Volume 17 Number 8
                       Produced: Mon Dec  5 23:05:30 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Jonathan Katz]
Kashrus Organizations 16#99
         [Neil Parks]
Kol Isha
         [Ari Shapiro]
R. Kahane z"l and Channukah
         [Chaim Schild]
Reliability of oral tradition.
         [Gilad J. Gevaryahu]
Shabbat Shalom Weekly List!
         ["Rabbi Kalman Packouz"]
Siyum by a Group
         [Aleeza Esther Berger]
Some very rare davenings
         [Bernard Horowitz]
Torah reading - corrections
         [Aleeza Esther Berger]


From: Jonathan Katz <frisch1@...>
Date: Mon, 05 Dec 1994 12:28:10 EST
Subject: Hanuka

Re: Shaul Wallach's most recent post in which he argues that "Hanuka does
not commemorate the military victory".

I wrote a d'var Torah about this very issue, so I will (briefly) give my
point of view:

The military victory was the real miracle of Hanuka and is the "real"
reason (sorry, I mean the "real" event) which is commemorated by
Hanuka. In support of this fact, notice that Al HaNissim only mentions
the military victory and not the miracle of the oil. (SO, when we thank
God, we thank Him for the victory, not for the incidental miracle of the
oil).  Now, when the Macabees won the war, it was unclear to anyone but
the faithful that a miracle had actually occurred. So, God performed
another miracle, the miracle of the oil, to show that the entire
sequence of events was miraculous. That's why the Talmud only mentions
the miracle of the oil - Hanuka *commemorates* the military victory (I
guess you could say that this is implied), but was *established* only
because the miracle of the oil made it clear that a miracle had occurred
(i.e., if no second miracle had occurred, the Sages would have
celebrated the military victory but would not have had the "right" to
institute a holiday for all time since it was not clear that it was

Thus, the miracle of the military victory was the "real" or "important"
miracle, while the miracle of the oil was incidental. The miracle of the
oil came only to show that a miracle had taken place. This also answers
the following questions: 1)if God were really interested in just helping
them dedicate the Temple, why not let them find enough oil for all 8
nights to begin with?  The answer: the point was NOT to help them
dedicate (what would have been the big deal if they had postponed
dedication by 8 days?), but to do something miraculous. Having them find
enough oil would have been a miracle, but not an *obvious* miracle.  2)
Why did the miracle occur with a Menorah? Why didn't God let them find
bread for the Shulchan or an animal for a sacrifice? The answer: because
the menora (as we all know) is best suited to publicize the miracle - so
everyone would know that a real miracle had taken place.

To reiterate: I think the "p'shat" (if you will) of Hanuka is that
Hanuka commemorates the military victory which was shown without a doubt
to be a miracle by the incidental miracle of the oil.

Jonathan Katz
410 Memorial Drive, Room 241C
Cambridge, MA 02139


From: Neil Parks <aa640@...>
Date: Mon, 5 Dec 94 13:43:03 EDT
Subject: Re: Kashrus Organizations 16#99

>>From: David Steinberg <dave@...>
>While Kashrus Magazine publishes lists of organizations, the information 
>provided falls far short of what would be necessary to determine whether 
>one should rely on that organization.  In private communication on this 
>subject I have been told to consult my LOR.  My objection to that as an 
>approach is that I question whether the LOR has any better information.

He might not have better information at the time you ask the question, but 
chances are he has better resources to find out.  He can consult with his 
own rebbe or rosh yeshiva, or other senior colleagues whose opinion he 
respects.  He can interview the supervising rabbi of the organization in 
order to determine whether that rabbi's standards are in harmony with his 

"This msg brought to you by:  NEIL EDWARD PARKS"


From: <m-as4153@...> (Ari Shapiro)
Date: Mon, 5 Dec 94 18:12:27 -0500
Subject: Kol Isha

<I don't understand the logic here.  It is stated that the problem could not 
<be one of sexual arousal, because if this were so, then listening to a 
<pnuya sing would be forbidden as well, and the implied reason is that 
<'becoming sexually aroused' is prohibited, no matter who is in question.  
<I was not aware that 'becoming sexually aroused' in itself is prohibited.  
<If so, then there would seem to be good grounds for prohibiting listening 
<to a pnuya sing, as a fence around the Torah.

