Avodah Mailing List

Volume 23: Number 55

Mon, 19 Mar 2007

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: "Samuel Svarc" <ssvarc@yeshivanet.com>
Date: Sun, 18 Mar 2007 01:40:25 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Halachic who is right from "The Lost Scotch"

>From: Elliott Shevin <eshevin@hotmail.com>
>Subject: Re: [Avodah] Halachic who is right from "The Lost Scotch"

>What?? You're
>going to keep us in suspense?? (Until I can get a copy of the book, that
>is.) Personally, I sympathize with Davidi. Yehoshua was unavoidably
>purchasing his time as well as his services. Davidi acted in good faith;
>he arrived with the intent to sing. True, he decided on his own not to,
>but to perform under the circumstances would be awkward and

See below where I quote the story more fully. Davidi was prepared to sing
but wasn't given the chance.

>From: "Yisrael Medad" <yisrael.medad@gmail.com>
>Subject: [Avodah] Who is Right?
>Er, was Davidi wrong in not leaving that Chupah as soon as he found out
>he wasn't going to sing even though he already had lost two other events.

He had lost those other events in the intervening weeks between being hired
by the Chosson and the actual chasuna.

>Or maybe since he wasn't sure he was going to get paid, he figured he might
>as well eat?
>Of course, he should have immediately conferred with that Chatan who
>invited him to clarify the matter without delay.
>But I'm waiting for the psak.

It appears that I wasn't clear enough in giving over all details of the
story. I'll try to quote more fully and then reveal the shocking p'sak (at
least to me).

I was loath to do so because of its length, but for clarity (as well as good
reading) here goes.

"  Fortunately, Devorah also shared a liking for Chaim ben Zundel and was
happy to listen quietly while Yehoshua focused his attention on finding his
way. The drive was short and pleasant and the soothing backdrop of Chaim ben
Zundel helped considerably in mellowing the atmosphere between them. With
the car parked, they entered the hotel lobby, found a secluded corner away
from some noisier patrons and engaged in some friendly small talk.

The conversation between them flowered, and in addition to common taste in
music they discovered themselves well matched in other areas as well. During
the drive home two hours later Yehoshua even had the confidence to hike up
the cassette player volume two notches, and an exhilarated Devorah arrived
home smiling, and humming the lively beats of Chaim ben Zundel.

A second date was quickly followed by a third and fourth, with Zvi's Chaim
ben Zundel tape very much a central part of each meeting. During the drive
home after the fifth date, Yehoshua became acutely aware of Chaim ben Zundel
singing his way through the now familiar, upbeat version of Od Yishoma on
the car stereo. Not wanting to let a good opportunity slip by, Yehoshua
seized the moment and, as the last bars of the song slowly faded into the
night, he turned and proposed to Devorah. Although overcome with surprise
and delight, Devorah only had to pause for a second before joyously

Preparations for the grand wedding began shortly afterwards, and Yehoshua
dreamed up an original idea of how to enhance the simcha.


"Hello is that Davidi?" he asked. "This is Yehoshua Greenstein speaking. We
heard you singing last week at my friend's wedding and I was wondering if
you would be available on the twenty seventh of January. That's when I'm
getting married and it would be great if you could come and sing."

Davidi confirmed the date was available and then listened politely as
Yehoshua continued with his request.

"Now I know you have a wonderful repertoire of songs but I was hoping you
would be able to break from your regular routine and sing something
different. What I want is for you to sing only the songs of Chaim ben Zundel
and specifically his new version of Od Yishoma. It would mean so much to me
and be a wonderful surprise for my kallah."

Davidi assured him that special requests and even impersonations were very
much standard fare and the Chaim ben Zundel request was well within his

"Let me just confirm then," Davidi said. "It's the twenty-seventh of January
at the Rainbow Terrace. I'll be there well before ten o'clock and ready to
sing for the second dance. My fee for the evening is five hundred dollars
which I'll collect from you during the wedding. And of course, you're
specifically requesting the songs of Chaim ben Zundel to be played and
especially his Od Yishoma."

