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Volume 18: Number 5

Aug 29, 2006

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: "Yisrael Medad" <yisrael.me...@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 28 Aug 2006 21:28:25 +0200
[Avodah] Swimming

> Without mechitzed swimming (and how was that arranged with the local
> authorities?) how did any of the rabbonim in Europe (and previously,
> including as far back as Chazal) arrange for this to happen?

AFAIK they didn't. I know that my zeide never taught my father to swim,
and nor did my elter-zeide teach my zeide, and I'm pretty sure that goes
back many generations, and nobody seems to have raised an objection from
the gemara in kiddushin, probably because it's not brought down lehalacha.

While not being sure, I would venture an assumption that of those Jews
living near water, i.e., rivers and bays, a certain percentage learned to
swim as young children just like anyone else would even if the Rabbis
weren't the swimming instructors or supervisors.
Yisrael Medad
Mobile Post Efraim 44830
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Message: 2
From: "Yisrael Medad" <yisrael.me...@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 28 Aug 2006 21:33:01 +0200
[Avodah] Idols in Museum

What I'm wondering, though, particularly as someone who does a lot
of research into ancient history, is whether there's any heter for
not destroying the idols that are on display at a place like that.

Well, I am not sure one could do that without being arrested but I was told
by Yaakov Gelitz, chareidi historian, that during the Six Days War, he
accompanied some Rav whose name escapes me to Mt. Zion and when they were
there, the Rav seeing that no one was around, picked up an implement and
began smashing one of the church artifacts in fulfillment, he said, of
"titatzum" saying that this was the only opportunity one could have for this
at these times.

Yisrael Medad
Mobile Post Efraim 44830
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Message: 3
From: Dov Bloom <d...@netvision.net.il>
Date: Mon, 28 Aug 2006 18:38:15 +0300
Re: [Avodah] prosecuting war and still clairing shailos

>The following was sent during the recent war in Lebanon by a Ben
Torah showing what he thought about.  I am not taking a stand on the
halachic details but demonstrating the mindset.

Hilchos Shabbos During The War

The Manager of the Bnei Akiva Hachshara program, Rav Rafi Ostroff,
spent the last week in Lebanon fighting the war against Yishmael,
whose only desire is to obliterate the Jewish people. They were in a
town in Lebanon called Maroon Aras and spent Shabbos in a bombed out
house, which acted as some sort of shelter. Mortars and missiles
whizzed non stop all around them and amidst the battle they set the
Shabbos table. Everyone enthusiastically joined in the Shabbos
preparations, including soldiers with non-religious backgrounds. They
ALL joined in kabolas Shabbos and davening and sang z?miros Shabbos,
accompanied by the shrieking missiles and shelling.

The day after Shabbos his unit was sent back into Israel for one day?s
leave at a border village called Avivim, in order to shower and to
show that amidst all the havoc, Am Yisrael chai v?kayam, we present
the following.

 1)         We were not provided with candles for Shabbos so we improvised.

The lid of a large tin can was bent into the shape of a container into
which we poured tuna fish oil for fuel. For wicks we used utah
(flax-like material). Our problem was that the Mishna and halacha [1]
says that one may not use fish oil for Shabbos candles, but upon
closer inspection we saw that the fish oil that is prohibited is made
from fish intestines.

The Mishna Berura writes [2] that oil extracted from fish flesh may be
used and is categorized with other oils that are permitted for Shabbos

(Dov: the oil in tuna cans is not fish oil - it is vegetable oil and
should be OK)

2) We did not know whether to accept Shabbos early or not.

The problem was that we did not have any light and eating the Shabbos
meal at the regular time would mean eating in the dark. Our option was
to accept Shabbos early, which is not really a problem under the
circumstances, only that we were ?violating? Shabbos for pikuach
nefesh - operating the 2-way radio and other devices.

Halacha says it is preferable to eat with light than have wine for
kiddush, [3] which was the decisive factor for us in accepting Shabbos

For clarity sake, we davened mincha before p?lag hamincha (an hour and
a quarter before sunset) and ma?ariv after p?lag and made kiddush
right after ma?ariv.

In retrospect, I suppose we could have organized more candle light and
accept Shabbos at the regular time.

3) We were in a quandary as for the prayer ?magen avos? cited in ma?ariv.

The Shulchan Aruch says [4] that ?magen avos? [5] is not recited in a
house where people gather to celebrate a wedding or in a house of
mourning. The reason this tefilla is recited is because in the time of
the gemora, shuls were outside town, and since davening is brief,
people might remain alone in shul and be in danger. Chazal therefore
added this brief prayer to give time for everyone to conclude
davening. Consequently this rule only applies to permanent minyanim,
not sporadic places of prayer.

