Volume 40 Number 12
                 Produced: Wed Jul 16  6:00:16 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Big Mitzvah
         [Michael Kahn]
Blessings on Food (2)
         [W. Baker, Jeanette Friedman]
Blessings on Korbanos (2)
         [Gershon Dubin, Dov Teichman]
Bnei Noach and Shabbat
         [Martin D. Stern]
BSR means (a)FLESH (b)animals-beast(c)Good news
         [Russell J Hendel]
Danger and driving
         [Immanuel Burton]
Eating before Davening
         [Yehonatan and Randy Chipman]
Halachic Organ Donation
         [Janice Gelb]
Levites washing hands of kohanim
Obtaining Organ Donor Cards in Israel
         [Lawrence Feldman]
         [Alan Rubin]


From: Michael Kahn <mi_kahn@...>
Date: Tue, 15 Jul 2003 12:53:24 -0400
Subject: Re: Big Mitzvah

>I'm wondering if anyone has any information on what one should do if
>one is faced with the possibility of being able to fulfill a "big"
>mitzvah only by *not* fulfilling a "small" mitzvah.

A man was once told by his doctor that it was dangerous for him to fast
more than once in a months time. His dilemma was if he should fast on
Tzom Gedalya, a rabbinic fast, and a 'smaller' mitzvah, even though by
doing this he would be unable to fast on Yom Kippur, or, should he eat
on Tzom Gedalya, so that he might fast on Yom Kippur. The Brisker Rov
told him to fast on Tzom Gedalya because when one is presented with a
mitzva now, one is only responsible for fulfilling that mitzvah. Loss of
another, later, mitzva does not negate the earlier mitzvas chiyuv. More
has been written on this, of course.

>Isn't staying healthy more important (i.e., a "bigger" mitzvot) than
>running a few minutes into shabbat?

Here we are entering into the famous issue of how to deal with a
conflict between a mitzva (Oneg Shabbos) and an aveira (Chillul Shabos.)
The Gemara famously tells us that in certain limited cases we perform
the mitzvah at the expense of violating an avairah. This is known as
Aseh Doche Lo Saseh, or, A positive commandment overrides a negative
prohibition, and is discussed at length at the beginning of tractate
Yevamos, among other places. However, it is clear, that we never perform
a mitzva at the expence of violating a sin, which carries kares or
corporal punishment such as chillul Shabbos! (One needs a rabbi to tell
you when hallachikly mitzvos are performed at the expense of violating
an aveira!)

Your question is a very god one. It is addressed repeatedly from the
Talmud and on!


From: W. Baker <wbaker@...>
Date: Tue, 15 Jul 2003 11:23:15 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Blessings on Food

Not a halachic or source based answer, but just a thought here.

There are 5 blessings for the vegetables and only 1 for the flesh or
animal foods.  From what I understand, the fist foods of humankind in
Gan Eden were all vegetable.  Eating meat only came later, perhaps after
the floods.  Could it be that in the eyes of Hashem the vegetables are
the basic foods and, therefore, are more carefully delineated in our
blessing system, while the animal foods are more of a concession to
human appetites, so get only a single blessing.  For the most part,
eating animal foods is more circumscribed and quite complicated as to
types of animals and the treatment of both the animal and the met that
comes from it(removing blood, unsing only certain parts, etc.  It may be
to call our attention to the importance of the plant foods, or to teach
us to respect these "original" perhaps, even preferred,foods

This kind of speculation comes from taking the slowest parshanut class I
know, We have spent 5 years of 5 hours a week moving from eleh shemot to
the beginning of the asarah debrot.  I must say, it is a grat way to be

Wendy Baker

From: <FriedmanJ@...> (Jeanette Friedman)
Date: Tue, 15 Jul 2003 14:07:06 EDT
Subject: Re: Blessings on Food

            Could it be that the bracha (blessing) for food grown on
      trees reminds us of the Forbidden Fruit of Eden, which grew on a
      tree, and is differentiated from food grown in/on the ground? In
      that case ground food requires a special bracha because when God
      exiled Adam from Eden He cursed the ground, saying we would have
      to labor very hard to get food from it. Making separate brachot on
      these foods mitigates the curse and, at the same time, reminds us
      of what once was and someday will be; a return to Eden and

Believe me, Chihal, it's harder to take care of fruit trees than it is
to take care of strawberries, watermelons and other fruits and veggies
in the ground. I speak from experience.



