Volume 26 Number 39
                      Produced: Wed May  7  6:55:56 1997

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Aveilut during Sefira
         [Isaac Balbin]
Cause for mourning during Omer
         [Micha Berger]
Computers vis Shabat
         [Ari Kahn]
Matzah Before Pesach
         [Steve White]
Mourning during Sefirah
         [Gershon Dubin]
Selling Chometz
         [Sheldon Meth]
Sukkah on Shemini Ateseret
         [Gershon Dubin]
Sukkah on Shemini Atseret
         [Isaac Balbin]
Wigs made from hair from India... a problem?
         [Ezriel Krumbein]


From: Isaac Balbin <isaac@...>
Date: Tue, 06 May 1997 13:27:08 +1000
Subject: Re: Aveilut during Sefira

  | From: <Ezr0th@...> (Elanit Z. Rothschild)
  | What is the exact point of
  | aveilut during sefira?  Is it the same type of aveilut that one keeps
  | when, chas veshalom, one's parent passes away?  Is it just a public
  | showing of aveilut and in private one can do what he wants, or is it
  | both?

Rav Shechter in Nefesh HoRav quotes Rav Soloveitchik Z"TL to the effect that:
Sefira/3 Weeks=mourning during the 12 months
The nine days/the week of Tisha B'Ov=mourning during the 30 days
Tisha Bov itself=mourning of Shiva 


From: <micha@...> (Micha Berger)
Date: Tue, 6 May 1997 09:21:21 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Cause for mourning during Omer

The Aruch Hashulchan gives two reasons for mourning during the Omer
period: the death of R Akiva's students, and the Crusades. In the next
siman (subsection) the AH explains that originally the custom was that
Omer was not a time to get married, and only later did full mourning
become the norm.

It would appear to me that he is implying that the newer, more stringent
form of observance is a product of the second tragedy.

Since the Crusades reached Ashkenaz (N France and Germany) late in the
omer (toward mid to late Iyar), I'd like to suggest that perhaps this is
the origin for those customs that place the mourning period in the
latter half of the Omer.

R Akiva's students, however, died in the first half of the Omer (the
Gemara seems to imply /including/ Lag Ba'omer, and ending then).

(We should also remember two other points that compounded that tragedy.

1- The death of the original 12,000 (or 24,000) students was a major threat
   to the continuity of tradition. The current chain of halachic and
   hashkafic tradition relies on the five students R Akiva rebuilt with
   (whose students wrote the mishna, the braisa, the medrash, etc...)
   The entire chain of tanaim and amoraim goes through these 5 people.

2- This was less than a generation after the fall of Bayis Sheini (the 2nd
   Temple). The Gemara attributes its destruction to sin'as chinom
   (causeless hatred. Now, the best and the brightest of the new Israel
   were punished for what? For not showing eachother proper respect.  We
   just don't learn from our mistakes.)

Perhaps the discussion over which part of the omer to observe was based on
which catastophe was considered the primary motivation for the practice.

Micha Berger 201 916-0287        Help free Ron Arad, held by Syria 3790 days!
<micha@...>                         (16-Oct-86 - 6-May-97)
For a mitzvah is a candle, and the Torah its light.
http://aishdas.org -- Orthodox Judaism: Torah, Avodah, Chessed


From: Ari Kahn <kahnar@...>
Date: Sat, 03 May 1997 21:48:29 +0300
Subject: Re: Computers vis Shabat

From: Avraham Reiss <areiss@...>
> > If someone uses the system when it is Shabbos where he is (assuming he
> > is Jewish) it is his sin not yours.  It is not even a consideration of
> > lifnei iver [do not put a stumbling block before a blind person].
> > |  Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz |     Im ain ani li, mi li?      |
> It can't be that simple, for there is an issur against benefitting from
> another Jew's Chilul Shabat, one opinion saying that one must wait after
> shabat 'bichdei sheya'aseh', i.e. wait after shabat the period of time
> it took to do the melacha, a second opinion (not, if I recollect
> correctly, accepted as halacha) saying that from a Jew's chilul shabat
> it is always forbidden to benefit (I apologize for the spilt
> infinitive).