Becoming sexually aroused IS CERTAINLY PROHIBITED.  The shulchan aruch
states clearly in siman 23,3(Even Haezer) that it is prohibited for a
person to harden himself on purpose or BRING HIMSELF TO SEXUAL THOUGHTS.
This clearly prohibits sexual arousal in and of itself.  The gemara in
Avoda Zara(20A) learns out from v'nishmarta micol davar ra (and you
shall watch out for bad things) the prohibition to look at a woman.  The
gemara in B'rachos learns it out from v'lo sasuru.  The Semak (Sefer
Mitzvos Katan mitzvah 30) and R' Moshe (Even Haezer 1,56) both
understand that the gemara in brachos is discussing looking l'shem znus
(for sexual reasons) while the gemara in avoda zara is just for pleasure
which is prohibited because he may become aroused and have a nocturnal
emission.  This second prohibition certainly would apply to a
pnuya(unmarried woman).  This understanding of the gemara in Avoda Zara
is in consonance with with what the shulchan aruch says in Siman 23

<If the mechanism is indeed via sexual arousal, then we 
<are back to square one.  Is the argument, perhaps, that singing of female 
<guests would lead to more intimacy, and finally to sexual relations?  If 

The argument is that by hearing the woman sing you may become attracted
to her (not necessarily sexually aroused) and this could lead to more
intimacy which could lead to znus.

<If so, then this prohibition should be on a par with the other prohibitions 
<forbidding 'sikha bateyla' unnecessary talk with a woman.  Is this so?

What are you trying to say that the prohibition doesn't apply today?  

Ari Shapiro


From: SCHILD%GAIA%<SDI@...> (Chaim Schild)
Date: Mon, 05 Dec 1994 16:24:44 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: R. Kahane z"l and Channukah

I heard that Rabbi Kahane has a drush on Channukah that questions
Non-frum Jews as to why they support a holiday in which "they [i.e.  the
Hellenists...the non-frum of that day]" lost......... Any sources as to
where I can find a copy ??



From: <Gevaryahu@...> (Gilad J. Gevaryahu)
Date: Sun, 4 Dec 1994 13:49:08 -0500
Subject: Reliability of oral tradition.

I would like to add to the discussion of the question raised and discussed in
MJ17#2 based on " MJ 16:96, David Charlap (<david@...>) mentions
the game of Telephone as an analogy to the transmission of the Oral

Oral tradition was not passed on in a way similar to the telephone game.
Rather, it was done by people, probably designated by the community for their
memory skills, who memorized word for word  the stories, and transmitted them
to the next generation. People with special memory skills retained material
with a high degree of accuracy.

Homer's Iliad was retained orally (le'havdil, similarly to the Torah sh'beal
peh) for hundreds of years, but nonetheless remain accurate enough to be used
for the location of the archeological excvation site location. Legend has it
that friends of Schliemann ridiculed him for relying on the Illad, since "it
cannot be accurate after so many years of oral transmission", only to be
found totally wrong. Oral transmission in this case was found to be very

A brilliant pioneer in field archaeology, the German archaeologist
Heinrich Schliemann (1822-1890), is best known for his excavations at
ancient TROY and MYCENAE.  His discoveries there were later to establish
a historical background for the stories and legends told by Homer and
Vergil that had fascinated Schliemann from childhood

According to Homer the city of Troy is located at the confluence of the
Seamander and Simois rivers. Schliemann, convinced of the correct
location of Homer's Troy, conducted excavation at that site in
1870-1876.  His untiring efforts to prove that Homer's story of the
battle of TROY, passed on by oral tradition, was based on fact were
rewarded in 1870 with the discovery of the Trojan fortress on the mound
of present-day Hissarlik in Turkey.  Before Schliemann, this
civilization was not even known to have existed, and was considered a

Gilad J. Gevaryahu


From: "Rabbi Kalman Packouz" <ny000982@...>
Date: Sun, 04 Dec 94 23:36:42 -0500
Subject: Shabbat Shalom Weekly List!

