Volume 39 Number 42
                 Produced: Fri May 23  4:59:46 US/Eastern 2003


Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Forgetting Sefirah
         [Daniel Alexander]
Ikarim come from Judaism not Islam
         [Russell J Hendel]
Passover Seder Customs:  Fourth Cup
         [Yehonatan Chipman]
Potato Starch as kitniyot
         [Akiva Miller]
Shechitah In The United Kingdom
         [David Shabtai]
SIN--Impetuousness vs Doubts about God
         [Stan Tenen]


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From: Daniel Alexander <jane21267@...>
Date: Tue, 20 May 2003 16:01:34 +0000
Subject: Forgetting Sefirah

Question about forgetting during sefirah. I'm sure there's a standard
answer to this but I can't find it in any obvious reference work (maybe
I'm not looking properly) and my rabbi is away.

I know that if you forget to count at night, then you count the next day
without a berakhah and then resume the next evening as normal, with
berakhah. And I also know that if you don't remember till the following
evening, then that's it, no more counting with a berakhah for the rest
of the Omer.

But what if you forget to count at night, remember during the day and
count without berakhah, and then the evening of that day, forget again
until the following day when you again count without berakhah? Have you
broken the chain?

My assumption would be that you have not: that you can continue to count
with berakhah, since you have counted the Omer continuously on the
correct day. Or is it that there is a safek about whether counting
during the day is counting and that two safeks next to each other is too
much (sounds wrong).

This is halachah le-maaseh, by the way!

- Daniel Alexander

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From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 18 May 2003 21:46:54 -0400
Subject: Ikarim come from Judaism not Islam

Alan in v39n29 makes the following two contradictory(?) statements

>>But Mr. Katz's basic point, namely that the effort of a
>>Rabbanite Jew to enumerate the dogmas of Judaism was a response to a
>>similar development in Karaite and Muslim theology, is correct.  For a
>>full discussion of the issue, see the introduction to Menachem
Kellner's

>>"Taken from" may be a bit of an overstatement, since Rambam had some
>>precedents in prior Jewish sources (going back to his starting point,
>>Pereq Heleq).  

So Alan correctly refutes himself...of course the Rambams statements
help respond to islamic statements of beliefs. But the fact remains that
both the content of what the Rambam said AS WELL as its form comes from
the Talmud (Sandhedrin 11)

I for one am annoyed when I am told that some of the most sublime pieces
of Jewish law and philosophy were reactions to similar items in the
non-jewish world. It would appear to me that many of these items can be
seen as self contained and emerging from Jewish sources. We in fact
should be proud of them in their own right

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

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From: Yehonatan Chipman <yonarand@...>
Date: Sun, 18 May 2003 10:06:23 +0300
Subject: Passover Seder Customs:  Fourth Cup

