Volume 35 Number 99
                 Produced: Mon Feb 25  6:33:41 US/Eastern 2002

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Carrying in a block of apartments on Shabbat
Cheilek Elokah MiMaal
         [Peter Borregard]
Date for Shabbat Bar Mitzveh
         [Reuven Miller]
Free Will discussed in Vol. 35 #93
         [Arieh Lebowitz]
OU Bacon??  --Part 1
         [Stan Tenen]
OU Bacon??  --Part 2
         [Stan Tenen]
Women reading the Megilla
         [Ira L. Jacobson]


From: <ajp74@...>
Date: Fri, 22 Feb 2002 12:48:26 +0800
Subject: Re: Carrying in a block of apartments on Shabbat

does anyone know if it is permitted to carry in a block of appartments
if a kitchen is shared between residents, regarding food to and from the



From: Peter Borregard <peb@...>
Date: Sun, 24 Feb 2002 09:16:21 -0800
Subject: Cheilek Elokah MiMaal

Eliezer Finkelman writes:
> The objections and defenses of this phrase in Mail Jewish seem focused
> on its apparent sympathy with the idea that a human could qualify in any
> way as divine.
> A different, but related, objection: According to Rambam, "Now it has
> been demonstrated that in the necessary existence there is not
> composition in any way at all."  (Guide 2:1.  In the Pines translation,
> p. 252).  I understand that to mean that the holy One logially cannot
> consist of, or have, parts.  Nothing, therefore, should qualify as "a
> part of the divine" according to Rambam.
> Does anyone have a cogent alternative to Rambam's assertion?

Perhaps to answer Rabbi Finkelman's question we first need to see to
what extent Rambam and the Ba'al HaTanya are even talking about the same

The Arizal, and so the various approaches in Chassidut, tries to
understand how the Infinite can give rise to the finite, and coexist
with it. Part of the answer that is implicit in this system is, and not
just in the matter of the soul, that the the process is not graspable by
intellectual process; it is suprarational.

The only way it can be communicated is with analogy and metaphor;
Kabbalah takes for granted that the metaphors that the Torah uses
contain some resonance of the true essence.

Also, I think this whole thing needs to be addressed in context: In the
first perek of Tanya, the Ba'al HaTanya is addressing the evident
differences between individuals in their spiritual levels; it would seem
at first glance that there might be a qualitative difference--even a
predestined one-- between the souls of Tzaddik and Beinoni, let alone
between Tzaddik and Rasha.

The second perek begins with a sentence, part of which is the subject of
discussion in this thread. It is worthwhile to examine the whole thing:
"V'nefesh hashenit b'Yisrael he chelek Elo-ak mima'al mamash." 'The
second soul of a Jew is a chelek of the Divine from above--literally.'

*First of all, what is he talking about?

The second nefesh (nefesh specifically, not ruach, neshama, chaya or
yechida) of a Jew--is the G-dly soul, which is closely identified with
the yetzer tov, in contradistinction to the nefesh ha behamit, the
animal soul and the yetzer hara.

*How does the ChaBaD approch deal with the Rambam's question?

An excerpt from Sefer Kitzurim quoted in the edition of the Tanya with
the mareh m'komot and various commentaries does not address the Guide
directly but leads off with a number of citations designed to support
the use of "chelek" in dealing with the soul. (I will scan it and send
it as an attachment to anyone interested.)

Whether that implies a direct response to Rambam in the Guide is beyond

*Why the apparently redundant word mima'al (from above)?

This is answered by a comment of the Tzemach Tzedek and also one from
the Sefer Kitzurim, brought in the Tanya edition mentioned above: the
ultimate source of the second soul is in Atika Kadisha, which is the
aspect of Keter of Atzilut that is closest to Chochma.

One of the characteristics of Atzilut in general, and all the more so of
its Keter, is the almost total undifferentiation; its extremely fine
grain or high sampling rate to use modern metaphors. Even the
higher/lower polarity, which is there, is a nearly continuous gradient
and not a radical discontinuity.

Keter's nature cannot be adequately conceived in thought, let alone
expressed verbally; hence the use of analogy and metaphor.
(Chochma/Bina/Tiferet/Malchut correspond to Sechel/mind,
Machshava/thought, Kol/voice and Dibur/speech (and action.) Keter is not
only "higher" than Bina/machshava/thought, but higher than
Chochma/sechel/intellect.) Also, as far as the nefesh goes, the common
source, and that particular common source, necessarily implies the great
potential, and fundamental unity of all Jewish souls-- mamash.

Finally, although his is a different approach to the Kabbalah of the
Arizal than the Tanya, the second preface (which he instructs us to
learn seven times before we move on to the text itself) to the Ben Ish
Chai's sefer Da'at Utevunah tells us that the entire structure of
worlds, sefirot, etc. is a mashal and not to be taken literally. Mamash.

Purim Sameach

Peter Borregard


From: Reuven Miller <millerr@...>
Date: Mon, 25 Feb 2002 12:36:56 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Date for Shabbat Bar Mitzveh

Is there a minhag to make the shabbat Bar Mitzvah in shul on shabbat
_before_ the boys 13th birthday rather than the shabbat after?

Reuven Miller


From: <ARIEHNYC@...> (Arieh Lebowitz)
Date: Sun, 24 Feb 2002 16:11:12 -0500
Subject: Re: Free Will discussed in Vol. 35 #93

In MJ 35:93, Akiva Miller, commenting on Cheilek Eloak mimaal ('a piece
of G-d from above'), responds to "What is the nature of that Breath Of
Life?" by thinking aloud, as it were, about the "ability of free will."
He asks a simple question: "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."

