Avodah Mailing List

Volume 07 : Number 003

Monday, March 26 2001

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Sun, 25 Mar 2001 23:17:34 -0600
From: "Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Challah and Related Issues

More on the themes I wrote on elsewhere, in response to further query:
A bit more explanation plese. Like for example what is "murkav"? What is
"harkava shichnis"? what does the chazal "yosif daas yosif mach'ov" mean?
what is "mach'ov"? what is "harkava mizgis"? what is "chakal tapuchin
kaddishin"? what is"attikah kadisha"? what about "lechu lachmu b"achmi"?
what is chu"l?

One more question. Why did the kohanim eat challa the night of
Pesach? Explain please. Also explain kometz ha'mincha on why al pi
kabbalah/chassidus one cannot make an entire dough chassidus?

I will expand, but b'kitzur. These concepts are best explained b'al peh,
but you can get a lot out of R' Immanuel Schochets "Mystical Concepts
in Chassidus" or, more comprehensively, R' Aryeh Kaplan's "Inner Space".

The "murkav" terminology is actually from the Rambam, I believe, and is
used extensively by the Rogatchover. Murkav means combined. Something
that is not murkav is not combined. "Harkava Shichnis" is a simple
combination of many things adjacent ("shochen') to each other. "Harkava
Mizgis" is a complex combination, or fusion, such as a chemical compound.

Bikkurim is taken at the stage of individual fruit - no Harkava. Ma'aser
is taken at the stage of gathered grain - Harkava Shichnis. Challahis
taken when the grain has been made into a dough - Harkava Mizgis. The
parallel to Chaba"d is relatively simple.

The parallel to Se'udos Shabbos is more intricate and far more speculative. 
The Arizal in the Tikkunei Shabbos ("Askinu Se'udoso") identifies Shabbos 
night as Chakal Tapuchin Kaddishin - the aspect of our Avodas Hashem 
consecrating Shabbos - much as our work creates a crop in an orchard - and, 
thus, when Yitzchok smelled Ya'akov's fragrance he used the term "sadeh 
asher beracho Hashem." That is why Shabbos is called, in Friday night 
Shemoneh Esrei in all nuscha'os, "bah" - Shabbos receives from us, and that 
is why we are botzei'ah on the bottom challah. (This bechina is attributed 
to Yitzchok)

Shabbos morning is Attikah Kadisha in the Arizal: The opposite concept, 
Hashem imparting to us, in turn, Kedusha via Shabbos from on high - this is 
the crown of the neshama yesira ("klil tiferes") that comes down to us. 
That is why, in many nuscha'os, Shabbos is called "bo", and we are 
botzei'ah the top challah (Shabbos imparting to us). (Avrohom)

Shalosh Se'udos is Ze'eir Anpin - the connection and flow from on high to 
below and vice versa - the harmonious reciprocity. Shabbos is called "bam" 
(plural, both roles in tandem), and, I believe, the we are botzei'ah side 
by side. (Ya'akov).

In this scheme, the highest madreigah is Shabbos morning (reflected in the 
Halacha of Kavod Yom Adif). That is why it seems to me that in the order of 
the three mitzvos it should be Challah in the morning - corresponding to 
Da'as as the highest madreigah, with Bikkurim on Friday night and Ma'aser 
at Se'udah Shelishis. But I am not prepared to commit to this.

Shabbos morning is the Shemoneh Esrei of Shabbos Mattan Torah (Friday night 
is Shabbos Bereishis, Shabbos afternoon is Yom she'kullos Shabbos). This is 
not necessarily the same order as that of the Arizal, but the Shabbos 
morning davening is the idea of the Hashpo'oh from above, and that is 
reflected in that Mattan Torah was on Shabbos (The Pesikta says that the 
"edyam me'Chorev" removed after the Chet ho'Egel is restored to us by Moshe 
every Shabbos). Torah is called lechem: that is the meaning of the pasuk 
'lechu lachmu b'lachmi." Shabbos is "bechol moshvoseichem" - it gives its 
kedusha to Jews wherever they are - even in Chutz la'Aretz (Chu"l) - like 
challah, that applies even in Chu"l.

"Yosif da'as yosif mach'ov" is interpreted by Chazal (it's a psauk) to tell 
us that when a kattan can eat wheat bread we must distance ourselves for 
devorim she'b'kedusha from his excrement. That's the mach'ov: Unrealized 
Da'as is more repugnant than non-Da'as.

