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Volume 16 : Number 143

Tuesday, February 28 2006

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Mon, 27 Feb 2006 21:51:29 +0200
From: "Akiva Blum" <ydamyb@actcom.net.il>
RE: zebu and turkey

RNS wrote:
>But the Netziv does *not* write that the chochom compared it to a kosher
>goose. He writes that one can *presume* that a chochom compared it to a
>kosher goose. Again, there is no difference in the case of zebu. There
>is no reason not to make the same presumption with zebu - that people
>ate it because they considered it to be a type of cow. So I still do not
>see how RAB has backed up his assertion that I misunderstood the tshuva
>of the Netziv and that it is not applicable to zebu.

R' Moshe Feldman then correctly pointed out that a zebu is much closer
to a cow than a turkey is to a goose. To which RAB responds:
>> The Netziv does not mean a common goose. He means a type of 
>> [known to him] kosher goose. We have no idea what this bird was, 
>> except that it must have been very similar to a turkey. Whereas one 
>> could argue that a zebu is close enough to a common cow to equate,
>> one cannot claim that the CI would agree, or that nowadays he would
>> pasken any differently.

RNS then wrote:
>But *whatever* type of goose it was, it was less similar to a turkey than
>a zebu is to a cow! There is *no* type of goose that is more similar to
>a turkey than a zebu is to a cow.

How do you know? As I said, we have no idea what this bird was! How
can you then say that it doesn't exist and never did exist? Are we now
intimately familiar with every domesticated bird that exists and ever
did exist?

>In any case, this is not the point. The point of citing the Netziv is
>that the Netziv argues that if there is a reasonable explanation for how a
>community came to eat a particular creature, such as that they equated it
>with a known kosher type, then you don't cast aspersions on this custom.

This is correct, although the original article implies somewhat
differently. However, if the CI 55 years ago was not ready to be mattir,
did not find there was a reliable mesorah and did not agree that the zebu
is certainly a cow, why would the passage of time allow him to consider
that 55 years ago there was a reliable psak to be mattir? He was there
and disagreed with the mattirim!!

>Then there is the separate issue of whether the Chazon Ish would actually
>consider the zebu to be a different type than the cow, which he writes
>that he is not discussing since he is unfamiliar with the zebu.

I am unfamiliar with your source. Could you please provide a reference?

>But *if* one adopts the view of the Netziv, then since in
>this case people have been eating the zebu for decades, (and there
>is certainly a reasonable case to be made that this was because it is
>sufficiently similar to a cow,) this provides an additional reason to
>not prohibit it now.

And I maintain that this is reasonable only if the CI didn't deal with
the question at that time.

RA Folger <afolger@aishdas.org> wrote:
>Actually, the CI wasn't sure. He reportedly stated that *if* it is a
>different species, it shouldn't be eaten. It follows that if the zebu
>is demonstrably the same species as the garden variety cow, it would be
>allowed even according to CI.

How would one prove that it is the same species? The CI writes that the
reason we need be careful to have a mesorah for animals is so that we
can be familiar with the treifos of that animal and we can recognize
an unhealthy animal. It follows that a scientific classification would
not cover us, since there still could be significant differences in
internal appearances.

Akiva Blum

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Date: Mon, 27 Feb 2006 16:08:59 -0500
From: "Glasner, David" <DGLASNER@ftc.gov>
killing kinim on Shabbat

Micha Berger wrote:
>: ...                               But it is clear from the sugya that it
>: is the existence of eggs which is the defining characteristic of periah
>: v'riviah, so that, b'mekhilat k'vod torato, the attempt of R. Dovid
>: Lipschutz, which Reb Micha has tried so hard to defend, to reconcile
>: the Gemara with the actual metzius is mufrakh mineih u'veih.

> But RDL's teirutz is that even though the eggs of tola'im physically
> exist, since they aren't of visible size, they shouldn't impact
> halakhah. Birth from microscopic eggs isn't piryah verivyah. He was
> talking about achilah -- this was a shiur in Chullin.

Are you saying that the permissibility of killing kinim on Shabbat is
based on a different premise than the permissibility of eating tola'im
she-lo nifreshu? If so, is that your hiddush or RDL's? According to
the Shulhan Aruch YD 84 and the Rambam Ma'akhalot Assurot 2:13, the
permissibility of eating tola'im is clearly based on kinah einah para
v'rava. So I can't see any more justification for this idea to explain
the halakhah in one case than in the other (and I would be surprised if
RDL really meant to distinguish between the two cases).

