Volume 40 Number 10
                 Produced: Tue Jul 15  5:35:22 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Big Mitzvah - Sheluach haKan (2)
         [Isaac A Zlochower, Akiva Wolff]
         [Michael Kahn]
Blessings: Fruit-Vegetables vs Meat-Fish
         [Raphi Cohen]
Conversion (2)
         [Michael Kahn, Avi Feldblum]
Danger and driving (2)
         [Richard Schultz, Avi Feldblum]
Domesticated / Cultivated Animals / Plants
         [Carl Singer]
kohanim not duchaning when yom tov occurs on shabbat
         [Shlomo & Syma Spiro]
Levi-in-doubt pidyon
         [A. M. Goldstein]
Levites washing hands of kohanim
         [Shlomo & Syma Spiro]
Masorites used computer methods 1000 years ago
         [Russell J Hendel]
What to do with the nest
         [Danny Skaist]


From: Isaac A Zlochower <zlochoia@...>
Date: Sun, 13 Jul 2003 17:24:56 -0400
Subject: Big Mitzvah - Sheluach haKan

The current discussion about whether or not there is a mitzvah to shoo 
away the mother bird if one is uninterested in the offspring has 
appeared on this list in the past.   For convenience, let me quote what 
I had written in '97:


However, there is a more general question that can be raised about the
commandment to send away the mother bird from the eggs or nestlings.  Is
there a requirement of sending away the mother bird, if we have no
interest in the eggs or nestlings and have no intention of taking them?
This question does not arise in the chapter in T. Bavli: Chulin dealing
with "kan tzippor", and is omitted, as well, by most halachic
authorities.  The author of the "Aruch Hashulchan", Rabbi Y.M. Epstein,
argues (Yoreh Deah, vol 2, Chap. 292; 3) that the mitzvah of "shiluach
hakan" remains; taking the eggs is optional.  However, the "Chasam
Sofer" (Rabbi Moshe Sofer), an important posek of the last century, took
exactly the opposite position, that it is forbidden to send away the
mother, if the offspring are not desired.  He based his view on the
"Ramban" who held that the reason for the requirement to send away the
mother bird is to prevent us from becoming cruel.  The "Chasam Sofer" is
quoted by Rabbi Shevel in the hebrew commentary of the Ramban, vol 2, p.
451 ("so that we shouldn't become cruel") as follows:

"Because of this reason, it is clear that if he doesn't need the
offspring, not only is he not required to send away the mother, but he
is also committing cruelty.  Then, instead of learning not to be cruel,
we,conversely, accustom ourselves to cruelty, to afflict a living
creature unnecessarily by chasing the mother from her offspring - and
afflicting living creatures is a Torah prohibition."

If you reflect on this matter, you will see the justice of the "Chasam
Sofer's" approach.  Did G-D really intend for us to shoo the mother bird
away and then abandon the nest so that the nestlings slowly starve, and
the unhatched offspring die for lack of warmth?  The Torah states (Deut
22: 6,7), "You may not take the mother together with the offspring.
Send away the mother, and keep the offspring.."  It's a conditional
commandment; if you want the offspring, you must first shoo away the
mother.  If you don't want the offspring, then just walk away and leave
G-D's creatures alone.

Hoping for the day when all of G-D's creatures live in harmony,

Yitzchok Zlochower

P.S.  The Rambam invokes not causing anguish to the mother bird as the
reason for the mitzvah in his Moreh Nevuchim.  The Ha'kitav Veha'kabala
by Harav Y. Mecklenburg has a lengthy discussion on the subject wherein
he finds the Ran and, possibly, the Tosfot to be additional Rishonim who
would disfavor sending away the mother if the offspring were unwanted.

From: Akiva Wolff <wolff@...>
Date: Mon, 14 Jul 2003 14:04:49 +0200
Subject: Re: Big Mitzvah - Sheluach haKan

> What I am suggesting is that "tsar baalei chaim" is not the issue here.
> Rather, this is a mitzvah which is intended to emphasize reverence for
> parenthood and for reproductive security. This appears to be recognized
> by the Sefer Ha'chinuch, when he says in this connection: "...His
> [G-d's] desire...is for the endurance of the species."
> Taking the brooding bird will doom the eggs or chicks as
> well. Therefore, the Torah commands that, if you are so hungry or so
> driven by a yetzer ha'ra, you must take the eggs or chicks instead of
> the bird. This, at least, leaves the bird alive for further
> procreation. Again, from my earlier submission:
> "...this is far from a trivial or "easy" mitzvah. It might be making a
> profound philosohical distinction between actual life and potential
> life...."
> b'shalom--Bernie R

Interesting points. As I understand it, when 'harvesting' from the
animal world, it makes more sense to take the eggs or young chicks and
spare the parents (even if the parents are not required for the survival
of the eggs or baby chicks). As long as the parents are still capable of
reproducing, allowing them to survive will likely result in more
offspring and greater overall numbers then taking the parents and
leaving the young - most of which don't survive to reproduce.

