Volume 32 Number 65
                 Produced: Wed Jun 28 21:13:29 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Heter Mechirah (2)
         [Reuven Miller, Sylvain Cappell]
Honesty in Prayer
         [Ezriel Krumbein]
Mechirat Hametz
         [Mark Steiner]
Post Pesah Bread
         [Menashe Elyashiv]
Question on Odd Statistics in Numbers Census
         [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz]
Shir HaMa'alot question
         [David and Toby Curwin]
Tikun Sofrim (2)
         [Andrew Klafter, Alexander Heppenheimer]
'Yihye' and 'Tihye'
         [Jack Gross]


From: Reuven Miller <millerr@...>
Date: Tue, 13 Jun 2000 00:01:30 +0300 (IDT)
Subject: Re: Heter Mechirah

> From: Idelle Rudman <rudmani@...>
> Rav Kook allowed working the land during the sh'mitta year for a number
> of reasons.He felt that there was an immediate and present piku'akh

I really have not be able to follow any of the discussions lately but...
why put it on Rav Kook?
There was a heter mechira for about 8! smittas before Rav Kook came on the
scene. There was always an opposition but the heter was established and
supported by the greatest of Rabbis from the non-Zionist world as well as
the pro-zionist ones.
There seems to be a movement in recent years to associate the heter
mechira specifically with haRav Kook and I think that that is a mistake. 

Reuven Miller

From: Sylvain Cappell <cappell@...>
Date: Thu, 15 Jun 2000 19:31:06 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Heter Mechirah

Re some recent discussions on, in part, the history of the Heter
Mechirah: A few years ago, a sourcebook on this was published by
Hamachon Lemoreshet Yisrael, "Heter Tarmat" by Rabbi (& Prof.) Shlomo

Prof. Sylvain Cappell      <cappell@...>
Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, N.Y.U.  


From: Ezriel Krumbein <ezsurf@...>
Date: Mon, 19 Jun 2000 20:52:55 -0700
Subject: Re: Honesty in Prayer

The proplem with changing nachem, is that Yerushalayim that we mention,
is the Yerushalayim in the time of the Batei Mikdash not new Jerusalem.
This Yerushalyim that is the Ir Ha Atika.  I do not know this
statistically but, I would guess that at least half of the Ir Hatika is
not realy a Jewish city in the fact that non-Jews are the majority
residence.  The Silwan is also part of that Jerusalem.  The Jews living
there, last I heard wich was a number of years ago, were hiring their
own security to protect themselves.  This description sounds more like
the description in Tanach of Yerushalayim at the retrun from Bavel.
Then they split people up those to stand guard and those to build.  May
we be zoche to the complete geulah bimiharah biyamaienu.

Kol Tov


From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Mon, 19 Jun 2000 11:22:13 +0300
Subject: Re: Mechirat Hametz

    In the discussion of selling of hametz to a non-Jew before Pesach, a
fundamental distinction has not been made explicit: my own reliance on
this heter in order to avoid destroying, for example, whiskey in my
possession, and relying on somebody else's sale, in order to eat HIS
hametz after Pesach.  In some ways, it is easier to do the former, and
in some ways, the latter.

    For me, the prohibition of keeping hametz in my house is Biblical.
Eating somebody else's hametz after Pesach is "only" a rabbincal
prohibition.  So one could see a policy of not selling one's own hametz
gamur, but eating somebody else's after Pesach.  On the other hand, when
I sell my own whiskey I have 100% intention to make the sale, so that if
the non-Jew comes to get the whiskey I'll give it to him (in his rented
closet in my home) without hesitation.  When I go to a store after
Pesach to buy hametz, I have the following doubts:

1.  The storekeeper might consider mekhirat hametz just a ritual he has
to go through to keep his kashrut supervision.

2.  He might think he's selling it to the rabbi, who then sells it to
the non-Jew.

3.  He might think it's a conditional sale, contingent on payment after
Pesach (if so, of course, then the hametz was his all the time and is
forbidden after Pesach).  To make it clear to both sides, by the way,
that the sale is not conditional, R. Mordechai Willig shlita (otherwise
known on this list from the prenuptial agreement discussion) does not
"buy back" the hametz after Pesach.  Instead, he accepts the hametz in
lieu of payment, a wonderful idea.

Even so, as the Hazon Ish explained, the heter works, because we assume
that every Jew is interested (on some level) in doing the Divine Will,
so that even if he doesn't understand how the heter works, and even if
he looks as though he doesn't really want to give up his entire stock of
whiskey to a non-Jew by sale, we assume that he is leaving it to the
rabbi to get rid of his hametz in WHATEVER way that works.  I personally
have no problem with accepting the Hazon Ish on this; at the same time,
I do not deride any Jew who refuses to sell his hametz or eat hametz
that was sold (after all, the Vilner Gaon was one such Jew).


