzah, bitter herbs, and Afikomen.

    It could be your most important life goal for the year (for example:
    finding a spouse, conceiving a child, finishing your book, or finding
    the right job).

I must say that I don't quite understand how the eating of items at
the seder overcomes the problem of grabbing self-conscious pleasure
from the world. Admittedly, we are eating because we are commanded,
rather than for reasons of self-desire. But is that enough to overcome
the problem which exists during the rest of the year? I certainly don't
understand how meditating over finding the right job while eating matzah
solves anything.

Anyone wish to elaborate?

Kol tuv,

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Date: Wed, 5 Apr 2006 22:26:46 -0400
From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@juno.com>
Re: Mezonos Bread

On Wed, 5 Apr 2006 10:26:43 +0300 "Marty Bluke" <marty.bluke@gmail.com>
> Here are some of the issues involved with mezonos bread and pizza.

Pas haba'ah bekisnins does not, AIUI, include "food" additives such
as meat or cheese, only peiros such as would be used in a dessert.
(What about the fruit tart side dish?)


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Date: Thu, 06 Apr 2006 13:11:36 -0400
From: Jacob Farkas <jfarkas@compufar.com>
Re: Bracha on Pizza (was: Mezonot Bread)

R' Simcha Coffer wrote:
> I'm being a touch repetitive here but why must we take a shiur of
> kevias seuda into account when discussing the bracha on pizza? SA 168:17
> states clearly that dough cooked together with meat, cheese or fish is
> a hamotzee. MB adds that no minimum shiur is necessary, no standard
> of kevias seuda need be implemented. Thus even one slice is enough for
> a haMotzee; one bite is enough. It's no different than a slice of rye
> bread. This type of dough simply does not meet the standards of PHB. Why
> are people hesitant to accept this halacha?

[Disclaimer: I'm inclined to use PHBK as the acronym for Pas Haba'ah
B'Kisnin, as PHB is a popularly used term, known to cubicle dwellers

According to the Mishna B'rura [OH 168:17 SQ 94] you are 100% correct,
dough baked with meat, fish, or cheese is not PHBK and would thus be
subject to washing and benching. There is no differentiation between
Qovei'a Seuda or not QS, as the bread is not PHBK.

However, the Taz [OH 168:17 SQ 20] does not accept this position, his
position is that when filled with meat, fish, or cheese the din is that
the bread is PHBK, and that the SA in 168:17 is specifically intended
for QS. If one is not QS, then according to the Taz, the din is that
this bread is not PHBK. See Ba'er Hetev [168:17 SQ 36] who summarizes
the position of the Taz and of the Magen Avraham, that according to the
Taz all fillings qualify for PHBK, and according to the MA, only if the
fillings are fruits and spices can they render the bread PHBK.

In the Bi'ur Halakha, the MB mentions that many Aharonim agree to the Taz,
and he gives his reasons as to why he doesn't pasken like the Taz in MB.

It is pretty clear that the Minhag ha'Olam is to make Mezonos on Pizza
[If you doubt this for even a minute, go to any Kosher Pizza store and
observe], and Yesh lahem al mi lismokh. The only problem would be QS,
and that could depend on how much pizza is consumed.

Ikh bin nisht a Poseq, I'm just observing what is done L'ma'aseh. AFAIK
this is the very definition of Minhag, and should not be so readily
dismissed unless it blatantly violates Halakha. Considering the Taz,
the Minhag to make Mezonos on pizza is not Negged Halakha, IMHO.

Jacob Farkas

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Date: Thu, 6 Apr 2006 00:17:04 EDT
From: T613K@aol.com
Re: Mezonot Bread

> Since my husband (and everybody else?) holds that all rolls are  hamotzi
> if eaten as part of a meal, I'll tell you what I did with the  mezonos
> roll in my airline meal. I put it aside to eat as a snack some  time
> after I finished my meal. [--TK]

> When you did eat it, what  bracha did you make?

Mezonos. If I was going to make a motzi and bentsh I could have eaten
it with my meal already.

[Email #2. -mi]

RSC wrte:
> The point I was trying to make is that consuming a roll baked from
> flour and water has no minimum shiur. HaMotzee is a pre-requisite to
> any consumption whatsoever.

