Volume 39 Number 76
                 Produced: Wed Jun 11  6:00:46 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Book Of Ruth
         [Immanuel Burton]
         [Eli Turkel]
Grains being as Labeled
         [Carl Singer]
         [Prof. Aryeh A. Frimer]
         [Daniel Israel]
Modern Orthodoxy Definition (Chumras)
         [Allen Gerstl]
The RCA [Rosenblum article -- question re Choosing Jewish]
         [I Kasdan]
Size of Candles, etc.
         [Stan Tenen]


From: Immanuel Burton <IBURTON@...>
Date: Tue, 10 Jun 2003 16:30:08 +0100
Subject: Book Of Ruth

On the second day of Shavuos the Book of Ruth is read before lehening
(Reading from the Torah).

Given the principle of tadir ve'shaino tadir tadir kodem (roughly
translated as a frequent event takes precedence over a less frequent
event), why isn't the Book of Ruth read after lehening?

Is this question compounded by the fact that Ruth is in Kesuvim (the
Writings), but is nevertheless still read before the Torah reading?

Immanuel Burton


From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
Date: Tue, 10 Jun 2003 10:54:50 GMT
Subject: Gerut

> This makes a lot of sense to me, but I do have one difficulty with
> it:  What kind of Beis Din was there in Moav?

<<I received a couple of postings that as written I was uncomfortable
posting directly to the list, so I am taking the liberty of summerizing
what I believe is the main point behind the submissions.  It seems that
it is clear to some people that you can take status of how the halachot
of Conversion have evolved to todays state and exactly project them back
to the time of Ruth and Naomi.  Other people question to what extant is
that true. Simply because we may paskin that conversion requires a Beis
Din, what requires us to say that was the Halacha pesuka in the time of
the Shoftim?>>

Even today a bet din shel hedyotot (3 nonprofessional male Jews) can
perform a gerut at least bi-deved (no it not accepted by the state of
Israel - but that is not pertinent)..  The gemara indicates that even
King Solomon used this method to convert his wives since the formal
bateo dinim did not perform conversions in his day.

I assume there were at least 3 Jews in Moab who were not related to
Elimelech and so this would not be a problem

Prof. Eli Turkel,  <turkel@...> on 06/10/2003
Department of Mathematics, Tel Aviv University


From: <CARLSINGER@...> (Carl Singer)
Date: Tue, 10 Jun 2003 06:53:01 EDT
Subject: Grains being as Labeled

      As to your last point, I can only say that those who buy their
      grains in bulk these days really need to be careful about taking
      home the right grain before pesach, along with everything else
      they need to be super-careful about before pesach.

A lot depends on food supply chain -- If, one lives in a region that
grows only a single grain (say rice) then the bag of rice at the
indigenous market, is unlikely to contain wheat.  If one purchases at
the end of a supply chain that may include a mill that grinds several
kinds of grains, and a store that bulk packages several kinds of grains,
etc., then there is reasonable opportunity for error and need to

Carl Singer


From: Prof. Aryeh A. Frimer <frimea@...>
Date: Tue, 10 Jun 2003 10:35:12 +0300
Subject: Journals

Unless I err, I believe that if you subscribe to Tradition you get Torah
Umada automatically.


From: Daniel Israel <daniel@...>
Date: Tue, 10 Jun 2003 01:07:04 -0700 (MST)
Subject: Re: l'omer/b'omer

> I don't think that there could be any halachic difference.  The halachic
> requirement to count is to say "today is such and such" , (that's why we
> answer "yesterday was..." ).  Once you finish those words you have
> fulfilled the requirement and anything following should have no
> "halachic" significance.  Mentioning "omer" or the weeks, is not
> included in being yotzeh.

According to SA 489:4, MB 7, mentioning the weeks is part of the
requirement.  (In fact, as the MB points out, the verse in the Torah
specifies counting weeks, not days.)  The question is whether b'dieved
[after the fact] days alone is enough, and this is apparantly a matter
of dispute.  In fact, there is an opinion that the rule that one should,
when asked the day, respond "yesterday was such and such" only applies
during the first week, since after the first week stating the day alone
does not fulfill the obligation.  Apparently our custom to always answer
"yesterday was such and such" is a stricture in deference to the other
opinion (that the week does not need to be mentioned, after the fact).

