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Volume 17 : Number 079

Thursday, June 29 2006

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2006 17:08:02 -0400
From: Jacob Farkas <jfarkas@compufar.com>
Re: historical contingency and brachos

> R' David Riceman asked:
>> ... why should that period of time be priviliged over other
>> periods? Why have a special bracha on bread because of ancient
>> dietary customs? Why not make hamotzi on tacos zeicher l'galus
>> America?

R' Akiva Miller wrote:
> I recently wondered about the exact flip side of this question.
> Recall our recent discussion of pashtida, where the consensus was that
> pashtida is no different than pas habaa b'kisnin -- if one is eating
> at as a snack, then it gets mezonos, even in the case of meat or cheese
> baked inside a bread.

The posqim that consider Pashtida to be PHBK [Taz understanding of
the Mehaber's opinion], define PBHK in a way that includes Pashtida,
so it's PHBK proper.

R' Akiva Miller wrote:
> It seems to me that according to the ancient dietary customs which RDR
> refers to, a baked mixture of flour and water is an honored food eaten
> only at meals, and as such is honored with an elaborate procedure of
> washing and blessing. But halacha acknowledges that this only applies to
> foods which are accepted as being primarily a meal- food. Halacha also
> points out that in the unusual case where one would eat such a food on
> its own, it is still hamotzi, even if he at only a small crumb of it.

Bread *was* the meal, the other items were secondary. Iqar Seudah is Pas,
and Halakhah reflects that, requiring Pas to be present whenever there
is a Hiyyuv Seudah.

R' Akiva Miller wrote:
> But as I see it (and perhaps RDR as well), our culture today does NOT
> consider bread to have such a status. When a person eats a hot dog while
> attending a baseball game, is his intention any different than one who
> chooses a slice of pizza instead? Very few would say that a single hot dog
> constitutes a meal, especially in such a setting. Why not make a mezonos?

Major difference. Pizza is baked with sauce and toppings, hot dog buns
aren't. Therefore, pizza or other Pashtida are in the category of PHBK.
Should you follow the MA shitah, that Pashtida is only PHBK if it is
intended for snacking, the concept still remains that it became PBHK at
the time of baking, as it was baked with the topping. The hot dug buns are
standard bread, [again we will ignore the *Mezonos* rolls sold because
they have different ingredients and are another discussion altogether]
baked as standard bread. You choose to eat it as a snack, that is no
different than snacking on a small piece of bread.

Another question would be is the bun considered a Tafeil to the meat, but
that raises the question if bread could ever become a Tafeil. The Mishnah
in B'rakhos 44a mentions a scenario where bread can become a tafeil, and
the Rambam and SA pasken like that Mishna, that if someone eats something
that is so salty that he needs to consume bread so it shouldn't harm him,
the bread is then considered a tafeil. There is a Mahloqes Aharonim
whether this scenario is limited to when one is compelled to eat the
super salty fish to offset a very sweet food consumed prior. [See Sha'ar
HaTzion in the Mishna B'rurah OH 212:1 sk 9 for sources.]

The Mishna B'rurah [OH 212:1 sk 3] differentiates between eating
bread with salty fish where you absolutely have no desire to eat the
bread, versus eating bread with herring, where you are really more
interested in the herring, the bread is an afterthought, but the bread
is complementary. In that case, the Mishna B'rurah concludes that the
bread does not become a Tafeil. (Even according to the Aharonim who
consider bread a Tafeil to salty fish, where the eating of salty fish
is not preceded by consumption of an overly sweet item -jf).

Hot dogs are no different than the MB example of herring. While the
preference may be for the meat, the bread is still complementary and
thus does not become a Tafeil, according to the MB.

Jacob Farkas

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Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2006 15:13:29 -0400
From: "Rich, Joel" <JRich@Segalco.com>

[R Zvi Lampel:]
> In full agreement with using scientific clarifications to determine
> metsius (where metsius is relevant; metsios invisible to the naked eye,
> for instance is another issue, such as in kashrus). Computer scanning
> of sifrei Torah (plus human input) is an example.

can you provide some further examples of cases which you would or wouldn't
accept mtzius clarification(eg where would identification of deceased
and cause of death by medical devices fall)

joel rich

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Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2006 22:51:10 +0300
From: "Akiva Blum" <ydamyb@actcom.net.il>
Re: Etymology of "teva" & Rashi's "I Don't Know"

Yitzchok Zirkind wrote:
>In a message dated 6/25/2006 7:48:39pm EDT,  mike_a_singer@yahoo.com writes:
>> 2. An piece appeared recently by R Shafran which includes a  joke and
>> discussion based on Rashi saying "I don't know" in his commentaries:...

