Volume 34 Number 50
                 Produced: Tue May 15 20:00:34 US/Eastern 2001

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [I. Balbin]
Bat Mitzvah
         [Daniel Mehlman]
bishul akum for s'fardim and hashgacha
         [Mike Stein]
Dairy on Shavuot (3)
         [Zev Sero, Robert Werman, <DTnLA@...>]
Middle Letters/Verse of Torah
         [Russell Hendel]
Responsa - Mima'amakim
         [Binyomin Segal]
Rupture and Reconstruction
         [Ben Katz]
Saying 'Mazal Tov'
Shalom Alaichem
         [Zev Sero]
         [Danny Skaist]


From: I. Balbin <isaac@...>
Date: Tue, 15 May 2001 07:56:26 +1000
Subject: Re: Alarms

On the subject of alarms, I see many respondents who inform us of
technical ways and systems to avoid the problem. Of course, we know that
can be done with some systems, and it appears that some Israeli systems
do this better for Shabbos than others which would never have been built
to avoid the problem.

That, however, isn't the main point of my original query.  In
particular, I am interested in the Halachic discussion on the Sofek Psik
Reisha issue and especially anyone who feels they can explain the
approach of the Shevet Halevi in Chelek 9 of his Tshuvos, OR someone who
knows of written Piskei Din, other than the Beis Halevi, who discuss
this issue.


From: Daniel Mehlman <Danmim@...>
Date: Mon, 14 May 2001 19:41:30 EDT
Subject: Bat Mitzvah

Searching for an innovative service for a shabbos and weekday bat
mitzvah in an orthodox synagogue.


From: Mike Stein <mike@...>
Date: Mon, 14 May 2001 14:36:57 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: bishul akum for s'fardim and hashgacha

In v. 34 Number 45, Stephen Phillips <stephenp@...>
writes that 

> the Shulchan Aruch Yoreh De'ah Siman 113:7 ... states that to avoid
> food being considered "Bishul Akum" (food cooked by a non-Jew, which
> is generally prohibited to a Jew) it is not sufficient for the Jew
> merely to light the stove, but the Jew must take some other part in
> the cooking process (like placing the pot on the stove).

and asks whether a Sefardi may eat in a hotel, etc. which is under the
supervision of an Ashkenazi Kashrus authority which follows the more
lenient position of the R'ma.

When I lived in Strasbourg a few years ago, I learned from one of the
Bet Din's mashgichim that they are careful to follow the mechaber's
position when supervising the local restaurants so that the local
Sefardi community can eat in them without a problem.  I should add
that the Av Bet Din, Rav Seckbach, is Ashkenazi.

Mike Stein


From: Zev Sero <Zev@...>
Date: Mon, 14 May 2001 15:50:15 -0400
Subject: RE: Dairy on Shavuot

Leona Kroll <leona_kroll@...> wrote:
> reason I learned was that on Shavuos we received, along with the
> rest of the Torah, the laws of Kashrus.  After hearing the laws
> regarding shechting, the Jews could not eat the meat they had 
> because it was not a good shchita (:) ), so they ate milchigs.

And Kochav ben Yehuda <kochav_benyehuda@...> wrote:
> I remember hearing a midrash which tells us that when the Jewish
> people received Torah, it was as if they all converted, and from
> that moment on, only properly shechted meat could be eaten.  And
> as it took some time to get the knives in the way they should be,
> and to to be able to shecht the animal in the way it should be
> shechted, the Jewish people had to stick to milchig in the mean time.

The problem was not that they didn't know the laws before Matan Torah,
or that they didn't have the right knives, etc.  After all, on the one
hand there is no indication that the laws of kashrut were revealed at
the same time as the 10 dibrot, and on the other hand we know that they
were studying Torah even in Mitzrayim, and certainly in the desert
before Matan Torah.  Further, if the problem was lack of knowledge, then
they would not have had separate milchig and fleishig utensils, and
their milchigs would be just as treif as their fleishigs.

The problem was that, as Kochav points out, before Matan Torah they were
not Jewish.  And a goy's shechita is not kosher, no matter how
knowledgeable and skilled he is; it's a fundamental requirement of
kashrut that the shochet be a Jew.  So when the Torah was given and our
ancestors became the first Jews on the planet, there was no kosher meat
to be had.  And it was Shabbat, so they couldn't shecht any.  So,
knowing before Shabbat that this would happen, they prepared milchigs
(that is, those who wanted to prepare something in honour of shabbat, to
supplement their man, which was, of course, parev...)

