Avodah Mailing List

Volume 23: Number 161

Mon, 30 Jul 2007

< Previous Next >
Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: "Yisrael Dubitsky" <yidubitsky@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 27 Jul 2007 17:21:52 -0400
Re: [Avodah] End of sefer notes

RMK asks:

> In Mikraos Gedolos Hamaor, at the end of each sefer it has a note that
> says (using B'midbar as an example), "S'chum pesukim shel sefer b'midbar
> 1288, ... , uparshiosav 10 ..., v'sidrav 32..., uperakav 36..., minyan
> hapesuchos 92, v'hasesumos 66, sach hakol 158 parshios..."
> I found it interesting that it lists both sidros (referring presumably to
> EY's triennial cycle, since in all the seforim it is approx. 3x the # of
> parshios) and perakim.  Isn't this a bit of an anachronism?  Were
> triennial
> sidros and perakim ever used in the same period?

First, the two systems were in use simultaneouly for the different
communities of EY and Bavel.
Second, even were this not so, the listing of the two systems at the end of
humashim is not "anachronistic" at all, since they are listed as systems of
text division and not as liturgical practice. All items you have mentioned
are different ways of dividing the same text.

What is more troubling, at least to me, is the wholly un-masoretic "perakim"
marker, as these were not originally Jewish text divisions (even if they
were adopted later by Jews). In that sense, they do not belong in an
otherwise authentic masoretic note such as this.

Yisrael Dubitsky
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://lists.aishdas.org/private.cgi/avodah-aishdas.org/attachments/20070727/23a0b9e5/attachment.html 

Go to top.

Message: 2
From: "Daniel Israel" <dmi1@hushmail.com>
Date: Fri, 27 Jul 2007 15:12:45 -0600
[Avodah] Fwd: Re: [Areivim] Humanistic Rabbis and humor about

I was asked to move this to Avodah.  I the context is clear, but I 
admit I'm a little embarrased since the only halachic souce I 
actually cite is, "I think."  Perhaps someone more familar with the 
topic can back me up (or not).

On Thu, 26 Jul 2007 20:52:48 -0600 T613K@aol.com wrote:
>In a message dated 7/26/2007, skohn@Sidley.com writes:
>>>Even assuming "leitzanus deAvoda Zara"  -- rather than "zilusa 
>deAvoda Zara" -- is an accurate quotation from the  chazal, there 
is a 
>big difference between making fun of an Avoda Zara so that  
someone is 
>not motivated to worship it, and making jokes based on the death 
>someone who, while not observant by any standard, was an atheist 
>therefore  by definition not an ovaid avodah zarah.<<
>I'm not so sure that the attitudes expressed in Tanach and Chazal 
>towards whose who deny G-d are only meant for those who deny Him 
>worship other gods as well.  Denying G-d and worshipping yourself 
>count, I believe, as  A'Z

To count halachically as AZ I think it would require actual self-
worship in the sense of bringing korbanos or doing other acts of 
avoda (or getting other to do so).  I don't think humanistic 
prayers celebrating the greatness of man would count.  Prayers 
claiming some sort of divine powers (a la Pharoh's claim to be the 
source of bounty in Egyptian agriculture) would be necessasy.  IMHO.

In less technical, more hashkafic sense, I agree with you 100%.

Daniel M. Israel

Go to top.

Message: 3
From: "Dr. Josh Backon" <backon@vms.huji.ac.il>
Date: Sat, 28 Jul 2007 22:29:45 +0300
[Avodah] Shmitta

R.  Eli Turkel stated:

>Mainly for the Israelis in the crowd. Just went to a shiur from the head of
>kashrut in Raanana - a major talmid chacham (learned in
>Ponovezh and is close to RSYE) and knowledgable in the facts
>1. Many vegetables such as cucumbers come almost exclusively from the Arabs
>and as such places that claim to only buy Jewish produce (all year round)
>are misleading.
>2. Gaza is completely closed and so no produce will come from there in the
>near future. Raanana will not accept most produce from the Arab west bank
>simply because adequate hasgacha is impossible.