From: Menashe Elyashiv <elyashm@...>
Date: Mon, 19 Jun 2000 19:26:25 +0300 (IDT)
Subject: Post Pesah Bread

Of course the mehadrin bread baked after Pesah is not from post Pesah
flour. It is baked from dry grounded flour. The same for cakes, pasta
etc.  and they are marked "baked after Pesah". They have no ingredents
that are hames.


From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahillel@...>
Date: Mon, 19 Jun 2000 23:24:49 -0400
Subject: Re: Question on Odd Statistics in Numbers Census

> An article from Yeshiva Har Etzion discussed the matter and stated that
> a Professor Beller has stated that the counts of bechorim are based on
> the children born _after_ yetzias mitzrayim.  The article was sent out
> for Parshas Naso last week.  You could find it on the Yeshiva Har Etzion
> website (I think it is http://www.yhe.org.il but I am not sure).
> [The web address for the Yeshivat Har Etzion Virtual Beit Medrash is
> http://www.vbm-torah.org/, but I could not find the above referenced
> item in their archives area. Mod.]

Thank you for correcting me on the URL.  Here is the header of the
actual article and part of the relevant paragraph.

                   YESHIVAT HAR ETZION
                      PARASHAT NASO

  The Census of the Leviim and the Number of Firstborn
                     (Bamidbar 3-4)
                  By Rav Elchanan Samet


     The approach suggested above, that the figures of 22,273 Israelite
firstborn and 300 Levite firstborn refer to those born during the year
after the exodus, is adopted by Professor Eliyahu Beller of the
mathematics department of Bar-Ilan University, in his article "The
Problem of the Firstborn" (Higgayon, vol. 2, 5753, pp.  103-117).  His
article is a professional, scientific one not meant for the likes of
laymen such as the present author.  We shall suffice with an examination
of the basic Biblical assumptions underlying his mathematical model; but
as to the model itself and the calculations based upon it, we shall rely
on the professional abilities of its author.

Said the fox to the fish, "Join me ashore" | Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz
 Jews are the fish, Torah is our water | Zovchai Adam, agalim yishakun


From: David and Toby Curwin <curwin@...>
Date: Mon, 19 Jun 2000 09:54:50 +0300
Subject: Shir HaMa'alot question

Geoffrey Shisler <geoffrey@...> wrote:

> I have tried, without success, to discover the origin of the verses
> Tehillat Hashem...Va'anachnu Nevareich.....Hodu........and Mi Yemalell
> being attached to the Shir HaMa'alot before Birkat HaMazon.
> Why are they there? Why these specific verses? Who put them there, and
> when were they added?

I heard in the name of my Rosh Yeshiva that the additional verses were
added to take off some of the emphasis on Eretz Yisrael that appears in
Shir Ha'Maalot and Al NaHarot Bavel, as well as in the Birkat HaMazon
itself. It appears that some felt that Birkat HaMazon was becoming too
"Zionist"! He therefore recommended that we do not add those verses.

David Curwin
Kvutzat Yavne, Israel


From: Andrew Klafter <andrew.klafter@...>
Date: Thu, 15 Jun 2000 01:30:28 -0400
Subject: Re: Tikun Sofrim

> From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
> If tomorrow morning someone unearthed an n'th century Torah scroll in
> perfect condition and this scroll had ONE WORD different than the
> currently accepted geersah what would be the appropriate halachik
> response?
> And let's not play with the authenticity of this newly discovered Sefer
> Torah.

I like this question.  I can't understand, however, why we would think
that a Torah discovered from the medieval or ancient period should be
more accurate than ours.  Are you assuming that we should conclude that
it's more authoritative just because it's older--less chance for copy
errors because of less generations since Har Sinai?  In any case, i will
accept the terms of your question--we have some way of knowing that this
Sefer Torah is not a Kara'ite sefer, or that the extra word is not a
Sabbatean or Christological incantation.

I can think of the following reasons not to accept the older sefer Torah:
1) Minhag Avoseinu B'Yadeinu--we are entitled to conclude that the specific
ritual customs or texts that have been passed directly to us are legitimate,
and there is an inordinately high burden of proof that must be surmounted
before we would conclude that our Mesorah has a weak link.
2) Halacha KeBasra'ei--when we are faced with two opinions in halacha and we
cannot independently conclude that one is more accurate than another, we
follow the LATER opinion.
3) Halacha KeHamachri'a-related to #2 but subtly different--when there is a
dispute in halacha and Authority A had reviewed authority B's position and
weighed it against other opinions, we follow Authority A because he has had
the benefit of weighing the various positions one against the other.  I.e.,
we can assume that when sofrim saw discrepancies when they were copying
sifrey Torah, they followed the opinion that made more sense.  Therefore,
the versions of the text which are still extant in our Sifrei Torah were
decided by the sofrim who copied them to be superior.

