Avodah Mailing List

Volume 31: Number 137

Mon, 29 Jul 2013

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Ben Waxman <ben1...@zahav.net.il>
Date: Thu, 25 Jul 2013 05:10:43 +0300
Re: [Avodah] Grape juice

Unless someone wants some wine at the meal; putting aside your family, 
in general no one pours for others during the meal itself.


On 7/25/2013 12:05 AM, Prof. Levine wrote:
> There is another option, namely, to have only those who are observant 
> pour the wine. At our seder no one pours his/her own wine. Usually my 
> older grandchildren do the pouring. This can be mentioned at the 
> beginning of the seder and the non-observant Jews will simply accept it.

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Message: 2
From: "Kenneth Miller" <kennethgmil...@juno.com>
Date: Thu, 25 Jul 2013 12:45:37 GMT
[Avodah] Which wine is better?

I'd like to begin this post with a halacha that I think we'll all agree on:
Except for poskim such as Rambam who totally disallow mevushal wines, most
poskim hold that one should use the non-mevushal UNLESS the mevushal is of
higher quality, in which case he should use the mevushal. (We are NOT here
defining "wine" or "mevushal", but each can use their own definition.) 

In the course of recent threads, R' Martin Brody has mentioned various
things - such as the recent quote from R' Daniel Rogov - that only
experienced oenologists would be aware of, and quite possibly only they
would care about. But fascinating in any case.

Here's my question: When choosing between this mevushal wine and that
non-mevushal wine, is quality determined by my personal preference or by
what the experts say? For example: To my untrained palate, a light Concord
is delicious and refreshing, no matter how badly it got cooked, while Rebs
Brody and Rogov would probably prefer the bitter tannins of a dark Merlot,

If they would be saying Kiddush, choosing the non-mevushal Merlot would be
a no-brainer. But what am **I** to do? (For the record, I *am* trying to
learn and appreciate the "finer" wines, but at this point, I'm just barely
beginning to not hate the semi-sweets; enjoying the dry wines is but a
distant dream.) Should I choose the mevushal wine which is chaviv to *me*,
or should I choose the one which is objectively meshubach to the mayvinim?

Akiva Miller

Fast, Secure, NetZero 4G Mobile Broadband. Try it.

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Message: 3
From: "Prof. Levine" <llev...@stevens.edu>
Date: Thu, 25 Jul 2013 07:52:47 -0400
[Avodah] Tachanun in Yerushalayim

 From http://tinyurl.com/lueq3c6

Visitors to Yeshivas Ohr Somayach's famous beginner 4:00 P.M. daily 
Mincha (You are also welcome to join) are wont to comment on the fact 
that everyone says Tachanun with nefillas apayim, the placing down of 
the head on an arm, even though the beis medrash where this tefilla 
is held, the Lauffer Beis Medrash, does not have a Sefer Torah or 
even an Aron Kodesh.

The reason they find this behavior odd is because the Rema[1], 
quoting the Rokeach, rules that if there is no Sefer Torah in a shul, 
Tachanun should still be said, but without nefillas apayim[2]. This 
is traced back to a Biblical source, that "falling down" in prayer is 
reserved for when an Aron is present[3]. Although some disagree[4], 
this remains common practice. If so, the visitors ask, why would Ohr 
Somayach not follow such a widespread custom?

The answer is: Yerushalayim. Yes, Yerushalayim Ir Hakodesh. Ohr 
Somayach is privileged and blessed to be located in the Holy City of 
Jerusalem. As such, it maintains special dispensation for certain 
tefillos, one of them is Tachanun. In the words of Rav Moshe 
Feinstein[5], "Yerushalayim contains intrinsic holiness and is 
designated for prayer, and therefore even without a Sefer Torah one 
should do nefillas apayim, as it is comparable to a place that has a 
Sefer Torah!!"

See the above URL for more.  YL
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Message: 4
From: Eliyahu Grossman <Eliy...@KosherJudaism.com>
Date: Thu, 25 Jul 2013 15:48:32 +0300
Re: [Avodah] Geocentrism

>> But the error I was trying to disabuse people of was that RMMS didn't
deny heliocentrism. He was defending Chazal's saying that the sun, moon,
planets and stars go around the earth. It wasn't an error.

