Volume 39 Number 18
                 Produced: Thu May  8  6:58:28 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

13 Ikarim
         [Barak Greenfield, MD]
13 Ikarim are NOT Islamic influence but Jewish
         [Russell J Hendel]
Candle Lighting when away from Home
         [Sam Gamoran]
Dwarfs on Giants
         [Stan Tenen]
hand clapping on Shabbat and Yom Tov
         [Saul Mashbaum]
Jewish Vegetarian and the Seder Plate
         [S Meth]
Kabbalat Shabbat/L'cha Dodi
         [Yisrael Medad]
More examples of Women Teaching/Paskaning (2)
         [Harlan Braude, David I. Cohen]
Observant Jews as vegetarians
         [Daniel Wells]
Pesach shiurim
         [Saul Mashbaum]
Separation between Orthodoxy and Conservative Judaism
         [Batya Medad]
size of kezayis, candles, danger
         [Tzadik Vanderhoof]
two dishes for the seder plate
         [Sam Saal]
Women & Talmud
         [Michael Rogovin]


From: Barak Greenfield, MD <docbjg@...>
Date: Wed, 30 Apr 2003 14:59:49 -0400
Subject: RE: 13 Ikarim

> From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
> That's because there were no 13 ikarim in the time of the 
> Talmud.  They are a product of medieval philosophy, probably 
> Islamic, that many Jewish philosophers (eg Sadia and Rambam) 
> sought to emulate in Jewish thought.

Which of the 13 ikarim are not of Jewish origin?



From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Mon, 28 Apr 2003 23:37:51 -0400
Subject: 13 Ikarim are NOT Islamic influence but Jewish

I was shocked at Ben Katzs statement (v39n6) which seems to have gone
undisputed. Ben claims that the 13 principles of faith came from islamic
influence who have similar lists!?

But the 13 principles of faith are each rooted both in the Bible and
Jewish law. For example, the assertion that God is one (or unique) is a
direct Biblical commandment (Dt06-04 LISTEN JEWS: God is our Lord--God
is ONE). Similarly the belief in prophecy or in reward and punishment
are all explicitly mentioned in the Bible and mandated!

As for the act of collecting these principles in one place--- that too
is not of Islamic influence but rather intrinsically Jewish. In fact the
Talmud explains that the early sages were called COUNTERS (SOFRIM) since
they would enumerate lists (eg 39 Sabbath labors; 4 torts; similarly 13
principles of faith).

Russell Jay Hendel; http://www.RashiYomi.com/


From: Sam Gamoran <Sgamoran@...>
Subject: Re: Candle Lighting when away from Home

At home, most often, there is someone in the house the whole time the
candles are burning.  When I'm in a hotel, more often than not I'm alone
and/or we're out of the room.


> ... Why do you suppose that this risk is higher in hotels than in private
> homes? ...
> Zev Sero
> <zsero@...>


From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Wed, 30 Apr 2003 08:37:21 -0400
Subject: Re: Dwarfs on Giants

This is from page 187 of Michael White's book, "Isaac Newton: The Last
Sorcerer" (Helix Books, copyright 1997).

"But then he [Newton] went on to write a sentence that has been quoted
so often, yet has ben largely misunderstood for over three centuries:

    " 'What Descartes did was a good step.  You have added much in
several ways, & especially in taking the colours of thin plates into
philosophical consideration.  If I have seen further it is by standing
on ye shoulders of Giants.'

"In the last sentence, Newton revealed the truly spiteful,
uncompromising, and razor-sharp viciousness of his character, for Hooke,
once described as 'crooked' and 'pale-faced', and the man who 'is the
most and promises the least of any many in the world I ever saw', was so
stooped and physically deformed that he had the appearance of a dwarf.
The phrase 'standing on ye shoulders of Giants' was a perfectly
double-edged comment, designed deliberately to mislead.  On the surface,
it appears a compliment -- Hooke is called a Giant -- but Newton meant
quite the reverse."

On a separate note, Newton's mother's name was Hannah Ayscough, and there 
is reason to believe that she may have been Jewish. <smile>



From: Saul Mashbaum <smash52@...>
Date: Wed, 30 Apr 2003 21:36:07 +0300
Subject: Re: hand clapping on Shabbat and Yom Tov

Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...> wrote
> The Mishna Brurah 339:3 notes the prohibition of hand clapping on the
> Shabbat, either as an expression of sorrow by a mourner or as an
> expression of joy.  Hand clapping is defined there as palm to palm or
> palm on thigh.  This is based on the Mishna in Beitza 36B.
> Rav Neurwirth clarifies this by saying that if it is for the sake of a
> mitzva and is done by palm to back of hand, thus effecting a change from
> the normal way of clapping, then it is permitted (16:43 and 28:36)

 In both places cited, Rav Neurwirth permits hand clapping if *either*
condition (mitzva or shinui) is met.

