Volume 26 Number 81
                      Produced: Thu Jul 10 21:13:08 1997

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Bat Cohen and Challah (2)
         [Hillel E. Markowitz, Jeremy Wieder]
Bat-Kohain and Challah
         [Kenneth Posy]
Pidyon HaBen and Bat Cohen
         [Michael J Broyde]
Pirkei Avos and Mike Tyson
         [Akiva Miller]
Term - Tevel
         [Zvi Goldberg]
Tikkunim / Baalei Kriah
         [Steve Albert]


From: Hillel E. Markowitz <hem@...>
Date: Sun, 06 Jul 1997 14:27:49 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Bat Cohen and Challah

On Wed, 2 Jul 1997, Carolyn Lanzkron wrote:
> Why does a bat-kohain separate challah?
> [I do not think that a bat-kohain is any different from anyone else in
> the requirement to seperate Challah, as she is required in the matnat
> kehuna (gifts to the kohen) as is anyone else. In a period where people
> were in a state of Taharah, a bat kohen in her fathers house probably
> was allowed to eat the challah that was given to the cohen. But along
> the same lines, why is there (or should my question be, is there?) a
> requirement for a cohen to take off challah if he makes a dough? Mod.]

The gemarah in kidushin 46b quotes a gemoro from meseches chala (I think
daf 45 but I learned it in kiddushin).  If someone gives a cohen flour
in an attempt to separate chala (which is NOT good), the cohen must
return it.  One of the reasons is that the cohen does have to separate
chala (even though he can give it to himself).  However, he must eat it
as a "davar kedusha" (holy item) as opposed to the regular bread which
does not require ritual purity.  Similarly, a bas cohen could give the
chala to her father, but it must be eaten with the restrictions
pertaining to matnos kehuna, while the remainder of the bread is not
kadosh and could be eaten by a yisroel (or one who is not in a state of

|  Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz |     Im ain ani li, mi li?      |
|   <H.E.Markowitz@...>   |   V'ahavta L'raiecha kamocha   |

From: Jeremy Wieder <clevin@...>
Date: Tue, 8 Jul 1997 10:51:27 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Bat Cohen and Challah

	Concerning Steve Leichman's comments about a bat-kohein
separating challa: The obligation of a kohein to separate challa today
has nothing to do with the status of our kohanim.  A kohein must
separate terumot and ma'asrot even though he gets to keep them (Sifrei
Bamidbar 121, Rambam Ma'asrot 1:3, Yoreh Deah 331:68).  A kohen who eats
'tevel' (produce which was not tithed) is liable for the same penalty
that a 'zar' (non-kohein) who eats it - the penalty itself depends upon
whether the obligation to tithe is Scriptural or Rabbinic.  It so
happens that the obligation to separate terumot, ma'asrot and challa
today is only Rabbinic in nature.
  	The Sifrei (ibid.) includes 'challa' among those things a kohein
must separate despite the fact that, unlike a 'zar', he gets to keep
what he separates.  This point is cited by the Gra in Yoreh Deah

	Regarding the issue raised by his Rabbi concerning our kohanim
today only being 'kohanei chazaka': A kohein must only be a kohein
'meyuchas' in order to eat teruma or challa which one is obligated
Scripturally to separate (Rambam Terumot 6:1, Issurei Bi'ah 20:1-3).
Since challa and teruma today are Rabbinic in nature, they may be given
to and eaten by (provided that the requisite level of ritual purity
exists) 'kohanei chazaka'.
	I might also add that if the reason for a kohein separating
challa were related to a 'safek' (doubt) in his status, no blessing
would be recited on the act following the normal rule of 'safek brachot
	Finally, I'm not sure where the idea that challa today is a
zecher l'mikdash comes from.  The reason given for separating challa
today outside of the land of Israel is 'kdei shelo tishtakach torat
challa m'yisrael' - so that the laws of challa should not be forgotten
among the people of Israel (Yoreh Deah 322:2).

Respectfully yours,
Jeremy Wieder


From: Kenneth Posy <kenneth.posy@...>
Date: Tue, 8 Jul 1997 23:35:18 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Bat-Kohain and Challah

> From: <SteveL59@...> (Steven Leichman)
> << Why does a bat-kohain separate challah? >>
> The answer was surprisingly simple. Cohanim, b'zman hazeh, are simply
> cohanim by chazakah. That is, since they were told by their fathers that
> they are cohanim, they are considered cohanim. They are not cohanim by
> way of a shtar yichus. Therefore, they are considered cohanim for
> purposes of aliyahs, duchaning, bentching, etc. But when it comes to
> this issue, which is a zaicher l'mikdash, they do not get an
> exemption. They must take challah and make a bracha, just like everyone
> else.