To defend Chazal on a point that they were mistaken is the same as accepting
it, otherwise it is pretending. So if he was promoting that they were not
wrong when they were, whether he believed them or not, it would be an error,
since it would mislead others.

>> I don't believe Chazal knew more astronomy than their contemporaries did.
But I also don't believe in misconstruing RMMS in a way that causes people
to underestimate his subtlety of thought.

IMHO, it wasn't subtle. But let's leave Rav Shneerson out of this, since
that might lead us to places we do not want to go.

>> The sun rises daily, not annually. Each were thought to revolve around
the earth roughly daily: the sun was actually daily, the moon was roughly
daily, plus a one month epicycle. I don't know details, but Saturn also had

Do you realize the impossibility of the sun spinning around the still earth
every 24 hours? The result, because of the 23.5 degree tilt of the
non-moving Earth would be 6 hours of Summer, 6 hours of Fall, and so forth.
You could sleep through whatever season that you didn't care for! I used the
365 day rotation in my example since it was the least extreme.

>> The Pythagorians believed the earth spin, but then, a number of them were
heliocentrists! So we're not talking about them.
>> The epicycles are actually a Fourier approximation of their actual orbits
as seen from earth. But that's not geocentrism, that's specifically
Aristotle or Ptolmy. And AFAIK, Chazal doesn't mention them one way or the
other. And your whole notion about which particular geocentric map they
subscribed to is >> not RMMS's topic -- Chazal don't say anything about what
form of geocentrism they switched to in Rebbe's day.

It appears that they didn't switch to geocentrism, but denied it, and based
on mesechtot Pesachim and Sanhedrin, they used the non-moving earth and
objects rolling over the rakia model, which was uniquely theirs. A sixth
century Bishop forced the church to adopt the flat Earth rakia model, but
eventually the Church dropped the rakia part all together but maintained a
flat  earth geocentric model (just without the dome).

>> My point is, geocentrism replaces the earth's spin with an orbit around
the earth. Their heliocentric orbits are approximated by epicycles, not
replaced by orbits around the earth.

If you could take out a paper and pencil, and draw our solar system (you can
stop at Jupiter), in the way that you see it, and upload that picture, I
would be interested in seeing your model, since I have tried a number of
different possibilities and they all fail based on what I know. (fail in
maintaining a specific distance from the sun as well as a range of distance
from the earth).

>> Tir'u baTov!
>> -Micha


>> At this point, it's not "wrong" to assert that this force actually
exists; or that (as Chazal believed) the universe revolves around the Earth.
It's just not a very productive way to calculate anything.


Zev Sero:
>> He was actually championing the Rambam's Ptolemaic view, not Chazal's.

"He", meaning Rav Shneerson?

Eliyahu Grossman

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Message: 5
From: David Cohen <ddco...@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 25 Jul 2013 17:03:24 +0300
Re: [Avodah] Geocentrism

R' Eliyahu Grossman, attempting to prove that the geometric model is
objectively incorrect,  wrote:

>> The short of it is that in a Heliocentric model, Mars is correctly *34 MILLION
MILES* away,
>> and so it took the space rover less than a year to get there. That is a
>> In the Geocentric model, Mars is *226 MILLION MILES* away, which would
>> a travel time of about 6 years. That is a variance of nearly 1000%. That
is a fiction.

One does, in fact, reach such and obviously false conclusion if one
attempts to apply the Kepler / Newton laws of celestial mechanics to a
geocentric model.  Such an attempt leads to many other large problems, not
the least of which is that under Newtonian physics, there is no way to
explain the retrograde motion of the planets in the geocentric model.  The
epicycles used by Ptolemy (and the Rambam) are an elegant *mathematical*
model of what's going on, but nothing in our current *physics* will account
for why such epicycles should exist.

But it's important to remember that laws of physics are descriptive rather
than prescriptive.  The world doesn't "follow" the laws of physics.  We
make certain observations about the universe, and we then attempt to come
up with a consistent set of rules -- a model of physics -- that elegantly
explains it.

Kepler chose to observe the solar system from the heliocentric perspective,
and he came up with a set of consistent rules that explain these
observations.  The mere existence of Kepler's "laws" does not make the
heliocentric any more "correct."  They simply make the heliocentric
perspective much *simpler* to use, since Kepler's laws, which neatly
explain our observations from that perspective, are simple, elegant, and
consistent with Newton's laws of motion and with orbital mechanics as
observed on a smaller scale (e.g. ballistics).

