Avodah Mailing List

Volume 38: Number 12

Sun, 16 Feb 2020

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Jay F. Shachter
Date: Tue, 11 Feb 2020 09:17:50 +0000 (WET)
[Avodah] Mistaken Minhagim

Talking during prayer is not a minhag.  It is a hanhagah (Hebrew, like
every language, has nuanced near-synonyms in matters of importance to
its speakers).  Jews do not talk during prayer thinking "this is how
Jews should conduct themselves", or even "this is how Jews conduct
themselves", and those cognitions are part of the definition of the
word "minhag".  The original poster asked for mistaken minhagim, which
originated in the hamon `am, and which were subsequently tolerated by
the scholarly class.  Talking during prayer is not a mistaken minhag,
because it is not a minhag at all.  A minhag that satisfies the
original poster's question -- as has already been pointed out by
another contributor to this mailing list -- is praying for rain, not
when you need rain, but when the people of Iraq need rain.  Other
minhagim that satisfy the original poster's question are wearing
costumes on Purim, or not cutting a boy's hair till he is three years
old.  And there are numerous other idolatrous practices and
superstitions that are found among Jews, like tugging your ear after
you sneeze, or not walking over a baby, and if you do walk over a
baby, then walking backwards over the baby to undo the walking
forwards.  If you read classic Yiddish literature, you will learn many
minhagim regarding sickness which clearly belong to the category of
"halloxesh `al hammakkah" but which were nearly universal among the
Jews depicted in that literature, and which are not condemned by the
Yiddish-speaking scholarly class even now.  The practice of not eating
kitniyyoth (deliberately left untranslated) on Passover also
originated in the hamon `am, and was later ratified, and even
codified, by the scholarly class, but I would abolish it if I could,
because, inter alia, it makes it more expensive to observe Passover,
and God cares about the property of His people.

There are other mistaken minhagim which originated, not in the hamon
`am, but in the scholarly class themselves, and which are not
condemned by the scholarly class, because they benefit the scholarly
class.  An example of this category is the practice of earning a
living from teaching Torah sheb`al peh, which is clearly forbidden by
Jewish law.  An even more odious example is the practice of "kollel",
which involves paying people, not even to teach Torah, but just to
learn it.  This is not only prohibited by Jewish law, but also
condemned in the strongest terms; yet the scholarly class have taken a
prohibition, and turned it into a commandment, because it benefits
them.  A third example is draft exemptions for yeshiva students, even
though -- as has been pointed out before on this mailing list -- the
halakha clearly states that "bmilxemeth mitzva hakkol yotz'im, afilu
xathan mixedro vkhallah mixupathah".

                        Jay F. ("Yaakov") Shachter
                        6424 North Whipple Street
                        Chicago IL  60645-4111
                                (1-773)7613784   landline
                                (1-410)9964737   GoogleVoice

                        "Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum videtur"

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Message: 2
From: Sholom Simon
Date: Tue, 11 Feb 2020 11:43:23 -0500
[Avodah] Mistaken minhagim

R' Martin Brody <martinlbr...@gmail.com> wrote:

Don't know if it's the earliest, it's certainly very old and Chazal,
to Rambam rejected it. But most of y'all will be doing it next
Shabbat. That is, standing for the 10 Commandments.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but my impression is that Rambam's rejection can
be distinguished from what we do now.  The Rambam also held that we never
change the trop.  And so, lishitaso, this makes sense. since he holds that
we should always leyn aseres hadibros in ta?am tachton, and so it appears
we are placing more importance on one part of the Torah above other parts.

My understanding, further, is that RYBS concluded that when we leyn with
ta?am elyon then it becomes clear that we are re-enacting kabalos haTorah,
in which case it?s perfectly fine to stand.

-- Sholom
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Message: 3
From: Sholom Simon
Date: Tue, 11 Feb 2020 11:45:42 -0500
[Avodah] S"A 167:4 - ten fingers on your challah

The Mechaber, at 167:4, notes that when we say hamotzie, we should be
holding the challah with 10 fingers, and he then proceeds to give six
different reasons.  (I'll add the the Tur also gives a number of reasons).

This seems kind of rare for the S"A to do that.  Does anybody know why he
does so here?
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Message: 4
From: Cantor Wolberg
Date: Tue, 11 Feb 2020 13:20:47 -0500
[Avodah] Mistaken Minhagim

I recall in my youth that there were individuals who
consistently stood for the entire leining. I would 
assume that was their minhag.

The other thing I learned that many of my peers
did not know and that was the halacha regarding
whether you stand for the sh?ma or sit. The answer
is if you are already sitting, you remain seated and
conversely, if you are already standing, you remain

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Message: 5
From: Rich, Joel
Date: Tue, 11 Feb 2020 22:34:55 +0000
[Avodah] Haneitz?

Why did chazal consider davening at haneitz as preferable? What's best
practice for someone who wakes up two hours before haneitz (when should
they daven? what else should they do?)?

