Volume 39 Number 95
                 Produced: Mon Jun 30  6:09:44 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

The 2-People-1-Glass in the Desert Incident
         [Josh Backon]
Bit of Trivia (Computers & Judaism)
         [Harlan Braude]
Buying on Credit on Shabbat
         [Jack Gross]
David Ben-Gurion and the Bible (3)
         [Gilad J. Gevaryahu, Harlan Braude, Ben Katz]
         [Percy Mett]
Right to steal to Save ones life
         [Gershon Dubin]
Shalosh Megilot with a berakha (2)
         [Joshua Hosseinof, Yehonatan and Randy Chipman]
Two Duchening Questions
         [Immanuel Burton]


From: <BACKON@...> (Josh Backon)
Date: Fri,  27 Jun 2003 15:08 +0200
Subject: Re: The 2-People-1-Glass in the Desert Incident

The halacha (Choshen Mishpat 359:4) is that even in a life or death
situation, one can't steal unless he intends to repay the owner.  [See
also: the Sefer Meirat Einayim on CM 359 s"k 10]. This is based on the
Tosafot (Bava Kamma 60b d"h iba'ei lei) and the ROSH on the sugya in the
gemara there.

There are also lenient opinions (e.g. RASHBA in Shu"t haRashba IV 17)
that don't require repaying for the object; and stringent opinions that
don't permit saving one's life if it entails stealing even if one who
want to pay for the object [see: Rashi on gemara BK 60b; Binyan Tzion
167; Shoel u'Meishiv Mahadura Kamma II 174].

Josh Backon


From: Harlan Braude <h.braude@...>
Date: Fri, 27 Jun 2003 09:40:38 -0400
Subject: RE: Bit of Trivia (Computers & Judaism)

In V39#93, Andy.Goldfinger wrote:
> (return) for.  During the question period, a non-Jewish listener entered
> the conversation.  He said he had been listening, and did not want to
> interrupt what we were doing, but that he was very impressed by the
> morality and humanity of the group, and he just wanted to tell us that.
> It was really a Kiddush HaShem.
> Today, of course, with the Internet, amateur radio is not what it used
> to be. Does anyone know if the Mesivta D'Rekiah is still in existence?

I don't know about the Mesivta, but I'd enjoy hearing of incidents where
non-Jewish readers entered an on-line conversation among Jews and expressed
their appreciation of their morality and humanity! :-)


From: Jack Gross <jbgross@...>
Date: Fri, 27 Jun 2003 10:05:21 -0400
Subject: Re: Buying on Credit on Shabbat

Ari Trachtenberg wrote:
> Also, what's wrong with purchasing on credit (rather than with
> a credit card, where writing/printing is involved) on Shabbat?

"Mekach UMemcar".  Transfer of title is generally prohibited on Shabbat
and Yom Tov, and is the common element in a long list of actvities
(sales, hekdesh, hafrashat teruma, kiddushin, yibbum, ...) all
prohibited lest one come to write a bill of sale or other record of the


From: <Gevaryahu@...> (Gilad J. Gevaryahu)
Date: Fri, 27 Jun 2003 10:31:27 EDT
Subject: David Ben-Gurion and the Bible

Harlan Braude (MJv39n93) says:

<<Rabbi Berel Wein, in his Jewish history series, told of David
Ben-Gurion's use of a computer in an attempt to prove that the Torah was
not min haShamayim, but rather that it was written by committee ("Bible
criticism" was apparently a hobby of the Prime Minister)>>

My father, the late Haim Gevaryahu, was instrumental in bringing the
Bible to the house of Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion in the form of
"Chug ha-Tanach" that met at the Prime Minister house every other
Motzaei Shabbat. if my recollection is correct, Ben-Gurion hardly every
canceled the session for state affairs -- it was very important for
him. Although Ben-Gurion was not frum, he had, nonetheless, a tremendous
respect to the Bible, wrote many article and books on the Bible. My
father wished that this will start a trend and bring the Bible to the
homes of secular Israeli leaders. I believe that it was partially

As to the specific idea that <David Ben-Gurion's use of a computer in an
attempt to prove that the Torah was not min haShamayim, but rather that
it was written by committee>> this sounds like a Bobe Mayses (i.e., folk
tales) not atypical for Berel Wein.

Gilad J. Gevaryahu

From: Harlan Braude <h.braude@...>
Date: Fri, 27 Jun 2003 16:06:48 -0400
Subject: RE: David Ben-Gurion and the Bible

Interesting, personal knowledge rebuttal!

