Avodah Mailing List

Volume 06 : Number 146

Monday, March 5 2001

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Sat, 03 Mar 2001 23:41:49 -0500
From: "Gil Student" <gil_student@hotmail.com>
Re: back to the books

R. David Riceman wrote:
>>the rashi about not singing psuking other than with their trop is
Sanhedrin 101a s.v. "HG  hakore Shir HaShirim ..."  It's an afortiori
argument from Shir haShirim to the rest of scripture. >>

However, see Avos deRabbi Nassan 36:5 that one who lifts his voice [in 
singing] Shir HaShirim has no place in olam haba.  The emphasis here seems 
to be on Shir HaShirim.  See also Margoliyos HaYam, Sanhedrin 101a sv, T"R.  
Also, the Yad Ramah suggests that the entire prohibition is only derech 

Gil Student

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Date: Sun, 04 Mar 2001 09:51:09 -0500
From: David Riceman <dr@insight.att.com>
Re: back to the books

Avicenna is a possible source, but Averroes was ten years younger than
the Rambam, and I recall a letter of the Rambam, written after he wrote
the Moreh, in which he just received Averroes commentaries and had not
yet read them.

David Riceman

Micha Berger wrote:
> However, Averros (an Islamic Aristotilian) mis-attributed some of
> Plotinus's (neo-Platonic) work to Aristotle. He and Avecina (sp?) were
> the apparantly the Rambam's sources for Aristo, so there are some
> neo-Platonisms in the Moreh.

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Date: Mon, 5 Mar 2001 07:38:57 -0500 (EST)
From: "David Riceman [dtr]" <dr@insight.att.com>
neo-Platonism and yodea-yadua-daath

In anticipation of snow I had time to check Even Shmuel's peirush on
trhe Moreh chpt. 68 (book I): he attributes the idea to "Aristotle and
his commentators)" and points to Metaphysics book 12, chapters 7 and 9.
Perhaps you could tell us what you find lacking there that was added
by Plotinus, and provide a reference to the Enneads (I don't have any
pseudo-Aristotle available, but I do have a copy of the Enneads floating

please pardon the bad typing; I'm at home surrounded by reference works,
but my home computer equipment is fairly dismal.

David Riceman

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Date: Thu, 1 Mar 2001 08:17:24 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Derivatives of Avodo Zoro and linguistic kvetchin

The day and month names must be mutar, somehow. After all, Anshei Kineses
haGdolah adopted 12 names like "Tamuz" and "Tishri" for our months. How is
Tamuz any more kosher than May?


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Date: Sat, 03 Mar 2001 23:23:08 -0500
From: "Gil Student" <gil_student@hotmail.com>
Re: 'chelek Eloak mimaal'

Catching up on Avodahs.  I haven't even gotten to Areivim yet.

Note the name change.  I'm surprised that no one has mentioned it yet, 
considering the grammatical nitpickers we have on this list (present company 

R. Gershon Dubin wrote:
>>I believe that the Nefesh Hachaim expresses thoughts to this effect. >>

The Nefesh HaChaim 1:15 says that our neshamos are breaths from Hashem, 
whatever that means.

R . Rich Wolpoe wrote:
>>Elokai nehsama sehnastao be tehora hi?... What kind of gift does G-d need 
>>back?... Or does the Nehsama represent a chelek Elokim mimaal? >>

All it means is that Hashem gives us our neshamah daily.  I don't see the 
proof at all.

R. David Riceman wrote:
>>One of the many quotations from the Zohar that are not actually in the 
>>Zohar is relevant here. The pasuk says "vayipach bapav nishmath chaim",and 
>>[not-the-Zohar] remarks "man d'nafach min dilai nafach." >>

I tried looking it up in the Torah Sheleimah, who usually quotes the Zohar.  
He doesn't have this derashah.

