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Volume 24: Number 1

Sun, 14 Oct 2007

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Zev Sero <zev@sero.name>
Date: Fri, 12 Oct 2007 13:06:44 -0400
Re: [Avodah] German siddur questions

Michael Poppers wrote:

> :-). For more on this issue (which both RMK and RRW appear to have a 
> handle on, and which I'm sure has been discussed exhaustively on Avodah 
> and on other fora in the past), see Section III of 
> http://www.lookstein.org/articles/veten_tal.htm.

A pretty good exposition, but there are two mistakes:

1) He writes that "most of the Jews of South America and Australia
abide to this very day" by R Chaim Shabbetai of Salonica's teshuva
to the Jews of Recife, never to say "tal umatar" in Birkat Hashanim,
and instead to insert it into Shomea Tefila as required.  I don't
know what happens in South America, whether among Sefardim or
Ashkenazim, but in Australia I've never heard of such a thing.
Every shul I've been to in Australia says Tal Umatar according to
the seasons of Bavel, despite the fact that this makes no sense at
all, because that is the minhag of all Jews of chutz laaretz.
(Unlike EY, there is no season at which rain is an unmitigated curse;
there's always *someone* who needs it.)  As for what people insert
into Shomea Tefila, of course I wouldn't know what others do, but when
I lived there I used to insert it from Pesach through 4-Dec, except
during Sukkot.


2) He starts with the fact that the September Equinox is on the 23rd,
states as fact that 23-Sep Julian = 7-Oct Gregorian, and goes from there.
Except that there are several problems with this: 

a) 23-Sep plus 13 days brings us to 6-Oct, not 7-Oct;
b) the most common date for the September Equinox is on the 22nd;
c) and most importantly, the real tekufot are not evenly spaced, but
   Cheshbon Shmuel assumes for simplicity that they are.

From Wikipedia:
"It is 94 days from the June solstice to the September equinox, but
only 89 days from the December solstice to the March equinox.  The
seasons are not of equal length because of the variable speed the
Earth has in its orbit around the Sun."

Cheshbon Shmuel allows exactly 91.3125 days for each tekufa (365.25/4);
the March Equinox, which is the important one for determining leap years,
is on the 20th or sometimes the 21st, and 182.624 days later comes to
about 19-Sep, not the 22nd or 23rd.

The key to the solution becomes apparent when one considers that Xmas
is on 25-Dec, not 21-Dec as one would expect.  I leave the actual
solution as an exercise to the reader (email me if you like).

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: 2
From: T613K@aol.com
Date: Fri, 12 Oct 2007 14:05:21 EDT
Re: [Avodah] Mitsvat Sukkah is almost unique

From: "Joseph C. Kaplan" _jkaplan@tenzerlunin.com_ 

>>RAF  writes concerning whether mikveh should be included in the mitzvot  
encompassing the entire body: "The mitzvah isn't to be in the mikveh, but to  
abstain from certain activities while tamei, and perhaps also to be as tahor  
as can be. The mikveh is the facilitator, but not the mitzvah itself.  KNLAD."

But the woman makes a bracha "asher kidshanu bemitzvotav  v'tzivanu al 
hatevilah" implying that it is the tevilah -- that is, the  immersion in the 
mikveh -- that is the mitzvah.<<

Joseph Kaplan 

Of course tevillah is a mitzva in the sense that once you became nidah,  if 
you are a married woman and if you want to be with your husband, you  have to 
go to the mikva.  But you had no chiyuv to become nidah or to be  married.  Or 
if you're a man living at the time of the Bais Hamikdash, it  would be a 
mitzva to go the mikva /if/ you had become tamei.   But you  had no chiyuv to 
become tamei!  So there is no "mitzva" to go the mikva in  the sense of "universal 
Whoever first said, "There are two mitzvos that are performed with the  
entire body" had in mind this definition of mitzva:  an obligation  incumbent upon 
everyone.  (Or, incumbent upon every Jewish man, to be  more precise.)