Joel Rich

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Message: 6
From: Prof. L. Levine
Date: Fri, 14 Feb 2020 16:25:30 +0000
[Avodah] Cholov Akum and Cholov Yisroel

From today's OU Kosher Halacha Yomis

Q. I typically eat only cholov Yisrael products. Accidentally, I bought a
cereal that is labeled OU-D. I checked with the OU?s Webbe Rebbe
(Kosh...@OU.org) and was told the cereal does not contain actual dairy, but
it is made on dairy equipment. I opened the box, and I can no longer return
it to the store. May I eat the cereal?

A. This question should be an open and shut case. The Rama (YD 115:1)
writes explicitly that if cholov akum was cooked in a pot, the pot must be
kashered before it is re-used. Nonetheless, there are various positions
among poskim regarding food that was cooked in cholov akum pots in our
contemporary times. The issue revolves around the current status of
commercial milk. It is well known that Rav Moshe Feinstein, zt?l and other
contemporary poskim held that the prohibition of cholov akum does not apply
to commercial milk which is regulated and monitored by government agencies.
Others reject this leniency. Still a third group are in agreement with Rav
Moshe as far as the letter of the law, but nonetheless refrain from
drinking unsupervised milk as a stringency. As such, there are the
following positions:

  *   Those who disagree with Rav Moshe and consider cholov akum to be
  halachically prohibited treat food cooked in chalav akum equipment as
  non-kosher, per the Rama quoted above.
  *   On the other hand, those who follow Rav Moshe Feinstein?s lenient
  position on commercial milk would obviously have no problem cooking in
  pots used for cholov stam. (Cholov stam is milk that was not supervised
  by a mashgiach, but was produced in a dairy that is monitored for purity
  by government inspectors.)
  *   A third group agrees with Rav Moshe Feinstein?s lenient position in
  principal, but nonetheless refrain from drinking cholov stam as a chumrah
  (stringency). This position is further split into two camps with respect
  to cholov stam keilim :

Some are stringent only regarding actual cholov stam, but are lenient with
respect to cholov stam keilim. This was the position of Rav Henkin, zt?l
(Teshuvos Ivra 43).

Others maintained the same stringency applies to keilim as well. Rav
Belsky, zt?l (Shulchan HaLevi 22:5) writes that this was the position of
Rav Yaakov Kaminetzky, zt?l.

Nonetheless, one can argue that Rav Yaakov Kaminetzky would allow using a
cholov stam pot that may have been unused for 24 hours. The basis for this
is the Shach (YD 119:20) who writes that if a person has a chumra that his
neighbor does not observe, he may still eat food that was cooked in his
neighbors pot, so long as the food was not cooked specifically for him
(i.e., the food was also cooked for those who are not strict), and it is
not known if the pot was used in the past 24 hours. A similar argument can
be made to permit the cereal in our original question, since it was already
purchased, and it is not known if the equipment was used for dairy in the
past 24 hours.

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Message: 7
From: Cantor Wolberg
Date: Sun, 16 Feb 2020 10:30:09 -0500

As you know, this Shabbos is Shabbos Shekalim as well as Shabbos M'vorchim.
 I'm reminded of the Hazzan who was chanting the Rosh Chodesh Bentching and
was very careful not to repeat words.  But he had to fit the melody to the
prayer so he sang ".....chayim she parnoso, chayim shel shekalim....."	At
least the uninformed realized it was Shabbos Shekalim.

The Mishna Meg. 3:4 explains in the days of the monarchy, the shekel tax
had become a permanent institution, and its proceeds together with other
freewill offerings were used to maintain and repair the Temple (ll Kings
12:15-17; 22:3-7).
Since the shekel tax was due on the first of Nisan, the Rabbis ordained
that this section (30:11-16) be read as an added Torah portion about a
month before: on the Shabbos before the new moon of Adar or on Rosh Chodesh
itself, if it fell on Shabbos. Because of this added reading the Sabbath
has become known as Shabbos Shekalim. (There is also a talmudic treatise
called Shekalim).  L?havdil, as a side, Christian Scriptures, Matthew
17:27, notes that Peter paid the tax for both himself and his master.
The Zionist movement at its first congress (1897) revived the shekel as a
common expression of support for Eretz Yisroel. The number of shekel
holders became an indication of the strength of political Zionism.  There
were 165,000 in 1907 and in 1946 there were 2,160,000.

In Yalkut Me'am Lo'ez. Sh?mos, Vol.lll, pp. 1068-1069, the question is
asked why the sum chosen for expiation was fixed at one-half shekel
(30:15). The reason was because Joseph had been sold into Egypt by his
brothers for twenty dinars, i.e. five shekels. There being ten brothers,
this amounted to a profit of one-half shekel for each.

Another explanation:  It was expiation for the sin of the golden calf.
(Though this sin is told later, in chapter 32, the comment is based on the
talmudic principle of Ein mukdam um'uchar baTorah.  This same issue is
raised in Mishpatim because Ch.24 shifts from the laws, that have been the
subject of the Sidrah, back to the Revelation at Sinai.  There is a
machlokes among the m'forshim regarding when the events in this chapter
took place.  According to Rashi, the events recorded in verses 1-11
occurred before the Ten Commandments were given.
Ramban, Ibn ezra, Rashbam, among others, maintain that these events took
place after Israel had received the Ten Commandments and Moses had taught
them the laws of the previous 3 chapters. 
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