Daniel M. Israel
<daniel@...>		1130 North Mountain Ave.
Dept. of Aerospace & Mechanical		The University of Arizona
  Engineering				Tucson, AZ  85711


From: Allen Gerstl <acgerstl@...>
Date: Wed, 14 May 2003 12:28:46 -0400
Subject: Re: Modern Orthodoxy Definition (Chumras)

On Sun, 11 May 2003 Binyomin Segal <bsegal@...> Wrote:
>On 7 Apr 2003 Allen Gerstl wrote about a particular type of chumra as being 
>specific to the charedi community.

>>Yet we also have a recurring phrase "u-baal nefesh yachmir" (and someone
>>who cares about his soul will be stringent concerning the matter). This
>>concept of "baal nefesh yachmir" is I believe a hallmark of non-MO and
>>it is grounded on a particular view of the halacha. I believe that the
>>latter view is based upon speculation that there is a (Platonic-style)
>>absolute halacha.  Thus while a rav must pasken and his pesak IS the
>>halacha and it may be relied upon by the shoel (the questioner), from
>>the standpoint of an absolute halacha, the posek might be wrong. So
>>while by relying upon pesak, no culpable aveira might be committed if
>>the posek was wrong; on an absolute basis there might still be harm to
>>the neshama of the shoel (questioner).

[Binyomin continued:]
>There are two points here which I believe require further analysis.

>First, Allen implies that this type of chumra is a fairly new phenomena
>of the modern charedi community, different from the traditionally
>sanctioned chumra of siyag.

I did not intend to imply that such was fairly new, only that such
practices generally stem from a particular ideological viewpoint that is
now normative in the modern chareidi community and not generally
normative in halacha.  AIUI such chumrot are extra-halachic
stringencies, although they may well be normative within chareidi
communities.  Like most broad statements, mine is subject to
exceptions. Thus there are examples of stringencies that are recorded in
the SA which (e.g.) come down to us from Chassidei Ashkenaz, but I would
argue that such is still not the normative approach of the halacha.

>Second, he attributes this type of chumra to the assumption of an
>absolute correct answer.

I attribute this approach to a worry that the answer arrived at using
halachic methodology was incorrect in an absolute sense, and therefore
that a minority opinion or a theoretical construct (such as might be
arrived at through a Brisker type of analaysis) might perhaps be correct
on a absolute level, notwithstanding that using halachic decision-making
methodology such stringency was not called for.

>The first point is, I think, somewhat inaccurate. There are examples of
>this type of chumra from previous generations. One example that leaps to
>mind is the waiting period between meat and milk. The ashkenazik PSAK is
>that no time period is required (all that was required was that the two
>be eaten during separate "meals".) The rama (yd 89:1) records that the
>custom at the time (c. 1500) was to wait one hour. At the end of the sif
>he states that the "medakdikim" (precise ones) wait six hours (like the
>psak of the sephardim), and that this is an appropriate practice. The
>Aruch HaShulchan quotes this rama and says that in his time (c 1900) the
>universal custom is now to wait six hours, and that one is required to
>follow that custom. A clear example of a chumra of this sort that has
>become the halachicly required norm for most of ashkenazik jewry.

But I do not consider that the above is a correct analogy.  The above is
a minhag that has obviously evolved and that has been generally
adopted. But isn't the reason for this minhag that of siyag ve-geder and
notwithstanding the evolving levels of strictness the original basis of
siyag ve-geder still remains.

>The second point that Allen makes requires more complex analysis. As
>Rabbi A Cohen points out in his recently discussed article, reliance on
>daas torah in general suggests the very opposite world view as is here
>attributed to the chareidi community. That is while the daas torah
>philosophy attributed to the chareidi world suggests "even on the right
>if it is left", Allen here is attributing the very opposite approach to
>the chareidi world.

The above would imply that chareidi poskim might promulgate kulot
(lenient rulings) and require that they be followed.  Such is certainly
theoretically possible, based upon the chareidi "daas torah" concept (of
leadership by certain Torah scholars recognized as leaders by that
community); and thus in theory we could posit a community based upon
"daas torah" in which the poskim generally paskened le-kulah
(leniently). However I was commenting on what I believed occurred in
real-world practice.  In practice the chareidi community norm is to be
machmir (stringent). Again I propose that a major reason for such
stringency is for one to be a "baal nefesh" as I defined.



