Avodah Mailing List

Volume 11 : Number 044

Monday, July 28 2003

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Fri, 25 Jul 2003 09:01:35 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>

I found this note laying around to contribute something to an Avodah
discussion a while ago. I don't recall if I ever did, so here it is.

There are derashos about the use of "echad" rather than "rishon" at the
end of the first day in Bereshis 1. However, this use of "echad" isn't
rare. "Es hakeves ha'echad ta'aseh vaboqer, ve'eis hakeves hasheini
ta'aseh bein ha'arbayim." The cardinals are given as "echad" and "sheini".

This is also a relevent conotation in shema, that echad not only refers to
Yichud haBorei but also that "Hu rishon".


Micha Berger                 "And you shall love H' your G-d with your whole
micha@aishdas.org            heart, with your entire soul, with all you own."
http://www.aishdas.org       Love is not two who look at each other,
Fax: (413) 403-9905          It is two who look in the same direction.

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Date: Fri, 25 Jul 2003 15:25:14 GMT
From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@juno.com>
Birthday Candles

OK, I'll be the neighborhood shaygetz:  what's wrong with birthday candles?


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Date: Fri, 25 Jul 2003 10:24:57 EDT
From: T613K@aol.com
birthday candles

From: "Newman,Saul Z" <Saul.Z.Newman@kp.org
> 1-- is the olam noheg like rabbi blumenkrantz that birthday candles are
> assur ? [ tho we dont pasken from artscroll kids books , arecent bedtime
> story shows an adorned cake...]

This seems to be one of those things that are mainly honored in the breach
by most people, but I have never allowed my children to have birthday
candles. My father z'tl did not allow them, and that was long before R'
Blumencrantz's book. In fact, when I was a kid I didn't have a single
friend who ever had birthday candles. I have been feeling irritated for
years now that so many people DO have them, and my kids are left asking
(whining), "Why can't we?"

Toby Katz

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Date: Fri, 25 Jul 2003 16:01 +0200
Re: Almond Growing

It's not that it grows fastest, it's that the almond is the FIRST
to bloom. Check Gesenius' dictionary.


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Date: Fri, 25 Jul 2003 16:53:44 +0200
From: Arie Folger <afolger@aishdas.org>
Re: tzedakah

RHM wrote:
>> Maybe so, but I'll bet you the donations supporting it were
>> voluntary. You're not saying people were taxed by their Kehilos are
>> you?

> AIUI, Yes.

They still are, at around 2% of income, here.


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Date: Fri, 25 Jul 2003 15:04:52 GMT
From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@juno.com>
Blood & temple floor

From: Ggntor@aol.com
<<Just out of curiousity, how do we know that the eastern section was

It was higher on the mountain. Aside from this intuitive approach, the
mishnayos in Para? Midos? describe how the kohen could see into the B"HM
from his vantage point (east of Har Habayis) on Har Hazeisim.


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Date: Fri, 25 Jul 2003 15:06:52 GMT
From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@juno.com>

From: "Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.it.northwestern.edu>

<<Note in Tehilla l'David Aromimcha etc. the interplay between Dovid
HaMelech's use of first person and third person (such as "u'gevurosecha
yagidu: - I have wanted to post on this for some time, but haven't found
the time - so I'm posting for now the he'oroh and IY"H shall get around
eventually to posting my mahalach!>>

If you waited this long, take a look at Rav Schwab on Tefila first.


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Date: Fri, 25 Jul 2003 20:18:33 +0300 (IDT)
From: Eli Turkel <turkel@math.tau.ac.il>

i looked at a few different "almond growers" sites on the web and they
all describe a growth process that takes like 6-7 months! i can accept
that chazal got some science wrong, but 3 weeks to 6 months is a huge
discrepancy! not to mention that it's clear from the chumash itself that
the almond was a symbol of quickness, and frankly 6 months doesn't sound
so terribly quick to me!

I always understood that almonds are the first to flower in the spring
not that they have a short ripening period.

Eli Turkel

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Date: Fri, 25 Jul 2003 10:47:38 -0700 (PDT)
From: Harry Maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>
Re: Birthday Candles

Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@juno.com> wrote:
> OK, I'll be the neighborhood shaygetz:  what's wrong with birthday
> candles?

