Avodah Mailing List

Volume 27: Number 219

Wed, 15 Dec 2010

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: "Prof. Levine" <Larry.Lev...@stevens.edu>
Date: Mon, 13 Dec 2010 17:25:48 -0500
[Avodah] Washing Hands

The following is from Areivim.

R. Micha wrote:

On Sun, Dec 12, 2010 at 04:31:35PM -0500, Prof. Levine wrote:
 > I recall hearing from someone that RYBS pointed out that our bathrooms
 > today are nothing like the bathrooms of yesteryear and the halacha is
 > different today. (I have no details.)   Today's bathrooms are certainly a
 > far cry from the outhouses of the past.

At http://www.aishdas.org/avodah/vol12/v12n085.shtml#15 REMP cites R'
Ruderman saying that today's bathroom is not the talmudic beis hakisei.

And see the thread at
which includes a discussion of drying hands outside the bathroom. (An
issue already raised here.)

I quoted a rebbe-chaver (who is a dayan and the head of YCT's halakha dept)
who said this on his own authority.

R David Eisen replied at <http://www.aishdas.org/avodah/vol14/v14n082.shtml#15>
pointing us to a copy of RAZZivitofsky's article in the RJJ Journal
"Your Camp Shall be Holy: Halacha and Modern Plumbing" at
<http://the-eisens.com/modern_plumbing.pdf>. Unfortunately, that domain
no longer exists, never mind the PDF. IIRC, RAZZ leaned toward saying
the modern bathroom follows the gemara's precedent of the Persian
bathroom, where the re'ei rolls down an incline.

If you have anything to add, kindly quote this entire post in a reply to

Tir'u baTov!

Reb Ari Z. Zivotofsky sent me his article "Your Camp Shall be Holy: 
Halacha and Modern Plumbing"  today and he gave me permission to post 
it on my we site. It is at


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Message: 2
From: "kennethgmil...@juno.com" <kennethgmil...@juno.com>
Date: Mon, 13 Dec 2010 22:29:19 GMT
Re: [Avodah] Unusual Chanukah Minhag?

R' Simon Wanderer wrote:

> A chasidish acquaintance has told me ... that the minhag
> is to throw the towels at the menorah, although the person
> lighting is hit in the crossfire. 
> The reason for the minhag is apparently to 'make a joke'
> of the shul hadlakah so that nobody mistakenly thinks
> they are yotze and don't need to light at home. 

I wonder what they do to prevent anyone from mistakenly thinking that they're yotzay with the Kiddush in shul on friday night.

Akiva Miller

Get Free Email with Video Mail & Video Chat!

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Message: 3
From: Saul.Z.New...@kp.org
Date: Mon, 13 Dec 2010 15:02:38 -0800
[Avodah] bavel leadership

 in re  r YL's  question , chazal  seem not  to  have  concentrated  on 
the interpersonal  aspect  of  chanuka  ie  jew  vs  jew fighting;  but 
there are no tannaim  yet  in bavel are there?   who led  the community 
there  150 BCE? 

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Message: 4
From: Allan Engel <allan.en...@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 13 Dec 2010 23:20:48 +0000
Re: [Avodah] Unusual Chanukah Minhag?

Chassidim don't make kiddush in shul on Friday night.

On Mon, Dec 13, 2010 at 10:29 PM, kennethgmil...@juno.com <
kennethgmil...@juno.com> wrote:

> I wonder what they do to prevent anyone from mistakenly thinking that
> they're yotzay with the Kiddush in shul on friday night.
> Akiva Miller
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Message: 5
From: Zev Sero <z...@sero.name>
Date: Mon, 13 Dec 2010 18:33:42 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Unusual Chanukah Minhag?

On 13/12/2010 5:29 PM, kennethgmil...@juno.com wrote:
> R' Simon Wanderer wrote:

>> The reason for the minhag is apparently to 'make a joke'
>> of the shul hadlakah so that nobody mistakenly thinks
>> they are yotze and don't need to light at home.
> I wonder what they do to prevent anyone from mistakenly thinking that they're yotzay with the Kiddush in shul on friday night.

Give the wine to ketanim to drink, surely.

Zev Sero                      The trouble with socialism is that you
z...@sero.name                 eventually run out of other people?s money
                                                      - Margaret Thatcher

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Message: 6
From: Eli Turkel <elitur...@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 14 Dec 2010 08:00:58 +0200
[Avodah] ROY

The web site of piskei of R. Ovadiah Yosef

has been updated with various search options.