--Toby  Katz

************************************** See what's new at http://www.aol.com
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Message: 3
From: "Richard Wolpoe" <rabbirichwolpoe@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 12 Oct 2007 17:03:14 -0400
Re: [Avodah] German siddur questions

On 10/12/07, Zev Sero <zev@sero.name> wrote:
> But before the chazarat hashatz of Tish'a B'av there is the following
> not: "Some protest against all the additions that are written in the
> machzorim in the tefillot of all the fast days, and especially in the
> first and last three brachot, because according to the gemara one
> should say the brachot properly, and then add afterwards even like
> the order of Yom Kippur, as the community wishes."
> --
> Zev Sero

Someimtes I just don't get us Jews.

Kallir - the Judean - obviously felt that Selichos and Krovos were no
problem in the Amidah on the 9th of Ava and Purim {and mabye many even other
occasions with which I am not familiar

Seder Rav Amram Gaon - The Babylonain -points specifcally to selichos in
Slach Lanu

So Israel and Babylonia BOTH tell us the parameters of how to do hefsek in
Amidah. But the Europeans somehow figured out the Talmud better than the
major liturgists who stemmed from the 2 societies that produced the entire
Talmudic literature to begin with! There is something wrong with this
picture. How did Europeans know how to be better at the liturgy and in
understanding Talmud than those closer to the source in both time and place?

It's like I have said for years about Rambam. I would say that given a
particular difficult Rambam, The kesssef Mishnah probably had a more
authentic approach than WADR the Brisker. after all he was closer in time
and society!

Kol Tuv / Best Regards,
Please Visit:
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Message: 4
From: "Richard Wolpoe" <rabbirichwolpoe@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 12 Oct 2007 17:12:08 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Shmini Atzeret - why Sukkah YES and Lulav NO?

On 10/12/07, kennethgmiller@juno.com <kennethgmiller@juno.com> wrote:

> R' Richard Wolpoe wrote:
> > > The danger of sitting in the sukkah lesheim mitzva on Shmini
> > > Atzeres is all about b'al tosif. This sevara is held by many
> > > poskim including DerechC haim [Nsivos} YOU MUST sit because
> > > of s'feika deyoma but only ...
> >
> I admit that some poskim do write about this, but I honestly don't
> understand it. Why is the Second Day of Hoshana Raba a more difficult Bal
> Tosif than the Second Day of Pesach?

Akiva Miller


For some reason unbeknownst to me there are actually G'maras that discuss
Bal Tosif In conjunction with sitting in the Sukkah an extra day. [I saw it
once or twice during the daf but I have forgotten exactly where. iirc 1
sugya is in megillah.]

I haven't seem any Talmudic sources discuss problems with Blowing Shofar an
extra  day etc.  As above, I do not know the hilluk

Kol Tuv / Best Regards,
Please Visit:
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Message: 5
From: Daniel Eidensohn <yadmoshe@012.net.il>
Date: Sat, 13 Oct 2007 18:44:39 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Reish Lakish

Your discussion makes sense only according to the view of Doros Rishonim 
who holds that Reish Lakish was an ignoramous before he became frum. In 
this he specifically rejects the view of Tosfos (Bava Metzia 84a) that 
Reish Lakiesh was a godol before going off the derech and that R' 
Yochonon brought him back by offering him his sister in marriage if he 
came back to his original behavior.

Daniel Eidensohn

Micha Berger wrote:
> Reish Lakish makes a number of statements that seem informed by his
> being a baal teshuvah.
> For example:
> R' Yochanan, who aquired Torah over his whole life, holds that Moshe
> got the Torah piece-by-piece over the 40 years. Reish Lakish -- at
> once.
> Reish Lakish's famous statement about teshuvah mei'avahah. Who would
> know better than RL the power of regretting past wrongs against the
> Beloved to propel you to where mitzvos would have?
> And on this week's parashah (in Sanhedrin 108a): Rav Yochanan takes
> tamim hayah bedorosav as a genai; to RL, who knew what being in a
> negative environment could mean, it is shevach.
> SheTir'u baTov!
> -micha

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Message: 6
From: "Moshe Feldman" <moshe.feldman@gmail.com>
Date: Sat, 13 Oct 2007 22:32:26 +0200
[Avodah] Article on why Otzar Bet Din may be no better than

http://www.inn.co.il/Articles/Article.aspx/6950  (Hebrew, by Rav Moshe Tzuriel).

