Volume 26 Number 16
                      Produced: Fri Mar 28  0:39:57 1997

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

A travesty of the highest order
         [Chaim Shapiro]
Benching after a large kiddush
         [Akiva Miller]
Fast of Esther (2)
         [Steven M Oppenheimer, Joseph Tabory]
Mezonot Rolls
         [Sarah Kaiserman]
Source relating to Lesbian Behaviour
         [Paul Merling]


From: Chaim Shapiro <ucshapir@...>
Date: Mon, 24 Mar 1997 22:48:23 -0600 (CST)
Subject: A travesty of the highest order

	Last shabbos I was disturbed to see what I felt was a violation
of a shul's honor to the highest degree.  You see, over the last month,
I have witnessed on a regular basis (4 times) an elderly man with
alzheimers kicked out of shul because of uncontrollable noises he made
caused directly by his disorder.
	I had not commented, either in public or private about this
travesty because the rabbi himself had not participated.  Other members
of the shul did the "honors", self righteously tossing him. I only
assumed that the rabbi had not realized what had happened, and I was
waiting for an appropriate time to broach the subject with him.
	I cant explain the shock and horror when i saw the rabbi himself
kick the man out during mincha on ervev shabbos.  I saw the man's face,
how he enthusasticaly said "good shabbos" to the rabbi, not fully
understanding what was happeneing around him, and that he and his
disorder were not acceptbale enough for the congregation.
	And, as I watched him leave, the amount of time it took for his
aide to help him put on his coat and scarf, set him into his weelchair,
etc I could only wonder how long it must have taken him to prepare
himself for shul, to put on his clothes, to travel to shul, all to be
thrown out, not 5 minutes into the service.
	I consider this a travesty of the highest order!  This is not a
child, this is an eldery man, a man who was once fully in tune with his
facalties as we all are today.  And, he wants to go to shul, he puts out
the effort, he must see some kedusha in it.  Have we no respect, if not
for him, for the man he once was?
	Are we so concerned with our prayers that the cries of an old
man are just a nusiance to us?  I watched the remainder of davening, the
loud disruptions by so called healthy people, who felt their discussions
of the final four outweeighed the importnace of their and other people's
davening.  These people, insolent and disrepectful with full intent were
allowed to go about their merry way, while an old man trying with all
his might to worship Hashen in the manner he can in the sunset of his
life is considered a disruption and above the point of toleration.  How
low we have sunk.  I have never been so embaressed to be part of a
kehilla as I was that Friday night.
	This kind of behavior, can not and should not be tolerated.  


From: <Keeves@...> (Akiva Miller)
Date: Wed, 5 Mar 1997 00:08:41 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Benching after a large kiddush

In MJ 26:9, Carl Sherer gave an excellent synopsis of differing opinions
about the problems of washing and benching, for those who consume mass
quantities at a Kiddush. I would like to add just a few ideas. Let me
begin by pointing out that in order to eat *anything* at a Kiddush, not
only must you hear the Kiddush recited by the Rabbi (or yourself or
whomever,) but you must also eat a meal right then and there. The tricky
part is that the meal has to be substantial enough to satisfy the
requirement for Kiddush, but most people don't want one which is so
sustantial that it requires washing and benching.

As Carl pointed out, the rabbis differ on the amounts and manners which
define a meal for the purposes of washing and benching. But it seems to
me that if you are eating at a Kiddush and ask yourself "Can I really
eat lunch after all this?", then the stricter opinions would not only
require you to bench, but they would hold that benching to be a Torah
requirement. Those who don't ask their rabbi for a personal answer may
be skating on pretty thin ice. I'll admit that I did not ask my rabbi,
but that's because I have a way of evading the problem, as I will show.

At first glance, it seems that the only way to satisfy the stricter
opinions at a large Kiddush is to restrict one's intake to a mere snack
of some cookies and cake, some nuts and candy, maybe a piece of herring
or gefilte fish, but certainly no endless trips to the chulent and
chopped liver tables.  My doctor tells me that's a good idea, but
sometimes the food looks too good to pass up. Is there a way to cover
the strict opinions and enjoy the chulent at the same time?

