Volume 37 Number 73
                 Produced: Thu Nov  7  6:01:33 US/Eastern 2002

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

4 Opinions on the Forbidden fruit & their implications
         [Russell J Hendel]
Animals are for eating, not wasting on G-d! (??) (2)
         [Janet Rosenbaum, Shalom Carmy]
Facing West (2)
         [Joel Rich, Yisrael and Batya Medad]
Gathering under the tallit for birkhat kohanim (3)
         [Dani Wassner, Raphi Cohen, <simchag@...>]
Kriat Shmah Before Retiring
         [David Waxman]
Need to be half cooked for Shabos
         [Nachman Yaakov Ziskind]
         [Stew Gottlieb]
Semitic (formerly Genetics and Kohanim)
         [Edward Ehrlich]


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Wed, 30 Oct 2002 22:55:49 -0500
Subject: Re: 4 Opinions on the Forbidden fruit & their implications

Robert, Yes I confuse FIGS and DATES (Do so in my shopping also)

The explanation I cited about Golden Apple did come from the Rav As to
your question: Not sure that Ethrog is Hebrew (It is a 5 letter root)



From: Janet Rosenbaum <jerosenb@...>
Date: Thu, 31 Oct 2002 10:54:43 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Animals are for eating, not wasting on G-d! (??)

R Carmy writes:
> If I understand this correctly, the objection to korbanot is that not
> all edible portions are actually eaten. The worship of G-d is a value
> only to the extent that it conforms to the cost-benefit analyses of
> utilitarian economists.
> This insight revolutionizes religion.

I don't think it's so extreme.  

The argument (which I am sympathetic to, but probably disagree with) is
that when you stand with a live animal at the Beit HaMikdash, you have
already decided to relinquish the animal for a higher cause than your
own use.  The question is which higher cause --- one in this world (the
Heifer Project), or one beyond this world (the altar).  If, furthermore,
you believe that what happens in this world affects that which is beyond
this world, the choice of ``this world'' doesn't necessitate a wholly
materialistic view.

If I were wealthy and you agreed to give me a goat every day, I could
imagine deciding to give the goat to a poor person rather than keeping
it myself; the poor getting my goat might benefit me more than if I got
my goat, since I already have an infinite number of goats (typing).  The
question is whether you would be justified in deciding to give the goat
to someone else instead of keeping up your end of the bargain.

Another way to look at it is imagining that someone were standing at the
mikdash to whisk the animals away to the Heifer Project; otoh, if it
became known that the animals were going to the Heifer Project instead
of korbanot, people would stop giving them because they already believe
they give enough to the poor.

In response, one might say, ``Give G'd what is owed him, and she'll give
the poor what is owed them.''  In theory, that's a fine argument, but
it's difficult for people to accept whole-heartedly --- the good do
suffer and we shouldn't rely on miracles to improve their lives, but
should ourselves take action.  Eliminating the ``middleman'' (as it
were) guarantees that the poor get thousands of animals, and doesn't
rely on miracles.

As noted in Pirkei Avot, the balance between the physical and the
metaphysical is difficult and seems contradictory.  People's feelings
towards sacrifices are just an example of that balance.

Shabbat shalom,

(PhD candidate in Cost-Effectiveness Analysis)

From: Shalom Carmy <carmy@...>
Date: Thu, 31 Oct 2002 11:21:40 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Animals are for eating, not wasting on G-d! (??)

You could cogently point to the Gemera's statement, "The Torah is
concerned about the expenditure to Israel" (HaTorah hasa al mamonam shel
Yisrael) to imply the legitimacy of cost-cutting in divine service. But
a reading of that sugya would indicate how limited the extent of such an


From: <Joelirich@...> (Joel Rich)
Date: Thu, 31 Oct 2002 05:18:50 EST
Subject: Re: Facing West

> I can tell you how it *is* done, but not how it *should* be.  This
> question occured to me every week when I was learning at the Yeshiva
> Gedola in Melbourne, where the Aron Kodesh is in the west, and the door
> is in the north, but we turned around to face east, towards neither the
> shechina nor the entrance.  Unfortunately, I never got around to
> actually asking any members of the hanhala about it.

There are 2 minhagim -
1. Face the door no matter where
2. Face west no matter where

In traditional europe the doors were always in the back and since the
"front " was always east, the doors were west, thus no need to
differentiate.  I'm aware of a community where the main shul faces north
with doors in south and the bet medrash faces east with doors in north.
Guess which way each minyan turns?

Joel Rich

From: Yisrael and Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Thu, 31 Oct 2002 20:46:43 +0200
Subject: Facing West

Our Moderator wrote:

      But the Lecha Dodi poem and our practice of saying it, and how we
      say it, is not from a Gemara, but rather from the Kabbalistic
      practices of the AR"I.  So how we turn when we say the Lecha Dodi
      poem only makes sense if viewed within the framework of Lurianic
      Kabbala. That is not to say that there are not similar concepts
      already found in the Gemora, just that I do not think that is
      particularly relevent.

