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Volume 23: Number 22

Sun, 18 Feb 2007

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Daniel Eidensohn <yadmoshe@012.net.il>
Date: Fri, 16 Feb 2007 13:59:40 +0200
[Avodah] Rashi/Rambam on female reproductive anatomy

R' Yoav Elan wrote:
> Dear All,
> I was wondering if anyone is aware of contemporary sources which 
> discuss, and attempt to explain, Rashi's and Rambam's view of the 
> Mishnah's description of the female reproductive system (Niddah 2:5 
> [17b]). 
*page 132 of my sefer Daas Torah I cite the following:

*Chasam Sofer (Nidah 18a): *What are the meaning of the anatomical terms 
mentioned in this Mishna? After I researched medical books and medical 
writers as well as scholars and surgical texts I have concluded that we 
cannot deny the fact that reality is not as described by Rashi, Tosfos 
and the drawings of the Maharam of Lublin. We have only what the Rambam 
wrote in the Mishna Torah and his Commentary to the Mishna even though 
the latter has statements which are unclear. However, you will find 
correct drawings in the book Maaseh Tuviah and Shevili Emuna?. 
Therefore, I did not bother at all with the commentaries of Rashi and 
Tosfos in this matter since it is impossible to match them with true 
reality. You should know this.

Daniel Eidensohn

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Message: 2
From: "Yisrael Medad" <yisrael.medad@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 16 Feb 2007 14:49:13 +0200
[Avodah] Moldad

 Prof. Ely Merzbach,  Dept. of Mathematics,
Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan wrote me regarding the will be/was query:

 *By the way, the real time is 21 minutes before this time (at 10:56)*

and yes, it should be announced as "haya" in USA

Yisrael Medad
Mobile Post Efraim 44830
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Message: 3
From: Zev Sero <zev@sero.name>
Date: Fri, 16 Feb 2007 08:42:49 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Rosh Chodesh Adar

Saul Guberman wrote:
> On 2/15/07, Galsaba@aol.com <Galsaba@aol.com> wrote:
>> Should we announce "The Molad for Adar WAS Saturday morning, 11:17 AM and 11 Chalokim."
> As the time is Jerusalem Standard time

Actually, it isn't.  The molad in J'm Standard Time is 20 minutes earlier.
In J'm Summer Time, it's 40 minutes later.   Since both standard and
summer time are very recent inventions, it's not surprising that we take
no notice of them.

Zev Sero               Something has gone seriously awry with this Court's
zev@sero.name          interpretation of the Constitution.
                       	                          - Clarence Thomas

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Message: 4
From: "Eli Turkel" <eliturkel@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 16 Feb 2007 16:17:03 +0200
[Avodah] ancient western galut

88760  on the divide, in the era of the churban, of the jews of the East and
the West. theorizes that the lack of access to Rabbinic halachic judaism led
to the eventual disappearance of Europe's first jews...>>

I find their claim that the visit of various of Taanaim to Rome was
merely political.
In fact it is clear from various gemarot that they had connections with some of
Roamn Jewry. How extensive is hard to tell.

OTOH I have always found it amazing that there is almost no mention in the
gemara about Alexandrian Jewry (minor exceptions like waving the flag in
the shul in Alexandria). It seems quite clear that the ties to Bavel were much
stronger than to Egypt.
One thing I have never understood is the sending of "shlichim" for announcing
Rosh Hashana and even the earlier fires - they all seem to be geared to
Bavel with Alexandria completely ignored

Eli Turkel

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Message: 5
From: "Eli Turkel" <eliturkel@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 16 Feb 2007 16:19:47 +0200
[Avodah] female reproductive system

I was wondering if anyone is aware of contemporary sources which
discuss, and attempt to explain, Rashi's and Rambam's view of the
Mishnah's description of the female reproductive system (Niddah 2:5

Artscroll explains that the average woman had diseases that created
artificial connections between parts where there is no physical connection.
I know of no basis for this speculation but they at least realize the

Eli Turkel

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Message: 6
From: "Rich, Joel" <JRich@sibson.com>
Date: Fri, 16 Feb 2007 09:37:04 -0500
Re: [Avodah] female reproductive system

Artscroll explains that the average woman had diseases that created
artificial connections between parts where there is no physical
I know of no basis for this speculation but they at least realize the

Eli Turkel

What about the disappearance of Hargasha?

