Volume 31 Number 99
                 Produced: Tue Apr  4  5:33:26 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Another Sin of Haman (2)
         [I. Harvey Poch, Carl Singer]
         [Joshua Hosseinof]
Noisemaking during Megillah reading
         [Daniel Geretz]
The Origin of Purim Costumes and "minhag avoteinu be-yadeinu"
         [Aadam S. Ferziger]
Other cities with Shushan Purim
         [Barry Best]
Pharaoh's Phate
         [Aliza N. Fischman]
Plague of Arov
         [Elie Rosenfeld]
Quinoa /Buckwheat (2)
         [Michael and Abby Pitkowsky, Danny Skaist]
Seder Night Activities
         [Shoshana L. Boublil]
Seder night activities for the kids
         [Kenneth H. Ryesky, Esq.]
Shushan Purim
         [Bill Bernstein]
Two day Purim
         [Louise Miller]


From: I. Harvey Poch <harvpoch@...>
Date: Fri, 31 Mar 2000 17:12:16 -0500
Subject: Re: Another Sin of Haman

Russell Hendel wrote:

> I believe a consistent application of Rabbi Bulka's principle would
> include a prohibition against this practice of making noise at haman's
> name.
> Any reactions (no noise please!)

Aw, c'mon! :-) I also read the megillah in shul, at night, after a long
fast which will still continue for another 45 minutes. The older I get
(I learned late, and have been reading for over 20 years), the more fun
I have.

The noisemakers and I have a contest. Once in a while, I'll pause
*before* Haman's name - there are 54 of them! - and catch someone who is
too enthusiastic. Other times, when I think the attention is waning,
I'll keep going, as if H wasn't there - most of the time I get caught
and go back over the words which may have been drowned out.

The obligation to hear the megillah is serious, but it is, after all,
Purim. The congregation, especially the children, should have some fun -
especially as a reward for paying attention for 30 to 45 minutes.

From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
Date: Mon, 3 Apr 2000 09:23:54 EDT
Subject: Re: Another Sin of Haman

<< Russell Jay Hendel wrote:

 > As a baal koray I am also deeply upset about the custom of making
 > noise when Haman's name is mentioned. Indeed, if you miss a haman then
 > you have not fulfilled your obligation to read the Megillah!

 I agree with you. On the two occasions on which I have leined, I picked
 up from the word 'Haman' when continuing after the noise had abated. I
 had seen this practice only once before, but to me it seems prudent to
 ensure that every word is heard. >>

This past Purim, since I was doing "me-loo-eem" (reserve duty at the US
Army War College) and spent Purim with the (warm) kehillah in
Harrisburg, PA -- and our two older sons were at their respective
yeshivas -- my wife and youngest son went to the Spanish Portugese
Synagogue in Manhattan (where her Grandparents belong.)  She was
cautioned that decorum was observed -- indeed there was virtually no
noise (groggers, etc.) during the layning -- also a very quick layning.

Question -- how do other sefardic congregations / other minhagim in
general -- deal with this.

Carl Singer


From: Joshua Hosseinof <hosseino@...>
Date: Mon, 3 Apr 2000 14:18:19 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: "Haman"taschen

Rabbi Bulka asserts that we should not name the tri-cornered cookies we
eat on Purim after the main villain Haman because we are commanded
"Timcheh et Zeycher Amalek" (erase the memory of Amalek).  The etymology
of the word Hamantaschen is probably as Rabbi Bulka explained, a play on
the Yiddish for poppy.

But I disagree with his assertion that because of the commandment to
erase the memory of Amalek we shouldn't be calling the cookies
Hamantaschen.  We are familiar with the Pasuk "Zecher Tzadik livracha,
v'shem reshaim yirkav" (The memory of the righteous is a blessing, the
name of evildoers should wither).  The analogous form of
memory/righteous/blessing is memory/evildoers/curse, yet the pasuk says
the "name" of evildoers should "wither".  In other words, the more often
we mention the righteous and their deeds the more we will get the
benefit of ther good deeds, but for evil people we want their names to
wither (i.e. be forgotten) and no one should mention them at all.

