Volume 35 Number 93
                 Produced: Wed Feb 20  6:29:24 US/Eastern 2002

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Bircat Kallah
         [Shoshana L. Boublil]
Bracha for Falafel Balls
         [Yisrael and Batya Medad]
Bracha for Felafel Balls (2)
         [Josh Backon, Mike Gerver]
Cheilek Eloak mimaal ('a piece of G-d from above') (2)
         [Akiva Miller, Yeshaya Halevi]
Destroying Wheat Fields
         [Saul Davis]
Purim at Drisha
         [Ira L. Jacobson]
Rema 124
         [Zev Sero]


From: Shoshana L. Boublil <toramada@...>
Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2002 16:25:22 +0200
Subject: Re: Bircat Kallah

> Baruch Hashem, our daughter Tzruya is a kallah, and she gave me an
> assignment to find sources and texts of Birkat Kallah.  Can anyone help?
> Batya

Mazal Tov.

One source is Kitzur Darkei Tahara by Rav Eliyahu that has a a Techina
LeKala on page 168.
A few years ago I met a woman from either Gush Etzion or Chevron who
made beatifully decorated texts for brides.  If I find any more details,
I'll let you know.

Shoshana L. Boublil


From: Yisrael and Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2002 20:32:53 +0200
Subject: Bracha for Falafel Balls

Our neighbor, Moshe Siton, owns a felafel place.  He invites school
children in for a free felafel ball in exchange for being able to say
"amen" to the bracha.  If I'm not mistaken, I always hear shehakol.



From: <BACKON@...> (Josh Backon)
Date: Tue,  19 Feb 2002 13:26 +0200
Subject: Re: Bracha for Felafel Balls

The reason why the bracha for felafel balls (not in a pitta) is
"ha'adama" is because the rule is that if the "mahut" (essence ??) of
the vegetable is still noticeable, even though the original form has
been changed, we make the bracha "borei pri ha'adama" [see: Mishna Brura
OC 205 s"k 15]. Thus, we make "borei pri ha'adama" over mashed potatoes,
tomato paste, grits, etc.

Josh Backon

From: <MJGerver@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Wed, 20 Feb 2002 03:17:33 EST
Subject: Bracha for Felafel Balls

Alan Friedenberg asks (in v35n92)

> My kids are studying for a bracha bee at school, and the bracha listed
>  for falafel balls (not in pita) is ha'adama.  It would seem to me that
>  it would be shehakol; after all, the chickpeas are pretty mushed up, and
>  the final product does not resemble a chickpea.  Any reasons why this is
>  so?

Maybe because chickpeas (garbanzo beans to those of you on the West
Coast of the US) are more often eaten in the form of felafel, than as
plain chickpeas?  If a vegetable is normally eaten mashed up, then I
think you would still make boreh pri ha-adamah on it.  People say boreh
pri ha-adamah for mashed potatoes, don't they? In fact if a vegetable or
fruit is only eaten in a certain way (mashed up, or cooked), then I
think you would say shehakol if it is not in that state.  For example, I
would think that raw chickpeas, or raw potatoes, would be shehakol.

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel


From: <kennethgmiller@...> (Akiva Miller)
Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2002 20:14:23 -0500
Subject: Re: Cheilek Eloak mimaal ('a piece of G-d from above')

In MJ 35:92, Mordechai (<Mhayehudi@...>) asked about the concept
"Cheilek Elokah mimaal", "a piece of G-d from above". (By the way, the
proper pronunciation is "Elo'ak". A 'heh' at the end of a word follows
the same rules as a 'ches' (shaliach, not shalicha) or an 'ayin'
(nosea', not nose'a).)

I've heard this phrase on another email list (Avodah), but I couldn't
follow the conversation too well, and I don't recall what the
explanations were of what it means. I hope you won't mind if I offer two
wild guesses.

1) While it is true that we reject the Christian idea of G-d actually
becoming human, that's not quite the same as saying "There's a little
bit of G-d in everyone." Actually, "chelek Eloak mima'al" sounds like a
reasonable result of HaShem blowing the breath of life into Adam. It's
not that HaShem caused a wind to blow, but He blew it Himself. His own
exhalation, it would seem.

2) What is the nature of that Breath Of Life? ---

One explanation that I've heard is that it is the ability of free will.
I've long wondered how we have free will. I'm not asking about G-d's
foreknowlege of our choice; that is a different question. I'm asking
based on a different point: If our personalities are the sum total of
all our experiences from pre-birth until this moment, those experiences
ought to all come together with the result that I choose A instead of B,
or B instead of A.

Do I *really* have free will to choose either one? I know that it
*feels* like I have free will, but I can't understand how it works. If I
am the sum total of all my experiences (including my predilection to
occassionally - but not always - change my mind at the last moment) then
I *will* choose one or the other, based on my established habits.

Anything which G-d created, whether it is in the physical or
metaphysical worlds, must follow the rule of cause-and-effect which
causes my ultimate choice of A or B to be based purely on all my past
experiences. If I am *not* bound to the choice which the sum of my
experiences would dictate, then it must be that there is a part of me
which was not one of G-d's creations. And if it is not one of G-d's
creations, then it must be G-d Himself.