However, our personalities, just as our physical beings, are not "exact"
things that can be measured exactly, down to the last decimal, as it
were.  The uncertainty principle in physics holds that one can know the
position of a particle, but not its speed, or vice versa.  I'm not
getting this exact, but you get the idea.  This principle is connected
to the concept that it is impossible to measure such things exactly
because the measurement itslef involved an interaction of some sort, and
this changes the results.

I think that the same may hold for personalities, our personal
histories, and what factors in one's past bring an individual to choose
one course of action, major or minor, over another.  That is, there are
unmeasurable aspects of the things that have affected every individual
in the past, and it is not purely a mechanical engineering problem to
find out what they all are, and then learn what one would do "now."

The sum total of all of one's experiences is not an exact sum; it is not
a purely mechanical process by which these experiences in one's past
"add up" to the present.

At least that's what I think.  The issues of free will and consciousness
have occupied great thinkers and simpletons, those learned in rabbinic
lore and those who examine particle physics, those who deliver milk and
those who are bedridden, from time immemorial.

Questions such as these are not answerable, per se, except in the realm
of science fiction and fantasy.

It is not at all clear why "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."  It's my sense that the so-called
rule of cause-and-effect has been superceded by a sense that the
processes that go on in the world around us, on a macro scale
[universes, stellar systems, etc.], on a human scale [dropping a
lightbulb often results in broken glass] and a micro or nano scale
[electrons try to stay away from one another] are more complicated than
we learned in grade school or even in high school, or even undergraduate

Indeed, at every change of school, from grade school to junior high to
high school to college, in science classes, I was told that "what you
learned before was a simplification; now you'll get the real stuff."

The real stuff, as it were, is constantly changing, getting more
complicated, and more difficult for mere laypeople to make sense of.
And it doesn't help if one uses what one could call common sense
arguments, as they are too full of paradoxes, just plain wrong
conclusions, etc.

It's illogical, and even dangerous, to state that "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

That can lead to any manner of dark, pseudo-mystic thinking.  Indeed,
what follows -- "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" -- well, it sounds sorta satisfying, but really is

But if it is satisfying, then that is good in and of itself.  But as a
means of understanding free will and consciousness, not useful.

Consider asking the reference librarian at a good university library --
including, for instance, Yeshiva University, Hebrew Union College or the
Jewish Theological Seminary -- for one or two or three good basic books
that a) discuss the question of "free will" and "consciousness" and b)
discuss these matters within the context of Jewish theologic and/or
philosophic thought and writings.

Arieh Lebowitz


From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Fri, 22 Feb 2002 10:27:58 -0500
Subject: OU Bacon??  --Part 1

This is not a joke, but on the other hand, I'm also sure it's not
serious.  Still, it needs an explanation.

To make the point, this message is in two parts.  The first part is the
question; the second part is part of the answer -- but not the solution.

The question is:
What commonly used food comes in a container with an OU on it (no trick, 
it's a real OU) that also has molded into the bottom of the container, the 
word "BACON" ?

This product is available both under the owner-manufacturer's name,
which is in New Hampshire, and under the "Trader Joe's" name, and
probably also under several supermarket house-brand names.  Regardless
of whose name is on the label, it's always in the same container, and
obviously from the same packaging plant.

1) What common food product is this?
2) What's the explanation?

3) The name of the product is in the following email.



From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Fri, 22 Feb 2002 10:27:25 -0500
Subject: OU Bacon??  --Part 2

The common food product with a genuine OU on the label and the word
"BACON" formed in raised letters on the bottom of the container is, of
course, maple syrup.  (It's fairly well-known that a minute amount of
bacon fat is part of the maple-syrup-making process, and apparently
always has been.  Even though this is _deliberate_, the quantity is
apparently so small that it still fits within OU guidelines for kosher

But why, of all products, does this product have "BACON" molded into the
bottle?  Surely, there are other products that contain small trace
amounts of "bacon" that are kosher by OU standards -- but no other
product I know of actually says "BACON" on the package.

Does anyone have a clue?



From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Thu, 21 Feb 2002 21:20:17 +0200
Subject: Re: Women reading the Megilla

Prof. Aryeh A. Frimer <frimea@...> included the following 
text in a thoughtful article reprinted in mail-jewish Vol. 35 #94 

>. . . the Magen Avraham (O.H. 689:2, sec. 6) who, based on a Midrash
>Ne'elam Ruth, advised women to hear the Megillah only from men.
>Although cited by the Mishnah Berurah, O.H. 689:2, sec. 8, the Magen
>Avraham is seriously challenged by him in the Sha'ar ha-Tsiyun no.  16,
>ad loc.

As I read the Sha`ar Hatziyyun 689:16, he takes issue with the Magen
Avraham's prohibition on a woman's reading the Megilla for herself.  He
does not, however, disagree that a woman cannot help a group of other
women to fulfill their obligation.  I see no such "serious challenge"

Regarding what I posted in mail-jewish Vol. 35 #93 Digest, to the 
effect that

>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.

First, I meant Sha`ar Hatziyyun, of course.  But I did want to add that
the Rama (689:2) points out that the blessing for a woman who reads the
Megilla herself is Lishmo`a Megilla, while the Mishna Berura (689:8)
states in the name of the Hayyei Adam that the blessing a woman recites
is Lishmo`a Miqra Megilla.  But more to the point, the Mishna Berura
brings the Magen Avraham that a woman should hear the reading by a man,
and may read for herself *only* if it is not possible for her to hear a
man's reading of the Megilla.

My best wishes for a Purim Same'ah to one and all.



End of Volume 35 Issue 99