From: Robert Werman <rwerman@...>
Date: Tue, 15 May 2001 12:02:01 +0200
Subject: Re: Dairy on Shavuot

I find the explanations about the prohibition against eating meat [not
really a prohibition but a minhag, custom, reduced to one meal in many
communities] on Shavu'ot based on not having the halacha or proper
knives before that interesting but somewhat naive.

It is possible that the method that Abraham used to slaughter and Rivka
[kulom shochtim] may have been forgotten by the time of Yitzi'at
Mitzrayim, but surely not Korban Pesah!

[See Zev's posting immediately above which addresses this question. Mod.]

Best to all; looking forward to Cheese Cake [I presume bnai Yisra'el
used khalov Yisra'el for their cheese cake].

__Bob Werman

From: <DTnLA@...>
Date: Mon, 14 May 2001 14:42:44 EDT
Subject: Dairy on Shavuot

    [ Part 1, Text/PLAIN  27 lines. ]
    [ Unable to print this part. ]

There is an intersting article written by a Rabbi Prero on the torah.org
website about the customs of Shavuos, including some reasons behind why
eat dairy products. see

Additionally, i've seen an allusion to the dairy custom in the maftir
reading for shavuos in Numbers 28:6 the first letters of the words
"...CHadasha Lashem B'Shavuoseichem..." spell CHALAV = Milk.

Another reason mentioned (see Be'er Heitev in Hilchos Shavuos) is the
mentioned in the Zohar that when the jews left Egypt they had to purify
themselves like a Nidah, hence we count 7 weeks just like a Nidah counts
days. And there is an idea in Tractate Nidah that (according to one
the blood of Nidah becomes transformed into her breast milk. On a
level this alludes to a change from Din (judgement=Red) to Rachamim
(kindness=White). This idea is applied to the Jews leaving Egypt that
having counted the 7 weeks like a Nidah, the "blood" gets transformed
"milk" and therefore to allude to this we eat dairy products on Shavuos.

The Darchei Tshuva on Hilochos Basar BeChalav discusses the appropriate
method of fulfilling the custom of eating dairy as well as the obligation
eat meat.
Basically he concludes that one must eat meat both at night and during
day. So the dairy products should be eaten before the daytime meal as
part of
kiddush, then after an hour delay and washing out the mouth, the meaty
daytime meal is eaten.

Dov Teichman


From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Mon, 14 May 2001 00:18:28 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: RE: Middle Letters/Verse of Torah

Noah Paulovic brings us the questions of where
the middle letter and verses of the torah are.

This has been discussed both on this list and on 
numerous other lists in the past.

One basic approach is that the GIMEL in HITGALACH
is the MIDDLE of the strange-fontsize letters in 
the Torah. This was discussed recently--someone
cited a journal article and the article was discussed
(If anyone knows the exact Journal reference and
where it could be obtained it would be very appreciated)

This is a general approach that applies to many problems
of mesorah: That is we interpret MIDDLE to mean MIDDLE OF

I was told that this approach first materialized on Torah
Forum in the name of someone who arrived from the soviet

Russell Jay Hendel; Phd ASA; http://www.RashiYomi.Com/


From: Binyomin Segal <bsegal@...>
Date: Mon, 14 May 2001 14:23:59 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: re: Responsa - Mima'amakim

Alan Koor asked about Shalot Utshuvot Mima'amakim from Rav Oshrie.

Rav Oshrie was the rav of a shul in Manhattan (lower east side i
believe). and the sefer was available from the shul. I made the trek to
purchase the set a number of years ago (about 10). I seem to recall that
I got the contact information from the much simplified english book that
is based on his work that was mentioned in a previous post.