That means prices will go through the roof!

I have 2 suggestions (below): setting up a foreign owned corporation
that would purchase the land, and aeroponics (growing not in water but in
air with a water spray):

1) there's a machloket (Rambam vs. the Geonim) if the Yovel
is included in the first shemita or not

2) there's a machloket between Rashi and the Rambam on the date
of the Churban Beit haMikdash from which date we count the

So for starters there's even a safek if the shemita today is actually
the correct date.

3) Rav Pessach Zvi Frank in the HAR ZVI 123 ruled that there is no problem of
the prohibition of *lo techanem* especially if they are Muslims. [According to
the Kesef Mishneh regarding living in Israel, today we *do* accept 
ger toshav].

4) DAAT YACHID: first of all it's *not* a "daat yachid" [single solitary
opinion] that shemita today is not even d'rabbanan but a "midat chasidut".
Those that rule this way include the RAZAH (the Baal HaMaor !), the Baal
HaIttur [half of Yoreh Deah is based on his piskei halacha. Check the
Beer Heitev and the BACH for sources], the Raavad in his Hassagot on the
RIF in Gittin; the Meiri, the SMA (Meirat Einayim), and the Perisha.
[The RAN calls them [above] "yesh chachamim"; the Rema talks about "yesh
omrim"]. And one of those that considered shmitta today as not even
d'rabbanan was the BEHAG (R. Shimon Kayara, 8th Cent. CE) who was *only*
one of the early Geonim.

5) KINYAN L'NOCHRI: [having the gentile take ownership of the property]:
The Sefer haTeruma permits and thus the holiness of the land is removed.
[See the sugya in Gittin 47 where in Mitzvot d'rabbanan  there *is* kinyan
l'nochri [Israel being in the category of Syria]. The Sefer Hilchot Eretz
Yisrael (attributed to the Baal haTurim) specifically permits "kinyan l'nochri

6) LAND REGISTRY [tabu]: look at what the Chazon Ish writes in Hilchot
Maasrot (Siman 10) ! [selling land to gentiles in Israel is *tofes*
even if the transaction was NOT registered in the land's registry]
And for the past 20 years, the heter mechira of the rabbanut does include
an indication "He'arat azhara" in the Land Registry.

So the above satisfies those who rely on the Heter Mechira.

  (what I call "Murray my accountant's" version):
The solution for *heter mechira* is NOT to "sell"
the land to gentiles living in Israel but to a foreign-owned corporation
(there's a problem of *kinyan karka* [land] but not of *peirot* [produce]).
[See: Bet Yitzchak Yoreh Deah II 113 s"k 6; but see the opposing view
that a gentile does have ownership of the land [Yerushalmi Gittin 4:9;
Chazon Ish Shevi'it 21 s"k 5).

A corporate entity (vs. single person) even if partly owned by Jews may have
a different status (see:  Shaagat Aryeh 89-90; Ha'Elef Lecha Shlomo 238)
so the solution would be to sell or lease the land during shmitta to a
foreign owned *corporation*.

It would be a completely legal transaction but wouldn't violate the
issur of *lo teichanem*.

8) USE OF HYDROPONICS/AEROPONICS: most poskim permit vegetables
grown hydroponically during shmita (and the produce has no kedushat sheviit)
[see: Yechaveh Daat VI 12; Az Nidberu IV 51).

Setting up a hydroponics or aeroponics unit on your porch (no earth 
whatsoever, not
even touching the ground) is not expensive and there are even 
companies in Israel
that sells kits http://www.hydrogrow.co.il and 
http://www.hydroshop.co.il  Members
of our shul may even chip in to buy a medium sized model.



Go to top.

Message: 4
From: "kennethgmiller@juno.com" <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
Date: Sun, 29 Jul 2007 03:36:18 GMT
[Avodah] Why is Milchemes Reshus allowed?

