Avodah Mailing List

Volume 23: Number 223

Wed, 10 Oct 2007

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Joseph Kaplan <jkaplan@tenzerlunin.com>
Date: Tue, 9 Oct 2007 21:55:12 -0400
[Avodah] Mitsvat Sukkah is almost unique

REMT Writes: "I have seen it written in the name of the Vilner Gaon  
that the only two mitzvos encompassing the entire body are sukkah and  
yishuv Eretz Yisrael, with which he associated the pasuk "Vayhi  
v'shaleim --sukko um'onaso b'Tziyon."  When I heard R. Riskin quote  
that in a public lecture many years ago, one woman in the audience  
called out:  "what about mikvah?"  R. Riskin then added that to his  

Joseph Kaplan

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Message: 2
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Wed, 10 Oct 2007 02:34:02 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Mitsvat Sukkah is almost unique - continued

On Wed, Oct 03, 2007 at 08:51:29AM +0200, Esther and Aryeh Frimer wrote:
: I believe it was Rav Kook ZT"L who noted that Sukkah and Yishuv Eretz
: Yisrael are the only Mitzvot which one fulfills even with the mud on
: ones shoes.

I would think the Sefer haChareidim would be a canonical place to check
such things. Had I owned one.

Tir'u baTov!

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Message: 3
From: "Richard Wolpoe" <rabbirichwolpoe@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 9 Oct 2007 22:16:30 -0400
Re: [Avodah] reasons for mitzvot

On 10/9/07, Eli Turkel <eliturkel@gmail.com> wrote:
> An old question is the connection between reasons for mitzvot and
> their observance.
> kol tuv
> --
> Eli Turkel

My Yore Deiah Rebbe - R. Yosef Weiss - decried production-linee shechita as
removing the sensitivity required in taking a life. He posited that a reason
for Shechita was to contemplate how serious it is to take animal's life by
adding a lot of highly riualized steps.  And by  making production lines, it
has devolved into something akin to making a Model T. The feeling and
seriousness is gone - especially for fowl.

There are those who say: "We are ONLY concerned with the Halacha and not the
possible ta'amei Hamitzvos". But I think Eli T. has a valid point; that a
good chunk of of what Torah and Mitzvos is about is to make us better
people.  Circumventing this with modern technology can rob us of the
spiritual essence or economic benefit of a mitzva..

Kol Tuv / Best Regards,
Please Visit:
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Message: 4
From: Zev Sero <zev@sero.name>
Date: Tue, 09 Oct 2007 23:49:48 -0400
Re: [Avodah] mechitza

Moshe Y. Gluck wrote:

> Not everyone agrees that the Halachah has changed - one Rav I know is of the
> opinion that while meritorious, there is no Chiyuv for women to hear
> Parashas Zachor, and he thus refuses to allow the Sefer Torah to be taken
> out on Shabbos afternoon for a second, women's, reading.

I don't understand this.  Even if there's no chiyuv, what's wrong with
taking out a sefer?  Even on stam a Wednesday, with no mitzvah whatsoever,
can't one take out a sefer torah just to learn chumash from it?

Zev Sero               Something has gone seriously awry with this Court's
zev@sero.name          interpretation of the Constitution.
                       	                          - Clarence Thomas

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Message: 5
From: Zev Sero <zev@sero.name>
Date: Wed, 10 Oct 2007 00:05:43 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Don't Blow Out the Candles and Make a Wish

Saul.Z.Newman@kp.org wrote:
> dr levine says the excitement level of candles would make the blowing 
> out candles ok.  r blumenkrantz  zl  in his pesach annual disagrees...

There's a Jewish minhag against blowing out candles at any time, not
just on birthday cakes.   I've heard two reasons:
1) something vague to do with ner h' nishmat adam, but I've never heard
it explained exactly what the connection was between that and blowing out;
2) if you blow a candle out you may inhale droplets of molten tallow.
Reason 2 makes a lot more sense, but of course would not apply to our
paraffin candles.