Today's halacha deals with the cause of droughts. He bring the gemara that
it is due to theft and gives examples how ordinary citizens might be
job of the tazaddikim of the generation to daven to remove G-d's anger over
the thievery.

Thus, we see a fine example on how difficult times give lessons to everyone
to improve their ways

Eli Turkel
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Message: 7
From: Eli Turkel <elitur...@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 14 Dec 2010 09:45:03 +0200
[Avodah] babylonian Jewry and Chanukah

>There was a large Jewish population living in Babylonia during the
 >time that the events of Chanukah played out. Yet, I have never seen
 >any mention of the Jews living in Bavel coming to the assistance of
 >the Jews in EY during their struggle with the Syrian-Greeks. Why is
 >this? Surely at least some of the news of what was transpiring in EY
 >must have reached the Jews in Bavel.  Why didn't they either come to
 >help or at least send assistance?

A similar question occurs at the time of the Churban. I am not aware of
any help from either Babylonia or Alexandria. It gets even worse with
the Bar Kochba revolt. A short time earlier there where riots in Alexandria
and much of the Jewish community there was destroyed.
(The Jewish community of Alexandria was virtually wiped out by Trajan's 's
 during a revolt in 115-117 CE., and Josephus
the figure for those
 slaughtered in the vast pogrom at 50,000.- Wikipedia)
Had there been any cooperation between the Alexandrian Jews and the Bar
group the two revolts could have been combined greatly raising the chances
of victory
for both communities. There was 15 years between the two revolts and hard to
that things were all quiet in EY during the riots in Alexandria.

Eli Turkel
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Message: 8
From: Yitzchok Zirkind <yzirk...@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 13 Dec 2010 20:35:59 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Mesorah?

On Mon, Dec 13, 2010 at 4:36 PM, Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org> wrote:
> Nu, so Yaaqov expected the galus.

> What about Rashi on the title word of parashas VaYeishev, that Yaaqov
> was hoping to be done with all the nisyonos in his life? Did Yaaqov
> think the galus would start after his petirah?

Actually the L. Rebbe in Lkutei Sichos Vol. 30  page 177 footnote 11,
addresses this.  The point is that until the time of the actual Golus he
wished to live in peace.

On Fri, Dec 10, 2010 at 2:54 PM, Rich, Joel <JR...@sibson.com> wrote:
> And how do you understand the drasha that Yaakov came "lagur" and not
> "lhishtakea"  or the way HKB"H tells him he will bring him back (without
> mentioning it's just for burial) - perhaps he didn't think it would be his
> generation?

See Rashi Shmos 26:15, Ramban Breishis 46:1.

Also see the Meam Loeiz in Parshas Boi (where he has the Pirush on the
Haggadah) who explains that originally Yaakov planned to go and visit Yosef
and return after the femine, however when he stopped off in Beir Sheva on
his way to egypt and HKB"H told him "al tirah ..." he learned that he was
actually going into Golus, when the brothers said to Pharoh "logur" they
said what their original intent was.  And he explains with this the end of
the Possuk when they request "vatoh YEISHVU na.. and not the term Logur.

I would like to point out that the term used in the Bris Bein haBsorim was
"Ki GER yihyeh".

Kol Tuv,
Yitzchok Zirkind

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Message: 9
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Tue, 14 Dec 2010 13:21:59 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Chazal/Mtziut

I don't have time for a detailed description of all of the Sedei
Chemed's position, his examples, meqoros, etc... However, since I am
posting because I found something else to add, here is the sound-bite
version first.

There can be machloqesin in unverifiable metzius, at least according
to some sources. E.g. whether there was gold on the mouthpieces of the
shoferos in the BHMQ is the topic of a machloqes amora'im.

Machloqesin that look like they're about metzi'us that could be
systematically checked are really about relevence. E.g. they don't argue
as to whether cooked matzah changes its taste, but whether the resulting
taste is still within the bounds of ta'am matzah. Or, the SA and the
(forgot who) don't argue about whether or not something actually was the
minhag of most Jews in their day, but whether "the minhag of rov Yisrael"
means EY or includes Jews in the golah.

And the SC brings earlier sources with each of these resolutions. As
well as a gemara that explicitly says there can't be a machloqes in a
metzi'us *that is before us*.

I just caught up with yesterday's daf, Challah 1. Amud beis through
2a discusses the 5 minim. One of the ways the Yerushalmi establishes
the 5 minim is by experiment -- which grains mixed with water are ba
liydei matzah vechameitz, and which are liydei sirchon. R' Yochanan
ben Nuri says qaramis is chayeves bechalakh. Rabbanan say it isn't.
So, the gemara asks, why not just check? A question of metzi'us!