"That's exactly right," confirmed Yehoshua, excited at the prospect of
surprising Devorah at the wedding. "I'm really looking forward to seeing you


It was at a quarter to ten, with the first dance just having ended that
Davidi entered the hall. Taking in the scene, he confidently strode up to
the stage and introduced himself to Levi, the bandleader.

"Hi there, my name's Davidi, the singer," he began. "For the second dance,
the chosson asked me to come and sing a medley of songs from the famous
Chaim ben Zundel. I'm sure you must be familiar with his compositions but
just in case you're not I made sure to bring these music sheets with me."

From out of a large envelope he extracted numerous papers and handed them to
Levi. Oblivious to the bandleader's dumbfounded stares, Davidi continued.

"These sheets show all the correct chords and beats and are really easy to
follow. I'm just going outside to do some warming up and will be back in ten
minutes to be in time for the beginning of the next dance."

Levi continued staring, his forehead creasing in confusion. "Is there any
problem?" Davidi asked, noticing the bandleader's unusual expression. "These
sheets were produced professionally and any good musician will have no
trouble at all following along," he added, hoping Levi would react more
positively with this reassurance. That didn't happen. Instead, Levi cleared
his throat and, searching for the correct words, slowly began to explain the

"What I'm going to reveal to you now is top secret," Levi began quietly,
making sure that no one was eavesdropping. "The kallah planned a special
surprise for the chosson tonight and very shortly the one and only Chaim ben
Zundel himself will be coming here to sing." He paused briefly to allow
Davidi time to digest this brain-bursting bombshell before continuing.
"Naturally I can hardly allow you to do some cheap imitation when the great
star himself will be appearing. Unless Chaim is in the mood for a duet I
really don't think you're going to have much of an opportunity to do any
singing here tonight." 

A very shaken Davidi retreated and watched from a distance as the great
maestro himself, Chaim ben Zundel, arrived shortly afterwards. Shaking off
the crowds, Chaim proceeded to mount the stage and sing through his routine,
unhampered by unwanted accompaniment. Even Yehoshua was delighted at his
kallah's thoughtfulness, not at all put out that his own prepared surprise
had fallen short of its mark.

During a lull in the singing, Yehoshua spied Davidi approaching from a
distance and tactfully moved away from Devorah before greeting the singer.
"I'm sorry it didn't work out as we had planned," he apologized. "It seems
that my kallah had a better idea."

"That may well be," said Davidi smarting from the insult, "but you still
need to pay my fee. I actually turned down two other weddings to be here
tonight even though it seems I wasn't needed after all." 

Yehoshua, in his elated mood, was quick to dismiss the issue.

"I don't know about that," he said. "You'll have to speak to my father and
ask him for a check."

Davidi approached Mr. Greenstein who, although amused at Davidi's tale was
unwilling to offer any compensation. "Why should I pay you for singing when
you didn't?" he queried. "I feel sorry that you missed another wedding but
that's really no concern of mine."

Is Davidi entitled to get paid despite not having sung?  "

The author then writes:

" No.

The singer had been told by the chosson that he wanted to surprise the
kallah. As such, Davidi knew that the kallah would not know of the plan, and
therefore have no reason to tell Yehoshua that there was no room for a
second singer. Therefore, when the real Chaim ben Zundel showed up Yehoshua
and Davidi were equally surprised, sufficient grounds to exonerate Yehoshua
from paying.  "

He bases this, amongst other places, on the Mechaber CM 334:1 "Hasocher es
hapoel l'hoshkos hasoteh mizeh hanahar, v'posek hanahar b'chatzi hayom, im
ein darko l'hafsek, oh afilu sh'darko lifsok v'hapoel yodeih derech hanahar,
p'seitah d'poel v'ein ba'al habayis (BH"B) nosein lo klum, af al pi sh'gam
BH"B yodeih derech hanahar, avol im ein hapoel yodeih derech v'BH"B yodeih,
nosein lo s'choro k'poel boteil. HAGA - v'chein b'chol oneis sh'aru l'poel,
ben sh'shneiheim yodim sh'derech h'oneis lavu oh sh'shneiheim einon yodin,
havi p'seitah d'poel, aval im BH"B yodeih v'hapoel eino yodeih, havi
p'seitah d'BH"B."

What do the readers on Avodah say?