Zev Sero               Something has gone seriously awry with this Court's
zev@sero.name          interpretation of the Constitution.
                       	                          - Clarence Thomas

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Message: 6
From: "SBA" <sba@sba2.com>
Date: Thu, 11 Oct 2007 00:12:19 +1000
Re: [Avodah] Vayoel Moshe- misrepresntations

From: Dov Bloom < >
For anyone bothered or interested by seeming misrepresentations by the
Satmar Rebbe in VaYoel Moshe,  I would suggest they study HaTekufa HaGedola
by R Menachem Mendel Kasher, ..This work is in many ways an answer to the
shitot of the SR, showing how the predominant opinions in Chazal, Rishonim
Achronim and Gedolim in the last few generations are in great
contradistinction to the SR's hashkafa. 


Being one of the old-timers here, let me inform the newbies that this topic
has been discussed a number of times.

I attach something that I wrote about 6 years ago - and BH saved on my
computer. I have sent it privately previously to a number of our chevra
but AFAIK haven't had an opportunity to post it. I suggest that anyone
relying on HH to upshlog the VM - is deluding himself.

(And yes, I definitely agree that both seforim should be studied together
- especially by talmidei chachomim.)

I have only browsed both seforim and am far from impressed with the HH.
Eg, something that caught my eye was the flippant way he deals with
VM p. 90 (siman 75) where he talks about how those who claim that seeing
that the goyim didn't fulfill there part of the 3 shevuos (not to be too
'cruel' to Yidden) therefore we too are released for keeping the oaths. The
birur in VM takes up 9 full pages.

And the HH's upshlog? A 2-liner comment in the notes of p. 176 !!

Even worse, he follows it with some nasty/childish comment about the VM's
quote from the Hagada of Rav Shlomo Kliger and deliberately leaves out the
bulk of the VM's words. 

Anyone doubting me is invited to look up - the original in VM p. 98 (dh
Uka'eis) and the read the HH's note on page 176.

I wouldn't be surprised to learn that this is R' Kasher's style throughout
his sefer and the reason why (except for some in the RZ world) - the HH has
been totally disregarded. After all, many/most charedim are not davka Satmar
Chassidim or kanoim and often disagree with the VM (eg voting for Knesset),
But you will never see any of them using the HH as a tana demesaye.

>>>Chapter 13 for instance rejects the view of "sefer echad" who said that
leaving churches standing in the Old City after 1967 is "lo ta'avdum vehu
bichlal yehareg ve-al yaavor ... ". This unnamed "sefer echad" concludes
that the conquerers of the old city in 67 thus became ovdei AZ mamash. RMMK
shows this is incorrect.

Sure. Please look up the VM -siman 90 (p. 106- 111) where he cites Rishonim
and Achronim on this matter and then see the HH's response 9p 260-271).

>>Conclusion: Dont learn VM without HaTekufa HaGedola! 

Farkert, don't learn HH without checking every single quote he brings from
the VM - to see whether it is in context or is completely and shamelessly
twisted and distorted as per above examples.

And to give you a proper perspective of the reliability of HH, here is what
I wrote around 6 years ago:


The Misrepresentations of Hatekufah Hagedolah

Following the mention here (again) of the sefer Hatekufah Hagedolah by R.
Mendel Kasher, and its use by many as a 'Mareh Mokom' for "religious"
pro-zionist views and even as proof of Charedi acceptance of the "Aschalta
DeGeula" concept, my attention has been brought to the sefer "MiKatowitz ad
Hei B'Iyar" by well known Yerushalmi lawyer/to'en rabboni R' Zvi Weinman,
who (amongst other topics) deals quite severely with the HH -
revealing deliberate misquotes and deletions of its author - resulting
in complete misrepresentation and falsification of the facts (bimechilas
k'vod toroso).

Despite the respect for his monumental Torah Sheleimo, many have been
uncomfortable with RMK's Mizrachi-style views as stated in HH, and which
have made him into something of an ideologue in Religious zionist circles.
At the time of its publication the tone and content of his sefer upset some
and not surprisingly, the Beis Din of the Edah Charedis,  led by Rav Pinchos
Epstein z'l, issued a warning against the reading the HH, labelling it as
'Deyos Kozvos' and adding that 'shahneh minus d'moshcheh..."