Kohanim eat Challah the night of Pesach, says R' Tzadok, because Pesach is 
the ultimate manifestation of total Hashpo'oh from Above: Ge'ulah when we 
were unworthy and with only minimal zechus. That is the realization, even 
after a human has created this extraordinary Harkava Mizgis, that 
everything comes from the Hashpo'oh of HKB"H.

And, finally, says R' Tzadok, in Olam ha'Zeh nothing can be Kullo Tov: that 
is only L'Osid Lavo: That is why it is inimical to the nature of Olam 
ha'Zeh and its Avodah to make a dough completely Challah.

ygb@aishdas.org http://www.aishdas.org/rygb

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Date: Sat, 24 Mar 2001 21:37:59 -0600
From: "Steve Katz" <sk0002@home.com>

At a discussion after shul today someone asked why can't one make coffee
on shabbos in a coffeemaker that has a build in timer or in otherwise
on a timer. I opined it was like the chicken and the egg, ie nolad. He
answered that you put up raw chulent just before shabbos and eat it in
the next day just as long as you don't raid the chulent during the night.

Am I right about nolad or is there another teretz?

Best wishes of shavua tov and chodesh tov

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Date: Sun, 25 Mar 2001 11:21:44 +0200
From: Menachem Burack <Mburack@emiltd.com>
RE: Areivim on Hol HaMoed

From: Gil.Student@citicorp.com [mailto:Gil.Student@citicorp.com]
> True, but writing is also assur. However, writing an iggeres shalom,
> even if it will not be read until after yontev, is considered tzorech
> hamoed and is muttar....

Correct. but if causing an electromagnetic change is prohibited, you can't
even boot your computer, surf the internet, play video games, watch movies
on your CD/DVD drive and other things that have nothing to do with writing
an email as an iggeres shalom.

But I don't think that what RSZA is prohibiting. He says that the diskette
has no value, but putting a file on it gives it value (before it was a
useless piece of plastic and now it has a file that can be opened and used
-= you have been "boneh" a useful object.). 
Rav Neuvirt refers you to 2 other footnotes - 
1) He compares this to audio cassettes, no value and now with your recording
you can listen to music/dvar Torah etc. 
2) He contrasts it to film. You cannot use the film until you get it
developed so it is not asur due to "boneh", because the film still has no
immediate use. 
I guess this sounds like "makeh b'patish". 
Based on this it is muttar to use your computer, save to a hard drive (it
already has value - your operating system and other programs and files) but
assur to save to a floppy/CD. 

That is how I understand the footnote, although I do not understand the

The electromagnetic boneh sounds too much the "CI and electricity" with whom
RSZA disagreed. 

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Date: Sat, 24 Mar 2001 10:49:09 +0200
From: "fish" <fish9999@012.net.il>
Re: Avodah V6 #164

With regard to hashavat aveidah of a non-Jew one member raised the fact that
it may be required because of dina d'malchutah. I would point out that in
Choshen Mishpat (266:1) the law is that in the absence of Kiddush Hashem it
is forbidden to return the lost item. That being the case applying dina
d'malchutah becomes complex.Thank-you, Stuart Fischman P.S. Recently a sefer
titled Hashevat Aveidah K'Halakha was published which discusses many issues
in an orderly fashion.

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Date: Sun, 25 Mar 2001 10:39:03 +0200
From: Eli Linas <linaseli@netvision.net.il>
Re:Rambam, Karaites, and Jewish unity


This from a recent edition of the Engligh Ya'ated, in an article
entititled "Teshuvos About Kiruv Rechokim." They are shailos asked
by Lev L'Achim volunteers to Rav Yitzchak Zilberstein, shlitta, Rav
Eliashiv's son-in-law:

"Eighth question: 'An avreich working with a family and who maintains
a regular study session with the father found out that the are
Karaites. What should he do? Should he continue to teach them? What is
their status in halacha in general? I heard a similar question from
an avreich active in preventing assimilation who was asked to take
care of a young Karaite about to marry an Arab. Should they try to save
her? Furthermore, the time they spend with them will take away time from
helping other Jewish women.'

Answer: 'Since this question is weighty, I will tell you word by word
what my father-in-law, Maran HaRav Y.S. Eliashiv, shlitta, told me:
"[The Karaites] are undoubtedly Jews and we need to study with them and
separate them from non-Jews."

