Avodah Mailing List

Volume 34: Number 147

Sun, 13 Nov 2016

< Previous Next >
Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Eli Turkel
Date: Sun, 13 Nov 2016 17:55:36 +0200
[Avodah] how to pasken

> 5. And the last question: Why Ashkenazim should always go according to
> Ramo and Sepharadim according to Machaber? From where it comes? Because
> if we speak about question that there is a difference for people in
> Germany or Poland and Israel, because of some minhag or climate then
> it is understandable. But when there is only machloket in understanding
> some Mitzwa Deoraita or Derabanan with no shaichus to differeces in the
> lands-so why the people should go according to his Posek-Ramo or Mechaber?

One of the cornerstones of halachic practice and Jewish law is
"mesorah" the tradition passed on from one generation to the next.
Naturally Ashkenazim throughout the generations followed the psak of
the Rama which is based on the traditions of the lands they came from.
The same is true for Sefardim.  >>

This is true for Orach Chaim and much of Yoreh Deah  and much of
Even Haezer. It does not seem to be true for Choshen Mishpat and parts of
YD and EH

Eli Turkel
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.aishdas.org/pipermail/avod

Go to top.

Message: 2
From: Akiva Miller
Date: Sun, 13 Nov 2016 08:11:11 -0500
[Avodah] Brewing coffee on Shabbos

How can one make coffee on Shabbos?

It seems to me that when most people ask this question, the idea of normal
brewing is simply dismissed out of hand. Besides the bishul problems, we're
dealing with a filter of whatever kind, and that's obviously borer. So, the
discussion turns immediately to instant coffee.

In my research, I have found that just about every sefer on Bishul
B'Shabbos discusses the topic of using tea leaves/bags on Shabbos, but I
have not seen even one that discusses using ground coffee on Shabbos. That
surprises me, because the halachic issues are very similar: Both involve
some sort of cooking (whether of tea leaves or of ground coffee beans), and
both involve some sort of straining (whether done by the tea bag or the
coffee filter). The two cases can shed light on each other, and when we
consider how popular coffee has gotten in recent decades, I wonder why I
have not seen anything written on this question.

The purpose of this thread will be to suggest that it is indeed muttar to
brew fresh ground coffee on Shabbos, subject to specific halachic
constraints that we will discuss.

(Full disclosure: I am somewhat nogea b'davar. Personally, I am not at all
particular about what kind of coffee I drink, but my wife is at the other
end of the spectrum. For lack of anything better, she drinks "Starbucks
Via" (instant coffee) on Shabbos, and refers to all other instant coffees
as "artificially flavored sorta-kinda fake coffee beverage".)

I will now describe the halachos as I heard them on Shabbos Bereshis, from
Rabbi Avrohom Herman, rav of the JEC Elmora Shul in Elizabeth, at his short
Hilchos Shabbos shiur during Kabalas Shabbos. I am also including a great
deal of my own research that I did based on the sources that he cited, and

Mechaber Orach Chaim 319:9 says that on Shabbos, one *IS* allowed to put
shmarim (the leftover grapes that were used to make wine; Feldheim
translates as "dregs") in a filter (described in Mishne Brurah 319:31), and
pour water over it to produce a drink. There are a couple of conditions,

The first is that the filter (which Beur Halacha 319:"Afilu" describes as a
strainer that is taut over the mouth of a container) must be set up before
Shabbos, to prevent the d'Oraisa of Ohel.

The second is that the shmarim must have been placed on the filter before
Shabbos. MB 319:32 says that this is to prevent borer or m'raked. I
understand this MB to mean that if one would place these wet shmarim onto
the filter *on* Shabbos, the juice of the grapes would drip through, and
this would be the borer or m'raked that he refers to.