From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Tue, 15 Jul 2003 19:29:17 GMT
Subject: Blessings on Korbanos

From: Robert J. Tolchin <tolchin@...>
<<I once asked a rabbi why there were not more specific brachot for meat,
eggs, etc. I received the answer that in the time of the Temple there
were--meat was eaten as sacrifices and there were brachot that went
along with the sacrifices--and that we don't say these today because we
don't have the Temple. Anyone else ever heard this? Have a source for

There were definitely separate berachos for different korbonos.
However, these were birchos hamitzva (blessings for the performance of a
mitzva) and this did not obviate the need for a beracha on the food

This is similar to when, at the seder on Pesach, we make a beracha
hamotzi on the matza, then a birchas hamitzva al achilas matza.

So the question stills stands.


From: <DTnLA@...> (Dov Teichman)
Date: Wed, 16 Jul 2003 00:35:14 EDT
Subject: Re: Blessings on Korbanos

The last mishna in Pesachim alludes to "Birkas Hazevach". I'm sure there
are other better references, i just dont know them. But every Korban had
a bracha for its consumption, eg. asher kidshanu...al achilas shelamim.
Korban Pesach had one too. I'm sure there are more.

Dov Teichman


From: <MDSternM7@...> (Martin D. Stern)
Date: Tue, 15 Jul 2003 07:18:19 EDT
Subject: RE: Bnei Noach and Shabbat

    In a message dated 15/7/03, Rachel Swirsky <swirskyr@...> writes 
in reply to the comment from <Ggntor@...> (Yair):

<<  'To totally sidestep the question, it should be pointed out that if the
    person decides on becoming a ben Noach they are not permitted to observe

        Not so pashut. they do observe some semblance of shabbat.  They
do not avoid melachos the same way we do, but they do have a seuda and
even make a variation of kiddush.  Just thought I would set the record
straight. >>

    This is precisely the point; Bnei Noach are only forbidden to
abstain from melachot, not to acknowledge the sanctity of shabbat.

    It is possible that they might even be allowed to keep shabbat like
us so long as they make a point of doing melachot on Friday afternoon
and motsa'ei shabbat since, for them the day is not considered go from
evening to evening as we observe it.

    This procedure is one of those suggested to answer the problem of
the observance of the Torah by the Avot (Patriarchs) before it was
given, should they have then had the status of Bnei Noach.

Martin D. Stern
7, Hanover Gardens, Salford M7 4FQ, England
+44 (0) 161-740-2745
email <mdsternm7@...>


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Mon, 14 Jul 2003 22:29:17 -0400
Subject: BSR means (a)FLESH (b)animals-beast(c)Good news

David Prins in v40n3 raises the issue of whether the Hebrew word
Beth-Sin-Resh (BSR) can refer to FISH FLESH.  It seems worthwhile
examining this using LISTS of verses with the word BSR. Such lists can
be obtained from any Konkordance or from standard CD roms such as the
DAVKA or Bar-Ilon CD Roms.

David is certainly right that Nu11-18 does not prove this.  In fact
Nu11-18, the promise by God to give the people much FLESH, refers to
Nu11-31:32, the FLESH of quails, a type of BIRD.

But both Threni03-04 and Job33-21 contrast FLESH and BONES. And in fact
Job41-15 speaks about the FLESH of the Leviathan (The "paragraph" starts
in Job40-25:26 which clearly refers to the Leviathan as a fish-- "will
you catch the Leviathan with a fishhook")

The Conclusion: It seems that the Hebrew root B-S-R can EITHER refer to
(a) (any type of) FLESH (including Fish flesh) OR (b) to SPECIES of
animals, birds and beasts (which in contrast to insects have flesh).

We have left to analyze why FLESH can refer to ANIMAL species but not to
FISH species even though Fish have FLESH. I would suggest that we can
answer this enigma using the 3rd meaning of the root B-S-R which can

It would seem that a GOOD NEWS is like a GOOD CATCH or a GOOD HUNT
something that ROAMING creatures do (animals birds and beasts). By
contrast PLANTS and FISH are confined to where they can obtain food and
hence do not illustrate the GOOD CATCH theme.

In passing we should note that Hebrew semantics differs from English
semantics: In English the word LIFE refers to plants and insects as well
as animals, fish, birds In Hebrew plants are never called LIFE.