I was simply amazed and immediately told him: "In Chinuch Atmai in Cholon,
we do not accept them." He answered that R' Sa'adya Gaon made a gezeirah
on the Karaites, the Rama writes that the split they made with us will
never be mended, and the Radbaz in Egypt ruled they are Jews with regard
to every matter but were fined to remain isolated from the congregation
of Hashem. HaRav Eliashiv said we should distance them as long as they
act like their fathers, but the Karaites today are tinokos shnishbu and
therefore should be taught halachos, hilchos Chanukah, netilas yadayim,
eruvin since after he learns these rabbinical halachos, he is no longer a
Karaite. Their problem is marriage and the doubt of their being mamzeirim,
but we are not talking about that problem. We are speaking about the
question asked by Lev L'Achim and this is also not a ruling with regard
to receiving them into Chinuch Atzmai, etc. We must realize that except
for marriage, they are Jews in every way. They should be taught Torah
and mitzvos as long as they do not fight against us.'"


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Date: Sun, 25 Mar 2001 20:48:34 -0000
From: "Leon Manel" <leonmanel@hotmail.com>
Re tav Lemetav tan Du

From a trascript of RYBS <http://mail-jewish.org/rav/talmud_torah.txt>

A thought.  Kabalas ol malchus shamayim -- which is an identical act with
talmud torah -- requires of us to revere and to love and to admire the
words of the chachmei hamesorah, be they tannaim, be they amoraim, be they
rishonim.  This is our prime duty.  They are the final authorities, and an
irresponsible statement about chazal borders on, I don't like to use the
word but according to Maimonides, the heretic.  When the Rambam says about
tzadukim [14], perek gimmel hilchos t'shuva halachah ches, v'chen hakofer
b'perusha v'hu torah she- b'al peh v'hamach'chish magideha k'gon tzadok
ubaitos [15] -- it's very strange, I wanted to discuss it with my father
zt"l.  Whoever denies the truthfulness or the authenticity of the torah
she-b'al peh is a tzaduki.  Why did he add v'hamach'chish magideha --
whoever denies the authority of the scholars, the chachmei hamesorah?
Apparently the Rambam says that under the category of kofrim batorah [16]
are classified not only those who deny for instance that nisuch hamayim
[17] or avodas beis hamikdash [18] is required, or those who deny the
torah she b'al peh -- there is no doubt about it in those cases.  But
moreover, even those who admit the truthfulness of the torah she b'al peh
but who are critical of chachmei chazal as personalities, who find fault
with chachmei chazal, fault in their character, their behavior, or their
conduct, who say that chachmei chazal were prejudiced, which actually has
no impact upon the halachah;  nevertheless, he is to be considered as a
kofer.  V'chen hakofer b'perusha v'hu torah she b'al peh v'hamach'chish
magideha; he who denies the perfection and the truthfulness of chachmei
chazal -- not of the Torah, but of the chachmei chazal as personalities,
as real persona as far as their character, their philosophy, or their
outlook on the world is concerned -- is a kofer.  Let me add something
that is very important: not only the halachos but also the chazakos [19]
which chachmei chazal have introduced are indestructible.  We must not
tamper, not only with the halachos, but even with the chazakos, for the
chazakos of which chazal spoke rest not upon transient psychological
behavioral patterns, but upon permanent ontological principles rooted in
the very depth of the human personality, in the metaphysical human
personality, which is as changeless as the heavens above.  Let us take for
example the chazaka that I was told about: the chazaka tav l'meisiv tan du
mil'meisiv armalo [20] has absolutely nothing to do with the social and
political status of women in antiquity.  This chazaka is based not upon
sociological factors, but upon a verse in breishis -- harba arbeh
itz'voneich v'heironeich b'etzev teildi vanim v'el isheich t'shukaseich
v'hu yimshal bach -- "I will greatly multiply thy pain and thy travail; in
pain thou shalt bring forth children, and thy desire shall be to thy
husband, and he shall rule over thee" [21].  It is a metaphysical curse
rooted in the feminine personality -- she suffers incomparably more that
the male who is in solitude.  Solitude to the male is not as terrible an
experience, as horrifying an experience, as is solitude to the woman.  And
this will never change, mayid shamayim vaaretz [22].  This is not a
psychological fact; it is an existential fact, which is due not to the
inferior status of the woman, but rather to the difference, the basic
distinction, between the female personality and the male personality.
Loneliness frightens the woman, and an old spinster's life is much more
miserable and tragic than the life of an old bachelor.  This was true in
antiquity; it is still true, and it will be true a thousand years from
now.  So, to say that tan du mil'meisiv armalo was or is due to the
inferior political or social status of the woman is simply misinterpreting
the chazaka tan du mil'meisiv armalo.  No legislation can alleviate the
pain of the single woman, and no legislation can change this role.  She
was burdened by the Almighty, after she violated the first [law].  Let me
ask you a question -- ribono shel olam, G-d Almighty, if you should start
modifying and reassessing the chazakos upon which a multitude of halachos
rest, you will destroy yehadus.  So instead of philosophizing, let us
rather light a match and set fire to the beis yisrael, and get rid of our

