Volume 23 Number 18
                       Produced: Wed Feb 14  5:38:14 1996

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Assumed dates of death in Auschwitz
         [Shmuel Himelstein]
Ignored Halakhot
         [Elchanan Shor]
         [Chaim Schild]
Moshe's birthday and the Chronology of Plagues
         [Al Silberman]
Noahide laws
         [Moshe Stern]
Passages in the Shulhan 'Arukh that everybody ignores
         [Jay F Shachter]
Persian Jewry
         [Chanie Wolicki]
Pre-made bagged salads & Kosher bug issues
         [Robert A. Book]
Temple Candelabra
         [Alan Rubin]
         [Larry Israel]


From: Shmuel Himelstein <himelstein@...>
Date: Tue, 13 Feb 1996 07:52:15 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Assumed dates of death in Auschwitz

Monica Calabrese asks about a ruling received that the Yahrzeit of
people taken to Auschwitz be observed on the date they arrived there.

It would seem to me that this would be very much in line with the
landmark ruling of Rav Moshe Feinstein, Zatza"l, that if evidence was
brought that a man had been taken to Auschwitz, this could be used as a
proof to permit his wife to remarry, because of the clear assumption
those brought there were sent to their deaths (see, for example, Igrot
Moshe, Even Ha'ezer IV, Section 58:7, p. 116).

           Shmuel Himelstein


From: Elchanan Shor <yu141869@...>
Date: Mon, 12 Feb 1996 00:27:57 -0500
Subject: Re: Ignored Halakhot

>     Robert Kaiser asked about the banning of musical instruments
>because of mourning for the destruction of the Temple, and was answered:
>>>     The prohibition which IS based on mourning for the Temple is the
>>>prohibition against ALL INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC AT ALL TIMES.  This
>>>prohibition does not apply to music in divine service, such as at
>>>weddings, nor to practicing by professional musicians.  In any case,
>>>this prohibition is (obviously) not observed by Ashkenazim.

I remember being in a "Yerushalmi" wedding in Jerusalem where there was
no orchestra, just drums to accompany the dancing. If I'm not mistaken,
this Minhag derives from the prohibition against instrumental music.

Elchanan Shor 


From: <SCHILDH@...> (Chaim Schild)
Date: Mon, 12 Feb 1996 09:49:50 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Kedushas

In the Kedusha of Yotzer (during Brachas of Shema) we say:

Kadosh, Kadosh, Kadosh
Baruch Kavod HaShem M'mkomo

In the Amidah Kedusha we say:

Kadosh, Kadosh, Kadosh
Baruch Kavod HaShem M'mkomo
Yimloch HaShem ....

In the Kedusha of Uva L'Tziyon we say

Kadosh, Kadosh, Kadosh
Baruch Kavod HaShem M'mkomo
HaShem Yimloch .....

Does anyone know why they differ ? and the relevance that Kadosh is from
Isaiah, Baruch from Ezikiel and Yimloch Hashem (Tehillim) and HaShem
Yimloch (Exodus) ?




From: <asilberman@...> (Al Silberman)
Date: Thu, 8 Feb 1996 12:19:01 -0500
Subject: Moshe's birthday and the Chronology of Plagues

In MJ:V23n01 Etan Diamond writes:

>        It says in Shemot 7:7 that Moshe was 80 years old at the time he
>and Aharon spoke to Par'oh.  We also know that Moshe died at 120 years
>old.  We also know that he led B'nei Yisrael for 40 years.  We also know
>that the exodus occurred on the 14/15 of Nisan.
>        If so--it seems that all the plagues had to have occurred
>between the 7th of Adar (Moshe's 80th birthday) and the 15th of nisan
>(Yetziat Mitzraim).
>        Otherwise, Moshe would have had to leave Mitzraim a full year
>later when he was 81--leaving him only 39 years in the desert until he
>was 120.

Unfortunately, I was not able to find an answer to this question in the
standard commentaries. Some of the answers I have heard presume that the
number 80 is a rounded number or that the it means in the 80th year
(i.e.  79 years old). While these may be true I would like to postulate
a more rigorous usage of these numbers that conforms to the traditional
dates and intervals.

The mishna in Perek 2 of Ediyos says that the period of Egyptian
punishment was 12 months. This is interpreted to mean that the vision of
the bush occurred in Nissan one year prior to the Exodus. After the
first meeting of Moshe with Paroh, Moshe left for either 3 months
(Bamidbar Rabbah 11) or 6 months (Shemos Rabbah 5). The actual 10
plagues started when Moshe re-appears. The statement about Moshe's age
probably refers to the time of the beginning of the plagues and not to
the first appearance in Nissan (plain reading of the text).

