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Volume 28: Number 46

Wed, 23 Mar 2011

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Meir Rabi <meir...@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 23 Mar 2011 10:00:20 +1100
[Avodah] Thin Matza ShO 451:111

R Z Sero makes an obvious point in saying, "This is not the MB; he's just
quoting the MA.  And what does the MA mean by "thin"?  The Ba'er Hetev says
it means an etzba.  Matza an etzba thick had better be at least somewhat

I wish to add that the Mekor for all this is the Ramo, 460:4 "Matzot should
be made as Rekikin and not thick" (a most unusual position since it precedes
the Mechaber in 460:5 who says we do not make thick Matos on Pesach) and the
BHetev documents that the custom is to make them the thickness of an Etzbah.
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Message: 2
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Tue, 22 Mar 2011 21:41:40 -0400
Re: [Avodah] The Acharonim and Soft Matza

On Tue, Mar 22, 2011 at 09:28:33AM +1100, Meir Rabi wrote:
: I am observing that the notion of soft Matza being a perfectly acceptable
: option is quite clearly assumed by these major Acharonim.

I am just saying it's not compelling. What we find is acharonim telling
you that you don't need to mentally crush the matzah, to exclude the
air in it from the shiur kezayis. They happen to do so by speaking
of sponge-like matzah, but by their day "kesfug" was jargon, and thus
might not refer to literally sponge-like matzah, but just saying that
the amount of air trapped in the dough is irrelevent. ("Even if it
were sponge-like, you still wouldn't have to squeeze out the air.")

I share your belief that crisp matzos are not specifically required by
Ashkenazi minhag. I do not think those sources are a compelling proof for
those who disagree, though.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Strength does not come from winning. Your
mi...@aishdas.org        struggles develop your strength When you go
http://www.aishdas.org   through hardship and decide not to surrender,
Fax: (270) 514-1507      that is strength.        - Arnold Schwarzenegger

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Message: 3
From: T6...@aol.com
Date: Wed, 23 Mar 2011 01:27:26 EDT
Re: [Avodah] Nisht Yoshon/Not Yoshon

From: "Prof. Levine" _llevine@stevens.edu_ (mailto:llev...@stevens.edu) 

Today I bought a package of Meal Mart Amazing Meals Parve Baked Ziti  in
tomato sauce. When I got it home, I noticed that there is a label  on
the side that says in Yiddish "Nisht Yoshen" and in English "Not  Yoshen."

....After exchanging a few emails with Rabbi A. Teitlebaum who  supervises
this product along with the OU, he wrote " According the  information we
received, it is chodosh vadai, about your eating it, I can't  answer,"

Based on this I am going to return this product to the store. I  am not
makpid on Yoshon, but my understanding is that one is allowed to  eat
sofek Chodosh but not something that one knows for sure is Chodosh.
Am  I correct? 
.....Based on all of this I really do not understand how Meal Mart  can 
market a product that is known to be vadai Chodosh.

Yitzchok  Levine

Many hold that the prohibition of eating chadash does not apply in  chu'l.
A different question is, how they can print a label whose accuracy will be  
undermined by the mere passage of time?  In a few weeks it will be  yoshon. 
 (It will of course be Pesach by then and the ziti will still be  chometz 

--Toby Katz


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Message: 4
From: Zev Sero <z...@sero.name>
Date: Wed, 23 Mar 2011 02:05:49 -0400
Re: [Avodah] kol isha question

On 22/03/2011 10:23 AM, Saul.Z.New...@kp.org wrote:
> http://www.kolneshama.org/no-boys-allowed-25-november-2008/
> are viewers/ listeners who are meikel/don't hold from kol isha issues
> bound by the request of performers who don't want their own psak of
> kol isha issues violated?

It's not just a matter of kol isha, but of tznius.  These actresses don't
want to expose themselves to men in the way that they do in the movie.
Even if a person doesn't think the level of exposure is at all scandalous,
and by the world's standards it isn't, to these women what they're doing
is something they wouldn't do where men could see it, and they did it in
front of the camera on the understanding that no man would ever see it.
If a man does peep on them, even in this virtual manner, they feel violated.
To allow men to see it over the actresses' protests means that their
acting careers are effectively over; they've been deprived of a means
of expression that they enjoy and are good at, because they'll never
again be able to perform for a camera without the feeling that they've
got a male audience.  So it's just not mentchlich to violate their wish
in this way.

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: 5
From: Eli Turkel <elitur...@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 23 Mar 2011 11:57:24 +0200
[Avodah] Mordecai and Esther

<<On 20/03/2011 12:23 PM, Prof. Levine wrote:
> I was under the impression that Mordechai was Esther's uncle.

