Avodah Mailing List

Volume 15 : Number 062

Sunday, July 31 2005

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Wed, 27 Jul 2005 13:34:26 GMT
From: "Gershon Dubin" <gershon.dubin@juno.com>
Re: Rabbinic laws & spirituality

I wonder if there's a connection to the distinction made by, I think,
Tosfos, between mah behemtan shel tzadikim.... that davka by eating is
there a genai for a tzadik to be over an issur be'ones. And that genai
is further refined NOT to include eating at a time of issur achila,
but only cheftzei issur.


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Date: Wed, 27 Jul 2005 23:33:33 +0300
From: Moshe Feldman <moshe.feldman@gmail.com>
Re: Rav Lichtenstein's halachic analysis of whether soldiers may refuse orders

From: "David Cohen" <ddcohen@verizon.net>
> Is Medinat Yisra'el "reishit tsemichat ge'ulateinu"? Some are certain that
> it is, and others are certain that it can't be. I hope and pray that it
> will be, but I believe that the answer may as of yet be undetermined,
> and contingent on whether or not we can pull it together and build a
> society that is worthy of it.

I personally agree. However, I get the impression that much of the
DL world is influenced by the kabbalistic-oriented perspective that
we are in the time of "b'itah" rather than "achi'she'na"--IOW, we are
not worthy of the geulah and nevertheless HKBH is bringing the geulah
because he promised that he would eventually do so, despite our sins.
Certainly, no one thinks that am yisrael since 1948 is that much more
righteous than pre-1948, so the fact that Hashem is bringing the geulah
(according to this view) is that we have reached the stage of "bi'itah."
AIUI, there are passages in the Zohar which support this understanding
(although that probably could have been said at the time of Shabbetai
Zvi too).

> The thought that we may, c"v, be expelled from Erets Yisra'el again
> before the ge'ulah sheleimah, may be "unthinkable" in the sense that
> we dread the thought, but I think that we dare not regard it as an
> impossibility.

Agreed. Reminds me of the Jews in the time of Yirmiyahu said "Heichal
Hashem, Heichal Hashem"-that Hashem would never allow His House to
be destroyed.

From: "brent" <fallingstar613@hotmail.com>
> I don't know how the DL
> world poskens on this matter but I did have to sit through a few months
> of shiurim from R. Riskin (Efrat) giving his basis for holding that Rabin
> had a din of Melech. I can't say that I agreed with his conclusion but
> his reasons based upon Rishonim and poskim was really interesting.

Lots of DL poskim consider the prime minister (or perhaps the entire
Israeli gov't) to have the din of melech. This view is found in Rav
Kook's Mishpat Kohein 144:15 (I can email this tshuva to whomever is
interested). I have heard that this was R. Aharon Soloveitchik's view
as well.

Kol tuv,

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Date: Wed, 27 Jul 2005 13:27:38 GMT
From: "Gershon Dubin" <gershon.dubin@juno.com>
Re: harry potter and kishuf

"SBA" <sba@sba2.com> wrote:
<<Let's not forget Yaakov Ovinu forcing the Malach battling him to give
him a brocho..?>>

Why is this different than any other beracha from one person to another
in Tanach?


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Date: Thu, 28 Jul 2005 00:56:19 -0500
From: "brent" <fallingstar613@hotmail.com>
harry potter and kishuf

From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
> it would seem from the Rambam's ikkarim that asking somehting that can
> be confused with being a middleman between oneself and HQBH is prohibited
> for more fundamental reasons than kishuf. Or is kishuf a toladah?

I've always wondered about this. At kevarim, and especially Kever Rachel,
people daven to the tzaddik who is there and ask for them to intervene.
Who hasn't heard people yelling, "Mama Ruchel, Mama Ruchel!!!.... "
This is very disconcerting for many baalei teshuva that are familiar
with Catholicism. I am helping a woman convert that comes from a very
conservative xian upbringing and when I told her about Rachel and why
her kever is on the way out of Yerushalayim towards Bavel (so that
the Jews could pass and ask her to beg for rachamim for them), she was
very uncomfortable with it because of its resemblance to Catholicism.
I had no response for her.