In the thread "Charedim and the army", R' Josh Backon wrote:
> War is required in what's termed a "Milchemet Mitzva"
> and is permitted in what's termed a "Milchemet Reshut".

This is totally accurate, of course, and I really can't argue with 
it. But I reminds me of a question which I've had for a long time, 
and might even have asked on these pages, but with little or no 
response, so I'd like to ask it again.

What is the rationale behind a milchemes reshus?

In the past, this chevra has discussed various ways in which the 
Torah permits activities which modern sensitivities consider wrong 
and sinful. Most notably, slavery, but I think we've talked about 
others too.

It seems to me that a Milchemes Reshus is not only in this category, 
but may be even far worse than slavery. After all, even in a worst-
case scenario, one cannot kill his eved. In contrast, in a milchemes 
reshus, we are killing members of the other nation, and we are 
putting our own selves in deadly danger.

And for what purpose? To increase our territory? If our melech wants 
the extra territory because he feels threatened and needs more secure 
borders (as in 1967) one could argue that it is a milchemes *mitzva*. 
The milchemes *reshus* situation sounds like he wants extra territory 
merely for reasons of prestige. Why are we not offended by this 

Akiva Miller

Go to top.

Message: 5
From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@juno.com>
Date: Sat, 28 Jul 2007 23:42:37 -0400
[Avodah] Tzitzis on Tisha B'Av

<<My opinion as to why we don't kiss tzitzis on Tisa B'Av would be
similar to why an aveil doesn't say "tiskabel.">>

An aveil says tiskabel.  Maybe you mean that we don't say it on Tish'a


Go to top.

Message: 6
From: "Marty Bluke" <marty.bluke@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 29 Jul 2007 10:05:40 +0300
[Avodah] Kriah on seeing the makom hamikdash nowadays

After Tisha B'Av I looked at the halachos of zecher l'mikdash and was
bothered by the following question. There is a chiyuv to rip kriah
when you see the place where the Beis Hamikdash once stood. If you
return within 30 days there is no chiyuv again.

What is the din if you see the makom hamikdash live on a video camera,
for example Aish Hatorah's Kotel Cam. You are seeing the makom
hamikdash just as if you were there. Is there a chiyuv kriah? Would it
exempt you from tearing kriah if you saw it and then visited less then
30 days later?

I specifically picked a live camera because I think that a picture or
even a video doesn't bring out the same emotions. It is a picture of
the past, it isn;t now. However, the web cam is live, it is as if you
are there.

It is clear from the halacha that it is a din in seeing no matter
where you are, you don't need to be at the makom hamikdash and
therefore why should a vide feed be different?

This is clearly a question that has only come up in the past few
years, does anyone know of any contemporary poskim who have dealt with
the question?

Go to top.

Message: 7
From: "Marty Bluke" <marty.bluke@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 29 Jul 2007 10:22:22 +0300
[Avodah] What was actually written on the luchos, zachor or

We know that they were both said at the same time, but what was
actually written on the luchos themselves. It is clear from the gemara
that only 1 of them was written as the gemara comments that the mem
and the samech were b'nes, if both zachor and shamor were somehow
written b'nes the gemara certainly would have mentioned it.

R' Yaakov Kamenetsky addresses this question (in Parshas Vaetchanan)
and claims that zachor was written but the kri was shamor. He says
this would apply to all the other differences as well (kri uksiv).

However, this is very difficult as the end of the dibra of Shabbos is
completely different, in Yisro it talks about the 7 days of creation
and in Vaeschanan it talks about yetzias mitzrayim. On one word I can
see saying kri uksiv but not on a whole pasuk.

Has anyone seen any other mefarshim address this issue?

Go to top.

Message: 8
From: Ben Waxman <ben1456@smile.net.il>
Date: Sun, 29 Jul 2007 11:10:50 +0300
Re: [Avodah] shemitta

I volunteer in a soup kitchen in Jerusalem. My opinion: If you are 
concerned about people treating fruit with qedushat shivit al pi 
halacha, do not give the fruit to a fruit kitchen. We throw out a lot 
of food, stuff that someone comes in receives plateful, eats some, 
and the rest goes into the trash.

