Avodah Mailing List

Volume 38: Number 87

Fri, 23 Oct 2020

< Previous Next >
Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Brent Kaufman
Date: Tue, 20 Oct 2020 21:46:35 -0500
[Avodah] Names of Months

Now that the ancient pantheons of gods have been brought up, can anyone
give an explanation for why the we name our months after Babylonian gods?

Why does Megilas Esther change the Hebrew names of the 2 heroes of the
story to those of Babylonian gods? (marduch and ishtar) And why did the
Torah choose, for our greatest Navi and teacher, an Egyptian name shared by
Paro himself- Ra Musa or Ra mes; the noun ?ms? meaning born, the first
syllable being the name of their sun god, or born of ra.
I mean, Moshe Rabbeinu had ten fine Yidishe names, yet HKBH wants him to be
known through his Egyptian name. Why?
The Torah has taught us to be a very insular people, using the names of
avodos zaros is even prohibited by Halacha.

While I understand that these things bring tikunim to certain aspects of
the world, I am asking on a more pshat level.

*- "When life gives you lemons, shut up and eat your lemons."*
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.aishdas.org/pipermail/avodah-aishdas.org/attachments/20201020/9cf8c10e/attachment-0001.html>

Go to top.

Message: 2
From: <allan.en...@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 21 Oct 2020 15:37:52 +0100
Re: [Avodah] Names of Months

Do you understand this? How, precisely?

On Wed, 21 Oct 2020 at 12:36, Brent Kaufman via Avodah <
avo...@lists.aishdas.org> wrote:

> While I understand that these things bring tikunim to certain aspects of
> the world, I am asking on a more pshat level.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.aishdas.org/pipermail/avodah-aishdas.org/attachments/20201021/1581d781/attachment-0001.html>

Go to top.

Message: 3
From: Micha Berger
Date: Wed, 21 Oct 2020 17:25:04 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Names of Months

On Tue, Oct 20, 2020 at 09:46:35PM -0500, Brent Kaufman wrote:
> Now that the ancient pantheons of gods have been brought up, can anyone
> give an explanation for why the we name our months after Babylonian gods?

Of the ones we know translations for, only Tammuz. Warach Dumuzu means
"the month of [the god] Tammuz".

This month, Warach Samnu, which becomes Marcheshvan when mem and yud/vav
swap during the borrowing, simply means "8th month".

> Why does Megilas Esther change the Hebrew names of the 2 heroes of the
> story to those of Babylonian gods? (marduch and ishtar) ...

I assume these were the names they were called by in the royal court.
Like the way the Babylonians decided to call Chananiah, Mishael &
Azariah by the names Shadrakh, Meishakh, and Aved-Nego

And the use of Pesachyah's (?) and Hadasah's royal identities rather
than their Jewish ones is important to a point the megillah is trying to
make. You are effectively asking what that point is, but while I don't
know, I can tackle your first question.

The Ramban, R Bachya, Abarbanel (all on Shemos 12:22) and the Iaqim (3:16)
give variants of the idea that we use the Babylonian names in order to
commemorate our ge'ulah from Bavel. Just as the original month numbers
commemorate our ge'ulah from Mitzrayim.

Which has me wondering if after the next ge'ulah Marcheshvan will be
called October. (Which also means "8th month", and it was 8th before Jan &
Feb were inserted at the start of the year*.) This would fit the pattern
of the two previous returns to EY. BUT, the Babylonian calendar really
matches ours -- months are based on the actual moon, and they had leap
months. In fact, it was during our stay in Bavel that they shifted from
doubling Ululu (Ellul) to doubling Addaru. Just like us. The Gregorian
"months" of 30 or 31 (or 28) days don't line up one-to-one with ours
the same.

The whole thing about Babylonian month names reminded me of a story R
Henoch Teller tells about a BT who was feeling awkward in the miqvah. On
his arm, usually under his sleeve, was a tattoo that he got back when
living a very different lifestyle. An older gentleman saw how he was
holding his towel, angling his arm to always be near the wall, and
otherwise avoid it being scene.