"The Greeks believed that everyone had a protective spirit or 'daemon'
who attended his birth and watched over him in life. This spirit had
a mystic relation with the god on whose birthday the individual was
born. The Romans also subscribed to this idea... This notion was carried
down in human belief and is reflected in the guardian angel, the fairy
godmother, and the patron saint... The custom of lighted candles on the
cakes started with the Greeks... Honey cakes round as the moon and lit
with tapers were placed on the temple altars of [Artemis]... Birthday
candles, in folk belief, are endowed with special magic for granting
wishes... The birthday candles are thus an honor and tribute to the
birthday child and bring good fortune... Birthday greetings and wishes
for happiness are an intrinsic part of this holiday... Originally the
idea was rooted in magic... Birthday greetings have power for good or
evil because one is closer to the spirit world on this day."

			- The Love of Birthdays (New York, 1952),
			  Ralph and Adelin Linton, pp.8, 18-20.


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Date: Sun, 27 Jul 2003 00:56:26 +0300
From: Akiva Atwood <akiva@atwood.co.il>
RE: Birthday Candles

> OK, I'll be the neighborhood shaygetz: what's wrong with birthday
> candles?

AIUI there's an inyan (Kabbalistic) not to blow out candles.

"We can never see past the choices we don't understand."
-- The Oracle, "Matrix Reloaded"

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Date: Sun, 27 Jul 2003 14:07:28 +1000
From: "SBA" <sba@iprimus.com.au>
Dvai Hasseir

From: Yisrael Dubitsky
> First, someone (cant remember off hand who or where I read it) found in
> mss that the song was originally much longer than the 2-3 lines we know
> and that it was actually -- believe it or not -- a zemer for shabbat
> (not associated with birkat hamazon).

The Avodas Yisroel siddur mentions seeing it in Seder Brochos, Venezia.

I don't know how far back that is - but obviously our version has been
around for a long time.


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Date: Sun, 27 Jul 2003 09:20:05 +0200
From: Simi and David Peters <familyp2@netvision.net.il>
davai haser

I think the emphasis is on "haser" not "davai". Just as we break a
glass under the chuppa zecher lachurban (implying hope for a better time
when we will have the Mikdash again), we ask that HKB"H remove sorrow
permanently (as we envision will be in the time of Mashiach--u'bila
hamavet lanetzech, etc.) That's my take, anyway.

Kol tuv,
Simi Peters

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Date: Sun, 27 Jul 2003 09:22:19 +0200
From: Simi and David Peters <familyp2@netvision.net.il>

Dear R' Gil--

Almonds are a symbol of zrizut for Chazal because they *blossom*
before everything else, not because they *grow* faster. Noga Hareuveni
has an article on this somewhere--I think in "Etz va'siach bamoreshet
hayehudit" (or something like that--I'm not sure of the title. It has
been translated into English: Tree and Shrub something something.)

Kol tuv,
Simi Peters

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Date: Sun, 27 Jul 2003 10:45:48 EDT
From: T613K@aol.com

From: Joelirich@aol.com
> A non-Jew comes to you and says "I accept the God of Abraham...Moses as
> the true God. I understand that Judiasm does not seek converts but does
> not forbid them. Does God prefer me to be a good non-Jew who keeps the 7
> mitzvot or would he prefer me to convert to keep 613 or is he ambivalent?"

I lost track of this thread while I was away so I don't know what
responses you have received, but my husband, Michael Katz, has had a lot
of dealings with Noahides over the years. He taught Noahide classes in
Tennessee for several years when he was the rabbi of the [pretty moribund]
shul in Chattanooga. He is still somewhat involved with them.

In a nutshell, his answer to your question would be:

Live as a Noahide for a while, months, years, whatever it takes to decide.
Read up, study. If this life satisfies you, it's the life for you.
G-d is happy with you, all's well with the world.

If you find yourself yearning for more, come back and we'll talk.

Some Noahides have ended up converting to Judaism eventually, some
have not. Some people came lechatchilla wanting to convert, went to
one or two Noahide meetings at Michael's suggestion, came back and said,
No, that's not what I had in mind, I want to be a Jew.