If one were to prefer observing the solar system from the geocentric
perspective, one would need to come up with an alternative model of
physics.  Such a model of physics would need to have some rule explaining
why Mars is moving so slowly around the Earth despite its being only 34
million miles away.  It would need to have a rule explaining the epicyclic
motion of the planets.  Such a model might say that Newton's laws of motion
apply *except* under certain particular circumstances.  Such an alternative
model of physics would undoubtedly have lots of unanswered questions, but
then again, so does classical physics. We can't say *why* the gravitational
force exists, but we can use it as a "law" that consistently explains lots
of our observations.

Personally, I see no theological imperative, or even advantage, to adopting
the geocentric perspective.  As far as having an simple, elegant model of
the laws of physics, the advantages of adopting the heliocentric
perspective are clear.  But I would have to agree with the Lubavitcher
Rebbe zt"l that this doesn't make the geocentric perspective objectively

-- D.C.
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Message: 6
From: Zev Sero <z...@sero.name>
Date: Thu, 25 Jul 2013 15:48:02 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Tachanun in Yerushalayim

> From http://tinyurl.com/lueq3c6

> The answer is: Yerushalayim. Yes, Yerushalayim /Ir Hakodesh/. Ohr
> Somayach is privileged and blessed to be located in the Holy City of
> Jerusalem. As such, it maintains special dispensation for certain
> /tefillos/, one of them is /Tachanun/. In the words of Rav Moshe
> Feinstein[5], ?Yerushalayim contains intrinsic holiness and is
> designated for prayer, and therefore even without a Sefer Torah one
> should do /nefillas apayim/, as it is comparable to a place that has
> a Sefer Torah!!?
> Another tefillah that is said fully in Yerushalayim in any location,
> for the same above-mentioned reasons, is Magen Avos on Friday
> night[9], which technically needs to be recited in the presence of a
> Sefer Torah, or be said in a set minyan[10].

Mah inyan Smitta etzel har sinai?   Bracha Me'ein Sheva (not just the
middle portion) does not depend on a sefer torah, and is not some holy
ritual like nefilas apayim that requires an extra level of kedusha.
It is not said at an ad hoc minyan simply because the reason it was
instituted in the first place does not apply.  BMSh exists to give the
latecomers time to catch up, and at an ad hoc minyan, even one that was
scheduled in advance, few latecomers can be expected.   This applies
just as much in Yerushalayim as anywhere else.   (Those who mention a
sefer torah do so only as a measure of the minyan's ad-hocness; if no
sefer torah has been moved in, that's likely a sign that it isn't a
fixed minyan.)

Zev Sero               A citizen may not be required to offer a 'good and
z...@sero.name          substantial reason' why he should be permitted to
                        exercise his rights. The right's existence is all
                        the reason he needs.
                            - Judge Benson E. Legg, Woollard v. Sheridan

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Message: 7
From: cantorwolb...@cox.net
Date: Thu, 25 Jul 2013 10:11:27 -0400
[Avodah] Grape Juice

> I really don't mean to be disrespectful but the Kedem wine that you
> drink is extremely low on the totem pole of quality.

And matzah shmura isn't?
Also, after drinking a couple of full cups of wine, you probably won't care. 

Eitan Levy makes a valid point: If we are leaving non-Jews alone,
unsupervised, in our homes, doesnt this create a problem with all our
keilim in terms of kashrut?

That's very pragmatic. The only response against that would be the
"lo plug" argument.

> Yes. If the wine sloshes inside the bottle it becomes assur. Only if
> it remains perfectly still while she's moving it can it remain permitted.

What is your source??

There's even another option to consider: Use a Jewish cleaning lady
(if such a thing, indeed, exists). :-)

Dry wine is an oxymoron...

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Message: 8
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 25 Jul 2013 16:16:05 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Grape Juice

On Thu, Jul 25, 2013 at 10:11:27AM -0400, cantorwolb...@cox.net wrote:
: Eitan Levy makes a valid point: If we are leaving non-Jews alone,
: unsupervised, in our homes, doesnt this create a problem with all our
: keilim in terms of kashrut?

