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Volume 36: Number 18

Sun, 04 Feb 2018

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Akiva Miller
Date: Sat, 3 Feb 2018 23:13:20 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Haetz and Shehecheyanu

Aruch Hashulchan 225:7 gives two very different reasons for delaying
Shehecheyanu from the seeing until the eating.

The first is that despite the joy felt at seeing the new year's fruit, we
must wait until that fruit is fully grown, and it is difficult to determine
exactly when that occurs. Therefore, he says, we evade the question by
waiting until it is actually ready to eat. According to this, I clearly
understand that the Shehecheyanu is actually on the seeing and must come
*before* the Haetz.

But there is another reason given for delaying the Shehecheyanu. It is the
second one given by AhS 225:7, and it is the only one given by Mishne Brura
225:11. Namely, nowadays, the amount of simcha that we get from seeing the
new fruit isn't enough to say Shehecheyanu on.

Please pay close attention to what the AsH writes there:

"The earlier Generations were temimim. They had simcha at seeing the new
fruit, and they gave heartfelt thanks to Hashem for the good that He gives
to the whole world. So *they* were able to say the bracha on seeing. But
us? The simcha and gratitude is not noticeable by us, except when the body
enjoys it at eatingtime. That's why it's not possible for us to say the
bracha on seeing. They (Rama 225:3) did write that 'one who says it on
seeing doesn't lose', but that only means that one should NOT say that for
us it would be a bracha l'vatala, because it wouldn't be."

It seems to me that if the AhS is going out of his way to stress that
saying Shehecheyanu on the seeing is NOT a bracha l'vatala, then he is
implicitly saying that it IS a b'dieved. If so, then the nature of this
bracha has changed. It used to be true that "Seeing comes first and
therefore Shehecheyanu comes first," but it is not true anymore, because
seeing has become mostly irrelevant.

"Mostly irrelevant," but not totally irrelevant, because if one did say
Shehecheyanu on seeing, it's not a bracha l'vatala. But let's be honest.
"It's not a bracha l'vatala" is a polite way of saying "wrong but not an
aveira." The proper way to do it nowadays is to say the Shehecheyanu at
eating time.

The conclusions I draw from all this: According to the first reason of the
AhS, the logic of "the seeing came first so Shehecheyanu should be first"
is sound. But according to the second reason of the AhS, and the only
reason given by MB, the Shehecheyanu on fruit nowadays is NOT on the
seeing, but on the eating, in which case I remain befuddled on why the
Shehecheyanu comes first - as indeed both the AhS and MB tell us to do
l'maaseh - and I have resigned myself to chalk it up to inertia from when
the Shehecheyanu WAS on the seeing.

At this point, I'm going to play Devil's Advocate, accepting the argument
that the chiyuv for the Shehecheyanu began long before the eating did, and
that this is why the Shehecheyanu should be said first. There is a similar
situation in Hilchos Sukkah, but it leads to a different result.

Mishne Brurah 639:46 - "... Whenever one enters (the sukkah), even though
he is not eating there he says the bracha (Layshev Basukkah) because the
sitting and standing there is a mitzvah too ... Nevertheless the minhag of
the whole world islike those poskim who don't say the bracha except when
eating. Even if sitting in the sukkah before eating for an hour, they don't
say the bracha, for they hold that the bracha said later on over the food
will cover everything, because that's the ikar, and it covers sleeping and
relaxing and learning, all of which is tafel to it ..."

The parallel is quite clear to me. In the case of sukkah, one should say
Layshev immediately upon entering the sukkah, but there are good reasons to
save it for eatingtime, and that's the minhag. In the case of fruit, one
should say the Shehecheyanu immediately upon seeing the new fruit, but
there are good reasons to save it for eatingtime, and that's the minhag.

We have said that Shehecheyanu precedes Haetz because seeing precedes
eating. If so, then if we enter the sukkah now, with plans to eat later on,
then when that time finally arrives, the Layshev Basukkah ought to precede
the Hamotzi/Mezonos. But it doesn't! Whenever we say Layshev together with
a food bracha, the Layshev is said *second*.

Why is that? How is sukkah different from fruit? Why is the Shehecheyanu
said first, but the Layshev is said second?

