Volume 21 Number 08
                       Produced: Wed Aug 16 22:49:31 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Chamar Medina
         [Carl Sherer]
Cutting hallah
         [Richard Friedman]
Here are the One Time Brachot
         [Avi Feldblum]
Pesach in Winter, revisited
         [Dave Curwin]
Sheelot Veteshovot, Tzvi Letsadik
         [Yaakov Shemaria]
Unusual Berachot
         [Joe Goldstein]


From: <adina@...> (Carl Sherer)
Date: Sun, 13 Aug 95 0:54:10 IDT
Subject: Chamar Medina

During the course of the three-week period leading up to Tisha B'Av I
heard two shiurim from the Rav of our shul (Rav Yitzchak Mordechai Rubin
shlita) in which he discussed the custom of using "chamar medina" (wine
of the nation - for lack of a better translation) for Havdala during the
nine days in place of wine.  Growing up in America, I learned to make
Havdala during the nine days on beer.  However, assuming I understood
Rav Rubin correctly, he made the following points:

1. The Shulchan Aruch and the Rema at no point mention the possibility
of making Havdala on Chamar Medina.  They say to make it on wine and
have a katan drink it (preferrably a katan who is old enough to
understand what te bracha is but not yet at chinuch age - probably about
6-7), or alternatively to make Havdala and drink the wine oneself if
there is no katan.  He said that making Havdala on Chamar Medina is not
so simple because it is not clear what Chamar Medina is and in any event
when Tisha B'Av is nidcheh (delayed) as it was this year, Havdala should
be made on wine after the fast and may be drunk by the person making

2. The Chazon Ish zt"l held in his younger days that "white beer" (what
most Americans would call beer - here there is something called black
beer which is a malt beverage similar to root beer but a sweeter taste)
was Chamar Medina and could be used for Havdala, but in his later days
he retracted that psak and suggested using pure (not from concentrate)
apple juice as Chamar Medina.  Rav Rubin quoted (if I remember
correctly) Rav Nissan Karelitz shlita and Rav Wassner shlita as not
agreeing with the Chazon Ish regarding apple juice being Chamar Medina.

All of which leads me to the following questions:

A. What are the criteria for determining what is or is not Chamar
Medina?  I remember hearing in the name of Rav Soloveitchik zt"l that
Chamar Medina is defined as anything which one would drink for pleasure
and not just to quench a thirst and that in today's society coffee may
even qualify as Chamar Medina.  Is that definition written down
anywhere? Did the Chazon Ish and others disagree with it? Or is the
argument regarding the chemical composition which qualifies something as
a "drink for pleasure"?

B. Does anyone know what "beer" the Chazon Ish had in mind? For example,
was he referring specifically to Israeli beers or to all beers? Why did
he change his psak? For example, it is conceivable to me that the
formulae for Israeli beers changed (or the Chazon Ish discovered that
they were not as they first appeared to him) so as to have more water
content which may have disqualified them as Chamar Medina.  Is that what

C. Based on the criterion cited in A (or any alternate criteria anyone
else may find in the poskim) why did the Chazon Ish conclude that apple
juice should qualify (assuming it is properly pure)? Did he hold that
apple juice was something one drinks for pleasure and not just to quench
thirst, or did he have different criteria for what constitutes Chamar

D. From my recollection of the Halacha by giving a minor wine to drink
at a Bris on Yom Kippur, we hold that it is permitted to give a minor
wine in such a case because although Yom Kippur occurs every year, it is
not always the case that there is a bris on Yom Kippur and therefore we
do not have a chashash (worry) that giving the minor the wine will get
him into the habit of sinning.  But there is at least one Shabbos every
year during the nine days and therefore there should be a chashash of
getting the minor into the habit of sinning by drinking wine during the
nine days if we give him the Havdala wine to drink.  Why don't we worry
about this? Why does the Shulchan Aruch seem to give as a preferred
solution giving the wine to a minor? Is it because the nine days are not
a Torah law?