>See Gilyon HaShas on Brochos 25b for a comprehensive list, however the
>Yad Eliyahu on that Gemara adds more to the list.

In the joke, he was an am ha'oretz who read it in the yiddish translation.
Therefore, he coundn't have seen it in Rashi on the gemorah. More
appropriate would be rashi al hatorah, e.g.:
Breishis 28:5
Breishis 35:13
Devorim 33:24

(Hey, it's just a joke :-))


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Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2006 16:12:30 -0400
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: face painting

On Sun, Jun 25, 2006 at 09:15:59AM -0400, Jacob Farkas wrote:
:> My understanding is that EM is permanent, and, once the wound heals,
:> ends up under the skin. The use of ash in this way, often producting dark
:> and raised scarring, is common to a number of cultures. It's unlike a
:> KQ in two ways:
:> 1- The intent is refu'ah, not kesivah, and
:> 2- The person isn't wounding himself in order to put it under the skin
:> -- the skin is already open.

: EM is not discussed in the context of a D'Oraysa, the language is Assur 
: Litein, vs. Hanosein EM Hayyav, and the ta'am for EM is mipnei Shenireis 
: Kikhsoves qa'aqa, not KQ itself...

To be clear, that was my intent. I just finished saying that I understand
(from non-Torah sources) that EM is permanent. I therefore needed
to explain why it would still be only KQ. To which I suggested two

: R' Micha Berger wrote:
:> Tosafos states #2 in his rational for EM. #1. Even so, I would understand
:> this to mean that, like hilkhos shabbos de'oraisa, we should be looking
:> at tzerikhah vs. einah tzerikhah legufah.

My text was mangled -- look at that first sentence. I will clarify as
part of addressing RJF's qushya.

: Which Tosfos cites a reason at all? Tosfos in Makkos paskens like Rav 
: Ashi, no rason supplied, Tosfos in Gitin just quotes the Shitah of Rav 
: Ada bar Ahavah in Makkos, that an Issur D'rabanan exists with EM, mipnei 
: shenireh...

Tosados (Gitin 20b) opens by saying that the issur deOraisa is only once
"sheikhtov veyeqa'aqa bedeyo uvekhol". Which would seem to be #2 --
that the qa'aqa is a definitive feature of the de'oriasa.

This is in distinction to the Rama, who makes an issue over #1, intent.
(To recap a paragraph RJF didn't quote.) And even if it's about intent,
I think the model we started heading down in this discussion is a mistake.
I would look at a parallel for tzerikhah legufah, not for ranking motives
as more or less evil.

: If the source is EM, than the guideline is that of Rashi's "Zeman Rav,"
: and that is pretty ambiguous.

Which means that my question about Ashkenazi pesaq boils down to asking
if any acharonim turn Rashi's statement into a well-defined shiur.

On Mon, Jun 26, 2006 at 08:29:02AM -0400, Barak Greenfield, MD wrote:
:> I can't see any problem using indelible ink
:> (without making the tiny holes and perforations).

: Right. Makos 21a, Rambam Hilchos Avodas Kochavim 12:11 (or 12:15,
: depending on the edition), Yoreh Deah 180:1 -- you need to violate the
: integrity of the skin AND apply color.

But you're quoting Sepharadi sources -- the Rambam and the Mechabeir. As
noted, Rashi and the Rama disagree.


Micha Berger             None of us will leave this place alive.
micha@aishdas.org        All that is left to us is
http://www.aishdas.org   to be as human as possible while we are here.
Fax: (270) 514-1507            - unknown MD, while a Nazi prisoner

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Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2006 22:00:25 -0400
From: Steg Belsky <draqonfayir@juno.com>
Re: Nevu'ah in Hebrew?

On Jun 27, 2006, at 16:56:44 -0400GMT, R' Micha Berger wrote:
> On Areivim he spoke of these earlier versions of LhQ as proto-Hebrew
> (a fact already made public on Avodah beshe'as ma'aseh). Complete with
> the theory that there were once two ayin's that collapsed into a  single
> letter before matan Torah.