Would it be possible to post this to your list?  Hopefully, there are
some readers who might be interested.  Thank you!

The Shabbat Shalom Weekly is an Aish HaTorah publication for Jews with 
little or no background who would like a Jewish connection.  Entertaining, 
interesting and meaningful are words used to describe it by it's readers.  
The format: question and answer on a Jewish topic relevant to life, a 
Torah portion overview, a Dvar Torah (insights into life and personal 
growth from a question on the weekly Torah portion), a Freebee offer, some 
candlelighting times, Aish news and a quote of the week. It is read by 
approximately 30,000 people world-wide each week via fax and e-mail.

To subscribe: send to <Listproc@...> the following message:
subscribe shabbatshalom <Your Name> substituting your name for <Your Name>.


From: Aleeza Esther Berger <aeb21@...>
Date: Mon, 5 Dec 1994 16:20:06 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Siyum by a Group

Lately I have noticed groups of people dividing up learning (e.g. Tanach 
or Mishna - they each promise to learn x number of chapters. or books.  
What are the halakhic aspects of making a siyum (celebration of 
finishing learning) with this practice?

aliza berger


From: Bernard Horowitz <horowitz@...>
Date: Sun, 4 Dec 1994 12:01:33 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Some very rare davenings

Well, it's now December 4, which means that the rarest of shmoneh esreis 
has already been davened.  I think one could easily claim that it became 
the most talked-about shmoneh esrei in history, with people discussing it 
on supermarket check-out lines and goodness knows where else.  I found 
that many people who never heard of m-j (!!) were discussing it in shul 
on Shabbos, though not always with accuracy.  I even heard of one shul 
president who mentioned it in his announcements by announcing that only once 
in 95 years does Rosh Chodesh Chanukah fall on Shabbos!  Talk about the 
game of Telephone, mentioned recently in m-j in another context!!

Anyway, last night's memorable maariv has now been davened with the 
kavanah (concentration) that such a rare event deserves.  This morning's 
shmoneh esrei has been davened, with perhaps slightly less kavanah (no ata 
chonantanu and, so, slightly less rare).

All of this has gotten me to think about other rare occurrences in 
davening, only some of which are related to shmoneh esrei.  I thought 
that these too are deserving of a good measure of kavanah.

1. Neilah on Yom Kippur - only once a year.
2. Mussaf on Chanukah - especially in those years when Rosh Chodesh Teves 
is only one day.  I'm writing 'by heart', so I really don't remember 
how often this happens.  I don't have my calendar database handy.  But I 
do know that we get a bonus with this one:  full Hallel on Rosh Chodesh.

The list could easily be expanded and soon we might find that we needed 
an extra measure of kavanah at times when we least expected it.  And who 
knows where that might lead.

Finally, sitting in shul yesterday, while congregants were frantically 
turning pages from shir shel yom (psalm of the day) to borchi nafshi 
(psalm said on Rosh  Chodesh) to mizmor shir chanukas (psalm said on 
Chanukah) with my thoughts on rarities in davening, I thought to myself, 
"Ah! I wonder how often Shabbos Rosh Chodesh Chanukah falls in Elul so 
that we can add ledovid ori too."  Probably have to find a database going 
back to Avraham Avinu for that one.

Happy Purim.

Bernard Horowitz


From: Aleeza Esther Berger <aeb21@...>
Date: Mon, 5 Dec 1994 16:17:35 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Torah reading - corrections

I am looking for references on the subject of what to correct the Torah 
reader (layner) for and what errors not to correct.  I would like more 
specific information than e.g. "correct if it changes the meaning of the 

aliza berger


End of Volume 17 Issue 8