Volume 22 Number 21
                       Produced: Mon Nov 27 18:09:48 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Lawrence Feldman]
Bat Mitzvah
         [Jack Stroh]
Burial in Yerushalayim
         [Joseph Greenberg]
Eruv questions
         [Etan Diamond]
Parsha tidbit
         [Gedaliah Friedenberg]
Post Zionists?
         [Mordechai Perlman]
Returning Food to an Oven on Shabbat
         [Shlomo Grafstein]
Smoking and Halacha
         [Elie Rosenfeld]
Symbolic Jewish foods
         [Aaron D. Gross ]


From: Lawrence Feldman <larryf@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Nov 95 07:22:23 PST
Subject: RE: Abarbanel 

As an addendum to my previous posting in re the Maharal and the
Abarbanel: Shlomo Mallin, editor and translator of the English-language
version of the Maharal Haggadah, posits that the Maharal wrote his
commentary on the Haggadah specifically to refute, almost
point-by-point, the Abarbanel's earlier Hagaddah commentary. A condensed
version of the Abarbanel's commentary is available in English, published
by Artscroll. It would be instructive to compare the two commentaries.

Lawrence Feldman


From: Alana <alanacat@...>
Date: Sun, 26 Nov 1995 13:00:10 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Abravanel

> From: <amcooper@...> (Alan Cooper )
> This discussion has become rather muddled.  A few salient points: (1)
> the "Aristotelian" label applies more or less to every
> post-Maimonidean Jewish thinker with the slightest philosophical
> interests.  But medieval Aristotelianism is only perceived as a threat
> to traditional Jewish teaching when the spectre of creation from
> primal matter arises, or when commentators go overboard with their
> philosophical allegorizing

 No, no. This is quite incorrect. *At Least* Gersonides and Crescas were
both *generally* anti-Aristotelian. Particularly Crescas. It came out
more *often* in the context of creation, but clearly with Crescas it
shows in the divine knowledge/free will problem also (for example).
 Albo was also not Aristotelian. In fact, it seems that the influence of
Christianity (and the anti-intellectualism which follows its influence)
pushes Aristotelianism generally out of favor after Maimonides, and it
isn't until much later that it comes back.

'nuff nitpicking.


From: <jackst@...> (Jack Stroh)
Date: Sun, 26 Nov 1995 07:14:38 -0500
Subject: Bat Mitzvah

For a Bar Mitzvah, the father says "Boruch sheptarani..." "Blessed is he
that absolved me from this punishment" because the parent is absolved of
responsibility from his son's sins. Why does the father not do the same
for his daughter at her Bat Mitzvah?


From: Joseph Greenberg <jjg@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Nov 1995 11:10:00
Subject: Burial in Yerushalayim

With regard to the issues of the customs of burial in Yerushalayim, my
experience extends only to the burial of my father, who was flown to
Israel on a Saturday nite following a Friday funeral in NY. Shortly
prior to death (2 days) we had contacted an agent (I was led to believe
the "main" agent and I have no reason to dispute this now) in Brooklyn
regarding kevura at Har Hazaytim (Mt. of Olives). This organization
represents close to a dozen Chavrei Kaddishah (burial societies) in
Israel, and offered us the services of all of them. Each Chevra owns
land at various cemeteries (some own at all, some at one or two,
etc.). We had to purchase a plot and we have no Chasiddic affiliation,
so we decided to deal with the Chevra of the Rabbanut of Yerushalayim
(the central Rabbinical authority in Jerusalem). I was told that there
is a custom that children and spouse do not typically accompany the
deceased to the kevura, and I indicated that this would not be
acceptable to my family. I was frankly prepared for a fight.  We left
Ben Gurion Airport at about 4:30pm and we went to the Chevra's "Funeral
home" where we had the quick and dirty Chevra funeral - there were some
tehilim, and I said the Kaddish for the Avel. I followed the mayt (which
was in a car) on foot for several feet (no idea how many, but more than
10), and stopped several times to say Kaddish - I don't think it was
seven, but I wasn't counting. Although we tried, we did not get to Har
Hazaytim before sh'kia (for simplicity sake, nightfall), so my father
was buried in the dark. And no mention was made of any family member
attending the kevura... we were all there, nobody tried to stop us. They
weren't too happy that I wanted to do the entire action of kevura myself
(I shoveled all the dirt), but they didn't physically try to stop me, so
I did it. They ensured that we sat down (to start shiva) directly in the
cemetery, but it was too late anyway (shiva started after kevura,
meaning that it ended one day later than it could have if the pilot had
flown faster). For those of you that were wondering what they were doing
before the shoveling, in Yerushalyim they do not generally bury people
in coffins... the mayt is wrapped in the tachrichim (burial garment) and
a talit (for a man), and place directly in the ground. However, a
concrete frame surrounds the body, on the sides and on top, to prevent
movement because of seepage and drainage issues. They put pieces of
concrete over the body as well, so that it doesn't appear like you are
throwing dirt directly on the mayt. So in effect the mayt is in direct
contact with the ground on bottom only.
 As an aside, as with many other things, I was struck by the
commercialization of it all - the funeral is x dollars (I don't know if
this is optional or not), how much do you want to spend on a plot,?  For
$5,000 (five years ago) you got the standard Chevra plot (which we
took), for something more you got to be near Rav Unterman, for 35,000
you could have the plot next to Rav Moshe on Har Hamenuchot (at this
point I'm a big believer in pre-planning). And the Chevra made sure to
arrange that a minyan would be there for the kevura (although we ended
up not needing it) for the low, low price of $30 per man. So we had 10
kollel men (what a way to make a living!) with us (plus the fifty bucks
for the bus, of course). But don't take this all to sound sour or bitter
- just the opposite, I was very gratified by the efficiency and found
immense consolation in everything that was done.
Joseph Greenberg    <jjg@...>
human               39819 Plymouth Road * Plymouth, MI 48170
synergistics        800/622-7584 * 313/459-1030 * fax 313/459-5557
international       http://www.humansyn.com/~hsi