    Al iqar bediqasah hein chaluqin.
    RYBN amar badquha umatz'uha shehi ba'ah liydei matzah vechameitz.
    Rabbanin amrei badquha velo matz'u oso shehi shehi ba'ah liydei
    matzah vechameitz.

So, the question we're discussing boils down to how we teitch the phrase
"al iqar bediqasah hein chaluqin".

Apparently the "iqar" is not the results of the bediqah, but on what to
check. They check the resulting mush/dough. It did something chemically,
but how to we categorize the product of that reaction -- is that chameitz
or sirchah? The set of physical realities that fall under each halachic
chalos-sheim is under dispute, not the particular physical reality. "Al
iqar bediqasah" -- what one should actually check for -- "hein chaluqin."

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Every second is a totally new world,
mi...@aishdas.org        and no moment is like any other.
http://www.aishdas.org           - Rabbi Chaim Vital
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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Message: 10
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Tue, 14 Dec 2010 13:40:04 -0500
[Avodah] Shibboles Shu'al

I just wrote:
: I just caught up with yesterday's daf, Challah 1. Amud beis through
: 2a discusses the 5 minim...

Well, 2a raises an interesting question if we're to continue to identify
shiboles shu'al with oats. (See the thread at
for some arguments for and against.)

In the previous post I discussed the gemara's reliance on chimutz to
define which are the 5 grains. That's from the beginning of the sugya.
At the end, it brings a ra'ayah from Yeshaia 28:25
    ... vesam chitah, sorah, use'orah, nismah vekhusemes gevulaso.
And the gemara says that sorah (spelled with a sin) is shibboles
shu'al. Why then does the pasuq call is "sorah"? because it is made like
a shurah.

Now, of all the grains usually listed as the 5: wheat, oats, barley,
rye and spelt (in the order in the pasuq here), oats is the only one
that does NOT grow in rows.

See the pictures at
(or <http://bit.ly/hjPGVR>). That web page defends oats as shibboles
shu'al even though the Bavli says all 5 grains are breeds of chitah or
seorah, and barley doesn't look remotely like either (nor is taxanomically

But you'll see that the other 4 grains grow in rows at the end of the stalk,
oats grow off the sides off little stemlets.

So, in what sense does the Y-mi call this "keshurah"?

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             The purely righteous do not complain about evil,
mi...@aishdas.org        but add justice, don't complain about heresy,
http://www.aishdas.org   but add faith, don't complain about ignorance,
Fax: (270) 514-1507      but add wisdom.     - R AY Kook, Arpilei Tohar

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Message: 11
From: "Prof. Levine" <Larry.Lev...@stevens.edu>
Date: Tue, 14 Dec 2010 11:23:57 -0500
[Avodah] Constantly Surrounded by Harmful Elements

The following is from RSRH's commentary on Bereishis 48

16 [May] the angel who delivered me from all evil bless the lads, so 
that my name and the name of my fathers, Avraham and Yitzchak,
may be called in them, and like fish may they multiply in the midst 
of the earth.

Had we but eyes to see, say our Sages, we would realize how everywhere
we are constantly surrounded by Mazikim, harmful elements that
would harm us in the physical world; and what applies to physical life
applies, no doubt, to social life as well (see Berachos 6a). Woe unto us
were we to see all these. How fortunate that we do not see the dangers
that threaten our lives every minute in the physical world. How fortunate
that we cannot see the envy and evil intentions, the ruin and misfortune,
which harmlessly pass over us all the time in our social lives.
This is the Rah from which Ha Kadosh Baruch Hu save us every minute, 
and He saves
us in such a way that we are not even conscious of the danger.
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Message: 12
From: Yitzchak Schaffer <yitzchak.schaf...@gmx.com>
Date: Tue, 14 Dec 2010 18:43:32 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Constantly Surrounded by Harmful Elements

See also his essay on Succah in Horeb. 

Yitzchak Schaffer

On Dec 14, 2010, at 11:23, "Prof. Levine" <Larry.Lev...@stevens.edu> wrote:

> The following is from RSRH's commentary on Bereishis 48
> Had we but eyes to see, say our Sages, we would realize how everywhere
> we are constantly surrounded by Mazikim, 
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Message: 13
From: "Shoshana L. Boublil" <toram...@bezeqint.net>
Date: Wed, 15 Dec 2010 09:46:28 +0200
[Avodah] Edges and diversity

During a lecture on Jewish though and the environment given by Talya
Shneider, she raised several issues. A summary of some of these issues from
the environmental view point (and links to related resources) can be found
http://news.donavanhall.net/?p=23.  The author of this article makes some
additional interesting points that I will not discuss here, but may be of
interest to members of Avodah.