> I tried extending this to Shabbos, originally because I missed the
> whole tola'im vs kinim distinction. However, I think it could still
> apply -- but only to kinim that come from invisibly small eggs. IOW,
> if some kinim could be killed on Shabbos, and others would be the ones
> that we find today.

I'm sorry, but Abaye's quotation of the master ("v'hamar mar yosheiv
haqadosh barukh hu v'zan mi-qarnei re'eimin v'ad beitzei kinim") has
nothing to do with beitzei kinim being visible. We know that because
the answer that the Gemara gives ("mina hu d'mikri beitzei kinim")
denies the existence of beitzei kinim, and postulates that the term
"beitzei kinim" doesn't mean what it clearly does mean, but rather is
the name of a phantom species. Why, according to you, does the Gemara
reply to Abaye with an answer that is the mother of all dehuqim if it
only wished to make a distinction between what is visible and what is
not visible that would not have required any reinterpretation of the
obvious meaning of the master's dictum?

> This may involve perhaps a nishtaneh hateva in the demographics of 
> breeds of louse, but not one as extreme as asserting that there was
> abiogenesis in the days of Chazal.

If you don't accept that there is an iqar emunah to believe that Hazal
were infallible in their knowledge of science, why not just accept the
most reasonable (both in terms of hashkafah and in terms of the flow
of the sugya) explanation that Hazal (but not Abaye and the master)
were mistaken in their understanding of the biology of reproduction?

David Glasner

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Date: Mon, 27 Feb 2006 16:29:29 -0500 (EST)
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: killing kinim on Shabbat

Glasner, David wrote:
> Are you saying that the permissibility of killing kinim on Shabbat is
> based on a different premise than the permissibility of eating tola'im
> she-lo nifreshu? If so, is that your hiddush or RDL's? ...

As I wrote, RDL only spoke about the inyan in Chullin, not Shabbos. The
whole discussion is my attempt to apply the same sevarah. But in any case,
I am not trying to make that distinction.

Rather, I'm trying to distinguish between the kinah which is einah
parah veravah and the louse whose eggs are obvious and well-known in
antiquity. The louse that is currently most common has visible-sized eggs,
so RDL's sevarah wouldn't work. However, because the eggs are so obvious,
the gemara's lashon doesn't either. So, the issue isn't really RDL's
sevara, but the text vs obvious observational fact.

By saying there are lice and there are lice one avoids both problems.

According to RDL, there is no piryah verivyah whether or not microscopic
eggs exist. So, Chazal's position one way or the other lacks any nafka

One could take his words to mean either (1) that they were mistaken on
the scientific issue, but had the siyata diShmaya to reach the right
pesaq anyway; or (2) they either knew about microscopic eggs or didn't
care one way or the other -- even in tefillah they wouldn't get mention.


Micha Berger             When faced, with a decision, ask yourself,
micha@aishdas.org        "How would I decide if it were Ne'ilah now,
http://www.aishdas.org   at the closing moments of Yom Kippur?"
Fax: (270) 514-1507                            - Rav Yisrael Salanter

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Date: Mon, 27 Feb 2006 10:29:01 +0200
From: "Moshe Feldman" <moshe.feldman@gmail.com>
Re: Kibbud Av v'Em --Prof. Blidstein

On 2/26/06, saul mashbaum <smash52@netvision.net.il> wrote:
> The essentail point made here is well taken, but I was surprised
> at the parethetical remark. It is well known that Edom, descendent
> of Esav, is identified in rabbinic thought with Rome, but to connect
> Esav's personal treatment of Yitzchak with Roman practice seems quite
> a stretch to me. Does anyone know of an explicit rabbinic source which
> makes this connection?

My father, Prof. Louis H. Feldman of YU
(http://faculty.mc.yu.edu/feldman/cv.htm)), wrote me the following:

In response to Saul Mashbaum's e-mail, it is true that there is no
explicit reference that connects Esau's personal treatment of Yitzchak
with Roman practice. But there is ample evidence, particularly in
the Roman historian Livy that the Romans felt deep reverence for their
parents and ancestors. Note the tremendous regard of Aeneas, the alleged
founder of Rome, according to the Roman tradition in Livy and Dionysius
of Halicarnassus and Virgil's Aeneid, for Anchises, his father. True,
Virgil lived in the first century B.C.E., and Livy and Dionysius in the
first century C.E., but they claim to represent old and long-standing
traditions. No Roman writer mentions Esau or Yitzchak, but we do not
have any Roman writing prior to the third century B.C.E. Even Livy, who
tried to trace the beginnings of Roman history, could go back no further
than the Trojan War, which, if it book place, occurred no earlier than
the twelfth century B.C.E., whereas Esau and Jacob lived several hundred
years earlier.

