Volume 35 Number 54
                 Produced: Wed Oct 10 22:43:47 US/Eastern 2001

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Duchening duchen during Neilah in Israel
         [Neal B. Jannol]
Electric Shavers
         [Yitzchak Roness]
Kamza and Bar Kamza
         [Joseph Tabory]
         [Jacob Sasson]
Michael Wyschogrod
         [David and Toby Curwin]
Prozbul (2)
         [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz, Zev Sero]
Ralbag (3)
         [Ben Katz, Yael Levine Katz, Eli Turkel]
Symbolic Foods
         [Zev Sero]
Symbolic foods
         [Mimi Markofsky]
Yehi Ratzon
         [A. Seinfeld]


From: <nbj@...> (Neal B. Jannol)
Date: Wed, 26 Sep 2001 9:44:36 -0700
Subject: Duchening duchen during Neilah in Israel

I suppose this inquiry is a little late - but maybe memories are fresh
from Neilah service in Israel

If I recall correctly, Kohanim duchen during Neilah in Israel.  I wonder
if people recall whether the Aron Hakodesh was closed while the Kohanim
turn around to bless the Kahal.  i know that many chazanim are makpid
not to turn around and say shema when holding the Torah on Shabbos
before Torah Reading unitil the Aron is closed.  Obviously there is a
problem with turning your back on the open Aron.

I remember reading in the siddur i was using the year I was in Israel that
the Aron should be closed  for this part of Neilah.

Neal B. Jannol
Riordan & McKinzie


From: Yitzchak Roness <ronessy@...>
Date: Sun, 30 Sep 2001 11:42:15 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Re: Electric Shavers

a question was posted from ma'ale adumim in israel,

R. Rabinowitz rosh yeshiva in maale adumim, has printed a permissive
tshuvah regarding electric shavers (-in his sefer m'lumdei
milchama). (-his basic claim is that normal electric shavers are used to
shave stubble, they cannot be used in order to cut and shorten one's
hair.  the torahs prohibition is against an instrument that can do both
"giluach" and "hashchata" electric shavers "mashchit" but do not
"m'galeach" and are therefore permissible.(- according to his
explanations and definitions, i think that it is a'ssur to use a beard
trimmer- i dont know what he says on this)

R. Rappaport from Yerushalayim printed a t'shuva in t'chumin 13.  his
main claim is that the definition of "hashchata" is an action done
swiftly on a large surface at once (-a razor blade shaves a whole area
of the cheek in one swift motion) The normal electric shaver and even
more so the 'lift and cut' shavers, are designed to deal with only one
single hair at a time. Since these electric shavers cannot do
"hashchata" they are permissible. (-when the shaver has a razor blade
behind a screen as is the case in some disposable models R. Rappaport
prohibits their use.)

It is interesting to note two things: 
both of these opinions are "chidushim" and are not the mainstream
these two opinions are contradictory, according to the first explanation
electric shavers "mashchit" but do not "m'galeach" whereas according to
the second explanation they "m'galeach" but do not "mashchit".
Y. Roness


From: Joseph Tabory <taborj@...>
Date: Fri, 28 Sep 2001 10:25:48 +0200
Subject: Re: Kamza and Bar Kamza

a note about kamza and bar kamza

The story is included in the talmud in a series of stories which show
that matters that seem to be trivial may have major consequences. The
story of Kamza and bar kamza is preceded by a list which includes "the
destruction of Tur Malka came through a cock and a hen; the destruction
of Bethar came through the shaft of a leather". In other words, the
framework of the story is that the Temple was destroyed through a
mistake of the mail man who brought the letter to Bar Kamza rather than
to Kamza. The story belongs to the genre of stories which may be defined
as "for the want of a horse shoe nail, the battle was lost". Of course,
the chain of events was not inevitable and, at any stage, it could have
been stopped. Thus, we may blame the fact that the master of the seudah
had an enemy for the destruction of the Temple or the reaction of the
people at the meal to the insult offered to Bar Kamza. But that does not
change the literary structure of the talmudic passage.