-- Carl Sherer
	Adina and Carl Sherer
		You can reach us both at:


From: Richard Friedman <RF@...>
Date: 14 Aug 1995 12:12:12 EDT
Subject: Cutting hallah

     David Cooper asked (MJ 20:98) about customs for cutting hallah on
Shabbat.  Regarding his first-listed practice (hallot one above the
other; cut the bottom one Friday evening; cut the top one at Shabbat
lunch) I have heard an explanation but can provide no source.  The two
hallot symbolize male and female, or specifically, husband and wife.
The upper one is the male, and the lower one is the female.  (This may
be based either on the midrash on the k'tiv [written text, as opposed to
the normative pronunciation] in Gen. 1:28 -- "kivshah," or on the
presumptive missionary position of the husband and wife in sexual

     This explanation links this practice with other practices where the
prevailing symbolism for Leil Shabbat is feminine and that for Shabbat
morning is masculine.  The one that jumps to mind is the text of the
fourth blessing in the Shabbat amida.  In some siddurim, the phrase "and
may Israel ... rest on it [the Shabbat]" varies among maariv,
shaharit/musaf, and minha: "v'yanuhu vah/vo/vam."  The first treats
Shabbat as feminine; the second as masculine; and the third as a unity
of both.  I think such sexual symbolisms are kabbalistic in origin.

          Richard Friedman


From: Avi Feldblum <feldblum>
Date: Wed, 16 Aug 1995 22:38:43 -0400
Subject: Here are the One Time Brachot

OK, as promised, here are the one-time berachot that were
submitted. Each different submitted beracha is followed by one or more
numbers, which correspond to the people who submitted that beracha. List
of people are at the end.

1.  Al Biur Hametz


2.  SheLo Hisar B'Olamo ... (i.e. the one on seeing flowering fruit trees for
the first time in the year)


3.  Menahem Tzion u'Voneh Yerushalayim (i.e., Nahem on Tisha B'av)
[pointed out by Josh Hosseinof that this is only correct for Ashkenazim,
Sephardim say it at Maariv, shachrit, and mincha. The Shaliach Tzibbur
will say it twice at Mincha as well]


4.  L'hadlik Ner shel Yom HaKippurim (probably the one referred to as
"most years, with a substitute in all other years"; i.e., shel Shabbat
v'Yom HaKippurim) 


5.  Harav Et Riveinu (recited after the megilah reading on purim night)


6.  Ha-Pote'ah Lanu Sha'arei Rahamim U-Me'ir Einei Ha-M'hakim Lislihato,
        Yotzer Or


6.  (In Israel:  berachot over haggada, achilat matza, achilat maror)


Somewhat debatable

7.  Haftarah of Yom Kippur (also slightly different on Shabbat).  It's a lot
like other haftarah berachot, but is sufficiently different -- including
different hatima [closing] to merit)


Very debatable

8.  (In Israel:  Kiddush on Shavuot, Sukkot and Shemini Atzeret.  You can
argue that the different holiday reference makes each of these unique.  You
can also argue that they're identical except for that.  Pesach doesn't work
since you have the same kiddush beginning and end)


9.  (In Israel:  Haftarah on Shavuot and Shemini Atzeret.  Same applies, but
Sukkot doesn't work most years because that beracha is also said Shabbat Hol
Hamoed.  OK, so if that's true, one's Shabbat and one's not.  This is why
it's debatable!)


10. if shabbat falls on one of the days of Rosh Hashanah then you get a 
whole bunch more that are only said once during the year but those don't 
really count since they aren't ALWAYS said only once during the year.


11.  If one wishes to be pedantic one could claim that any Blessing 
mentioned in a Torah portion that is read only once during the year is 
also counted (such as Isaac's blessing for Yaakov and Esav, Yaakov's 
blessing for Joseph's sons, etc.) since a blessing is a "beracha".


List of respondees:

1 - <StevenJ81@...> (Steven White)
2 - <rotha@...>
3 - Joshua Hosseinoff <hosseino@...>
4 - Jan David Meisler <jm8o+@andrew.cmu.edu>
5 - Alan Mizrahi <amizrahi@...>
6 - <KANOVSKY@...>
7 - Larry Rosler <lr@...>
8 - <LMuschel@...>  Binyamin and Avi Muschel (Ages 13 and 10)
9 - Don Gertler" <dgertler@...>


From: Dave Curwin <6524dcurw@...>
Date: Mon, 14 Aug 1995 01:28:25 EST
Subject: Pesach in Winter, revisited