The "meal" requirement at a Kiddush can be met by eating a kezayis of
Hamotzi (which this discussion is trying to avoid) or Mezonos. (Some
also allow drinking a reviis of wine or grape juice, but others disallow
it, and it's often not an available option anyway.) But there are two
kinds of "mezonos".  Cake, cookies, pizza, knishes, and baked products
other than plain bread are in the category of "pas habaa b'kisnin",
which means that it is essentially bread, but for one reason or another
it is considered a snack-food rather than a meal-food. Those are the
ones which get the status of bread if you actually go and make a meal of

The other kind of mezonos is non-baked items, such as noodle kugel and
cooked cereal. One can eat as much of this as desired, and it is never
considered bread; there is no netilas yadayim, and only Al Hamichya is
said afterward.  The Shmirat Shabbat K'hilchata (54:22) quotes the
Mishna Brurah (273:25) as saying that these foods are also acceptable
for the "meal" requirement at a Kiddush. So my solution is that after I
hear the Kiddush from the rabbi, I first eat some [a kezayis of] noodle
kugel and/or pasta salad, and then whatever else I want. And I do not
see a need to give up the cake entirely: as long as less than a kezayis
of cake is eaten in any given k'day achilas pras [several minutes] then
no question of benching can arise. (See Igros Moshe, O.C. Vol 4, #41,
for more info on that last point.)

And just in case you missed it on any of my previous posts: I'm no
rabbi, just an ordinary guy who is conceited enough to think that you
might think that his ideas are interesting. You want some real Torah,
you'll go ask your rabbi.

Akiva Miller
now at both <Keeves@...> and KGMiller@DatacorInc.com


From: <oppy2@...> (Steven M Oppenheimer)
Date: Tue, 18 Mar 1997 21:43:40 EST
Subject: Fast of Esther

Reuven Miller writes:

>The Mishna Brura states that the reason for taanit Esther is _not_ the
>3 day fast of Esther and the Jewish people on Nissan before Purim but
>rather the fast of the people during the fighting on 13 of Adar.  The
>Tora Temima, the Aruch HaShulchan, Sefer HaTodaah disagree and say it
>_is_ to commemorate the 3 day fast of Esther. The source of the Mishneh
>Brurah is the Tur. What is the source for Torah Temima and others?

The source for the Mishne Brura is actually the She'iltot of Rav Achai
Ga'on (Va'Yak'hel,She'ilta 67) The source for those who disagree is from
Masechet Sofrim (chapter 17). There were actually two differing customs
of when to observe the Fast of Esther.  Some fasted before Purim (our
custom today) and others fasted after Purim (the custom in ancient
Israel mentioned in Masechet Sofrim).  The differing customs are based
on the two views that you, Reuven, bring.  During the Geonic period it
was finally decisively decided and then codified ( Rosh, Tur, Mordechai,
etc.) that Ta'anit Esther is observed before Purim and it is based on
the fact that Moshe Rabbeinu fasted when the Jews fought Amalek and also
on the fact that the Jews fasted when they fought on the 13th of Adar
during the time of Morcechai and Esther.  The actual 3 day fast of
Esther occured 11 months earlier, the 14th, 15th and 16th of Nisan

During the time of Mordechai and Esther the Jews gathered together on
the 13th day of Adar to protect themselves from their enemies.  They had
to ask G-d for mercy to help them in their struggle against those who
would destroy them.  And so, they occupied themselves in prayer and
supplications and fasted on that day just as Moshe Rabbeinu did on the
day the Jews fought and prevailed against Amalek.  G-d also heard the
supplications of Mordechai and Esther, accepted their repentance and
fasting, and on the day that the enemies of Israel planned to overcome
them, Na'Ha'fohch Hu, the tables were turned, and the Jews prevailed
against their enemies.  The Jews killed 75,000 of the enemy excluding
those killed in the capital of Shushan and not one Jew lost his life.
Therefore, the custom was established to fast on the 13th day of Adar in
order to remember that HaShem sees and hears every Jew during his time
of travail as he fasts and returns to G-d with all his heart, just as
they did in those days.  This fast is known as Ta'anit Esther, the Fast
of Esther.