But, it is doubtful if even those who railed against him at the time,
expected RMK to resort to doctoring and censoring material to
'manufacture' evidence for his ideas.

It seems surprising that a person with his vast knowledge required the use
of misleading and deceptive information to prove his case. 
And if a layman like RZW can cut right through important historical facts of
his book, one must wonder what a Talmid Chochom could do to the
mareh-mekomos used in the rest of HH?
(Those who complain about Artscroll  altering/deleting pro-zionist
sentiments in some of their publications, may be surprised to learn that it
doesn't come anywhere near the distortions that RZW reveals in the HH!)

RZW goes to the heart of the Kol Koreh and printed in HH, p.374, which is a
call to vote for the Chazit Datit Me'uchedet, and featuring the notion of
"Aschalta DeGeulah" following the establishment of the state of israel.

This KK is signed by chief rabbis Herzog and Uziel plus over 150 rabbis and
Roshei Yeshivos - a number of them highly respected in the Charedi world.

The propaganda value of this KK can be seen from the fact that it is
referred to by RMK again and again as clear and open 'proof' that even the
Charedi gedolim accepted the Aschalta Degeula status of the new israel.
(BTW, I have yet to see proof for any sighting of a repeat of this comment
by these gedolim.)

However RZW goes further in his book (from p. 131) and discusses the
background to this and the 2 other Kol Korehs of the time (one by the
Admorim and another by Roshei Yeshivos - neither which mention Aschalta
DeGeula). He also notes that the AD'G-Kol Koreh was only published in the
Mizrachi newspaper Hatzofeh - and NOT in the Agudist press (obviously they
would have 'smelled a rat.').

Upon investigating the matter and contacting some of these signatories for
their explanation, he found that they NEVER SIGNED THIS Kol Koreh!

The modus operandi of the organizers for the KK was simple. They mailed out
the text of that KK, notifying the recipients that anyone who does not send
in an objection, will have his name added to it. 
This explains - writes RZ Weiman - the signature of Rav Menachem
Kooperstock, who had passed away TWO AND A HALF YEARS prior to the date on
the KK!!!   He simply couldn't object...

RZW comprehensively debunks RMKasher's statements (p.231) that "k'mat kol
gedolei hatorah vechol Rshei Yeshivos bo'oretz" accepted the concept of
AD'G, and: "...kovu v'ishru 200 rabbonim miyisroel kimat kol rabbonei
ho'oretz gam chavrei Agudas Yisroel (milvad HaNeturei Karta)..  hashkofas
daas hatorah merabonei ho'oretz bli pipukim vechashoshos...shehakomas medina
hi...kehashgocho protis min hashomayim K'ASCHALTA D'GEULA." (HH page 387)

RZW says that these quotes from HH are regularly used by those who need it,
to prove that the Gedolei Yisroel accepted the AD'G. 
(So I was not surprised to see in my  copy of HH that RM Kasher considered
this KK so important, that he refers the reader to it - **right at the
beginning of his book** - even before his foreword!)

RZW continues, that not only did he speak to the Gedolim, who denied ever
signing such a KK, but - after much effort - found the original document -
with the signatures...and of course the document with signatures NEVER has
the words "Aschalta DeGeula" on it!

The actual words there are (reproduced in his book):    "...hanitzonim
horishonim shel KIBBUTZ GOLIYOS..." 
(The HH version: "...hanitzonim horishonim shel ASCHALTA DEGEULA."!!!)

(Incidentally, RZW adds, that at that time no one yet had any idea that this
"kibbutz goliyos" would also cause with the mass Haavora al hadass in the
Olim camps.)

RZW notes (p.144) that his criticisms of the HH were originally published in
the Z'eirei Agudas Yisroel monthly Digleinu (Shvat 5738) - whilst RMK was
alive, but he obviously wouldn't or couldn't respond. 
(This is despite the fact that at the end of his foreword, RMK invited

On the subject of ADG, RZW brings the words of two disparate leaders of the
Charedi world, the Lubavitcher Rebbe z'l and the Ponowitz Rosh Yeshiva
Rav Shach zt'l who comprehensively dismiss the view that israel is either a
geula or an aschalta degeula.

