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Volume 34: Number 118

Thu, 22 Sep 2016

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Micha Berger
Date: Wed, 21 Sep 2016 13:31:32 -0400
Re: [Avodah] a story for our time

On Wed, Sep 14, 2016 at 09:28:31PM -0400, Michael Poppers via Avodah wrote:
: Date: Thu, Sep 8, 2016 at 12:52 PM
: To: Zichron Shlomo Cong <congregationzichronshl...@gmail.com>

Nice story, puts out foibles into clear focus, but one tangential point
on something the author misspoke.

: One day, word went out that the king was planning on visiting the city!
: Additionally, his Majesty intended to visit the Jewish Quarter, and
: agreed to grant an audience to each and every person living there[iii]
: and will be open to considering all their personal needs![iv]

And in fn. iii it says (translation/iteration mine):
: [iii] On Rosh Hashanah, kol ba'ei olam overin lefanav kivney maron.
: (Mishnah RH 16a)

In 1960s and '70s, America went through an identity shift. Once
the US called itself a Melting Pot, where people's ethnicities were
expected to be toned down in an attempt to assimilated and become
"Real Americans". Then was the development of ethnic pride, a rise of
the hyphenated American (Italian-American, Irish-American). By the time
David Dinkens became major of NYC, his speechwriter coined the idiom of
America as a "glorious mosaic", a single picture assembled from distinct
ethnic tiles.

I see humanity in the same terms, although as the priesthood tile,
being Benei Yisrael is a unique privilege, one that brings meaning to
the notion of Am haNivchar. A late-20th cent way of framing what is
basically RSRH's vision of humanity.

But the mosaic requires paying exact attention to the dialectic between
the particularism that makes it possible for us to be a Goy Qadosh with
the universalism necessary to be the Mamlekhes Kohanim that brings that
qedushah to the whole mosaic of humanity.

In American terms, this became the endless discussions of my youth about
the differences between the Jewish American and the American Jew.

I believe the author erred on this very matter, insufficiently preserving
the universalist message of RH when trying to create a particularist

How else can someone conflate "kol ba'ei olam" with the Jewish Quarter?

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             The true measure of a man
mi...@aishdas.org        is how he treats someone
http://www.aishdas.org   who can do him absolutely no good.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                   - Samuel Johnson

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Message: 2
From: Micha Berger
Date: Wed, 21 Sep 2016 13:51:58 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Rav Melamed on metal pots

On Sun, Sep 18, 2016 at 04:23:34PM -0400, Akiva Miller via Avodah wrote:
: http://judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/26285/blias-in-to
: days-pots-and-pans

: A poster there gives Rav Lior's original Hebrew, and this translation of it:

:> Even according to the opinion of the Rama, who is stringent with
:> glass utensils, saying that since they are initially made from
:> sand their ruling is like earthenware. But stainless steel
:> utensils, that don't hardly absorb anything and are made of
:> metal not sand, it is permissible to cook in them meat, to clean
:> well and after to cook milk the same day, and the reverse as well.
: Why is there a great reluctance to distinguish between earthenware and
: glass, while being far less reluctant to distinguish between those metals
: and this metal?

You are thinking the way the MB would -- if the sevara applies in one
place, why not apply it in the other?

But as learning AhS acclimates you to, sometimes halakhah and sevara
diverge; there are other factors that can go into pesaq. It could well
be that they disagree with the Rama on the issue of sevara, and if given
a blank slate they would distinguish between cheres and glass as well.

But rather than a blank slate, they are dealing in a world where the Rama
pasqened lechumerah centuries before them. There are even cases where a
poseiq would continue along a precedent set lequlah if he didn't think the
gap between the quality of the sevaros were too far to overlook. (Where
"too far" is a shiqul hadaas issue. Another instance of why we require
a poseiq to have had shimush.)

But going meiqil against the Rama's accepted precedent? That requires
a much higher threshold than using the very same sevara in a case that
post-dates him (stainless steel).

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             For a mitzvah is a lamp,
mi...@aishdas.org        And the Torah, its light.
http://www.aishdas.org                   - based on Mishlei 6:2
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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Message: 3
From: Lisa Liel
Date: Wed, 21 Sep 2016 21:08:02 +0300
Re: [Avodah] The Bronze Age Collapse

On 9/21/2016 3:33 AM, Chesky Salomon via Avodah wrote:
> On 2016-09-20 4:37 PM, Micha Berger via Avodah wrote:
>> Seems that somewhere around 1207 - 1177 BCE (judging from Egyptian
>> records), there was a widespread collapse of Bronze Era civilations...