The Kohain Gadol also does something similar to this. He acts as an
intermediary between us and Hashem on Yom Kippur and davens for kapara
and rachamim for Klal Yisrael.

brent kaufman

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Date: Wed, 27 Jul 2005 23:23:46 -0400
From: MPoppers@kayescholer.com
Re: harry potter and kishuf

In Avodah V15 #61, Micha responded to RZS:
> According to NhC ch. 2, making a berakhah is connecting the mevorakh to
> the Shoresh of all shefa. It's very much a metaphysical "something".

But that's also true when one says, "Boruch Atah H'...," not just when
one says, "Bor'chuni l'shalom" (or asks any other non-Divine entity
l'voraich on one's behalf), and surely the former activity doesn't
qualify as kishuf by anyone's definition.

All the best from
 -Michael Poppers via RIM pager

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Date: Thu, 28 Jul 2005 02:06:46 +0200
From: Daniel Eidensohn <yadmoshe@012.net.il>
Re: Rabbinic laws & spirituality

Micha Berger wrote:
>Last, I wonder if we haven't found the root of the machloqes between
>the Smag counting mitzvos deRabbanan amongst the 613, and the Rambam not.

The Leshem in fact claims that the basis for the BHG citing rabbinic 
laws was because there is no difference between doreissa and derabbonon 
laws. Both are the direct word of G-d without any mediation of human 

*Leshem(2:4:19): *"The critical point is that every Jew is obligated to 
belief with perfect faith that all which is found in the words of our
Sagesג€"both in halacha, Talmudic agada and medrashimג€"are in their
entirety the words of the living G-d. That is because everything that they
say is with ruach hakodesh (Sanhedrin 48:). This includes even that which
isn't relevant to Halacha and deed... Also all their decrees and statutes
are not the product of human intellect at all but rather are the result
of ruach hakodesh in which G-d has expressed Himself through them. This
is the great sound that doesn't end (Devarim 5:19) of the giving of the
Torah at Sinai and it expresses itself in the Oral Torah.... Thus, the
Sages are just like messengers in what they say.... This is why the Bal
Halachos Gedolos includes the Rabbinic mitzvos with the Torah mitzvos
since all of them were given by G-d (Chagiga 3b)...We can conclude
from all this that anyone who tries to analyze the words of the Sages
in order to establish the nature of their truth places himself in great
danger. That is because man's intellect cannot properly comprehend this
matter and thus a person can come to heresy from the endeavor. This is
what Koheles (7:16) states: "Don't make yourself too wiseג€"why destroy
yourself?" A person who gets involved in this matter will find it very
difficult to resist following his human understanding. He will end up
going back and forth between the view of the Torah and that of his own
understanding.... The righteous person lives by his faith because that
is the foundation of the entire Torah...." [page 103 in Daas Torah]

However such an assertion is incompatible with both the Rambam and the 

Daniel Eidensohn

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Date: Thu, 28 Jul 2005 13:23:19 +0200
From: saul mashbaum <smash52@netvision.net.il>
Re: Rabbinic law and spirituality

>Re the request for sources on whether there are any spiritual consequences
>such as loss of Olam HaBah and damage to the neshama when a rabbinic
>law is transgressed:

We are familiar with the concept that non-kosher food is "metamten et
halev".(very loosely: causes a spiritual malaise) Does this apply to
food which is non-kosher mid'rabbanan? Yitzchak Brandriss has already
related to this; I have something to add.

R. Asher Weiss in Michat Asher - Vayikra - Parshat Shmini has an
interesting chakira on kashrut and timtum halev: What is the cause, and
what is the result? Is food non-kosher because it induces timtum halev,
or does timtum halev derive from the non-kosher nature of the food? Did
the Torah forbid certain foods because it knew that they have deleterious
spiritual effects, or are the foods essentially spiritually neutral,
but the aveira of eating them causes them to have a negative spiritual
effect on the person? He cites a Ramban and a Maharal regarding this
chakira. Ayen Sham