Some of the ideas in this article are found also in Rav Shaul
Yisraeli's article (Hebrew) at

Shavua tov.

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Message: 7
From: "R Wolberg" <cantorwolberg@cox.net>
Date: Sat, 13 Oct 2007 21:43:06 -0400
[Avodah] Abra(ha)m Received An A+

We all know that Abram, the progenitor of the Jewish people, was told to "Go
forth," etc. The question everyone asks is why is "lamed chof" repeated
twice. Once would have been enough. ?Lech? ? ?Go forth?. 


Many different explanations have been advanced for the double "lamed chof"
to which I?ll add another.  What is the best score one can receive? One
hundred percent. "Lamed chof" equals fifty (lamed=30 and chof=20). Lamed
chof  twice is 100.  


Abraham passed the various tests of God with flying colors.  A midrash
interprets the use of the double word to mean "Go forth to find your
authentic self, to learn who you are meant to be". So the use of the double
lamed chof informs us that he received one hundred percent!


No virus found in this outgoing message.
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Version: 7.5.488 / Virus Database: 269.14.9/1069 - Release Date: 10/13/2007
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Message: 8
From: "R Wolberg" <cantorwolberg@cox.net>
Date: Fri, 12 Oct 2007 15:39:13 -0400
[Avodah] How Bitter Can A Month Be? Bittersweet.

The month of Cheshvan is also referred to as "Mar-Cheshvan." Mar means
"bitter" - because there are no holidays this month, we allude to it as
'bitter'. However, it was the bitter wood of a tree, which Moshe used in
miraculous fashion to make the bitter waters of Marah drinkable for his
people.)  Sh'mos 15:25

The bitterness of Cheshvan is like the bitter wood of Moshe's tree and it
will make the seemingly impossible, possible, the undoable, doable, and the
non-functional, functional.

A chodesh tov to all. Let's initiate a custom to eat bittersweet chocolates
[kosher, of course] on Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan. (Wow! Two days of chocolates,
followed by a private tzom).  :-)



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Message: 9
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Sat, 13 Oct 2007 22:50:42 -0400
Re: [Avodah] How Bitter Can A Month Be? Bittersweet.

On Fri, Oct 12, 2007 at 03:39:13PM -0400, R Wolberg wrote:
: The month of Cheshvan is also referred to as "Mar-Cheshvan."...

The original name of the month is Marcheshvan, give or take some vowels
-- probably Merachshevan. Akkadian roots differ from Hebrew in that the
roles of /n/ and the semivowels /v/ and /y/ switch. So, merach would
be yareiach in Hebrew, and shevan would be shemini -- IOW, it's simply
"eight month", October.

Mar+cheshvan is a medieval midrashic folk-etymology, and not what the
Babylonians meant.

: The bitterness of Cheshvan is like the bitter wood of Moshe's tree and it
: will make the seemingly impossible, possible, the undoable, doable, and the
: non-functional, functional.

Nice vort, though.

Tishrei is Yerach ha'Eisanim, but the month of religious giants is
followed by the only month entirely of regular days. There's a lesson
there, I'm not sure what yet.

Gut Voch!

Micha Berger             A wise man is careful during the Purim banquet
micha@aishdas.org        about things most people don't watch even on
http://www.aishdas.org   Yom Kippur.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                       - Rabbi Israel Salanter

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Message: 10
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Sun, 14 Oct 2007 10:21:04 -0400
Re: [Avodah] How much Conformity to local Nusach/Mihag is

On Tue, Oct 02, 2007 at 05:30:37PM -0400, Richard Wolpoe wrote:
: How much Conformity to local Nusach/Mihag is required for Shatz and for the
: Private Worshipper? What are the parameters?  Kudos to [RMPoppers]
: for a long off-list discussion that stimluated my brain in this direction?