The implication of this answer is that b'zman habayis, (speedily in our
days) with a Kohein M'Yuchas (a confirmed cohen with witnesses going back
four generations, according to the gemara in Kiddushin, 78a) his wife, and
by extenstion, himself,  would not be required to seperate challah, and

My impression, although I cannot quote a firm source, is that a cohen is
chayav to seperate trumah, although he may eat it himself.  This makes
sense for two reasons: First, produce that has not had trumah seperated
from it is tevel, and one who eats it is punishable by kareis. I don't
think there is an exception for kohanim, or leviim with maaser.  Second,
trumah has special rules involving purity, and thus must be treated with
extra care even by the kohein.

I seem to recall a discussion whether there needs to be a physical
seperation or simply a "kriyas shem" (declaration), but that applies even
to a yisrael. 

Furthermore, the mitzva of challa outside Israel is only d'rabbanan,
according to most opinions, and thus is acceptable to be eaten by a kohein
d'rabbanan. The problem is more a problem of tahara. (Gemara, ksubos 25a;
Rambam, Isurei bi'a chap. 20)

Betzalel Posy


From: Michael J Broyde <mbroyde@...>
Date: Fri, 4 Jul 1997 13:25:20 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Pidyon HaBen and Bat Cohen

One writer wrote:

> Another interesting tidbit from that shiur...there apparently is an
> opinion that the daughter of a cohen is valid to accept the pidyon, but
> we don't rely on this opinion "lechatchila".  However, because of this
> opinion, some people are accustomed, in the case of where the cohen's
> wife is a daughter of a cohen, to make a condition that if the it turns
> out that the husband is not a true cohen, then his acceptance of the
> money should be on behalf of his wife.

The issue of a bat cohein\kohenet accepting pidyon haben or her husband
accepting it on her behalf is a fascinating question that is a dispute
between Tosafot 8a and Rambam as to in what circumstaces a kohenet or
bat kohein functions with the kedushat hakohein (holiness of a kohein).
There are a variety of distinctions that flow from this, and it is a
fascinating conceptual dispute about what the words "aharon ubanav"
means in the torah.  For more on this, one can look at Radvaz 4:196,
Tzitz Eliezer 5:25(36) and the famous three teshuvot that were written
from the Beit Midrash of Rabbi Natan Adler, where this topic was
discussed at some legnth, Rav Akiva Eiger 303, Chatam Sofer YD 301, and
Yehuda Ya'aleh YD 264.  These last three teshuvot are a fascinating unit
on this topic.

Although I do not intend to voice an opinion on normative halacha, it is
worth remembering that the question of paying pidyon haben is a finacial
question, and the kohein must prove that the debt has not been paid
after there is some doubt.  The rule of safek deorayta lechumra does not
apply to pidyon haben, rather the rule is hamotzi mechavaro, alav
haraya, and the kohein bears the burden.

Michael J. Broyde
Emory University School of Law
Atlanta, GA 30322
Voice: 404 727-7546; Fax 404 727-3374


From: Akiva Miller <kgmiller@...>
Date: Thu, 3 Jul 1997 12:53:53 -0500
Subject: Pirkei Avos and Mike Tyson

"Who is wise?", asks Ben Zoma (Pirkei Avos 4:1), "One who learns from
everyone." In this light, I would like to share with everyone a lesson
which I recently learned from the infamous Mike Tyson.

Please bear with me through a lengthy introduction, for the benefit of
Israelis and others who might not have heard about recent events in

Mr. Tyson is a professional boxer, became the world heavyweight champion
11 years ago, and is now also a convicted rapist, for which he recently
completed a three-year prison term and began four years of parole. This
past Saturday night, he fought Evander Holyfield, the current world
champion. During the second round, Holyfield gave Tyson a "head-butt"
which the referee considered unintentional, but it provoked Tyson, and
in the third round he responded by biting Holyfield's left ear. Despite
a warning from the referee, a few minutes later he actually bit *off* a
piece of Holyfield's right ear, at which point the referee disqualified
him and the fight ended. (The tv cameras caught the whole thing, and
showed it quite graphically on the news the next day.)

At a press conference soon after, Tyson defended his actions (or tried
to). But by Monday, he seemed to have a dramatic change of attitude. And
this is the lesson I want to share with you all: How to apologize.