Clearly that is not the case with Haman/Amalek.  "Timcheh et zeycher
Amalek" means erase the memory of Amalek (implying that there is
something to erase). We are also commanded regarding amalek "Lo
Tishkach" (Do not forget) what they did to us in the desert. For general
evildoers it would be best if their names are just forgotten by the
whole world, but Amalek/Haman is in a special class of evil that we have
to first remember/mention what they did and then erase them. So I can
think of no better way of erasing the name of Amalek/Haman by making
cookies each year named after Haman and then eating them.


From: Daniel Geretz <DGeretz@...>
Date: Mon, 3 Apr 2000 09:10:02 EDT
Subject: Re: Noisemaking during Megillah reading

Joseph Geretz writes

> I agree with you. On the two occasions on which I have leined, I picked
>  up from the word 'Haman' when continuing after the noise had abated. I
>  had seen this practice only once before, but to me it seems prudent to
>  ensure that every word is heard.

I agree as well. In my shul, when I lain megillah, I even go as far as
warning the congregation before the reading that I will repeat Haman's
name after the noisemaking subsides, and *not* to start making noise
again, because it is, after all, a mitzvah to hear *every* word of
Megillat Esther.


From: Aadam S. Ferziger <ferziger@...>
Date: Thu, 30 Mar 2000 23:59:57 +0200
Subject: Re: The Origin of Purim Costumes and "minhag avoteinu be-yadeinu"

The source for the Rema's permissive position regarding "cross-dressing"
on Purim is a responsa of R. Judah Mintz, see Responsa MaHaR"I Mintz
u-MahaRa"M Padua (5723-1963), 31a. R. Mintz was, in fact, the rabbi of
Padua, Italy.  Since Padua is quite close to Venice, this would seem to
strengthen the theory of an Italian origin for Purim costumes. However,
a closer look at the responsa itself, along with some further
biographical background of R.  Mintz, suggest otherwise. R. Mintz
(1408-1509) was a German Jew from (where else but), Mainz. He came to
Italy after the Jews of Mainz were expelled.  This background is at the
core of his lenient decision re costumes.  In the initial section of the
responsum he states categorically that even without his own additional
reasoning, the custom is permissible, for: "Great and righteous ones of
blessed memory, in whose surroundings I was brought up, [who] saw their
sons and daughters, sons-in-law and daughters-in-law wearing such masks
as well as switching clothing from men's attire to women's and vice
versa.  And if, heaven forbid, there had been the slightest
transgression involved, heaven forbid, that they would be silent and not
protest - surely they had proofs and authoritative sources that
demonstrate that this [practice] is absolutely permissible"

R. Mintz grounds his decision in his confidence that the scions of
Ashkenazic (German) Jewry would not have countenanced forbidden
behavior, certainly not among their own families.  This is a classic
Ashkenazic position, as has been articulated in the writings of Jacob
Katz, Haym Soloveitchik, Eric Zimmer, Yisrael Ta-Shema, among others.
Returning to the origin of the "cross-dressing" on Purim tradition,
then, it should be pointed out that carnivals are not an exclusively
Venician (or Brazilian) custom.  Germans had similar celebrations that
probably have their origins in pre-Christian, pagan rites.  Thus, it is
likely that the Jews of Germany absorbed this custom within their own
environment and brought it over to Italy.  It is also possible that it
was adopted by different Jewish populations independently.  Finally, as
most German Jews emigrated originally from Italy, one could suggest that
the Italy was the original source, although it would be difficult to
substantiate such a claim.

For a discussion of R. Mintz's responsum, see H. Pollack, "An Historical
Inquiry concerning Purim Masquerade Attire," Proceedings of the World
Congress on Jewish Studies 7 (1981), 217-235.  Pollack suggests a way to
trace the origin of the costume tradition across a far broader
geographic expanse than Central Europe.