: That's very pragmatic. The only response against that would be the
: "lo plug" argument.

I'm not sure what distinction you're suggesting Chazal said was ignorable.
And besides, lo pelug is reason to be stringent in a situation where
it's not necessary -- not to have people doing the prohibited!

Also, the concern would be specific to a situation like a two income home,
where the employee doesn't harbor a concern about a yotzei venichnas
catching her in the act.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             "Fortunate indeed, is the man who takes
mi...@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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Message: 9
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 25 Jul 2013 17:09:08 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Abortion is not Murder?

On Tue, Jul 23, 2013 at 11:02:50AM -0400, Yonatan Kaganoff wrote:
: There is a significant machlokes haposkim if Bnei Noach have to follow the
: rules and details of Sheva Mitzvos Bnei Noach outlined in the seventh perek
: Gemara Sanhedrin.

I would split this question further: there are the actual issurim of the
other six mitzvos, and there is the penalty the courts are expected to
mete out when implementing the 7th. Even if one holds that the legal
system a Noachide society has to establish must include every din of the
Beris Noach, that doesn't mean that they all have to be established as
dinei nefashos.

: One position is that they have to while the other is that they can create
: their own rule-system within the general category of Sheva Mitzvos Bnei
: Noach as long as such a system is just. I believe that the former is the
: position Rambam and the latter is the position of the Ramah.

The way I understood it, yes, the Rambam holds that the 7th mitzvah requires
a court that enforces the other 6.

But, I had thought the Ramah holds that the chiyuv is to have a legal
system that implements an orderly society. Totally unrelated to the other
six mitzvos, except where their purposes overlap (such as prohibiting
murder or theft).

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Between stimulus & response, there is a space.
mi...@aishdas.org        In that space is our power to choose our
http://www.aishdas.org   response. In our response lies our growth
Fax: (270) 514-1507      and our freedom. - Victor Frankl, (MSfM)

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Message: 10
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 25 Jul 2013 17:18:43 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Geocentrism

On Thu, Jul 25, 2013 at 01:17:46PM +0300, Eliyahu Grossman wrote:
: The short of it is that in a Heliocentric model, Mars is correctly *34
: MILLION MILES* away, and so it took the space rover less than a year to get
: there. That is a fact.

: In the Geocentric model, Mars is *226 MILLION MILES* away, which would mean
: a travel time of about 6 years. That is a variance of nearly 1000%. That is
: a fiction.

There is no "the geocentric model". Geocentrism is a single idea, not a
model. RMMS's assertion isn't that Aristotle or Ptolmey or some other
geocentric model that dates back to Chazal's day was right. Just that
Chazal only speak of adopting geocentrism, and that one idea was no less
right than heliocentrism.

RMMS suggests we take the accepted model and translate it to a
non-inertial frame of reference by viewing the earth's spin as a universal
gravitational field that bends space around in the opposite direction.

Everything would be the same interval apart, using a space-time metric.
Since nothing is moving relative to eachother in a way that would create
significant Lorentz contraction (shrinkage due to relativity's weirdness),
all the distances would be pretty much the same.

Technically that point stands up -- holding the earth still and moving
everything else around it is identical under General Relativity to
looking at its orbit from the sun's frame of reference. But it does
make doing physics a lot more complicated. It's much easier to explain
the source of earth's spin than the source of a field that pervades the
universe. And calculating paths is easier the heliocentric way as well.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Good decisions come from experience;
mi...@aishdas.org        Experience comes from bad decisions.
http://www.aishdas.org                - Djoha, from a Sepharadi fable
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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Message: 11
From: "Simi Peters" <famil...@actcom.net.il>
Date: Fri, 26 Jul 2013 00:45:06 +0300
[Avodah] garlic on Pesach

Yes, I know I'm way behind, but having caught up on my Avodah backlog, I thought it would be helpful to weigh in on the garlic-on-Pesach thing.

My mother told me that the reason we didn't eat garlic on Pesach was
because garlic used to be stored in sacks of wheat (to keep it fresh, I
assume) and therefore one might find grains of wheat in the heads of garlic
on Pesach, which would have been a real hametz problem.