I'm glad you set the record straight, Gilad, and I apologize to all - on
and off the list - if my retelling of the anecdote was an act of motshee
shaim rah on a public figure.

From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Fri, 27 Jun 2003 13:13:09 -0500
Subject: Re: David Ben-Gurion and the Bible

         Ben Gurion was known as a lover of Bible.  He studied it and
wrote about it (I assume he had more time to do this when he retired
from being prime minister).  BTW I have met many Israelis in their 50's
who can quote Mishlay lehavdil like others quote Shakespeare.  Too bad
younger Israelis do not seem to have this same ability.  You don't have
to be observant to love tanach.


From: Percy Mett <p.mett@...>
Date: Sun, 29 Jun 2003 16:29:43 +0100
Subject: Re: Dukhenen

Joel Rich wrote:

> Does anyone know the reason for the cohanims' nigun sung during
> duchening?  There are sources that discuss the issue of saying
> psukim/RBS"O during their nigun, but which came first-ie was the nigun
> added so that the kahal could say something while not breaking into the
> actual bracha or was the nigun always there and it was thus convenient
> to allow something to be said.  If the latter, why don't the cohanim
> sing their nigun on shabbat(perhaps so as not to confuse the Kahal?)

Shulkhon Orukh O.Ch. 130, based on the gemoro Brochos, says that one who
has an unexplained dream recites a techino "Ribono shel olom chalom
cholamti..." duirng dukhenen. The poskim say that our (Ashkenazi) custom in
chuts loorets (diaspora) is to say this techino on each occcasion that
dukhenen takes places since we have surely had a dream since the last
yomtov. The kohanim sing to allow the congregation time to complete the

However, it is customary to recite no techinos on Shabbos, so there is
no need for the kohanim to sing. 

Perets Mett


From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Sat, 28 Jun 2003 23:17:52 -0400
Subject: Right to steal to Save ones life

From: <rjhendel@...> (Russell Hendel)

<<They do have the right. Danger to life supercedes ALL laws (Except 3)
and hence anyone has the right to steal to save ones life (Hence my

See Rambam Personal Torts (Chovayl OMazik) Chapter 8 for an explicit
statement on this>>

The statement is not explicit, but only discusses the requirement to
reimburse the owner of the property after the fact. The SM"A in Choshen
Mishpat deduces from this formulation of the Rambam that in fact one may
NOT steal lechatchila, but if one did then he must reimburse the owner.



From: Joshua Hosseinof <jh@...>
Date: Wed, 25 Jun 2003 21:00:06 -0400
Subject: Shalosh Megilot with a berakha

There is a very big difference between Chanukah candles (or shabbat
candles for that matter) and the Megillot on Shalosh Regalim.  The
lighting of candles is a mitzvah de'rabbanan (rabbinical mitzvah), while
the reading of the megillot is only a minhag and nowhere close to a
mitzvah de'rabanan (Sefardim for example do not formally read Kohelet or
Shir Hashirim) .  So the comparison between Chanukah candles and the
megillot is not a valid comparison.

A more valid comparison to those megillot however would be Hallel on
Rosh Chodesh, or a woman going to the mikvah for a second time within 80
days of the birth of a boy.  In both those cases we find split opinions
on whether a beracha should be made because both of those cases are only
minhagim and not mitzvot de'rabanan.  Ashkenazim in both of those cases
do say a berachah, while Sefardim (with some exceptions for Hallel) do
not say a beracha.

As you can see from the text of the Rama in Orach Chaim 490:9 "Venohagin
lomar" - "It is the custom to say".  The mechaber doesn't mention it at
all (neither does the Rambam).

Joshua Hosseinof

From: Yehonatan and Randy Chipman <yonarand@...>
Date: Sun, 29 Jun 2003 09:51:14 +0300
Subject: Re: Shalosh Megilot with a berakha

Yehonatan Chipman replied: 

    As I myself admitted, the comparison to mitzvit derabanan is
"stretching the point a little."  But I think one can argue that, just
as the Torah commands us to follow formal Rabbinic decrees, it commands
us to follow deep-rooted minhagim within the Jewish people.  The
argument used in support of minhagim is that, "If they are not prophets,
they are the sons of prophets."  I'd agree that the comparison to the
brakha said over a minhag, such as Hallel on Rosh Hodesh, is closer, but
that really returns us to our original problem, because there's no real
conceptual discussion that I know of explaining WHY one should say a
brakha over minhag, or even an ironclad rule of thumb as to why some and
not others; just the statement that it is accepted.