Ages of people and kingdoms in Tanach do not increment on the day of
birth or ascension of the throne. For kingdoms they increment on Nissan
1 for Jewish kings and on Tishri 1 for non-Jewish kings (Rosh Hashana
3a). Thus, year #2 starts on Nissan 1 (Jewish kings) even if the king
has only ruled for 1 day prior to Nissan 1.

The ages of people are incremented on Tishri 1 (assumption being that
world was created in Tishri as according to R' Eliezer). This method of
counting is used by RASHI in Shemos 30:16 to explain why the count done
in Tishri (Parshas Pekudei) and the count done in Iyar (Parshas
Bamidbar) result in exactly the same number (there are other
explanations besides RASHI's).  Thus, no-one became 20 in the 7 month
interval also no-one became older than 60 in the interval. The only
required explanation that remained is how come there were no deaths of
those between 20 and 60 during this interval (see RASHI and commentators

With this in mind we can explain the ages given. First, if the plagues
started in Tishri then Moshe was 79 according to our reckoning but 80
according to Torah counting when he stood before Paroh. He was still 80
at the time of Exodus. Forty years later he became 120 on Tishri 1 prior
to his death. The question in the gemara Kiddushin 38a becomes a
question of dating since he was already 120 prior to his last day. The
answer being that the word "Hayom" teaches us that it was his birthday
and therefore, the number is exact.

If the plagues started prior to Tishri (3 month interval) then this
explanation is insufficient. I would like to suggest that for Jewish
kings (Moshe was considered like a king) their ages along with their
reign both incremented on Nissan 1 (So far I have not found a
contradiction to this).  The explanation of the dates is as
follows. Moshe was 79 according to our way of reckoning but 80 according
to Torah counting when he stood before Paroh. He was 81 at the time of
Exodus. Forty years later he would have been 121 had he lived to Nissan
1. However, at the time of his death he was still 120 which is what he
became the prior Nissan.

I can foresee objections to having a person's age first reckoned
according to Tishri then later on according to Nissan (when he becomes
king) but the gemara in Rosh Hashana 3b does the same thing for the same
king within his reign.


From: Moshe Stern <MSTERN@...>
Date: Mon, 12 Feb 96 11:14:00 CST
Subject: Noahide laws

Could someone provide me with information on the specific definition of
the Noahide laws.  I am especially interested in the treatment of
Xianity and Islam under the rubric of idolatry.  I am interested in
responsa, monograph material, journal articles etc.  (Also, was there
not a mailing list of Noahides some time ago?  Where would that be

I can be contacted directly at <MStern@...>


Moshe Stern
Professor M. S. Stern                  <204>474-8961 [voice]
Department of Religion                 <MStern@...>
University of Manitoba                    or
542 Fletcher Argue                     <MStern@...>
Fort Garry Campus                      <204>275-5781 [facsimile]
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3T 5V5


From: <jay@...> (Jay F Shachter)
Date: Tue, 6 Feb 1996 08:35:07 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Re: Passages in the Shulhan 'Arukh that everybody ignores

> From: <KAISER@...> (Robert Kaiser)
> 	I had asked about the source of banning musical instruments on
> Shabbat, and was informed:
> >     The prohibition which IS based on mourning for the Temple is the
> > prohibition against ALL INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC AT ALL TIMES.  This prohibition
> > does not apply to music in divine service, such as at weddings, nor to
> > practicing by professional musicians.  In any case, this prohibition is
> > (obviously) not observed by Ashkenazim. 
> 	I've heard of this, but never understood how the law was
> revoked....  what are we to make of this?  In my schooling, I have
> been taught that Halakha can only be changed by a Bet Din, and
> preferably a larger and more learned one than the Bet Din which made the
> ruling in the first place.  Yet this is only one example of dozens of
> explicit Halakhot that are no longer followed, yet no Bet Din has
> publicly revoked them.  I was always taught by Orthodox rabbis that this
> sort of thing was explicitly forbidden, yet the more I read - the more
> examples of this sort I find!

What you're missing is that there is no single definitive code of Jewish
law, and never has been.  People refer to the Shulhan `Arukh as the code
of Jewish law, but anyone who has read the Shulhan `Arukh, and who is
familiar with Jewish practice, knows that there are numerous laws
codified in it that are not observed by anyone.  The truth is that there
is no code of Jewish law that is fully observed by anyone.  The classic
example of adherence to a single code is supposed to be the Yemenite
Jews and the Mishneh Torah, but I can find you passages in the Mishneh
Torah that the Yemenite Jews ignore.  This practice has continued to
modern times.  How many followers of the late Rabbi Feinstein say the
benediction over deliverence from danger after every airplane flight?