Joseph Tabory
Department of Talmud, Bar Ilan University, Ramat Gan, 59200, Israel
tel. at office: (972) 3-5318593
email:  mailto:<taborj@...>


From: Jacob Sasson <jacobsasson@...>
Date: Sun, 30 Sep 2001 17:09:53 -0400
Subject: Lottery

Much has been written about lottery tickets being a form of
"hishtadlut."  I am curious as to what definition of hishtadlut is being
used that would include buying a single lottery ticket.  If hishtadlut
means providing G-d with the means to give you money, as has been
suggested here in the name of a "gadol", why even buy a ticket? Surely
there are other "means" by which G-d can "send" you money that are not
halachically questionable?

Jacob Sasson


From: David and Toby Curwin <tobyndave@...>
Date: Sun, 30 Sep 2001 21:00:58 +0200
Subject: Michael Wyschogrod

I occasionally read about the Jewish philosopher Michael
Wyschogrod. Where does he fit in the (Modern) Orthodox spectrum in
relation to other thinkers like Soloveitchik, Berkowitz, Hartman and
Leibowitz? Does he continue a certain trend in Jewish thought?

-David Curwin
Efrat, Israel


From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahem@...>
Date: Wed, 26 Sep 2001 11:27:34 -0400
Subject: RE: Prozbul

>From: Michael Frankel <mechyfrankel@...>
>I sent the following inquiry to another list and thought to address the
>same question to the larger mail jewish population in hope of obtaining
>a sociological snapshot with better statistics:
>I have been struck this year by the "sudden" appearance of prozbul
>forms, along with rabbinical exhortations to avail oneself of the
>opportunity they offer during the current sh'mittoh cycle. I am well
>aware of the halachic history here and do not wish to get into a
>discussion of the necessity, or not, biz'man hazzeh for ashkenazim who
>rely on the remoh.

Our shul handed out pruzbul forms last cycle and the one before as well
if I recall correctly, though this year it is all over town (Baltimore)
in every shul.  However, I recall seeing the forms in the various shul
newsletters last cycle as well.

One other point (from last cycle) was a minhag of borrowing a dollar
after the pruzbul was filled out (so it was still subject to shmittas
kesafim).  The love would then try to repay it after succos and the
malveh would insist that it was not owed because of shmittah (getting
the mitzvah of shmittas kesafim).  The loveh would then say "af al pi
chain" (even so) and insist on paying (as a midas chassidus).  I think
it may have been the Mishnah Brura, but I am not sure as I last learned
of this minhag last cycle.

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz - <sabbahem@...>

From: Zev Sero <Zev@...>
Date: Wed, 26 Sep 2001 12:10:22 -0400
Subject: RE: Prozbul

Michael Frankel <mechyfrankel@...> wrote:

> I have so far received only a single reply to my post on the avodah
> list to the effect that I am indeed imagining this since the
> responder recalls being handed a mimeographed (how charmingly 
> antiquarian) prozbul form over twenty five years ago as a student
> at boston's maimonides. But that is not my own experience in new york.

Here's another data point: This is the fourth shmitta that I recall
clearly, and I remember that on each occasion, on Erev Rosh Hashana
after Hatarat Nedarim, everyone made a verbal prozbul.  I recall seeing
forms publicised last shmitta, and possibly the previous one; I can't
recall further back than that.  This was in Melbourne, Australia.

Zev Sero


From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Fri, 21 Sep 2001 11:54:29 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Re: Ralbag

>From: David Deutsch, David S <dsd3543@...>
>Subject: RE: Ralbag
>	In mail-jewish Vol. 35 #45 Andrew Klafter wrote:
>> There were many Medieval period rabbis who believed that HaShem had
>> a physical body
>Really? Who for example?

The real question should be who didn't, and one prominent figure on the
very short list is rambam.  rambam spent the first book of the guide,
essentially, arguing that all of the anthropomorphic expressions in the
torah are not meant to be taken literally.  obviously people did.  We
are used to the idea of God not having a body, but if one thinks about
it, there are 1000 references in the Bible to God's hand, feet,
nostrils, etc.  If we believe the bible to be true, why shouldn't we
believe He has a body?  This is the notion rambam had to combat.

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: Yael Levine Katz <ylkpk@...>
Subject: Ralbag

Concerning Ralbag, I would recommend reading the following article in
Hebrew that deals with his attitude towards women.  Menahem Kellner,
"Sinat Nashim Filosofit bi-Yemei ha-Benayim: ha-Ralbag le-Umat
ha-Rambam", Mehkerei Yerushalayim be-Mahshevet Yisrael, Vol. 14, 5758,
pp. 113-128.