From: Etan Diamond <aa725@...>
Date: Sun, 26 Nov 1995 09:36:47 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Eruv questions

	After a conversation with Stuart Zimbalist, one of the founders 
of the recently built St. Louis eruv, three questions came to mind:

	1) when did this big spurt of eruv constructions begin?  I know 
some cities had eruvim several decades ago (Toronto being one).  When did 
YOUR city build its eruv?

	2) is there any history written about eruvim in the United States 
or Canada?

	3) what would you say are the good definitive texts on eruvim? 
Preferrably in English)?

	Thank you in advance.

Etan Diamond
Department of History
Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh


From: Gedaliah Friedenberg <gedaliah@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Nov 1995 11:22:12 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Parsha tidbit 
Newsgroups: shamash.mail-jewish

In this week's parsha we see that Yaakov asks Lavan for his daughter
Rochel's hand in marriage.  Later we see that Lavan "tricks" Yaakov into
marrying Rochel's sister Leah, and Yaakov must work additional years for
Lavan in order to marry Rochel too.

Lavan is often seen as a liar, yet we can see in the following way that
Lavan told Yaakov of his intentions (although Yaakov did not seem to
understand Lavan's message).

Yaakov asks for Rochel's hand, then the posuk states "Vayomer Lavan: Tov
titi osah lach, mi-titi osah l'ish acher" ("It is better that I give her
to you, than to give her to another man.").

In gematria katon, the word titi (taf taf yud) is equal to 4+4+1=9.  The
word mi-titi (mem taf taf yud) is equal to 4+4+4+1=13.  Similarly, the
gematrial katon of Leah (lamed aleph hey) is equal to 3+1+5=9 and Rochel
(resh ches lamed) is equal to 2+8+3=13.

Therefore, Lavan said to Yaakov "Tov titi (=Leah) osah lach, mi-titi
(=Rochel) osah l'ish acher." (Good.  Leah I will give to you; Rochel I
will give to another man.").

I heard this from HaRav Mendel Kramer (of Flatbush) in the name of his
father zt'l.

I made my own observation that the gematria katon of emmes (aleph mem
suf) is equal to 1+4+4=9 (= the gematria katon of Leah, since Leah was
the TRUE intended bride).  Now if I could only find a word for falsehood
which has the gematria katon of 13 :-)

Gedaliah Friedenberg


From: Mordechai Perlman <aw004@...>
Date: Sun, 26 Nov 1995 21:48:48 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re:  Post Zionists?

On Thu, 23 Nov 1995, Sh'muel Himelstein wrote:

> Many of the post-Zionists have a simple credo, which is
> totally destructive to Israel as a Jewish state. Among some of their
> beliefs are:
>  a) The Jews "stole" the land from the Arabs, therefore the "wrong" must
> be undone.
>  b) All the Arab refugees from 1948 on must be readmitted.
>  c) Israel must be a "state like every other state" - with no official
> religion, no involvement of the state in any way in religion, and - if
> the majority of the country is Arab - then they will run the country as
> they see fit.

	I'm not exactly sure what these "post-zionists" are.  Although
it sounds very much like they espouse ideas similar to the religious
group whose actions are incomprehensible to many of us, the N'turei
Karta.  Comments?