Kol tuv,
Simi Peters
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Message: 12
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Mon, 29 Jul 2013 12:11:57 -0400
[Avodah] Foie Gras

On Mon, Jul 29, 2013 at 05:14:32PM +0300, R Rafi Goldmeier wrote on Areivim:
> along your lines of thought, I find it interesting that foes gras in  
> Israel has not had a mehadrin hechsher because the mehadrin hechsherim  
> consider it tzaar baalei chaim....

Tzaar baalei chaim doesn't treif up the resulting food though. I can
see them refusing to give a hekhsher so as not to have an industry
providing incentive to cause pain, but that is different than saying
it's treif or that eating it is relying on heterim.

The J-m Post carried a story (no longer available on JPost.com) on
1-Mar-2005 by a Mati Wagner. To quote the halakhah pieces minus the
parts I consider prejudicial of political:

    ... Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv ruled there is no halachic restriction
    against force-feeding geese for foie gras.

    Elyashiv, probably the most preeminent halachic authority living,
    was asked by a haredi foie gras producer to give his opinion after
    MK Moshe Gafni (Degel Hatorah) voted against Israeli foie gras
    production in the Knesset Education Committee, arguing that it
    contradicted the Jewish law prohibiting cruelty to animals.
    ... Asked if foie gras production was a violation of halacha,
    Elyashiv replied unequivocally that it was not.

    Halacha permits causing animals to suffer if, as a result, there is
    some tangible benefit to man. That is why animals may be slaughtered,
    used for plowing or for carrying heavy loads.

    However, writes Rabbi Moshe Feinstein (Igrot Moshe, Even Ha'ezer IV
    92), not all benefits enjoyed by man justify causing suffering to
    animals. Based on this distinction, Feinstein prohibits raising calves
    for veal. Producing white meat is nothing more than a marketing ploy,
    writes Feinstein, and does not justify depriving calves of iron in
    their diet or limiting their mobility.

    In contrast, Elyashiv ruled that the enlarged liver resulting from
    forced-feeding practices is a tangible benefit to man and justifies
    animal suffering.

    As further evidence that there is no halachic restriction against
    foie gras, Friedman, a sixth-generation foie gras producer, cited
    stories that Rabbi Moshe Sofer, known as the Hatam Sofer, who lived
    at the turn of the 19th century, ate foie gras on a regular basis.

RMTendler prohibits consuming it on the grounds that the duck is force-fed
makes it too likely it's is a tereifah. I will not spell out the metzi'us,
you could find it on Google, and there is no reason to jar the more
sensitive among us.

White veal, on the same grounds as well.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Life isn't about finding yourself
mi...@aishdas.org        Life is about creating yourself.
http://www.aishdas.org                - Bernard Shaw
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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Message: 13
From: hankman <hank...@bell.net>
Date: Sun, 28 Jul 2013 23:45:52 -0400
[Avodah] A Race to Save the Orange by Altering Its DNA -

A Race to Save the Orange by Altering Its DNA


The above article raises several questions to be asked by religious Jews.

If this microbial attack is on citrus in general then has anyone heard whether the esrog has been affected and is in danger much like the orange?

Second, it raises the question whether the potential solution via genetic
manipulation for resistance will become a halachic problem for the kashruth
of esrogim.

I am aware that this sort of issue has been discussed wrt kashruth of
various vegetables, fish and animals. I am not familiar with the various
positions staked out there and whether they are basically the same issues
that might be raised wrt to esrogim.

Kol tuv

Chaim Manaster
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Message: 14
From: "Gershon Dubin" <gershon.du...@juno.com>
Date: Mon, 29 Jul 2013 14:16:09 GMT
[Avodah] Are there limits on what must be returned

Rabbi: No need to return lost smartphone  Halachic ruling issued by Rabbi
Karelitz says because advanced cellular phone is 'not kosher,' there is no
obligation to give it back to its owner 
.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4396770,00.html Are there categories of
items that need not be returned outside of our Eilu Metzios memories?  Or
is this a whole new Halachic construct?

30-second trick for a flat belly
This daily 30-second trick BOOSTS your body&#39;s #1 fat-burning hormone
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Message: 15
From: "Prof. Levine" <llev...@stevens.edu>
Date: Mon, 29 Jul 2013 07:14:28 -0400
[Avodah] Is Kabbalah Heresy?

See http://tinyurl.com/lt6l2qv


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