The first rabbi who is cited as apparently identifying Rome with
Esau and Edom is Rabbi Akiva. This appears in the following passage
(Yerushalmi, Ta`anit 4:8, 68b; Midrash Bereshit Rabbah 65.21): "The voice
of Jacob cries out at what the hands of Esau did to him at Bethar." The
destruction of Bethar can be definitely dated in 135 C.E. The fact that
in the middle of the second century Rabbi Shimon bar Yohai is said to
have commented. in an allusion apparently to the contemporary struggle
between the Jews and the Roman Empire, at whose hands he suffered so much:
"It is a well-established tradition (halakhah): Esau hates Jacob" (Sifre
Bamidbar 69, p. 65, ed. Horovitz) would seem to indicate that the equation
of Esau and Rome was already axiomatic. Indeed, the rabbis remark that the
good fortune that the Romans enjoyed on earth was because of the great
respect that their ancestor Esau had shown toward his father (Bereshit
Rabbah 65.16). That this, indeed, continued to be the Roman practice may
be seen in the remark of the very influential Stoic philosopher, Seneca
the Younger (De Clementia 3.38.2): "I obeyed my parents; I deferred to
their authority, whether it was fair or unfair or even harsh; I showed
myself compliant and submissive. In only one respect was I unyielding:
in refusing to let them do me more kindnesses than I did them."

A clue that even before Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Shimon ben Yohai there was
a tradition equating Esau with Rome may be found in Philo (15 B.C.E.-40
C.E.), who speaks in his Life of Moses (1.242) of the feud between Jacob
and Esau as "this old feud" between Jacob and Esau which was renewed so
many generations later. True, Philo does not mention the Romans by name
here, but it seems likely that he is talking about the renewal of the
feud in his own day, and that would most likely be between the Romans
and the Jews.

A clue representing Esau's tremendous devotion to his father may be found
in Josephus' paraphrase of the Bible. In Gen. 27:5 we read that Esau went
(vayelek) to the field to get venison for Isaac. Josephus presents him
as acting with much greater enthusiasm, saying that he sped (exormesen,
"rushed," "started rapidly") to the chase (Antiquities 1.269). In his
paraphrase of the Bible Josephus is very often calling upon traditions,
many of which are found in midrashim. See my Josephus's Interpretation
of the Bible (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998) 65-73.

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Date: Mon, 27 Feb 2006 20:09:00 -0500
From: "david guttmann" <david.guttman@verizon.net>
To: Avodah - High Level Torah Discussion Group <avodah@aishdas.org>

RMB wrote:
> Nor is it clear that all these precreated items are nissim.
>Otherwise, every sofeir would be defying teva.

If I understood you correctly then

See Moreh 1:66 where Rambam understands Kesav as the one in the Luchos
which was only once in History and therefore considered a nes."Haim
nireh lecho metzius hakesav baluchos muflo..(R.kafieh ed.)

David Guttmann

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Date: Mon, 27 Feb 2006 20:27:54 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: your mail

On Mon, Feb 27, 2006 at 08:09:00PM -0500, david guttmann wrote:
: See Moreh 1:66 where Rambam understands Kesav as the one in the Luchos
: which was only once in History and therefore considered a nes."Haim
: nireh lecho metzius hakesav baluchos muflo..(R.kafieh ed.)

The next one, "michtav", which is AFAIK undestood to refer to TSBK.

BTW, in contrast to the Rambam's peirush here, see Rashi et al on Pesachim
54a. Kesav is the sounds of the letters or their shape, and the michtav
is either their shape or mechateiv -- a stylus.

Which would be the same kind of "got the ball rolling" comment as
the tongs.


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Date: Mon, 27 Feb 2006 21:22:55 -0500
From: "S & R Coffer" <rivkyc@sympatico.ca>
RE: the Mabul

On February 27, 2006, Joe Slater wrote:
> If this sort of stuff is to be learned from Christians it is ipso-facto
> not Torah. There are lots of other reasons why the subject is not worthy
> of attention (1), but the fact that it is promoted for religious purposes
> by a foreign religion is enough to conclusively demonstrate that it has
> no place in our theology.

