Avodah Mailing List

Volume 16 : Number 101

Wednesday, January 25 2006

< Previous Next >
Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Tue, 24 Jan 2006 15:59:22 -0500 (EST)
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Tefilas Haderech

R Steg Belsky wrote:
> I've actually heard that _hhayot ra`ot_ is a early medieval Ashkenazic
> term specificly refering to werewolves, of all things. That phrase isn't
> in the version of Tefillas Haderekh recorded in the Gemara in Berakhot
> (i think the 'highway robbers' are also missing there. Of course, the
> fact/theory that it means 'werewolf' makes me *more* inclined to include
> it, and not less...

Many contemporary Ashkenazi siddurim (including the one I usually use,
on my PalmPilot) have "vesatzileinu mikaf kol oyeiv ve'oreiv baderekh"
without mention of "listim vechayos ra'os". So, I have a feeling the
addition is later than that.

The idiom "chayos ra'os" is also found in Rashi, Bereishis 28:11, as
the thing Yaaqov was protecting himself from when surrounding his head
with stones. But it dates back to the chumash itself -- "chayah ra'ah
achalas-hu" (Bereishis 23:33)


Micha Berger             Despair is the worst of ailments. No worries
micha@aishdas.org        are justified except: "Why am I so worried?"
http://www.aishdas.org                         - Rav Yisrael Salanter
Fax: (270) 514-1507

Go to top.

Date: Tue, 24 Jan 2006 15:48:36 -0500
From: Joshua Meisner <jmeisner@gmail.com>
Re: Jewish clothes

R' Aryeh Stein quoted a letter to the Yateid Ne'eman:
> ...
> I heard from Rav Aaron Kreiser zt"l that when Rav Elchonon Wasserman was
> in the United States, he was questioned by a newspaper reporter as to
> why the rabbonim always wear black. With his encyclopedic knowledge of
> Medrash, he immediately responded that the color of Yissochor's stone
> in the Choshen was black. This is the source of black for those who are
> the contemporary Yissochors - the Bnei Torah.

The Lonely Man of Mechqar blog linked to the following article by R'
Zechariah Tubi (<http://www.kby.org/torah/article.cfm?articleid=3D2254>),
in which he quotes a ma'amar Chazal that says that the stone of Yissochor
was the sapphire (the 5th stone mentioned in the parsha of the Choshen),
which has a blue/techeiles color that alludes to the sky, and hence to
the Kisei HaKavod. Can anyone identify the location of either of these
two ma'amrei Chazal?

 - Joshua Meisner

Go to top.

Date: Tue, 24 Jan 2006 16:10:29 -0500 (EST)
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Maris Ayin of the Ben Pekuah

R Meir Rabi wrote:
> A ben pekuah requires shechita miderabbonon bcs of maris ayin. However
> if it has even a single fused hoof then the rabbonon waived the shechita
> as people will remember that this blemished animal is/was a BP....

> What would be included in the Ramo's "SHUM DAVAR TAMUAH"? How about
> snipping the BP's ear or attaching a tag in its ear or nose?

Is the BP a mar'is ayin issue? I would have thought that it's a matter
of a "blekh", a heqer by which you and anyone else who encounters this
calf will avoid issur by not accidentally eating the wrong calf without
shechitah. Since people will remember the hoof, the mistake will be
avoided. Or anything that marks this from the other calves.

Jumping back a bit:
> Would it permitted to cook/serve meat and almond milk provided it is
> served in an almond shaped container?

The almond milk really is a mar'is ayin problem. When looking at symbols,
we can speak of natural symbols, and artificial ones. Almonds in the
"milk" would be a natural symbol, there is a logical reason why anyone
who sees it would identify the liquid as almond milk. An almond shaped
dish would be an artificial reminder. Why would the snoop necessarily
avoid misjudging you because of it? So one would have to look as a case
where the social norm was that everyone served their almond milk in such
dishes, or kim'at no one served real milk that way, so that he will jump
to the right conclusion.

So this question becomes: What do we need to avoid mar'is ayin? A natural
reminder, or is a commonplace artificial one sufficient? Given that
either is sufficient to avoid others' misjudgment, why would natural
reminders be better?