This seems to be extremely similar to the procedure of a single cup coffee
filter. Google that phrase ("single cup coffee filter") if you need to
visualize what I'm describing. First we have a single piece of hard
plastic, which has a flat bottom so that it can sit on top of your coffee
cup, and above it is a cone-shaped portion. Then a paper coffee filter is
put into the cone, ground coffee is put into the filter, hot water is
poured onto the grounds, and fresh-brewed coffee drips into the cup.
The first and most obvious problem is that the coffee grounds are being
cooked by the hot water. But (as far as I know) all such grounds are
roasted first, making this a textbook case of Bishul Achar Tzli, and so one
may certainly pour Kli Shlishi water (Rav Eider, pg 263) or even Irui Kli
Sheni (Rabbi Herman in the public shiur) onto the coffee grounds.

The rest of this post will focus on the filtering.

The first requirement of the Mechaber was that the filter must be set up
before Shabbos. This is to ensure that one does not make an Ohel on Shabbos
by stretching the filter (a cloth of some sort, I presume) over the
container that catches the liquid. I don't think this would apply to our
coffee filter setup. See, for example, Rabbi Dovid Ribiat's "The 39
Melochos", pp 1078-1079, that containers may be covered with their
designated covers, or even with an undesignated item such as a plate, or a
piece of foil (that had been cut before Shabbos), "because these coverings
are regularly used for this purpose, and are similar to a designated cover.
... (However, one may not drape a cloth or other undesignated protective
covering over a barrel of wine or large trash can because this would indeed
constitute an Ohel)." If one can say that the plastic filter-holder is like
a plate in this regard, then this would solve that problem.

Another way to solve the Ohel problem would be to use a coffee cup whose
interior height *or* diameter is less than a tefach. There's no issur of
Ohel unless there's at least a tefach of airspace below it, both vertically
and horizontally. (Rabbi Ribiat, pg 1065)

The Mechaber's second requirement was that the shmarim must be in the
filter from before Shabbos. This is because putting them there *on* Shabbos
would be a clear act of straining their remaining juice from them. (Beur
Halacha 319:"Liten bah shmarim") This would not apply to ground coffee,
which has no juice of its own. If one puts ground coffee into the filter on
Shabbos, there's no way that anything is going to drip out, until and
unless one puts water on them.

So here is the very simple procedure, almost identical to how one would use
this filter on a regular weekday:

One puts the holder on top of the cup, the filter into the holder, the
roasted ground coffee into the filter, and pour hot water onto the grounds.
And in a short while, one has hot fresh coffee in the cup, by the same
process that gave the Mechaber a grape drink. One minor change from chol
concerns measuring out how much ground coffee to use: One should not
measure it exactly, but estimate the desired amount. (Rabbi Ribiat, pg 979,
Shmirat Shabbat K'Hilchata 29:34 in the 5740 edition, or 29:36 in the 5770
edition.) [Below, I will mention one other detail to be careful about,
based on RSZA.]

When I heard all this, I was surprised and confused. Mah Nishtanah, I
asked: What makes this filter different from every other strainer and
colander and sifter? When the filter allows the coffee (or grape drink) to
pass through, while holding back the grounds (or dregs), isn't that a
classic case of m'raked? MB 33 answers that:

> The shmarim are tzalul, and the water will drip from it with
> some of the wine that remains absorbed in it. The reason why
> adding water doesn't constitute Borer is because the water
> he is adding is tzalul, and doesn't contain anything that
> would be removed.

I would usually translate "tzalul" as "clear", but in this context, it
doesn't mean "colorless", but rather "lacking p'soles". It seems that we
look at the plain water at the top, and the flavored water at the bottom,
and nothing got removed, so there is no Borer. This is a commonly studied
halacha in Hilchos Borer: One may strain a liquid, provided that it is
already clean enough that most people would drink it as is, and that he is
among that majority. (Someone from the finicky minority, who would not
drink it as is, is not allowed to strain it.)