BTW, Agnon wrote (basically "told over") a story about the Baal Shem Tov
in which the halachic implications of hand clapping feature prominently.
The story is in Ha-Esh Vehaetzim (volume 8 in the Shocken edition I
have, page 98). It's a gem, and I highly recommend it.

Saul Mashbaum


From: S Meth <smeth@...>
Subject: RE: Jewish Vegetarian and the Seder Plate

Howard M. Berlin asks: "Can a Jew who is a vegetarian also be an
observant Jew?  Specifically, during Pesach on the seder plate there is
a shank bone.  Since vegetarians abstain from eating meat and their
products, can one have a seder plate without the shankbone? (Even though
one does not actually eat it)."

Please see Eliyahu Ki Tov's Hagadda (ISBN 965-252-009-8), Paragraph 12
of the section titled, "Some of the laws, reasons, and secrets of the
mitzvos of the night," (p. 63) where he goes into detail on the
significant implications and meanings of the shankbone.

In particular, see the end of that section where he "goes to town" on
vegetarianism as an anti-Jewish concept - proof of which is the positive
Torah commandment (during the times of the Beis Hamikdash) to eat the
meat of the Korban Pesach.  He essentially says, based on a Rambam, that
G-d commanded us to eat meat as an "in your face" demonstration against
vegetarianism as a belief system which was practiced by the Egyptians
who enslaved us.  He calls vegetarianism "emunas hahevel shelahem" -
their worthless belief.

My take on this is that it's OK for an observant Jew to refrain from
eating meat, but NOT as a "belief" system (a la PETA or others of that
ilk), to the point that it counters Halachah.  If Halachah says eat
meat, an observant Jew who normally doesn't eat meat, will eat meat; if
Halachah says have a shankbone on your seder plate, a Jew who doesn't
eat meat will have a shankbone on his seder plate.


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Thu, 01 May 2003 20:52:36 +0200
Subject: Kabbalat Shabbat/L'cha Dodi

A short while ago there was a discussion on Kabbalat Shabbat and the
L'Cha Dodi poem, the 'going out' to greet, etc.

I have just purchased a new book entitled "The Mystical Meaning of
Lekhah Dodi and Kabbalat Shabbat" by Reuven Kimelman and published in
Hebrew by the Magnes Press.

It discusses the fixing of the Kabbalat Shabbat service in Tzfat and the
Kabbalistic interpretation of L'cha Dodi on the background of the
different practices of Alkabetz and Cordovero vs. the Ari and the four
levels of the spatial, the temporal, the human and the sefirotic woven
into the various stanzas including the clash between Judaism and Islam
and Christianity.

I cannot tell more as I have just started to read it.

Yisrael Medad


From: Harlan Braude <hbraude@...>
Date: Wed, 30 Apr 2003 09:30:51 -0400
Subject: RE: More examples of Women Teaching/Paskaning

In V39#11, Russell J Hendel wrote:
> Subject: More examples of Women Teaching/Paskaning
> ...
> c) Dr Nehama Leibowitz would also give shiurim behind veils (from what I
> have heard)

No veils were used when Nechama Leibowitz gave shiurim when I attended (BMT
(aka Gruss), 01/75 - 06/76).

She did wear a beret to cover her hair, though.

From: <bdcohen@...> (David I. Cohen)
Date: Wed, 30 Apr 2003 15:25:15 -0400
Subject: More examples of Women Teaching/Paskaning

Russel Hendel wrote:
<<c) Dr Nehama Leibowitz would also give shiurim behind veils (from what
I have heard)>>

I had the privalege of learning from Nechama Leibowitz in person
(1969-70) and can attest to the fact that there were absolutely no

David I. Cohen


From: Daniel Wells <wells@...>
Date: Wed, 30 Apr 2003 12:56:57 +0300 (IDT)
Subject: Observant Jews as vegetarians

Since the Torah permits the shehita and eating of kosher animals, it
would appear to be apikorsical to maintain the position of classical
vegetarism that the killing and eating of animal flesh is unethical.

I know of several people who do prefer not to eat meat for various
reasons, but do eat a kezayit on Yom Tov to be Yotzei.

