Avodah Mailing List

Volume 37: Number 89

Tue, 19 Nov 2019

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Micha Berger
Date: Mon, 18 Nov 2019 14:07:29 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Vayeira (from Rav Kook Torah "Salt of Sodom")

On Sun, Nov 10, 2019 at 09:50:06AM -0500, Cantor Wolberg relayed the
following piece from Gold from the Land of Israel, R' Chanan Morrison,
adapted from Ein Eyah vol 1 pg. 21:
> The Talmud makes a surprising connection between the evil city of Sodom
> and the ritual of washing hands at meals. The Sages decreed that one
> should wash hands before and after eating bread. Why?

But does it have anything directly to do with the city's evil or its

One would be tempted to say yes, because Lot's wife *looked* back at the
Cities of the Plains and was turned to salt. And the thread of melach
sedomis is to ones eyesight, of all things.

But this is a reference to getting an actual salt that they were using
alongside normal table salt (sodium chloride) into one's eyes. There is
no need to take this out of the realm of physical danger. Salt extrated
from the flats in the area has far more adulteration with potassium
chloride than anything we would consume today. (In fact, the modern town
of Sedom was built specifically for potash [a mix of potassium compounds,
mostly potassium carbonate] works.) So it makes sense in mundane terms --
potassium chloside is a moderate eye irritant, and sites also warn about
abrasion in the eye as well.

And in fact, to make malach sodomis more symbolic would complicate the
Ashkenazi neglect of mayim achronim. We don't wash because the salt isn't
used. If the salt were symbolic of Sedom and thus hand-washing more in the
territory of impurity, we would need to prove that the lack of using the
salt sufficiently weakens the symbolism to allow neglecting the ruling.

(Back when RRW was on-list, I noted that the Ashk - Seph split on this
backed up a theory he repeated here. According to Prof Agus, Ta Shma and
others [not R/Dr Haym Soloveitchik], because many more Ashkneazim came
ultimately from EY, rather than the more predominantly Bavli origins
of Sepharadim, we can find a number of minhagei Ashk and liturgical
elements sources in the Y-mi or Midrashei Halakhah even when against the
Bavli. The Bavli gives two reasons for mayim achronim -- a comparison
to watchin before the meal, and thus about taharah, and melach sedomis.
The Y-mi only mneitons melach sedomis. Which would explain why Ashk feel
free not to wash when no such salt is served, but Seph do not.)

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger                 "Fortunate indeed, is the man who takes
http://www.aishdas.org/asp   exactly the right measure of himself,  and
Author: Widen Your Tent      holds a just balance between what he can
- https://amzn.to/2JRxnDF    acquire and what he can use." - Peter Latham

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Message: 2
From: Micha Berger
Date: Mon, 18 Nov 2019 14:16:23 -0500
Re: [Avodah] women/mlacha

On Tue, Nov 12, 2019 at 08:37:18PM +0000, Rich, Joel via Avodah wrote:
> Anyone aware of any women who do not do mlacha after shkia during the
> period between Pesach and Shavuot? Men? (see S"A O"C 493:4)

The Be'er Heitev says that for men it's only until one counts. Looks like
the usual "don't do your own thing you might forget to do the mitzvah"
taqanah (but in minhag form).

The AhS (s' 9) "vegam `atah yeish nashim" who keep this minhag. But the
minhag was ONLY accepted by women and ONLY until sefirah after maariv.
What "after maariv" meant for single women in towns where there multiple
times for maariv is beyond me.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger                 The same boiling water
http://www.aishdas.org/asp   that softens the potato, hardens the egg.
Author: Widen Your Tent      It's not about the circumstance,
- https://amzn.to/2JRxnDF    but rather what you are made of.

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Message: 3
From: Micha Berger
Date: Mon, 18 Nov 2019 14:29:25 -0500
Re: [Avodah] spending money on a mitzvah

On Tue, Nov 12, 2019 at 08:39:28PM +0000, Rich, Joel via Avodah wrote:
> My question is why is this so clearly logical? The usual "hiddur" is in
> the mitzvah itself, which in this case would be accomplished with the
> better donated wine. In addition, the TC would now have funds to secure
> additional mitzvoth (e.g. tzedaka).

I can't answer your "in addition", but in general.

One Shabbos haGadol derashah R Menachem Zupnik included the idea that
it is better to use wine you bought for the four kosos than wine you
got for free (for example, in "shalachmanos").

The idea is that this is actually the finer wine, regardless of the
taste of the two wines. And therefore, Ashkenazim would choose white wine
they bought over red wine they were given. Whereas Sepharadim prioritize
color over taste preference, and therefore over this too.

Perhaps it's an issue of "Adam rozeh beqav shelo mitish'ah qavim shel
chaveiro." (R Kahana, BM 38a) 

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger                 One who kills his inclination is as though he
http://www.aishdas.org/asp   brought an offering. But to bring an offering,
Author: Widen Your Tent      you must know where to slaughter and what
- https://amzn.to/2JRxnDF    parts to offer.        - R' Simcha Zissel Ziv

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Message: 4
From: Rich, Joel
Date: Tue, 19 Nov 2019 23:40:14 +0000
[Avodah] Bracha question

If one (or a whole community)normally eats sliced apple as part of the meal
(e.g. waldorf salad), would you still make a bracha on apple slices dipped
in honey after making hamotzi?
Joel Rich
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