R. Howard Schild wrote:

>>Everyone seems to be simply quoting nistar answers to the question...ifone 
>>looks at Aryeh Kaplan z"L 's Handbook of Jewish Thought Volume 2, the 
>>Nefesh HAChayim, the Tanya and good older Shefa Tal and a number of other 
>>sources such as the Shelah, Reshis Chochmah and others are all such while 
>>Aryeh Kaplan z"l says the other approach is the PHILOSOPHICAL one of 
>>Saadia Gaon and the Rambam. >>

I couldn't find exactly what you are quoting.  Here is what I found:

R. Aryeh Kaplan, Handbook of Jewish Thought, vol. 2 p. 355-356, 23:7
"In additio9n to his material self, however, man possesses a soul which is 
unique among all of God's creations.  In describing the creation of Adam, 
the Torah says, "G-d formed man out of the dust of the ground, and breathed 
into his nostrils a soul-breath of life (Nishmath Chaim). Man [thus] became 
a living creature (Nefesh Chayah)" (Genesis 2:7).  The Torah is teaching us 
that the human soul came directly from G-d's innermost Essence in the same 
way that a breath issues forth from a person's lungs and chest cavity...[7]

[7] See Likutey Amarim, Sefer Shel Benonim 2 (6a); Nefesh HaChaim 1:15. This 
is the Kabbalistic view. For the philosophical view, see Emunoth VeDeyoth 
6:2; Rambam, Shemonah Perakim 1; Yad, Teshuvah 8:3."

I'm not really sure how this entire concept is different from monism.  Micha 
mentioned panthenism and I'm not sure what that is.

Gil Student

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Date: Sat, 03 Mar 2001 23:57:01 -0500
From: "Gil Student" <gil_student@hotmail.com>
Re: Life span

On Sat, 13 Jan 2001, R. Gershon Dubin wrote:
>>Does anyone have mekoros for whether the *general* life span in pre-Avos 
>>generations was as long as described for those people mentioned in 
>>Chumash? Or were those people the exception?

The Rashbatz discusses this in his Magen Avos (5:25 sv. Ben shivim).  He 
quotes the Rambam and Ramban and then offers his own suggestion.  He says 
that Adam was not born from a "tipah seruchah" and was therefore very 
strong.  As the generations progressed and people became more distant from 
their "pure" origin, they lost that strength and their lifespans shortened.

He then quotes a midrash (Bereishis Rabbah 34:11) that says that people's 
lives had to be longer because otherwise they would not have lived long 
enough to understand the different movements of the constellations.  
Unbelievably to me, the Rashbatz favors this last explanation.

Gil Student

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Date: Fri, 2 Mar 2001 09:33:26 +0200
From: "S. Goldstein" <goldstin@netvision.net.il>
Haman Agagite?

The Yerushalmi Yevamos 13a does say that Haman was not descended from
Hamadasa.  However, this does not mandate that he was not a descendant of
Amalek.  See Shayarei Korban there.

Shlomo Goldstein

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Date: Mon, 5 Mar 2001 09:28:13 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Haman Agagite?

On Fri, Mar 02, 2001 at 09:33:26AM +0200, S. Goldstein wrote:
: The Yerushalmi Yevamos 13a does say that Haman was not descended from
: Hamadasa.  However, this does not mandate that he was not a descendant of
: Amalek.  See Shayarei Korban there.

I actually don't know what to make of Reish Lakish and R' Yochanan's
position in the Y'lmi. They are arguing that ein yuchsin bagoyim, and
in passing use "Haman ben Hamdasah" as an proof that "ben" needn't be
literal, and therefore doesn't imply yichus. Hamdasah lives hundreds
of years before Haman, so Haman ben Hamdasah can't be literal. So the
gemara explains that the "ben" is ideological ancestry.

The gemara doesn't rule out the possibility that Haman even came from
Hamdasah, just not as a direct son but as a remote descendent.

My problem pinning down what the gemara is trying to say is that if you
take this shitah to its logical conclusion than there are no Mitzrim,
7 Amim, Amon, Mo'av or Amaleik for their respective halachos to be
applied to. Ein yuchsin -- so how can Mitzri status be inherited?

