Volume 39 Number 40
                 Produced: Wed May 21  6:12:24 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Allegory and Shir Hashirim (2)
         [Ben Z. Katz, Matthew Pearlman]
Allegory and Shir HaShirim
         [Yisrael Medad]
Can we say Rav Kook was wrong?
         [Russell J Hendel]
         [Eli Turkel]
         [Stan Tenen]
Heter Mechira
         [David Cohen]
Names of Tanaim and Amoraim (2)
         [Avraham Norin, L Reich]
Potato Starch
         [Frank Silbermann]
Potato Starch as kitniyot (2)
         [Martin D. Stern, <FriedmanJ@...>]
         [Carl Singer]
Shir Hashirim
         [Shlomo Yaffe]


From: Ben Z. Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Mon, 19 May 2003 00:14:30 -0500
Subject: Re: Allegory and Shir Hashirim

>From: <kennethgmiller@...> (Akiva Miller)
>Everyone else is writing their thoughts about translating Shir HaShirim,
>so I figured I'd add mine as well.
>It seems to me that the question of how to translate Shir HaShirim is
>very closely related to how to translate any of the anthropomorphisms
>which are rampant throughout both Scripture and our liturgy.
>But they did not merely add commentary, nor merely expurgate the poetry.
>They picked and chose, and in the view of many readers, their basis for
>this picking and choosing seems to be based purely on removing what some
>might call pornographic references. And THAT's what is bothering most of

	Mr. Miller does a great job.  What also bothers me is that if
you look at the Preface to the ArtScroll siddur they specifically say
that they would rather translate literally than figuratively (hence the
"hand" rather than "punishment" in the first example cited above by
Mr. Miller). Then in their intro to Sh"hash they say it is wrong to
translate it literally.  You can't have it both ways - translating
literally when you wish to and translating figuratively when the literal
is discomforting.

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: Matthew Pearlman <Matthew.Pearlman@...>
Date: Mon, 19 May 2003 09:56:00 +0100
Subject: Allegory and Shir Hashirim

Akiva Miller states << (On the other hand, some people don't understand
poetry as easily as others, so there is probably an commentary on that
verse who points out that "Hashem doesn't really have a hand. This
refers to the punishment.") >>

It is interesting to note Rashi here (Shemot 14:31 in a fairly free
translation) "The great hand - The great mighty things that the hand of
HKB'H did.  The word 'yad' is used in many senses and all of them are
the really the word 'yad' [v'chulan l'shon yad mamash] and the
interpreter should alter the meaning according to the context".

I think this is a comment on idiom, in other words although God does not
really have a hand, it is OK to talk about His hand because everyone
will interpret it correctly.

On the other hand(!) I suppose that it could be interpreted as a
requirement on the translator to substitute a more appropriate word
according to his audience.

Matthew Pearlman

From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Mon, 19 May 2003 07:02:07 +0200
Subject: Allegory and Shir HaShirim

On the issue of Allegory and Shir Hashirim, I briefly leafed through Rav
Yuval Sharlo's new rendering into Hebrew but since the book is over 400
pages long, I cannot comment.  Anyone gone through it more thoroughly?

Yisrael Medad


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 18 May 2003 21:46:25 -0400
Subject: Can we say Rav Kook was wrong?

Ari Kahn in v39n22 gives a source for Rav Kooks statement that we will
offer vegetables in the Messianic world.

Indeed vegetable sacrifices were offered even in the time of the temple
and there is a whole Biblical chapter (lv02) and tractace (Menacoth)
devoted to these offerings.

However the generally accepted position is that ALL OF MOSAIC LAW will
be operative in the times of the Messiah. INDEED, the whole purpose of
the Messiah is to allow us to practice commandments.

Rav Kook of course was a highly respected figure. So I guess this brings
up the issue of whether we (laymen) are allowed to say that "he was
wrong in stating that there will be no animal sacrifices in the time of
the messiah". After all the daily sacrifices consist of sheep and they
will be offered (in fact we pray for their restoration every day).

I realize that in the first instance if you think you can refute a gadol
then you should entertain doubts. But are we EVER allowed to say the
Gadol was wrong. In fact part of Jewish law deals with a high court
(Sandhedrin) which erred in Jewish law. It is they who bring the sin
offering (not the nation who followed them) UNLESS they abrogated an
entire Biblical commandment (in which case the individuals must bring).