     Truth is, that when I wrote my previous posting I was a bit lazy.
I stated that the source was the Gaon of Vilna (and Talmidei ha-Gra in
Eretz Yisrael), but didn't actually look up the Biurei ha-Gra inside the
"big" Shulhan Arukh.  I now bring that text (from OH 490,
s.v. venohagin), in my translation:

     It is customary [to read Shir Hashirim on Shabbat Hol ha-Moed
     Pesah]:  because it speaks of the Exodus.  And this is the wording
     of the Darkei Moshe [i.e., R. Moses Isserles on the Tur]:  The
     Abudraham wrote that the world is accustomed to read Shir Hashirim
     on Hag Hamatzot, which speaks of.... and on Shavuot to read Ruth,
     which speaks of the beginning of the wheat harvest, and also that
     when our forefathers received the Torah they converted, and Ruth
     also converted;  and on Sukkot Kohelet, because it says there,
     "Give a portion to seven and to eight".. . And it says in Masekhet
     Sofrim [14.18] that one who reads the Five Scrolls says the
     blessing "al mikra megillah," even if it is written among other
     writings.   And the Maharil said that one should say the blessings
     thus, even if it is not wrtten in a gilyon [i.e, in scroll form],
     and it is written thus also in Hagahot Maimoniot in the laws of
     Tisha b'Av, and such is the custom.  And not like the Mordekhai,
     who wrote [in his commentary on] the first chapter of Megillah
     that one should say "al mikra ketuvim."  And it is written also in
     the Bayit Hadash and the Levush and in Minhagim and and Mateh
     Moshe to say the blessing even if they are not written in a
     gilyon, and all the more so if they are written in a gilyon, like
     a Sefer Torah, and such is the practice of all the rishonim, and
     so also wrote the Magen Avraham.  Thus far the Darkei Moshe.
     And what is written, "but not Kohelet," is incorrect, for at the
     end of the 3rd chapter of Yadayim, the conclusion of the mishnah
     is that since they disagreed  and concluded that Shir Hashirim and
     Kohelet render hands impure equally, and Rambam ruled thus in
     Hilkhot [She'ar] Avot ha-Tumah 9.8 [sic;  should read 6], that all
     five scrolls render the hands unclean like a Sefer Torah. And so
     wrote Hagahot Mordechai in the first chapter of Megillah that all
     are equal regarding brakha, and this is the main conclusion.

   The bottom line seems to be that the oldest authority is Masekhet
Sofrim.  While 14.18 doesn't specifically relate to the blessing over
the megillah, 14.4 says that anyone reading "the Holy Writings" says the
blessing, ".... vetzivanu likro kitvei hakodesh."  I would describe this
blessing as partly analogous to the blessings before and after reading
the Torah in shul:  that is, a blessing for a particular form of Torah
study, over and above the regular, daily Birkat ha-Torah. Dont forget
that in ancient times there was a custom of reading Ketuvim every
Shabbat afternoon, and there was no little deliberation among the Rabbis
as to which took precedence:  private reading of ketuvim or the hakham's
public Torah lesson, on halakhah and aggadah.  Today, these halakhot
have all become defunct, but it still shows that there is some basis for
berakhot that we would consider not absolutely statutory and standard. 
    See also my posting on this subject from March 27 of this year,
      Yehonatan Chipman

[R' Yehonatan, take a look at Sofrim 14.3 which explicitly states to
make 'Al Mikra Megilla' for Ruth, Shir HaShirim, Aicha and Esther, but
leaves out Kohelet. Also interesting if anyone looks up Sofrim 14:18 is
when during the Holiday Sofrim has the custom to read. It does not
correspond to any current custom today, as far as I know.  Also relevant
to the discussion on the bracha on a minhag, one of the reasons brought
by those that do not say a bracha is that this is a minhag that is not
found in the Talmud. Mod.]


From: Immanuel Burton <IBURTON@...>
Date: Fri, 27 Jun 2003 12:47:36 +0100
Subject: Two Duchening Questions

I have two questions about duchening:

(1) Why do the Levites was the Kohanim's hands before duchening?  I
always thought this was because in the Beis Hamikdosh the Levites wash
the Kohanim's hands before they go on duty, but upon reading more
carefully the section in the Torah describing how the Kohanim have to
wash their hands and feet before going on duty, I realised that the
Kohanim actually wash themselves.

(2) In places outside Israel, why do a lot of places omit duchening when
Yom Tov falls on Shabbos, even though the Mishnah Berurah says that one
should duchen.

Immanuel Burton.


End of Volume 39 Issue 95