Also, does the pasuk mean "Haman, the ideological descendant of
Hamdasah-the-Aggagi" or "Haman the ideological descendent of Hamdasah,
[and] the Aggagi". This gets back to the question of "Matisyahu ben
Yochanan kohein gadol" -- does KG here describe Matisyahu or Yochanan?


Micha Berger                 When you come to a place of darkness,
micha@aishdas.org            you do not chase out the darkness with a broom.
http://www.aishdas.org       You light a candle.
(973) 916-0287                  - R' Yekusiel Halberstam of Klausenberg zt"l

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Date: Mon, 5 Mar 2001 01:15:32 EST
From: Phyllostac@aol.com
chelek Elokah mimaal - response

I thank all those who responded to my query on 'chelek Elokah mimaal'.

I think that of David Riceman who said that it is a kabbalistic doctrine that 
the Ramba"m wouldn't have accepted was the one most 'on the mark'.

Some related comments - I looked at Iyov 31:2 where the phrase seemingly
comes from - which was mentioned by R. YZ - and the poshut pshat brought
there is different than the way it is used in the kabbalistic sense.

Also - re the Zohar on 'vayipach biapav nishmas chayim' - 'man dinofach
midilei (mitocho?) nofach - I don't see this as necessarily meaning -
LA"D - that the nishama is necessarily literally mamash a 'chelek Elokah
mimaal'. It means 'he who blows, blows from himself'. If you think into
it....let's say someone blows...he is blowing air from inside him....but
the air is not part of his actual body ...just a substance that was
inside him......So it is from inside him....but not his atzmius like
his body....and so for the nimshol licheora.....

I also looked in Tanya perek 2 - and that too didn't clear me up on it....

Also - re Tanya - I believe it says that a Yid has more than one soul -
which the Ramba"m rejects in the shmoneh prakim....so what the Tanya
says is not binding on the Ramba"m.....

Perhaps I am a bit over my head here....Also, perhaps the internet
is not the best forum for such deep stuff....and the Nodah biYehudah
(www.nodabiyehuda.com) said 'hanistoros laHashem Elokeinu......'. But
hearing talk about this made me wonder about the inyan. B"h now I have
some more klohrkeit in the area.


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Date: Mon, 5 Mar 2001 09:40:46 -0500 (EST)
From: alustig@erenj.com (Arnold Lustiger)
Purim Drasha from RYBS

A few days ago, Leon Manel posted a Purim Drasha (originally in Yiddish)
given by the Rav in 1956, transcribed by Josh Rapps on Areivim. As it turns
out, I have summarized the same drasha that I would like to make available
to Areivim/ Avodah members. 

Josh's version of the drasha is essentially a transcript, while mine is more
along the lines of a summary (i.e. more in the style of my published
summaries of the Rav's Teshuva drashot). In my opinion (though not in
Josh's) what sounds very compelling orally often sounds awkward and
disjointed in a transcript.

In any case, if there are any listmembers interested, you can e-mail me
directly at alustig@erenj.com to request a copy. In addition to the summary,
I will be sending out a Hebrew true-type font that you can install so you
can see the pesukim and maamarei chazal that were quoted in the drasha in
the original Hebrew. 

A Freilichen Purim

Arnie Lustiger

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Date: Sat, 3 Mar 2001 21:58:26 -0500
From: Kenneth G Miller <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
re: Amaleik

"C1A1Brown@aol.com" asks:
> the Sifri has a limud that one must destroy even 'nin v'neched shel
> Amalek'. Since the offspring of Amalek still have the yichus as part of
> the nation, I don't understand why a special limud is needed?

This question only makes sense (to me) if Amalek is defined only by
birth. So it is a kasha, for example, to the Minchat Chinuch (604 d"h
"v'ha'idna") who R' Josh Backon quotes as writing that:
> Ein anu metzuvim bazeh [to destroy Amalek today] ki kvar alah Sancheriv
> u'bilbel et ha'olam...