(If anyone has any doubts on this point, here are the words of  
Professor  A. Ravitzky, in his book Messianism, Zionism and Jewish Religious
Radicalism (1996 by The University of Chicago).

"...For example, the late Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel
Schneersohn (1902-94), explicitly stated: "The period in which we are now
living is not the beginning of the redemption, and the aliyah of many Jews
to the Holy Land is not the ingathering of the exiles, but rather the
possibility of rescuing many Jews during the time of exile... The false
redemption does not allow the true redemption to be revealed, for those who
think that they are already living in the redemption do not perform the
(religious) actions required for the going forth from exile and the
revealing of the true redemption; they cause the rolongation of the Exile,
the exile of the individual, the exile of the community, the exile of all
Israel, and the exile of the Shekhinah."

Similarly, his outstanding critic Rabbi Eliezer Menahem Schach, the leader
of the Lithuanian rashi yeshivot in Israel, declared, "The Jewish people is
still in exile, until the arrival of the redeemer, even when it is in Eretz
Israel; this is neither redemption nor the beginning of the redemption..."
Ad kaan leshono (of Ravitzky).
For more please click here: 


and prejudices caused him to censor/misquote and misrepresent facts in an
article in the Rabbanut publication "Shono Beshonoh", in order to give the
impression that his pro-zionist views were not in conflict with the majority
of the Gedolei Yisroel.

He further brings (photostatic) proof from an article in the Rabbinic
journal "Hapardes" on the Knessiya Gedola in Marienbad in 1937 reporting the
7-hour discussion on the question of a Jewish state, which was blatantly and
unashamedly doctored by RMK, to give the impression that the only rabbonim
against, were those from Hungary and Czechoslovakia (and conveniently
deleting/censoring the names of RE Wasserman, RA Kotler and Rav Rottenberg
of Antwerp.) 
He also deleted the sentence that those voting against - held this view
under ALL CIRCUMSTANCES - even if such a medina was built upon 'yesodos
hadass', because, this (an independent state) would be "Kefirah b'emunas
bias hamoshiach..." and especially one built "...al yesodos hakefirah,
venimtza shem shomayim mischalell."

In page 286 he also shows how RMK in HH distorted the words of the Gerer
Rebbe (Imrei Emes) z'l at that meeting.

Another person who published (in 5729) an attack on RMK is Rav Moshe
Sternbuch shlit'a who was then a Rosh Kollel, living in Bnei Brak. His main
aim is the Kol Hator which RMK attached to HH - claiming it is the work of
Rav Hillel Shklaver z'l purporting to be the views of the Gr"o z'l on
Inyonei Geula etc - which somehow fit in very nicely with the views of HH. 
RM Sternbuch notes that the clear evidence that the entire sefer is not from
the Gr"o or his students is the fact that it contains many modern Hebrew
words and it is therefore unclear what is from the original and what was
added later. In his opinion Kol Hator should not have been published - being
a "Dovor She'eino Mesukan".

He also expresses his surpise at RMKasher who ignored the Cherem Hakadmonim
issued by the Bes Din of Vilna after the petira of the Gr"o not to publish
anything in his name without the haskomo of the Bes Din..

RMS continues that RMK well knows the opinion of "rov minyan ubinyan gedolei
hador hakodem vedorenu" (including RC Brisker, REC Meisels, RE Wasserman,
RBB Leibowitz, RA Kotler and most of the gedolei Hachasidus) on these
matters. But he disregards them and only brings those who are leshitoso.

RMS then goes on to prove that even in this version of KH there are many
rayos which clearly disprove RMK ideas in HH and goes as far as calling him
a 'megaleh ponim beTorah shelo kehalocho"! 
His 'maamar' runs approximately 10 pages with point after point 
disproving RMK's pshat in the KH and the Gr"o's shittos.

Hayotze Lonu Mizeh, that it's more than obvious that when it came to stand
up for his prejudices, RM Kasher was quite prepared to openly and/or
surreptitiously doctor, censor and distort the facts. Thus, IMHO, his book
should not be used as serious proof for any debate on matters relating to
the medina and the views of the Gedolei Yisroel. And, as mentioned
previously, all his rayos etc misforim vesofrim must be double and triple
checked - before being quoted as "Toras Emes".