On the custom of dressing up on Purim in general (in addition to the
article already cited on the list from Ha-Rav Professor Daniel Sperber's
Minhagei Yisrael 6, 193-198 and the references that he cites there) see
particularly Elimelekh (Elliott) Horowitz, "Ve-Nahafokh Hu: ha-Yehudim
mul Soneihem be-Hagigot ha-Purim," Zion 59 (5754-1994), 153-158.

Dr. Horowitz pointed out to me that there is an interesting connection
between the Mintz and Isserles families.  R. Mintz's grandson, the
MaHaRa"M Padua, was a contemporary and close correspondent of the Rema.
He even gave a eulogy for him in Padua after his untimely death in 1572
(at the age of 42 or 47).

For a completely different approach to the "crossdressing" custom, as
well as to "minhag" in general, see R. Ovadiah Yosef, Responsa Yabia
Omer 5, [Yorah Deah] 14.

Shabbat shalom,

Adam S. Ferziger
Kfar-Sava, Israel


From: Barry Best <barry.h.best@...>
Date: Thu, 30 Mar 2000 10:35:01 -0500
Subject: RE: Other cities with Shushan Purim

	What is the minhag in Chevron?  How about T'veriah?  Are there
any other cities that we know had walls in the time of Yehoshua bin Nun
(how about - in theory - Yericho)?


From: Aliza N. Fischman <fisch.chips@...>
Date: Sat, 01 Apr 2000 19:52:08 -0500
Subject: Re: Pharaoh's Phate

>From: Gregg Kinkley <kinko@...>
>	I have been in the midst of a long and sometimes acrimonious
>dispute with my law partner about the identity of Pharaoh in Exodus and
>his fate.  I pointed out to him that Torah never actually stated that
>pharaoh died in the sea, and I was vaguely aware that there are various
>traditions about what happened to him.
>	Any help here pointing to sources of tradition or even answers
>as to what we have made of his fate?  Thank you very much in advance!

I have always learned that Hashem allowed Pharaoh to survive so that he
could see the hand of Hashem in saving Bani Yisrael (the Jews) and so
that he could suffer seeing all of his soldiers lose.  Realizing that
Egypt had, at the time, the most powerful army around, this would
certainly be a strong message to a man who believed he was a god.
Hashem did this, in his Wisdom and Greatness for two reasons: (1) To
inflict on Pharaoh some of the pain he had inflicted on us, and (2) to
show him 'who was the Boss'.

I hope this is helpful.

Bivirchat shalom,
Chag Kasher V'Sameach,
Aliza Fischman


From: Elie Rosenfeld <erosenfe@...>
Date: Mon, 3 Apr 2000 09:49:27 -0400
Subject: Plague of Arov

There is a well-known (or perhaps formerly well-known - see below!)
machlokes [dispute] about the plague of Arov, which appears in Shemos
Rabbah 11:3.  One Tanna states that Arov was a mixture of wild animals,
and the other that it was flies/gnats.  Although the Midrash goes on to
express somewhat of a preference for the former view, clearly both are
deemed acceptable.

I have noticed that most of the older (from the 1940s or earlier)
published Haggados with an English translation and/or pictures follow
the view that Arov is flies or gnats, whereas the newer ones exclusively
depict it as wild animals.  Additionally, it seems that today only the
wild animals view is taught, to the extent that none of my children (who
collectively have been in Yeshiva from nursery through Grade 7) were
ever told that this machlokes exists.

Does anyone have a theory to explain this apparent shift?




From: Michael and Abby Pitkowsky <pitab@...>
Date: Mon, 3 Apr 2000 14:45:40 +0200
Subject: Quinoa /Buckwheat

>The Star K website has a convincing article on quinoa as kosher for
>Pessah. Does anyone have any information on buckwheat [kasha] which is
>really a fruit related to rhubarb and not a grain at  all?