The wedding entourage is not permanent, nor is the mourner?s, which
negates the need for this extra prayer.

Our brief sojourn in Maroon Aras is B?H not permanent either, thereby
discharging us from this tefilla. [6] It is noteworthy that some
Sephardim have the custom to always recite this tefilla. [7]

4) We did not posses any cups and didn?t have a clue how to make kiddush.

Some of us suggested cutting a plastic coke bottle in half and filling
it with grape juice. Firstly, cutting it on Shabbos probably involves
a melacha d?oraisso of making a k?li. We see that one may not make a
hole in a barrel on Shabbos, even in a semi-permanent k?li. [8] So
obviously we would cut it before Shabbos.

The second problem is that our new container is hardly a worthy k?li,
surely one not fit l?chatchila for making kiddush. Under the
circumstances it is also kosher, but we wanted to be stringent and do
the best possible. Rav Moshe Feinstein writes [9] that one should not
use a disposable cup for kiddush. Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach was not
so adamant and says that since distinguished people use them at
important functions, one need not be too particular if nothing else is
available. Again, we tried to be machmir.

The best solution would have been to make kiddush on the grape juice
bottle itself, or perhaps to fill one of our water canteens.
l?chatchila the vessel needs to be fill to the top, so we would have
filled the bottle with grape juice from another bottle. Maybe next
time ? should there be one.

5) We had a unique Shabbos table ? a door ripped from its hinges and
placed on bricks. The bare concrete floor was our throne.

We were not sure whether it is permitted to place the board on the
bricks on Shabbos. For our fantastic Shabbos meal (consisting of fried
meat loaf, instead of festive roast chicken, corn salad instead of
coleslaw) we needed a table so the door seemed the best solution.
Prying it from its hinges on Shabbos is ossur on account of s?tira ?
demolishing, so that was done before Shabbos, but we only erected it
on Shabbos and the issue of ohel ? making a tent arose. [10]

The halacha is that one may erect a table tennis table on Shabbos in
the regular manner, i.e. positioning the legs and placing the board on
top, because one does not use the underside. [11] A bed may not be
made in the same fashion because one uses the underside to store

Accordingly, the table could be erected on Shabbos.

6) The entire floor was full of rubble and stones and we were at a
loss how to move them because of muktze.

Although we could designate large bricks (blokkim) for the table and
perhaps benches, we could not designate stones and pebbles to make
them a k?li, which without doing so they remain muktze.

Imagine lying down on the floor in your sleeping bag and stones are
poking at your sides and head. Our option was to move the stones with
one?s foot etc. which is permitted according to the Mishna Berura.

7) Rav Eliashiv was asked the following. Soldiers were relieved of
fighting 2 a.m. on Friday night, with the possibility of going home
until after Shabbos. The soldiers had not been home since the
beginning of the war and going home to be with their families would
boost moral, ultimately enabling them to continue fighting with
renewed energy. This was a real necessity, considering the

His reply was that in any case they could not remain where they were,
being it a m?kom sakana ? a dangerous environment and had to relocate

The problem remains because once they reach safe quarters they should
be permitted to continue south to their families. Perhaps a gentile
could drive them, but then there?s the issue of traveling 12 mil
outside the perimeter.

Some suggested implementing the halacha that soldiers may return to their town.

In any case ? it?s not an easy question!!

May Hashem answer our prayers and bring our captives and soldiers home safely.

[1] Simon 264:5.

[2] Simon 264:21.

[3] Simon 263:3.

[4] Simon 268:10.

[5] Recited immediately after the silent shemone esreh during ma?ariv.

[6] M?B simon 268:24.

[7] Kaf haChaim simon 268:50.

[8] Simon 314:1.

[9] Igross Moshe vol. III Orach Chaim simon 39, SS?K 47:11.

[10] Simon 315.

[11] There is a problem fastening the net into place because the side
screws are screwed tight. I don?t have a practical solution for that.


Dov A Bloom

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Message: 4
From: Eli Linas <linas...@netvision.net.il>
Date: Mon, 28 Aug 2006 20:08:08 +0200
Re: [Avodah] idols in museums

>Lisa Liel asked if there's a heter not to destroy idols on display in musuems

The Ohr Sameyach "Ask the Rabbi" recently dealt with this very question:

Idol Bashing ------------------------------------------------
   by Rabbi Yirmiyahu Ullman - www.rabbiullman.com

 From: Mike in Madison, WI

 Dear Rabbi,

   Jews are prohibited from worshiping idols. They also have
to destroy them. Does this mean that we should be breaking
archeological artifacts of great value, or destroy idols we encounter
in restaurants or during travel? I don't think that would go over so
well with those who value the idols!