Really?  But *why*?  Surely you learned the megillah many years ago,
and have read and heard it many many times since then, so how could
this error have persisted until you read RAZ's article? >>

While I don't have an answer to Zev's question I have seen several
prominent rabbis write that Modrecai was Esther's uncle.
Why such a mistake occurs against explicit verses in the Megilla I have no

Eli Turkel
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Message: 6
From: "kennethgmil...@juno.com" <kennethgmil...@juno.com>
Date: Wed, 23 Mar 2011 12:53:50 GMT
Re: [Avodah] who is going to Gehenim

R' Danny Schoemann wrote:

> I had an interesting thought. Japan had made their country
> "earthquake proof" and AFAIK nobody got killed because of the
> quake - almost the biggest ever recorded.
> What killed them was the Tsunami that followed, then the nuclear
> trouble then the volcano that erupted and finally snow.
> Sort of "Tower of Babel" like; you think you can outsmart the
> RBSO, do you?

I strongly disagree!!!

By the Tower of Bavel, they were explicitly rebelling against Hashem. I am
not aware of any such thing regarding Japan. On the contrary, making their
country earthquake proof is an admirable goal for the protection of their

Akiva Miller

Groupon&#8482 Official Site
1 ridiculously huge coupon a day. Get 50-90% off your city&#39;s best!

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Message: 7
From: "Shoshana L. Boublil" <toram...@bezeqint.net>
Date: Wed, 23 Mar 2011 16:13:10 +0200
[Avodah] Thoughts for Pesach

As the yearly discussion on matza (soft/amount...) has already begun, I
would like to post a few words from Rabbi Tobiano on the subject of the
important points of Pesach and the Seder.

Approx. 70 years have passed since WWII and the Sho'ah and we all, in one
way or another, remember it; discuss it; review the horrors and promise not
to forget them. The Sho'ah lasted for no longer than 10 years (counting from
the elections, though some count "only" from 1941).

The horrors of the slavery in Egypt are documented in Midreshei Chazal.  The
Torah spends a limited number of psukim on the horror that included hard
labor, torture, murder etc. I'm sure you are all familiar with the various
midrashim on the topic.  The horrors in Egypt were no less, if not more
horrible than was suffered under the Nazi rule in Germany.  And they lasted
for over 80 years (depending on when the slavery started).

Yet on the night of the Seder, we spend more time arguing about the size of
the matza we eat and the amount of lettuce in the sandwich, then we spend on
understanding the horrors Hashem saved Am Yisrael from.

The Ge'ula from Mitzrayim by Hashem's hand was truly a wondrous miracle. It
was also a Nes Galui.

Rav Chaim David HaLevy writes that the point of Purim is to teach us that
sometimes Ge'ula does not come in an obvious manner, like in Yetzi'at
Mitzrayim.  Sometimes it looks to those who do not pay attention, as though
it "just happened that way". The Last Ge'ula will not come like Mitzrayim,
but like Purim. So that while our forefathers had Nevi'im who told them that
Koresh's words were Hashem's will (see Divrei HaYamim B), we don't have such
prophets to teach us that Balfour's Declaration was Hashem's will.

It is up to us to see Hashem's actions in this world and to understand
Hashem's gifts to us; that we did not have to suffer dozens of years under
Nazi rule before Hashem delivered us from those who hate Hashem and are
trying to prevent Hashem's rule of the world.

As Rav Aviner likes to say:  a kosher Purim and a Pesach Sameach!

Shoshana L. Boublil

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Message: 8
From: "Prof. Levine" <llev...@stevens.edu>
Date: Wed, 23 Mar 2011 08:48:46 -0400
[Avodah] Chodosh in Chul

There is an article about this topic by Rabbi Yirmiyohu Kaganoff at 

In part he writes

Other authorities permitted the chutz la'aretz grain, relying on the 
minority of early poskim who treat chodosh as a mitzvah that applies 
only in Eretz Yisrael (Taz; Aruch Hashulchan). This is based on a 
Gemara that states that when something has not been ruled 
definitively, one may rely on a minority opinion under extenuating 
circumstances (Niddah 9b).


Another halachic basis to permit use of the new grain is that chodosh 
applies only to grain that grows in a field owned by a Jew, and not 
to grain grown in a field owned by a non-Jew. Since most fields are 
owned by gentiles, one can be lenient when one does not know the 
origin of the grain and assume that it was grown in a gentile's 
field, and it is therefore exempt from chodosh laws. This last 
approach, often referred to simply as "the Bach's heter," is the 
basis upon which most Ashkenazic Jewry relied.