Micha Berger             Despair is the worst of ailments. No worries
micha@aishdas.org        are justified except: "Why am I so worried?"
http://www.aishdas.org                         - Rav Yisrael Salanter
Fax: (270) 514-1507

Go to top.

Date: Tue, 24 Jan 2006 16:57:51 -0500
From: Yitzchok Levine <llevine@stevens.edu>
Re: Sending Food to Someone Sitting Shiva

>It doesn't seem like a good Jewish practice to me, not normative and
>not conducive to unity and friendship. What kind of community closeness
>would we have if /everyone/ adopted such a policy and no one accepted
>Shabbos invitations or gifts of food? This is not a traditional Jewish
>way but very UNtraditional.

While I do believe that I have stated this more than once in the course
of these discussions, let me again try to make it perfectly clear. WHAT

What surprises me is how "strongly" people have reacted to what I happen
to know is the way a not insignificant number of others also conduct
themselves. I do eat from certain caterers. A young fellow whom I tutored
last year told me that his father never eats anything not prepared in his
own home, not even from a caterer whom I would consider to be reliable.
Therefore, I am certainly not unique. However, again, there is no right
or wrong in this issue in my opinion.

Yitzchok Levine 

Go to top.

Date: Tue, 24 Jan 2006 17:29:44 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Chaqiros and Dichotomies

On Sun, Jan 22, 2006 at 05:11:49PM -0500, Mlevinmd@aol.com wrote:
:> Brisker chaqiros are an excercise in finding a dividing line about
:> which you can distinguish cases to explain why seeming similar situations
:> have different pesaqim, or between shitos to explain why they pasqen
:> differently.
:> However, that means that every question is being  turned into a dichotomy....

: Yes, but...

: The purpose of the chakiros is to identify two sevoros that explain a
: machlokes. If this is done well, a good shtikl Torah results. If not,
: a forced shtikle Torah results. Simply put, chakira is tested by its
: product.

Only if one can alweays know the quality of a shtikl Torah. Certainly the
person making the chaqirah is very capable of making biased judgements,
as people fall in love with their own chidddushim.

Perhaps one could say that when it comes to using chaqiros to explain
a two sided machloqes, it's most likely to be a dichotomy -- otherwise,
wouldn't someone voice the third option? So, odds are all will be well.

Here's an example where it doesn't work. In the days of the Chashmona'im,
there were three orders for the parshiyos in the tefillah shel rosh. As
is well known, the machloqes doesn't reach print until the rishonim,
where only two options are described. If someone drew a chaqirah between
Rashi a Rabbeinu Tam, they're likely to fail. No?

And what about when one is making a chiluq between two similar-seeming
cases that have different dinim? There one is relying on the absence
of a middle option Iby assuming from silence where the assumption is
even shakier.

:   It is an eminently practical tool to produce good explanations
: and as a tool is not subject to abstract criticisms form the science
: of logic.

I hope this made the criticism less abstract.

But in any case, criticism based on weestern disciplines are IMHO
quite apt. Brisker methodology were an attempt to systemitise pilpul
(if I understood the tape of your talk in SF correctly) using the
tools of its time and the styles that were attracting talmidim away to
universities. The whole thing is very Hegelian or Marxian -- making it
a search for thesis and antithesis. Fits R' Chaim Brisker's Zeitgeist.


Micha Berger             "Man wants to achieve greatness overnight,
micha@aishdas.org        and he wants to sleep well that night too."
http://www.aishdas.org         - Rav Yosef Yozel Horwitz, Alter of Novarodok
Fax: (270) 514-1507      

Go to top.

Date: Tue, 24 Jan 2006 12:50:27 +0000
From: Arie Folger <afolger@aishdas.org>
Re: Pas Akkum - Kashrus

RJF wrote:
> What technological or modern condition
> changed the dynamics of 'How can you be certain?'

The use of emulsifiers and other ingredients which are/can be based on
animal fats and are used to speed up the production of bread or enable
the use of uncommon ingredients. Some traditional breads rest for a
total of 8 hours before being baked, while with modern additives, the
rising time is reduced to 2-3 hours.