Ben Waxman

RSB suggested:

>Can it be given to a "soup kitchen" type of organization?

Go to top.

Message: 9
From: "Marty Bluke" <marty.bluke@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 29 Jul 2007 14:26:58 +0300
Re: [Avodah] Charedim and the army

Here is a quote from an article of R' Aharon Lichtenstein on
exemptions for yeshiva students (Tradition, Fall 1985):

"Finally, even if we grant that the Rambam's statement does imply a
categorical dispensation in purely halachic terms, it remains of
little practical significance. We have yet to examine just to whom it
applies. A levi [sic] is defined genealogically. Those who are equated
with him, however, literally or symbolically, are defined by spiritual
qualities; and for these the Rambam sets a very high standard indeed.
He present an idealized portrait of a selfless, atemporal, almost
ethereal person - one whose spirit and intelligence have led him to
divest himself of all worldly concerns and who has devoted himself "to
stand before God, to serve Him, to worship Him, to know God; and he
walks aright as the Lord has made him and he has cast off from his
neck the yoke of the many considerations which men have sought." To
how large a segment of the Torah community - or, a fortiori, of any
community - does this lofty typology apply? To two percent? Five
Percent? Can anyone... confront a mirror and tell himself that he
ought not to go to the army because he is kodesh kodashim, sanctum
sanctorum, in the Rambam's terms? Can anyone with even a touch of
vanity or a concern for kavod contend this? Lest I be misunderstood,
let me state clearly that I have no quarrel with economic aspiration
or with normal human foibles per se. Again, least of all do I wish to
single out b'nei yeshivot for undeserved moral censure. I do feel,
however, that those who would single themselves out for saintliness
should examine their credentials by the proper standard."

In essence, RAL's point is that requires a tremendous amount of hubris
for a person to say that my learning is so important that I don't need
to go to the army and fight, especially when in many other areas the
person doesn't show such great faith (as RAL describes). It is very
nice for a person to say that they are joining Shevet Levi, but who
says that they were accepted?

Go to top.

Message: 10
From: "Eli Turkel" <eliturkel@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 29 Jul 2007 13:33:54 +0200
[Avodah] standing for a chasan

REMT wrote
<< (I also contend that the new "halacha" of standing for the
chasan at a wedding -- which is about thirty years old --had its
origin when some adam gadol stood up for a better look, and his
motive was misinterpreted. I don't stand, just to have the pleasure
of responding, when asked why, that chodosh asur min haTorah.  >>

RYBS was very insistent on standing because a chassan (and kallah) are
similar to a king (queen?). I believe his psak was more than 30 years ago.
R. Zilberstein says to stand based on kabbalistic grounds. Interestingly
in the shiur he made fun of the "Americans" in his kehilla who all sit for
proper ettitique. Seems that even in Bnei Brak there are differences between
American and Israeli weddings.

My personal observation is that weddings where everyone stands have more
and more mixing of the sexes (yes - even in Bnei Brak)

Eli Turkel
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://lists.aishdas.org/private.cgi/avodah-aishdas.org/attachments/20070729/5f4af581/attachment-0001.htm 

Go to top.

Message: 11
From: "Rich, Joel" <JRich@sibson.com>
Date: Sun, 29 Jul 2007 11:43:24 -0400
Re: [Avodah] standing for a chasan


RYBS was very insistent on standing because a chassan (and kallah) are 
similar to a king (queen?)