The older man showed him his arm, which (as you knew was coming) had a
very different kind of tattoo on it.

"You see this? I don't hide it. I wear it with pride. It reminds me of
where I once was, and how far I have come."

Expanding on what those rishonim write, that's what the Babylonian month
names mean to me. Few chose to come back to Israel, and of those who did,
a shocking number were intermarried. Assimilation was commonplace.

But then Hashem took us out of Bavel. But we kept the month names to remember
when we used them caring about who Demuzi was supposed to have been.

(* I know many of you were under the impression the two added months are
Jul and Aug, but really they were renamings of Quintilis and Sextilis. Jan
and Feb were added later. In Julian and Augustus's era, Rome had a decimal
system -- 10 months for a total of only 304 days per "year".)

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger                 If you're going through hell
http://www.aishdas.org/asp   keep going.
Author: Widen Your Tent                      - Winston Churchill
- https://amzn.to/2JRxnDF

Go to top.

Message: 4
From: Brent Kaufman
Date: Wed, 21 Oct 2020 16:50:44 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Names of Months

<allan.en...@gmail.com> wrote:

> Do you understand this? How, precisely?
> I didn?t mean that I understand what those tikunim are. I just meant that
> I am ?aware? that that is the way the Ari?zal usually explains similar
> things.

*- "When life gives you lemons, shut up and eat your lemons."*
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.aishdas.org/pipermail/avodah-aishdas.org/attachments/20201021/0f24dfd0/attachment-0001.html>

Go to top.

Message: 5
From: Prof. L. Levine
Date: Wed, 21 Oct 2020 21:32:27 +0000
[Avodah] Halakha Approaches the COVID-19 Vaccine

Please see the article from Tradition at


Halakha Approaches the COVID-19 Vaccine ? Tradition Online<https://traditiononline.org/halakha-approaches-the-covid-19-vaccine/#easy-footnote-24-13392>
Halakha Approaches the COVID-19 VaccineSharon Galper Grossman & Shamai
GrossmanRachel tried to reason with the clerk at the check-in counter. She
explained that she had delayed vaccinating herself and her children because
she did not want to be the first to receive a new vaccine, especiall


Halakha permits, encourages, and likely even obligates Rachel to get a
COVID-19 vaccination for herself and her children in order to protect
herself and others from infection, help create herd immunity, and end the
pandemic. Similarly, schools and communities should require a COVID-19
vaccination despite parents? reluctance. We believe that failure to
vaccinate violates the prohibition to stand idly by another?s blood.

We hope that a safe and effective vaccine will be developed and
disseminated in the very near future. It is our best hope to alleviate the
worldwide suffering and to arrest the horrific death toll brought about by
the COVID-19 pandemic. When it does arrive, we feel that it is morally
obligatory and halakhically mandated that people accept the vaccine.

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.aishdas.org/pipermail/avodah-aishdas.org/attachments/20201021/681f2b72/attachment-0001.html>

Go to top.

Message: 6
From: Zvi Lampel
Date: Wed, 21 Oct 2020 12:13:08 -0400
[Avodah] The undesirability of lasting halachic machlokess

Reviewing Dynamics of Dispute, I found a mistake I made on page 184.

My application of the statement about "as difficult as the day the Golden
Calf was made," which I cited in the name of the Halachois Gedolos, is
incorrectly applied to the breaking out of the phenomenon of machlokess
between Beis Hillel and Beis Shammai. Actually, it's a reference to the
situation the nation found itself in when Hillel was forced to admit defeat
to Shammai in a machlokess over whether to institute a certain gezeyra.
Furthermore, although the Halachos Gedolos does list 7 Adar as a fast day
because "Besi Hillel and Beis Shammai had a machlokess on that day," it
does not say the piece about the Golden Calf. On the other hand, Teshuvas
HaGeonim (Harkavey) #250 does.