If there is a particular tshuva, or information about the set the you
are interest in, I can try and accomodate.

note the new email address
(old one works for now)


From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Mon, 14 May 2001 14:46:24 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Re: Rupture and Reconstruction

>I will also refer you to an important paper by Rabbi Chaim Soleveitchick
>which talks about the new emphasis on halocha.  It is titled "Rupture
>and Reconstruction" (published in Tradition Magazine) and he argues that
>the emphasis on halacha is caused by the separation from Yiddish culture
>after the Holacaust.  We now measure and codify things that were once
>just part of endemic yiddish culture.  For example, there are now
>countless books on the measurements of regious articles.  How wide or
>long must my tallos koton be?  how much grape juice must my becher hold?
>At one time, we simply used the becher that our father or grandfather
>used, and we had no question about its legitimacy.  After all, we had a
>mesorah from Har Sinai.  If a book on halocha suggested that Zeide's
>becher didn't hold a full revi'is of wine, we would DISMISS THE BOOK AS
>INACCURATE.  We would have more confidence in Zeide's becher that a
>sefer by a young, arrogant talmid chacham.

        An amazing fact to add here is found in an article cited by
Rabbi C Soloveitchik in his article, entitled The Lost Kiddush Cup.  In
that article is described the fact that the Chafetz Chaim's
grandchildren won't use their zedie's becher because they do not think
it is sufficiently voluminous.  to think that the author of the mishna
berurah was not yotzai his kiddush every shabat and yom tov ...

Ben Z. Katz, M.D.
Children's Memorial Hospital, Division of Infectious Diseases
2300 Children's Plaza, Box # 20, Chicago, IL 60614
Ph. 773-880-4187, Fax 773-880-8226


From: Mordechai <Phyllostac@...>
Date: Mon, 14 May 2001 22:17:24 EDT
Subject: Saying 'Mazal Tov'

I have wondered for some time why there seems to be (almost?) a
compulsion among many to say 'mazal tov' to others on certain occasions
(esp. weddings, engagements, bar mitzvahs and perhaps non-religious
occasions to a lesser extent). I am not questioning the aspect of
wishing someone else well on an important or milestone occasion as
gesture of friendship, good feeling and blessing, etc., which perhaps
can be said to be part of the fulfillment of the Biblical commandment of
'Viohavta lireiacha kamocha' (?) and the like.

What I am questioning is the following - 

1) The expression used - 'Mazal tov' literally means something like 'you
should be under the power of a good star / heavenly body' AFAIK (As Far
As I Know) - it is a wish / blessing for favorable astrological
alignment basically, then. Is that not problematic (especially in light
of the teaching of Chaza"l in the gemara that 'ein mazal liYisroel' (the
Jewish people is above astrological influences)? Even if an explanation
can be given, is it still not ironic that those specific words - as
opposed to others - have become so identified with Jewish expressions of
good wishes being that most observant Jews are not really into
astrological things today?

2) The deep-rootedness of this practice and degree of compulsion people
some people seem to feel with regard to it - Why do people sometimes
insist on going far out of their way to personally extend such wishes
(at a kiddush in Shul for example) in person, when they could do such
alot easier at other times, e.g. when they meet the baal(ei) simcha
elsewhere or via telephone, letter, e-mail, etc. Granted that an
argument can be made that later or earlier mazal tov wishes don't have
the impact (emotionally as well as in terms of power of blessing?) of
those given at an actual 'simcha', but nevertheless, I am wondering if I
am missing something here and would be interested in hearing the
thoughts of the M-J readership on the matter.  People seem to treat
saying 'mazal tov' as though it was one of the 613 mitzvos.

3) How far back does the expression of mazal tov date back to? When and
where did it originate? Do any Rabbinic works discuss any of the above
or related aspects of 'mazal tov'?

4) Finally, I am curious to hear exactly what the meaning of 'siman tov'
in 'siman tov umazal tov yihei lonu' is.

Thanks in advance.



From: Zev Sero <Zev@...>
Date: Mon, 14 May 2001 15:32:19 -0400
Subject: RE: Shalom Alaichem

Russell Hendel <rhendel@...> wrote:

> My personal minhag is to say the the other 3 stanzas
> and to hum along on the one with angels. 

Eh?  Which stanza are you talking about?  All four have the same
reference to the angels.


From: Danny Skaist <danny@...>
Date: Tue, 15 May 2001 10:30:45 +0200
Subject: Shevuoth/milchig

<<And as to the minhag, I believe the actual minhag is to eat some
milchig, but afterwards it is recommanded to eat fleishig (Rama, O"C)
Kochav >>

Which would require a second loaf of bread, since bread served with
milchig may not be served with fleishig.  Hence 2 loaves of bread are
required for the meal.  Just like the temple sacrifice on shevuoth.
Hence the minhag.



End of Volume 34 Issue 50