When we learn that halacha, we tend to think of it simply, in terms of
passing the water through a paper filter or a mesh strainer of some sort.
We don?t really perceive anything being held back, nothing significant is
prevented from going through, and we figure that?s why no melacha is
occurring.  But this case seems different. Here we see a mixture of water
and grounds, and we see coffee dripping through the filter, and we see the
grounds being held back, and we jump to the conclusion that this is clearly
Borer. But the point of the Mechaber here is: No, it?s NOT different!

The whole process is actually very similar to using tea bags on Shabbos
(with Kli Shlishi water) - doesn't the bag prevent the leaves from escaping
into the drink?

In fact, the Shmirat Shabbat K'Hilchata (second paragraph of 3:58 in the
5739 edition, or of 3:64 in the 5770 edition) cites this very Mechaber and
MB to allow making tea on Shabbos by pouring hot water over tea leaves that
are in a strainer. (He requires the leaves to be precooked, but that's a
bishul issue, and he stresses that there is no borer problem.)

That SSK also cites another source, that of Chazon Ish, Orach Chaim 53. In
that siman, he discusses a faucet to which one has attached a filter to
catch impurities. He writes as follows in paragraphs V'im and V'afilu:

> If there is a filter on the faucet to filter the water from
> sand, then if most people don't refrain from drinking
> unfiltered water, it is mutar, as found in Sh"A 319:10. But
> if there is so much sand that most people do not drink it
> unstrained, then it is assur.

> And even when much sand has already accumulated in the
> filter, it seems mutar. Even though there is already a lot
> of sand in the filter when the water enters it,
> nevertheless, since the water flows because a person opened
> the faucet, that water is tzalul! Even though it mixes with
> the sand afterward, and then goes and gets filtered, this
> is not the melacha of Borer, as we learned in ... [Here the
> Chazon Ish cites the Gemara that Sh"A 319:9 was based on,
> and MB 33 there]

At this point, I need to mention another halacha about tea bags. The
Shmirat Shabbat K'Hilchata (*first* paragraph of 3:58 in the 5739 edition,
or of 3:64 in the 5770 edition) says that those who use tea bags in a Kli
Shlishi should be careful to remove the tea bag from one's cup by means of
a spoon, and not to lift it by the string, because if any tea drips from
the bag to the cup, this would be a "chashash issur" of Borer. In the
footnote there, he quotes Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach as distinguishing
between this case and that above, because the water is not flowing straight
through, but rather

> the water and the leaves are already mixed, so by removing
> the bag and holding it with his hand, it is like straining
> dirty water, not clear water. And if so, on could say that
> the same also applies to the Mishmeres [of the Mechaber],
> that if it [the bottom of the grape-dregs filter] is
> actually inside the grape drink, then it is assur to raise
> the filter in order for the water to flow out. But if one
> just removes the [tea] bag without any care for the liquid
> that comes out, it's likely that even though there's a Psik
> Reishei that some drops *will* drip from the bag,
> nevertheless, since they come out easily, and all he's
> doing is picking it up and holding it, and the straining
> happens by itself, it is possibly *not* considered Borer.

Based on RSZA's words near the end ("all he's doing is picking it up and
holding it, and the straining happens by itself") it seems clear to me that
if one uses this procedure for using a regular coffee filter to brew his
coffee, then he must NOT shake the filter to coax additional liquid coffee
from it. (For those who are checking sources, this SSK and RSZA are cited
in R' Ribiat's "39 Melachos" on page 519, and footnote 46 there.)

So I was wondering... Why hasn't anyone suggested this method of making
coffee on Shabbos? Even if a posek feels it would be assur, I wonder if
there are any teshuvos explaining that view.

As it turns out, this exact question was raised on these very pages eight
years ago, by R' Stephen Scher, in Avodah 25:425. That thread got only a
few responses, mostly about the bishul issues. One point was about borer,
from R' Micha Berger, who wrote:

> Also, to get around the boreir problem.... Instead of using
> a regular filter, use a french press. They push the grounds
> down to the bottom, allowing you to pour okhel mitokh pesoles.

