Volume 35 Number 44
                 Produced: Thu Sep  6 22:32:15 US/Eastern 2001

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

"Auctioning" Aliyos and Kibbudim
         [Stephen Phillips]
Khamsa and Bar Khamsa
         [Shalom Kohn]
The Lottery
         [Jonah Bossewitch]
Origin of "Next Year in Jerusalem"
         [Reuben Rudman]
Ten Commandments - Taam Elyon/Tachton
         [Stephen Phillips]
Tisha b'Av
         [Netanel Livni]
Tisha Be-Av -- Kamza and Bar Kamza
         [Yael Levine Katz]
         [Velvel Lipsker]
Touching Tefillin
         [Stan Tenen]
what applies to a self-identifying ben-noach?


From: Stephen Phillips <stephenp@...>
Date: Thu, 6 Sep 2001 13:56 +0100 (BST)
Subject: Re: "Auctioning" Aliyos and Kibbudim

> From: Marc Wilson <Takkeh1@...>
> Can anyone send me marei mikomos (pro or con) on the minhag of
> "auctioning" aliyos and kibbudim?

Rav Ovadya Yosef in Sefer Yechoveh Da'at (I'm not sure which volume) has
a Teshuva on this very point and he basically permits such auctions. I
think the basic point is that the money is for Tzedaka [charity] and one
is allowed on Shabbos to make a pledge for Tzedaka.

Stephen Phillips.


From: Shalom Kohn <skohn@...>
Date: Thu, 6 Sep 2001 10:06:06 -0500
Subject: Khamsa and Bar Khamsa

Stan Tenen wrote:

> For various reasons, I've been thinking a lot about Tisha b'Av and the 
> story of Khamsa and Bar Khamsa, et al.  I realize that I really don't know 
> much about the details, even though I've heard the story many times.
> I'd appreciate hearing some comments on the story, some pointers to the 
> original source and re-tellings, and I'd also appreciate some insight into 
> how our sages have interpreted the story.

Although perhaps this is not what was requested, I would like to share a
"Chassidish Vort" I heard from my father z"l.

The Gemara says that "Jerusalem was destroyed on account of Khamsa and
Bar Khamsa."  We understand the role of Bar Khamsa, the guest who
mistakenly came to the party, was disgraced, and accordingly presented a
libel to the Romans.  But why is Khamsa's name associated with the
catastrophe?  He seemed to be oblivious to the entire incident, never
having gotten the invitation meant for him.  The Chassidish answer --
and a good life lesson in friendship, albeit hardly p'shat -- is that if
Khamsa was such a good friend, we shouldn't have waited for an


From: Jonah Bossewitch <jonah.bossewitch@...>
Date: Thu, 6 Sep 2001 14:36:54 -0400
Subject: The Lottery

>>From: Janet Rosenbaum <jerosenb@...>
>>Has anyone written responsa forbidding playing the lottery?  If so, what
>>as their reasoning?  I was just in Mea Shaarim and noticed for the
>>first time the residents lining up at the Lotto booth.

>Fom: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahem@...>
>The discussion is usually tied to Yosef and why he was imprisoned an
>"extra" two years (Miketz).  The basic answer is that Hashem requires a
>certain amount of "histadlus" (effort) from us before providing whatever
>we are supposed to get.  In this case, buying the ticket would be the
>required level of hishtadlus to allow Hashem to provide whoever is
>opposed to get the money without requiring a miracle.

I have never heard any specific ruling on the lottery, but why wouldn't
it would fall under the general category of gambling - permissible, but
engageing in this activity invalidates one's status as an eligible
witness (pasul l'eidut: see Mesechet MeSachek B'Kuviah [This tractate
appears to be missing in my shas, could you give additional references?
Mod.]).  In fact, the only leeway given towards this ruling on gambling
extends to those activities where some skill on the gamblers part might
be involved (like encouraging the the racing doves from the sidelines?).
However, where pure chance is the determining factor, the activity is
frowned upon and changes the gambler's hallachic status.

In my opion, buying a lottery ticket, like playing craps or roulette
(although perhaps not blackjack) does not constitute histadlus (effort).
Anyone who engages in such behavior exhibits a character flaw, although
it may be halachilly permissible.

Besides, do you really think that HKB"K requires a contrived oppurtunity
to bestow good fortune?

Give the lotto dollar to you're favorite charity instead - the payoff
will be much greater ;-)



From: Reuben Rudman <rudman@...>
Date: Thu, 06 Sep 2001 15:50:11 -0400
Subject: Origin of "Next Year in Jerusalem"

I do not have a specific reference to when it was instituted.  However,
I have a reason why it is said on these two ocassions.