>> Is there anything in Tanakh about this? Could this be the reason why
>> we fractured from centralized authority (Yehoshua) to lots of local
>> cheiftans (Shofetim)?
> There's nothing I recall from Yehoshua, Shofetim, or Shemuel which
> directly points to any sort of regional collapse.  I wonder whether the
> collapse might have occurred during the 40 years wandering the
> wilderness...
> I also find it intriguing that this collapse allowed Benei Yisrael to
> establish themselves in a part of the world otherwise of all-too-much
> interest to empires.

As some of you know, I hold that the conventional dating of the Bronze
and Iron Ages in the ancient near east is mistaken, and that the Exodus
took place at the end of the Egyptian Old Kingdom (the end of Early
Bronze III). And that King Solomon does not date to the Iron Age, but
to the end of the Middle Bronze Age (the so-called "Hyksos Empire").

The collapse of civilizations at the end of the Late Bronze Age and the
beginning of the Iron Age was huge. No question. But I put that not in the
1100s, but in the 700s. The conventional school of thought has one great
movement of peoples, mostly from the west, around Greece and Italy, moving
eastward in the 1100s, and another great movement of peoples spreading out
from Mesopotamia and Europe, moving westward and southward in the 700s.

The mass migrations in the 700s are dated by years, but the ones in the
1100s are dated by pottery. What I mean by that is that even though we
use dates in both cases when we're talking about them, some dates come
from finding a fixed point in time that we know the date of and counting
backwards. That's where we get the 700s from. We know when Persia and
Greece took over, and we can count backwards from them. But other dates
aren't real dates. When they say that Ramses III lived in the 1100s,
what they really mean is that he lived at the time that corresponds to
the end of the Bronze Age. Because he isn't dated by counting backwards;
he's dated by pottery styles and weapon styles that were being used at
the same time he reigned. Saying "he lived in the 1100s" is shorthand for
"he lived at the end of the Bronze Age", because it's easier for laymen
to understand.

So that really begs the question. What if the pottery at the end
of the Bronze Age actually goes with the years of the 700s? And as
it happens, historians see the time from the 1100s to the 700s as a
dark age in Greece, in Asia Minor, and elsewhere in the region. Why?
Because civilization seems to end at the end of the Bronze Age, and
doesn't really start up again until the 700s. Which makes perfect sense
if there wasn't actually any time between those two points.

In Israel in particular, they've assigned the devastation at different
times to Sea Peoples and to Israelites. But it's far more likely to be
the Assyrian invasions of Shalmaneser V and Sargon II and Tiglath Pileser
III, and the resettlement of the Samaritan tribes. The real irony is that
the remains commonly attributed to the Israelite settlement actually
date from the Samaritan settlement. That's why there are inscriptions
showing God with a "consort". We know that the Samaritans worshipped
goddesses alongside God.

The famous Israel Stele of Merneptah in Egypt probably refers to the
year when four different kings reigned in Israel, and a dynasty that had
lasted a century came to a messy end. That collapse is actually what
probably led to the Assyrian invasions. After about half a century of
Israel and Judah expanding to an area literally from the Nile to the
Euphrates, there was suddenly a power vacuum south of the Euphrates,
and Assyria just exploded over the river. That actually started a domino
effect that didn't really damp out until Rome fell.

The Sea Peoples the Egyptians talk about wound up settling in Philistia
after they were defeated. We know this from records from the time
of Ramses III. But they weren't the original Philistines. Those had
been there since the time of the Avot, and we know from Melachim that
during the time of Uzziah and Achaz, the Plishtim moved into the Negev.
Likely because of the influx of Greek tribes on the coast.


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Message: 4
From: Rabbi Meir G. Rabi
Date: Thu, 22 Sep 2016 08:45:59 +1000
[Avodah] KeViAs Seudah, MeZonos HaMotzi

The Mitzvah of Sukkah is defined by Teshvu KeEin TaDuru [TKTd]
Its not the size of the meal nor the time quantity of any activity that
defines what must be performed in the Sukkah. It is the perceived quality
of that activity that makes TKTd.

A hurried everyday lunch and a standard hurried breakfast, does not
constitute TKTd because its not, *what we usually do* but what we perceive
as respectable living, that defines TKTd.

As R Akivah Miller said, the nature of the situation of "Pas Habaa B'Kisnin
in the morning" constitutes Kevias Seudah for Hilchos Sukkah. I suggest
this is not a hurried bite, but a proper unhurried meal for that time and
place. [BTW Pas HaBaAh BeKisnin is simply corrupted bread, altered to the
point where it is no longer seen as the bread used in a normal meal - a
very subjective evaluation, which explains why the Halachic definitions no
longer apply]

Similarly, with defining a Seudah; a workday hurried lunch no matter that
it is eaten by a vast majority, is not seen, even by those who regularly
eat it, as a meal. Meals eaten with ones eye on the clock do not qualify as
a Seudah. It is insulting if amongst all the guests at the Shabbos table
being served Shabbos food, one fellow is served with an airline meal or the
hurried business day lunch they usually eat.