This is different from saying that halakha is ignored, although that too
occurs.  For example, the Shulhan `Arukh and all the other codes of law
forbid your wife to wear a ring on Shabbat in a public domain.  Since
this law comes from an undisputed Mishna, I am willing to call this a
law that everyone ignores.  Similarly, the law disqualifying priests
from giving the priestly blessing if they cannot distinguish between
'alef and `ayin comes from an undisputed Gemara, so there, too, I am
willing to criticise my fellow Jews for ignoring a law (they claim that
their tradition entitles them to ignore the halakha, but that's nonsense
-- you can't have a tradition to ignore a halakha).  But most of the
ignored passages in the Shulhan `Arukh are less clear-cut, and there I
would say that the halakha does not conform to the psaq of the Shulhan
`Arukh, and I would refrain from criticising my fellow Jews for ignoring
the psaq of the Shulhan `Arukh.

			Jay F. ("Yaakov") Shachter
			6424 N Whipple St - Chicago IL  60645-4111


From: <JMNL06A@...> (Chanie Wolicki)
Date: Sun, 11 Feb 1996 21:21:46 EST
Subject: Persian Jewry

     I am writing an article for my shul's Purim newsletter, and I 
would appreciate any info on the ancient Persian (Iranian) Jews. Not 
everyone returned to Israel; what happened to the community in terms 
of rabbis, yeshivot, connection with other Jews, etc.? Someone 
mentioned that in the past century, many Iranian Jews migrated India. 
Anyone know anything about that?

     Thanks in advance.



From: Robert A. Book <rbook@...>
Date: Sun, 11 Feb 1996 16:24:14 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Pre-made bagged salads & Kosher bug issues

> From: Barry Siegel <sieg@...>
> Date: Fri, 2 Feb 96 10:23:05 EST
> Subject: Pre-made bagged salads & Kosher bug issues 

I was recently eating salad out of a bag with the hechsher of the cRc
(Chicago Rabbinical Council).  While eating, I noticed a bug with
green wings (the same color as the lettuce) attached to a piece of
lettuce.  As you might expect, I immediately stopped eating
(fortunately before eating that piece!) and discarded the rest of the

I called the cRc, and told them I found a bug in the salad.  They asked
if it was a "flying bug" or a "crawling bug," and when I told them it
had wings, I was told that they only check for crawling bugs (!).  I was
also told that after they check for crawling bugs, when the salad is
being packed, there are flying bugs in the plant all the time and
there's nothing they can do about it!

Now, since flying bugs are just as trief (not to mention repulsive and
unhygenic) as crawling bugs, what good is it to have a hechsher that
only checks for crawling bugs and freely acknowleges the possibility of
flying bugs?  This seems like a hechser on fried fish that guarantees it
was fried in kosher oil, but there might be shrimp mixed in with the
fish and there's nothing they can do so they give their hechser anyway.

I am thinking of going back to making my own salad, since I have never
found a bug in head lettuce.....

--Robert Book


From: <arubin@...> (Alan Rubin)
Date: Mon, 12 Feb 96 20:06 GMT
Subject: Temple Candelabra

The following has appeared on the israel news mailing list
>  Religious Affairs Minister Shimon Shetreet asked Pope John Paul II
> Wednesday to confirm whether the seven branched candelabrum from the
> ancient Israelite Holy Temple in Jerusalem is located in the Vatican's
> storage cellars, MA'ARIV reported.
> The candelabrum, referred to in Hebrew as the "menorah," was taken by
> Titus following the Roman conquering of Israel and is depicted in 
> Rome's Arch of Titus.

In his first volume of history of Byzantium, John Julius Norwich says
that the menorah and other vessels were taken from Rome to Carthage in
455 CE by Gaiserac King of the Vandals when he plundered Rome.  The
Vandals were defeated in 534 by Belisarius, General to Justinian, the
Byzantine Emperor and the menorah brought back to Rome.  Norwich then
says: "Later after representations by the Jewish Community - who
emphasised the bad luck that would inevitably fall on Constantinople if
it were allowed to remain - the ever-superstitious Justinian returned
the menorah, together with the other vessels from the Temple, to

I do not know what Norwich's source is for this.  Does anyone have any 
other information on this episode or the later history of the menorah?

Alan Rubin     <arubin@...>


From: Larry Israel <VSLARRY@...>
Date: Mon, 12 Feb 96 14:24:29 +0200
Subject: Vort

I just read where a couple had become engaged to be married, and the "vort"
would be held at a certain time. I assume that "vort" means "word" in English.
But what sort of ceremony is it?


End of Volume 23 Issue 18