Well, I *do* think they are relevant.

The Gemara of Shabbat 119A reads: Rabbi Hanina would wrap himself up in
a Tallit (btw, the source for Yeminites to wear the Tallit on Shabbat
eve) and stand at eventide and say Come, let us go out towards the
Shabat Queen and Rabbi Yannai would clothe himself in special garments
and say Bo-ee Kallah, Bo-ee Kallah.  This is some 1600 years prior to
the Ar"i in Tzfat.

The Rambam, Z'manim, 30:2 reads: "...and the early Sages would gather
together with their pupils on Shabbat eve and wrap themselves [in their
Tallitot] and recite "come let us go out towards the King [sic!]
Shabbat".  In addition, the previous portion refers to "receiving the
Shabbat as if he were going out to greet a King".  This is some 500
years prior to the Ar"i in Tzfat.

And as I pointed out, the direction, West, to turn to was also Gemara
based.  The Ar"i here, too, adopted a previous custom.  Nothing new.

My conclusion? 
All the Ar"i did was adopt a custom that had its roots in the Gemara and
was well know enough so that a thousand years later, the Rambam included
it as a Halacha, and then 500 years after that, the Ar"i's circle came
up with a nice poem about it, to which he then attached Kabbalistic
value.  Roots are important.

Yisrael Medad


From: Dani Wassner <dani@...>
Date: Thu, 31 Oct 2002 11:43:09 +0200
Subject: Gathering under the tallit for birkhat kohanim

> I wonder if anyone has any information as to the source of the minhag
> of covering one's head with the tallit during birkhat kohanim

I have noticed that this custom seems very prevalent in chutz la'Aretz,
but not in Israel.  My guess is that birkat cohanim, rather than being a
daily occurence, is very rare in chu"l (I remember that in Australia,
birkat cohanim didn't even occur on a chag if it fell on Shabbat!).
Therefore, the whole act becomes much "bigger"- ie fancy tunes, a long
procedure. Putting the tallit over the head may well be part of this.

Of course, the original reason is probably that to avoid looking at the
cohanim, one covered one's face with a tallit.  The above is all
speculation on my part, but I think it makes sense.

Dani Wassner

From: Raphi Cohen <raphi@...>
Date: Thu, 31 Oct 2002 01:20:43 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Gathering under the tallit for birkhat kohanim

Abraham Lebowitz (<aileb@...>) wrote:

> I came across a different implementation of this minhag when I was
> living in Rome and davened in a Tripolitanian (Libyan) shul.  At
> birkhat kohanim at ne'ilah (and only at the ne'ilah) the shul would
> divide up into family groups with wives and and daughters coming from
> the ezrat nashim to join the male members of the family, grandparents,
> parents and children under one tallit, often held up like a chuppah.
> (To make this work some males moved to the ezrat nashim and formed
> groups there.  I must say that I was impressed with the sheer beauty
> of families [...]

This minhag is very recurrent in Italian shuls. As a Cohen who davens in
Italy every Yom Kippur, I am less enchanted than you are from this
minhag. Lots of people come to Neilah and most shuls are completely
full. This is a good thing by itself, but many people do not appreciate
the importance of keeping separate areas in shul, or at least do not
respect people who prefer avoiding excessive body contact with person of
the opposite sex while davening. Mixed group gather within the men
section, in the entrances and in the hall. Some of the groups include
non-Jewish wives/kids or husbands. Tzniut is put, how to say, at a
difficult test here. Kohanim hesitate whether to perform the berachah
under these conditions.

This last Kippur I wasn't able to wash my hands before the berachah as
the door of the men's section was completely obstructed by mixed
groups. I prefer not to give in this forum the detailed description of
the challenge lying in from of me. A couple of polite requests for
respect were not answered, how to say, with the same politeness.

I understand you find this minhag charming. I respectfully disagree as I
find it at least halachically imperfect, and probably more than this.
It seems there is not much we can do to help about it.  I suppose that
frustration and anger should be avoided just a few minutes before the
blow of the Shofar (and bikhlal!). And all this is not a major kiddush

Shenitbaser besorot tovot.

Raphi Cohen

From: <simchag@...>
Date: Thu, 31 Oct 2002 13:30:09 -0500
Subject: Re: Gathering under the tallit for birkhat kohanim

This Shul in Rome should get in contact with KETER in BoroPark Broklyn
and get for themselves the FAMOUS Kol Ha'Nearim Tallit. They advertise
it as being 10ft by 13ft and is big enough to hold 150 children under
it. It will solve all their problems.


