Volume 27 Number 55
                      Produced: Mon Apr 27  4:51:34 1998

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Administrivia - I am still alive
         [Avi Feldblum]
Differing Levels of Religious Observance
         [Judy Levin]
Disagreeing with Earlier Authorities
         [Eli Turkel]
Erasing the word G-d
         [Haim Hirsch]
Mazal Tov - New baby
         [Yehuda & Rebecca Poch]
Rishonim vs. Akharonim according to R. Yaacov Kamenetsky
         [Gilad J. Gevaryahu ]
Shir Hashirim
         [Gershon Dubin]
Umbrellas on Shabbos
         [Reuven Miller]
Was R. Yosef Caro a Rishon?
         [David I. Cohen]


From: Avi Feldblum <feldblum@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Apr 1998 04:47:02 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Administrivia - I am still alive

Hello All!

I know it has been some time since you have heard from me. This is just
a quick note to let you know that I am still around, and my plan is to
start mail-jewish and the associated activities I have been doing in the
past back up. I will be spending approximately 1 hour per night on this
for the next several days/weeks. I have about 500-600 unread messages on
this account, some/many of which may be submissions to the list. I will
try and get back to reading them over the next days, but taking my
wife's good advice (only partially, as she says to just null everything
out and start from scratch) I will take all new messages to the list
first. If I have any time left from allocated 1 hr, I will work on the
kosher restaurant database and then on backlogs.

It's good to be back and looking forward to hearing from many of you. My
apologies for the long absence, but I hope mail-jewish still will be a
part of your on-line activities.

Avi Feldblum


From: <cpjbl@...> (Judy Levin)
Date: Tue, 13 Jan 1998 14:12:51 -0800
Subject: Re: Differing Levels of Religious Observance

I am writing in response to the note of A. S, who writes of the
difficulty of a couple who are at differing levels of religious
	This certainly sounds like a very challenging situation. In
approaching it, I would think it imporant to consider that there may be
many issues at play.  Firstly, I think that the less religious spouse
may have any number of reasons for his lesser interest.  Some of it
might relate to his earlier associations with religiosity or religious
people, for instance.  Or, he might be concerned how being observant
would affect the couple's lifestyle together, or even the workings of
the marriage.  I would think that if the partners thoroughly explored
the relevant issues together, greater clarity could be achieved.  Who
knows- maybe as a result he would even increase his committment to
	Apart from a joint exploration, I would think that the observant
spouse needs to examine to what extent he/she could be religiously
observant even if the other were not.  As an example, I'm related to a
couple, of whom during the past ten years the wife has attended an
Orthodox shul while the husband has gone to a Conservative one.  In this
case they seem to still have a great deal of respect one for the other,
and a very strong marriage overall.  I would think that every such
couple needs to individually work out the impact and implications of
their religious differences.  Perhaps a couple could agree, for
instance, to keep a certain standard of kashrus in the home, while the
less religious partner would lower his standards when elsewhere.  Or, if
need be, each member of the couple could keep separate sets of dishes
and pots.  I would think that various such flexible arrangements could
be made.  Also, I think that marriage counseling could be a helpful
forum for negotiating how the marriage could tolerate and sustain the
individual religious differences.  B'Hatzlacha Raba! (Good Luck)

Judy Levin


From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
Date: Tue, 13 Jan 1998 12:50:11 +0200 ("IST)
Subject: Disagreeing with Earlier Authorities

Daniel Eidensohn quotes

>> 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
>> Ashkenazim."

    Though I have seen this quote I don't understand it. The implication
is that the Rema could not disagree with the Shulcahn Arukh because he
would be a acharon disagreeing with a rishon.
    First of all this is against the facts. In fact there were great
arguments over many years about the authority of the Shulchan Arukh until
it became universally accepted. No where does one use the fact that Rav Karo 
received "semichah" from Rav Yaakov Berav. The Rema highly respected his 
contemporary Rav Karo but certainly did not treat him as belonging to a 
different era. It is clear that Gedolim in Europe after the black plague no 
longer considered themselves on the level of Rishonim. On the other hand Ran, 
Rivash and even Radvaz did disagree with earlier authorities. Nevertheless, 
when the two communities did communicate they treated each other as equals.

   However, I have a more fundamental problem. Who says an acharon can't
disagree with a rishon? I have also seen that statements that acharinim after
1664 (gezerot tach vetat) cannot disagree with acharonim before then.
Also that acharonim today cannot disagree with the Mishna Berura.
Nevertheless, this is always being done. A most famous case (recent daf yomi)
is the Vilna Gaon (and also shulchan Arukh harav) disagreeing with Tosaphot
and almost all rishonim on the definition of halachic sunset. It turns out
that Rav Sherrira gaon and Rav Hai Gaon agree with the Vilna Gaon whoever
it is doubtful that the Vilna Gaon knew this. In any case he does not quote
them in his commentary to Shuclchan Arukh. There are many other cases were
the Vilna Gaon and his contemporary the Shaagaot Aryeh disagree with
Rishonim. Even in our day Rav Feinstein has disagreed with the Meiri and
Toasaphot haRosh. Those these are "recent" finds one would expect that in the 
absence of other authorities one could not disagree. In fact that is the 
attitude of Chazon Ish on the international dateline who relies on Kuzari 
and Baal Hamaor since they are the only rishonim that hint at the problem.

