Volume 27 Number 51
                      Produced: Sun Jan  4  0:29:08 1998

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Berachot on Megilla - Echah
         [Steve White]
Dying men's hair
         [Boruch Merzel]
         [Jeff Fischer]
Kiruv Alienating? A Biblical Response
         [Russell Hendel]
Last of the Rishonim
         [Micha Berger]
Moral Outlook be Derivable from Torah
         [David Simen]
Morid Hageshem
         [Larry Rosler]
         [Daniel Eidensohn]
Rishonim and Achronim
         [Binyomin Segal]
Rishonim and Ahronim
         [Bob Werman]


From: Steve White <StevenJ81@...>
Date: Tue, 23 Dec 1997 10:54:43 EST
Subject: Re: Berachot on Megilla - Echah

Re Russell Hendel's comments in #38 on berachot before the megillot,
excluding Esther:

Echah is different in several respects, because of its tone of mourning,
and the mourning of the day on which it is read.  For that reason:

1. No minhag of which I am aware has "sheheyanu" recited, even when
someone does recite "al mikrat megilla" over Echah.  (We are not "happy"
to have reached a day of mourning.)

2. Those who recite "al mikrat megilla" over Echah do so softly, as in
mourning.  (True of much of the tefilla for the day.)

3. Many who recite "al mikrat megilla" on the regalim do not do so for
Echah.  (Possibly, the argument that "al mikrat megilla" is like the
Torah berachot does not apply on a day where Torah learning is
minimized, even though Echah is permissible.  After all, the minhag to
recite Echah is more universal than that of Shir, Ruth, and Kohelet.
But the minhag appears to based on its recitation as a Kinah
[lamentation], not as Limud Torah.)

Also, on a technical point, I would question whether one reciting Shema
at 11 am gets credit only for Limud Torah, and not for Shema itself.
Rather, I think, one gets credit for Limud Torah, and for even for the
day's morning Shema, but loses "full credit" for Shema because it is

Steven White


From: Boruch Merzel <BoruchM@...>
Date: Fri, 2 Jan 1998 13:12:39 EST
Subject: Dying men's hair

Sorry, I didn't get to this earlier.  A while back Sherman Marcus
brought up the question of the permissiiblity of a man dying his hair.

The source for halachik prohibition is in the G'morrah Shabbos 94:b
 We are told that R' Elealzar and the Sages agree that "he who plucks
even one white hair from among the black " is guilty of desecrating
Shabbos.  The G'morrah goes on to say: this is forbidden even on week
days because of the extension of the Biblical law "Lo yilbash gever
simlas isha" prohibiting a male from indulging in feminine manners of
dress, cosmetics or toiletry.

The Rambam, ( Laws of Idolatry Chap 12:10) in discussing the prohibition
of men adorning themselves in the manner of the oposite sex, prohibits
men from wearing brightly colored clothing and jewelry where it is not
customary for men to do so.  The Rambam makes no exception, however,
when it comes to coloring one's hair.  Quoting the above G'morrah almost
verbatim he adds that the prohibition of a man plucking out a white hair
from among the black "applies to the act of dying one's hair black, and
in dying a single white hair " he becomes liable for punishment.

I am aware of no posek who would (without very extenuating
circumstances) rule contrary to this Rambam.

Boruch Merzel 


From: Jeff Fischer <NJGabbai@...>
Date: Fri, 2 Jan 1998 10:41:49 EST
Subject: Re: Hallel

<< It seems to me that the primary reason for not saying Hallel on the
 latter days of Pesach is the expectation that most of the pilgrims would
 go back home to bring in the barley harvest after the first day(s) (Deut
 16:7).  >>

A couple of things:

1.  As you might have noticed, in your note, you said that we do not say
Hallel on the last 6 days as compared to saying half hallel.

2, The other reason for half hallel on the last 6 days is that on the
7th day is when the Egyptians drowned so we do not say Whole Hallel then
and on Chol HaMoed we say half to show that Chol HaMoed is not more
important or holier than the last 2 days.

3.  As far as the # of Korbonos are concerned, that is the reason why on
Shabbos Chol HaMoed Succot, after the Haftorah, in the b'racha of "Al
HaTorah", we say the b'racha for Yom Tov and insertions for Shabbos,
while on Chol HaMoed Pesach, we say just the regular b'racha for Shabbos
without mention of Yom Tov.