But it would not be a kasha on the Rambam as understood by R' Chaim
Brisker, as explained to me by
<http://aish.com/torahportion/moray/A_Question_of_Race$.asp>. According to
this view, there are ways for an Amalekite to lose that status, and ways
for a non-Amalek to gain it. (If you want to discuss the pro's and con's
of this view, please join the current thread on Areivim.)

This question seems to be a support for the Brisker position. Ancestry is
not the sole criterion for Mechiyas Amalek. You can't merely ask if this
person's father was Amalek, you have to see what *his* ideology is. On
the other hand, it's not purely ideology either: This limud is to teach
that the babies do get killed, even though they have not consciously
accepted the ideology.

Akiva Miller

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Date: Sat, 03 Mar 2001 23:24:25 -0500
From: "Gil Student" <gil_student@hotmail.com>
Re: Proper care avoiding AZ and shemos AZ

R. Seth Mandel wrote:
> And since we have entered the fishy month, let us note the following. 
> Itcame to pass in the days of Ahasuerus that there was a member of 
> the sanhedrin named Mordokhai, who had a cousin named Hadassa. But she 
> wascalled Esther. I would have thought we could do better than that. Why 
> didn't they use Hebrew names?

I think I've mentioned here before that even the name Moshe is probably an 
Egyptian name.  See then Netziv on Shemos 2:10 where he quotes a R. Shmuel 
from Beheim (anyone know who he is?) that in ancient Egyptian the name Moshe 
means boy, as in the king's (adopted) son is The Boy.  The Malbim quotes 
Philo of Alexandria (!) who explains that the name Moshe in ancient Egyptian 
comes from the words Mo (water) and She (removed) meaning that the boy was 
removed from the water.  Can any of our linguists verify which of these two 
explanation is correct.  They can't both be.  Regardless (or should I 
scratch my nails on the blackboard by saying irregardless), the name Moshe 
seems to be a "goyishe" name.

Gil Student

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Date: Sat, 03 Mar 2001 23:30:27 -0500
From: "Gil Student" <gil_student@hotmail.com>
Re: hagohos needed on Chofetz Chaim like Ram"a on SA and Raava"d on Ramba"m?

R. Mordechai wrote:
>>After all, the Chofetz Chaim is like Rav Yosef Caro or the Ramba"m in 
>>hilchos l"h and perhaps a Ram"a or Raava"d is needed to make the CC 
>>complete - a mapa for the CC.

> If some poskim are choleik on the CC in other inyonim (e.g. in OC, the MB), 
> why are his posakim re hilchos l"h considered by some infallible and the 
> last word and unassailable?

IIRC, R. Yisrael Salanter refused to give the sefer Chafetz Chaim a haskamah 
because he disagreed with an important halachah.  I think it was regarding 
asking mechilah from someone who does not know that you spoke lashon harah 
about him.  The CC required it while RYS forbid it because it causes greater 

Gil Student

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Date: Mon, 5 Mar 2001 00:03:54 EST
From: Phyllostac@aol.com
Dog Torah

The posuk in Mishlei (26:11) states - kikelev shav ell keio (as a dog returns 
to his vomit), ksil shoneh beivalto (a fool repeats his error).

I was wondering - perhaps people better acquainted with dogs than I am can 
help with this.....How often do dogs typically 'throw up'? do they always 
revisit what they threw up or just sometimes? soon afterward? later? what do 
they do when they go back to it? eat it? always?


P.S. Btw - re dogs - a frum dog owner once said to me that kelev comes from 
ki-lev - like (the) heart. I had previously (and still do) dismissed the 
(american?) idea / saying that a dog is 'man's best friend' as not Jewish. I 
thought it was like some kind of joke, but then I saw a similar thing in a 
sefer (part of 3 volume set 'Alfei Yisroel' by a Rav Yisroel Machpotz (not 
sure if I have the sefer and michabeir names correctly transliterated) on the 
animal and plant kingdoms. There it was brought from a respected source that 
the word kelev is said to come from kulo leiv (the dog is all heart and loyal 
to his master).