   In fact it is not clear why Amoraim cannot disagree with Tannaim. Rashi
seems to state that the Mishna is equivalent to a psak of the Sanhedrin
since Rebbe was the head Sanhedrin. However, this would not apply to other 
taanaitic material. I have my own personal answer for some other time.
Some gedolim have given different answers. Rambam writes with regard
to the Talmud that the was a gathering of the gedolim who accepted on
themselves not to disagree with the Talmud. Historically, it is doubtful
that there was ever such a gathering, nevertheless the effect is the same.
Even in this case it is well known that parts of the Talmud are from the
era of rabban savorai after Ravina and Rav ashi and some even from the
days of the geonim.

Eli Turkel


From: Haim Hirsch <haim@...>
Date: Tue, 13 Jan 1998 16:11:35 -0800
Subject: Erasing the word G-d

R. Moshe Feinstein ZT"L has a teshuva in Iggros Moshe (Yoreh Deah 173 -
I think) about newspapers in which he says that for those names (six of
The seven) - in hebrew - that could be pronounced in a different way -
such as shin dalet yud being sadai or shawdee (having different meanings
than the name of hashem) - one doesn't have to worry about them existing
in an article.

Additionally, he says that one does not have to search through a
newspaper for the name of hashem before you throw it away because the
person who printed the paper did not have the proper kavanah [intention]
when printing.

As a final not he writes that he himself doesn't/didn't check if there
are names in the newspaper, but if he happens to see one while reading,
then he is "...machmir to tear it from it's place in the newspaper..."
(and dispose of it in a respectful manner.

The rav who presented this in a shiur also responded to a question
afterwards that Divrei Torah are different, and should not be tossed in
the trash - possibly even if they do not have any of hashem's names.
(He wouldn't elaborate except to say that further discussion will
probably be in an upcoming shiur).

Haim Hirsch


From: Yehuda & Rebecca Poch <butrfly@...>
Subject: Mazal Tov - New baby

Well, after nine months of waiting, we are pleased to welcome into the
world our new son.  He was born at Misgav Ladach hospital in Jerusalem,
Israel, on Thursday April 16, 1998 (Nisan 19, 5758) at 3:45 pm Israel time.
 He weighed 9 lbs. 10 ozs. (4.370 kg) and measured 24.5 inches (61 cm) in
length at birth.
He is in fantastic health, Baruch Hashem, and Rebecca and I brought him
home on Saturday night following Shabbos.  Yaakov is fantastically excited
about his new baby brother.  Everyone is doing well.  The bris will be IY'H
on Thursday morning April 23 at 9:00 am Israel time.


From: Gilad J. Gevaryahu  <Gevaryahu@...>
Date: Tue, 13 Jan 1998 11:57:42 EST
Subject: Rishonim vs. Akharonim according to R. Yaacov Kamenetsky

Rabbi Kamenetsky approach to this question has two parts.

 1. The Mishnah in Avot starts with "Moshe kibel Torah miSinai..." Moses
received the Torah from Sinai. According to the "seder hadorot" (the
order of generations) in Makhazor Vitri it is clear that Moses gave the
Torah to Joshua, who then gave it to the judges and so on (Emet
le'Yaacov on the Torah p. 409). The Torah that Moses got in Sinai is the
Torah she'bichtav (written) and the Oral Torah (Emet le'Yaacov on Pirkei
Avot p. 317).

 2. The rule "im rishonim b'nei malachim anu bnei anashim..." [Shabbat
112b] is the cardinal rule in the halachah. Once a period is completed
the sages of the next period cannot argue with the sages of the
predecessor period because the sages of next period are of inferior

With the amalgamation of the two parts above we understand the meaning
of the Tanna in the beginning of Avot in that the distinction between
the periods is done by the "gadol" who lived at the end of the period,
and who gathered all the halachot which were introduced and said during
his period. There is the period of Moses (the Khumash), then the period
of Joshua, then the Judges, then the Nevi'im then Anshei Knesset
Ha'gedolah, then the Tanaim, then the Amoraim, then the Geonim then the
Rishonim then the Akharonim till the codification of the Shulkhan
Aruch. (Emet le'Yaacov on the Torah p. 426)

It would appear to me from the above reference of R. Yaacov Kamenetsky
that the Shulkhan Aruch (and hence R. Joseph Karo) is already from the
Akharonim period since R. Kamenetsky mentioned in the list the Shulkhan
Aruch after the Akharonim. Therefore, by implication, the last "gadol"
of the Rishonim is the (Jacob ben Asher 1270?-1340) who codified his
period in Arba'ah Turim.