4. Finally, as far as Hallel on Purim is concerned, Another reason for
not saying Hallel is that the reading of the Megillah is considered as



From: <rhendel@...> (Russell Hendel)
Date: Fri, 2 Jan 1998 12:41:22 -0500
Subject: Kiruv Alienating? A Biblical Response

I read with intrigue Tzadik Vanderhoof's account on how some kiruv
activits ENCOURAGE cut off (from family) while others seems to OPPOSE
it. A proper methodological approach in such a a case is to see Biblical
stories.  We are fortunate to have just such a Biblical story...the
episode with Ishamael:

* The Bible clearly states as a prophecy that Ishmael is blessed and
will become a great nation!

* The Bible relates how Ishmael and his brother the Patriarch Yitzchak
use to play in a bad manner. The word for play in the Biblical verse
(read in the Torah reading every New year) is in the Piel Form...and the
Piel form of Play is always perjorative in the Bible...Rashi lists the
	--Ishmael was showing Isaac  "war games"
	--Ishmael was showing Isaac "idolatry games"
	--Ishmael was showing Isaac homosexual games

We see the first problem with Kiruv...the contradiction that
	-Ishmael will become great and should have a good upbringing
		hence, do not cut him off
	-Ishmael is a bad influence on Isaac
		hence, do cut him off

How should we react?

* The Bible records in fact two views -- the same two views mentioned
by Tzaddik in his posting
	--Sarah's view---CUT HIM OFF
	--Abraham's view---No cut off
In this particular case G-d took Sarah's side 

* The aftermath...Ishmael is CUT OFF...and he is saved by a miracle.

* The descendants of Ishmael and Isaac -- the Arabs and Jews---
have since then sometimes been friends(in the Middle ages) and are
presently in a state of Cold war intespersed with actual conflicts

Clearly the initial cut off several thousand years ago has affected
Jewish Arab relations to the present.

What do I conclude?

I can't conclude that there is one answer to cut off or no cut off
since the Bible cites respectable opinions on both sides.

I can conclude that WHATEVER is done in any particular case will
STRONGLY affect all parties. It is part of being an adult to take the
responsibility for this and at least be AWARE of it.

Tzadik raises serious and grave questions. The Bible highlights their
seriousness. I hope the above helps people in dealing with these grave

Russell Jay Hendel; PHd; ASA; rhendel @ mcs drexel edu 


From: <micha@...> (Micha Berger)
Date: Fri, 2 Jan 1998 10:47:03 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Last of the Rishonim

I too was taught that the era of the Rishonim concluded with the
Shulchan Aruch -- not the mechabeir (the author; ie R Yosef Karo) but
the book itself.  With the possible exception of the Vilna Gaon, who has
been called a throwback to the Rishonim.

If you notice, it is not political upheaval that marks the end of a
halachic era. For example, what -- other than the writing of the mishnah
-- seperates tannaim from amoraim? Or for that matter, why are the
savoraim equal in halachic say to amoraim, but the geonim are not. The
Rambam and Ra'avad, rishonim, often differ with Rav Hai or Rav Amram
Gaon. Yet, the gaonim sat in the very same seats as the amoraim did!

What is consistant, though, is that the acceptance of a halachic seifer
as authoritative does mark the end of an era: the mishnah, the gemarah
(which was finished at the end of the savoraim), which would also place
the Shulchan Aruch with the Rama's Mapah as an era marker.


Micha Berger (973) 916-0287      Help free Ron Arad, held by Syria 4012 days!
<micha@...>                         (16-Oct-86 - 2-Jan-98)
http://aishdas.org -- Orthodox Judaism: Torah, Avodah, Chessed


From: <dcs@...> (David Simen)
Date: Fri, 2 Jan 1998 14:29:02 +0500
Subject: Moral Outlook be Derivable from Torah

I agree with Perry Dane's comment:
> 	That, of course, raises this issues: Does the halakhah require
> that a Jew's entire moral outlook be "derivable from Torah," if Torah is
> understood as the four corners of the halakhah?  There is, of course,
> much in the halakhic tradition itself that would suggest that the answer
> to this question is resoundingly "no."

Just to forestall those who might be aghast as the question, I offer two
well-known phrases: "bur birshuth hattora", describing someone who obeys
halakha to the letter but doesn't act in a "menshlich" manner; and
"hasidh shote", describing someone who uses no sekhel in applying Tora
to real-life situations and thereby may act immorally (one standard
example of such is a man's not saving a drowning woman's life because,
of course, one should not bathe with a woman).

David Simen

PS - My transliteration of Hebrew is mizrahi, distinguishing between
letters with daghesh and those without.