In this case Rav Kooks statement of cessation of animal sacrifices would
destroy and abrogate several Biblical commandments.

It therefore seems to me that in cases like this we are obligated to
simply say he was wrong.

I dont see a logical way out of the above. Perhaps other list members
want to offer some logical counterthoughts

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


From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
Date: Mon, 19 May 2003 12:50:00 GMT
Subject: Re: Fraud

>>1. Teach musar (ethics) that focuses precisely on such criminal
>>acts. Pound home the fact that yeshiva people will be in the real
>>world, and its temptations are not just sex, drugs and rock 'n >>roll,
>>but shady, quasi-legal and downright criminal acts.

I would add to the suggestions of Halevi that yeshivot should spend more
time learning choshen mishpat (financial matters). Today the chief
halachot one learns in most yeshivot are Orach Chaim and perhaps some
parts of Yoreh Deah. If necessary there exist today several summary type
works on choshen mishpat which can ease the task

Eli Turkel,  <turkel@...> on 05/19/2003
Department of Mathematics, Tel Aviv University


From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Tue, 20 May 2003 07:39:44 -0400
Subject: Halacha

For those interested in some of the issues with regard to halacha and
its current status, I highly recommend Prof. Daniel Sperber's excellent
analysis in the current edition of Tradition (Vol. 36 #3, Fall 2002 --
lead article), entitled "Paralysis in Contemporary Halacha?"

The title says it all.

And of course, Prof. Sperber is an outstanding scholar, so I think it
would benefit all involved in our current discussions to have a look.

"Tradition: A Journal of Orthodox Jewish Thought" is published by the
Rabbinical Council of America, and should be readily available.



From: David Cohen <davidaco@...>
Date: Tue, 20 May 2003 10:09:12 -0400
Subject: RE: Heter Mechira

I think someone mentioned that in before Rav Ovadia Yosef was chief
rabbi, or during his tenure as chief rabbi, he defended the heter
mechirah on the shemitah year. I'd like to add that in one of Rav
Ovadia's wonderful Saturday night classes about two years ago (i'm not
sure the exact date), he again strongly defended, with many many
sources, the mechirah loophole. I'm sure it can be found in one of the
books that comes out that transcribes his saturday night shiurim.  ~


From: <ENGINEERED@...> (Avraham Norin)
Date: Mon, 19 May 2003 11:47:22 -0400
Subject: Re: Names of Tanaim and Amoraim

I want to thank all of you for your replies.  You found some of the
names that I haven't found in other books.

 A couple of comments:

  Alex, I like your theory on how the name Avraham got introduced.  As
to your other theory that these names were too great to be named after,
I still have the question, like you mentioned, why was YITZCHAK and
YAAKOV very popular names and not Avraham, Moshe and David.

  Sholom and Ester good job in finding names.  I looked up some of the
references and did not find all the material quoted: while the Gemmorah
mentions Moshe being the father of a Rav Huna (as Alex mentioned), the
info about Rav Moshe that S & E mentioned (Bar Atzra HaKohen) is not
seen from that Gemorah.  Furthermore, I did not find a reference to any
Rabbi David in Shas, including Yevamot. (using the Bar Ilan search).
Also Avraham HaChozeah is not a called Rabbi Avraham HaChozeah, just
Avraham Hachozeah, although he is quoted in a Braitah (tanaitic?).  I
didn't check on the Rav Yeshaya names.  Still this is a great start.  If
anyone has more theories, or reads the Gemorot diffrently than I did and
can help find the missing Rav David bar Nihilai of Nehordoi, or has more
info on Rabbi Moshe or Avraham Hachozeah (who was he and what does his
name mean), I will be happy to hear!

Thank you

  Avraham Norin

From: L Reich <lreich@...>
Date: Tue, 20 May 2003 12:53:56 +0100
Subject: Names of Tanaim and Amoraim

The absence if some names amongst Tanaim and Amoraim is discussed by the
Chida in Shem Hagdolim. I don't havd my copy to hand, but it's either
under Avrohom or Moshe.



From: Frank Silbermann <fs@...>
Date: Tue, 20 May 2003 09:25:14 -0500 (CDT)
Subject:  Potato Starch

I welcome correction of any misconceptions I have about kitniyot.
 From reading MLJ over the years I gather that:

(1) Ashkenazim banned kitniyot on Pesach because at one time there was
    a danger that the flour from kitniyot could be confused with chumitz.