Why? There are many beliefs in Christianity which support Judaism.
Christians believe in the "Old" testament. Does that mean we have to
reject it? Christians believe that there was a "literal" matan Torah. Does
that mean that we have to reject it? Christians believe that all of
the episodes in the Torah are literal, not just the mabul. I'm sure you
are not suggesting that we reject all of the Torah as literal because
other religions subscribe to it. Why is the mabul different? We are not
"learning" from Christians about the mabul. We are merely using their
scientific research to reach a determination regarding the historicity of
the mabul. The evidence still needs to be weighed by us before accepting
it. I don't see your problem here.

Simcha Coffer

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Date: Tue, 28 Feb 2006 06:45:40 +0200
From: "Akiva Atwood" <akiva.atwood@gmail.com>
Re: the Mabul

> If this sort of stuff is to be learned from Christians it is ipso-facto
> not Torah. There are lots of other reasons why the subject is not worthy
> of attention (1), but the fact that it is promoted for religious purposes
> by a foreign religion is enough to conclusively demonstrate that it has
> no place in our theology.

IOW, a "Young Earth" has no place in our theology? I think there are
some gedolim who would disagree (not to mention a few list members)

Also -- How do you deal with the RamBam, who held that "yesh chochma


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Date: Tue, 28 Feb 2006 11:04:08 +0000
From: Chana Luntz <Chana@kolsassoon.org.uk>
Re: the Mabul

RMB writes:
> Rn Chana Luntz wrote:
>> I think though that you are missing something of the subtlety of the
>> approach that refers to hatorah dibra b'lashon bnei adam.

>> Let's take a person from the dor hamabul as the mesorah has always
>> understood such a person. If you were to ask them to describe "kol
>> ha'aretz" would they have included Australia and England and South
>> America (for example)?

> Is there a maqor that gives this definition to dibrah haTorah
> belashon b"a (hereafter: DHBBA)?

>  From the gemara's usage, the expression refers to not using
> extra words for dershen when they are used in common idiom.
> Such as ignoring the keifel lashon of "ra'oh sir'eh" in the
> parashah of sotah (Berakhos 31b). The Rambam (ikkar #3) uses
> the idea to explain anthropomorphic idiom to describe G-d.

Using it to explain anthropomorphic idiom is, I belive, quite common
amongst the classic meforshim: - take for example Breshis 6:6 "Hashem
yenachem" and V'yitatzev el libo" where each of the Ramban, the Ibn Ezra
and the Radak use it to explain the concepts there.

But I don't think it is limited to that, here are a few examples,
although no doubt a bit of hunting would identify more:

Take for example Devarim 5:25 "mi yiten v'haya lvavam ze lehem l'rah
oti" where the hearts being described are clearly those of human beings,
and the Ramban comments that DHBBA.

And take Rashi on Breishis 32:32 "V'yizrach lo hashemesh" where Rashi
comments that it is the pshat that it is lashon benei adam to say that
the dawn shone for us.

But even more pointedly to this discussion, see the Ibn Ezra on Breishis
6:11 on "V'tishaches h'aretz" and his use of the phrase there.

> But I do not see one in which we're expected to pin that
> idiom down to the limitations of knowledge of people of a
> given time or place. It's not like the Torah is giving a
> verbatum quote of what Hashem told Noach -- Noach got a
> vision, not a text!

Why do you say that? It seems to me that in 6: 13-21 we are indeed being
given the text of what Hashem said to Noach, and hence it would logically
be couched in terms that Noach would understand (and was in a position
to give over to the dor hamabul, which after all was the whole purpose,
so that they would see him building the ark and ask why he was doing it,
and he would relay what he had been told and they would have a chance
to do teshuva, so surely the message needed to be in language he and
they understood and had little purpose being in any other language).
Similarly in 7: 1-4 it would appear to be a direct quote as to what
HaShem said and again we know that Hashem's message was being relayed
with a purpose.

Now you might say that in 7: 17-24 we have a description of what happened,
not a quoted text - but to the extent it was a vision and not a text,
again why is there any necessary reason to believe this is a descrption
as it was as seen and understood by Hashem and not as seen and understood
by Noach (and/or the dying members of the dor hamabul)?

Chana Luntz

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Date: Tue, 28 Feb 2006 22:40:26 +0200
From: "D&E-H Bannett" <dbnet@zahav.net.il>

IIRC, the zebu problem discussed in the past was not simply 
acceptance or non-acceptance of the zebu as kosher.