One may even argue that the fast was on account of the humiliation of Beis
Hillel regarding that particular machlokess, and not because of the
existence of machlokess per se.

Nevertheless, other citations I bring still support the thesis that the
existence of lasting machlokess was considered undesirable, and other
sources can be added.

I am eager to send updates of corrections and comments to anyone who would
send me his email address.

Zvi Lampel at gmail dot com.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.aishdas.org/pipermail/avodah-aishdas.org/attachments/20201021/1806e9d9/attachment-0001.html>

Go to top.

Message: 7
From: Moshe Y. Gluck
Date: Fri, 23 Oct 2020 01:36:56 -0400
[Avodah] R' Nachman Bulman on Antisemitism

I thought the chevra might like to read this piece from R' Bulman that I
recently shared with the Agudah's mailing list (also noting that R' Bulman
is father of listmember R'nTK). From the JO, 1964.

A long read, but worth it, IMHO.

Here's the link:

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.aishdas.org/pipermail/avodah-aishdas.org/attachments/20201023/26bcff32/attachment-0001.html>

Go to top.

Message: 8
From: Micha Berger
Date: Fri, 23 Oct 2020 12:41:56 -0400
[Avodah] Two Rainbows

An interesting tidbit from the Seforno on Ber' 9:13 "vehaysa le'os beris":
    "And it will be as a covenental sign: When the rainbow is double. 
    The scientific experts grew tired of trying to give a ta'am for the
    order of the color of the secondary rainbow, which is the reverse of
    the order of the colors in the primary, usual, rainbow. It will be
    a sign to the righteous of the generation that their generation
    is guilty. As when it says [Kesuvos 77b; about truly righteous
    Levites] never seeing a rainbow in their entire lifetimes. So that
    [the righteous] will pray, rebuke others, and teach the nation wisdom.

So, according to the Seforno, the rainbow that Chazal talk about being a bad
sign is not the usual rainbow, but the second of a doubled rainbow. The
Seforno emphasizes the fact that the colors are reversed. A primary rainbow
has red on the top, outer, curve, and violet on the bottom, inner, one.
A secondary rainbow is about it some distance -- red on the inside curve
(nearest the red of the primary) and violet on the outside.

See the picture
at https://science.howstuffworks.com/nature/climate-weather/atmospheric/double-rainbows-rare.htm
Also there is the scientific explanation that the Natural Philosophers
of the Seforno's day apparently despaired of finding.

I don't know why the Seforno mentions the reversed color sequence. Maybe
he considers it a significant part of the symbol.

But in any case, it solves a problem:

We make the berakhah of Oseh Maaseh Bereishis on the primary rainbow,
which is indeed an awe-inspiring and positive thing to see.

A secondary rainbow is rare and therefore more exciting. (Ask
Hungrybear9562, Paul Vasquez, whose excitement about seeing a "double
rainbow" in Yosemite National Park become a viral video.)

But according to Seforno, this reaction is ironic. Seeing a rare double
rainbow is a *bad* thing. But it's not the phonemonon the berakhah is
made on.


Micha Berger                 The fittingness of your matzos [for the seder]
http://www.aishdas.org/asp   isn't complete with being careful in the laws
Author: Widen Your Tent      of Passover. One must also be very careful in
- https://amzn.to/2JRxnDF    the laws of business.    - Rav Yisrael Salanter

Go to top.

Message: 9
From: Sholom Simon
Date: Fri, 23 Oct 2020 12:36:51 -0400
[Avodah] simple eruv question

What's the difference between "gud asik" and "pi tikra yored v'soseim" ?

(In practical usage -- I'm involved in getting an eruv built -- it seems
like it's pretty much the same, except that gud asik seems to be reserved
for davka a mechitza mamash.  Is there anything more to it than that?)
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.aishdas.org/pipermail/avodah-aishdas.org/attachments/20201023/964afd54/attachment-0001.html>

Go to top.