Eli Turkel  
A  talmid of R' HS pointed me to Mpninei Harav (p217) where he states
the reason for standing given by R' YBS is the on the way to do a
mitzvah (bikkurim) reason.  The melech only applies once he's under the
chuppah (and that's why R' YBS waited until then to put the ashes  on
the head of the chatan (that's when he becomes one)). but still stood
when the chatan was walking down.
Joel Rich 
distribution or copying of this message by anyone other than the addressee is 
strictly prohibited.  If you received this message in error, please notify us 
immediately by replying: "Received in error" and delete the message.  
Thank you.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://lists.aishdas.org/private.cgi/avodah-aishdas.org/attachments/20070729/10e6bf6d/attachment-0001.html 

Go to top.

Message: 12
From: "kennethgmiller@juno.com" <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
Date: Sun, 29 Jul 2007 18:13:49 GMT
Re: [Avodah] Tzitzis on Tisha B'Av

I'd like to thank R' Jacob Sasson, who emailed me a PDF of the 
Rivevos Ephraim #383, which I read a few times over Shabbos. From 
what I can tell, he spends the first half-page giving various 
explanations and evidences to show that the Tallis Katan should be 
hidden on Tisha B'Av morning (just as the Tallis Gadol is).

But then he concedes that none of that proves that the *tzitzis* must 
be hidden. His final line is that "those who do not hold them, and 
hide them l'gamrei on Tisha B'Av, have on whom to rely." Which sounds 
to me like saying that the ikar hadin is that the tzitzis *can* or 
*should* be held on Tisha B'Av morning, just like all year long.

This left me in a quandary - How should I relate to the common 
minhag, as expressed by ArtScroll, NOT to hold the tzitzis?

I am thus indebted to Cantor Wolberg' recent post, that on Tisha B'Av

> we don't greet one another, neither do we show affection.
> Kissing the tzitzis is a way of showing affection.  Since
> we are collective aveilim,we are in no frame of mind to be
> kissing - even tzitzis.

I think that this is a beautiful thought. Granted that it is not at 
all relevant to any of the technical reasoning or halachic 
argumentation of the Shulchan Aruch and Rivevos Efraim, but we are 
talking about Minhagim of Tisha B'Av here, and I think that a totally 
irrational and emotional response is quite appropriate.

Akiva Miller

Go to top.

Message: 13
From: "Michael Kopinsky" <mkopinsky@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 29 Jul 2007 18:00:43 -0600
Re: [Avodah] Shmitta

On 7/28/07, Dr. Josh Backon <backon@vms.huji.ac.il> wrote:

> [According to
> the Kesef Mishneh regarding living in Israel, today we *do* accept
> ger toshav].

That would require them accepting the issur of retzichah.  And if they were
ready for that, a lot of our problems would be solved!

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://lists.aishdas.org/private.cgi/avodah-aishdas.org/attachments/20070729/e351d90f/attachment.htm 

Go to top.

Message: 14
From: "Marty Bluke" <marty.bluke@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 30 Jul 2007 10:27:09 +0300
Re: [Avodah] Charedim and the army

R' Charlop (from YU) has a very interesting observation (Beis Yitzchak
5756) about the Rambam at the end of Hilchos Shemitta V'Yovel (which
is the focus of the discussion). The Rambam writes:

"v'lo rak shevet levi bilvad ela kol ish v'ish mikol baey olam asher
nadva rucho ..."

The Rambam uses the phrase "mikol baey olam". R' Charlop points out
that these words are used exclusively in both Shas and the Rambam to
refer to Jews and NON_JEWS as well. In other words, the Rambam seems
to be saying that even a non-Jew can join Shevet Levi and serve
Hashem, and therefore it is not necessarily referring to someone who
is Toraso U'mnaso, but someone who serves Hashem. This is a very big
chidush, but it seems muchrach based on the Rambam's use of the words
"kol baei olam".


Avodah mailing list

End of Avodah Digest, Vol 23, Issue 161

Send Avodah mailing list submissions to

To subscribe or unsubscribe via the World Wide Web, visit
or, via email, send a message with subject or body 'help' to

You can reach the person managing the list at

When replying, please edit your Subject line so it is more specific
than "Re: Contents of Avodah digest..."

< Previous Next >