Why would the two `ayin sounds (`ayin & ghayin, to be specific) have
had to have collapsed before matan Torah? Did RSM (or do you?) see
a hashqafic difficulty with them merging after matan Torah as opposed
to before?

'After' would be specifically, some time after Alexander the Great,
due to the evidence of Greek transliterations that lead towards Lo`azit
_Gaza_ for _*Ghaza_=`Aza and _Gomorrah_ for _*Ghamora_=`Amora, etc.

 -Stephen 'Steg' Belsky

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Date: Thu, 29 Jun 2006 08:38:52 -0400
From: "David Riceman" <driceman@worldnet.att.net>
Re: bishul akum

From: <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
> Please cite your source.

It's back in the library now, but it's hard for me to imagine that
there's more than one biography of Yaakov Herzog in English.

David Riceman 

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Date: Thu, 29 Jun 2006 08:25:58 EDT
From: Yzkd@aol.com
Re: Etymology of "teva" & Rashi's "I Don't Know"

In a message dated 6/28/2006 8:06:55pm EDT,  ydamyb@actcom.net.il writes:
> More appropriate would be rashi al hatorah, e.g.:
> Breishis  28:5
> Breishis 35:13
> Devorim 33:24
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Tana vSheyer
Here are more, See Lkutei Sichos vol. 5 page 1, where he brakes them up  into 
Breishis: 30:11, 32:15, 43:11
Shmos: 22:28, 24:13, 25:21 25:29, 26:24, 27:10, 27:19, 28:4
Vayikra: 8:11, 10:15, 13:4, 14:14, 27:3
Bamidbar: 21:11, 26:13, 26:16
Dvorim: 18:2, 33:24
Kol Tuv,
Yitzchok Zirkind

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Date: Thu, 29 Jun 2006 12:29:07 -0400
From: Jacob Farkas <jfarkas@compufar.com>
Foie gras and veal

R' Gil Student posted on Hirhurim about Foie gras and its Halakhic
issues <http://hirhurim.blogspot.com/2006/06/foie-gras_28.html>, RGS,
quoting from "Man and Beast" (Written by RNS):

    ...But there is a highly significant difference between the foie
    gras of Europe in the past and the foie gras of today. In past eras,
    foie gras was not a luxury, but rather was a fundamental part of the
    diet and provided valuable nutritional and practical benefits. Today,
    on the other hand, there are no significant nutritional benefits
    from foie gras that are not already obtained from other sources,
    and it is a delicacy rather than a staple. But since the concept of
    foie gras had long been accepted, this is probably why rabbinical
    authorities were not alert to the new problem.[3]

    Today, some are of the opinion that causing pain to animals is
    permitted for any human benefit and that foie gras is therefore
    permissible.[4] Yet many authorities prohibit excessive cruelty to
    animals in cases where there is only trivial benefit to man, and
    there is a widespread custom to refrain from doing so even where it
    is technically permissible. Thus, it would seem that the reality
    today of foie gras production, where it is produced as a delicacy
    rather than being an important part of the diet, is not consistent
    with the Torah principles of how man should treat animals.[5] ...

R' Moshe Feinstein [Igros Moshe EH volume 4 T'shuva 92] concludes
that it is considered Tza'ar Ba'alei Hayyim to raise veal (standard
US agribusiness practice, not the traditional method used prior to
industrialized cattle farming --jf). His reasoning is that there is no
tangible human benefit from veal other than preserving the appearance
of white flesh (and charging more for it as a result) on an animal that
would otherwise have darker flesh, and thus less profitable. The methods
used in raising the calves are methods of TZBH, and as the result is
not beneficial to humans, RMF paskens that the Tzorekh haAdam criteria
is not met.

Trumas HaDeshen [Volume 2 siman 105] has a different approach
altogether. He considers animals to be created for man's use, D'lo nivre'u
kol habrios raq l'shameish es haAdam, and therefore, should there be a
profit involved in a process that could be detrimental to the animal,
it would still be permitted, as the needs of the person outweigh the
condition of the animal. TZBH, in his view, is limited to needless pain
and suffering that have no bearing on human benefit (profit being human
benefit in his view).

Nevertheless, Trumas HaDeshen does conclude, that although there is no
Issur of TZBH, there are reasons to avoid cruel practices as they are
nonetheless considered Akhzorios. He brings as an example the story of
Rabbee and the calf, where Rabbee suffered for years as a result of his
behavior towards the calf, although Shehitah is permitted.

