Avodah Mailing List

Volume 28: Number 252

Tue, 20 Dec 2011

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: "Prof. Levine" <llev...@stevens.edu>
Date: Mon, 19 Dec 2011 16:31:07 -0500
[Avodah] ?Segula?: Empty Promises

 From http://mesora.org/segulas.htm

Recently a Jewish newspaper ran an ad selling the 
promise of Divine intervention, commonly called 
?segulas?. For $40 an organization called 
Chasidei Yerushalayim advertised it would read 
Tehillim and Shir HaShirim, promising these 
recitations to afford a ?proven segula? or 
?guaranteed positive change? in one?s life. 
Although I know that a wise person well versed in 
Torah texts will immediately dismiss such absurd 
claims, I was bothered by the ad?s gross 
misrepresentation of Torah truths, and false hopes sold to ignorant Jews.

This concept of a ?segula? ? that some action 
will cause an unrelated result ? is alien to 
Torah Judaism, regardless of the masses of frum 
Jews who espouse such beliefs, and regardless of 
the segulas? inclusion of Torah verses. I?ve 
heard of people baking challas with keys inside, 
or praying for 40 days at a precise location, 
believing this will somehow locate their mate, or 
make them fertile. But I also know God?s words, 
?In every place you mention My name, I will come 
to you and bless you.? (Exod. 20:21) Thus, God 
states that location is inconsequential. A close 
friend ?AS? met with a Mekubbal and did as 
instructed. He was guaranteed to marry within the 
year. Ten years later, he is still single, while 
the Mekubbal profited. Another close friend ?MK? 
inquired of a great Rebbe about a sick relative, 
and was told she would recover. But she died.

Although inexplicable according to the precise, 
natural laws that God created, people believe in 
segulas, for they emanate from Jewish 
communities, and many people are desperate.

From  http://www.mesora.org/segulasII.htm

The following belief has been circulating, with 
no rejection from Torah leaders, and unfortunately, endorsement:

?Going into the mikvah following a pregnant woman 
who is in her ninth month is a segula for becoming pregnant.?


Segulas II: Be-emunah Shlaimah: With Perfect Faith

Rabbi Reuven Mann

With regard to a segula ritual prescribed for 
pregnant women, a defender of the practice 
asks:  ?If this segula were not acceptable do you 
think the Rabbanim who told the women to do it 
would have suggested it??  This is a powerful and 
challenging question.  The answer is that, 
unfortunately, I do believe Rabbanim suggested 
it.  One must question the behavior of these 
rabbis.  It is irresponsible to mislead innocent 
people along a false path ? which takes the away 
from Torah and from a true relationship with God.

Yitzchok Levine 
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Message: 2
From: "Prof. Levine" <llev...@stevens.edu>
Date: Mon, 19 Dec 2011 20:38:15 -0500
[Avodah] Haneiros Halallu - Important note

At 07:52 PM 12/19/2011, R. Micha wrote:

>On Mon, Dec 19, 2011 at 09:50:44AM -0500, Prof. Levine wrote:
> >         A copy of the published nusach of the prayer consisting of
> > exactly 36 words, which is found in the Siddur Rashban, is available at
> > the following link:
> > <http://tinyurl.com/33uv5d>
>The Rashban, R' Shelomo Tzevi Schick (1844-1961) was the rav of Karcag,
>Hungary. Close to minhag Ashkenaz, but not quite the same thing. I find
>you promoting this nusach for numerological reasons somewhat startling,
>given prior posts.

Have  I not made it clear in the past that just because I quote 
something (This is apparently from Hakhel as the link shows.) does 
not mean that I subscribe to all or even some of it.  I am 
educator,  I want to get people thinking.  Hence, I do not understand 
why you are startled.

For the record, the nusach given has 38 words in it!!!!!  Someone 
pointed this out to me. I did not notice it.   However, I have heard 
that there are supposed to be 36 words in this.  YL

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Message: 3
From: "kennethgmil...@juno.com" <kennethgmil...@juno.com>
Date: Tue, 20 Dec 2011 01:29:49 GMT
Re: [Avodah] The Origins of the Non- Jewish Custom Of

R' Saul Guberman wrote:

> RMB's reference above was to the origin of costumes for Purim.
> There is a case to be made that it was borrowed from carnivale.

I'd like to hear more about this connection. Specifically, I'd like to know
how this might impact on those who frown on (or outright forbid) any
observance of Thanksgiving.

Akiva Miller

Royal Caribbean&#174; Meetings
Easy Planning & Meeting Spaces To Accommodate Your Company's Needs.

