Avodah Mailing List

Volume 24: Number 60

Mon, 19 Nov 2007

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: "Chana Luntz" <chana@kolsassoon.org.uk>
Date: Sun, 18 Nov 2007 12:18:55 -0000
Re: [Avodah] Vayeitze "Watch Whom You Marry"

RDE writes:

> regarding sources of tzadikim being protected from sin. Some 
> are found in my sefer Daas Torah page 269-271

Yes but these sources only deepen my question.  Why is it that when dealing
with this issue, none of this rishonim refer to the pasuk in Mishlei as
quoted in Yevamos 121a?  That is, why is this whole discussion (and as to
whether it applies only to a tzaddik inadvertently eating forbidden foods)
discussed in the context of  the statement that even the animals of
tzaddikim won't lead a person into sin, when there seems to be this whole
other line of discussion on this topic, which involves a pasuk, noch, and
which seems to be being ignored?  Wouldn't you at least have expected a
reference to these cases and the pasuk as well in the context of this

By the way, on checking the other uses of the pasuk in Mishlei in the
gemora, it would seem that two of them (the reference in Chullin 59a and in
Avodah Zara 39a) do relate to avoiding eating forbidden food, while the
other two, the one in Yevamos 121a that I originally found and in Nida 65a)
do not.

Kind regards


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Message: 2
From: "Marty Bluke" <marty.bluke@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 18 Nov 2007 16:43:55 +0200
Re: [Avodah] Vayeitze "Watch Whom You Marry"

<S.. "Taryag mitzvos shomarti" is shverr even without Yakov marrying two
sisters.? NO ONE can do all 613 -- unless you are a man, a woman, a kohen, a
levi, a Yisrael, a king, a judge, a witness, the brother in law of a
<childless widow, and so on, all at the same time.??

There are a number of answers I will mention 2.

1. Yaakov was referring to those mitzvos that are shekula k'neged kol
hamitzvos, like talmud torah, tzitzis, etc. He meant that he kept
those mitzvos and therefore it was as if he had kept all 613.
2. By the Bris nein habesarim Avraham asks Hashem based on what will
his children be zoche? Hashem answered bizchs hakorbanos. Avraham then
asked, what about when there is no Beis Hamikdash and no korbanos?
Hashem answered that if we say (learn) the korbanos it is considered
as if we were makriv them. This is why we daven musaf on Shabbos and
Yom Tov and mention the Musafim, u'nshalma parim sefaseinu.

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Message: 3
From: "Jonathan Baker" <jjbaker@panix.com>
Date: Sun, 18 Nov 2007 17:46:23 -0500 (EST)

> : On Fri, 16 Nov 2007 09:08:14 -0700 Menachem Posner 
> : >Does anyone know of a definitive ruling as to whether a Chanukah 
> : >menorah may or may not be shaped in a semi circle? Or rather, why 
> : >is it that no orthodox Jews ever use such Menorahs since there is 
> : >no apparent reason why not to?
> : R' Seth Mandel posted an excellent discussion of the shape of the 
> : Menorah in the BhM on Avodah, you can find it in the archives:
> I thought the original question  was about the shape of a Chanikiyah's
> lamps -- need they be arranged in a line or is a semicircle also okay.


(IIRC Mishneh Brurah cites) Chayei Adam 154:10, who says yes, because
people would put wicks around the edges of a plate and put a pool of oil
in the middle, as a lamp.  There has to be some visible difference between
the wicks, either by putting another plate on top so the wicks appear to be
separate, or by separating each wick by at least an inch, although bedieved
even not so far apart, and without another plate on top, it's OK because 
that's what people do (vechen nohagin).

My great-aunt J. Goldfarb, one of the Orthodox aunts, used a semi-circular
menorah - a flat disk, with the candleholders arranged around the edge.

Chayei Adam is pretty clear that wicks in a circle is less than ideal.

        name: jon baker              web: http://www.panix.com/~jjbaker
     address: jjbaker@panix.com     blog: http://thanbook.blogspot.com

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Message: 4
From: "kennethgmiller@juno.com" <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
Date: Mon, 19 Nov 2007 00:22:34 GMT
Re: [Avodah] Was Lavan daft, dense or what?

R' Arie Folger wrote:
> Purported atheists often challenge believers with the
> question why G"d doesn't show himself more clearly. However,
> teaches the Torah, experience shows us that such signs are
> usually irrelevant.

One Shabbos morning several years ago, R' Eliyahu Teitz made this exact point to our shul. Why doesn't G-d reveal Himself to us? "Because it doesn't work!!!" and then he brought example after example from the Dor HaMidbar to prove it.