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


From: Immanuel Burton <IBURTON@...>
Date: Tue, 15 Jul 2003 11:27:06 +0100
Subject: Danger and driving

Seeing as driving is in itself not a dangerous activity, I am surprised
that there is even a suggestion that it should be banned on account of
the accident rate.  As my father has often said, accidents do not happen
- they are caused.

Are there any Halachic condemnations of dangerous practices while
driving, e.g. driving while talking on a mobile/cell phone, not wearing
a seat belt, driving when tired, driving under the influence of alcohol
or drugs, not causing a dangerous obstruction of the highway, etc?

Immanuel Burton.


From: Yehonatan and Randy Chipman <yonarand@...>
Date: Tue, 15 Jul 2003 21:04:44 +0300
Subject: Re: Eating before Davening

In MJ v40n08, Dov Teichman <DTnLA@...> wrote:

<<The source in Shulchan Aruch OH 89:3, Biur Halacha, says that a weak
person should pray first, and then eat, and then go to shul to hear
kadish, barchu, kedusha, etc.  I never understood this properly because
in what case then does the regular halacha that a weak person may eat
before davening apply? Unless it applies to an even sicker person who
cannot wait at all, not even to
pray privately, and must eat immediately.>>

My response to this discussion is one line: "puk hazei mah de-ama
dabra."  That is, "go see what the people do": in other words, how do
people (meaning, seriosu, committed Jews) behave in practice.  There is
a well-established minhag among many good Jews to eat something --
usually cake and coffee or the like -- before going to shul on Shabbat.
This is particularly so in places where shul doesn't start until 8:45 or
9:00 and lasts close to three hours.  This minhag is common among many
old-time yekkes, Habad, other Hasidim, etc.-- both healthy and "weak."

   Yehonatan Chipman


From: Janice Gelb <j_gelb@...>
Date: Tue, 15 Jul 2003 09:54:13 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: Halachic Organ Donation

Charlie Hafner <chafner@...> writes:
> The one I'm most interested in is: If one considers (apparently Rav
> Elyoshuv and others) presence of heartbeat as criteria for life/death,
> not "brain death" , is there any objection or restriction to donate
> organs after cessation of heartbeat. Obviously,organs donated after
> heart activity ends are not as optimal, but I understand with
> technology improvements, they're still worth harvesting.

I actually just researched this topic for a friend. I found a collection
of resources on a web site from the Halakhic Organ Donor Association at

I especially suggest reading the article from the Jewish Law Journal on
"brain death" at http://www.jlaw.com/Articles/brain.html



From: <rubin20@...>
Date: Tue, 15 Jul 2003 10:49:53 -0400
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)

It could just as well have been his fellow cohain, or one hand/foot at a
time, leaving the other hand free to open and shut the spout.


From: Lawrence Feldman <lpf1836@...>
Date: Tue, 15 Jul 2003 06:09:21 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Obtaining Organ Donor Cards in Israel

Organ donor cards in Israel may be obtained from Temurot, the Movement
for Religious Zionist Renewal, by e-mailing them at
<temurot@...> Temurot also publishes a Hebrew-language
pamphlet on the "Halachic Importance of Organ Donation," written by Rav
Ariel Picard.

Lawrence Feldman


From: alan.rubin (Alan Rubin)
Date: Tue, 15 Jul 2003 17:09 +0100 (BST)
Subject: Re: Revadim

I have had a look at the new revadim site www.talmud-revadim.co.il which
I found very interesting though my PC seems to have had some problems
with it.

Having google searched which pulled up an article in Haaretz and some
postings on the aishdaas list I have become aware that there is some
controvery about this technique.

I would be grateful for a non-partisan (if possible) account of what is
going on and the personalities involved


[I look forward to hearing a non-partisan account of the controversy
involved, and would be happy to host discussion on the list of it's
value as a teaching tool etc. I am not sure to what extent I would allow
a discussion of the "personalities" involved. I will say clearly that
the people involved, as well as the people they looked to for guidance,
are shomrei Torah and yirea shomayim (followers of Torah and Halacha and
people with proper fear of Heaven). The statements from some who are
quoted in the Ha'Aretz article that indicate otherwise are simply and
totally false. I will end my partisan account with that statement. Avi


End of Volume 40 Issue 12