In general, today's bakeries are far more complex than anything one
could have imagined as recently as a few decades ago.

Source: my experience co-certifying two kosher bakeries and my attempt
to certify another one, which I ended up not doing on account of all
the questionable ingredients they were using.

Kol tuv,
Arie Folger

Go to top.

Date: Tue, 24 Jan 2006 19:57:16 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Sending Food to Someone Sitting Shiva

On Tue, Jan 24, 2006 at 02:43:22PM +0000, Chana Luntz wrote:
: This minhag is, however, much wider spread than America. I have seen or
: heard of it practiced in Australia, South Africa, England and Israel
: amongst Ashkenazim. It was on that basis that I described it as a
: minhag haolam. That is a pretty strong minhag to be attacking.

The typical American isn't think about whether or not this constitutes
giving a gift to an aveil. Rather, she's aware of the pain of someone
else, and striving to find a way to alleviate the burden -- even if only
by taking care of some of the logistics.

To be honest, klering shaylos over whether or not she is allowed to
seems so much like chasid shoteh territory. Or, to put it another way,
may my shtikl gehenom be with those who couldn't refrain from learning
on Tisha beAv or giving food to aveilim.

But is the lack of gift giving Ashkenazi pesaq or minhag?


Micha Berger             One doesn't learn mussar to be a tzaddik,
micha@aishdas.org        but to become a tzaddik.
http://www.aishdas.org                         - Rav Yisrael Salanter
Fax: (270) 514-1507      

Go to top.

Date: Tue, 24 Jan 2006 21:23:24 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Emunah, Perakim and the Mabul

Someone just posted the following on scjm, taken from
    The plain consequence is (and it is a general maxim worthy of our
    attention), "That no testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle,
    unless the testimony be of such a kind, that its falsehood would be
    more miraculous, than the fact, which it endeavours to establish...."
    When anyone tells me, that he saw a dead man restored to life,
    I immediately consider with myself, whether it be more probable,
    that this person should either deceive or be deceived, or that the
    fact, which he relates, should really have happened. I weigh the
    one miracle against the other; and according to the superiority,
    which I discover, I pronounce my decision, and always reject the
    greater miracle. If the falsehood of his testimony would be more
    miraculous, than the event which he relates; then, and not till then,
    can he pretend to command my belief or opinion.
					    -- David Hume


Micha Berger                 Life is complex.
micha@aishdas.org                Decisions are complex.
http://www.aishdas.org               The Torah is complex.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                                - R' Binyamin Hecht

Go to top.

Date: Wed, 25 Jan 2006 05:27:16 +0200
From: Marty Bluke <marty.bluke@gmail.com>
RE: tefilas Haderech nowadays

R' Saul Weinreb wrote that a person can always say tefilad haderech and
there is no problem of bracha levatala.

I have to disagree. If that was the case why did RSZA not say the
tefila with shem umalchus when he went from Yerushalayim to Bnei Brak?
The poskim like R' Steernbuch say explicitly that you don't say tefilas
haderech in a city even though there is danger of accidents, according
to you why not?

Go to top.

Date: Wed, 25 Jan 2006 00:35:44 -0500
From: "Zvi Lampel" <hlampel@thejnet.com>
Shiras HaYam

RSBA asked on Areivim:
> And how would you explain the fact that 600,000
> Jews [many more really], all sang the SAME tune and words??
> It HAD to be al pi nevueh or Ruach hakodesh..

And on Tue, 24 Jan 2006 R' Micha Berger responded:
> Wasn't the shirah sung responsively -- Mosheh Rabbeinu followed by
> BY? If so, it's not that challenging.

I also noted the responsive-arrangement possibility, and on Tue, 24 Jan
2006 R' Steg Belsky <draqonfayir@juno.com> pointed out that the Mechilta
actually says so (at least according to one opinion. There is another
one that says that Moshe Rabbeynu recited the first part of each posuk,
and b'nay Yisroel the second; e.g., MR: "Ashira LaShem..." B'nay Yisroel:
"Soos v'rochbo ramma baYam"). Nevertheless, the same Mechilta states
that the Shira was said b'ruach haKadosh, the point RSBA was out to prove.