(2) The prohibition is a "gezera which stands even though the reason
    for its promulgation no longer applies."

(3) The term "kitniyot" is NOT defined as "foods which can be confused
    with chumitz" (despite that being the motivation for the ban);
    rather, "kitniyot" is an objective agricultural category having
    to do with edible seeds of annual plants grown in a field.

Therefore the banned category includes products not chumitz-like at all
-- such as corn-on-the-cob and corn oil -- that were unknown to the
issuers of the ban.  (Because "kitniyot" refers to "edible seeds of
annual plants grown in a field" -- and maize is in that category.)

Similarly, foods made from edible seeds which grow on trees (e.g. nuts)
or underground -- e.g. potatoes and peanuts -- are NOT kitniyot, and
hence, not banned (aside from family customs).  Had potatoes and peanuts
been available when the ban was issued, they might have been banned
alongside kitniyot for their similar chumitz-like uses, but they

Even though the ban on kitniyot is in force, since (A) the ban wasn't
accepted by all Am Yisrael and (B) the reason for the ban's promulgation
no longer applies -- it is senseless to extend it to non-kitiyot foods
despite their chumitz-like properties.

That's why American corn is banned; that's why potatoes and peanuts
are not banned.

Frank Silbermann
New Orleans, Louisians


From: <MDSternM7@...> (Martin D. Stern)
Date: Tue, 20 May 2003 07:10:00 EDT
Subject: Re: Potato Starch as kitniyot

Dear Sir

In mail-jewish Vol. 39 #36 , David Charlap writes regarding " Potato Starch 
as kitniyot":

<<After reading several of these possible explanations, I suspect that
if there is a concrete reason "why not potatoes too", it has been lost
in the mists of time and legend.>>

This is probably true but I would like to suggest the following
scenario.  Originally when potatoes were introduced in the sixteenth
century they were only eaten cooked and therefore treated as similar to
other 'root' crops.  Their acceptability would have been well
established before someone discovered that one could manufacture potato
flour from which cakes could be made. This probably happened in the
eighteenth century since the Chayei Adam raised the problem that they
might be considered kitniyos but his chashash was not accepted because
there had been a longstanding custom to eat potatoes on Pesach. In any
case they had by then become the staple food of the poor and prohibiting
them would have led to widescale distress (remember the Irish potato
famine in the 1840s which in fact also affected much of Europe and is
thought to have been a contributory cause of the widespread revolutions
in 1848).

In the same digest, Wendy Baker asks:

<< But why is corn and corn products considered kitniyot?  Didn't corn
(maize) come to Europe well after the ban was instituted.  Why corn and
not potato?  Both should be permitted as far as I can tell. >>

If my suggested scenario is correct, it would also answer this problem
since maize was initially used in Europe in ground form for human
consumption to make polenta (mamaligi). Therefore it was immediately
recognised by the ordinary Jew as having the characteristics of kitnios
and not used on Pesach.

Martin D. Stern
7, Hanover Gardens, Salford M7 4FQ, England
( +44(1)61-740-2745
email <mdsternm7@...>

From: <FriedmanJ@...>
Date: Tue, 20 May 2003 08:39:00 EDT
Subject: Re: Potato Starch as kitniyot

Potatoes are not a grain. They are a tuber. Wheat and Corn and Rice are


From: <CARLSINGER@...> (Carl Singer)
Date: Tue, 20 May 2003 06:24:36 EDT
Subject: Shechitah

      Are there any shochtim on this mailing list who can state from
      experience how long it takes for cows, poultry and sheep to lose
      consciousness at the time of shechitah?

It doesn't matter -- The Farm Animal Welfare Council is making a
political decision that will not in any way be swayed by facts or data.


From: Shlomo Yaffe <hyuli@...>
Date: Sun, 18 May 2003 19:47:13 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: Shir Hashirim

The whole point of saying that Shir Hashirim was kodesh kadashim, was
that we not be put off the imagery of the allegories. If we were meant
not to translate it literally we wouldn't have to have the admonishment
of it being "Kodesh Kadashim".

In summation of this whole thread, Artscrolls's appropriation of the
right to censor Shlomo Hamelech's divinely inspired words is the height
of arrogance and a we know "lo bashamayim hi" Talmud Bavli Sotah says
Torah is not found in the prideful of spirit.


End of Volume 39 Issue 40