One should be aware of the fact that R. Yaacov Kamenetsky did not write
all the books himself, but that some were written by his descendants
based on his notes and speeches.  The chidushim on Avot were not taken
from his original notes but the Emet L'ya'akov on Chumash was based on
his original notes. However, there is no reason to doubt that all the
books reflect his view. Also there is no reconciliation between the
above rule and the rule of "hilchata ke'vatrai"; see also Tosfot "haveh"
Kiddushin 45b.

This view is consistent with the Avraham Even-Shoshan's "New Dictionary"
of the Hebrew Language, Vol. 6, Jerusalem 1969 p. 2444: "Rishonim is the
reference name for the halachic authorities in the generations prior to
Yoseph Karo the author of the Shulkhan Aruch".

I have shown the above to his grandson Rabbi Sholom Kamenesky who wrote:
"I personally heard the entire "binyan" from him and in fact in his
'hesped' on the late R' Hezkel Abramsky ob'm he spoke about the same
subject and called the aforementioned " the end of the T'kufat
Ha'rabbanim " !!  You can publicize the article with my backing."

 Gilad J. Gevaryahu 


From: <gershon.dubin@...> (Gershon Dubin)
Date: Sat, 18 Apr 1998 23:04:37 -0400
Subject: Shir Hashirim

Many of us read Shir Hashirim this Pesach,  and I wonder how the parshios
are broken up in different megilos.  I have always seen the entire megila
broken into perhaps four or five parshios,  but the megila I read from
this year had a new parsha every few pesukim.  Any sources or


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From: Reuven Miller <millerr@...>
Date: Wed, 14 Jan 1998 09:12:29 +0200 (WET)
Subject: Umbrellas on Shabbos

We learned that the Nodah BeYehuda prohibited the use of an umbrella on
Shabbos as an issur Torah and that is the basis for our present day

What is the explaination of this?
Does anyone know how umbrellas were made in the N"B's time and how they
differed from our umbrellas.
Does this difference affect the halacha?
Is there any literature on topic?

|  Reuven Miller                        |
|  E-mail: <millerr@...>       |


From: David I. Cohen <BDCOHEN613@...>
Date: Wed, 14 Jan 1998 14:31:54 EST
Subject: Was R. Yosef Caro a Rishon?

It is probably foolish of me to put in my two shekels worth when people
so much more erudire than I having been exploring this question.

However, two points strike me. In vol. 27 # 54 Manny Saltiel quotes
Rabbi Zechariah Fendel as considering the Mechaber as an
Acharon. However, in his book "Challenge of Sinai" (1978) he includes
Rav Yosef Caro in his chapter entitled " Chain of Torah Transmission:
>From Geonim to Rishonim". The next chapter is called " Chain of
Transmission: From Rishonim to Acharonim" and begins with the Rama. on
p. 480, he writes, " The four hundred years from the compilation of the
Shulchan Aruch to our own day are known as the Tekufat haAcharonim --
the era of the "later" Torah authorities." In a footnote he adds, "
Actually, the line of demarcation between the tekufos of the Rishonim
and the Acharonim is not as clearly defined as is the demarcation
between other tekufos, such as, for example, the tekufah of the Geonim
and that of the Rishonim, which is unoversally regarded as 1038
C.E. (the death of Rav Hai Gaon). Some scholars for example, regard the
generations of the Ran [d.c.  1380] and the Rivash [d. 1407] in Spain,
and those of the Maharil [d. 1427] and Rabbeinu Yisroel Isserlein
[d.1460] in Germany, as the termination of th era of the Rishonim, in
those respective communities. Because of the extremely far-reaching
significance of the Shulchan Aruch, however, I thought it wiser for our
purposes to regard Rabbe Yosef Caro as in a separate interim category,
that of the last of the great Poskim, or halachic codifiers.":

My own theroy, which has many exceptions and holes in it, is that the
breaks in the different eras (tanna to amora, rishon to acharon) is in
some part based on what was the basic thing normally studied. The period
of the Amoraim begins when the study focused primarily on the
Mishneh. After the completion of the Talmud, the Mishneh with its
accompanying Gemara becomes the focus of study, both in terms of
commentary and codification. After the publication of the Shulchan
Aruch, the focus of study, while continuing with the text of the Gemara,
now also focus on the Shulchan aruch itself, and thus many of the famous
Achronim are commentaries on the Shulchan Aruch. Indeed, maybe because
Rav Yosef Caro also wrote commentaries on other codes of other rishonim
(Bais Yosef, Kesef Mishneh etc.) he can be considered at times a Rishon
and in other caoacities as an Acharon. Something to think about anyway.


End of Volume 27 Issue 55