     Zai Gezunt un Shtark
			Mordechai Perlman


From: <RABIGRAF@...> (Shlomo Grafstein)
Date: Sun, 26 Nov 1995 17:56:41 -0400
Subject: Returning Food to an Oven on Shabbat

If the food is completely cooked and it is dry i.e. there is no liquids
then there is a method of returning food to an oven on the day of
Shabbat. [for those of you who are growing in Jewish law --- there is a
rule "there is no cooking after cooking" ie once something is already
cooked you cannot transgress the Shabbat melachah law by reheating it.
However if something is wet, then there is cooking after cooking.]  The
problem of returning cooked food is to an oven is "meich'zay
k'mi'vash'el" it appears like you are cooking.  This applies even if you
make an announcement and tell everyone present and show them that the
food is already cooked.  It would also apply if you are the only one
there and no one else could possibly get the wrong impression.  This is
"lo Plug" We do not differentiate and say now it is O.K. since no one is
around and another time it is not o.k.
 The leniency is when you put the food in the oven in a special way that
one does not cook in this fashion.  I believe that the Mishneh B'rurah
(I haven't seen one in this city) says that if you placed the vessel
with the food in upside down, then it is permitted, because no one cooks
this way.  This past Shabbat I had special guests and when I wanted them
to have the warm turkey and potatoes, I placed them in plate which is
never used for cooking, but would be understood by all as for reheating
only.  Does anyone cook food by placing it in the lid of roasting pan?
No one will get the wrong impression that you are actually cooking.
 Hopefully with greater wisdom we can fulfill the laws of
The Torah and have pleasantness in our lives as we inherit
the portion of Jacob, which is without boundaries.
Sincerely yours,
Shlomo Grafstein
Halifax Canada


From: <er@...> (Elie Rosenfeld)
Date: 27 Nov 1995  14:39 EST
Subject: Smoking and Halacha

Let me state as introduction that I am personally strongly opposed to
smoking (and in fact violently allergic to cigarette smoke).  However,
I'd like to play "devil's advocate" for a moment and explore whether a
halachic prohibition of smoking is truly a no brainer.  To simplify
matters, let's ignore the issue of second-hand smoke and address the
case of people smoking alone without bothering anyone else.  I see two
halachic issues here.

First, does the level of risk involved in smoking make it forbidden?
This is not an open-and-shut issue.  After all, there is some level of
risk involved in many activities that are clearly not forbidden;
driving, flying, even crossing the street.  Not only are these
activities permitted, there is no requirement to even take a small
effort to avoid them; e.g., walking a few blocks out of your way to
cross the street at a less busy intersection.  On the other hand, there
are clearly risks which would be considered too dangerous from a
halachic standpoint - e.g., stunt driving.  The question is, precisely
what level of risk crosses this line?  Where do you place smoking on
this scale?  How about skiing? bungee jumping? skydiving? hang gliding?
Etc., etc.  Again, it's a rather tricky question without an obvious

A second question is even if smoking should be forbidden, should the
halachic authorities take it upon themselves to do so?  Given the
addictive nature of smoking, forbidding it (to those that have already
started smoking) may be in the category of a gezayra [enactment] that
the authorities must forgo because most of the affected populace could
not keep it.

- Elie Rosenfeld


From: <aaron.g@...> (Aaron D. Gross )
Date: Mon, 27 Nov 1995 13:39:39 -0800
Subject: Symbolic Jewish foods

I am looking for reference sources regarding Jewish food symbols and

Food may be discussed in aggadic, halachic or general contexts.  When
they are recommended and when they are prohibited is also useful
information.  I have plenty of sources on basic kashrus and
Pesach-specific kashrus, so these are not necessary.  However,
references and explanations of customs and recommendations (such as the
Rambam's recommendation not to eat fish with meat) are very desirable.

Some food items should include, but not be limited to: milk, meat, fish,
matzoh, salt, pepper, gefilte fish, water, red wine, white wine, cheese,
eggs, lentils, challah, horseradish, garlic, beets, carrots, potatos,
chicken, beef, spices, butter, olives, pomegranates, quail, onions, etc.
(i.e. everything you can think of)

Even Jewish-oriented references to non-kosher food items (escargot,
lobster, pork, unproperly-shechted animals, etc.) and their symbolism is
also desirable.

Information about gefilte fish, for instance, may note that it is
typically a Shabbos food, prepared to remove bones before Shabbos (to
prevent the melacha of borer), that it represents sinlessness (story of
the flood, not susceptible to the "ayin hara"), that the gematria for
the name for fish, dag, (daled plus gimel) adds up to seven (a remez to
Shabbos), references with quail in Shabbos zemirot, skin of the
Leviathan to be used for schach in olam haba, etc.  (I would expect
references to fish to be many, whereas the spice cinnamon would have
fewer references.)

English reference sources are preferred, but I will gladly accept
pointers to anything useful.

Individual anecdotal items about specific foods are also gladly accepted
by email.

Many, many, thanks in advance.

Aaron Gross


End of Volume 22 Issue 21