Dr. Yehudah Felix in his book "HaTzomeh vehaHai beMishnah" (Plant and
Animal Life in the Mishnah) says that the grain of the five species
"kusemet" has been misidentified as buckwheat/kasha.  He feels that the
proper identification is rice wheat (pg. 83).  I know of no halachic
authority who has dealt with the apparent misidentification of a number
of the five species (Felix also claims that "shipon" is spelt wheat and
not rye, and that "shibolet shual" is not oats but rather two rowed

From: Danny Skaist <danny@...>
Date: Mon, 3 Apr 2000 13:18:26 +0200 
Subject: Quinoa /Buckwheat

I just read the article.  One of the points made there, is that quinoa
does not grow in places where wheat, barley etc. grow, Buckwheat on the
other hand does.  Sorry



From: Shoshana L. Boublil <toramada@...>
Date: Fri, 31 Mar 2000 09:49:15 +0200
Subject: Re: Seder Night Activities

This is not so much an "activity" but rather a part of how many
Sephardim do things.

It is a mitzvah to feel as though you yourself were part of the Exodus
from Egypt.  What we do is enact it.  After dividing the Matzah (for
Afikomen), starting with the oldest member, he takes the wrapped
Afikomen and heads for the door (there is a custom to shout Ganef
(thief!!) as he does so <g>.

He then knocks and enters saying a greeting (each person has their own
version), with the standard reply from the people at the table.  He is
then questioned: Who are you?  Where are you from?  What are you
carrying?  etc.  and he replies that he is a jew, that he is coming from
Egypt carrying the Matzah as Hashem brought them out of Egypt.

He then hands the Afikomen to the next who re-enacts the whole thing, in
his/her own style.  At times with 40 people at the Seder, we get at
least 12 different versions of this, from serious to extremely funny.
It is customary for everyone (including the women and kids) to do this.

Shoshana L. Boublil


From: Kenneth H. Ryesky, Esq. <khresq@...>
Date: Thu, 30 Mar 2000 10:59:28 -0500
Subject: Seder night activities for the kids

Regarding Ed Ehrlich's call for suggestions for Seder Night activites

Children between the ages of 2 and 120 can have lots of fun by trying to
make the relevant barnyard animal sounds during Chad Gadya.  Of course,
there is one Character in the song whom we do not try to imitate.

-- Ken Ryesky
P.O. Box 926 ; East Northport, NY  11731
631/266-5854 (vox) ; 631/266-3198 (fax)
E-mail:  <khresq@...>


From: Bill Bernstein <bbernst@...>
Date: Thu, 30 Mar 2000 00:30:33 -0600
Subject: Shushan Purim

With Purim just a memory and a few stale hamentaschen, I wonder about
Shushan Purim: does anyone know of any cities, other than Yerushalayim,
that does or could celebrate Shushan Purim.  The only one I can think of
is possibly Damascus.


From: Louise Miller <daniel@...>
Date: Mon, 3 Apr 2000 10:31:13 -0700
Subject: Two day Purim

Just thought you MJ'ers would find this interesting...

I was once privileged to spent Purim in Kiryat Arba (Hevron,) and
discovered that they observe TWO days of Purim.  There is a suffek
(question) as to whether or not Hevron was a walled city, (I saw the
evidence, and I am inclined to say yes, but I am neither a Torah nor
archeology scholar) and so no one is quite certain which day to observe

Kiryat Arba is a lively place, and it was SNOWING, so you can belive
that it was a Purim I'll never forget.  We heard megilla FOUR times,
gave shalach manot and tzedaka for two days, and ate and drank ourselves
silly.  I can't remember if we said brachas on megilla the second day,
but I'm pretty sure we said al ha nisim.

Funny, I only remember one seudah, but that might be that I just don't
remember the other one....

Louise Miller
La Jolla (San Diego,) CA


End of Volume 31 Issue 99