Akiva Miller

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Message: 5
From: T613K@aol.com
Date: Sun, 18 Nov 2007 19:28:26 EST

From: "Menachem Posner" _menachemp@juno.com_ (mailto:menachemp@juno.com) 

>>Incidentally,  I understand that the Lubavitcher rebbe?s preference of 
straight arms over  circular ones was only since he saw the circular ones as an 
outgrowth of  non-Jewish, mistaken beliefs (such as Shaar Titus) not as a 
requirement in the  mitzvah of Chanukah. In fact the Chabad Minhag is to use a 
menorah with a back,  and no arms, so that there is no ambiguity as to which side 
is the right  side.<<

1.  I very much doubt that the curved arms of the menorah on the Arch  of 
Titus were the product of a "mistaken belief" about how the menorah in the  bhm"k 
looked.  The Romans actually /had/ looted the menorah and really did  carry 
it through the streets of Rome -- they knew what it looked like. Also, all  the 
many ancient depictions of the menorah -- on old tiled  synagogue floors, for 
example -- all show the menorah with curved  arms.  The straight-arm look has 
a decidedly modern, technological and IMO  aesthetically displeasing look to 
2.  You say that "the Chabad Minhag is to use a menorah with a  back, and no 
arms."  You must be from the old-line Chabad.  That  probably /used/ to be the 
Chabad minhag but the current "ancient" ten-year-old  Chabad minhag is to 
have ALL the Chanuka menorahs with those modernistic  straight arms. 
3.  To make it clear what we're talking about -- we're talking about  arms 
that curve, but the tops, i.e., the flames, are all in a  straight line. To have 
the row of flames form a semi-circle would seem  to be halachically 
problematic.  As you know, the shamash has to be in  a different line from all the 
other lights -- higher or lower OR FORWARD of the  other lights.  If the other 
lights can be some forward, some backward, then  the placing of the shamash 
becomes problematic.


--Toby  Katz

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Message: 6
From: Dov Kay <dov_kay@hotmail.co.uk>
Date: Mon, 19 Nov 2007 10:36:10 +0000
[Avodah] Semi-circle menorah

In fact the Chabad Minhag is to use a menorah with a back, and no arms, so that there is no ambiguity as to which side is the right side.
Assuming that you position your menorah at a window and you use a menorah with a back, it will only be visible by either those inside or those outside, but not both.  If it faces inside and you hold that the pirsumei nisa (PN) is exclusively for the b'nei bayis, then what's the point of placing it at the window in the first place?  Put it on your table.   If you hold that the PN is exclusively for those outside, as in the times of the Gemara, it should be placed outside the front door (which I assume is also not minhag Chabad).  
The custom of placing it at the window only makes sense if we recognise the value of PN for both those inside and those outside, presumably with the ikar PN being for the b'nei bayis in accordance with the opinion of Tosfos.  Mima nafshach, placing a back-less menorah at the window makes no sense, l'oniyus daati.
Kol tuv
Dov Kay
Feel like a local wherever you go.
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Message: 7
From: "areivim@sba2.com" <areivim@sba2.com>
Date: Sun, 18 Nov 2007 21:43:36 -0500

From: "Menachem Posner" <> 
.. I was a asking whether having the lights arranged in a straight row is
preferred to a semi-circular or curved arrangement. In other words, is a
semi circle problematic in terms of being k?madurah? 

See KSA 139:9: "Haneros yihyu beshureh achas beshaveh lo echad gavoah
ve'echad namuch.."
which one could read as you say. However he goes on to say that a dish full
of oil surrounded by wicks and is covered - it's OK. Ayen shom.


mail2web - Check your email from the web at

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Message: 8
From: RallisW@aol.com
Date: Sun, 18 Nov 2007 21:26:23 EST
[Avodah] Borchu UVoruch Shemo between Borchu and Shmono Esreh

Is there any support for those who answer Borchu UVoruch Shemo  between 
Borchu and Shmono Esreh? Why is it so ingrained in a lot of  people?
BTW What is the most neglected Omein in Tefilloh? Either V'aazor or  
V'Sigoleh and the following ...vnomar Omein before Krias HaTorah. How many  answer 

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Message: 9
From: RallisW@aol.com
Date: Sun, 18 Nov 2007 23:44:38 EST
[Avodah] Netilat Yadayim

Rabbi Douglas Aronin asks:
I recently had a conversation with a couple of people who had grown up in  
(different) Sephardic communities, and both said that in their experience in  
Sephardi homes, only men washed before motzi; women did not.

I had never  heard that before.  Does anyone know how widespread this 
practice and  whether it has any textual basis?