I also was told that it was recommended that the method afkinu rabanan
l'kidushin minei [23] be reintroduced.  If this recommendation is
accepted, and I hope it will not be accepted, but if it is accepted, then
there will be no need for a get.  Ha-isha niknes b'shalosh d'rachim:
b'kesef b'shtar ub'bia [24], the get of a gerushah (divorced woman) -- we
will be able to cross out this mishna, this halachah; every rabbi will
suspend the kidushin.  Why should there be this halachah if such a
privilege exists?  Why should this privilege be monopolized by rabanus
haroshis [25] in eretz yisrael?  Why couldn't the Rabbinic Council do just
as well as the rabanus haroshis, if the problem is afkinu rabbanan
l'kidushin minei?  [ribono shel olam], what are you, out to destroy all
of it?  I will be relieved of two masechtos; I will not have to say
shiurim on Gitin and Kidushin, and then Yevamos as well.

I want to be frank and open.  Do you expect to survive as Orthodox rabbis?
Do you expect to carry on the mesorah under such circumstances?  I hope
that those who are present will join me in simply objecting to such
symposia and to such discussion and debate at the Rabbinical Convention.
When I was told about it, I thought, "would it be possible?" I can not
imagine at the Republican or Democratic National Convention that they
would introduce a symposium on communism and democracy, that perhaps
communism should replace democracy in the United States.  Could you
imagine such a possibility?  I could not.  There is a certain system of
postulates to which people are committed, and such a discussion, for
instance at the National Convention of the Republican party, would be
outside the system of postulates to which the American people are
committed.  And to speak about changing the halachos of chazal is, of
course, at least as nonsensical as discussions about communism at the
Republican National Convention.  It is discussing self-destruction, a
method of self-destruction and suicide.  I know; you don't have to tell it
to me -- b'sochacha ani yoshev [26] -- I don't live in an ivory tower or
in a fool's paradise.  I know that modern life is very complex.  I know
your problems; many of them are passed on to me.  We are confronted with
horrible problems -- social, political, cultural, and economic -- problems
of the family, of the community, and of the society in general.  We feel,
and I sometimes feel like you, as if we are swimming against the tide; the
tide is moving rapidly, with tremendous force, in the direction opposite
of the way in which we are going.  I feel it; I know it; you don't have to
tell it to me.  The crowd, the great majority, has deserted us, and cares
for nothing.  I know the danger of taruvos (mixtures) of weddings, of
church weddings, in which a Jew or a Jewess is united in marriage by a
priest and some Reform rabbi.  We are facing an awesome challenge, and I
am mindful of all that.  However, if you think that the solution lies in
the reformist philosophy, or in an extraneous interpretation of the
halachah, you are badly mistaken.  It is self-evident -- many problems are
unsolvable, you can't help it.  For instance, the problem of mamzerim in
eretz yisrael [27] -- you can't help it.  All we have it the Jewish
nachalah (heritage) -- no one can abandon it -- neither me, nor the rav
haroshis, nor the rosh hagula [28].  It cannot be abandoned.  It is a
pasuk in chumash: lo yavo mamzer bi k'hal hashem [29].  It is very tragic,
the midrash already spoke about it, for instance [divros hashukim] [30],
but it's a reality, a religious reality.  If we say to our opponents, or
to the dissident Jews, "that is our stand" -- they will dislike us, say
that we are inflexible, we are ruthless, we are queer.  But they will
respect us.  However, if you try to cooperate with them, or if halachic
schemes are introduced from without, you will not command love, and you
will not get their love, and you will certainly loose their respect.  That
is exactly what happened in eretz yisrael. What can we do?  This is toras
moshe; this is surrender; this is kabalas ol malchus shamayim.  We
surrender.  The Torah summons the Jew to live halachically.  We cannot
allow an eishes ish (married woman), no matter how tragic the case, to
remarry without a get.  We cannot permit a giores [31] to marry a kohein,
and sometimes the cases are very tragic, as I know from my own experience.
I had a case in Rochester: a gentile girl became a giores before she met
the boy.  She was a real giores hatzedek; she did not join our fold
because she wanted to marry somebody.  Then she met a Jewish boy, became .
. . He had absolutely no knowledge of yehadus, she brought him close to
yehadus.  They got engaged, and he visited the cemetery.  Since he had
come closer to yehadus, he wanted to find out about his family, about his
family tree, so he visited the cemetery in which his grandfather was
buried, and he saw a strange symbol -- ten fingers [32].  So they began to
ask -- they thought it was a mystical symbol, and then they discovered
that he is a kohein.  What can you do?  This is the halachah -- the kohein
is assur to the giores.  We surrender to the will of the Almighty [33].
On the other hand, to say that the halachah is not sensitive to problems,
not responsive to the needs of the people, is an outright falsehood.  The
halachah is responsive to the needs of both the community and the
individual.  But the halachah has its own orbit, moves at its own certain
definite speed, has its own pattern of responding to a challenge, its own
criteria and principles.  I come from a rabbinic house; it is called beis
harav, the house into which I was born, and believe me, Rav Chaim used to
try his best to be a meikil (lenient).  However, there were limits even to
Rav Chaim's skills.  When you reach the boundary line, it is all you can
say -- "I surrender to the will of the Almighty." This is a sadness in my
heart, and I share in the suffering of the poor woman, who was instrumental
in bringing him back to the fold, and then she had to loose him; she lost
him; she walked away.