Akiva Miller
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Message: 2
From: Simon Montagu
Date: Sun, 4 Feb 2018 10:39:38 +0200
[Avodah] Hammurabi

Are there any mainstream Torah sources that talk about the Hammurabi Code,
compared and contrasted with Torah in general or Parshat Mishpatim in

The nearest that I'm aware of is Chief Rabbi Hertz's Humash, which is,
let's say, not as popular today as it was when I was young.
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Message: 3
From: Professor L. Levine
Date: Sun, 4 Feb 2018 16:30:54 +0000
[Avodah] RSRH's Commentary on Shemos 20:2

Shemos 20:2

I, HaShem, shall be your God, I, Who brought you out from the land of Egypt, from the house of slaves.

Below is some RSRH's commentary on this pasuk.

If this verse is not to be taken as a declaration but as a mitzva, a
commandment, it does not mean "I, HaShem, am your God," but "I, HaShem, shall
be your God." Thus it lays the basis for our entire relationship to God,
constituting the duty that our Sages call kabalas ol malchus shamayim, "accepting
the yoke of God's kingship."

What the philosophers, ancient and modern, call "the belief in the
existence of God" is as remote as can be from the meaning of this verse
regarding the foundations of Jewish thought and Jewish life. The fundamental
truth of Jewish life is not belief in God's existence, nor that
God is one and only one. It is, rather, that the one and only God, the
God of truth, is my God: He created and formed me, gave me my
standing, informed me of my duty, and He continues to create me and
to form me, to keep me, to guide me and to lead me. My belief is not
that my connection to Him is through an endless chain of events as a
chance product of a universe of which He was the first cause aeons ago.
Rather, my belief is that every breath that I take and every moment of
my existence is a direct gift of His power and love, and that my duty
is to devote every moment of my life to His service alone.

In other words, the essential thing is not the knowledge of God's
existence, but the awareness and the acknowledgment that He is my God,
that my fate is in His hands alone, and that He alone establishes the
work of my hands. Corresponding to the command anochi HaShem Elokecha there
is but one response: Atah Elokai!


Hence, more than any other nation, we owe to God whatever we possess
- head, heart and hand. All that the Egyptians had denied us was
restored to us by God Himself: our personal individuality, the right to
acquire possessions, and the possessions themselves. Consequently, He
alone has dominion over our lives and our property, and we belong exclusively
to Him. To His service we dedicate our lives, capabilities and possessions,
and we acknowledge Him alone as the Guide of all our actions.
Only our total subservience to God freed us from servitude to man.
Only on this condition were we liberated and granted our independence.
Whereas all people of all other nations are indebted to God for their
creation and existence, we are indebted to Him for our historical and
social existence also.


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Message: 4
From: Professor L. Levine
Date: Sun, 4 Feb 2018 21:14:16 +0000
[Avodah] RSRH's Commentary on Shemos 20:12

Below are some excerpts from RSRH's commentary on Shemos

20:12 Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long on the land that God, your  God, is giving you.

I think he makes some points that some may not be aware of.

God based Jewish beliefs and convictions, and our acknowledgment
of Him as Master of our fate and Director of our actions, not on the
results of our research into nature, but on the historical experiences of
our people, by which God revealed Himself to us and revealed to us
His Will. Heaven and earth had spoken in vain to mankind; what is
worse, their pronouncements were twisted into polytheistic conceptions.
Only the revelations of God in the history of the Jewish people restored
to man's mind the monotheistic idea, enabling him to understand the
workings of nature and history on a monotheistic basis.

Yetzias mitzryim  and matan Torah are the two basic facts in the history of the
Jewish people that form the foundation of our allegiance to God as the
Master of our fate and the Guide of our lives. These two facts are historical
truths. However, the sole guarantee of their authenticity is tradition,
and tradition depends solely on its faithful transmission from parents to
children, and on its willing acceptance by children from the hands of their

Thus, the survival of the great Divine institution that is Judaism
rests entirely on the theoretical and practical obedience of children to
parents. Accordingly, kibud av v'aim  is the basic condition for the eternity of
the Jewish nation.

Through the father and the mother, God gives the child more than
just his physical existence. Parents are also the link that connects the

child to the Jewish past and enables him or her to be a Jewish man
or woman. From the parents the child receives the tradition of the
Jewish mission, which is shaped by knowledge, a code of conduct, and
upbringing. The parents transmit to the child Jewish history and Jewish
Law, so that eventually he, in turn, will pass them on to his own
children. Just as he looks up to his parents, so will his own children
someday look up to him. Without this connection between parents
and children, the chain of generations is broken, the hopes of the
Jewish past are lost for the future, and the Jewish nation ceases to

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Message: 5
From: Lisa Liel
Date: Sun, 4 Feb 2018 19:11:45 +0200
Re: [Avodah] Hammurabi

On 2/4/2018 10:39 AM, Simon Montagu via Avodah wrote:
> Are there any mainstream Torah sources that talk about the Hammurabi 
> Code, compared and contrasted with Torah in general or Parshat 
> Mishpatim in particular?