R Micha observes that Talmudic meals were foods [Lefes = LePas?] consumed
on/with some flatbread. This explains why all foods are Tafel to bread and
one Beracha of HaMotzi covers the entire meal. For us that is the
equivalent of sandwiches, which accordingly calls into question the
validity of making HaMotzi these days for all the foods served at the meal.
Many restaurants these days do not even put bread on the table, one must
ask for it.
Loaf shaped breads I presume were used by spreading the food on it or were
eaten together with the other foods served at the meal, again something
that is becoming less common.


Meir G. Rabi
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Message: 5
From: Eli Turkel
Date: Thu, 22 Sep 2016 10:59:59 +0300
[Avodah] whole wheat challah

The second volume of Mesoras Moshe of piskei halacha of RMF recently
These are based on coversations of RMF with his grandson R. Mordechai
Tendler and edited and gone over by several talmidim of RMF and authorized
by the family
I glanced at it quickly and one psak I saw was that RMF discouraged using
whole wheat challot on shabbat. He felt that the darker color was not kavod
shabbat and generations in Europe ate white challah

I would venture that this depends on the times and would be less relevant
today from even the recent times of RMF

What I found more disturbing was the conclusion that some people have a
craziness that not only is it healthier to eat whole wheat  but that never
eat white bread. This is a craziness and one should not consider them

A sefer Halichot Ha-Ish of piskei halacha from Rav Elyashiv was also just
(I was in Gittlers in Bnei Brak yesterday)


I note in my shul that it is becoming more common to see light blue or even
striped shirts on shabbat. Again how much of this dress wear in time

Eli Turkel
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Message: 6
From: Rabbi Meir G. Rabi
Date: Thu, 22 Sep 2016 13:31:28 +1000
[Avodah] Kissing Holy Texts in Unholy volumes

It is true that we would likely not kiss and show honour to a 1000-page
encyclopaedia volume that included a bencher or siddur
HOWEVER the question was asked I suspect with great care -  When I finish
bentshing off my phone should I kiss the phone BEFORE CLOSING THAT SCREEN?

Kissing that screen is like kissing THAT page in the 1000-page encyclopaedia

however, probably Assur due to health and hygiene - you'd need to do like
the Mohalim, use a pipette.


Meir G. Rabi
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Message: 7
From: Marty Bluke
Date: Thu, 22 Sep 2016 11:53:06 +0300
Re: [Avodah] mezonos rolls

R' Eli Turkel asked:
"which brings up the question of what is a mehadrim hashgacha if they
follow a minority opinion"

A mehadrin hashgacha generally tries to fulfill all opinions. In this case
it is impossible to be machmir and follow all opinions as they are
contradictory, you either have to make mezonos or hamotzi you can't do
both. Therefore, they have to take a stand on the actual issue.
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Message: 8
From: Simon Montagu
Date: Thu, 22 Sep 2016 13:38:37 +0300
[Avodah] Kissing Mobile Devices

On Tue, Sep 20, 2016 at 11:51 PM, Rn Toby Katz via Avodah <
avo...@lists.aishdas.org> wrote:

> I have never recited Birkas Hamazon on crackers but today for the first
> time I recited Birkas Hamazon on my cellphone.  Here is my question:  When
> I close a bentsher  or a siddur I kiss it.  When I finish bentshing off my
> phone should I kiss the phone before closing that screen?

I have had the same question when praying from the siddur app on my
cellphone or the scans from siddurim on my Kindle, and learning from ebooks.

It seems like a classic heftza/gavra question: do you kiss a siddur or
sefer because of *its* kedusha, or to express *your* reverence for the
mitzva and the text? I don't know the answer.
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Message: 9
From: Rich, Joel
Date: Thu, 22 Sep 2016 13:16:36 +0000
[Avodah] Individual vs. Society

From Nishmat Avraham -I wonder if the wonder is based on the assumption
that the whole is equal to the sum of its parts? (that is one could
consider the effect on the justice system of a judges decision differently
than an jndividual citizen's "rights")

Rav Yonah Emanuel zt"l also commented that he did not know of a source
which states that it would be permissible for a Dayan to pass judgment in
favor of a litigant who was guilty if he was threatened with his life to do
so. He thought that nevertheless it would be difficult to believe that a
Dayan would be permitted to pronounce a guilty party innocent even if he
was threatened with his life, for if so this would lead to a total collapse
of law and order. I wondered why this situation should be any different
from any other transgression that is permitted in order to save life. And
one is permitted to save oneself by robbing someone else provided that he
remunerates him afterwards for his loss. [Choshen Mishpat, Chapter 1, pg.