This is why the Rambam says that talmud torah is identical to kabalas ol
malchus shamayim, and to speak about halachah as a fossil, rachmana
latzlom, is ridiculous.  Because we know, those who study halachah know,
it is a living, dynamic discipline which was given to man in order to
redeem him and to save him.  We are opposed to sh'nuim (changes) of
course, but chidush [34] is certainly the very essence of halachah.  There
are no sh'nuim in halachah, but there are great chidushim.  But the
chidushim are within the system, not from the outside.  You cannot
psychologize halachah, historicize halachah, or rationalize halachah,
because this is something foreign, something extraneous.  As a matter of
fact, not only halachah -- can you psychologize mathematics?  I will ask
you a question about mathematics -- let us take Euclidian geometry.  I
cannot give many psychological reasons why Euclid said two parallels do
not cross, or why the shortest distance between two points is a straight
line.  If I were a psychologist I could not interpret it in psychological
terms.  Would it change the postulate, the mathematical postulate?  And
when it comes to Torah, which is hakadosh baruch hu, all the instruments
of psychology and history, utilitarian morality, are being used to
undermine the very authority of the halachah.  The human being is invited
to be creative, inventive, and engage in inspiring research from within,
but not from without.  Instead of complaining against the inflexibility of
halachah, let us explore its endless spaces, and enjoy talmud torah, and
find in talmud torah a redemptive, cathartic, and inspiring reality.  That
is all I wanted to say; now let us get to the shiur.


1.  Partial transcript of an address of Rabbi Joseph Baer Soloveitchik
zt"l to the RCA Convention, 1975, on the topic of gerut.  This is a
preamble to the shiur.  Transcribed by Eitan Fiorino.  Thanks to Hillel
Becker, Caroline Peyser, and Larry Teitelman for help in deciphering the
Rav's accent and/or for help with some of the references.  A transcript of
part of this talk appeared as "Surrendering to the Almighty" in the
magazine Light, 17, Kislev 5736 (1976), p.13.  Rather than a
reconstruction or summarization of the talk, this is a nearly
word-for-word transcript.  In this way, there is no question of my
interpretations of the Rav's words. However, the patterns of oral
discourse are different than those of writing, and that must be kept in
mind while reading.  Needless to say, all mistakes and errors are my
fault.  Ellipses ( . . . ) in the text indicate unclear portions of the
tape, and brackets ( [ ] ) indicate unclear words.

2.  Aveilus is mourning.  In 1967, the Rav lost his mother, his wife, and
his brother.

3.  One who sits and involves himself with Torah, the Divine presence
rests with him.  I could not find this exact quote.  Pirkei Avot 3:6
reads: . . . asara sheyoshvin v'oskin batorah sh'china shruyah . . .
uminayin afilu echad?  sheneemar b'chol hamakom asher azkir et sh'mi avo
eilecha uveirachticha {when ten sit together and involve themselves with
Torah, the Divine presence rests with them . . . how do we know it applies
to one?  For it is said "in every place that my name is remembered, I will
come to you and bless you" (Exodus 20:21)}.  Brachot 6a reads:  uminayin
sheafilu echad sheyoshev v'osek batorah shesh'china imo? sheneemar b'chol
hamakom asher azkir et sh'mi avo eilecha uveirachticha {and how do you
know that even if one sits and is involved in Torah the Divine presence is
with him?  For it is said "in every place that my name is remembered, I
will come to you and bless you" (Exodus 20:21)}.  See also Pirkei Avot 3:3.