     I'd like to ask a question about one of the details of the order of
the fourth cup at the Seder:
     This year, the day after the Seder, I was looking through a
collection of paperback facsimile Haggadot published by the Orphan
Hospital Ward of Israel, which I had inherited from my father.  This
series included such exotic items as the Haggadah of the Chinese Jews,
as well as replicae of several seventeenth and eighteenth century
classical Ashkenazic Haggadot - The Venice Haggadah (Venice, 1699);  Ms.
Hamburg, 1731;  the Tel Aviv Haggadah, MS. 1771, based on the 1695
Amsterdam Haggadah;  and the Moshe Bamberger Haggadah, MS.
Altona-Hamburg-Wandsbeck, 1772.  I noticed that all four of them  place
the fourth cup after Az Rov Nissim ("Vayehi bahatzi halaylah") and/or
Ometz gevuratekha ("Ve-amartem Zevah Pesah," recited on the second night
outside of Israel), and "Ki lo Yaeh."  This is in turn followed by Hasal
Siddur Pesah and Adir Hu, and after them Ehad Mi Yodea and Had Gadya.
      For most of my adult life, I have observed the custom, based on
the sharp analytic knife of my teachers, of drinking the fourth cup
immediately after the end of Nishmat.  That is:  to recite the second
half of Hallel (in some Haggadot followed by a truncated Yehallukha),
and "the Great Hallel" (Psalm 136) followed by Nishmat (identified with
Birkat Shir, "the Blessing over the Song," of the Mishnah).  This fourth
cup is in turn followed immediately by the closing blessing after the
wine;  by Hasal, the festive declaration that "the order of the Passover
is concluded in all its laws and statutes";  and by the joyous cry,
"Next year in Jerusalem [Rebuilt]."
     This is in fact the order in just about all the modern Haggadot I
have seen, from Eisenstein's 1920 Otzar Perushim ve-Tziyyurim
la-Haggadah on down, including a wide variety: modern artistic haggadot,
Steinsaltz's Haggadah, Rabbi Riskin's, Rav Kasher^s Haggadah Sheleimah,
Art Acroll, Mossad Harav Kook's Haggadat Torat Hayyim; Bratslav, the
Natziv of Volozhin, etc., etc.  The major variants among these haggadot
(re the fourth cup) are in the location and in some case conflation of
Yehalelukha and Yishtabah, and the Fifth Cup of Rabbi Kasher, both of
which are weighty questions in their own right.
      But examining these classical seventeenth and eighteenth century
Haggadot, the penny suddenly dropped.  It all made sense.  These are
hymns in praise of God's miraculous deeds;  in spirit, if not halakhic
substance, a direct continuation of the "double" Hallel.  Hence, the
order of praising God, known as Hallel, is not really finished until
these are completed (although of course the closing blessing is made
after Nishmat)-- in a liturgical if not in an halakhic sense.  This is
followed by the fervent wish to celebrate Pesah in the future in its
fullest sense, including the Korban Pesah in Jerusalem rebuilt (Hasal);
which is followed, in turn, by the song Adir Hu, whose theme is the
longing for the restoration of Jerusalem.  (My mother used to say that
her father, Rabbi Abraham Gallant, would sing this song with a haunting,
melancholy, if a-tonal, melody, filled with all the pain and longing of
1800-odd years of Jewish exile.)  Ehad mi Yodea and Had Gadya are
children^s sings, "just for fun" (notwithstanding deep symbolic
interpretations of the latter);  and hence in all versions come only
after this rubric.
      Later, I found that the problem is discussed by the Mishnah
Berurah, Orah Hayyim 480, at s"k 6, who brings this custom in the name of
R. Meir of Rothenburg.  He offers a rather, to my mind rather peculiar
and unconvincing explanation:  "so that he won't be thirsty when he goes
to sleep."
       My question is the following:  Does anyone know/own a 20th
century Haggadah with the order I mentioned?   I have a vague childhood
memory of a Haggadah I was given by a Hebrew school in 1958 or 1959,
published by Shiloh Publishing Co., with black and white illustrations
that fired my childish imagination, which had the above order, because
when I first saw Hasal and the fourth cup immediately after Nishmat I
was surprised.  I also remember something similar in some older Haggadot
my parents owned (ca. 1930?), small paper-back Haggadot that were
obviously given out as an advertising gimmic, with Yiddish ads on the
back cover for some bank in New York City, and scary pictures of the
angel of death as the grim reaoer on the last page.  Or am I "inventing
memories," as our post-modern psycholgists would say?  If anyone still
has in their possession Haggadot published in the twentieth century with
the fourth cup after "Ki lo naeh," I'd be very interested to know about
it.
    Question two:  When, where and why did the change to having it after
Nishmat take place?
     Yehonatan Chipman

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From: <kennethgmiller@...> (Akiva Miller)
Date: Tue, 20 May 2003 11:49:06 -0400
Subject: Re: Potato Starch as kitniyot

In MJ 39:36, Bernard Raab wrote <<< I find it fascinating that [...]
thinks that an organized rabbinate today would extend the ban on
kitniyot rather than abrogate it despite the widespread understanding
that this is gezera the reason for which has expired! >>>

Which reason for this gezera has expired? When looking at wheat flour,
corn starch, and potato starch, I can't tell the difference.

Akiva Miller

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From: David Shabtai <dys6@...>
Date: Tue, 20 May 2003 09:39:24 -0400
Subject: Re: Shechitah In The United Kingdom