From: Larry Rosler <lr@...>
Date: Thu, 01 Jan 1998 15:00:48 PST
Subject: Re: Morid Hageshem

> From: Mordecai Lipschitz <mordyl@...>
> [The pronunciation of] morid hageshem with two segol's would appear to
> me that this is said as an attribute of hashem, similar to the next
> attribute, where we all say "...... b'chesed" two segol's and no
> komatz. Hageshem is not the end of a posuk, or et'nachta where a komatz
> is substituted.

This is indeed a persuasive argument.  However, a Nusa_h_ S'farad siddur
I have consulted gives the summer alternative to "... hageshem" as
"Morid hatol" (with a komatz) rather than "Morid hatal" (with a
pata_h_), as if it were a complete phrase.

Although the pronunciation difference in S'faradit is insignificant, the
logic behind these two choices ("hatol" and "hageshem") seems
inconsistent.  Can someone clarify this anomaly?

Larry Rosler


From: Daniel Eidensohn <yadmoshe@...>
Date: Sat, 03 Jan 1998 18:18:50 +0200
Subject: Rishonim

Mechy Frankel wrote:

>4.  It is worth emphasizing as well that the enormous samchus of the
>Mechaber's Shulchon Aruch (at least in confluence with its' penumbral
>Remoh, Mogen Avrohom, Shach, Taz -are they supposed to be rishonim

In Nefesh HaRav (page 239) , Rav Schacter states that "...even though
the Beis Yosef and the Rema were in the same time period the Beis Yosef
was a Rishon and the Rema was an Acharon because the dividing line
between the Rishonim and Acharonim was not the same in all places. The
period of the Rishonim lasted longer among the Sefardim than the


From: <bsegal@...> (Binyomin Segal)
Date: Sat, 3 Jan 1998 20:14:48 -0600
Subject: Rishonim and Achronim

Mechy Frankel gives quite a few good reasons why the end of the rishonim
might have occured long before rav yosef caro.

and though in historical matters i am not much of a scholar, allow me to
point out a few things.

1. with the exception of tanaim and amoraim, the halachik boundaries
around later authorities are a _lot_ less clear. the completion of the
mishna and the gemara were more or less clear historical events with
clear editorship who were in effect saying we have included every
halachik part of the oral law... the line between gaonim and rishonim or
rishonim and achronim, although fairly well respected does not have the
same halachik weight.

2. there were often "swing" votes people who lived in a later period
that had some authority based on an earlier period - the obvious example
is rav - who the gemara ascribes tanaic authority to.

3. i was always _taught_ that rav yosef caro was essentially one of
these swing people. he was certainly of the achron period but he had
authority to some degree like a rishon. note nobody ever told me why -
just that it was so.

i have developed my own theory - pretty common sense it seems to me,
though i have little proof to the theory.

basically an era ended and a new one began when the jews were forced en
masse to move their central location of torah study. with the recreation
of new communites the check on the oral tradition that would usually be
there ie your rebbe's rebbe would not be around and so the oral
tradition was one step more removed. with this comes the idea that those
that were trained in "the old country" maintained a certain authority
based on that older connection.

we therefore have the movement of the center of torah study to bavel
from israel as the end of the tannaim - and rav who learned in israel
under rebbe as a "tanna"

(i will leave the movement from ammora to savoraim and geonim for one
more versed in history - let us say that it is a question i admit to,
but am not convinced it disproves the general rule)

we have the end of the geonim when the center of torah moves from bavel
to western europe, and rabbenu gershon as the "light unto the diaspora"
because he was trained in bavel.

we have the end of the rishonim with the move to eastern europe - and
rav yosef caro who traveled with his father from spain in 1492 as a

and a bit more speculatively we have the end of the achronim with the
move to israel and the usa. with all the "european trained rabbis"
having a special status here in the us.

just a theory ive been playing with for a few years, i welcome your

binyomin segal


From: <RWERMAN@...> (Bob Werman)
Date: Fri,  2 Jan 98 18:04 +0200
Subject: Rishonim and Ahronim

My friend, Dr. Aaron Demsky of Bar Ilan UNiversity, related to me that
one of his mentors pointed out that the m'haber, Yosef Caro should be
considered the last of rishonim as well as the first of the ahronim,
defined by seeing your halachic work PRINTED DURING YOUR LIFETIME. Thus
his earlier Bet Yosef was not published during his lifetime but the
later Shulhan Aruch was.

__Bob Werman


End of Volume 27 Issue 51