The nakfa mina is clear: what if one ate non-kosher food permissibly,
because of pikuach nefesh? If it is the food itself because of its
essential nature which causes timtum halev, this would presumably be
true even b'oness. If it is the aveira which causes the timtum, then if
the food is consumed b'heter, no timtum would result. RAW cites several
sources that indicate that non-kosher food has a negative effect even
if consumed permissibly, supporting one side of his chakira. .(R. Asher
cites the Rama inYoreh Deah 81:7 quoted by Yitzchok Brandriss)

I believe that there is an additional nafka mina. It seems to me that the
question of timtum halev and rabbinically non-kosher food can turn on
this chakira. If the timtum is based on the intrinsic qualities of the
food, which caused the Torah to forbid it, then rabbinically forbidden
food, lacking these qualities, would not have this effect. But if it
is the aveira that causes the timtum, then since the chachamim had the
power to create an aveira, perhaps the aveira they created can have the
effect, timtum halev, that the corresponding Torah aveira would have
(perhaps in a lesser degree). This is not airtight, but seems the most
reasonable explanation

Rabbinically non-kosher food consumed b'heter would not induce timtum
halev according to either side of the chakira.

Saul Mashbaum

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Date: Thu, 28 Jul 2005 17:15:59 +0200
From: Minden <phminden@arcor.de>
holy body

In an article on efforts to locate the gravesites of rabbonem, the
author says:
"The precise location of Rashi's grave still remains a mystery. All that
is known is that his holy body lies somewhere in this small open space
in the heart of Troyes".

Is there a (Jewish) tradition for the concept of holiness in the mortal
relics of exceptional personalities?

Lipman Phillip Minden

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Date: Thu, 28 Jul 2005 10:05:47 GMT
From: "kennethgmiller@juno.com" <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
Re: Vat-Grown Meat & Bone: Tamei? Kosher?

R' Jonathan Baker (and others similarly) have asked <<< Similarly,
recent news stories about meat grown from meat cells in vitro. If the
initial sample is too small to see, is the grown meat a pareve davar
chadash? Is kosher vat-grown pork in our future? Contrariwise, would
kosher vat meat have to come from shechted animals? >>>

This sounds similar to some other recent shailos that the poskim are
already working on. I vaguely recall the USA/Israel machlokes on aspartame
for Pesach having something to do with lab-grown stuff and whether it's
considered as derived from the original. Anyone else?

Akiva Miller

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Date: Thu, 28 Jul 2005 16:00:27 GMT
From: "kennethgmiller@juno.com" <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
re: More on Wireless, from the Der Alter Blog

I have not been following this thread too closely, but I think several
people have made comments similar to the following: <<< If someone is
really makpid about not letting others use his or her wireless, isn't
it safe to assume that he or she would lock it? >>>

My router is NOT wireless, so I honestly don't know how complicated it
is to lock a wireless one. But my guess is that it involves going into
some program or other and changing some settings, and that this could
quite possibly be beyond the expertise of many or most people, even among
that subset of people who were able to set up the wireless to begin with.

Akiva Miller

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Date: Thu, 28 Jul 2005 15:19:38 +0000
From: shayh.director@att.net
eruv in brooklyn avodah/vol14

Concerning Reb Moshe Feinstein's novel ruling about eruvin in
Brooklyn. Not mentioned anywhere. As he states openly in Igros Moshe
4:87. In tshuva 4:88 he states openly. His ruling is against the Shulchan
Aurach :and, if one wants to, he can follow ruling of the Shulchan Aurach.

Therefore, discussions of this novel ruling, with regard to using an
eruv in Brooklyn,are stupid. Because, they were not accepted by any
poskim in our generation or in his generation. They are only a subject
for intilecual discussions. But, have no validty whatsoever, concerning
using the eruv established there.

More, so, he told Rabbonim of Flatbush (Igros Moshe 4:87), they can
establish an eruv there. He didn't protest against it. Like some fools
in our generation and in the past generation.

He also told Rav Menasha Klein, in front of witnesses, he can make an
eruv in Boro Park. His statemet to him,was recorded in a booklet, and
it was widely distributed.