We don't know what was going through his mind. I think it is quite
possible that even now he feels justified in what he did. But he saw
that the fans, the officials, the politicians - everyone - were totally
against him. Many felt his entire $30 million payment for the fight
should be withheld, that he should be barred from boxing for life, that
Holyfield should sue for civil damages, and that the state should bring
him up on criminal charges, the least of which would be parole

He saw this, he heard this, and he did not ignore it. "Spin control" has
become quite an art nowadays, and most people find something or someone
to put the blame on. Instead, Mike Tyson accepted responsibility, and
apologized. To me, it is most signifcant that he apologized BEFORE any
specific punishment was decided upon. He did not plea-bargain. He did
not run. He did not hide. Sincerely or not, he threw himself on the
mercy of the system, and is hoping for leniency.

[He *did*, I admit, defend himself and blame Holyfield in the first few
minutes after the incident. But doesn't Pirkei Avos say it was an error
to interview him at that point? -- "Don't try to pacify someone in the
heat of his anger, nor try to see him in his moment of disgrace."

Here are some excerpts from what he said on Monday, as reported by

<<< Evander, I am sorry. You are a champion and I respect that. ...
Saturday night was the worst night of my professional career as a boxer.
... I am here today to apologize. ... I apologize to the world, to my
family and to the Nevada State Athletic Commission that has always
treated me fairly. ... [I ask my fans] who expected more from Mike
Tyson, to forgive me for snapping in that ring and doing something that
I have never done before and will never do again. ... When you butted
me... accidentally or not, I snapped in reaction and the rest is
history. ... For an athlete in the heat of battle to suddenly lose it is
not new, but it is not right, and for me it doesn't change anything. I
was wrong. ... I expect to pay the price like a man. I expect the Nevada
State Athletic Commission to hand down a severe penalty and I am here
today to say I will not fight it. ... I only ask that I not be penalized
for life for this mistake. ... To those who say that I should never
fight again, I can only say that I am just 31 years old in the prime of
my career and I have made it this far because I had no other way. ...

Summary: In his heart, perhaps he still feels that he was right. But for
ANYone to publicly declare that "I expect them to hand down a severe
penalty and I will not fight it" is quite an act of contrition. If only
we would *all* own up to our misdeeds, and not try to weasel out of

Akiva Miller


From: <zg@...> (Zvi Goldberg)
Date: Tue, 8 Jul 1997 12:34:17 -0400
Subject: Term - Tevel

Philsophically, I was taught that the word "tevel" is related to the
phrase "tov lo" (where "lo" is spelled lamed aleph) meaning "not good".
This is because the dough (or Israeli food, in the case of trumah and
maaser) has a certain holiness in it, but that holiness is spread out
through the whole dough, making it diluted, useless, and "not good".
When the challah is separated, that holiness is concentrated into the
small portion, rendering it fit but only for a kohen, and the remainded
becomes "chullin" - devoid of holiness and fit for anyone.

There is also another explanation (I think either from Rav or Rambam) :
it is related to   "tavla", tablet. Until teruma and maaser have been
taken off, the pile is unedible (under threat of death from heaven) like
a tablet or board.



From: <SAlbert@...> (Steve Albert)
Date: Fri, 4 Jul 1997 17:29:23 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Tikkunim / Baalei Kriah

    While I agree that anyone reading publicly from a Sefer Torah should
know what he's doing, I think people should be *encouraged* to learn,
rather than told that it's extremely difficult, requires finding a good
teacher with the time and willingness to teach individually, etc.  Much
*can* be done from books.  More than that, some shuls aren't lucky
enough to have good baalei kriah, and in such cases, those who can read
should be encouraged to do so, and learn as much as they can.
    For myself, I learned, by memory and not much else, maftir for my
bar mitzvah, than occasionally read Shabbos Mincha for a year or so as a
teenager.  I didn't layn again for more than ten years, and never
studied with anyone after bar mitzvah; since then I've layned at least
ten different places, including two years or so for a shul out ot town
that needed a baal koreh.  I also layned one place where I could do a
better job than the usual baal koreh with only minimal preparation --
and he usually layned because the shul rabbi had an even harder time
than he did.  Not even all those who know the grammar, and the trope,
and have learned extensively, are able to layn well or easily; those who
can, in places where they are needed, should.
      Incidentally, I'd recommend the book "Tiferes Hakriah", "The Glory
of Torah Reading", as a useful guide; it's fairly short (60 pages or so,
as I recall), and written by an experience baal koreh as a guide for

Steve Albert


End of Volume 26 Issue 81