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Date: Mon, 5 Mar 2001 09:42:34 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Dog Torah

On Mon, Mar 05, 2001 at 12:03:54AM -0500, Phyllostac@aol.com asked Avodah:
: The posuk in Mishlei (26:11) states - kikelev shav ell keio (as a dog returns 
: to his vomit), ksil shoneh beivalto (a fool repeats his error).

: I was wondering - perhaps people better acquainted with dogs than I am can 
: help with this.....How often do dogs typically 'throw up'? do they always 
: revisit what they threw up or just sometimes? soon afterward? later? what do 
: they do when they go back to it? eat it? always?

Dogs don't throw up any more often than people do, assuming they're fed
properly. But they do have this disgusting habit of trying to pick out
the food and re-eat it.

I assume that's what Shelomo haMelech was referring to. A fool is so
attracted the little modicum of value he got out of his mistake that
he ignores the overwhelming price his actions cost him.

: P.S. Btw - re dogs - a frum dog owner once said to me that kelev comes from 
: ki-lev - like (the) heart...

The gemara compares the dogs back to "hav, hav" -- which is Aramaic for
"give, give". Sometimes lignai, speaking about taking. But sometimes lishevach
-- "hav" is cognate to "ahav", from which REED derives his whole giving and
recieving model of ahavah.

Also, while on the topic of dogs, I recall that the tana Sh'mu'el had
a safeik about the kashrus of his meat, so he threw it to the dog under
the sable. I assume this means the dog was a pet.


(PS: Interesting how ideas converge. This past Shabbos our dog was killed
in a car accident. The next day someone submits an email to start our
first conversation about dogs.)

Micha Berger                 When you come to a place of darkness,
micha@aishdas.org            you do not chase out the darkness with a broom.
http://www.aishdas.org       You light a candle.
(973) 916-0287                  - R' Yekusiel Halberstam of Klausenberg zt"l

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Date: Sat, 03 Mar 2001 20:32:33 -0800
From: "Michael Frankel" <mechyfrankel@zdnetonebox.com>
Re: sefer 'Masores siyog laTorah' by Rav T: a really bad review

> I was asked by a list member to elaborate on the above sefer which I
> mentioned in a recent post on Rav Moshe Tzuriel shlit"a. Since it may
> be of interest to others I will respond to it here, rather than privately.
> at all). The sefer interprets and deciphers this.... Mordechai

A quibble first. technically there is no such thing as the (hey hay'dioh)
mesoroh. there are only mesoros -- i.e. each "mesoroh"is unique and tied
only to the particular manuscript they are commenting. though of course
there are great overlaps. Now to the recently published sefer by r.
tsuriel. this sefer was reviewed recently in m'godim and a kind of executive
summary assessment can be gleaned from one of its closing lines "mi-neged
alulim anshei ham-maddoh l'hasiq min has-sefer haz-zeh she'ho'emunoh
shellonu ainenoh tosefes l'chokhmoh eloh hee tachlif l'chokhmoh" (ouch).

i shall briefly summarize the reviewers main points.

1. there are certainly good things about this book. the author has introduced
certain stlylistic notes which ease the reader's confrontation with the
mesorah notes. (now i'm doing it too. however "the" mesoroh in the context
of this letter means the version of mesoroh cobbled together by by yosef
b. chaim from the manuscript sources at his disposal and published in
the great venice edition of miqro'os g'dolos edition he prepared) such
as the insertion of spaces between successive notes and the bolding of
the quotations to separate them from the comments. however, the reviewer
faults the author for not introducing niqudos or source notes for the
p'suqim cited in the mesoroh -- as would be done in any "scientific" work.
and herein lies the real rub, and a major fault line of the sefer. see
next. the author has also done a real service by gathering and publishing
relevant writings of such as the ramban, rosh, maharal, gra,..on the
subject of mesoroh and added many useful explanations and descriptions
of his own.