Also, in 1908, an eruv was established in Manhattan, with the approval of
seven leading Torah scholars of that generation. Detailed discussions, by
them, were published in "Sefer Eruv Vhotzah". This book was out of print
when Reb Aron Kotler, along with other rabbonim, signed on a proclimation,
without stating a reason, against eruvin in Manhattan. Had they seen
this monumental work they never would have issued this prohibition.

In any case, signatures, without stating a reason, do not over rule,
printed, detailed discussions, by leading Torah sages living 100 years
ago. "Sefer Eruv Vhotzah" was reprinted 25 years ago.

They ruled, oceans and rivers, surronding Manhatten, are like walls
around it. This ruling applys to Brooklyn as well.

Therefore, any discussion about using eruvin in Brooklyn, is complete
nonsense. Because, this matter was discussed, and decided, by leading
Torah scholars 100 years ago, and never refuted, with reliable proofs.

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Date: Thu, 28 Jul 2005 15:21:01 +0300
From: Danny Schoemann <doniels@gmail.com>
Killing spiders

One of my father's favorite bed time stories was about how Dovid (yet to
become King) was saved from capture by hiding in a cave and a spider weaving
a web to made it look uninhabited.

As a result, we try not to kill spiders - a lesson in hakoras hatov.

My son came home from Yeshiva claiming it's nonsense. On the web I can't
find a Jewish source for it, except for chabad claiming it's a medrash

Any know of a "mekor" for the story and its lesson?


 - Danny

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Date: Thu, 28 Jul 2005 01:50:21 -0500
From: "brent" <fallingstar613@hotmail.com>
Rav Lichtenstein's halachic analysis of whether soldiers may refuse orders

From: Moshe Feldman <moshe.feldman@gmail.com>
> The thought that we may, c"v, be expelled from Erets Yisra'el again
> before the ge'ulah sheleimah, may be "unthinkable" in the sense that
> we dread the thought, but I think that we dare not regard it as an
> impossibility.

I've heard from different sources, one being R. Lapin from S. Africa,
that after Klal Yisrael regains Eretz Yisrael they/we will lose it
again for a period of time (less than a year). Has anyone else heard
this before? Does anyone know of such a source?

[Email #2. -mi]

> Lots of DL poskim consider the prime minister (or perhaps the entire
> Israeli gov't) to have the din of melech. This view is found in Rav
> Kook's Mishpat Kohein 144:15 (I can email this tshuva to whomever is
> interested). I have heard that this was R. Aharon Soloveitchik's view
> as well.

After hearing such a shita my first question was and still is, if the
PM/government have a din of melech, then isn't anyone that voices an
objection to him considered 'moraid b'malchus'?
Is anyone involved in a demonstration similar to Shimi ben Gera and
chayav misa? (even if not exactly like Shimi ben Gera). What about anyone
who publicly criticizes yells "traitor" or any other epitaphs that are
often hurled about?
How do these DLs reconcile their objecting to the expulsion from Gaza
if it is a gezeiras hamelech?

brent kaufman

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Date: Thu, 28 Jul 2005 11:49:34 +0100
From: Chana Luntz <Heather_Luntz@onetel.com>
Re: Covenant and Conversation - Pinchas

[I agree with Chana that while the contrast between gov't structures
in the UK and US may help illustrates points in our conversation, we're
running the risk of making it a conversation in and of itself. -mi]

>> While one of the things that Americans are most proud of is the strict
>> division between the legislative, executive and judicial branches,
>> that is not necessarily true elsewhere. In England, for example,
>> the legislative and executive branches are intertwined, it is only the
>> judicial branch that is quite separate.

> Don't you mean the legislative and judicial branches are interwined, but
> the executive is separate? Even so, I wouldn't say intertwined. The House
> of Lords as a body is part of both the legislature (as second chamber
> of parliament without much power) and the judiciary (as highest court),
> but I don't know that they intertwine on other levels, and I don't think
> that in practice the same people are deeply involved in both functions.

No they aren't which is why I said that the Judicial branch is really
quite separate (despite the chief law lords also sitting in the House
of Lords - but they get appointed as law lords first, and that entitles
them to a seat in the House of Lords, were they have limited involvement
in the process of legislation).