There is a lot of information available online about this debate with 
science going either way (defending shechita: 
http://www.isrvma.org/article/54_1_4.htm) - many of the articles are of 
the anti-shechita variety (I think I would prefer not to give them too 
many hits, so please perform the Google search on your own).  From my 
experience with fowl, it really depends on how well you do the shechita. 
 If the simanim (the trachea and esophagus) are "mezumanim" properly 
(loosely translated as 'ready' but meaning that the skin is pulled 
tightly and they are 'visible') one generally also cuts the 'veridim' 
(there is a Halakhic debate as to the precise anatomical definition of 
veridim, here I mean, physiologically, the major blood vessels of the 
neck) the pirkus period ("death rattle") can be rather short.  It also 
depends on the type of bird, it's size and how much blood comes out 
initially.  Normal chickens, when done well can take less than 20 
seconds but I have seen a turkey take several minutes as well. (I am 
unfamiliar with behemot - which is the core of the problem, because I 
don't think anybody stuns chickens first - at least not the treif places 
I have seen)

I don't know what it means scientifically though for an animal to lose 
consciousness - it seems that this might be the core of the debate.  The 
OED has several definitions (most of which I do not think could apply to 
animals):  6. The state of being conscious, regarded as the normal 
condition of healthy waking life - once the throat is slit I do not 
think we can consider that "the normal condition of healthy waking life" 
- and so consciousness is lost immediately.  3. The state or fact of 
being mentally conscious or aware of anything - I am not sure how one 
judges this so well, possibly with EEG scans and the like, but I am 
unsure how much we know about animal psychology to make this call.

My impression is, is that people are unhappy with the pirkus period 
immediately after shechita - it may still seem that the animal is alive 
(in fact the prohibition of ever min ha'chai - a limb from a living 
animal - still applies to an animal during pirkus until the animal has 
died).  Interestingly, Halakha sees pirkus as a sign of a "healthy 
death" - if an animal is questionably "mesukan" (lit. dangerous, meaning 
questionably healthy) - the shochet must witness the pirkus, and not 
just any pirkus but the animal must have precise movements - as a sign 
that the animal was indeed healthy - without such pirkus, the animal is 
prohibited.  

David

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From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Tue, 20 May 2003 09:49:44 -0400
Subject: Re: SIN--Impetuousness vs Doubts about God

>From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>

>Stan (v39n16) answers avirab on the issue of proof of God.  Stan posits
>that lack of clear proof of God is a prerequisite for free will.
>
>I have frequently(both on Mail Jewish and on the email list Torah-Forum)
>expressed a different viewpoint.

I apologize for the misunderstanding.  Whenever I use the word "proof",
I use it in the sense of mathematical proof, which is the only logical
form of proof, because it's based on postulates.  Even physics only
offers demonstrations -- never proofs.

What I was discussing was the impossibility of a logical proof of God,
because after all, God transcends logic.  (And since Godel, we've known
that there are limits to logic.)

I do, however, agree with Russell (in the latter part of his message,
which I have snipped) that "First: there is no clearer proof of God's
existence than a prophetic revelation."  This is a different sort of
"proof", because it is not logical (as was my default assumption with
regard to the word "proof"), but rather, personal and experiential.  It
also does not serve as much of a physics demonstration, either, because
it is neither repeatable nor refutable.

Further, one does not need a prophetic revelation to experience this
personal proof of God.  While my essay, "The Three Abrahamic Covenants
and the Car-Passing Trick" at <www.meru.org/carpasslhtml> is not the
whole story, and doesn't deal with the interface between the logical
definitions of a One-Whole Lord-God, and the aspect of God that answers
prayer, it does deal with the second part -- the aspect of God that
answers prayer.

Anyone can "take a test-drive", and see for themselves exactly how the
"car-passing trick" works (or doesn't work).

For a discussion of the relationship between the "God of Reason" and the
"God of Faith," check <www.meru.org/science.html>.

So, the real problem is not that there are no "proofs of God," but
rather that we have to be careful about what we mean by "proof", and not
confuse personal subjective experience with scientific demonstration and
with mathematical definition and deduction.  (The car-passing trick also
makes it clear why scientific demonstration is inconsistent with
personal subjective experience. In fact, they're mutually exclusive.)

So,

1) Yes, it is possible to demonstrate the reality of the Transcendent to
ones' self, by simple experiment, and

2) No, it is never possible to "prove" something in physics, but yes,
it's possible to have repeatable personal demonstrations -- but without
a true prophet, no public demonstration -- of the reality of God, and at
least one mode of how prayers are answered.

3) It should be possible to logically prove that the definition of a
One-Whole Lord-God (the Sh'ma) is personally healthy, ecologically
sound, and leads to a Theory of Everything that unifies mind and world,
consciousness and physics.

Best,
Stan

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End of Volume 39 Issue 42