Well, not G-d Himself, because that would mean I could blame Him for my
bad choices. But there's something G-dly in each person, which allows
him to make a truly free choice, to override that choice which his past
history would dictate. That's what I think "chelek Eloak mima'al" means.
Sort of. I think I got myself painted into a corner here, folks. Help!

Akiva Miller

From: Yeshaya Halevi <chihal@...> 
Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2002 10:57:35 -0600
Subject: Cheilek Eloak mimaal ('a piece of G-d from above')

Shalom, All:

	<Mhayehudi@...> (Mordechai) asks, <<I have heard it said that
the neshomoh (soul) is a 'cheilek Elokah mimaal' (literally - piece of
G-d above). I have had trouble understanding how Jews can say such a
thing, being that one of the things we reject about christianity is
their belief that a man can be a G-d. So how could we (at least some of
us) say / believe that every neshomoh is a 'piece of G-d' from above'?>>

	This is not a problem if we understand that the Hebrew word
"cheilek" also means "portion." As my American Heritage Dictionary
notes, in addition to meaning a "part" of something, the word "portion"
can mean "A part that is allotted to a person or group, as: A helping of
food."  Thus, our soul is God's allotment to us, a Divine gift or even

	Translating exactly from one language to another is an art, not
a science, and full of linguistic pitfalls.

	Another answer to Mordechai's cogent question is that the
concept of having a "piece of God" is indeed an anthropomorphism, and
anthropomorphisms are often found in Judaism, even in the Torah. "Deebra
haTorah bilashon adam," the Torah speaks in the language of men: but in
such cases it is not to be taken literally.

	An example of anthropomorphism in the Torah is where the Torah
says we are created in God's image (popular translation of the Hebrew
"d'moot" is "image"). Does this mean, as Christians mistakenly believe,
God has a body?  No way! It has always meant we are created in God's
likeness, in that, for example, we can distinguish between right and

	Similarly, when the Torah says God took us out of Egypt with "an
outstretched arm and a strong hand," this is an anthropomorphic metaphor
and must not be taken literally.

Yeshaya (Charles Chi) Halevi (<chihal@...>)


From: <davis@...> (Saul Davis)
Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2002 21:15:33 +0200
Subject: Destroying Wheat Fields

I am interested in the halakhic point of views regarding an issue
currently being debated in Israel.

Bedouin Arabs living in the Negev desert illegally used land belonging
to the State of Israel by planting fields of wheat. They were warned not
to use the land and that, contrary to their claims, the land is not
theirs. Recently the reaction of the Israel Lands Administration was to
destroy 12,000 dunam (= 10.8 square km or 2,669 acres) of the fields
planted with wheat. A spray crop plane was hired and the wheat was
poisoned from the air.

Does a landowner have the right, according to the halakha to destroy the
property of an intruder? Even if he does have the right is it
permissible to destroy agricultural produce in such a way? What do
forumists think?

Saul Davis
Beer-Sheva, Israel


From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2002 22:14:03 +0200
Subject: Re: Purim at Drisha

Ms. Birnbaum sent the following text in mail-jewish Vol. 35 #92 Digest:
      Women's Megillah Reading at 10:00 a.m.
      At Drisha Institute for Jewish Education,

This is very curious, for the Sha`arei Tziyyun (689:15) specifically
states that a woman _cannot_ bring about the fulfillment for a *group of
women* of their obligation to hear the Megilla reading.  This is an
expansion of the Mishna Berura 689:7, which says that one woman can
cause the fulfillment of another *individual* woman's obligation.

The distinction may be a fine one, but when all is said and done, a
women's Megilla reading, if the reader is a woman, leaves the listeners
with their obligation still unfulfilled.

[My question here would be whether the opinion of the Sha`arei Tziyyun
is the only on this question, or is there a disagreement among poskim on
this. It would be interesting to hear from someone in Drisha on this
question. Freda, would you like to forward to someone there? Mod.]

With hopes that this reaches the interested parties in time for Purim.



From: Zev Sero <zev.sero@...>
Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2002 13:34:17 -0500
Subject: RE: Rema 124

Much applause to Mark for his excellent analysis of the teshuva.
Just one comment, to reinforce a point that Mark makes:

> note that even if the Rema did write 124, there is ABSOLUTELY NO
> IMPLICATION that to drink non-Jewish wine for a healthy person
> is in fact permitted; this is made absolutely clear by the author
> of 124, Rema or not. 

In fact, the author of the teshuva says that if a *sick* person, but one
who is strong enough to get out of bed, relies on this heter to drink
non-Jewish wine *for medical purposes*, `G-d will never forgive him'.

That's very unusual and pretty strong language - I don't recall ever
seeing it used anywhere else - which should indicate how the author
would feel about someone who isn't even sick, and is drinking the wine
for enjoyment rather than healing.

Zev Sero


End of Volume 35 Issue 93