Message: 10
From: Prof. L. Levine
Date: Fri, 23 Oct 2020 16:14:55 +0000
[Avodah] May one add sugar to hot tea on Shabbos?

From today's OU Kosher Halacha Yomis

Q. May one add sugar to hot tea on Shabbos?

A. If food was fully cooked before Shabbos and then cooled down, may it be
recooked again on Shabbos? In the language of the Talmud, do we say, Yesh
bishul achar bishul (there is cooking after cooking), or Ain bishul achar
bishul (there is no cooking after cooking). The Shulchan Aruch makes a
distinction between recooking a dry food and a liquid. If a dry item was
fully cooked, there is no prohibition to recook it again on Shabbos, but it
is prohibited to recook a liquid that cooled down. This does not mean that
one may place a dry cooked food on the fire. Though there is no Biblical
prohibition of bishul when reheating a dry food, there are nonetheless
Rabbinic injunctions which apply, either because one might adjust the flame
or because it has the appearance of cooking. However, one is permitted to
place a dry fully cooked food into a boiling pot of water that has been
removed from the fire. Once the pot is off the stove, there is no concern
that one might adjust the flame, and sin
 ce there is no fire, it does not appear as though raw food is being cooked.

Granulated sugar is extracted via a cooking process. Since sugar is a dry
food, one would assume that it should be permitted to add sugar to a pot of
boiling water that is off the fire. However, the Mishnah Berurah (318:71)
cites the Sharei Teshuva that since sugar dissolves when placed in hot
water, lichatchila we view sugar as a liquid. As such, sugar should not be
added to a kli rishon (a pot that was on the fire), nor may one pour hot
water onto sugar. Instead, one should first pour the hot water into a cup
and then it is permissible to add the sugar.

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.aishdas.org/pipermail/avodah-aishdas.org/attachments/20201023/36d3ac45/attachment-0001.html>

Go to top.

Message: 11
From: Micha Berger
Date: Fri, 23 Oct 2020 17:03:17 -0400
Re: [Avodah] simple eruv question

On Fri, Oct 23, 2020 at 12:36:51PM -0400, Sholom Simon via Avodah wrote:
> What's the difference between "gud asik" and "pi tikra yored v'soseim" ?

A gud asiq "pulling upward" an existing piece of wall that is near the

A gud akhis, which is what I think you meant, is "pulling downward" an
existing piect of wall that is near the top.

Pi tiqra is treating the end of a roof as defining the end of the space,
thereby implying a wall. So, gud akhis doesn't involve the space being
covered, and pi tiqra doesn't require the edge of the roof having a
"lip" for a gud akhis.

I recently answered on FB something about the "why" of all this. Since
we're touching the subject, I'll see what people here think.

Someone wrote:
    Has anyone read an article on why halacha operates with concepts
    outside of physical reality? For example the concepts of lavod,
    Barayrah, ...? Did surrounding cultures have these ideas (such as
    (legal) Halachic reality versus objective reality)?

My reply, drawing from a philosphy of halakhah that I posted about
here repeatedly:
    I would say, before dealing with your question, that you are looking
    at the wrong set of realia.

    Halakhah is a tool for refining people. Therefore its "facts" are
    human experiences, not objective realities. To take your example
    of lavud: If something is enough of a wall to feel like it defines
    a space, it defines a space. And if the soul / character shaping
    experience requires a defined space, feeling like you're "in"
    something, we wouldn't care about whether or not there is a gap in
    the wall.


Micha Berger                 If a person does not recognize one's own worth,
http://www.aishdas.org/asp   how can he appreciate the worth of another?
Author: Widen Your Tent                - Rabbi Yaakov Yosef of Polnoye,
- https://amzn.to/2JRxnDF                author of Toldos Yaakov Yosef


Avodah mailing list



Send Avodah mailing list submissions to

To subscribe or unsubscribe via the World Wide Web, visit

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 >