Joel Rich

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Message: 7
From: Arie Folger <afolger@aishdas.org>
Date: Fri, 16 Feb 2007 16:46:18 +0100
Re: [Avodah] Copyright and Dina deMalkhuta

RZS wrote:
> I don't think this is quite right, as an explanation of the Ran's opinion.
> AIUI, it's nothing to do with debts or gratitude. ?AIU the Ran, a king's
> right to make laws in his country is exactly the same as the right of any
> property owner to make rules on his property. ?Since the owner has the
> right to expel anyone from his property, for any reason or for no reason,
> he also has the right to make arbitrary rules, which are binding on
> anyone who happens to be on the property. ?A person who knowingly breaks
> these rules is trespassing, which is a kind of theft. ?Similarly, the Ran
> says, since (in a feudal society) the king owns the entire country, and
> may expel anyone from it at his whim, he may make arbitrary laws, and a
> person who breaks them is a trespasser. ? But since every Jew has the
> right to live in EY, and no king has the right to expel a Jew from EY,
> this whole logic doesn't apply, and there is no obligation to obey the
> king's orders.

This is correct and is no contradiction to what I wrote. My contribution to 
the dialog was mostly in pointing out that for many posqim, that kind of DDD 
is limited to property matters and poll taxes, it may also include a minimal 
amount of additional laws. We become obligated to the sovereign because he 
could kick us out. However, this is no basis for laws not benefiting the 

You contention, that this theory of DDD no longer applies today is exactly 
what I was aiming for: the modern legislative bodies most likely find their 
halakhic support in the concept of 7THI, not DDD.

Good Shabbos,

Arie Folger

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Message: 8
From: Arie Folger <afolger@aishdas.org>
Date: Fri, 16 Feb 2007 16:52:32 +0100
Re: [Avodah] Copyright and Dina deMalkhuta

Reb Jacob Farkas wrote:
> Would this question be appropriate according to the Rishonim who view
> DDD to be either derived from Hefqeir BD Hefqeir, or self-obligation by
> citizenry to live according to the laws of the land?

If DDD flows forth from Hefqer BD Hefqer (HBDH), we now enter the murky 
question of under what circumstances HBDH can be pronounced at all and by 
whom ('Hatam Sofer suggested only a BD of the likes of Rabbi Ammi and Rabbi 
Assi, though he subsequently relaxed that under certain conditions). The 
issue is even thornier in our case, where the HBDH isn't general, but in 
favor of a particular person. That is the issue I mention as being a 
debatable power of 7THI.

> The government itself is only acting on behalf of the creators of
> Intellectual Property. It doesn't seek to be oppressive to individuals
> per se, its copyright laws are influenced by those who have a lot to
> lose if these restrictions are less severe.

Exactly. The goverments have created artificial rights, meaning the transfer 
of property from one party to another, and it is legitimate to ask under what 
circumstances what kind of government hasthe power to enact such things from 
the perspective of Halakhah.

> What is the value of a moral compass that points in different
> directions?

That is the whole point: our moral compass (Torah) allows us to test whether a 
society is veering off the acceptable into the moral wilderness in order to 
serve particular interests. We can then critique the wrong states of affairs.

Good Shabbos,
Arie Folger

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Message: 9
From: Yoav Elan <yoavelan@yahoo.com>
Date: Sat, 17 Feb 2007 22:01:41 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Rashi/Rambam on female reproductive anatomy

I did find one further bit of information, copied below, but am still  
looking for something more conclusive, if such an approach exists.