In Conclusion
In explaining the reason for this mitzvah, Rav Hirsch notes that one 
of man's greatest enemies is success, for at that moment man easily 
forgets his Creator and views himself as master of his own success 
and his own destiny. For this reason, the Torah created several 
mitzvos whose goal is to remind and discipline us to always recognize 
Hashem's role. Among these is the mitzvah of chodosh, wherein we are 
forbidden from consuming the new grain until the offering of the 
korban omer, which thereby reminds us that this year's crop is all 
only because of Hashem (Horeb, Section 2 Chapter 42). Whether one 
follows the Bach's approach to the chodosh laws or not, one should 
make note every time he sees a reference to yoshon and chodosh to 
recognize that success is our enemy, and humility is our savior.

Yitzchok Levine 
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Message: 9
From: "Prof. Levine" <llev...@stevens.edu>
Date: Wed, 23 Mar 2011 08:40:31 -0400
[Avodah] Rav Moshe Feinstein - How Do You Dress For Davening?

 From http://revach.net/article.php?id=3610

Parshas Tzav: Rav Moshe Feinstein - How Do You Dress For Davening?

The Torah tells us that before taking the ashes outside the Machaneh, 
the Kohen would change his clothing (Tzav 6:4).  Rashi says that he 
would take off the clothing he wore for the avodah in the Bais 
HaMikdash, in order not to sully them.  "This is not a chiyuv," says 
Rashi, "it is a Din of Derech Eretz. The clothing that a servant 
wears while cooking should not be used when serving the king."

Rav Moshe Feinstein says that we learn from here that even Halachos 
Derech Eretz are real Halachos.  An example is by davening where we 
need to wear respectable clothing. Rav Moshe says that if you do not 
change your clothing to something respectable when possible, it is as 
if "chas v'shalom" you don't know that you are standing before the King.

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Message: 10
From: "Prof. Levine" <llev...@stevens.edu>
Date: Wed, 23 Mar 2011 08:37:32 -0400
[Avodah] Rav Vosner: Standing Up For The Wife Of A Talmid

 From http://revach.net/article.php?id=4169

There is a mitzva to stand up for a Talmid Chochom.  Chazal tell us 
that Eishes Chaver KiChaver, the wife of a talmid chochom is like a 
talmid chochom.  Is there an obligation to stand up when she comes into a room?

Rav Vosner (Shevet HaLevi 10:13:7) says that his question is brought 
down by many acharonim.  He boils it down to three 
shittos.  According to one there is a Mitzvas Aseh to stand up for 
her Min HaTorah and it is Kavod HaTorah.  According to another it is 
a Mitzva MiDiRabbanan.  A third opinion is that it is not a Mitzva 
but a Midas Chasiddus to stand up.  The Chida brings that the Arizal 
said one should not stand up for the wife of a Talmid Chochom.

If her husband dies, Tosfos seems to say that there is no longer a 
Mitzva.  The Taz brings from the Maharam Mintz that there still is a 
mitzva to stand for her unless she marries an Am HaAretz.
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Message: 11
From: Simon Montagu <simon.mont...@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 23 Mar 2011 03:53:55 -0700
Re: [Avodah] Nisht Yoshon/Not Yoshon

On Tue, Mar 22, 2011 at 10:27 PM,  <T6...@aol.com> wrote:
> Many hold that the prohibition of eating chadash does not apply in chu'l.

Does this refer to the location where the chadash is eaten or where it
is grown? AFAIK even in EY there is no flour and no products made from
flour from wheat grown in EY.

> A different question is, how they can print a label whose accuracy will be
> undermined by the mere passage of time?? In a few weeks it will be yoshon.
> (It will of course be Pesach by then and the ziti will still be chometz
> but....)

I assume the label also specifies a date, no?

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Message: 12
From: "kennethgmil...@juno.com" <kennethgmil...@juno.com>
Date: Wed, 23 Mar 2011 13:00:04 GMT
Re: [Avodah] kesubos 30a/ burning grain.....

R' Harvey Benton asked:
> In kesubos 30a there is a discussion in the gemmara if one is
> chayav for the grain if one (cv) burns a stack of grain on
> shabbas/yom kippur,since the person is chayav the greater
> punishment of mitah/kares, and thus pattur of the monetary
> chova for the grain. my question is, why would the owner of
> the grain have to lose out because of a chova/punishiment
> (chova of his life) to Hashem?