Issue one - edges.


Quote: Bill Mollison mentioned the importance of edges in agriculture. The
edge of the field is the most productive part of the field. The reason is
that the edge is in contact with another environment. The greatest diversity
of fauna is found at these boundaries because the species that live in both
environments live together at the edge, their ecosystems interacting. [from
a linked podcast] {end of quote}


Note:  In monoculture, the edge of the field is razed to prevent this
diversity as it interferes with modern growing methods and calculations. 


In the lecture this was related to Mitzvat Pe'ah - leaving the corners (part
of the edge) of the field to the poor. This is actually an area of abundance
[there is a higher yield at the edge than in the center of the field]
created by Hashem, and so Hashem gives part of the edge to the poor.


Issue two - diversity in the human sphere


Note: In general it has been found in nature that areas of increased
diversity are also the most fruitful.

Quote: Luisa Maffi made the point that bilingualism is the norm for humans.
Only speaking a single language (the curse of many of us in the US) is a
comparatively recent phenomena. I wonder if monolingualism was a concomitant
development with monoculture? If monoculture is the worst way to grow food,
then single global culture can't be good for the human mind and our
creativity. {end of quote}

Just a thought - Sanhedrin was supposed to know 70 languages.  It makes
sense that learning languages was part of the education system as not
everyone can learn that many languages, but it means that at least some
pursued this, which would probably make it common for people to speak more
than a single language.  The Tanach does assume knowledge of at least Hebrew
and Aramaic, and so does the Talmud.

During the lecture Talya Shneider raised the issue of Israel vs. the Nations
in an interesting way. She started with Havdala where we bless Hashem for
separating "HaMavdil Bein Ohr LeChoshech, Bein Yisrael La'amim." That is we
say a blessing for the separation, distinction.  This is an aspect of
diversity. Each nation brings something to this world to make it better.
"Yaft Elokim LeYefet".  There is nothing wrong with beauty per se. We talk
about Noy Mitzva in many contexts (sukka; etrog; marriage.) but it is the
children of Yefet who bring it into this world. So, the distinction is a
good part of the world, not to diminish anyone, rather the opposite, that
each nation brings something that enhances Hashem's world.


When we speak about Israel bringing Torah to the world, Hillel summarizes
Torah in the words Ma DeSsani. - the social context.  This is the basis for
how to create communities.  And this is one of the things that Israel
teaches the nations - how to build communities.  Talya's message in this
case is that each one of us needs to create a community. Simply, directly,
by learning to carry out VeAhavta LeRei'acha Kamocha with 10 individuals, in
the fullest possible way. It's not easy.


There are of course additional issues that Israel teaches the nations -
including the most important - Emunah BaHashem.  It is the belief in Hashem
and the Torah which has maintained Israel when all the other
agriculture-cultures have slowly but surely been lost. Not just the
Persians, Greeks and Romans that are usually mentioned in such discourses.
The loss has continued over the centuries, with the destruction of the
chinampas system of the Aztecs by the Spanish (see
http://www.aztec-history.com/aztec-farming.html; btw, there is apparently an
Israeli (Jewish) who is attempting to revive this agriculture among the
south american Indians).  In India, an ancient successful agricultural
system known as Vedic agriculture  is also disappearing
http://www.dhyanapeetam.org/Web/VedicAgriculturalSociety.asp , as many
Indian villages move to western interests and manufacturing methods.  Only
the belief in Hashem and the study of Torah has maintained the Jewish
community, culture and agriculture (though most of us are not involved in it
directly beyond learning Masechet Zera'im).


In this context I would like to recommend the book Nosseh Alumotav, a
collection of lectures given by Rav Tzvi Yisrael Tau,
9C_%D7%98%D7%90%D7%95 Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Ha HaMor, on the topic of the
value of agriculture in Israel as an aspect of Geulah
(http://tora-shlema.co.il/syllabus.aspx?id=46 I have no connection to this
store), mitzvoth HaAretz and related topics.


For further information on Talya Shneider see the article in Shabbat
BeShabbato, page 3 on "keeping seeds" http://www.yaarbooks.com/1298.pdf.


Compliment to Avodah/Areivim: As a social endeavor that is out on the edge
and maintains the largest diversity in opinions - it is probably one of the
most fruitful Jewishly speaking <g>


Shoshana L. Boublil





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