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Message: 4
From: "Moshe Y. Gluck" <mgl...@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 19 Dec 2011 21:45:25 -0500
Re: [Avodah] The Origins of the Non-Jewish Custom Of

R' YL:
See http://www.alfassa.com/bread.html  and the download there.

Lakewood. :-)


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Message: 5
From: Eli Turkel <elitur...@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 20 Dec 2011 09:39:50 +0200
[Avodah] mimeticism

Rav Krumbein from the Gush has an interesting ongoing series of notes on
the Gra. The latest was on the Gra and customs. He points out that the
concept of relying on custom is an ashkenazi idea and sephardi poskim never
relied on local custom to decide halacha. However, in Ashkenaz starting
with Baale Tosafot it was stressed that local custom sometimes overrides
the Talmud or to put it a different way, sometimes the Talmud needs to be
re-interpreted against the simple pshat so that it doesnt contradict the
local custom.

One example he gives is piyut. Tosafot stress the importance of Eliezer
haKalir even stating that he is a Tanna (not reasonable) and so accepted
piyutim and explained why it is not an interruption. This was expanded by
other ashenazi rishonim who wrote their own piyutim. OTOH sefer ha-Ittim
castigates those who add words of praise not in their proper time. Piyutim
originated in EY flourished in Italy and then Germany but were condemned in
Rabbenu Tam has a long teshuva defending piyutim.

A second example is the attitude towards martyrdom. During the first
crusade Jews along the Rhine took their own lives and even murdered
relatives to prevent their baptism. Though very problematic from a halachic
viewpoint these people were considered great martyrs and even super-human
by later Ashkenazi Jews. Much later another Jew did the same but after
killing his family was saved and the question came to Maharam miRotenberg.
Maharam basically says he knows of no heter but given the righteous
intentions and the precedent of 1096 exempts the man from needing atonement.

Rav Krumbein attributes this extra respect to custom against the Talmud to
the traditions that Ashkenazi Jewsry received from Italy and EY especially
in the early years when the hold of Talmud Bavli was not as strong.  Prof.
Haim Soloveitchik attributes to the collective consciousness of the events
of 1096.

In any event the Gra severley limited this approach and refused to accept
customs that he could not trace back to the gemara even when rishonim tried
to rationalize them.  Hence, the Gra severely restricted the piyutim that
could be recited

Eli Turkel
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Message: 6
From: "Prof. Levine" <llev...@stevens.edu>
Date: Tue, 20 Dec 2011 06:42:31 -0500
[Avodah] Chanuka: Why Don't Women Light The Menorah? Should

 From http://revach.net/article.php?id=3160

The mitzva of Mehadrin requires each person in the house to light 
their own candles.  If so, why don't women, who are obligated in Ner 
Chanukah, light their own candles?  The Mishna Brura (675:9) brings 
from the Olas Shmuel that a married women is like her husband, so she 
doesn't light. Even single girls are batel to the men in this 
respect, and do not light.

Why are women batel to men when it comes to Ner Chanuka if they are 
also obligated?  The Chasam Sofer (Shabbos 21b) explains that since 
Ner Chanuka is performed outside in the street, it is not Tzanua for 
a woman to light her candles among the men.  Rather they should 
listen to men from inside the house.

The Piskei Tshuvos (671:2) brings the Mishmeres Shalom (48:2) that 
says that if there are only women in the house, then in fact, all of 
them should light.  However even in this case it is customary for 
only the mother to light and be Motzi the rest of the girls.

Question:  Given that today most people do not light their menora 
outside in the street,  is the reason given by the CS for women not 
lighting still valid?  Also, if the husband is lighting outside in 
the street and the women are inside,  can he be motzi them?  I recall 
that in one shul the rov insisted that men not daven in the ladies 
section, because he felt that if they davened there, they were not 
counted as part of the minyan.  YL
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Message: 7
From: Zvi Lampel <zvilam...@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 20 Dec 2011 09:52:50 -0500
Re: [Avodah] evolution - new creatures coming into existence

On 12/19/2011 7:52 PM, Micha Berger wrote:

>This notion that everything happened on day 6 is subject to a machloqes,
and R Yochanan ben Chanina's (Sanhedrin 38b) isn't the only shitah.<

*Tsorech Iyun. The Rambam does take it as the opinion of ALL the 
Chachamim. Perhaps he understands RYbC's shitta to be the final consensus:*