It seems to me that this distortion and misrepresentation shows that even
this renowned Torah scholar knew that without doing so he could never
convince the (Torah) world that an independent medina prior to bias
hamoshiach was the ideal choice of the recognised gedolim.

And of course he relied on the hope that those looking in his sefer will not
look up his 'sources'


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Message: 7
From: David Riceman <driceman@att.net>
Date: Wed, 10 Oct 2007 12:40:44 -0400
Re: [Avodah] mechitza [was: heter mechira produce]

Gershon Dubin wrote:
>  Much more likely that women never even showed up in shul;  those few 
> who did
> were probably in a separate room.
See Rama OH 88:1.

David Riceman

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Message: 8
From: "Michael Kopinsky" <mkopinsky@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 10 Oct 2007 13:34:41 -0400
Re: [Avodah] mechitza

On 10/9/07, Zev Sero <zev@sero.name> wrote:
> Moshe Y. Gluck wrote:
> > Not everyone agrees that the Halachah has changed - one Rav I know is of
> the
> > opinion that while meritorious, there is no Chiyuv for women to hear
> > Parashas Zachor, and he thus refuses to allow the Sefer Torah to be
> taken
> > out on Shabbos afternoon for a second, women's, reading.
> I don't understand this.  Even if there's no chiyuv, what's wrong with
> taking out a sefer?  Even on stam a Wednesday, with no mitzvah whatsoever,
> can't one take out a sefer torah just to learn chumash from it?

To learn chumash, yes.  To hold a k'rias hatorah b'tzibbur, many poskim hold

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Message: 9
From: Zev Sero <zev@sero.name>
Date: Wed, 10 Oct 2007 14:01:33 -0400
Re: [Avodah] mechitza [was: heter mechira produce]

David Riceman wrote:
> Gershon Dubin wrote:
>>  Much more likely that women never even showed up in shul;  those few 
>> who did
>> were probably in a separate room.
> See Rama OH 88:1.

This is from a much later period.  In the Rema's time and place there
were women's galleries in shuls (though in many cases these were
practically separate rooms, from which it was difficult or impossible
to hear and see what was going on in the men's shul). 

Zev Sero               Something has gone seriously awry with this Court's
zev@sero.name          interpretation of the Constitution.
                       	                          - Clarence Thomas

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Message: 10
From: Zev Sero <zev@sero.name>
Date: Wed, 10 Oct 2007 14:16:08 -0400
Re: [Avodah] mechitza

Michael Kopinsky wrote:
> On 10/9/07, *Zev Sero* <zev@sero.name <mailto:zev@sero.name>> wrote:

>> I don't understand this.  Even if there's no chiyuv, what's wrong with
>> taking out a sefer?  Even on stam a Wednesday, with no mitzvah
>> whatsoever, can't one take out a sefer torah just to learn chumash from
>> it? 

> To learn chumash, yes.  To hold a k'rias hatorah b'tzibbur, many poskim 
> hold not.

On what grounds?  At the very least, it *is* limmud hatorah, isn't it?
How does the presence of an audience make it worse?

Zev Sero               Something has gone seriously awry with this Court's
zev@sero.name          interpretation of the Constitution.
                       	                          - Clarence Thomas

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Message: 11
From: "Moshe Feldman" <moshe.feldman@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 10 Oct 2007 23:10:01 +0200
[Avodah] Rav Kook's sefer, with additional notes, online

Shabbat Ha'aretz with notes by Machon HaTorah v'Ha'aretz ("Tosefet Shabbat"):

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Message: 12
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Wed, 10 Oct 2007 19:06:07 -0400 (EDT)
Re: [Avodah] literalism

On Tue, October 9, 2007 6:49 pm, R Richard Wolpoe wrote:
: Correct it's all about semantics
: but to me literal avoids the idiomatic

This was a point I was going to make as well.

The description of churban bayis sheni that "Blood flowed like a
river" isn't guzma when "flowed like a river" was a common idiom in
the language of the time.

How often does someone say "I couldn't care less" to mean they care
very little, but less is actually possible? Or even odder, using "I
could care less" to mean the same?