By the way, I've been advocating in my posts that shira could merely
mean poetic recital without a melody. No one asked my source, which has
saved me from further embarassment, because I can't find a definitive
one. (It's one of those things "I've always known"...) Several pesukim
refer to "k'lay shir" that accompanied the Levites' songs (and the songs
of course were with melody); but still, whereas with wind instruments the
"shir" can only be through melody, with voice the "shir" can be in the
poetry alone, with or without a tune.

Now, the same Mechilta cited above takes Miriam's "mecholos" to be
(hollow=wind?) instruments, not dancing. Which may be more indicative
of melody then "toffim," but as I posted before, not necessarily. The
music could have been in the background while the people were reciting
the shira without a tune, or the instruments that Miriam and the other
women brought may not have been accompanying the shira. But whether or
not the music accompanied the shira, this would still mean that there
was some kind of music played at the Yam, and invites the question of
whether that music as well was played b'ruach hakadosh (which I think
is probable), but still leaves unanswered the unanswerable question of
what that music sounded like (unless we say it sounded something like
the way we chant the shira when we lain it).

Zvi Lampel

Go to top.

Date: Wed, 25 Jan 2006 01:20:20 -0500
From: Shaya Potter <spotter@yucs.org>
Re: Pas Akkum - Kashrus

On Tue, 2006-01-24 at 10:49 -0500, L. E. Levine wrote:
> "Bakeries are discontinuing the addition of potassium bromate to
> their flour because of a possible cancer concern. Increasingly, this
> industry is making use of enzymes as baking aids. Benefits include
> improved dough handling, whiter flour, better crust, and longer
> freshness. Some of those enzymes may be animal-derived, but all of
> them require supervision. Likewise, preservatives also have to be
> natural. These include calcium and sodium propionates and erythorbates
> and all fermentation chemicals."

If an enzyme needs supervision, why is honey kosher?

Go to top.

Date: Wed, 25 Jan 2006 09:14:30 +0200
From: "Shoshana L. Boublil" <toramada@bezeqint.net>
women, mitzvot and sachar

Maybe this would be a good time to go back to a question posted in the
past by Chana Sassoon (Luntz). I'll be paraphrasing it according to
my understanding, but I hope the other women will also chime in:

From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
> What would this mean WRT mitzvos and sechar?

> In "sheleimus" terminology, we would say that mitzvos improve the soul,
> and sechar is the consequence of that improvement. The sick body feels
> the pain of illness, and the sick soul feels the pain of onesh.

> In "deveiqus" language, as posted here recently by RtSB, the mitvah
> connects one to the Borei. Through this greater channel, more shefa can
> reach the individual.

> First, I would say that the basic purpose of mitzvos can be phrased as
> closeness to Hashem, but sechar is a side-effect of that not the purpose
> itself. So, there's a correlation between the two in terms of magnitude,
> but they aren't identical.

> But let's think about this step-by-step.

> Having more chiyuvim means having more opportunities to be a metzuveh
> ve'oseh. It also means more opportunities to violate an asei.

At this point, I would like to analyze a woman's day with regard to

Netilat Yadayim (morning) -- equal opportunity and I assume sachar;

Shacharit -- different chiyuv. Sachar?

In homes where women are the housewives, we now get into a whole list
of actions, non of which have any element of mitzva. The opposite --
any element of mitzva connected to them, belongs to the male!

Getting the kids up for school, breakfast, health checks, clothing
checks etc. The basic mitzvot involved are Chinuch for the adult and
the kids are learning a host of various mitzvot as they go (berachot,
health care etc.). This applies also to when the kids come home from
school and again, in many homes it is the mother's job to take care of
them, teach them, educate them etc.

So - is there any Sachar for doing a mitzva you are not obligated to?
And if Derech Ha'Olam is that women do these things, why is Chinuch
considered a male-only Chiyuv, and in many cases the men leave many
aspects of it to the women (whether fully or partially is a private
matter between spouses).