: Illustrations:
: Shatz:
:    1. Can he say TiskaBAL instead of TiskaBEIL
:    8. Geshem/Gashem?

: Private Worshiper:
:    5. If Artscroll has Zecher rav tuvehca, can you say Zeicher rav
:    Tuvecha?
:    6. May one shake the lulav in a differnt sequence than the tzibbur

Real world: How many people notice that he said one or the other?
How many shuls simply have a blanket "we say what's in the ArtScroll",
without really knowing whether it has a patach or a tzeirei, or whether
"umorid hageshem" or "gashem"?

RRW and RMP come from a world where shuls have hakpadah about such
details. That's rare. In most shuls today, they wouldn't notice if you
ended Qedushah with "ushvachakha E-lokeinu mipinu lo yamush" rather than

And that's the US. Most Israeli minyanim have very little standardization
between chazanim.

I therefore find it hard to relate to the question. How can one talk
about violating minhagim most shuls don't bother setting one?

This is similar to the idea I was trying to convey when I lamented about
the large number of people who aspire to say Berikh Shemei but are already
unwinding for leining (or their bein gavra legavra chat). People simply
don't care.

You're asking whether one's silence would be noticable enough to be
perishah min hatzibur. I look around the shul and don't see enough
conformity for one person's silence to stand out much.

The halakhah lemaaseh question is whether a minyan is required to be that
consistent in nusakh; not whether one may violate a level on consistency
most shuls (outside of Bennet Ave) don't have.

This is lamentable. To my mind, primarily because it means the rav never
taught the mispallelim peirush hamilim and what difference one vs the
other makes. People with a greater feeling for minhag avos would object
for more primary reasons.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Like a bird, man can reach undreamed-of
micha@aishdas.org        heights as long as he works his wings.
http://www.aishdas.org   But if he relaxes them for but one minute,
Fax: (270) 514-1507      he plummets downward.   - Rav Yisrael Salanter

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Message: 11
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Sun, 14 Oct 2007 11:08:04 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Tea before Shacharis

(In case you're wondering, the digest number on Areivim got incremented
by personal error. So, I incremented Avodah's to bring them back in
sync. In the future, expect a new digest each Gregorian year. -mi)

In v23n213, on Wed, 3 Oct 2007 00:19:09 EDT, RRW <rabbirichwolpoe@gmail.com>
: Conuncdrum
: Davening according to most poskim is erabbanan
: DAvening according to a set time is universally derabbana
: Yet a passuk is used to porhibit eating before davening - lo sa'amod al dam
: iirc

Well, it /could/ be an asmachta. Or the source showing the basic value
motivating a derabbban. But, I don't think so. Rather...

: A friend once e-mailed me that  any brach gets past theis d'oraissa
: requirement. how can  this be?

A davar shebiqdushah requires a minyan, via a torturous gezeirah shavah
that the Y-mi and Bavli can't agree on. (But both have a two-step

And yet, Borkhu, Qaddish, Qedushah, etc... are all deRabbanan.

HQBH defined a category, the Chakhamim implemented instances of that

Similarly, Hashem established a priority, and once Shacharis was
mandated, it fell subject to that prioritization.

On Wed, Oct 03, 2007 at 12:56:54PM +0000 (no, I can not explain why this time
is recorded in GMT, but RRW's above is in EDT) RAM <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
: I'm not so sure. I think it's a pretty safe bet that RSZA said Birkas
: HaTorah prior to Tehillim, and if so, then V'haarev Na is *not* enough.
: I wonder why? What do those psukim have that v'haarev lacks? Could it
: be that davening for ruchniyus does not meet the definition of bakasha? I
: don't know...

Perhaps the whole point of tefillah before akhillah is that one ask for
siyata diShmayah for one's physical needs befrore trying to address them
oneself? In which case, it would make sense that the baqashah must be
closer to the subject of food than birkhas haTorah.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             A sick person never rejects a healing procedure
micha@aishdas.org        as "unbefitting." Why, then, do we care what
http://www.aishdas.org   other people think when dealing with spiritual
Fax: (270) 514-1507      matters?              - Rav Yisrael Salanter


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