(For those who want to see how a French Press works, there's a very simple
video on the Wikipedia page. It's only 66 seconds long, and the first half
of that shows him grinding the coffee beans.)

I disagree. There is a two-step process here. I concede that in the second
step, you "pour okhel mitokh pesoles", just as if you had waited for the
grounds to settle to the bottom. But the first step, when you "push the
grounds down to the bottom", that is (at least to me) a clear act of
removing the pesoles from the ochel.

So, I am now submitting this post, hoping that either (A) someone can show
where this logic is faulty, or (B) someone who is writing the next
Bestselling Practical Guide To Keeping Shabbos might spread the secret to
Frum Coffee Lovers Everywhere. :-)

Akiva Miller
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.aishdas.org/pipermail/avod

Go to top.

Message: 3
From: Professor L. Levine
Date: Sun, 13 Nov 2016 13:54:39 +0000
[Avodah] RSRH on the ghettoes

The following is from Rav Hirsch's commentary on Bereishis 14:12

12 They also took Lot and his movable property - [he was] the son
of the brother of Avram - and they went, for he was an inhabitant
of Sodom.

The ghettoes that isolated us worked not only to our disadvantage,
but also to our advantage. Those who lived within the ghetto walls were
shielded from many evils to which those outside fell victim during the
Middle Ages. Jews were not considered good enough to become judges
or law-enforcement officials, or to join the retinues of knights. They were
not permitted to participate in tournaments, and they took no part in

world affairs. But neither did they have a part in the torturing, slaughtering,
strangling or incineration of their fellow men. They were often
the victims, but never the victimizers. Their hands were not stained with
human blood, and when fate caught up with the emperors and their
armies, the Jews remained safe in their ghettoes. They should be happy
that they were called to the arena of world affairs only now, when the
nations of the world are at least trying to act justly and humanely.

People who are wholly absorbed in their material desires do not
learn from their experience. Lot should have learned from his experience
and henceforth avoided the people of Sodom. Nevertheless, when the
final catastrophe struck, Lot was still there in Sodom.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.aishdas.org/pipermail/avod

Go to top.

Message: 4
From: Rich, Joel
Date: Sun, 13 Nov 2016 14:46:09 +0000
[Avodah] Shatz's personal Prayer

There's debate what nusach the shatz should use in his private amida if his
nusach differs from that of the Kahal. One opinion holds he uses the same
as the Kahal because he's just practicing for tfilat hatzibbur. If this is
the case, does he not get to make his own personal requests as part of
tfila b'tzibbur?
Joel Rich

distribution or copying of this message by anyone other than the addressee is 
strictly prohibited.  If you received this message in error, please notify us 
immediately by replying: "Received in error" and delete the message.  
Thank you.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.aishdas.org/pipermail/avod

Go to top.

Message: 5
From: Rich, Joel
Date: Sun, 13 Nov 2016 14:48:17 +0000
[Avodah] S"A question

In s?a	O?C 79:6 the mechaber quotes the halacha by saying ?byerushalmi..? 
what is the purpose of the attribution? Is it in case we were looking for
the makor or that it?s ?only? a Yerushalmi ??  The S?A also sometimes
quotes specific rishonim ? same question as to why?

Joel Rich

distribution or copying of this message by anyone other than the addressee is 
strictly prohibited.  If you received this message in error, please notify us 
immediately by replying: "Received in error" and delete the message.  
Thank you.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.aishdas.org/pipermail/avod

Go to top.

Message: 6
From: Zev Sero
Date: Sun, 13 Nov 2016 13:14:39 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Buying a letter

On 12/11/16 22:18, Saul Newman via Avodah wrote:
> When various campaigns 'sell' a letter/pasuk/parsha etc in a torah,
> does the 'buyer' own anything?


> Is the buyer mekayem any mitzva other than tzedaka?

Kesivas sefer torah.

Zev Sero                Hit the road, Jack
z...@sero.name           but please come back once more

Go to top.