*"(MN 2:30) The Torah spoke of the Tree of Life and the Tree of 
Knowledge, the thing of the Snake and that matter, and it said that this 
in its entirety was after Adam was placed in Gan Eden, and *all the 
Chachamim agree* that this matter in its entirety was the sixth day, and 
that no matter changed in any way after the six days of Breishis. And 
for this [reason] nothing of those matters is far-fetched, as we have 
said, for until now, Nature was not stabilized."*


*At any rate, if the Midrash about the first appearance of flying 
insects does exist, to conform it with the principle that nothing new 
was created after day six, we can say the Midrash is following that 


*Another approach may be that the Midrash holds the eventual appearance 
of these insects was consistent with the final laws of nature 
established before the first Shabbos.*


*But of course, the proper way to approach this is to first find out if 
this is a real Midrash, as the questioner originally asked. *


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Message: 8
From: Naftali Rothstein <naftal...@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 20 Dec 2011 13:55:49 -0600
Re: [Avodah] Vegetable Peeler: Clarification

On Thu, Dec 15, 2011 at 7:15 PM, Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org> wrote:
> Is this a statement about the metzi'us of peeling or about the definition
> of okhel vs pesoles?

> Eg, there is no way to peel a potato or apple without removing /some/
> of the "meat". And the "peel" of a carrot is arbitrarily thin....
>                                                         I could see
> arguing that the limit of the pesoles isn't defined until it is peeled.
> This would mean that by definition whatever you remove is pesoles,
> not okhel.

> FWIW, using a peeler on Shabbos is one of those things "everyone" (in
> my parents' neck of the shomer shabbos world) did in my youth that is
> now found to be assur.

I think the main nafka mina is carrots because apples, etc. most people
eat the peal and potatoes are usually peeled and (of course) cooked
before Shabbos, so the main ochel which we are discussing is a carrot.
And as you mentioned, the carrot "peel" is very thin so it's not clear
what the pesoles is. Lichorah it's that whole layer that comes off when
you peel it because people don't want that piece and it is difficult to
argue that there is "ochel" on it. Perhaps that is why it is accepted
today to be machmir on this today. Yashar Kochachah.


Rabbi Naftali M. Rothstein
University of Illinois

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Message: 9
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Tue, 20 Dec 2011 15:26:27 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Vegetable Peeler: Clarification

On Tue, Dec 20, 2011 at 1:55pm CST, R' Naftali Rothstein wrote:
: I think the main nafka mina is carrots because apples, etc. most people
: eat the peal and potatoes are usually peeled and (of course) cooked
: before Shabbos, so the main ochel which we are discussing is a carrot.


I am not following what you say about "apples, etc." Isn't pesoles defined
by what I don't want at the moment, regardless of what is generally done?

Tir'u baTov!

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Message: 10
From: Liron Kopinsky <liron.kopin...@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 20 Dec 2011 22:36:53 +0200
Re: [Avodah] Vegetable Peeler: Clarification

My mother has a recipe for carrot salad, where she takes carrots (for the
sake of this argument which are already peeled) and peels the entire carrot
into slivers.

If this is a regular use of a peeler in our house:
a) Would it be permitted to make this salad on shabbat?
b) Would it be permitted to use the peeler even for the peels, since the
peeler is no longer "meyuchad l'kach"?
c) Does it not matter what we do in our house, since most people don't make
this particular salad?

Kol Tuv,
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Message: 11
From: Harvey Benton <harvw...@yahoo.com>
Date: Tue, 20 Dec 2011 12:56:51 -0800 (PST)
[Avodah] timeline??

didn't ezra hasofer change the letters?? (and there fore the tagim 

were then added??) how then could R. Akiva learn the halachot
from the tagim (since he came earlier????) or was this a different

from a avoda year 2002

> We assume the following to be true:
> - We learnt that Rabbi Akiva learnt (mountains of) halochos from the
>   tagim on each letter.
> - Each letter has a predefined amount of tagim. > What could Rabbi Akiva learn from the tagim that was not in the
> letter-sequence, as the tagim are merely a function of the letter
> combination. An explanation is presented in the introduction to the Igros Moshe volume I. 
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Message: 12
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Tue, 20 Dec 2011 16:43:25 -0500
Re: [Avodah] timeline??

On Tue, Dec 20, 2011 at 12:56:51PM -0800, Harvey Benton wrote:
: didn't ezra hasofer change the letters?? (and there fore the tagim 
: were then added??) how then could R. Akiva learn the halachot
: from the tagim (since he came earlier????) or was this a different
: Akiva??