2. the author's implicit -- and occasionally explicit -- subtext is precisely
the rejection of the "derech" of academics and historians. the reviewer
speculates that this is why r. tsuriel chose not to "burden" his presentation
with niqudos or footnotes -- it would look too different from the original
which form he would, conservatively, prefer to preserve.

3. r. tsuriel's comments on the provenance the mesoroh notes, and the
consequences of that assumption, is completely unacceptable from an academic
perspective -- nor do i think there is much basis from traditional sources
and it must be accounted a chidush of his own. and that is r. tsuriel's
belief that "the" mesoroh notes were given to moshe at sinai, forgotten
during golus bovel, but known to Ezra who narrated them before the assembled
crowds in y'rusholim and also revealed the hidden mysteries contained
in them. since they were written, according to the author, b'ruach haqodesh,
 it is reasonable to apply the techniques of d'rash and remez to unearth
the sodos contained therein. agav -- i do not know where r. tsuriel comes
down on the related issue of that other product of the masoretes, the
trope symbols. while most (but not all!) rishonim ascribe these to the
ba'alei mesoroh themselves (or, at most, ezra) it was mainly the karaites
who ascribed their provenance to moshe at sinai. and this has a not so
faint whiff of that shitoh.

4. With this mindset on the origin of the mesoroh, R. tsuriel also faced
what should have been a major problem. Since they are nothing less than
a recording of ruach ha'qodesh, the recorder must have been an individual
of utterly impeccable bona fides, a latter day moshe or lesser novih
at least. however the uncomfortable reality is the acceptance by "everybody"
of the fact that yosef b. chaim, the editor of these notes, apparently
converted to christianity at the end of his days. R. tsuriel cannot
accept this fact since he "knows" that the holy Rabbi Yosef b. Chaim
could not possibly have done such a thing. (BTW -- to stray off topic
for a moment, i had been following the RMS-RYGB interchange on RSBA with
some interest, not so much for the substance but for the epistemological
divide which i believe it betrays. i.e. RYGB finds credible knowledge
by a different mode -- and he has choshuveh company -- than does RMS, which
can lead to people who don't share the same epistemological assumptions
to talk past each other, with frustrations for both. but perhaps another
time. R. Tsuriel's approach echoes, at least to me, that of RYGB. and
then there is that Shalavim connection. hmm.) So R. Tsuriel, without
external evidence, simply rejects the assertion, and attacks the eidus
on which it is based. which leads him to attack R. Eliyohu Bochur -- 
greatest of all ashqenazi grammarians -- who provided it. i do not understand
the basis on which r. tsuriel has mattired what would appear to be loshon
horoh about r. Eliyohu. (at least according to the CC shitoh, which those
who still remember the MM wars will recall that i had pointed were still
applicable after p'tiroh. but perhaps r. tsuriel does not hold like this).

5. so far, the author stands "accused' of no more than neglecting the
academic perspective and holding shitos related to provenance, sanctity,
or inner life of the mesoroh which differs from that in the university
-- to which one naturally thinks, so what? The reviewer however, also
takes some pains to demonstrate by example that the author is not sufficiently
boqi in the subject matter to provide an acceptable treatment of the
substance of the mesoroh, i.e. his explanations of the p'shat of the
masoretic comment is also deficient in many instances where he has not
correctly understood the masoretic note.

The reviewer adds (presumably to pick a fight) closing editorial comment
to the effect that some fraction of yeshivoh people believe that, since
everything is contained in toroh, talmidei chachomim can understand that
which academics have achieved only through great efforts. and such perspective
which -- he claims -- is held even with respect to general matters, is
qal v'chomer believed with respect to jewish studies -- miqroh, mesoroh,
jewish philosophy and history. he concludes that one who reads this
book will quickly realize how empty such a t'fisoh is, a fact about which
which he believes that all who love toroh should feel sad.