 Dear Mike,

You're probably aware of the Midrash relating that Abraham's father
traded in idols. One day while his father was out of the store, Abraham
took a hammer and destroyed all the idols except for the biggest one,
in whose hand he placed the hammer. When his father returned he
demanded, "Who smashed all the idols?" Abraham replied that a brawl
broke out among the idols until the largest one destroyed all the
others. His father jeered, "Idols can't even move!" to which Abraham
retorted, "So why do you worship them?"

Just as the first Jew Abraham did, so too all Jews are required to
eradicate all idols in every time and place. But before you take up a
hammer, it's imperative that you consider the following explanation of
the rule and its qualifications.

The source for this commandment is from the verse, "You shall utterly
destroy all the places where the nations that you shall possess
worshipped their gods, upon the lofty mountains and upon the hills, and
under every lush tree. And you shall tear down their altars, smash
their monuments, burn their [trees of worship] with fire, cut down the
graven images of their gods, and destroy the names of those gods from
that place" (Deut. 12:1-3).

As it turns out, though, not all idols have to be broken. For example,
if an idolater nullifies the idol by either renouncing it, or by
damaging or breaking it, the idol need not be broken any further, and a
Jew who later finds it or comes to own it, may derive benefit from it
by selling it or melting it down to use its metal, etc. Even if an
idolater fled in war and left his idols behind when he could have taken
them with him, or if he could have returned for them but didn't, this
also constitutes nullification.

However, a Jew cannot nullify an idol even if he made it or worships
idols himself. Therefore, if an idolater did not nullify the idol, it
remains forbidden forever. If such an idol comes into the possession of
a Jew, he or she must completely destroy it or throw it into the sea in
a way that it cannot be retrieved. For this reason, even if an idol had
been buried under rubble, debris or underground for a long time, it is
still forbidden and must either be nullified by a non-Jew or destroyed
by a Jew. This is because there is no reason to assume it was nullified
before being buried.

This applies not only to idols found in the Land of Israel, but also to
idols found in any land conquered and controlled by Jews. The only
difference is that whenever Jews throughout history conquer and control
the Land of Israel, they are required to search for and destroy any
idols in the Land. But in areas controlled by Jews outside of the Land,
they need not search for idols, but if found, they must be destroyed.
However, herein lies an important qualification on account of which you
better lay down your hammer.

As implied above, this commandment applies only in a situation where
Jews have complete control, such that the idol bashing will be free of
retaliation or punitive measures from the non-Jews. For this reason,
even if Israel were interested in purging the Land of idols, it would
probably be exempt in light of the probable world-wide objection to the
destruction of archeological "treasures" belonging to humanity. For the
same reason, an individual is not required to smash such "treasures" he
encounters in restaurants or during travel, in Israel or anywhere else.

- Deuteronomy 12
- Rambam, Avodat Kochavim, chapters 7 & 8
- Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah 146
- Sefer HaChinuch, Mitzvah 436

Kol tuv,

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Message: 5
From: "SBA" <...@sba2.com>
Date: Tue, 29 Aug 2006 01:22:43 +1000
[Avodah] Interesting article re history of division of Tenach


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Message: 6
From: "Eli Turkel" <elitur...@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 28 Aug 2006 20:51:12 +0200
Re: [Avodah] me-rakdim

That was exactly the question to him. He felt that body language would
wjether the dancer felt the kallah was beautiful or not.
Alternatively it was a combination of dancing and talking.
Similarly on tu be-av mecholot is still dancing but that lead to the
discussions between the prospective partners.

For those that dont know R. Leff he is the rabbi of Mattisyahu and
an ex-American and a black hatter and most important an important
talmid chacham. So when he admits that in the days of chazal there
was dancing in front of the opposite sex both by rabbanonim and in
front of the kallah it is to be taken seriously

kol tuv

Eli Turkel

On 8/28/06, SBA <sba@sba2.com> wrote:
> From: "Eli Turkel" <>
> I recently saw R. Leff at a wedding and asked him to translate
> "kezad merakdim lefnei hakallah". He insisted that merakdim means
> to dance. As to Rashi and the answers he interpreted that as "body
> language" so that the dancing implied or included some attitudes.
> >>
> In reply to the question of "Keitzad merakdin'', the gemara
> brings machlokes BH and BS ie, 'kallah na'eh vechasida' and
> 'kalla kemos shehi'.
> How do we understand this, if the question was simply talking
> about body and language and dancing?

Eli Turkel
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End of Avodah Digest, Vol 1, Issue 5


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Danny Schoemann
Goldknopf 41/6
Ramat Shlomo
++972-2-571 0181

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