Okay, accept for the baby, the kids are now out of the house <g> (I'm not
even getting into the question of women having children - but the mitzva
is male only, so the women do the time, and the men earn the Sachar!).

Now it's time for cleaning of various kinds, unless the woman goes out
to work. At this point, if both spouses are working, whether at home or
outside, they are equal mitzva-wise. If the man is in Yeshiva, then he
is learning Torah, again something that even if the woman chose to do,
she wouldn't have his Sachar for doing.

The rest of the day consists of Berachot (equal) Tefillot (unequal)
and any ma'aseh Chesed they can manage to do (equal).

So, we have 3 major categories that impact women's lives, take many
hours and much energy, but for which they, apparently, have no Sachar:

Having children;
Educating children;
Mitzvot SheHaZeman Gerama.

> As RtSB writes, let's take the concept of "nashim tzidqaniyos" to be about
> a higher starting point amongst women. Not that this would necessarily
> mean more sechar, since sechar is a function of choice and change --
> not standing on an absolute scale.

> Between the two, it could well mean that men are capable of greater
> deveiqus / sheleimus, but only those who reach that part of our wider
> bell curve.

Shoshana L. Boublil

Go to top.

Date: Wed, 25 Jan 2006 09:15:20 -0500
From: "M Cohen" <mcohen@touchlogic.com>
Re: Pas Akkum - Kashrus

I understood that even today it is common to purchase plain white bread
in nJ bakeries (w/o hechsher) in Europe

perhaps some European list subscribers will enlighten us as to the truth
of this.

Mordechai Cohen

Go to top.

Date: Wed, 25 Jan 2006 11:50:31 +0000
From: Arie Folger <afolger@aishdas.org>
Re: Pas Akkum - Kashrus

> Comparing apples to apples, the bread in question should be bakery
> or artisanal bread, not supermarket shelf-stable frankenbread. The
> ingredients used today are not at all different, bakers may at times add
> anti-staling agents, and few specialty breads call for oil in the dough.
> Will you assume that these ingredients (if ever added) are derived from
> Ma'Akhalos Assuros and are Nosen Ta'am so to establish a valid Safeik
> in bread's Kosher status?

You have to know the bread baking tradition in your area. In the US,
there is almost only Frankenbread, complicating matters; an artisanal
tradition might simply no longer exist.

Arie Folger

Go to top.

Date: Wed, 25 Jan 2006 13:43:26 +0000
From: Chana Luntz <Chana@kolsassoon.org.uk>
Re: Kashrus which became: Bal Tashchis and burning Chometz

Quoting "L. E. Levine" <llevine@stevens.edu>:
> Would anyone today think of eating bread baked by a gentile unless it 
> has rabbinical supervision? Who knows what might be in unsupervised 
> bread that could be a kashrus problem?

Actually I believe that most of France does indeed rely on this today
and it is the general practice to eat the baguettes there.

I believe this is because the French, being slightly fanatical about
their food, make it illegal (government regulation) to call something a
baguette unless it is made of a limited list of ingredients (all kosher)
and without additives. I'm afraid I don't know the details though

Chana Luntz

Go to top.

Date: Wed, 25 Jan 2006 16:42:21 -0500
From: Jacob Farkas <jfarkas@compufar.com>
Re: Pas Akkum - Kashrus

Arie Folger wrote:
> In general, today's bakeries are far more complex than anything one
> could have imagined as recently as a few decades ago.

Does that mean that these 'questionable' ingredients are expected to be
used in most or all bakeries?

Secondly, how 'questionable' are these emulsifiers and other additives?
Are they edible and do they have other Kashrus-altering effects on the
finished bread, e.g. Nosen Ta'am?

Jacob Farkas

Go to top.


[ Distributed to the Avodah mailing list, digested version.                   ]
[ To post: mail to avodah@aishdas.org                                         ]
[ For back issues: mail "get avodah-digest vXX.nYYY" to majordomo@aishdas.org ]
[ or, the archive can be found at http://www.aishdas.org/avodah/              ]
[ For general requests: mail the word "help" to majordomo@aishdas.org         ]

< Previous Next >