(The following is based on something that I only very vaguely recall from many years back, so it could be totally wrong.)

Your question is very logical. And therein lies the solution. Because this
principle - that when a single act violates several prohibitions carrying
varying different consequences, only the most severe consequence applies -
is not logical, but is learned out from a pasuk. And therefore we follow
it, even where logic would dictate otherwise.

Akiva Miller

Obama Urges Refinance
If you owe under $729k you probably qualify for Obama&#39;s Refi Programs

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Message: 13
From: Danny Schoemann <doni...@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 23 Mar 2011 16:35:02 +0200
Re: [Avodah] kesubos 30a/ burning grain.....

R' Harvey Benton
> In kesubos 30a there is a discussion in the gemmara if one is chayav for the
> grain if one (cv) burns a stack of grain on shabbas/yom kippur,since the person
> is chayav the greater punishment of mitah/kares, and thus pattur of the monetary
> chova for the grain. my question is, why would the owner of the grain have to
> lose out because of a chova/punishiment (chova of his life) to Hashem?

From memory:
This rule - called "Kim Lay B'deraba Menie" - that he gets the more
serious punishment - is learned from a Posuk; that we punish him for
one sin and not for 2.

Once we have the Posuk, asking "logic" questions against the Posuk
won't be very fruitful.

Obviously, if you are going to give a fellow a one punishment - but he
did multiple sins - you are going to give him the biggest punishment.

In this case we don't even need that logic; he was Mechalel Yom Kipour
first - when he lit the match, and only later was he Chayav for the
grain being burnt.

> By Yom Kippur kapara inyanim, we are taught that one needs to first clear up the
> chovos one has with ben adam l'chaveiro, and then Hashem will absolve you of the
> chovos you have to him (e.g. forgive you), but here, in the burning-grain
> scenario, it seems just the opposite, namely that the chovos or punishments due
> to Shamayim, come first.......why would that be??

Because as long as you haven't solved the bein adam l'chaveiro issues,
Hashem cannot forgive you, since prerequisite of Teshuva are "regret
and abandoning the sin".

Until you pay him and ask for his forgiveness, you are still doing the
sin, and there's nothing for Hashem to forgive, yet.

Hope this gives you a start, so you can investigate further.

- Danny

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Message: 14
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Wed, 23 Mar 2011 11:48:35 -0400
[Avodah] Chumros

From this week's Shabbat beShabbato from Machon Zomet.


As Shabbat Approaches
Unnecessary Stringencies / Rabbi Mordechai Greenberg
Rosh Yeshiva, Kerem B'Yavne     

"To distinguish between the ritually impure and the pure" [Vayikra
11:47]. The Natziv writes, "Separating between the impure and the pure
is a positive mitzva. Thus, if there are any doubts that can be analyzed
in order to decide whether to permit something or prohibit it, the Beit
Din is obligated by a positive mitzva to clarify the matter. Just as it
is wrong to be lenient in a case where it is proper to be stringent...
so it is forbidden to be stringent in a case where it is possible to be
lenient." [Haamek Davar].

Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe, the sage of moral teaching in our generation, wrote
an entire chapter about this subject in his book "Alei Shur." He writes
that "frumkeit" (exaggerated stringency) is an egotistical urge which is
not related at all to surrender to a higher power and that it does not
lead to a closer approach to the Holy One, Blessed be He. This is
because it is clear that the holy Shechina will not be revealed through
selfishness, and anybody who bases his or her service of G-d on
"frumkeit" is acting selfish. And even if he piles on himself many
stringent actions -- he will not become a pious person, and he will never
reach a level of doing things for the sake of heaven.

The subject of stringency appears in the Talmud. For example, "Mar Ukva
said: With respect to the following matter I can be compared to vinegar
that was made from wine. When my father ate cheese he would not eat meat
for the next twenty-four hours, while I do not eat meat during the same
meal but I will eat it in the next meal." [Chulin 105a]. The conclusion
is that a person who is not at as high a level as his father was should
not be as stringent as his father was.

This issue is discussed in "Pitchei Teshuva" where the author quotes
from a book named "Solet LeMincha," that one who wants to be stringent
and take on a prohibition that was not accepted by the Amora'im, the
rabbis of the Talmud, such as ignoring something prohibited if it is
less than one-sixtieth of the total amount of food, is "like an
apostate, and his loss outweighs any possible reward for this action"
[Yoreh Dei'ah 116:10].