For this reason, it seems that fish conservationists have it all wrong
when they allow keeping the big fish (of reproductive age) and require
throwing back the little ones - but that's another (fish) story....


From: Michael Kahn <mi_kahn@...>
Date: Sun, 13 Jul 2003 23:10:29 -0400
Subject: Re: Blessings

>The more the food needs human intervention the higher the level of
>beracha needed...
>Rav Soloveitchik discusses this situation which seems counter-intuitive.
>i.e. a first glance would say that the more human intervention the less
>need for blessing G-d.

Very interesting. Where Does Rabbi Soloveitchik discuss this?

[I know I have heard this on one of the tapes. I do not know if / where
this is in writting. Avi]


From: Raphi Cohen <raphi@...>
Date: Mon, 14 Jul 2003 02:34:21 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Blessings: Fruit-Vegetables vs Meat-Fish

Russell J Hendel asks:
> Why is it that for fruits and vegetables, Jewish law differentiates
> and has two separate Blessing classes while for the physiologically
> more complex meat-fish-eggs class Jewish law lumps everything together
> (shacol).

Russell, your kushiah is interesting, and it could be pushed even
further on both sides:

1) There are as much as 5 separate blessings for fruits and vegetables,
not only 2. In addition to Etz and Adama, we say Mezonot, Hamotzi and
Gefen on products which are made of fruits and vegetables.

2) Sheakol must cover not only food coming from the animal world, as you
rightly say (meat-fish-eggs), but also nearly all liquids, including

BTW, some products of the first category (like fruit juices) require
anyway a Sheakol blessing.

Of course, just as Russell, I am curious to know the answer.

Raphi Cohen


From: Michael Kahn <mi_kahn@...>
Date: Sun, 13 Jul 2003 23:16:22 -0400
Subject: Re: Conversion

> Does God prefer me to be a good non-Jew who keeps the 7 mitzvot or
> would he prefer me to convert to keep 613 or is he ambivalent?"
>How would we respond?

I would say all G-d demands of you is to keep the 7 mitzvos. But i have
no source for that.

From: Avi Feldblum <mljewish@...>
Date: Mon, 14 Jul 2003 04:44:01 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Conversion

On Sun, 13 Jul 2003, Michael Kahn wrote:
> I would say all G-d demands of you is to keep the 7 mitzvos. But i
> have no source for that.

I would think it clear that all God "demands" of a non-Jew is the Sheva
Mitzvot (7 Noahide laws). The question that was raised was God prefers a
non-Jew to remain a non-Jew and perform the Sheva mitzvot, or to convert
and become Jewish.

Avi Feldblum


From: Richard Schultz <schultr@...>
Date: Mon, 14 Jul 2003 12:11:51 +0300
Subject: Danger and driving

In mail-jewish Vol. 40 #09, Eli Turkel <turkel@...> writes:

: In a recent shiur R. Zilberstein (Rabbi of Ramat Elchanan in Bnei Brak)
: defined danger as being greater than 16% chance of a serious injury.
: Hence, driving a car would certainly not fall into this category.  If
: anything we would apply "shomer pesaim hashem" that any ordinary
: activity is allowed.

I'm not sure I understand what this means.  Suppose we decide to play
a game of Russian Roulette with a six-shooter.  A third party agrees
to load the gun and that furthermore, 5% of the time, he won't put in a
bullet at all (using a random number generator or icosahedral die to
determine the 5%).  As I calculate it, the odds of injury on any given shot 
in this game are less than 16%.  Would R. Zilberstein allow us to play it?

					Richard Schultz

From: Avi Feldblum <mljewish@...>
Date: Mon, 14 Jul 2003 05:25:00 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Danger and driving

In Eli's earlier message, the term "ordinary activity" was used. While I
am not an expert on this area of halacha, it would seem to me that there
is a fundimental difference between driving a car, which I would
characterize as an "ordinary activity", where the danger is a side effect
of the activity, and Russian Roulette, where the only purpose (at least as
far as I can see) is the danger itself. As such I would tend to believe
that playing Russian Roulette is halachically forbidden, even if the
danger is less than the 16% quoted from R. Zilberstein.