The following is from the Daf Yomi Advancement Forum (http:// 

(a) RASHI and TOSFOS explain that the Aliyah is located on the roof  
of the Prozdor (that is, it is only to one side of the cervical  
canal). Occasionally, blood comes into the Prozdor from the Aliyah,  
but its blood is not like the blood of Nidah. There are five  
different colors of Dam Nidah, and there is only one color of blood  
that flows from the Aliyah (TOSFOS DH v'Dam). There is an opening  
from the Aliyah through the roof of the Prozdor.
The CHASAM SOFER (YD 188) points out that it is very difficult to  
resolve this description with the actual anatomy. There is no attic  
of any sort next to the womb! Some answer that according to the  
explanation of Rashi and Tosfos, the Aliyah is not part of a normal  
woman's anatomy, but rather it is a hole that forms in some women due  
to illness, and through this hole blood enters from the bladder (or  
other organs) into the Prozdor.
(b) The RAMBAM (Perush ha'Mishnayos, and Hilchos Isurei Bi'ah 5:3)  
explains that the Aliyah refers to the uterine (fallopian) tubes that  
are attached to the top of the uterus from either side, which connect  
the ovaries to the uterus. This explanation matches the actual  
anatomical structure much more accurately, as the Chasam Sofer points  
out. The Rambam writes further that it is not common for blood to  
flow into the uterus from the uterine tubes, but it occasionally  
happens due to a wound or illness. Such blood is not Dam Nidah. It  
enters the Prozdor via the Lul, which is an opening between the  
Prozdor and the uterine tubes.
(According to the Rambam's explanation as well, it is not clear what,  
and where, this opening (Lul) is. The only natural opening in the  
uterine tubes appears at the head of the uterus where the uterine  
tubes connect to the uterus, but this is far from the Prozdor (the  
cervical canal, which is at the other end of the uterus)! It seems,  
therefore, that even according to the Rambam, the Lul is a hole that  
is formed due to illness.)
However, the Rambam's explanation is very difficult to understand for  
the following reasons:
First, the Gemara says that the blood of the floor of the Prozdor is  
Metamei more than that of the ceiling of the Prozdor, since the Lul  
opens into the ceiling of the Prozdor from the Aliyah above it.  
According to the Rambam, the Aliyah refers to the uterine tubes on  
*both* sides of the Prozdor, and, therefore, it is open to both of  
them. Why, then, should there be a difference between the "ceiling"  
and the "floor" of the Prozdor?
Second, the Gemara says that blood found from the Lul outward is more  
likely to be Tahor than blood found from the Lul inward. According to  
the Rambam, however, who says that the Lul is open to both sides of  
the Prozdor (since there is an Aliyah on each side), how can the Lul  
outward be more Tahor than from the Lul inward? *All* of the blood of  
the woman passes from the Lul (or one of the Lulim) outwards when it  
exits, whether it comes from the Aliyah or from the uterus! The blood  
there should be no better than a Safek!
Perhaps we may answer these questions as follows.
First, the "Gag" (ceiling) of the Prozdor actually refers to the  
upper part of the Prozdor itself, beyond the Lul and closer to the  
uterus. The Rambam maintains that this part of the Prozdor is Metamei  
more than the floor -- that is, the part of the Prozdor below the Lul  
-- which is more Tahor. (This is the opposite of the explanation of  
most Rishonim, who explain that the ceiling is more *Tahor* than the  
Second, according to the Rambam, the reason why blood found from the  
Lul and outward is Tahor is because when blood (Dam Nidah) comes from  
the uterus, it flows out together (or one drop comes out before the  
rest, but it remains close to the uterus, as Rashi explains on 2b, DH  
ha'Gas). When only a drop of blood is found outside of the Lul, it  
can be assumed that it is from the Lul and not from the Dam Nidah of  
the uterus. (M. Kornfeld)

Yoav Elan

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Message: 10
From: "Simon Montagu" <simon.montagu@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 18 Feb 2007 05:40:06 +0200
Re: [Avodah] [Areivim] LO BDU Peasch

On 2/18/07, Galsaba@aol.com <Galsaba@aol.com> wrote:
> I know that Pesach will not fall in BDU, but I dont know if this
> automaticlly happens as a result of not havig Rosh Hashana on Sunday, Wed,
> Friday.
> Is at a result? or needs to be taken seperaltly?

(replying to Avodah)

Short answer: It's a result.