See my blog post <http://www.aishdas.org/asp/2011/07/holy-script-speech.shtml>.

Summary (see the blog if this is too terse):

Megillah 3a, Shabbos 104a: R' Chisda says the [final] mem and the samech
of the luchos stood by miracle. Implying kesav Ashuris was used for the
luchos, leaving middles that are unattached but floating in place.

Menachos 29b: R' Aqiva darshening tagin -- also implies Ashuris was the

Halakhah requiring qutzo shel yu -- also implies Ashuris.

These latter two aren't muchrakh, as Anshei Keneses haGedolah could have
been given Ashuris later along with R' Aqiva's derashos and a divrei
Soferim requiring its use. After all, they were both posqim AND neviim.

Y-mi Megillah 1:9: R' Levi, quoting Mar Zutra and R' Yosi says that it
was ayin and tes of the luchos that requires a miracle. Implying they
were carved in kesav Ivri.

Sanhedrin 21a-22b is the core inyan.

Mar Zutra (consistent to what he says in the Y-mi) says that the Torah
was given in kesavi Ivri and lashon haQodesh and then was restored in the
days of Ezra in Aramaic and Ashuri. We chose lashon haqodesh and Ashuris.

R' Chisda (who says mem & samech) explains Mar Zutrah.

Amoraim in Sanhedrin:
1- R' Yosi: Ashuris is from Ezra's day, and learned from Ashur. Medrash
   on Yonah also says that Ashur was rewarded with the holy script. But
   archeology shows they used Cuneiform, not Ashuris.

2- Rebbe: the Torah was given in Ashuris, but Ashuris was lost.
   AKhG restored it.

3- Majority opinion (and last -- many rishonim presume the masqanah): 
   The Torah and divrei qodesh always used Ashuris. AKhG popularized it
   for common use.

Radvaz (Y-mi ad loc) says there is no machloqes between the two shasin.
The first luchos were in Ashuris, we lost the right to use it after the
eigel, and the 2nd luchos were in Ivri. This basically fits both Rebbe
and the last opinion. And it would explain why R' Chisda (of mem vesamech)
explains Mar Zutra's statement that the Torah was first given to Yisrael
in kesav Ivri.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Nothing so soothes our vanity as a display of
mi...@aishdas.org        greater vanity in others; it makes us vain,
http://www.aishdas.org   in fact, of our modesty.
Fax: (270) 514-1507              -Louis Kronenberger, writer (1904-1980)

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Message: 13
From: Zev Sero <z...@sero.name>
Date: Tue, 20 Dec 2011 16:46:59 -0500
Re: [Avodah] timeline??

On 20/12/2011 3:56 PM, Harvey Benton wrote:
> *didn't ezra hasofer change the letters?? (and there fore the tagim
> *were then added??) how then could R. Akiva learn the halachot*
> *from the tagim (since he came earlier????) or was this a different*
> *Akiva??*

Rabbi Akiva was at least 400 years *after* Ezra!

Zev Sero        "Natural resources are not finite in any meaningful
z...@sero.name    economic sense, mind-boggling though this assertion
                  may be. The stocks of them are not fixed but rather
                 are expanding through human ingenuity."
                                            - Julian Simon

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Message: 14
From: "Rabbi Meir G. Rabi, its Kosher!" <ra...@itskosher.com.au>
Date: Wed, 21 Dec 2011 07:41:59 +1100
[Avodah] play certifying kashrut agency for a minute,

Martin asked:   Follow up to your previous comments on certification.
So, now Mr. Gentile is producing Kosher food with Bittul and he decides
he'd like to market it.
Now, play certifying kashrut agency for a minute, would you give  your hecksher
to it, and if not why not?

Thats easy.
Any one who does not want to be persecuted by the frum ruffians will not

Those who fear Gd, will.

Pas Palter is just such a product. Chazal were not only discussing bread
produced in a factory in which we know that there are no  non-K
ingredients. It describes in principle bread produced in the very non-K
kitchen of your NJ neighbour. It is baked in his very non-K oven. And it is
only bread for which Chazal created the extra standard of Pas Yisrael. All
other foods aside from BYisrael foods, are Kosher.

I think the new mantra amongst a larger section of the community than we
care to admit, is; "It may be good enough for Gd, but is it good enough for
me?" or maybe that ought to be, "It may be good enough for Gd, but I dont
want to be just an ordinary bloke, I want to be (and I want to be known as
being) a tad better than ordinary" We all want to be a BaAl Nefesh, in this
arena at least.


Rabbi Meir G. Rabi
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