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Message: 2
From: "Samuel Svarc" <ssvarc@yeshivanet.com>
Date: Sun, 18 Mar 2007 01:40:26 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Yerushalayim

>From: "Moshe Feldman" <moshe.feldman@gmail.com>
>Subject: Re: [Avodah] Yeruishalayim
>IIRC while the Bayit Sheni wall encompassed different areas than does
>the current wall, the current Jewish Quarter was encompassed within the
>Bayit Sheni walls.

You would be hard pressed to find a spot that wasn't (I'm not referring to
new settlements after the Six Day War), that's how extensive the Bayis
Sheni's walls were. The neighborhood of Yafo, and other areas weren't
enclosed (it's hard to explain without a map) but take a look at a detailed
Yerushalayim map. Between Meah Shearim and next to Shivtei Yisroel (closer
to the old city) you should see a street called Chomah Shlishis. That was
how far north it went! You can trace it's route by looking at where all the
churches were built. The Ministry of Education is an old Italian Missionary
hospital, the Eithopian Church (not sure about this one), Russian Compound
(cluster of Russian churches), and the huge French monastery (hospital)
right across from city walls.


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Message: 3
From: "Dr. Josh Backon" <backon@vms.huji.ac.il>
Date: Sun, 18 Mar 2007 08:08:18 +0200
Re: [Avodah] donating blood

>Someone claimed that donating blood to the Red Cross is against halacha
>since one is "harming oneself" and most receipients are nonJewish.
>Seemed strange to me as most poskim allow even violating shabbat on behalf
>of a NonJew because of possible sinah. Why would donating blood be any
>Any opinions (piskei halachot) ?

The Nishmat Avraham (Yoreh Deah 349) [p.265] discusses blood donation 
and quotes
the Iggrot Moshe (CM  103) "yesh taam gadol shelo le'esor"; and RSZA 
who permits
since  it's a n"mitva gedola shel hatzalat nefesh m'yisrael". [The 
Iggrot Moshe was
noch referring to someone donating blood in the USA for $$$ !!]

On the issue of "harming oneself" the Nishmat Avraham quotes the 
Rambam (Hilchot Chovel
u'Mazzik  5:1) who limits the issur of physical damage done to others 
only if it's "derech nitzayon"
(or "bizayon". If it's for any "toelet" (or with the permission of 
the person) there's no issur. Ditto
see the Minchat Chinuch 48.



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Message: 4
From: "Eli Turkel" <eliturkel@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 18 Mar 2007 10:04:36 +0200
[Avodah] Retzei

The way my father explained it to me is the following: If one will say,
"Ve-ishei Yisrael utefilatam be-ahava tikabel..." "And receive with love the
fire-offerings of Israel and their prayers....", he has just said
something incomprehensible. There are no fire-offerings these days
(unfortunately). The most logical construct
is, "vehashaiv et avodah lidvir betacha ve-ishei Yisrael" "and return
the service and the fire-offerings of Israel to the Holy of Holies of
your house".>>

This is the conclusion of the Gra. I don't understand why most siddurim do not
punctuate it this way

Eli Turkel

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Message: 5
From: "Chana Luntz" <chana@kolsassoon.org.uk>
Date: Sun, 18 Mar 2007 11:40:46 -0000
[Avodah] Vashti's tail

RZS writes:

> T613K@aol.com wrote:
> > Just a thought -- with all the comments on this thread -- is it
> > that something protruded from some orifice or another -- not an
> > tail, but something medical, some female condition or bowel
> > A hernia, dropped uterus, hemorrhoid, tumor or who knows  what?
> > there's a way to square the "midrashim should be taken literally"
> > with the "no miracles in the Megillah" school?
> Again, in that case why invoke Malach Gavriel? 

Well I note that the Ben Yehoyada gives two reasons for the invoking of
Malach Gavriel.  The first is because he is the malach that is kneged
the sar of Paras, and the second is because he is the malach of eish,
and since the next part "vyiktzaf hamelech meod v'chamaso ba'arah bo"
therefore involved him, the tail was attributed to him as well.