What I can say with confidence is that very few Orthodox rabbis would be
ready to change our sifrei Torah in response to an archeological discovery.
Sociologically, this is very similiar to the current situation with
techeilis.  There is, to my understanding, very solid evidence that the
current species being used for techeilis dye is correct.  Furthermore, if
even if it were the incorrect species, it would not, according to all
halakhic opinions, invalidate the tzitzis.  Nevertheless, the techeilis is
hardly catching on.  The Torah community is, needless to say, quite
conservative and reluctant to conclude that we know something that preveious
generations didn't.

From: Alexander Heppenheimer <aheppenh@...>
Date: 14 Jun 2000 17:49:59 -0700
Subject: Re: Tikun Sofrim

In MJ 32:53, Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...> wrote:

> If tomorrow morning someone unearthed an n'th century Torah scroll in
> perfect condition and this scroll had ONE WORD different than the
> currently accepted geersah what would be the appropriate halachik
> response?
> And let's not play with the authenticity of this newly discovered Sefer
> Torah.

In a word, I believe that the appropriate halachic response would be,
"You have no other judge than the one who is living in your days"
(Rashi, Devarim 17:9): even supposing that this sefer Torah was
originally kosher as written, the decision of today's halachic
authorities is that this particular mesorah is not accepted.

[This is quite apart from the fact that we actually have no way of
knowing whether this sefer Torah was ever kosher in the first place. For
all we know, the sofer might have made a mistake!]

I have actually written a short article on this topic recently, which
appeared in the journal Haoros Ubeurim Oholei Torah (issue 797). In
issue 794 of that journal, Rabbi E.N. Silberberg, Rosh Mesivta of the
Lubavitcher Yeshivah of Chicago, analyzed some statements by the
Rogatchover Gaon and R' Velvel Soloveitchik about Megillas Esther, and
concluded that the original enactment establishing the Megillah as a
book of Tanach was framed in such a way that the Megillah, in order to
be kosher, would always have to be written according to the regulations
established by the contemporary halachic authorities. I countered with
evidence that this seems to be true not only of Megillas Esther, but in
general of all 24 books of Tanach. For example, the Yerushalmi (Taanis
4:2) records that (at some unspecified time) "[the Sages] found three
sifrei Torah in the courtyard of the Beis HaMikdash... one read 'ma'on
elokei kedem' and the other two, 'me'onah elokei kedem' (Devarim 33:27),
and so they accepted the two and invalidated the one": presumably there
had formerly been different traditions about the correct wording of the
verse (and a sefer Torah written according to either tradition would
have been valid), but this decision rendered the "ma'on" sefer Torah

[Even today, there are several variances in mesorah between different
segments of Jewry, the most well-known being the variation (in Devarim
23:2) "dakka" (without a final hei) vs. "dakkah" (with the hei): since
we now have no supreme halachic authority whose opinion is binding on
the entire Jewish People, each community can follow its own mesorah on
this issue. Presumably, though, when Moshiach comes (soon!) and the
Sanhedrin can sit again, then if they decide, say, for "dakka," then the
version "dakkah" will be invalidated, and vice versa. (They, or their
successors, would also be able to overturn such a decision later, but
that's a whole different matter.)]

Kol tuv y'all,


From: Jack Gross <jbgross@...>
Date: Sun, 18 Jun 2000 22:22:30 -0400
Subject: Re: 'Yihye' and 'Tihye'

<<From: Carl M. Sherer <cmsherer@...>
Perets Mett writes:
> What is all this tihiye and yihiye business?  The vowel under the hey is
> a shvo (noch), so the words are 'yihye' and tihye'

I was taught to read both of those heh's as mapik heh's. >>

I believe the rule is, quite simply, if a consonent such as Heh or Yud is
printed without a vowel and without a sheva, other that at the end of the
word, it is silent.  If a sheva appears, the letter represents its normal
consonental value.

Thus the first Heh of Yihyeh, and the Heh of Pedah'el, are consonental
("mapik heh"), while the Heh of Pedahzur is silent.

At the end of a word, the sheva nach is nomally omitted, and the "mapik"
dot is used there to resolve the ambiguity.

-- Yaakov Gross


End of Volume 32 Issue 65