 About a year ago, I brought up the problem I had heard, that Pesach
might fall in the winter in the forseeable future. There were basically
two responses: a) that, indeed, Pesach might fall in the winter, and b)
in a far distant time, Pesach might actally fall in the summer. Well, I
think I found a source which explains both explanations, but still
leaves the problem to be solved.
 In Arthur Spier's _The_Comprehensive_Hebrew_Calendar_ (1986), he
discusses the problem of the tekufot. He writes (pgs 19-20) that
according to the rule of the tekufot set by the amora Shmuel (who was
less mathematically accurate than R' Adda, who disagreed with him), the
solar year may be approximated at 365 days and 6 hours. (R' Adda said
365 days, 5 hours, 997 parts and 48 moments). This leads to an error,
which adds approximately 1 day to the beginning of the tekufa (season)
every 100 years. So in our century, Tekufat Nissan begins either April
7th or April 8th. This is about 17 days after the astronomical
equinox. But for a mathematical reason (which I don't really understand,
see page 22), the lunar dates only are off slightly, adding 4 1/2 days
every 1000 years. So the date of Pesach is advancing very slowly, but
not nearly fast enough to catch up with the progressing tekufa.

So my question is, what happens when Pesach falls in "halachic" winter,
that is, in Tekufat Tevet? For example, next year, Pesach begins April
4th, 3 days before the beginning of Tekufat Nissan. Does that create a
d'oraita problem? Or is there only a problem if all of Pesach falls
before the tekufa? That happens in 5762 (2002)! Or does all of Nisan
need to come out before the tekufa, for there to be a d'oraita problem?
Or do we just ignore the problem, as long as Pesach falls out in
"astronomical" spring?

David Curwin		With wife Toby, Shaliach to Boston, MA
904 Centre St.          List Owner of B-AKIVA on Jerusalem One
Newton, MA 02159                   <6524dcurw@...>
617 527 0977          Why are we here? "L'hafitz Tora V'Avoda"


From: Yaakov Shemaria <Yaakov@...>
Date: Tue, 15 Aug 1995 13:39:33 GMT
Subject: Sheelot Veteshovot, Tzvi Letsadik

 I am writing on behalf of Dayan Yosef Apfel. He has asked me to find a
copy preferably new, of the sefer Sheelot Veteshovot, Tzvi Letsadik
volumes 1 and 2 written before World War 11, by the grandfather of the
late Bluyzover Rav, Rabbi Yisrael Spira, of blessed memory.Any
information on where these sefarim can be obtained would be greatly
appreciated.I believe that Rabbi Yisrael Spira reprinted them.
 Yaakov Shemaria
Yaakov@ shul.demon.co.uk 


From: Joe Goldstein <vip0280@...>
Date: Mon, 14 Aug 95 11:07:11 
Subject: Unusual Berachot

Josh Hosseinof writes " Meshaneh Haberiot (If one sees a black person or
a "nanas" (pineapple?) or "piseach"." and asks why this Brocho (and
others listed) has Fallen out of use. First of all I would like to
correct his translation of "NANAS" it means a midget not a pineapple.
As far as the brochos falling out of use. Who says? In Halocho it says
these Brochos are made when seeing these strange creatures for the first
time. (Since that is when one is "shocked" by the different type of
creature) However after that the brocho is not made again. Therefore, in
our society where African Americans are very common and one sees them
from childhood on. There is no shock in seeing them and therefore no
Brocho is would be made. When seeing a midget or a dwarf for the first
time, one SHOULD make the brocho.  (However, one must remember there is
still the halocho of not hurting someones feelings and therefore DO NOT
be conspicuous when making a brocho over someone so different)

I remember having a Rebbe who told me he remembered the first time he
saw a black american soldier who liberated his concentration camp. He
had never seen a black man before, even though he knew they existed, and
he made a brocho over him. (In addition to any prayers of thanksgiving
he made for being liberated) He told me when he came to america and saw
a black woman for the first time he was again shocked, he said he did not
realize there were black women also, (Not naivete he just never thought
about it I guess) and he made another brocho in the woman!

As far as tho other Brochos, They are mentioned in the shulchan aruch
with many other "Strange brochos". There is only one brocho that the
mishna berurah says is not made. (That has something to do with the
moon. but I do not remember exactly what it is.)

Hope this helps 


End of Volume 21 Issue 8