Long answer: there's no variation in the number of months from Nisan
to Tishrei, nor in the number of days in each month, so the number of
days from Pesach to RH is:
16  (15 Nisan - 1 Iyyar)
29  (1 Iyyar - 1 Sivan)
30  (1 Sivan - 1 Tammuz)
29  (1 Tammuz - 1 Av)
30  (1 Av - 1 Ellul)
29  (1 Ellul - 1 Tishrei)
163 days, which is 23 weeks and 2 days. In other words, the day of the
week of Pesach is always 2 days before the day of the week of RH, and
two days before Sunday, Wednesday and Friday gives Friday, Monday and

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Message: 11
From: T613K@aol.com
Date: Sun, 18 Feb 2007 00:26:32 EST
Re: [Avodah] Slavery

RZS writes:
>> The fact that we regard slavery as unthinkable
doesn't  mean we're morally superior, it means that we have been so
infected with  goyishe values that they have become part of us; that's
nothing to be proud  of.<<

AFAIK the Torah does not have different words for "slave" and "servant"  -- 
the word eved is used for both.  I'm not sure the demarcation is so  clear-cut. 
 An eved ivri who works for six years for example, or a girl  "sold" into 
"slavery" by her father -- who must be married by her employer or  freed when she 
reaches puberty -- these seem to be more like indentured servants  than 
slaves.  The employer has so many responsibilities towards his slave,  and owns him 
for such a limited time.   What he seems to own is not  the eved but the 
right to the eved's labor.  I put "sold" and "slavery" in  quotes because what the 
father has really done -- and it would be a deeply  impoverished father who 
would do this -- is put his daughter in a situation  where she is housed, 
clothed, fed and perhaps trained for useful employment, and  in exchange for the 
work the girl will do, her father has received  payment, which he obviously 
desperately needs.   

--Toby  Katz
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Message: 12
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Sun, 18 Feb 2007 09:49:05 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Rosh Chodesh Adar

The time announced isn't the mold emtza'i. It's the molad emtza'i for
1600 years ago.

There is an interesting chizuq emunah here. The molad was too short when
first published by Ptolemy in the Amalgest, and certainly far less in the
days of the Babylonians that Ptolmey cites as a source. It was accurate
within milliseconds when Rav Hillel standardized the calendar (depending
on the exact date it happened). Which does make the most sense if the
RBSO gave Moshe Rabbeinu the molad in parashas Bo, and the Babylonians
measured it knowing from us what answer they were supposed to get.

Last time around we discussed the difficulty of measuring the molad to
the nearest cheileq in a world without standardized clocks. The molad
amiti varies to -12 hr to + 16 hr around the molad emtza'i. You need
to average over centuries, and have no way of knowing how many chalaqim
went by. After those centuries, you would get the molad emtza'i at some
point in the middle of the interval. And then they get an error that
just happened to exactly match the molad centuries later, when we'll
need it when the Sanhedrin disbanded?

Divine involvement seems the most plausible explanation.

You can learn much more about the astronomy of the molad at
<http://www.sym454.org/hebrew/molad.htm>. (Not a frum source; he proposes
a new molad to switch to.) He also resolves many of the questions raised
last time around to my satisfaction, FWIW.

Because of the above error, it is non-trivial to know where the
intended meridian was. Most Jewish sites, including the OU, assumes
it's Jerusalem Mean Time. Someone on mail-jewish convinced me a while
back that it was at Alexandria, the western edge of Jewish settlement,
the first to see the molad. But working back to Rav Hillel's day, Dr
Bromberg gets to 23 mean solar minutes east of Yerushalaim (5-3/4 deg),
somewhere in eastern Jordan. And so he concludes the time announced
was midway between EY and Bavel, the settlement at that time.

Or the mean between the Nile and the Euphrates -- Nachal Mitzrayim and
Nehar Peras?

Last, it seems our grandparents or greatgrandparents announced the time on
a different clock. Under the Ottomans, many in Israel followed a system
common in Moslem countries of resetting the clock to 6pm at sunset,
and most announcements used that.

Tir'u baTov!

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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