From: I Kasdan <Ikasdan@...>
Date: Sun, 08 Jun 2003 10:48:43 -0400
Subject: Re: The RCA [Rosenblum article -- question re Choosing Jewish]

David I. Cohen wrote: 

> I am not sure why the RCA was lumped together with the other groups
> mentioned.  The rabbinical council of America is a voluntary member
> association of Orthodox rabbis in the USA. As far as I know, it has
> never held itself out as any kind of Jewish "Supreme Court" .

In my posting I mentioned the RCA because it, like the other groups I
originally listed, issues proclamations and takes positions that impact
the community at large. For example, the RCA recently issued a
Resolution dealing with abuse in which it wrote, inter alia, that it is
the duty of the RCA "to represent to the community the best of Torah
values; and to protect the dignity of Torah and Orthodox Judaism; . . ."
and that in the past, "organizations and individuals have not always
dealt with these incidents in the best possible way; . . .."

And, from a Halachic perspective, the RCA takes the position in the
Resolution that reporting abuse is not "mesirah." ["The Rabbinical
Council of America maintains that reporting acts or suspicions of child
abuse is not mesirah and commits itself and its members to reporting
acts or suspicions of child abuse as required by civil law;"]

While the RCA issued its Resolution to its members -- see the entire
Resolution reproduced below -- the above excerpts indicate that the RCA
is speaking to (and for??) the Jewish community at large.  I do not
begrudge them that right (any more so that I begrudge any other communal
group).  But the fact remains that, notwithstanding the merits of the
Resolution (or lack thereof as the case may be with respect to all sorts
of Resolutions), no one consulted the community at large and no vote was
taken by the tzibbur before its issuance.  And, certainly, the community
had no *direct* involvement in choosing the RCA leadership that wrote
and decided to issue the Resolution.

Of course, at the same time I hasten to say that I do not pretend that
as a practical and/or even theoretical matter such a democratic process
is necessarily appropriate, either. In the end, Resolutions and
proclamations -- like most takanos -- will stand or fall as measured by
their acceptance or rejection by the larger community to which they are
addressed, as will the leaders themselves succeed or fail as measured by
their own acceptance or rejection by those that they lead.

[I have not included the full resolution in the issue. There is not
currently a link to the resolution on the RCA web page. If I get
permission from the RCA, I will post the resolution to the mail-jewish
home page. Mod.]


From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Thu, 15 May 2003 18:12:05 -0400
Subject: Re: Size of Candles, etc.

Even though it's clearly a fire hazard, the idea of putting a fairly
tall candle into a "kiddush-cup-shaped" short candleholder is

The pinched-in-the-middle with an upturned candle-holding vortex-cone,
and a downturned vortex-cone base, mimics the shape of the standard
kiddush cup. The kiddush cup and the candlestick with candle in the
middle take the same form -- in outline -- as the geometry in B'reshit
for "Pardes". The same geometry is also reminiscent of the Temple.

When we look at the candles, and/or when we look at the kiddush cup, we
are bringing the tzelem of the Temple into our mind. When we do this
week after week, across the generations, we "refresh the ROM"-memory of
the Temple, and Pardes.

A tall, thin candle that melts into a roundish flat pool of wax is also
a "geometric metaphor" for a tzelem of Hashem/Elokim. The idea is that
the thin vertical candle represents the utter Singularity of Hashem,
while the pool of wax represents the all-inclusive Wholeness of Elokim,
that together are declared Echad in the Sh'ma.

As they say, form follows function. The standard candle and kiddush-cup
geometry takes the form of the function of Shabbos, the Temple, Pardes,
and the unification of the two primary Names of God.

So, while it's not hard to make a tip-proof and fire-safe candle and
candle-holder arrangement, we would be losing the "refresh-the-ROM"
function of the current prevalent (ancient) design, unless we explicitly
include it in any new design.

For a graphic showing the kiddush-cup-shape (which is also the shape of
the standard candleholder), go to <www.meru.org/contin.html>.

Be well.


End of Volume 39 Issue 76