The posqim who have no issue with foie gras from a TZBH perspective,
presumably follow the conclusion of Trumas Hadeshen, that Tzorekh HaAdam
is very inclusive, even if only for profit. RMF himself may actually
consider foie gras to be less of a problem from a TZBH perspective,
because unlike veal, where the procedure is geared towards limiting the
hemoglobin production in the calf's blood, and this is of no Tzorekh
haAdam, with foie gras the purpose is maximizing the liver's size *and*
fat content. This results in a delicacy that people do enjoy, and may
well be Tzorekh haAdam.

OTOH, could one consider Tzorekh hAdam for something that is so pricey
and difficult to obtain? [I apologize in advance for not being able to
cite a source for this sevara, but to me it seems pretty logical on
its own right.] Granted, the Trumas Hadeshen's view of Tzorekh would
be broad enough to include foie gras, but RMF view, that profit is not
Tzorekh, necessity is, perhaps he would agree that foie gras is not
Tzorekh haAdam either, because there are so many cheaper and easier
alternatives, readily available.

In any event, even Trumas HaDeshen warns against practices that are
within the realm of Akhzorios, even if Halakhically permissible. Should
the proponents of veal and foie gras bring proof that both are within
the realm of Tzorekh hAdam, and are not TZBH, they would still have
to consider that these actions most certainly do appear to be in the
category of Akhzorios, KNLAD.

Jacob Farkas

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Date: Thu, 29 Jun 2006 13:50:15 -0400
From: Jacob Farkas <jfarkas@compufar.com>
Re: face painting

> This is in distinction to the Rama, who makes an issue over #1, intent.
> (To recap a paragraph RJF didn't quote.) And even if it's about intent,
> I think the model we started heading down in this discussion is a mistake.
> I would look at a parallel for tzerikhah legufah, not for ranking motives
> as more or less evil.

Rama merely suggests that even when intent is to protect your property,
i.e. to prevent a slave from escaping, while it is permissible, one
should refrain from doing so, l'khatkhila. This suggest that universally
intent is a factor in KQ, but the Rama feels that there is an Issur
(D'Rabanan?) even when KQ would be permitted. GRA suggests that this is
Tosfos opinion with EM, where R'fuah is not assumed, permitted miDo'raysa,
prohibited miD'rabanan.

In summary:
MiD'oraysa everyone agrees you need K'siva, Qa'aqa, intent***
Rav Ashi holds that K'sivah alone is permitted, even MiDrabanan.
Tosfos in Makos agrees with Rav Ashi, as does the Rosh, and the SA.
Tosfos in Gitin paskens differently, that Kesiva alone is problematic,
albeit only MiD'rabanan.
Tosfos in Gitin is lenient (for Issur d'rabanan )when intent*** is
for refuah.
Rama holds that without intent*** it is permitted miDo'raysa, prohibited
Mehabeir and others do not consider lack of intent*** to be problematic,
even D'rabanan.

*** Definition of intent, with regard to KQ. RMB description of tzerikhah
legufah is very appropriate in describing intent for KQ.
Otherwise the din of KQ on a slave, universally accepted as being
permitted biblically, would be problematic. In the case of the slave,
the tattoo itself is not done because one wants to inscribe a tattoo, 
rather when wants an object that is tattooed, or otherwise permanently 

Jacob Farkas

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Date: Thu, 29 Jun 2006 13:55:07 -0400
From: Jacob Sasson <jsasson@nyu.edu>
Bishul Akum

David Riceman asked:
>I recently read a biography of Yaakov Herzog where it's mentioned that
>he would eat fish in non-kosher North American restaurants. How did he
>avoid the problem of bishul akum? ...

Bishul Akum only applies to foods which are not regularly eaten raw.
Nowadays, fish is regularly eaten raw in the form of sushi.


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Date: Thu, 29 Jun 2006 14:33:22 -0400
From: "David Riceman" <driceman@worldnet.att.net>
Re: bishul akum

From: "David Riceman" <driceman@worldnet.att.net>
> It's back in the library now, but it's hard for me to imagine that
> there's more than one biography of Yaakov Herzog in English.

I checked on amazon.com. It's "Yaacov Herzog: A Biography" by Michael
Bar Zohar. It cites a letter of Herzog's about the subject, so it's
not a second hand report.