4.  A baal keri is a man who has had a seminal emission.  A baal keri must
immerse in a mikveh in order to study Torah.  This is a takanat Ezra {a
decree of Ezra}.  The gemera in bava kama (82a) discusses the decrees of
Ezra, and states regarding a baal keri (82b) v'tikan t'vilah l'baalei
kerain. d'oraita hu dichtiv v'ish ki titzei mimenu shichvat zara v'rachatz
bamayim. d'oraita hu l'trumah ukadshim ata hu tikan afilu l'divrei torah.
{And he [Ezra] decreed immersion for a baal keri.  Is this not from the
Torah?  As it says, "and if a man has an emission of semen, he shall
immerse in water" (Leviticus 15:16).  That which is from the Torah applies
to the priest's offering and to sacrifices; he [Ezra] came and decreed
even for the words of Torah [immersion is needed]}.  The gemara in Brachot
(20b to 22b) discusses this further, concluding that a baal keri is assur
b'divrei torah, forbidden in the words (and in the study) of Torah.

Go to top.

Date: Sun, 25 Mar 2001 15:18:01 -0500
From: Isaac A Zlochower <zlochoia@bellatlantic.net>
bein hashemoshot

The controversy and questions surrounding bein hashemoshot have been
continuing since, at least, talmudic times, and are not likely to be
resolved soon.  However, the attempt to clarify the issue is highly
important since it involves questions of potential chillul shabbat both
in erev shabbat and motza'ei shabbat.  I do not claim expertise in
either the understanding of the sugyot and shitot in bein hashemoshot,
or in the relevant astronomical observations.  However, I have studied
both aspects on various occasions, and have always come away with added
understanding after each effort.  My current effort was occasioned by
the discussions on this list, and has resulted in a new appreciation of
the requirements for establishing nightfall.

A key resource for understanding the post-talmudic controversy over bein
hashemoshot that most, or all, the chevra have is the Chofetz Chaim's
peirush, the Biur Halacha on Mishna Berurah, Hilchot Shabbat 261:2.  In
it, he explains the the view of Rabbenu Tam that is the basis for psak
halacha of the Shulchan Aruch in this siman.  He also explicates the
views of those who disagree with R' Tam, particularly the Gaon.  He
concludes that in practice we must be concerned for the views of those
who disagree with R' Tam and insist that bein hashemoshot starts with
sunset.  He also concludes that the shiurim given for twilight in
Shabbat 34b and in Pesachim 94a are specifically for the lattitudes of
Bavel and Eretz Yisrael for a 12 hour day (equinoxes).   Therefore, the
shiur of 4 mil (taken as 72 minutes) between sunset and nightfall
(according to R' Tam and the Shulchan Aruch) must be adjusted for local
conditions when the region is considerably to the north (or the
corresponding lattitude in the southern hemisphere) of about 32 N.

There is another key Biur Halacha, however, in M.B. 293:2 which
discusses the conditions for concluding that night has definitely
fallen.  It should be of interest to note that the Shulchan Aruch in
this siman does not mention 4 mil, but states the requirement that 3
small "closely spaced" stars be seen.  Now, T.B. Shabbat 35b only
mentions 3 medium stars without any spacing requirement, but the
Yerushalmi, Berachot (near the beginning) brings an Amora who requires
close spacing of the proof stars.  The M.B, however, attributes the
closeness requirement as a way of insuring tosefet shabbat.  The
requirement of 'small' stars is to insure that we do not confuse "large"
stars for the average ones.  The Biur Halacha notes the fact that the
S.A. makes no mention here of a minimum 4 mil or 72 minutes after sunset
even with the sighting of 3 close, "small" stars.  Perhaps, the S.A. is
relying on his prior statement in 261:2 that establishes a "minimum"
time of 4 mil between sunset and night fall, and only offers the 3 star
criteria as an additional requirement.  The Biur Halach goes on to
suggest, based on the views of the Gaon, that such stars are only proof
of nightfall if they are seen after the western sky has lost all traces
of redness from the setting sun.  This criterion is based on an
interpretation of the views of Rava in Shabbat 35a wherein he insists on
looking at the redness of the western sky despite the statement by the
Tanna, Rabbi Yehuda (34b) that redness of the eastern "face" of the sky
implies that it is still day (Rav Zeira) or twilight (Rabbah).  In this
view, Rava is looking at the western sky to see if it is time to start
checking the sky for stars that will be the sign for nightfall.  In
another view, the western sky (near the horizon where the sun set) must
achieve uniform coloration before stars can be counted.