Perhaps I should have mentioned earlier that the author of this review
was R. Mordechai Breuer.

Mechy Frankel                       W: (703) 588-7424
mechyfrankel@zdnetonebox.com        H: (301) 593-3949

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Date: Sat, 03 Mar 2001 23:44:04 -0500
From: "Gil Student" <gil_student@hotmail.com>
Re: Purim seudah on Friday

>>The Mshna Berura (in Hilchos Shabbos) says that when Purim is on Friday 
>>one should be makdim the seudah before chatzos.

> How do you understand this. Does this mean one should start before chatzos
> or does it mean most of the seudah should be before chatzos.

There is a sign in the Agudah of Ave. L (Agudas Yisroel Bais Binyomin) that 
says to START the seudah by 12:07 pm.

Gil Student

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Date: Sun, 4 Mar 2001 15:05:51 -0500
From: "Noah S. Rothstein" <noahrothstein@mindspring.com>
'K' Mar Avid...'- Some Issues and Questions about Plag Hamincha

1. While it seems that the most widely accepted practice is that it is
okay to sometimes maariv after plag and sometimes daven mincha after
plag,  as long as on the _days_ that you daven maariv after plag and
before shkia you also make sure to daven mincha _before_ plag
(although there are those who are meikul about this for erev Shabbos
and perhaps for tefillah b'tsibur in general), however I recall
hearing that there are those who _always_ daven mincha before plag,
even if it means davening b'yichidus, holding that that is necessary
in order to sometimes daven maariv before shkia.

2. Are there any shitos that the time after plag hamincha has the
halachic status of night? That one can be yotse krias shema shel arvis
? What about for melacha after plag hamincha on Shabbos? We certainly
don't posken that way but are there any shitos that Shabbos ends after
plag? I believe that the halacha is that b'shas hadchak one can make
havdoloh _w/out a ner_ after plag on Shabbos.

3. What about for Yomim Tovim? Are there any shitos that permit maariv
and kiddush after plag hamincha on erev Yom Tov?

Thank you for any replies.

- Noach

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Date: Sun, 4 Mar 2001 21:27:59 -0500
From: "Noah S. Rothstein" <noahrothstein@mindspring.com>
Re: Not All Chassidim Follow RT, and Re: Why Only 72 min....

>Vizniz is interesting. They do hold 72 minutes at the end (at least all of
>them I know do, including when I have been in Monsey, and the shul I doven
>in quite often whose Rov is a VIznitzer.)

May I ask which shul that is?

By the time they finish maariv it is after 72 mins. but they definitely
hold of an earlier z'man that is something like 57 or 58 mins. after
shkia which is printed on their luchos and which the women at home do
melacha after.

I related the story of the Debretziner rov, z'l, being by sholosh seudos
tish of the Vizhnitzer rebbe: The minhag of Vizhnitz is to have a koton
light candles at about 58 mins. after shkia and Debretziner rov was
squeamish when he saw this, saying that it is safeik chilul Shabbos.

>They do have a custom to bring
>Shabbos in very early, which goes back to R. Mendel of Kosov, who was known
>to make Kiddush while the sun was still out. Stolin, as you know, was in
>the Lita.

From: "Noah S. Rothstein" <noahrothstein@mindspring.com>
>>Based on the recent posts claiming that the shitos RT for nightfall is
>>really between 90 and 144 mins. after sundown (in NYC), I would like
>>to ask why the near universal practice is to consider it a constant
>>72 minutes.

>Because 18 minutes as the time of a mil is explicitly stated in Shulchan
>Aruch. (see for example OH 459.2)

1. But what about those who say that the exact time is seasonal and that
72 mins. only applied to the vernal and autumnal equinoxes and only in certain
parts of the world?