It is the executive and the legislature that is intertwined in England.
In England, we vote for the legislature (House of Commons). The majority
party in the House of Commons (assuming there is one) forms the Government
and appoints the chief executives - the Prime Minister, first of all,
and all the other Ministers. Those Ministers are both the chief actors
in the legislature (the front bench) and the people who run the executive
(the various government departments) - ie are the people who have to
take responsibility if the executive fails.

In the US, people vote *separately* for the President (the Chief of
the Executive) and the Legislature (the House of Representatives and
the Senate). And the President then appoints the other members of
the Executive (the Secretary of State etc - who have no link to the
legislature at all).

The only link I know of in the American system is that if both the
President and the Vice President die/are incapacitated (and I think
the Secretary of State), then at some point down the chain the speaker
(?) of the Senate is in line for President - but you are talking pretty
extreme situation here.

There are even some limitations about the President visiting the
legislature (some American will be able to fill this in better than
I can). In England, of course Tony Blair as head of the executive
visits the legislature, he is supposed to be there all the time (and
criticism is often levied on how little time prime ministers these days
spend in Parliament).

> Or were you referrering to something else?

> Americans should also be proud of how they teach Civics. My children
> know more about the US government after living there for 2 years and
> attending 4th and 5th grade than I know about the British after going
> through the whole educational system.

That may well be true (although it may be a generational thing).
I certainly knew all about the Australian political system I grew up in
(although I struggle to think of any formal course that was offered). But
then I came from a politically aware family (and had my political awaking
in the furour that surrounded the constitutional crisis of the 1975
Whitlam dismissal - which rather dates me, although I was sufficiently
young that my classmates were pretty much oblivious).

I think there is a greater emphasis on formal teaching these days.

Getting back to some aspect of Torah (otherwise I struggle to justify
this as an Avodah posting), the system as articulated in Mishpat Ivri does
appear to make the judicial branch more powerful than it is in the English
or American systems. It is not clear to me to what extent Continental
legal systems are closer to this model. I think not, because while one
of the checks on the English/American legal system is its passive nature
(ie a judge can't just decide to investigate something, somebody has to
bring a case for judgement and the court can only weigh the evidence
presented by others in front of them), while the Continental systems
apparently allow for greater initiative on the part of judges (more like
the Jewish system - drisha v'chakira), the Continental system has a funny
relationship to precedent (at least for an common law trained lawyer),
which I don't understand, but which seems to make every decision more of
a once off, which severely limits their scope. The Continental system
also has Codes, which at first glance seems to look more like the halachic
system (and makes the weight given to legal scholars that much greater),
but somehow it just doesn't seem to work like the halachic system.

In halacha, as in the common law, a ruling halacha l'ma'ase is a much
more powerful ruling (and according to many, the only kind that gets
divine help) than one that is is not (in common law obiter dicta).
In the continental legal systems I don't *think* and I am not expert,
that it works that way.


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Date: Mon, 25 Jul 2005 19:23:49 -0700
From: dmiller <dmillerdsl@gmail.com>
Re: Order of Creation

I believe the following:

The earth and heavens were created before Adam (Gen 1:1). Creation up
until Adam was without "anyone or anything", representing a creation
in darkness that does not know its creator . The first day, which was a
thousand years long, was represented by Adam through Enoch, representing
the light. The Second day of a thousand years was represented by Noah and
the Flood and the establishment of the earth. The Third day of thousand
years was represented by Abraham through David, representing the friut of
the earth, and the fourth day is represented by the prophets, representing
the signs for times and seasons.

I'd be curious if the current calendar agrees with the thousand year
periods. See Psa. 90:4.


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Date: Thu, 28 Jul 2005 20:49:27 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: harry potter and kishuf

RAM <kennethgmiller@juno.com> wrote:
>> When I ask the mal'achim "Borkhuni leshalom", I view it the same way as if
>> I would ask a tzadik "Please give me a brocha." In BOTH cases, I am merely
>> ASKING someone to pray to Hashem on my behalf.

RSBA wrote:
> Let's not forget Yaakov Ovinu forcing the Malach battling him to give
> him a brocho..?