It would be of great value if observations were made of the times of
sunset, disappearance of redness in the eastern and western sky, uniform
coloration in the eastern and western sky, the first appearance of
second magitude stars [not the bright planets which appear in an
east-west arc (the ecliptic plane which contains their orbital paths),
or the very brightest stars such as Vega].  This is a very favorable
time of the year for such observations.  We are just past the spring
equinox, the moon is new, and the sky in Israel should be relatively
clear.  The sky coloration can be seen anywhere, but the first
appearance of stars really requires a background outside the city and
highway lights.   A convenient group of stars that is easily recognized
and can be used as proof stars are in the constellation Orion (the
"hunter") which is visible overhead at this time of year.  It consists
of 4 relatively bright stars forming the quadrilateral boundary of the
constellation (the "shoulders" and toes of the "hunter"), a band of
closely spaced "smaller" stars running diagonally near the middle of the
quadrilateral (the "belt"), and a closely space line of faint stars (the
"sword") running from the "belt".  Even if one questions whether the 4
corner stars of the constellation are average stars, the "belt" stars
are surely not bright stars, and the "sword" stars must surely be
"small" stars.  For reference, the north star (Polaris) is officially a
magnitude 2 star.

The above suggested observations could be done on a global basis by the
chevra of this list, and checked against what the accurate astronomical
tables predict for sunset, civil twilight (appearance of 2nd magnitude
stars), and astronomical twilight (the total disappearance of the sun's
influence on the nighttime illumination) for those areas.  More
importantly, such observations would provide guidance on the timing of
such appearances relative to the 72 (or 90) minute shiur of Rabbenu Tam,
particularly since sky appearance at twilight (even the view of Rava)
is, apparently, not discussed in any Tosfot.

In sum, to fulfill the Gaon's view about bein hashemoshot requires
waiting for 3 "small", closely spaced stars after at least all the
redness has disappeared from the western horizon in order to accept that
nightfall has arrived - in addition to taking sunset as the start of
bein hashemoshot.  That start of twilight is something that is
relatively well defined (except for the consideration of the height of
the observer above sea level).  The end of twilight is not too well
defined, however.  Our observations could provide a clearer picture.
The observers should state their location, height, and if their
observation is in a city or countryside.  They should also have a clear
western horizon and, ideally, a reasonably clear eastern sky (some white
clouds are OK since they will reflect the reddish rays of the sun for a
while after sunset).

Any takers?

Yitzchok Zlochower

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Date: Sun, 25 Mar 2001 05:33:33 -0000
From: "Leon Manel" <leonmanel@hotmail.com>
Teaching Children about Pesach

It would appear to me that it is wrong to teach children all about the
Seder before the Seder like they do in most Yeshivas. We therby spoil
the main purpose of doing thing to make him ask. If he knows about
Karpas already what is the point in doing it. It would seem that f one
followed the way of the Misna, Ben Chamesh Limikra and Ben Eser Lmishna,
A cild till ten would know nothing about any aspects of the Seder since
he did not learn the Mishnas in Pesachim and when we did Karpas he would
automaticly ask. I would appreciate comments. Are we actualy spoiling
the Seder for our children nowadays or are we doing the right thing?

Go to top.

Date: Mon, 26 Mar 2001 11:13:25 +1000
From: "SBA" <sba@blaze.net.au>
Difficulties with Vehigadto Levinchoh..

From: "Leon Manel" <leonmanel@hotmail.com>
> It would appear to me that it is wrong to teach children all about the Seder
> before the Seder like they do in most Yeshivas. We therby spoil the main
> purpose of doing thing to make him ask....

I have heard this taanah before. After all that the kids are taught in
cheder - the "Vehigadto Levinchoh" becomes quite difficult. (They often
know more than us...)

And what about grandparents at a a seder? Zeidah runs the seder and talks
to the einiklech...so what is the father meant to do? (And this is even
more relevant when zeida is a bigger TC or better storyteller than the
father is.)

And anyway, is a grandfather mechuyav in VL to his married sons? I really
don't see why not? And if so, how does he do it with adult children who
definitely know it "all"?