Hammurabi is properly dated to the time of the Judges, as is Ur-Nammu of 
Ur III, whose code preceded his.


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Message: 6
From: Akiva Miller
Date: Sun, 4 Feb 2018 20:22:43 -0500
[Avodah] Besamim and Havdala

Mechaber 298:5 writes: "One who cannot smell does not say the bracha on
besamim, unless he intends to be motzi his children of chinuch age, or to
be motzi someone who doesn't know [how to do it himself]."

Mishne Brura 298:13 differs: "All the acharonim disagree with this. They
hold that it's *only* his children that he can be motzi, because their
chinuch in mitzvos falls on him. But he can't be motzi someone who doesn't
know how, because [of the rule that] he isn't obligated and therefore can't
be motzi others. Even though, essentially, one *can* be motzi others for
kiddush and havdala even if he isn't obligated (such as if he already
yotzay), these [kiddush and havdala] are different, because they are a
Chovah on every Jewish man and all Jews are responsible for one another,
whereas this [besamim] is only a Minhag Chachamim, for which you don't have
to go out of your way,  as above in se'if 1. [Therefore] it is like any
Birkas Hanehenin, which one can't be motzi others unless he himself is
benefiting at the same time, as above in 167:19."

Here's my question: Why are we allowed to interrupt between the Hagafen and
the drinking, to do this non-chiyuv minhag of the besamim? Why is it not a

To my mind, there is a very simple reason why the bracha of *Havdala* is
not a hefsek, namely that I already said Hagafen, but it is assur to drink
the wine without Havdala. Therefore the bracha of Havdala is necessary for
the Hagafen and is not a hefsek. (That's my understanding of Beis Hillel's
shita on Brachos 51b, although it is expressed there in terms of kiddush,
not havdala.)

But there's no real *need* to interrupt Havdala Al Hakos for the besamim,
is there? Why was it set up like that? Why couldn't Besamim simply be part
of Seder Motzaei Shabbos, either before or after Havdala Al Hakos?

Point of comparison: The Simanim of Rosh Hashana Night are not a recent
innovation; it's mentioned in Gemara Krisos 6. But no one (to my knowledge)
ever suggested doing these Simanim in the middle of Kiddush. It is
certainly relevant to RH, but there's no connection to Kiddush, so it is
done as a separate ritual from kiddush. Besamim ought to be the same:
relevant to Motzaei Shabbos, but unconnected to Havdala. So why is it

Brachos 52a considers various different sequences for the Havdala
procedure, but I don't see that this idea was even considered. They discuss
whether to say Besamim/Ner or Ner/Besamim, but it is just taken as a
"given" that they would come between the Hagafen and the drinking. Why?

Akiva Miller

Note: I imagine that this whole question  applies equally to the Ner,
because it too is in the category of "you don't have to go out of your way
to get it", as per Mechaber 298:1. The reason I focused on the Besamim is
simply because that's where I found the MB explicitly saying that it's not
a "chovah".
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Message: 7
From: Micha Berger
Date: Sun, 4 Feb 2018 20:19:40 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Are Cow & Donkey milk Min BeMino [never Battel]

On Wed, Jan 31, 2018 at 12:25:26PM +1100, Rabbi Meir G. Rabi via Avodah wrote:
: However, when it is added to cows milk it is not discover-able. The Kashrus
: concern is that it might be in proportions greater than 60. However, ought
: it not be Min BeMino which is never Battel?

Why would the milk of two different minim be min bemino?

: Similarly, why is the milk [and the cheeses made from such milk] from a
: herd of cows that will undoubtedly have a couple of Tereifah cows Kosher -
: is it not Min BeMino?

The safeiq is on each cow -- this is rov in the sense of kol deparish,
before there is a taaroves.

Chozer veni'ur undoes bitul, when you add more of something that was
mevutal. I don't think there is an equivalent when you use rov to ignore
the possibility that any issur ever was added to begin with.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             "Someday I will do it." - is self-deceptive. 
mi...@aishdas.org        "I want to do it." - is weak. 
http://www.aishdas.org   "I am doing it." - that is the right way.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                   - Reb Menachem Mendel of Kotzk


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