Reply to _daronin@prodigy.net_ (mailto:daronin@prodigy.net) 

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Message: 10
From: Galsaba@aol.com
Date: Sun, 18 Nov 2007 19:22:16 EST
[Avodah] Tum'at Yadayim

Takanat Chachamim that Sefer Torah makes hands to be secondary Tumeah.
Sefer Metamei Yadaim Lihyot Sheniyot.
What about the Seffer Torah itself.
Is it Tamei? or just Metamei?
The Gemara (Berachos 22a) where R. Yehudah ben Beseira said, "The words of 
Torah do not receive Tum'ah". This is learned from Yirmiyahu 23:29 - "are not 
all my words like fire, said Hashem?". Just as fire does not receive Tum'ah, so 
too the words of Torah cannot become impure - also, the Beis Yosef OC 88 DH 
On the other side, in Masechet Yadayim Perek Gimmel Mishna Beit (3:2):  
"Ammar Lahem, VeHalo Kitvei Hakodedh Sheniyim, Metameim Eith Hayadayim"
so, here Rav Yehoshua says Beifeirush that Kitvei Kodesh Sheniyim ("secondary 
to Tumeah").
What is the understanding? can sefer be Shenni Letumah, as can be understood 
from Masechet Yadayim?
Or it is always Tahor as can be understood from Gemarah, Berachot?

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Message: 11
From: "Moshe Feldman" <moshe.feldman@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 19 Nov 2007 14:08:29 +0200
[Avodah] segulah of reciting Parshas Va'yishlach

Someone told me that the Maharil cites a custom that a Jew who anticipates
an encounter with heathen authorities recites as a precautionary segulah
measure Parashas Vayishlach (up to and not including the episode with
Shechem and Dinah) on the Motzaei Shabbos beforehand.


Kol tuv,




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Message: 12
From: Arie Folger <afolger@aishdas.org>
Date: Mon, 19 Nov 2007 13:10:25 +0100
Re: [Avodah] Was Lavan daft, dense or what?

RZS wrote:
> So Lavan wasn't surprised to be visited by his nephew's god, and took
> heed of the warning he got. ?He didn't attempt to do anything to
> Yaakov. ?But nor did he see any reason to stop worshipping his own
> gods, whom he had no reason to believe less powerful than lehavdil
> ours.

Indeed, you confirm that even direct revelation can be interpreted away or 
rationalized if one is so inclined. That should teach us a thing or two about 
the importance of proofs for religion in trying to sway the sceptic... proofs 
aren't all that important, experiencing Shabbbos far surpasses them.

Arie Folger

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Message: 13
From: Daniel Eidensohn <yadmoshe@012.net.il>
Date: Mon, 19 Nov 2007 14:10:59 +0200
Re: [Avodah] Was Lavan daft, dense or what?

> I wrote:
> There is a more direct answer to your question from archeology and
> anthropology. The household gods were not just objects of worship but
> their possession was also critical for authority and inheritance rights.
> It was equivalent to identity theft - losing the deed to the farm,
> stocks as well citizenship papers etc. Lavan's concern was not
> theological. That is perhaps why they were stolen in the first place.
This is found in the new edition of Encyclopedia Judaica vol 19 page 646

TERAPHIM...The tablets from Nuzi proved to have direct bearing on 
knowledge of teraphim since the Akkadian term ilani, "gods:' was used in 
Nuzi legal texts in ways that closely paralleled some of the occurrences 
of the word 'elohim or its interchangeable partner teraphim (Gen. 31:30; 
cf. 31:19, 34,35). In an adoption contract from Nuzi it is stated that 
on the death of the adoptive father the adopted son shall be heir. If, 
however, a natural son is born, he shall be the primary heir and receive 
his father's /ilani/ ("gods"); otherwise, the/ ilani /go to the adopted 
son. In cases where a normal heir was lacking, the possessor of the 
/ilani/ was entitled to a large share of the inheritance. , Rachel's 
theft of her father's teraphim may be viewed as an attempt to secure her 
own right to her father's inheritance. Then again, since Laban had 
begotten sons, Jacob, who may have been adopted by Laban, would have had 
no right to the gods, and thus Rachel might have stolen them in order to 
secure the right of paterfamilias for her husband. The idea that 
possession of the household gods was in some way connected with rights 
to property inheritance has found widespread acceptance. M. Greenberg, 
however, has cast serious doubts on the validity of this interpretation, 
and maintains that since both the adopted son and the legitimate heir 
divide the inheritance equally, the possession of these household gods 
does not determine a title to inheritance but rather leadership of the 
family, and a claim to paterfamilias.


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