Joel Rich

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Message: 10
From: Rich, Joel
Date: Thu, 22 Sep 2016 13:17:47 +0000
[Avodah] Status of katan

The minchat chinuch in mitzvah 17 [subsection 14] makes the following
comment (my free translation), "it appears in truth that a minor is subject
to commandments, just that it's not applicable to say that the Torah warns
him, since he is not a being of wisdom (bar daat) but in truth he is bound
to mitzvot." Any earlier articulation of this concept?
Joel Rich

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Message: 11
From: Akiva Miller
Date: Thu, 22 Sep 2016 07:51:30 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Mezonos Becomes HaMotzi

R' Micha Berger asked:

> The whole concept of meal changed.
> Their meals were generally a bunch of foods you ate on/with some
> flatbread -- pita, laffa / taboon, Indian rota, dosa, etc...
> Those foods being "lefes". This is what we're talking about when
> we speak of someone being qoveia se'udah on bread, and the other
> foods (minus the usual) being covered by its berakhos.
> Picture a typical Israeli or Sepharadi appetizer course.
> I therefore wonder how we knew these rules still applied as those
> of us in the golah outside the Middle East evolved away from that
> kind of meal. And why they would. Maybe sandwiches are similar
> enough to think the same notion of qevi'as se'udah would apply.
> But in general?

I will agree that bread figures into our meals far less prominently than
theirs. But even then, the whole meal was covered by Hamotzi, even those
foods that were not eaten literally together with the bread.

Hamotzi covers the meal because the bread is the ikar and the meal is the
tafel. But there are two different sorts of ikar/tafel relationship: One
governs the decision of what bracha to say on a salad and other food
mixtures, and that's what you're thinking of when you mention sandwiches
and Israeli appetizers.

But there is another concept also, that bread is the ikar because it is the
king of all foods. My meal is covered by Hamotzi not only if I actually eat
the food with bread - it works even for the food not eaten with bread,
simply because of bread's high status.

For more information on this sort of ikar/tafel, I suggest looking into why
Hagafen covers all drinks. When I drink enough wine at kiddush, it covers
the Coke I drink afterward, and I don't need to dip the Coke into the wine
for this to work. It is simply because of wine's status as the king of
drinks. And so too for bread and other foods.

Akiva Miller
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Message: 12
From: Micha Berger
Date: Thu, 22 Sep 2016 11:31:45 -0400
[Avodah] Reliability of the Mesorah

From <http://j.mp/2dmtibe>
(compressed from http://www.independent.co.uk...)
the Independent (UK) tech column, with AP material folded in, about
what it took to be able to read a copy of Vayiqra from the bayis sheini
era. And not from some group of minim in the desert, but in use, in a shul.

To jump to the point "100% identical", "This is quite amazing for us," [Dr
Emmanuel Tov, Hebrew U] said. "In 2,000 years, this text has not changed."

   Scientists have finally been able to read the oldest biblical text ever

   The 2,000-year-old scroll has been in the hands of archaeologists for
   decades. But it hasn't been possible to read it, since it was too
   dangerous to open the charred and brittle scroll.

   Scientists have now been able to read it, using special imaging
   technology that can look into what's inside. And it has found what was
   in there: the earliest evidence of a biblical text in its standardised

   The passages, which come from the Book of Leviticus, show the first
   physical evidence of a long-held belief that the Hebrew Bible that's in
   use today has is more than 2,000 years old.

   The biblical scroll examined in the study was first discovered by
   archaeologists in 1970 at Ein Gedi, the site of an ancient Jewish
   community near the Dead Sea. Inside the ancient synagogue's ark,
   archaeologists found lumps of scroll fragments.

   The synagogue was destroyed in an ancient fire, charring the scrolls.
   The dry climate of the area kept them preserved...

   The researchers say it is the first time a biblical scroll has been
   discovered in an ancient synagogue's holy ark, where it would have been
   stored for prayers, and not in desert caves like the Dead Sea Scrolls.

   The discovery holds great significance for scholars' understanding
   of the development of the Hebrew Bible, researchers say.

   In ancient times, many versions of the Hebrew Bible circulated. The
   Dead Sea Scrolls, dating to as early as the 3rd century B.C.,
   featured versions of the text that are radically different than
   today's Hebrew Bible.

   Scholars have believed the Hebrew Bible in its standard form first came
   about some 2,000 years ago, but never had physical proof, until now,
   according to the study. Previously the oldest known fragments of the
   modern biblical text dated back to the 8th century.

   The text discovered in the charred Ein Gedi scroll is "100 percent
   identical" to the version of the Book of Leviticus that has been in
   use for centuries, said Dead Sea Scroll scholar Emmanuel Tov from
   the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who participated in the study.

   "This is quite amazing for us," he said. "In 2,000 years, this text
   has not changed."

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             For a mitzvah is a lamp,
mi...@aishdas.org        And the Torah, its light.
http://www.aishdas.org                   - based on Mishlei 6:2
Fax: (270) 514-1507


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