As far as the Seder plate, various posters have mentioned pesachim 114b
but to be honest I think that certain minhagim once they have become so
entranched attain a level of being considered as a mitzva min haTorah
and thus are not negotiable.



From: Saul Mashbaum <smash52@...>
Date: Wed, 30 Apr 2003 22:27:36 +0300
Subject: re: Pesach shiurim

Gil Student <gil_student@...> wrote
> While there are certainly disagreements about the exact shiur, and even
> how precisely (or if) we need to measure them, no halachic authority
> would suggest that one can fulfill the mitzvah of eating matzah with a
> small bite.  And I have unfortunately seen many Jews who think that a
> small bite is all that is required.

 I too am struck by the fact that for many Jews, the concept that a
certain amount of matza (or maror) must be eaten within a certain amount
of time is very strange, bordering on the comical.

When I was in Karmiel a number of years on Shabbat Hagadol, I heard Rav
Margolit, the Rav of the city, make the concept more clear to a
committed but not halachically sophisticated audience by comparing it to
taking medicine. Most people are comfortable with the idea that a fairly
precise amount of the medicine must be taken at fairly precise intervals
(sometimes also before, during, or after meals).  The dedication and
care required in performing the mitzva of matza should be no less than
that expended on taking medicine.

The analogy may be imperfect (I'm sure Rav Margolit would agree), but I
was impressed by the degree to which the audience apparently found it

Saul Mashbaum


From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Wed, 30 Apr 2003 13:05:59 +0200
Subject: Re: Separation between Orthodoxy and Conservative Judaism

In the '50's and '60's in the New York area, there was little difference
between many of the conservative and modern orthodox shuls.  They both
dovened from the same siddur, and they both had dinner dances.  The
rabbis had also trained together; some ended up compromising in
conservative shuls.  The big difference was in the mixed seating and
special Friday night service in the conservative.  Until 1962 we were
members of the Oakland Jewish Center, and I know that many other
conservative shuls in Queens were similar.



From: Tzadik Vanderhoof <tzadikv@...>
Subject: Re: size of kezayis, candles, danger

I remember in yeshiva bringing up the issue of the "mega-kezayis" of
today's "Pesach shiurim".  The point I made was that according to the
opinion that you should swallow the kazayis in one gulp, how can you say
it is so large that it would be very difficult or dangerous to do that?
My point was waved off as "baalabatish".

Incidentally, one of the bochurim felt complelled to follow the "one
gulp" rule, even using the mega-shiur, thus (in my opinion) endangering
himself.  This brings up a general issue that bothers me ... namely,
that there seems to be a prevelent "sheeta" that endangering one's
health (or even one's very life) is of no consequence when deciding how
to observe mitzvos.  There are many examples of this, such as the story
of the bochur who felt compelled to jump off a stuck ski lift because he
thought a delay of more than 7 minutes would constitute yichud with the
female next to him... the rationale many give for not excercising at
all, because of bitul Torah... the sleep deprivation that many men
impose on themselves to stick to their "minyan kavua" and various
learning sedarim, no matter what else they have to do.  I'm not sure
what daas Torah would be on these decisions and doubt that the shaila is
often asked.

This also ties into the "Shabbos candle" issue.  I personally think that
the whole practice of lighting Shabbos candles with flames is
unacceptably dangerous, in the home as well as while traveling.  We have
all heard the tragic stories of families being decimated by fires caused
by these candles and the less tragic stories of homes being lost.  I
don't know what the solution is, but I think one should be sought.


From: Sam Saal <ssaal@...>
Date: Thu, 1 May 2003 08:31:40 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: re: two dishes for the seder plate

Shlomo Pick <picksh@...> writes:

>concerning the vegetarian seder plate please note pesahim 114b:

>"What are the two dishes?-Said R. Huna: Beet and rice. Raba used to be
>particular for beet and rice, since it had [thus] issued from the mouth
>of R. Huna. R. Ashi said: From R. Huna you may infer that none pay heed

So I guess at least Rav Huna was a Sphardi.

Sam Saal


From: Michael Rogovin <rogovin@...>
Date: Wed, 30 Apr 2003 17:43:09 -0400
Subject: Women & Talmud


A new book published by Ktav and the RCA contains essays previously
published in Tradition (the RCA Journal). Edited by Joel Wolowelsky,
Women and the Study of Torah includes articles relavent to the
discussion of teaching Talmud to girls/women in day schools (and

Michael Rogovin


End of Volume 39 Issue 18