The problem to those who do not accept the zebu is that almost all cows
in Israel are breeds obtained by mixing cows with different attributes.
I suppose that the same is true in many other countries.

Most mixed-breed cows, in other words, most cows, are part zebu even
if they do not have the hump.

If ability to mix the breeds is not halakhically significant some people
will have to become vegetarians who also do not use any cow-milk products.


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Date: Tue, 28 Feb 2006 08:06:37 +0200
From: "Shoshana L. Boublil" <toramada@bezeqint.net>
Re: Kashrus reliable enough

From: "Chana Luntz" <chana@kolsassoon.org.uk>
> The interesting thing about the subject matter of this teshuva, ie glatt
> meat is this. According to the Sephardim, any meat that is not glatt is
> mamash treif d'orisa (we are not even talking about d'rabbanans here).
> According to the Ashkenazim, eating glatt is a chumra. It may be a
> chumra with impeccable ancestry (as ROY so carefully brings), it may
> be a chumra that makes more sense than most given the extensive source
> material, but fundamentally that is what it is. If an Ashkenazi person
> falls back on it, he is eating kosher m'ikar hadin. Somebody Sephardi is
> basically eating treif. 

I would just like to comment, that despite ROY attempts to bring about
a unified Sephardi psika based on the Shulchan Aruch, many Sephardi
Kehillot did NOT accept the Shulchan Aruch as the final psika, and they
have their own psika, similar to the REMA.

Actually, there has been much controversy regarding this issue in Sephardi
communities, and many continue to follow their own psika and not ROYs.

There are actually 3 famous issues in which Sephardi Minhag/psika was
totally against Shulchan Aruch: one was on how to light Shabbat candles;
the second had to do with mikva, and the third with the question of
non-married women wearing a head covering (mandated by the Shulchan

While 25 years ago, ROY told Rav Elinson (as he taught us while writing
his books on halacha for women), in these 3 matter ROY conceded to
"Al Titosh Torat Imecha", despite it being against Shulchan Aruch.

But, over the last 10 years, ROY has been pushing, via the school system,
to change the practice to what is paskened by the Shulchan Aruch -
except for hair covering for unmarried women, which he still accepts as
not Minhag Bat Yisrael.

So, assuming that non-Beit Yosef meat is treif for Sephardim is no more
true than trying to talk about a unified Ashkenazi psika in the face of
the existence of Chassidische, Litvish etc. psika.

Shoshana L. Boublil

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Date: Tue, 28 Feb 2006 11:51:31 +0000
From: Chana Luntz <Chana@kolsassoon.org.uk>
Re: Dancing with one's spouse

[This is in response to an Areivim post of mine. RnCL had the "chutzpah"
to actually go to sources, thereby bringing the topic here. -mi]

There is a teshuva on dancing, including with one's spouse, in Bnei
Banim Chelek 1 siman 37.

Note that he discusses the Rema in question (Even Haezer siman 21 si'if
5 - for those who are not totally au fait with the whole of the Shulchan
Aruch but might want to look it up). Not surprisingly he concludes like
REMT "aval b'ikaro nire'e shaino issur" (he says he discusses this at
length because about 40 years ago [probably at least 60 years ago now]
there was a wedding of a rosh yeshiva and a daughter of the yeshiva
and all the rebbeim danced with their tehora wives, and somebody or the
other expressed their shock at this that was done at bmesibas rabanim
v'tamidei chachamim).

RMB writes:
> On a totally different track... I wonder about the 
> advisability of performing in public any activity that can 
> not be done month-round. The situation is bound to lead to 
> breaches in tzenius, when people can deduce why those avid 
> dancers are suddenly wall-flowers this time.

Note that RYHH also discusses this in the teshuva, inter alia, in a
section about whether a talmid chacham can walk down the street holding
hands with his wife who is tahor - (he holds that "ain b'zeh chashash").
Now clearly the same rule applies, ie one can deduce that she is tahor,
and he points out that if that were a concern, then a couple could not
pass a baby between them in public etc etc, because others could work
out her tahor status.


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Date: Tue, 28 Feb 2006 13:51:54 -0500
From: "H G Schild" <hgschild@hotmail.com>

I saw in "Aleinu LShabeach" from Rav Zilberstein in Parashas Yisro a
quote from Abudraham stating that the Sandek prepares the yeled by the
bris for his first drasha ! (also a story about Rav Auerbach) . I cannot
seem to find the Abudraham inside. Any assistance appreciated !


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