In "Chiku Mamtakim," a book published in memory of Rabbi S.Z. Auerbach,
a story is told of a student who asked if he was allowed to use a
material for a succah that was permitted by the rabbis of Jerusalem but
which was not approved by the Chazon Ish. Rabbi Auerbach replied that it
is permitted, and he added: How can you be stringent? You are only a
young student, you are not allowed to be stringent using your parents'
money, and you should also not cause extra expenses for your wife by
being especially stringent. Rabbi Auerbach taught his students that if
they wanted to be stringent they must first study the matter in depth.
And they should be stringent only if they reached a conclusion that it
was a halachic necessity, but they should never simply imitate somebody
else. He said that the GRA was surprised to be considered to be pious.
It is true that a pious man burns his fingernails after they are cut
(Nidda 17a), but not everybody who burns his fingernails (as the GRA
did) is necessarily pious.

Rabbi Amital said that a student once asked him why he was not stringent
in a certain matter about which the Mishna Berura writes that a
G-d-fearing person should be careful. Rabbi Amital replied that it is
indeed written that a G-d-fearing man should be stringent in this
matter, but that it is not written that stringency will lead to a
greater fear of G-d.

In a letter to the ultra-religious Badatz organization in Jerusalem,
Rabbi A.Y. Kook wrote, "It is important to note how careful we must be
when we try to be stringent in matters for which we can be lenient
according to the law, so that we will not incur a greater loss than what
we gain."

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Message: 15
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Wed, 23 Mar 2011 15:04:33 -0400
[Avodah] Dating the Zohar

Just seen on RJJBaker's blog:
        30. There are questions that are the garments of the Ha-lachah,
        NAMELY THE GARMENTS OF MALCHUT, of which it says "inwrought
        with gold" - as it is written: "The King's daughter is all
        glorious within: her clothing is in-wrought with gold" (Tehilim
        45:14). You, AMORAIM, cut THE GARMENT INWROUGHT WITH GOLD into
        several le-gal sentences and later fix and explain them away
        using various arguments.

        31. If one chapter of the Mishnah is missing, and it has been
        maintained that something is missing from the Mishnah, you fix
        IT...," such is wanting that can be numbered. If a sim-pleton
        comes and spreads an evil report of the craftsman that cuts
        the garments, saying: The Torah is lacking - STATING THAT IN
        it is written: "The Torah of Hashem is perfect," (Tehilim 19:8)
        perfect in all the members of the body, the 248 positive precepts,
        as written: "You are all fair, my love; there is no blemish in
        you," (Shir Hashirim 4:7), and perfect in her garments. How can
        anything be lacking in the Mishnah?

        32. HE ANSWERS: Say to him - look carefully and find the MISSING
        piece. You may find it mixed with other verses and Mishnahyot,
        PLACE AND RICH IN ANOTHER. For it is the way of the craftsman to
        cut garments into several pieces, AND THAT WHICH IS MISSING IN
        ONE PLACE IS FILLED UP IN ANOTHER. The students, inexperienced
        in connecting the Halachah to those pieces THAT ARE IN ANOTHER
        PLACE, confuse the sentences and questions, and cannot explain the
        dilem-mas until the craftsman comes and explains all the doubts
        they have. At that time, Halachah the daughter, NAMELY MALCHUT,
        rises before the King, perfect in eve-rything, in body, garments
        and jewelry. And in it the verse comes true: "And I will look
        upon it, that I may remember the everlasting Covenant" (Beresheet
        9:16). Sometimes the craftsman has an experienced student whom
        he sends to correct them, NAMELY ELIJAH, AS WAS MENTIONED BEFORE.

    Note that this passage, in addressing the students of the Amoraim,
    is clearly set after the time of R' Shimon bar Yochai. It seems to
    start out criticizing the Amoraim for "cutting up the golden garment"
    of the Mishnah, but winds up praising them for bringing the disparate
    parts of the Mishnah together in a coherent whole. They do this
    by looking for what is missing, perhaps it can be found in another
    mishnah or in a midrash or Tosefta, and splice it in. Or perhaps they
    extrapolate what was missing, as in chasurei mechsera vehachi katani -
    "this is how the lacuna should be read".

    In any case, this is clearly the textual criticism that makes up
    much of the Gemara's discussion of Mishnayot. This story praises the
    early Amoraim for their textual activity (the early Amoraim feeling
    freer to emend the text of the Mishnah).

    If Rashb"i lived in the late Tannaitic period (according to the
    JE article on Simeon ben Yohai, citing Graetz, he fled to the cave
    c. 161), it had to have 50-100 years after his time that this story
    took place. Thus, this part of the Zohar necessarily postdates

Tir'u baTov!

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


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