Yael Levine Katz

From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
Date: Fri, 21 Sep 2001 13:45:10 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Ralbag

>	In mail-jewish Vol. 35 #45 Andrew Klafter wrote:
>> There were many Medieval period rabbis who believed that HaShem had
>> a physical body
>Really? Who for example?

When Rambam lists believing that G-d has a body as making one into an
apikorus the Raavad disagrees and states that greater people than Rambam
believed that. It is not clear what the Raavad himself
believed. However, it is clear that he knew of Torah scholars who
believed in G-d's body and did not consider it to be heretical.

There are many of Rambam's principles that other rishonim disagreed
with, for example that the Torah we have today is identical up to the
last word/letter with that received by Moshe. As others have pointed out
Hillel in the gemara did not believe that a physical Moshiach is coming.

I think we have to distinguish between previous times and our own.
Though many of these areas were once controversial the principles of the
Rambam have become universally accepted. Thus, rishonim who disagree are
certainly not heretics nevertheless anyone today who disagrees would be
considered a heretic (eg Spinoza).

There are many ideas that the rambam initiated, some succeded and some
did not.  As some examples:

 It seems to be the rambam that insisted that hours in the gemara are
always with respect to the length of the day and are not absolute
times. This is not mentioned in the Gemara and was not always
universally agreed.

Some argue that originally ketuvin were considered more holy that neviim
within Tanach. It was Rambam who introduced the idea that the prophets
are more holy. In fact the order of the verses in the Rosh hashana
prayers of ketuvim before prophets is a proof against rambam (of course
various answers are given).

Rambam argued strongly that one is not allowed to get paid for being a
rabbi and one needs a separate livelihood. He lost that argument.

Gmar Tov,
Eli Turkel


From: Zev Sero <Zev@...>
Date: Wed, 26 Sep 2001 12:41:27 -0400
Subject: RE: Symbolic Foods

Bill Bernstein <bbernst@...> wrote:

> Regarding symbolic foods for Rosh HaShana, the last couple of 
> years I've made it a point to make "Hoppin' John" for the first
> meal.  I wonder if anyone would see that as a problem.

> For people who don't know what Hoppin' John is or why I would
> make it then it's not an issue.

Reasons to make it: 
   The major ingredients, black-eyed peas and rice, are both
   traditional sefardi Rosh Hashana foods.

Reasons not to make it:  
   It's a goyishe tradition for their New Year, so it could
   be considered `chukot hagoy'.  But who got it from whom?
   In Barbados there isn't a tradition of a combined dish such
   as Hoppin' John, but black-eyed peas and rice are both eaten
   at New Year's; could they have gotten this tradition from 
   sefardic Jews?

   It's almost always made with chazzer.  Therefore it might be
   mar'it ha'ayin.  But this seems very far-fetched; surely
   everyone who sees food served at an observant Jewish home
   understands that it doesn't contain any pork!

   The traditional reason given by goyim for eating it at New
   Year's is that if one starts the year eating poor, one will
   eat rich for the rest of the year.  This sentiment is exactly
   opposite to the Jewish tradition, and making a dish which is
   regarded specifically as a sign of poverty may be inappropriate.

Zev Sero

From: <AUNTIEFIFI@...> (Mimi Markofsky)
Date: Fri, 28 Sep 2001 18:42:27 EDT
Subject: Symbolic foods

Each year before Kol Nidre, I make a rice-shaped pasta mixed with
vegetables as part of our meal before fasting.  We call it "Orzo-rua".

G'mar Tov,

Mimi Markofsky


From: A. Seinfeld <aseinfeld@...>
Date: Fri, 21 Sep 2001 14:44:48 -0700
Subject: Re: Yehi Ratzon

Andy Goldfinger writes:
> Rabbi Moshe Heineman of Baltimore said that people should make "puns" in
> the languages they speak.
> We added the following:
> We eat berries, and say:
> "Yihi Ratzon Lefanecha she nihiyeh kulanu bari."
> (May it be Your will that we all be healthy)

With shemos ("Hashem Elokeinu vElokei avoseinu") or without? What are
the parameters as to when one is allowed to say a Yehi ratzon with the

Alexander Seinfeld


End of Volume 35 Issue 54