G-d is not ambivalent; He has an individually-tailored plan for each
of His creatures. Some of His creatures, however, are ambivalent,
so life-altering decisions have to be made after due deliberation. One
size does not fit all.

Toby Katz

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Date: Sun, 27 Jul 2003 05:24:33 EDT
From: T613K@aol.com
vi di lichtila brent

It is already a few hours after Shabbos, and the yarhzeit candle I lit
yesterday is still burning. I lit it at the same time I bentshed lecht
yesterday, for the first yahrzeit of my father zt'l, 26 Tammuz. The fact
that the glow of the candle is still visible so long after it was lit
gives me comfort. It seems symbolic. It suggests that a residual glow
from his fire, from his light, remains in the world, unextinguished.

It seems that when a whole year has passed, mourning should be put away.
Surely it is time to move on? Indeed, sometimes an entire day goes by
with no tears--which was not the case in the first few months. But no
day goes by that I do not think of my father longingly. I don't feel
ready, yet, to put the whole subject in a back room and close the door.

Yesterday, when I lit my father's yahrzeit candle at the onset of Shabbos,
a story came to mind that he once told me. It was a small incident,
but worth remembering.

About twelve years ago, when my father still had his community in Migdal
Ha'emek, he underwent surgery in Haifa and there were complications.
My father drifted in and out of consciousness for two or three days,
very ill. My mother, or one or another brother, stayed with my father
almost constantly, but late on erev Shabbos, my mother tlt'v went home to
make Shabbos and my father found himself alone. As far as anyone knew,
he was unconscious, but in fact, he was partly awake at times.

He knew that it was close to Shabbos, and he was very, very depressed.
He was thinking that he was all alone in the hospital and that there
would be no Shabbos for him, nothing to make this day any different from
any other day in the ICU. As he was sunk in black and gloomy thoughts,
two nurses came into his room.

One of them said, in Hebrew, "I am going to light candles in here."

The other one said, "What for?  The patient is unconscious, anyway."

The first nurse said, "Even if he is, he is a big rav, and he would want
Shabbat candles in his room."

Although his eyes were still closed, my father heard her light the
candles and say the bracha. She said "Shabbat Shalom" and left the room.
At that moment his spirits were enormously lifted, and the oppressive
gloom was gone.

My father recounted this story as an example of what a seemingly small
chessed can do. It was also, for him, an example of the kind of thing
that distinguishes life in Eretz Yisrael. That nurse was not religious,
though she was perhaps mesorati, but she had respect for a rav and
a sensitivity to what he needed, beyond his immediate medical needs.
My father was enormously grateful to her. He could not daven or make
kiddush or do anything for himself; without that nurse's thoughtful
gesture, he would have had no Shabbos at all.

Harachaman Hu yanchilenu yom shekulo Shabbos umenucha lechayei ha'olamim.

Toby Katz 

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Date: Sun, 27 Jul 2003 19:44:13 +0300
From: "Carl M. Sherer" <cmsherer@fandz.com>
Re: 2 questions

On 23 Jul 2003 at 8:18, Newman,Saul Z wrote:
> am i incorrect that it seems that the olam doesnt say the psukim
> that are included in kaddish shalem ['kabel brachamim...'] in both
> nusach ashk and nusach sfard [but not ari or edot hamizrach, i think]?
> why not?

See MB 56:11 and Sha'arei TShuva and Be'er Heiteiv 56:5.

-- Carl

Please daven and learn for a Refuah Shleima for my son,
Baruch Yosef ben Adina Batya among the sick of Israel.
Thank you very much.

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Date: Mon, 28 Jul 2003 11:08:08 -0400
From: "Gil Student" <gil@aishdas.org>
Re: Almond Growing

 From a friend:

that's shver. it's very very very very obvious from the context of the
rabbis comments that it's the quickness not the earliness. there are
plenty plenty of other things that bloom first. and this blooms in july
or august for goodness sakes according to the websites. and this doesn't
help me with my 21 days thing which is very very very clearly stated in
the yerushalmi!!!!

Gil Student

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