Message: 7
From: Micha Berger
Date: Sun, 13 Nov 2016 11:16:51 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Buying a letter

On Sat, Nov 12, 2016 at 7:18pm PST, R Saul Newman wrote:
: When various campaigns 'sell' a letter/pasuk/parsha etc in a torah,
: does the 'buyer' own anything? Is the buyer mekayem any mitzva other
: than tzedaka?

Funding the writing of a seifer Torah is tzedaqah, but it is also enabling
a mitvah and thereby allows one to share sekhar in that mitzvah.

Whether that's called qiyum hamitzvah... Someone who funds another's
learning may well share in the sekhar of the mitzvah, but their soul
isn't shaped by Torah knowledge or by the experience of acquiring it.
He didn't enter R' Chaim Volozhiner's Torah as a miqvah hamitaher...

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             When a king dies, his power ends,
mi...@aishdas.org        but when a prophet dies, his influence is just
http://www.aishdas.org   beginning.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                    - Soren Kierkegaard

Go to top.

Message: 8
From: Micha Berger
Date: Sun, 13 Nov 2016 11:26:07 -0500
Re: [Avodah] bracha on matza

On Thu, Nov 10, 2016 at 11:44:22AM +0200, Eli Turkel via Avodah wrote:
: My assumption is that the sefardi custom is to make hamotzi on the type of
: matzah used for seder night. If that is a soft matzah than the crispy hard
: matzah would still be mezonot ad vice vesa

Yes, as implied by my question is that it would make more sense if the
Sepharadi practice distinguished by kind of matzah.

But the fact underlying the question is that in reality, it doesn't.
Lemaaseh Sefaradim switch berakhos by date, not by kind of matzah.

(Your assumption is at odds with my experience.)

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             If you're going through hell
mi...@aishdas.org        keep going.
http://www.aishdas.org                   - Winston Churchill
Fax: (270) 514-1507

Go to top.

Message: 9
From: Micha Berger
Date: Sun, 13 Nov 2016 11:37:10 -0500
Re: [Avodah] minhag

On Thu, Nov 10, 2016 at 2:33pm IST, R Eli Turkel wrote:
: I have a major problem with the whole topic. Minhag by definition is a
: custom that an individual or community does. Almost by definition it is
: dynamic. If one read through Sperber's series on minhagim one will find
: loads of customs that no longer exist.

But not every communal practice is a minhag. So yes, minhagim are
inherently dynamic. But there are limits on valid ways for them to
change. Just as there is a minhag shtus when it comes to the creation of
a new minhag, there is when it comes to repealing it. (Which after all,
just the creation of an alternative minhag of sheiv ve'al ta'aseh.)

: In practice, if one moves to a community with a different minhag the family
: custom disappears within a generation or two. This was certainly the case
: in the past...

And as we saw in previous iterations, the implication from pereq Maqom
sheNahagu, this is also the ideal.

But the nature of the modern world is such that rarely move to places
that have a single minhag hamaqom. And so minhag avos plays a greater
role in practice that at other times in history. This is usually the
point in the iteration where I ask if anyone knows of sources from
the early days of Ashkenaz, when minhag Ashkenaz was first coalescing,
if there is any indication how /they/ handled this challenge.

(Difference is, there isn't another couple of centuries left before
mashiach and a Sanhedrin totally upend the halachic process. They had
time for a minhag hamaqom to coalesce that we won't.)

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             It's never too late
mi...@aishdas.org        to become the person
http://www.aishdas.org   you might have been.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                      - George Eliot


Avodah mailing list



Send Avodah mailing list submissions to

To subscribe or unsubscribe via the World Wide Web, visit
or, via email, send a message with subject or body 'help' to

You can reach the person managing the list at

When replying, please edit your Subject line so it is more specific
than "Re: Contents of Avodah digest..."

A list of common acronyms is available at
(They are also visible in the web archive copy of each digest.)

< Previous Next >