David Riceman 

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Date: Thu, 29 Jun 2006 16:13:39 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: rishonim vs. Chazal

R Aryeh Englander wrote:
>>> I am looking for sources and references on how the rishonim and acharonim
>>> are allowed to argue on Chazal's interpretations of pesukim (when not for
>>> halacha)....

> Micha Berger wrote:
>> See RGS's draft essay <http://www.aishdas.org/articles/crossroads.htm>....

> That's not exactly what I was referring to. I apologize for the ambiguity
> in the question, but my real interest was to find out whether, when the
> Rishonim argue on Chazal's interpretation of a story in the pesukim,
> do they mean that what they say as peshat is what actually happened
> and Chazal got it wrong, or are they saying something else? ...

But why would parshanut have any tighter requirements than other kinds of

<much snipped>
>                                                            Normally we
> could say that they take the Chazal to be non-literal. But what about
> where they disagree about historical dates or other things which are
> obviously meant by Chazal to be taken literally? Are we forced to say
> that any mefaresh who argues on Chazal in these areas is saying that
> Chazal could make mistakes? If so, that would add a significant number of
> rishonim and acharonim to the "Chazal making mistakes" debate (including,
> for instance, the Ramban).

We can take aggadic stories to be non-literal because history isn't even
part of the agenda. IOW, I would assume rishonim discuss peshat in the
pasuq, derashah in the pasuq, and perhaps al pi remez or sod, without
ever considering the question of what actually happened. Resolving which
is historical and which a rephrase to teach would therefore be left to
contemporary people who are bothered by such things.

But should we be? Isn't the fact that chazal could repeat history and
other stories without caring which is which mean that if we care so much
our priorities are misplaced? Perhaps this is a side effect with the
success of technical progress, and the centrality of empirical reality
to the modern worldview? Torah is not about the empirical. It's about
the soul, human experience, values, etc...

The question is related to one we raised WRT revadim. Yes, it's possible
to study the text of shas as a palimpsest of layers of tannaim and
acharonim. But that removes focus from the ikkar, and shifting it to
something which has no bearing on the talmud's message.


Micha Berger             A life of reaction is a life of slavery,
micha@aishdas.org        intellectually and spiritually. One must
http://www.aishdas.org   fight for a life of action, not reaction.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                            -Rita Mae Brown

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Date: Thu, 29 Jun 2006 20:12:01 GMT
From: "kennethgmiller@juno.com" <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
Re: historical contingency and brachos

R' Micha Berger quoted his blog at 
> Each sheivet had the opportunity to forge very distinct implementations of
> the covenant of Sinai. Each evolved according to the rules of halakhah,
> ... and therefore all within the covenant ... It's mind-stretching to
> think how different their expressions of Torah would be. Perhaps they
> would even seem like different religions.

Yes indeed, I totally agree. But, to invoke a question recently raised
on another thread (possibly on Mail-Jewish?), -- what of Shevet Levi?

It is clear that if the Leviim had their own implementation of Torah,
they do not have it any more. One possiblity is that their assimilation
into Yehuda caused it to be forgotten. But another possibility is that
even from the beginning, the spread-out nature of these non-landowners
was such that each Levi (Kohen or not, as the case may be) followed the
implementation of the shevet which they lived among. Any thoughts?

Akiva Miller

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Date: Thu, 29 Jun 2006 22:51:31 -0400
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: historical contingency and brachos

On Thu, Jun 29, 2006 at 08:12:01PM +0000, kennethgmiller@juno.com wrote:
: Yes indeed, I totally agree. But, to invoke a question recently raised
: on another thread (possibly on Mail-Jewish?), -- what of Shevet Levi?

BM 114b: Rabba bar Avuha asks Eliyahu how he could be in a cemetary,
"Mar lav kohein hu?" And yet Eliyahu is a Gil'adi, ie identified with
his living within the territory of Gad. Shemos Rabba (40:4) and seems
to understand "migdal Gad" (in Yehudah's nachalah) as being Eliyahu's
land. I would think that it means that the kohanim that lived within
Gad were bastions of Gadism, not Judaism.


Micha Berger             Spirituality is like a bird: if you tighten
micha@aishdas.org        your grip on it, it chokes; slacken your grip,
http://www.aishdas.org   and it flies away.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                            - Rav Yisrael Salanter

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