My Rav, shlita, points out, regularly, that the phrase L'Shana Haba'ah
B'Yerushalayim is only said on those occasions where the 'ikar' (most
significant) part of the occasion is missing due to the absence of the
Bais Hamikdash.  Thus, on Yom Kippur the Kohen Gadol cannot carry out
the proper sacrifices related to the essence of Yom Kippur - that is,
the se'irim (he-goats) for kapara (atonement).  Similarly, on Pesach we
cannot bring the Korban Pesach.  Consequently, when we finish our
substitutes for these korbonos, we beseech the Holy One to rebuild the
Temple in time for next year's service.


From: Stephen Phillips <stephenp@...>
Date: Thu, 6 Sep 2001 13:56 +0100 (BST)
Subject: Re: Ten Commandments - Taam Elyon/Tachton

> From: Matthew Pearlman <Matthew.Pearlman@...>
> The Ten Commandments have two sets of notes Taam Elyon and Taam Tachton.
> In our shul we read Taam Elyon whenever we lein in public, ie Shavuot,
> Yitro, Vaetchanan.  Specifically, we also read Taam Elyon for the first
> commandment. I believe this is the general minhag in England.  I would
> be interested in learning of any other minhagim in other communities,
> and in particular whether anyone uses Taam Tachton in public.

When I leyened Yisro in Yeshiva in Yerushalayim, I used the Ta'am Elyon
(as per the English custom) and was told off by one of the Yerushalmi
Rabbonim; the custom there is to read with the Ta'am Tachton (at least
for Yisro; I don't know about Shovuos).

Stephen Phillips.


From: Netanel Livni <n_livni@...>
Date: Thu, 06 Sep 2001 11:30:18 -0700
Subject: RE: Tisha b'Av

Stan Tenen wrote:

>I'd appreciate hearing some comments on the story, some pointers to the
>original source and re-tellings, and I'd also appreciate some insight
>into how our sages have interpreted the story.

The Maharal has a beautiful extended commentary on all the Tisha b'Av
Aggadot in Netzach Yisrael ch. 5-8.  One of his manny points is that the
name kamtza is related to the word kmitza (separating some incense or a
part of the mincha offering to be brought to the mizbeach).  kmitza is
the act of separating as opposed to uniting.  Thus kamtza and bar-kamtza
are illustrations of a culture in which people were more interested in
divisions (sinat chinam) than in their common unifying features (ahavat


From: Yael Levine Katz <ylkpk@...>
Subject: Tisha Be-Av -- Kamza and Bar Kamza

Concerning the call to discuss the various aspects of the Kamza and Bar
Kamza story, I would like to point to my recently published extensive
article in Hebrew which analyzes in detail the three extant versions. It
appeared in Derekh Aggadah, 3, 5760, pp. 33-58.  [The issue bears the
year 5760, but it was published only several months ago.]  The article
focuses on the literary aspects of the different stories.  Derekh
Aggadah is a publication of Mikhlelet Efrata in Jerusalem, and is
available in libraries.

Yael Levine Katz


From: Velvel Lipsker <zvlipsker@...>
Date: Thu, 6 Sep 2001 18:28:45 +1000
Subject: TM

Elishevah Schwartz wrote:
>>Does anyone have practical experience with taking a Transcendental
>>Meditation or other meditation class? It's clear that these classes are
>>wonderful for stress reduction, but it sounded to me like there might
>>be some real avodah zarah involved?<<

I would like to make two Points
1) Although TM is used in Aryeh Kaplan's Book "Jewish Meditation", that
book was written in the early 70's when the true nature of TM was not yet
known and is now known and recognized by all major Cult to be a very
dangerous and destructive mind control cult you can read up about them on
various anti-cult websites Look up www.freedomofmind.com for one good
example (this, regardless of the fact that many goiyishe celebrities are
hooked up with them)  in connection to this it so happens that although
they try to hide it , their philosophy is completely based on eastern
religion and has many aspects that are even mentioned in the Torah as
being Assur including invoking the names of different Hindu deities Etc.
(I happened to do a little research on the Subject and it is interesting
that many of the Avodah Zorohs mentioned in the Torah Such as Moleich
Etc. the only place were these things are still practised is in these
2)their are some very good books on Jewish meditation out their alot
based on the teachings of Kabbalah (Kabala Iyunit, that is) now although
in recent years Kabbalah has become a very Popular subject and
unfortunately is being exploited by some (the "Kabbalah center" is a case
in point) it does not diminish from the truth of the matter
a good place to start would R' Laibl wolf's book (the name of which I
can't remember at the time but you can find out more on his website
(www.laiblwolf.com) you can also ask him your questions as he is a
recognised expert in the field
Hatzlacha Rabbah 


From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Thu, 06 Sep 2001 20:48:40 -0400
Subject: Re: Touching Tefillin

Michael Savitz wrote:

>From: Michael J. Savitz <msavitz@...>
>Date: Tue, 28 Aug 2001 08:06:28 -0700 (PDT)
>Subject: Touching tefillin
>Does anyone know the reason why (at least according to Artscroll) there
>is a custom to touch the arm-tefillin and then the head-tefillin when
>reciting the verse "Poteach et yadecha / umasbia lechol chai ratzon" in
>the Ashrei (both times it is recited in shacharit), and when reciting
>"Yotzer or / uvorei choshech" in the bracha right after Barechu?  What
>is the connection of these passages to the tefillin?
>Conversely, does anyone know why, when reciting the parshiyot "kadesh li
>kol bechor" and "vehaya ki yeviacha" after laying tefillin, there does
>_not_ appear to be a custom (at least none indicated by Artscroll...) to
>touch the tefillin when the mitzva of tefillin is mentioned in these
>passages ("vehaya lecha leot al yadecha / ulezikaron bein einecha" and
>"vehaya leot al yadecha / uletotafot bein einecha")?  Touching the
>tefillin would make more sense here.  This is in contrast not only with
>Ashrei and Yotzer Or, as mentioned above, but also with the first 2
>parshiot of the Shema, which each mention the mitzva of tefillin, and
>where there _is_ a custom (lefi Artscroll...) to touch each of the
>tefillin and then to kiss one's fingers.  Why the inconsistency in the
>treatment of the 4 parshiyot of the tefillin (the 2 from the Shema and
>the 2 others)?
>Thanks in advance for any light you can shed on this question.  Ketivah
>vechatimah tovah.

Tefillin is based on the meaning and purpose of the hand.  Our hand 
expresses our will, our choice, our conscious volition, and it does our 

There are two "worlds" in which we live.  We live in the objective world, 
with others, and we live privately in our personal conscious world.

The objective world is like our arm, and our hand is driven by its 
strength.  Everyone can see our hand on our arm in the world. Everyone can 
see what we want, or what we're concerned about, by watching where our hand 

The subjective world is associated with our forebrain, and our hand also 
appears there, as what the consciousness researchers now refer to as the 
"hand that aims the spotlight in the theater of consciousness".  We can 
always see our own hand (and what's in our hand - tefillin) in our mind's 
eye.  Our internal "pointing" to what we are trying to remember, and our 
internal pointing to where we put memories, are symbolically the same as 
our hand, because they're driven by our will, our conscious volition, just 
like our real hand is moved on our arm in the physical world.

We touch our hand to our arm-tefillin when we say "Yotzer or" at the 
beginning of Barechu because Hashem forms light in the world.  We touch our 
hand to head-tefillin when we say "uvorei choshech" because the darkness 
referred to is the vastness of our mental space, our personal shemayim.

We also hold our hand over -- that is, before -- our eyes when we say the 
Sh'ma.  Here, we're unifying mind and world, just as we proclaim the utter 
Unity of Hashem / Elokim.

Thus, our hand points in the world (arm) and in our mind (head), and thus 
tefillin links the world and our mind.  As I recall, there are teachings 
that it's possible to become conscious in a dream, and bring lucidity to 
the dream, by looking at one's hand in the dream.  Seeing one's hand is the 
rediscovery of personal volition.  This links our world with dreaming, 
which is 1/60 of prophecy, and thus tefillin also holds the key to 
prophecy.  But that's another posting. <smile>

For some of the theory behind this, go to 


PS If you're in the greater Boston area, and you'd like to know more about 
the research on which these ideas are based, you might want to check out:

An Unexpected Perspective

Date:       Tuesday September 11th
Time:       8:30 PM (after Maariv)
Place:      Young Israel of Sharon, Mass.
Speaker:  Stan Tenen
                  Director of Research, Meru Foundation
                  (a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational organization)

Admission is free
For more information, call: 781-784-8902 or email <meru1@...>
Meru Foundation   http://www.meru.org   <meru1@...>


From: Anonymous
Date: Thu, 6 Sep 2001 04:53:35 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: what applies to a self-identifying ben-noach?

A few weeks back, I attended a Shabbat dinner where I had been asked to
make kiddush. I noticed that the wine was not mevushal (boiled), but I
also noticed that among the guests, every one appeared to have been
reading/singing Shalom Aleichem from a bentcher turned to the correct
page. It's also worth noting that at the vast majority of all Shabbat
meals I've had, every person in the room has been Jewish.

As we prepared to say Birkhat HaMazon, one individual mentioned that he
was "a Ben-Noach", and that we should not count him among a mezuman
(group of 3 adult men). When I spoke with him later, he explained that
he was born non-Jewish, and at some point had considered converting to
Judaism. He eventually decided not to do so, but still believed that the
Torah was the word of Hashem, and that he did not follow any other
religion. He clearly knew more about halakhic Judaism's beliefs and
practices than many Jews I've met, and indicated that he followed the
Shevah Mitzvot B'nei Noach (7 commandments given to Noah and his

I'm curious what halakhic designation applies to somebody like this. I'm
also curious how halakhot related to mevushal wine might apply to him,
especially since given his belief in Hashem, he would never have used
the wine for Avodah Zarah.


End of Volume 35 Issue 44