You asked me what bracha I made on a mezonos roll that I ate by itself
as a snack, and I replied that I made a mezonos. I should clarify that
I assumed, when the label said "mezonos roll," that the roll was made
with fruit juice, not water. Otherwise I don't know on what basis anyone
could have labelled it "mezonos roll."

--Toby  Katz

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Date: Thu, 6 Apr 2006 07:35:43 -0400
From: "Lisa Liel" <lisa@starways.net>
Amalekites (was Re: jewish identification)

From: T613K@aol.com
>Does it take care of the problem of how could Haman's descendants 
>have learned Torah in Bnai Brak?  If they were Amalekites shouldn't  
>they have been put to death?

I don't know. What's the status of an Amalekite who becomes a ger?
Suppose the beit din that does the giyur doesn't know he's an Amalekite.
Suppose he himself doesn't know he's an Amalekite.

Can an individual kill an Amalekite, or is it something that has to
be done either by a beit din or in a time of war? What are the exact
parameters? If I see an Amalekite, and somehow it's 100% certain that
he's an Amalekite, am I required/allowed to blow his brains out? Do I
have that authority?

But even aside from all of these questions, we seem to have a situation
where every single source we have says Haman is a direct descendent of
Agag, king of Amalek. Every one. Modern musings that perhaps he wasn't
don't count as sources, as I see it.


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Date: Thu, 6 Apr 2006 00:35:12 EDT
From: T613K@aol.com
Re: 3 Kedusha Questions

[R Arie Folger:]
> Seems obvious, people are imitating nagels by reciting the kedushah,
> so they do one more step and also kara zeh el zeh, they turn to one
> another to signal that now is the time to say kadosh 3x.

Are you saying that people turn to each other or that angels turn to
each other? The latter is how I understand what we're doing when we bow
to the left and to the right -- we are "looking" at the angels who are
calling to each other.

 -Toby  Katz

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Date: Thu, 6 Apr 2006 00:31:07 EDT
From: T613K@aol.com
Re: jewish identification

Lisa Liel asks:
> What gain is there in rejecting what Chazal say on this issue and
> supposing that Haman wasn't a descendent of Agag. ....Is there some
> external historical issue that would be resolved by saying that Haman
> wasn't descended from Agag?

Does it take care of the problem of how could Haman's descendants have
learned Torah in Bnai Brak? If they were Amalekites shouldn't they have
been put to death?

 -Toby  Katz

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Date: Thu, 6 Apr 2006 15:12:19 -0400
From: "Zev Sero" <zev@sero.name>
Dutch Jews waiting one hour

"Everyone knows" that while Sefardim and Eastern European Jews wait
six hours, and Yekkers wait 3, Dutch Jews wait only one hour. Indeed,
the one Jew I know who's of Dutch-Jewish ancestry waits one hour, as
his father and grandfather did. But when we say "Dutch Jews" in this
context, do we mean all Dutch Jews, or only the Ashkenazim?

The Netherlands have for about 400 years been the home of a large Sefardi
kehilla, known in English as the "Spanish and Portuguese", which spread
to England and the New World. This kehilla was established by the
descendants of anusim who escaped from Spain and Portugal, and imported
Sefardi rabbanim from Turkey to teach them. Its minhagim are mostly
standard Sefardi, with some variations (e.g. Italian-style sifrei Torah,
and selichot in Maariv), and it seems reasonable to assume that it would
follow standard Sefardi pesak on this too, and wait 6 hours.

Can anyone on the list confirm that it is only Dutch Ashkenazim who retain
the original Ashkenazi minhag of waiting only one hour? And when did
other Ashkenazim abandon that minhag? The reason for the change seems
to come from a letter that the Maharshal wrote to the Ramo, praising
the Sefardi minhag; but the Amsterdam kehillah was established decades
after both the Maharshal and the Ramo were gone, but evidently before
this reform of theirs had spread so far.

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Date: Thu, 6 Apr 2006 17:21:37 +0200
From: "D&E-H Bannett" <dbnet@zahav.net.il>
Re: 3 kedusha questons

> Does anyone know of a source for the minhag of many to 'bow' right
> and left when saying 'Vekoro zeh el zeh ve'omar'?

And RAF's reply:
> Seems obvious, people are imitating angels by reciting the kedushah,
> so they do one more step and also kara zeh el zeh, they turn to one
> another to signal that now is the time to say kadosh 3x.