2. It would be interesting to hear a detailed rebuttal to the recent

I recall being in a car on my way to the Berkshires one summer evening and
noticing that there was still light in the sky even after 72 mins. after

- Noach

Go to top.

Date: Sun, 04 Mar 2001 19:55:25 -0800
From: "Michael Frankel" <mechyfrankel@zdnetonebox.com>
RE: RTam and Astronomical Tables-Not

Some recent posts on the subject of z'manim have mentioned the extremely
accurate astronomical tables, such as those published by the US Navy,
which are readily accessible on line. I only wish to note that these
tables are, as a rule, almost completely useless for those wishing to
calculate halachic z'manim by whichever shittoh one prefers (keying off
the listed sunset, sunrise times). And that is for (at least) three

1. astronomical tables provide geometrical sunrise/sunset. I.e. the time
that the tangent line from the sun intersects your city's positional
coordinates. It takes no notice of the atmosphere which refracts the
sun's rays so that you actually see it about a  degree (a couple of
minutes) before and after the astronomical tables say. And it is what
we see, not calculate, that plays in halachic determination here.
2. The astronomical tables assume the sun is a point source and provide
a times keyed to the "motion" of a point at the center of the sun, not
the edge of the orb as one looks for in halachic space. This is generally
good for another  degree variance.
3. The astronomical tables provide sea level values. This will produce
a wide variety of halachic differences depending on which of the quite
many conflicting shittos one follows to adjust for the fact of elevation
of the observer.

Agav -- in the discussion of rabbeinu's tam shittoh -- to which I may add
my two rubles at another time -- a poster referred to the location of
rabbeinu tam in northern france and the assumption that the 72 minute
shittoh referred to that place. This leads to a major, and basically
unresolved qoshi. On the one hand, the assumption that the 72 minutes
refers to his home location makes a lot of sense. had this shiur applied
to eretz yisroel, an "equivalencing" of the associated darkness would
have required delaying the end of shabbos in Ramero, France, at the extreme
parts of the year, by almost two full hours (109 minutes rather than
72), and there is no record that this was done. On the other hand,
this position is hard to swallow since rabbeinu tam comes to explain
the g'moroh -- which certainly must have been referring to eretz yisroel
and bovel -- not france.

When I was a kid, we used to just eyeball the sky and decide that three
medium stars were visible to decide when to end shabbos (a "geonic" shittoh
to be sure). I am not sure that such subjective? judgements that we used
to make were not as least as accurate as the generally false precision
which one infers by the current total reliance on published tables and
clocks which do not adjust for a whole host of relevant issues (including
e.g. distances within extended cities) which may cumulatively add up
to many minutes of difference.

Mechy Frankel                     W: (703) 588-7424
mechyfrankel@zdnetonebox.com      H: (301) 593-3949

Go to top.

Date: Mon, 5 Mar 2001 09:47:04 -0500
From: "Wolpoe, Richard" <Richard_Wolpoe@ibi.com>
RE: back to the books

Gil Student:
> Also, the Yad Ramah suggests that the entire prohibition is only derech 
> sechok.

I mean this half-seriously
What about Purim?  

Good Purim
Rich Wolpoe

Go to top.

Date: Sun, 4 Mar 2001 21:44:22 -0500
From: "Noah S. Rothstein" <noahrothstein@mindspring.com>
How Far Are We Obligated to Use Technology for Precision in Halacha?

The recent detailed discussions of the different shitos for tseis
hakochavim and astronomical observations made reminded of the issue of
using computers to check sifrei torah, tefillin and mezuzos.

I believe that those who don't require the use of computers argue that
the halachos for b'dikas sta"m were given before computers and up until
relatively recently we didn't have that technology available and that
halacha does not require us to utilize the newest technologies for such
exact precision.

Could this be the same issue w/ regard to z'manim? That many argue that
it is sufficient for us to rely on shitos that gedolei Yisroel relied
on for centuries and that we don't need to worry about differences that
astronomical precision would suggest?

- Noach

Go to top.


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