This year, Purim falls out on Sunday and the 13th of Adar II comes out
on Shabbat.  Unlike other fasts, the fast is not postponed ( nidcheh )
to Sunday, the day after, but is moved up ( mukdam ) to the preceding
Thursday.  Sunday is Purim and so the fast couldn't be Sunday.  Friday
is erev Shabbat, and as the Levush informs us, "we don't fast on Friday
because of Kavod Shabbat (the honor of Shabbat).  " We would not be able
to make the necessary preparations for Shabbat, nor would we be able to
taste the food during its preparation.  The Rabbis, therefore, decided
that the fast would be moved up to Thursday.  There is, however, a
principle, Akdumei Pur'a'noo'ta Lo Me'kad'mee'nan, we do not advance the
commemoration of a calamity.  This is why the other fasts (except for
Yom Kippur) that fall out on Shabbat are postponed to Sunday.  It seems,
then, that advancing Ta'anit Esther to Thursday would be violating the
principle of not advancing a calamity.  The Mordechai and Maharil both
write that the Fast of Esther is not because of a calamity.  The source
for this insight is from the She'iltot of Rav Achai Ga'on which informs
us that the Fast of Esther is because of the miracle that occurred
during the days of Purim. The Levush writes that part of the Purim
celebration is to fast just as our forefathers did, for we must accept
the good along with the bad.  Rambam explains that unlike the other
fasts that remind us of our evil deeds, Ta'anit Esther is only a
reminder of the fast of Esther that occurred during the time of Haman,
Y"Sh.  Rabbi Gavriel Zinner, Shlita, explains that since Ta'anit Esther
is a remembrance of the miracle that occurred during the days of Purim,
the basis of one's obligation to fast is not from Hilchot Ta'anit, the
laws of fasts, but from Hilchot Purim, the laws of Purim.  Since this
fast, unlike the other fasts, is not about the troubles that befell
Israel on this day, it is permitted to be happy and joyful.  Thus,
Ta'anit Esther may be advanced to Thursday and this is not a violation
of the principle of not advancing a calamity since this fast is a part
of the celebration of Purim.

A freilichen Purim and a kosheren Pesach!
Steven Oppenheimer, D.D.S.

From: Joseph Tabory <taborj@...>
Date: Wed, 19 Mar 1997 21:44:02 +0200 (WET)
Subject: Re: Fast of Esther

Masechet Soferim says that the custom of Palestinian Jewry was to fast
three days in memory of the fasts that Esther and the Jews fasted in
Shushan. However, these fasts were originally held in the month of Nissan
and, since it is not permitted to fast in that month, the fasts were
postponed to the following month. They were also not fasted consecutively,
as Esther did, but on Monday, Thursday and Monday. It was apparently
understood that Babylonian Jewry followed a different custom. Since it was
impossible to commemorate the fasts on the actual day (in Nissan), they
fasted one day, on the day before Purim. The megillah itself states that
the Jews accepted the fasts, although this passage is open to various
interpretations. A fuller discussion of this question may be found in my
book, Jewish Festivals in the Time of the Mishna and Talmud (in Hebrew),
published by Magnes Press in Jerusalem.
Joseph Tabory


From: Sarah Kaiserman <yu200420@...>
Date: Wed, 5 Mar 1997 10:45:51 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Mezonot Rolls

> This is actually a *very* complicated Halacha.  I would preface this by
> saying that I am neither Rav nor posek and one should always consult a
> posek before determining what to do in this situation.
> R. Yisroel Pinchos Bodner in "V'then Bracha" (Page 261) sums this up as
> follows:
...and therefore if one eats pas haboh b'kisnin with meat at a wedding(for 
> example) it would take less of it to require washing, motzi and bircas
> hamazon.  R. Bodner adds in R. Kaminetsky's name that this only applies
> when the "cake" is eaten together with the meat and not when they are
> eaten separately.  I think R. Kaminetsky's comment tends to support what
> I heard in the shiur last year.

this is true because the "Kazayis" consists of both "pas haba b'kisnin"
and the meat besides the fact that the meat is instrumental in being
"koveya seuda" We spent a lot of time on this last year in seminary
because it is such a complicated halacha, so I remember it well. What I
can't remember is if crackers are "pas haba b'kisnin" and should I wash
when eating a meal (ie being "koveya seuda") that consists of such
crackers? As for mezonot rolls themselves, we learned that there is "no
such thing" because if one is eating one, it is for the purpose of making
a meal. Besides, why skirt a mitzvah when having the opportunity?

Sarah Kaiserman


From: Paul Merling <MerlingP@...>
Date: Tue, 18 Mar 97 11:00:00 PST
Subject: Source relating to Lesbian Behaviour

       In volume 26:11 there was an inquiry about the sources of
prohibition of lesbian behavior. See Rambam in Laws of Prohibited
Copulations, chapter 21, Halacha 8. This prohibition is brought down by
the Tur and Shulchan Aruch in Even haezer chapter 20. The Rambams source
is a Breisa in Toras Kohanim on the verse. "And do not do the deeds of
the Egyptians." The Breisa states that the verse prohibits a man
marrying a man and a woman marrying a woman so as not copy the
Egyptians. However if one's wife practices this sort of sexual behavior,
she is not forbidden to him even if he is a kohen.  The Gemara in Perek
Haarel in Yivamos characterizes this behavior as Pireetsutsa, breaking
down the wall (of acceptable behavior.)  Maybe someone has a better
translation of pireetsutsa?


End of Volume 26 Issue 16