In RAF's reply, it is not clear whether each human turner is signaling
to the others in the minyan, or is turning to the groups of angels,
or that the angels, for some reason, turn to each other. If we turn
to the angels,how do the left-right turners know that the two groups,
ofanim v'chayot hakodesh and the serafim, are located one to the left
and and one to the right. Perhaps they are one above and one below, both
on the same side, or even behind us. And for what reason should we turn
(to them?) when describing their actions?

IMHO, the spread of this custom of late among Ashkenazim can be blamed on
the establishment of the state of Israel. With Ashkenazim and Sefaradim
being roughly 50 - 50, it is common to have mixed minyanim and sefaradic
body-language customs are copied by the ashkenazim. These include things
like finger-pointing during hagbaha (mehadrin-machmirim use the pinky
and then kiss it), left-right bowing in kaddish (different from the five
forward bowings), and turning or bowing for zeh el zeh v'amar. I've also
seen hand raising by Ashkenazim at poteach et yadekha ... (still rare
as of Nissan '66).

Of interest is the words of R' Mazliach Mazuz in his very excellent
and accurate siddur. After explaining what the hazan and kahal say in
kedusha, when to step forward, when to jump, etc., he adds an interesting
remark. "Lately, the custom has spread of bowing to left when saying
the first zeh, right on the second zeh, and forward on v'amar.

In other words, this is a newly developed custom even among Sefaradim.
And what about the forward bow? Are there three separate groups. I
thought that the ofanim and chayyot together mitnas'im l'umat the serafim.

And while on the subject, the time may have come for another round on
Avodah of to whom one multi-bows when stepping back at end of shmoneh
esrei and more important to whom are we whispering when asking to
answer Amen? After deciding about these, we can then start on the end
of kaddish. I know to whom we are requesting the Amen, but... And why
does Sa'adia Gaon talk of giving shalom left and right, but not forward?


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Date: Thu, 6 Apr 2006 19:02:50 -0400
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Avdus

On Sun, Apr 02, 2006 at 04:33:13AM -0400, S & R Coffer wrote:
: > My LOR was speaking about tefillah and being an eved H', vs learning and
: > being a sar lifnei hamelekh. It's the eved's tefillos that get answered,
: > he has an intimacy that a sar lacks. (The SR was obviously both.) The
: > reference is to Berakhos 34b, the answer Rabbi Gamliel gave his wife as
: > to why he asked his talmid, R' Chanina ben Dosa to daven for his sick
: > son. The wife wondered why the rebbe would need his talmid to daven for
: > him -- who is greater? (I like the image of a wife who is so proud of
: > her husband's accomplishments.) R' Gamliel's answer was that RCbD is
: > the eved, whereas he is the sar.

: I've always had a problem with this Gemara. Since avdus is the tachlis
: of Torah u'Mitzvos (see Chovos haLevavos sha'ar bechina and shaar
: Avodas Elokim)...

Is it? The tachlis is subject to the classic "hashkafic fork" described
by RYGB at <http://www.aishdas.org/rygb/forks.htm>, and discussed
by myself before I teamed up with RYGB in a vertl that ended up at

Beqitzur: A sar also serves HQBH, but he does so from a position of
similarity. The chassid seeks deveiqus, the intimacy of an eved wbeveis
rabbo. The Litvaq seeks sheleimus, the development of one's tzelem
E-lokim, and is therefore more like the sar.

Rabban Gamliel simply told his wife that he is a greater success as
yeshivish people define it, whereas RCbD was the greater success as
chassidim do.

Even today, we should learn daven like chassidim and learn like Litvaks,
all the while being as willing to utilize the world as a Yekke. As REED
puts it (quoted at the end of RYGB's essay), we've become too desparate
to seek one ideal or the other. We need every tool at our disposal.

Other blog entries of mine on the "forks" theme:

On the Haskalah and how is caused the division by hashkafah
On hashkafos that don't fit the either-or:
On the word "aspaqlaria", the  concept of nevu'ah, and how it's shaped
by which side of the fork you're on.


Micha Berger             None of us will leave this place alive.
micha@aishdas.org        All that is left to us is
http://www.aishdas.org   to be as human as possible while we are here.
Fax: (270) 514-1507            - unknown MD, while a Nazi prisoner

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Date: Thu, 6 Apr 2006 19:16:15 -0400
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: korbanot

On Tue, Apr 04, 2006 at 09:10:06AM +0300, Eli Turkel wrote:
: The difference is that we don't consider chullin shechita something
: spiritual....