Go to top.

Date: Sun, 25 Mar 2001 20:17:22 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Difficulties with Vehigadto Levinchoh..

Mah nishtanah includes references to things that didn't occur
yet (matbilin shetei pe'amim; maror). Obviously, someone was expected
to teach the children this stuff in advance.

As for why...

I think we can use the ol' mimetic-textual model here. The idea of the
seder is "lir'os es otzmo", the /experience/ of the ge'ulah. Not information
about the ge'ulah, but the mimetic transmission of being nig'al.

The heavily mimetic nature of Pesach was commented on last year, in our
discussion about trying to do away with the confusion between spring
cleaning with Pesach cleaning.

Not to mention the seder's focus on a family setting.

The question-answer format helps personalize the material, make the seder
less of a class and more of an experience.


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, 26 Mar 2001 08:09:38 +0200
From: "Rena Freedenberg" <free@actcom.co.il>
RE: Difficulties with Vehigadto Levinchoh..

> I have heard this taanah before. After all that the kids are taught in
> cheder - the "Vehigadto Levinchoh" becomes quite difficult.
>  (They often know more than us...)

I heard a great answer to this question in a shiur given by Rabbi Ephraim Becker
from Telz Stone. What we should be imparting to our children in addition to all
the factual information that we give over on leil seder is the knowledge through
example of exactly what our relationship to Hashem is and was on that night.
Just as Hashem showed us absolute unqualified love, so should we be showing the
same to our children on that night, even the obnoxious teenage ones :-). This
will teach by example what form Hashem's love for us is and that even those who
were not perfect were loved so much by Hashem that he took us out of Mitzrayim
as his treasured children.

> And anyway, is a grandfather mechuyav in VL to his married sons?
> I really don't see why not? And if so, how does he do it with adult children
> who definitely know it "all"?

This is something that can be taught even to a grown TC son.


Go to top.

Date: Mon, 26 Mar 2001 12:46:57 -0500 (EST)
From: Daniel A HaLevi Yolkut <yolkut@ymail.yu.edu>
Mah Nishtana

Micha Berger wrote: 
> Mah nishtanah includes references to things that didn't occur
> yet (matbilin shetei pe'amim; maror). Obviously, someone was expected
> to teach the children this stuff in advance.

IIRC, there is a machlokes Rishonim as to the order of the Seder bi-zman
haBayis. While the Rambam holds that the order was similar to what we do
with the addition of Chagiga and Pesach (or Pesach and Chagiga :)), the
Mordechai held that the eating came before the sipur yetzias mitzrayim. Of
course, I dont actually have a Mordechai in front of me, but I would be
much obliged if someone would check this out if I don't hget a chance. In
which case, then, the orginal institution of Mah Nishtana would have,
in fact, been prompted by the actual viewing of the bizarre behaviour.

But over all, I think Micha is right. Even had the questioning been
prompteed by unusual actions, unless you posit near-universal short
termmemory from the children of antiquity, it seems difficult to believe
that the Mah Nishtana was ever anything other than stylize, ritualized
questioning. I think, though, that point of Sippur Yetzias Mitzrayim,
or more accurately, of it's ve-higadeta le-vincha aspect, is to stress a
communication, not an informing, that goes accross the generations, and
to emphasize the parent child relationship, in order to demonstarte the
point of banim atem lashem Elokeichem, Bni bechori Yisrael, higlighting
the fact that on leil Pesach hashem kivayachol showed his teremendous
fatherly love for the Jewish people, and its only through deepening our
ow relationships with our children/parents that we can come to deepen
our appreciation for our realtionship with the RBSO.

There is more to this theory, but maybe for another time.

Bivirchas Chag Kasher ve-Sameach,

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Date: Mon, 26 Mar 2001 16:17:16 +0200
From: Eli Turkel <Eli.Turkel@kvab.be>
water on Pesach

> Precisely the reason that many people also hold of the chumra not
> to purchase additional foodstuffs during the chag...

The question was that if we are afraid of chametz in our water supply why
not be afraid of chametz in the air landing on the food or in our mouths
(on Pesach!).

Eli Turkel

Go to top.

Date: Mon, 26 Mar 2001 09:54:25 -0500 (EST)
From: "David Riceman [dtr]" <dr@insight.att.com>
LED on Shabbos?

After the enlightening discussion several months ago about flourescent
lights on Shabbos, does anyone have any profound comments about LEDs
or LCDs?

David Riceman

Go to top.


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