More to our point: "he flew" for "he ran incredibly quickly". If you
encountered these phrases in an English book, would you call it
metaphor, a non-literal take on the text, to assert the author meant
"he ran"?

That's not to say I think Chazal were always literal, including idiom.
I believe meshalim were a way to relay TSBP in writing without fully
violating the "i ata reshai". It was also usual for the period to
relay deeper truths this way; it allows for more emotional impact than
simple description and for more insight through further study of the
mashal. The same reason why mashal is common in poetry.

When speaking of nevu'ah, nevu'ah is through chazon -- metaphor is the
stock of trade. And when giving tokhachah, which nevi'im did more than
anything else, guzma is also a tool of choice (when not used to the
point of allowing a person to dismiss the whole message as absurd).

SheTir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             One who kills his inclination is as though he
micha@aishdas.org        brought an offering. But to bring an offering,
http://www.aishdas.org   you must know where to slaughter and what
Fax: (270) 514-1507      parts to offer.        - R' Simcha Zissel Ziv

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Message: 13
From: RallisW@aol.com
Date: Wed, 10 Oct 2007 18:23:14 EDT
[Avodah] "Es Yom HaShmini Ho'Atzeres Hazeh"

Rabbi Burton Wax of Cong. Ezras Israel in  Chicago:
There are several problems with the Rema and with your  analogies.  
First of all, there are three holidays referred to as  Atzeret.  One is to 
the seventh day of Pesach.  Another is  Shavuot.  The third is Shmini Atzeret.  
The first two are definitely  in the category of CHAG.  So if nothing else, we 
have a gezera shava  "atzeret - atzeret" to include Shmini Atzeret as a chag.
Second, if you look in Parashat Pinchas, where all of the  chaggim and their 
respective korbanot are listed, in the last item (Eighth  Day...) it says:  
Bayom Hashmini (stop) Atzeret ti'yeh  lachem....
Since this pasuk is part of the listing of all of the chaggim,  obviously 
Atzeret is the name of this holiday of the eighth day.
This is also why I believe that those who say Shmini Chaga  Hatzeret Hazeh 
are more correct than those who say  Shmini Atzeret HaChag Hazeh.

There is a fasincating Rema [orach chaim 668:1] re:
"es Yom HaShimni hag  Ho'atzeres hazeh"
Rmea states this is NOT a hag at all! It reall should  say:
"es Yom HaShmini Ho'atzeres Hazeh"

Wow!  the psychological  paradigm shift when I first saw this!. Could the
Rema Be RIGHT? All of our  siddurim, benchers, etc. are wrong?  Didn't the
Rema see  Artscroll,  Birnbaum, Heidenheim etc.  Was the Rema from some  other

This psychology that I had experienced is about forcing  the read to fit our
comfort zone paradigm. Of course the Rema had none of the  above
praeyrbookss. So, what DID he have? The Rema had a Humash [or Tanach] -  and
guess what! Lo and Behold the Humash NEVER uses the term hag in  conjunction
with Shmini Atzeres!  [Chalk one up for the  Rema!]

Now, after seeing the Rema on HIS level, what's his point?   As the G'mara
often does with a Tanna, we try to articulate HIS sevara. And  based upon
what the Rema SAYS, the sevara is this " the terminology of those  4 holidays
is Humash-based!"   And therefore adding the term Hag is  WRONG, because it
does not fit the structure because it is inconsistent with  the sources

Now I know FEW who follow this Rema, nevertheless his  underlying
presumptions are really usefu and probably valid for even those  who  do not
follow his decision:

1. He posits that  the format of the terminology must be consistent at
some  level.  Whether or not it adheres to the Humash model per se,  may
indeed be quibbled, but this assumption that it is a level  field is mashma
2. The  Rema - a  Traditionalist - was more concerned with this
consistency then  the familiar text.
3. The Rema was VERY sensitive to the text.  And he picked up upon a
contradiction that few would notice.  [well few non-yekkes would notice :-)]
4. I suppose that the  Rema might see other structures as having
similar  consistencies

************************************** See what's new at http://www.aol.com
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