From: David Waxman <yitz99@...>
Date: Thu, 31 Oct 2002 17:48:11 -0800
Subject: Re: Kriat Shmah Before Retiring

>Quite simply the sources are as follows:
>1) Biblically we must say Kriat Shma twice a day This is explicitly
>stated in the 1st chapter of shma
>2) But sometimes we either say Maariv too early or dont concentrate at
>all. Hence it would be helpful IF YOU HAD A DOUBT, to repeat Kriat Shma
>before going to sleep.
>3) Also: I think the Kitzur SA(Code of Jewish law) recommends saying
> >verses of mercy< so as to hasten the induction of sleep (And saying
>shma has that effect also).
>Bottom line: You do NOT have to say Shma over again. If you however did
>not have proper intention or timing you should say it over again. Since
>a person who does not have proper intention in the 1st verse of shma
>does not fulfill anything, if the person is that groggy then he should
>go to sleep. But if he is groggy and said the Maariv shma improperly
>then the Rambam and SA (Chapter 1 of Shma) recommends making him say the
>1st verse properly and >after that if he falls asleep then he falls
>What is proper intention? Minimally the person must be aware that he is
>saying a verse that acknowledges Gods sovereignty

The reason behind the practice of saying kria'th shm'a al haMeitah
(KSaM) is the subject of a dispute between Rashi and Tosaphoth on
Tractate Brachos, 2/a.  Rashi says that we need to say KSaM because
people daven ma'ariv in the daylight, which is too early to fulfill
one's obligation of saying the KS of the evening.  Therefore, we are
obligated to say KS after it gets dark. Furthermore, KSaM, with the
first paragraph only, is sufficient.

Tosaphoth brings numerous difficulties with Rashi's understanding of KSaM.
1.  The world is accustomed to saying the first paragraph of KS  only, 
which is NOT sufficient to fulfill ones obligation.
2. One must say 2 brachas before KS and 2 after in the evening.
3. KSaM is only to defend against 'mazikim', and a talmid chacham is exempt 
(Br. 5/a)
4. The bracha go'al yisroel precedes the evening shmoneh esrai.

Tosaphoth concludes that the KS of the beith k'nesseth is the main one.
I conjecture that this leaves us with #3 above as the reason for the
practice of KSaM.  Thus, the halachoth of kavanah are not necessarily
the same for KSaM as for the KS of morning and evening.  Perhaps just
saying the words of KSaM provides one with divine protection, as do the
other 'words of mercy' that are said.

Also keep in mind that the normal practice nowadays is to daven aravith
after dark, so there is most often no question of one fulfilling his
obligation of saying sh'mah of the evening according to both Rashi and

The shulcan aruch (OC 239) terms the practice of KSaM a 'mitzvah'.  I
understand this to be an obligation of lesser severity than a d'oreitha
or d'rabbanan (comments?).


From: Nachman Yaakov Ziskind <awacs@...>
Date: Thu, 31 Oct 2002 11:07:57 -0500
Subject: Re: Need to be half cooked for Shabos

| From: .cp. <chips@...>
| Is this correct? I thought that if an item was totally uncooked it was ok
| to put it on right before Shabos started.
| >Examples (over simplified) - one is not allowed to leave a cholent on an
| >uncovered flame unless it is half way cooked.

 From my reading of Shulchan Aruch, this only applies to raw meat - and
then, only to 'heavy' (I'm assuming this means beef, vis a vis chicken)
meat. The point is that this takes forever to cook, and therefore
stirring the coals, etc. won't help, and therefore one won't come to do

Nachman Yaakov Ziskind, EA, LLM         <awacs@...>
Attorney and Counselor-at-Law           http://yankel.com
Economic Group Pension Services         http://egps.com
Actuaries and Employee Benefit Consultants


From: Stew Gottlieb <shmuel@...>
Date: Thu, 31 Oct 2002 09:50:54 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Pets

Is anyone familiar with the halachos regarding spaying a female dog?
Specifically, what are the isurim and are there heterim ?  What if the
vet is a Jew ?


From: Edward Ehrlich <eehrlich@...>
Date: Thu, 31 Oct 2002 11:20:12 +0200
Subject: Semitic (formerly Genetics and Kohanim)

Eitan Fiorino wrote in his very interesting message on the Lemba:

>The results do suggest that the genetic history of the Lemba is
>compatible with their oral tradition. Clearly, there has been a Semitic
>genetic contribution.

The word "Semitic" refers to a linguistic grouping and not genetics.
Hebrew, Aramaic and Arabic are Semitic languages and anyone who is a
member of a Semitic-language speaking people is a Semite no matter what
their genetic background.

Ed Ehrlich <eehrlich@...>
Jerusalem, Israel


End of Volume 37 Issue 73