Note two things about this.  In neither case does this seem to suggest
that the invocation of Gavriel means that there was an out and out
performance of a miracle (other than due to the timing).  Regarding the
first, the idea that when there are various ups and downs in the lives
of peoples below, there is a corresponding war between the
representative malchim does not require that the ups and downs be
specifically miraculous at the level below.  And regarding the second,
the second "miracle" that is here attributed to Gavriel is very much of
the form of a non obvious miracle.  The Ben Yehoyada explains however
that in fact this was the key miracle. His basic point is, why is it
that Vashti thought that the best course (on having grown a tail and got
tzaaras - note he hold that both occurred) was to be rude back to the
king.  And his answer was that she was relying on the fact that the king
really loved her, and that it would all blow over, whereas if she was
not rude, but still refused to come, they were all likely to traipse
over to see her, which she couldn't have them do at that time.  And
hence the true miracle, if you like, was that the king got sufficiently
angry to get rid of her, and that in fact this was due to Gavriel's
involvement as the malach of eish.

 >He wasn't considered necessary for the tzaraat, but he was for the 
> tail. 

Again, I don't understand why you keep comparing the two languages in
the gemora, when one is from a braisa and another is the statement of an
amora.  If it was language from the same braisa, then I could understand
your attempt to derive a diyuk from the language, but in this case, the
amora gave a straight statement as to what he understood occurred, and
the braisa explained what it understood occurred in language which
invokes the underlying involvement of melachim. The gemora then records
them accurately in the way that they were expressed.

 The only difference I can see is that tzaraat happens 
> now and then, but tails generally don't. At least not to 
> people who were born without them.
> -- 
> Zev Sero               Something has gone seriously awry with 



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Message: 6
From: "kennethgmiller@juno.com" <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
Date: Sun, 18 Mar 2007 12:58:31 GMT
[Avodah] Nefilas Apayim - posture or tachanun?

In the recent thread "Nefilas Apaim in Yerushalayim", we have been 
presuming that the term "Nefilas Apayim" refers to the posture in 
which one says Tachanun. However, in some places it refers to the 
saying of Tachanun without regard to posture.

It seems to be a rather ambiguous term. For example, if one reads the 
Mechaber in Siman 131, there are a couple of places where it clearly 
refers to posture, but other places which are not clear at all.

One could read seifim 3, 4, and 6 to say that at night, or in a beis 
avel, or on Rosh Chodesh, Tachanun is said without putting one's head 
down. I know that is not the case, but I only know it from 
experience, not from the Mechaber's words. (Couldthere be some 
communities which actually do that?)

I had hoped to find some clue in the precise wording used, but I have 
not seen any pattern. Whether as a verb or noun, whether as singular 
or plural, it can go either way. Below I have charted the phrases 
used, and what they mean, in each seif:

1 - nefilas apayim - tachanun
1 - nofel al panav - posture
2 - nefilas apayim - posture
3 - nefilas apayim - tachanun
3 - liypol al panav - tachanun
4 - liypol al panav - tachanun
5 - noflin al pneihem - tachanun
6 - liypol al pneihem - tachanun
6 - noflin al pneihem - tachanun
7 - liypol al pneihem - tachanun
8 - liypol al panav - posture

Summary: The mechaber uses "nefilas apayim" for tachanun in 1 and 3, 
but for posture in 2. And he uses "liypol al panav" for tachanun in 3 
and 4, but for posture in 8.

It might be worth noting that this ambiguity is more noticable in the 
Mechaber, who never uses the word "Tachanun", but it also appears in 
the Rama. Since the Rama does use the words Tachanun (or Techina), 
his use of Nefila *tends* to refer to the posture, but not always.

1 - nafal al panav - posture
2 - nefilas apayim - posture (twice)
6 - noflin - tachanun (twice)
8 - liypol al panav - posture
8 - noflin al pneihem - posture

Has anyone else noticed this problem, or noticed a pattern which I've 
missed? Or am I wrong in my interpretations?

Akiva Miller

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Message: 7
From: "Michael Kopinsky" <mkopinsky@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 18 Mar 2007 15:28:34 +0200
Re: [Avodah] donating blood

On 3/17/07, Eli Turkel <eliturkel@gmail.com> wrote:
> Someone claimed that donating blood to the Red Cross is against halacha
> since one is "harming oneself" and most receipients are nonJewish.
> Seemed strange to me as most poskim allow even violating shabbat on behalf
> of a NonJew because of possible sinah. Why would donating blood be any
> differewnt?
> Any opinions (piskei halachot) ?