Avi Feldblum


From: Carl Singer <csngr@...>
Date: Mon, 14 Jul 2003 06:01:21 -0400
Subject: Domesticated / Cultivated Animals / Plants

I'm not sure where (or why) we're going here but by definition a wild
animal or plant can survive in its natural habitat or it would die and
the species eventually would become extinct.

I remember visiting my cousin's moshav in Israel and he showed me the
orange grove that he had purchased from someone who hadn't paid their
water bill.  The first two rows of trees survived because of their
proximity to the neighboring (watered) grove, the rest died.  Animals,
even domesticated ones, may have some ability to forage, etc.  Plants
are dependent on their immediate environment.

Carl Singer


From: Shlomo & Syma Spiro <spiro@...>
Date: Thu, 03 Jul 2003 22:02:55 +0200
Subject: Re: kohanim not duchaning when yom tov occurs on shabbat

The reason I was taught is because Friday night is on'a time (time for
intimate relations) for talmide hakhamim. And in the morning they would
be tevule yom, that is in temple times they would be tame until evening.
And Ezra decreed that one who has relations with his wife requires
tevilah. So Kohanim who enjoyed relations on Friday night did not feel
pure enough to duchan. And in order not to embarrass those who
customarily duchened and suddenly did not, none of the kohanim went up
to duchen.

The mishneh berurah was against this practice, most likely because the
gemara ruled that we do not observe the decree of Ezra today.Ber. 22a


From: <gasher@...> (A. M. Goldstein)
Date: Mon, 14 Jul 2003 10:58:34 +0200
Subject: Levi-in-doubt pidyon

If there is a safek (doubt) about one's being of Levi lineage, should a
first-born boy (bachor) in this family line have a pidyon ha-ben
[redemption of first-born-male ceremony] ?  The first part can be
interpreted in either direction: one was a "practicing" Levi, but
something put that lineage in doubt; or, one was a "practicing" Yisrael,
but something suggested that he might be a Levi.

A. M. Goldstein


From: Shlomo & Syma Spiro <spiro@...>
Date: Thu, 03 Jul 2003 22:02:55 +0200
Subject: Re: Levites washing hands of kohanim

An allusion to this may be the gemara zevahim 19 that the kohanim washed
their hands and feet ( kiddush yadayim veraglayim, by grasping their
feet with their hands and washing them simultaneously). Now who opened
the spigots?  Very likely the Levites who were there to assist the
kohanim. (Unless, of course, the kohanim opened the spigots and then
grasped their feet while the water was running--a waste of precious
sanctified water)


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 13 Jul 2003 21:19:40 -0400
Subject: Masorites used computer methods 1000 years ago

A little subtlety on the earliest use of computers in Jewish studies
(v39n93, Nathan, Amitai, Avi etc).

As any programmer knows, a program has a life cycle one component of
which is specifications--that is, we lay down what the program output
should look like and the form in which we want the output.

Thus if we extend the concept of program to the program life cycle we
can safely state that the Masorites (the early Rabbinic authorities
before the Rishonim) were the first use of programming for Judaism.

The Masorites laid down in their marginal notes that forms of grammar
books and Konkordance. We can now formulate that they were trying to
preserve the accuracy of the Biblical text by giving us the output of
queries showing Biblical words and forms which occured very
infrequently. In a similar manner the early Biblical grammarians clearly
laid down the structure of grammatical tables as emanating from a 7
dimensional parameter model (mode, person, gender, plurality, tense,
suffixes, weak letters).

I have never seen the Masorites praised...but we owe them a great deal
of thanks both for preserving the Biblical text as well as for the
careful laying out of specifications on what grammar books and
Konkordances could look like. I think this point is often overlooked

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


From: Danny Skaist <danny@...>
Date: Mon, 14 Jul 2003 07:37:03 +0200
Subject: What to do with the nest

<<-- David
You seem to be saying that if I happen to walk by a bird's nest, I am
obligated to shoo the mother and take the eggs/chicks, even if I don't
want them and have no clue what to do with them.>>

After you make a kinyan on them (and complete the mitzvah) , put them
back and make them hefker, so that the next Jew who happens along can
also get the mitzvah.


[Do you have any source supporting the above or is this your own
chidush? Avi.] 


End of Volume 40 Issue 10