Your understanding of this law is not reflected by the Shulchan Aruch , 
Please see the laws of Shabbat in Orach Chaim 318:1 where it states that
if a person cooked on Shabbat it is prohibited for him. Not for others!
Others may eat the food as soon as Shabbat is over (for them).
Furthermore, see Mishna Breura 5, where he stresses even if the food was
cooked specifically for you. (the Pri Migadim argues on this point, and
some poskim are stringent) . The law of cdai sheyaseh does not come into
play by work done by a Jew see Mishna Brerura 5, Rashi was of the
opinion that cdai sheyaseh does apply to Jews, this was rejected by the
Rambam and so codified by the Mechaber.. Therefore in this case your
halachik basis is lacking. It is possible to construct a prohibition
based on "Misayeh" a Rabbinic level of Lifnai Iver (according to most
authorities) which legislates against aiding and abetting a sinner. But
if they had no idea as to when you read it then this prohibition would
apparently disappear as well.

Ari Kahn


From: <StevenJ81@...> (Steve White)
Date: Thu, 1 May 1997 16:25:08 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Matzah Before Pesach

In #32, Chana Luntz writes:
> something that came up at one of the sedarim I was at this year: - we
>  say in the Ma Nishtana - "on all other nights we eat Chametz OR Matza" -
>  so according to the person leading my seder, the GRA, as brought down by
>  his talmid the Brisker Rav, derives from this that the prohibition on
>  eating matza can only extend to the DAY of the 14th and not even the
>  night before - because otherwise we would be saying sheker [falsehood -
>  Mod.] when we ask the Ma Nishtana (ie, according to your version of the
>  minhag, there would be 30 nights on which we would not eat Chametz OR
>  Matza, but only Chametz - or the version I am familiar with, from Rosh
>  Chodesh Nissan, there would be 14 such nights) !! - and hence the minhag
>  is a minhag shtus!!!

I hesitate to add to Chana's comments, since she knows much more Torah
than I do, and always adds light rather than heat to our debates.  But
in this case, I do feel I can add three things:

1) My understanding is the same as hers: at least k'halacha, matza is
prohibited only on the 14th from sunrise.  If I recall correctly from
some research I did on the use of egg matzo by Ashkenazim on Erev Pesah
that falls on Shabbat, I seem to recall that if one had cleaned out
one's hametz entirely on Erev Shabbat, one could not only use Egg Matzo
for that Shabbat (at least up to the fourth hour), but in fact for the
evening se'udah could use regular matzo.  I do not recall a source on
that just now, however.
 [Note: I'm not trying to start up the subject of what item is
preferable to use that day, only what is permissible to use.]

2) My understanding is that this minhag applies only to matzo that is
suitable for the seder.  This includes all kosher l'Pesach non-ashira
matzo, both shmura and non-shmura, since such matzo can be used at the
seder.  I don't know if it really applies to non-Pesach matzo made with
flour and water only, since I've never heard of anyone wanting to do
such a thing.  (;-)
 However, egg matzo is completely ok, right up to (at least) the fourth
hour of the 14th.

3) This having been said, "minhag shtus" might be overly strong.

I think this minhag probably does not have the force of halacha, at
least where it butts up against a real halacha.  So if such matzo is the
only bread available for a required seudah between Purim (or Rosh
Hodesh) and the night of the 14th, you probably have to wash and eat it,
not withstanding your minhag.  That's not true the day of the 14th,
where this is a matter of halacha, not minhag.

That having been said, I don't see why this is not a perfectly
reasonable minhag, provided you understand the halachic limits of it,
and act accordingly.  Furthermore, there is at least one halachic
support for this as a minhag: it is possibly a mitzvat-asei (based on
removing chametz) to consume chametz between Purim and Biur Chametz.
Hence, a minhag to avoid eating Pesach matzo during that period forces
one to consume chametz instead, which is good.

Now if "minhag shtus" was the language of the GRA or the Brisker, then
who am I to argue with them?  But if, instead, you understand what the
minhag is, and where its boundaries are, then you've learned some Torah,
which is the whole point anyway, right?



From: <gershon.dubin@...> (Gershon Dubin)
Date: Tue, 06 May 1997 16:37:27 EDT
Subject: Re: Mourning during Sefirah

>* The Rav said he felt a 3rd reason (besides the death of Rabbi
>Akibah's students and the absence of sacrifices) was of primary
>significance in the mourning during the Sefirah: The Rav explained that
>many of the atrocities of the Crusades happened around the time of the
>Omer (since some crusades happened during the summer).  The Rav
>elaborated on this by pointing out 3 things that the crusades lead to:

	This is also the reason, I am told, that we say "Av Harachamim"
before Ashrei on Shabbos morning even during the month of Nisan and even
when blessing the new month.  The content of Av Harachamim is
appropriate to this reasoning.