The distinction between borkhuni leshalom and Yaaqov's blackmailing
the "ish" is a question for the Gra and Ribbi el-Qafeh ("R'
Kapach"). Regardless of whether it's kishuf, the Gra holds that
"borkhuni leshalom" violates the 5th ikkar in that you're praying to
an intermediary.

As for RAM's example, I already suggested a possible distinction. A tzadiq
is seen as an elevated peer, not an intermediary. And, as I wrote, the
line between asking for a berkahah and praying to an intermediary must
be very different for L, Breslov, and other forms of chassidus that do
see the Tzaddiq as a middleman.

This would explain why the Gra would laud asking a living person for a
berakhah, but requires not doing the same when davening at a qever. From
my supposition, it would be that a meis is in shamayim, and therefore
closer to intermediary in front of the Borei than my helper.

That chiddush I suggested in other iterations of this discussion.

Now I'm playing with a new idea. If kishuf is about calling upon mal'achim
and sheidim, would it be fair to say it's assur because it's a toladah
of the 5th ikkar?

Asking me questions because I'm using the Gra's line for defining that
ikkar doesn't address that particular point. You're just explaining why
rov kelal Yisrael does say borkhuni leshalom.


Micha Berger             One who kills his inclination is as though he
micha@aishdas.org        brought an offering. But to bring an offering,
http://www.aishdas.org   you must know where to slaughter and what
Fax: (270) 514-1507      parts to offer.        - R' Simcha Zissel Ziv

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Date: Thu, 28 Jul 2005 20:43:01 -0700 (PDT)
From: Gil Student <simcha365@hotmail.com>
[hirhurim] [Hirhurim - Musings] Is the World Good?

R. Shalom Carmy, "Tell Them I've Had a Good Enough Life" in R. Shalom
Carmy ed., Jewish Perspectives on the Experience of Suffering, pp.
    What is the source of man's perennial optimisim? One possibility is
    that we consider the good of the world to outweigh the bad because
    our survey of the world has demonstrated this to be the case.
    According to the Rambam, the preponderance of the good is
    questioned only by the ignorant populace...

[See <http://hirhurim.blogspot.com/2005/07/is-world-good.html> for the
full text. -mi]

Posted by Gil Student to Hirhurim - Musings at 7/28/2005 11:40:00 PM

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Date: Fri, 29 Jul 2005 08:47:38 -0400
From: "David Riceman" <driceman@worldnet.att.net>
Re: Killing spiders

From: "Danny Schoemann" <doniels@gmail.com>
> One of my father's favorite bed time stories was about how Dovid (yet to
> become King) was saved from capture by hiding in a cave and a spider 
> weaving a web to made it look uninhabited.
> My son came home from Yeshiva claiming it's nonsense.
> Any know of a "mekor" for the story and its lesson?

Ginzberg cites Alphabet of Ben Sira 24b, Targum Ps. 57:3. I have no
time to check the citations right now.

David Riceman

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Date: Sun, 31 Jul 2005 01:33:22 EDT
From: T613K@aol.com
Re: Maximum time for Tosfos Shabbos

In Avodah V15 #42 dated 7/3/2005 R' Akiva Miller writes:
> We all know that one can extend Shabbos for many hours past tzeis
> if one so wishes, and accomplishes the mitzvah of lengthening Shabbos
> thereby. But I once heard that there is a limit. Just like it's
> not possible to begin Shabbos any earlier than Plag on Friday, so
> too it is not possible to extend it further than chatzos on Motzaei
> Shabbos. Further, IIRC, if one does extend his Shabbos that long, once
> chatzos passes he can do melacha without saying any kind of havdala
> (not even Baruch HaMavdil) because that time is inherently chol, just
> like prior to Plag on Friday.
Sender: owner-avodah@aishdas.org
Precedence: bulk
Reply-To: avodah@aishdas.org
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=utf-8

If anyone answered RAM's question I missed it, but is it not the case
that one can make havdala until Tuesday? (And that if for some reason
you didn't make havdala before then, you have to?)

 -Toby  Katz

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