I find this difficult to accept:

a) How do you know if it's going for a goy?  Maybe a Jew will get it, and
safek pikuach nefesh is enough.  (Is this called safek pikuach nefesh?)

b) Meiheicha teisi that you're harming yourself?  I would like to know
what the medical journals saying about this.  (Not the Red Cross PR dept.)

Go to top.

Message: 8
From: T613K@aol.com
Date: Sun, 18 Mar 2007 12:29:36 EDT
Re: [Avodah] donating blood

From: "Eli Turkel" <eliturkel@gmail.com>
>>Someone claimed  that donating blood to the Red Cross is against halacha
since one is "harming  oneself" and most receipients are nonJewish.
Seemed strange to me as most  poskim allow even violating shabbat on behalf
of a NonJew because of possible  sinah. Why would donating blood be any
Any opinions (piskei  halachot) ?<<

Eli Turkel


It seems to me that your reasoning is correct, and that donating blood to  
non-Jews should be permitted for the same reason that doctors are allowed to  
heal non-Jews on Shabbos. Actually since the Red Cross supplies blood to Jews,  
you're not donating "to non-Jews" but to a communal bank that supplies both 
Jews  and non-Jews.
I confess that my own practice is different though. I don't donate to the  
Red Cross stam azoy.   I have donated blood many times but each time  only in 
response to announcements that so-and-so in my own community needed  blood -- a 
woman undergoing chemo, a baby having surgery etc. And for my  own son.   I 
was zocheh in each case to have the right blood  type.
I read somewhere that if everyone in the country donated blood just once  per 
lifetime, there would be no blood shortage.  So when the blood bank  calls me 
to donate again, I decline, because I figure I have already  done my share -- 
and will do again if needed.  
BTW for some men, and possibly some post-menopausal women, giving  blood may 
not be "harming yourself' and may actually have a health  /benefit/, because 
some people have too /much/ iron in their blood and when the  excess is not 
shed by menstruation or by giving blood, extra iron can be  harmful.  You could 
look it up (I'm too rushed to look it up myself right  now) or maybe some 
doctor here can confirm.


--Toby  Katz

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Message: 9
From: "Eli Turkel" <eliturkel@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 18 Mar 2007 23:09:28 +0200
[Avodah] microphones on shabbat

In his most recent weekly shiur, Rav Asher Zelig Weiss expressed
himself about electricity in almost exactly the same terms as RMB does
here: the prohibition was determined first, and then the poskim looked
around for a category to fit it into.>>

It is clear that this is the opinion of RSZA about electricity. He
disagrees with CI
about boneh and with others about nolad. He doesn't seem to have any real
reason to prohibit electricity (without light/heat) on shabbat nevertheless he
certainly never allowed one to turn on electricity on shabbat.

Eli Turkel

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Message: 10
From: Zeliglaw@aol.com
Date: Sun, 18 Mar 2007 22:18:35 EDT
Re: [Avodah] Ikkarim redux

RMS wrote in part:

I would  point out, for example, that RM Feinstein, who believed that  
most C  rabbis were mehallel shabbat, and therefore viewed them as  
pasul  le'edut, accepted the testimony (and marriage) of those known  
to be  shomer shabbat - without questioning about ikkarim - even  
though  blblical criticism is standard material.  In the end, shmirat   
hamitzvot is determinative...

Source please?
Steve Brizel
_Zeliglaw@aol.com_ (mailto:Zeliglaw@aol.com) 

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Message: 11
From: Zeliglaw@aol.com
Date: Sun, 18 Mar 2007 22:26:28 EDT
Re: [Avodah] Ikkarim redux

RMS wrote in part:

we have  a greater  
obligation that we act right than that they believe  right

Really-if as RYBS posited, both Bris Avos and Bris Sinai are the defining  
elements of Jewish identity, being Orthodox is as important as being  
Orthoprax-AFAIK, the psulim of edus and re shecitah of a Mchalel Shabbos are  because 
the person is a kofer in Brias HaOlam and Gpd's role in history. 
Steve Brizel

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