From: Sheldon Meth <SHELDON.Z.METH@...>
Date: 6 May 1997 12:45:11 -0800
Subject: Selling Chometz

In v26n35, Ranon Katzoff asked about the definition of a Goy for
regarding purchasing Chometz after Pesach from a supermarket.  Our Rav
uses the definition of management membership, i.e., the board of
directors, who have control of the operations of the company, as opposed
to stockholders.  If the Board of Directors of Osem would be majority
non-Jewish, then indeed, Osem would not have to sell its Chometz, and it
would be permissible to buy Chometz form that concern immediately after

In our area (Washington, DC, USA), for many years we had a problem with
a large supermarket chain known as Giant Foods, which was owned by Jews.
A few years ago, the patriarch of that family passed away, and last year
(after Pesach, unfortunately), our Rav determined that in the interim
wheeling and dealing, Giant Foods' Board of Directors was majority
non-Jewish.  Therefore, as of this year, there is no Chometz she'Avar
alav haPesach problem with Giant Foods.


From: <gershon.dubin@...> (Gershon Dubin)
Date: Tue, 06 May 1997 16:37:26 EDT
Subject: Re: Sukkah on Shemini Ateseret

>    Rav Zvi Schachter in his sefer "Nefesh Harav" p. 220 quotes Rav 
>Soleveitchik with an entirely different explanation. He says (my 
>translation) based on the gemara in Sukkah 47a that one definitely 
snip snip
>because it goes against the specific conclusion of the gemara" (that 
>one eats in the sukkah on Shemini Ateseret but one does not make a 

	There is a Minchas Eluzar (Munkaczer rebbe's) tshuva on this
topic.  If I remember correctly, he says that the Gemara says that
sitting in the succah on Shemini Atzeres does not appear to be "bal
tosif" i.e. an unwarranted additional day to Sukkos, because there are
times that people choose to sit in the succah for the fresh air,
irrespective of the mitzvah to sit there.  Thus sitting in the succah on
S.E. is distinct from taking a lulav, which is obviously a Sukkos
mitzvah which you would not otherwise do.  What he adds is that in
climates such as in Eastern Europe, it is not obvious that one is
sitting and shivering in the sukka on S.E. for the pleasure of it and it
is therefore forbidden as "bal tosif".  I should emphasize that this is
post facto justification i.e.  he recommends sitting in the sukka as
concluded by the Gemara, he is only trying to find a "zechus" (merit)
for those who don't.



From: Isaac Balbin <isaac@...>
Date: Tue, 06 May 1997 13:35:24 +1000
Subject: Re: Sukkah on Shemini Atseret

  | From: <bdcohen@...> (David I. Cohen)
  |     Rav Zvi Schachter in his sefer "Nefesh Harav" p. 220 quotes Rav 
  | Soleveitchik with an entirely different explanation. He says (my 
  | translation) based on the gemara in Sukkah 47a that one definitely must 
  | sit in the sukkah on shemini atseret outside of Israel. "And the 
  | Chassidic custom of not doing so is definitely a mistake. And perhaps 
  | their mistake came from the fact that the Chassidim had the custom that 
  | their great Rebbeim would have a large "tisch" on Shemini Atseret and 
  | large crowds of Chassidim would visit their Rebbe.

 I had difficulty with this explanation when I read it because although
it might explain why some don't go in at night, but do during the day,
it doesn't explain why _all_ chassidim don't have this minhag. Further,
one would expect, that just like on Pesach, Chassidim would eat their
Seuda at home (albeit quickly) and then go the Rebbe's tish. Why would
they over time not continue to eat in their homes before they went to
the tish? They would have seen that _some_ chassidim were privileged to
eat with the Rebbe in the Succa, so why wouldn't they aspire to that, as
opposed to just forgetting the whole concept.
 My own view is that the main reason for all this is the _cold_.  At
night in certain areas it was cold, and on Shmini Atzeres one is Meikel
about cold, more than on Succos. This would also explain why certain
Chassidim, eg Lubavitch, who are very Machmir about eating in a Succa
even when it pours buckets, were disinclined to also be Meikel on Shmini
Atzeres. During the day it was presumably warmer.


From: Ezriel Krumbein <ezsurf@...>
Date: Mon, 05 May 1997 23:04:53 -0700
Subject: Re: Wigs made from hair from India... a problem?

> From: Aaron D. Gross <adg@...>
> Just wondering if the following would be a cause for concern among
> shaitel wearers...
>         NEW DELHI, May 5 (UPI) -- A Hindu temple in India has earned
> $1.8 million by selling the hair of devotees who got their heads
> shaved as part of their offering to the deity.

I do not remember the name of the sefer but Rav Moshe Sternbuch
addresses this issue in one of his small sefarim.


End of Volume 26 Issue 39