Are you distinguishing between a mitzvah chiyuvis (qadshim) and a mitzvah
machseres (shechitas chullin)? While get is an asei that is clearly a
necessary evil, I'm not sure if shechitah is.

The argument that it is would be based on the idea that Noach was given
a heter to eat meat altogether. If this is a concession, then it's a
necessaril evil. If this is a reward for saving them in the mabul,
perhaps not. (And see below)

:            In fact many vegetarians object to the idea....

Who said they're right? Isn't it more liklely those who were meqabelim
le'ekhol qadshim al taharas heqdeish were?

For that matter, the line was also blurred during the midbar generations,
when there was no chullin.


Micha Berger             "Fortunate indeed, is the man who takes
micha@aishdas.org        exactly the right measure of himself,  and
http://www.aishdas.org   holds a just balance between what he can
Fax: (270) 514-1507      acquire and what he can use." - Peter Latham

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Date: Thu, 6 Apr 2006 18:45:05 -0400
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: yerusha

On Fri, Mar 31, 2006 at 11:09:58AM +0200, Eli Turkel wrote:
: Shoshana L. Boublil answers my question on dividing up an inheritance
: by listing the things the daughters are entitled to...
: However, that is not the essence of the question. Even assuming her
: answer that in many cases the daughters get most of the inheritance.

I think that we've avoided the Torah's requirement to give the bechor
2/(n+1) of the yerushah and everyone else 1/(n+1) for the simple reason
that yerushah is already far from the ideal. This dates back at least
to Chazal (as pointed out by others already).

Picture how life was for the non-geir and non-Levi in the days of
nachalah. Land was divided once, by beis avos. Then, inherited by
the children, and then again by their children, etc... Women moved off
to their husband's beis av, but for men -- you lived next door to your
brother, two doors down from your uncle, and most of your other neighbors
were relatives. The sole exception being tenants of your relatives.

So I think much of what drives the deOraisa of yerushah is Hashem's
desire for each sheivet to have a distinct derekh avodah, and each beis
av to have its own subspecie. Without that, there is little rationale
for choosing one gender over the other, and Chazal found ways to avoid
doing so.


Micha Berger             Take time,
micha@aishdas.org        be exact,
http://www.aishdas.org   unclutter the mind.
Fax: (270) 514-1507            - Rabbi Simcha Zissel Ziv, Alter of Kelm

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Date: Thu, 6 Apr 2006 19:39:15 -0400
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: jewish identification

On Tue, Apr 04, 2006 at 10:37:14PM -0500, Lisa Liel wrote:
:>Sorry for the bitul zeman. It's Yevamos 13a (2:6), "Vekhi ben Hamdasa
:>hayah? Ela tzoreir ben tzoreir of hacha qotzeitz ben qotzeitz."

: Except that the Pnei Moshe on that same page explains that what the
: Gemara is saying is that Hamedata was the son of Agag, and the umpteenth
: g'g'g'grandfather of Haman, rather than his father. So it argues pretty
: strongly, again, in line with everything else our mesorah says about
: Haman, that he was, indeed, a descendent of Agag.

Do Chazal actually say anywhere that he was a desendent of Agag?

Peshuto shel miqra is that he either descended from Agag or came from
the land of Agag -- which was actually a region in Persia (might still
be, for all I know). The Septuagint makes him a Macedonian -- haAgagi
is rendered "o Makedon", to the best of my transliteration. Maybe
they thought "meiMuchan" instead of Memuchan and "muchan le'oneshim"
[Megillah 12b] as a derashah?

Everyone assumes haAgagi refers to Agag. It allows poetic parallelism
with the Ish Yemini. But I didn't know there was an actual maqor for
it outside of Josephus Ant xi 6:5. So, I just figured it was a Josephus
that caught on for the derashah usability, not a ma'amar Chazal.

Which is why the Da'at Miqra seemed plausible to me.

I could be wrong, but I wasn't gratituitously questioning Chazal. If it's
not a phantom Chazal, I'm perfectly willing to change positiongs. But
for now, I could see either side.


Micha Berger             "Man wants to achieve greatness overnight,
micha@aishdas.org        and he wants to sleep well that night too."
http://www.aishdas.org         - Rav Yosef Yozel Horwitz, Alter of Novarodok
Fax: (270) 514-1507      

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