Volume 40 Number 14
                 Produced: Thu Jul 17  5:30:42 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Bar-Ilan four-day course on Revadim method
         [Lawrence Feldman]
Big Mitzvah (3)
         [Akiva Miller, Gil Student, <JoshHoff@...>]
Blessings on Korbanos
         [Reuben Rudman]
         [I.H Fox]
Danger and driving (2)
         [Karen, Akiva Wolff]
Levites washing hands of kohanim
         [Dov Teichman]
Little Red Wagon and Shabbat
         [Leah Aharoni]
Shiluach Haken (3)
         [Ira Bauman, Meir Possenheimer, Rabbi Y. H. Henkin]


From: Lawrence Feldman <lpf1836@...>
Date: Wed, 16 Jul 2003 09:28:59 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Bar-Ilan four-day course on Revadim method

Bar-Ilan is offering a four-day course ("hishtalmut") on the Revadim
method, beginning July 27, from 8:30 - 3:30. The course is free, other
than a small registration fee. (03) 531-8445 for further information.

Lawrence Feldman


From: <kennethgmiller@...> (Akiva Miller)
Date: Wed, 16 Jul 2003 07:59:44 -0400
Subject: Re: Big Mitzvah

Yitzchak Moran asked <<< This topic of "big" vs. "small" mitzvot has
gotten me to wondering: it is well known that one may break a mitzvah in
order to save a life. Similarly, 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. >>>

Short answer: It can be very unclear which is a "big" mitzvah, and which
is "small".

One of my favorite stories of the Chofetz Chaim goes like this. (Note: I
heard this once, and have no sources or documentation. If anyone can
supply any, I'd appreciate it.)

A Jewish soldier was drafted into the Russian army, and was given the
choice between two units. In one he'd be able to eat only kosher food,
but have to violate Shabbos. In the other, he could keep Shabbos, but
would have to eat treif. He asked the Chofetz Chaim what to do.

(To me, the choice was obvious. Shabbos incurs the death penalty, so it
is clearly the bigger mitzvah of the two.)

The Chofetz Chaim told him: If you have to break Shabbos this week,
okay, maybe next week you'll be able to keep it. You'll get another
chance. But once you eat the treif, it becomes part of your body and you
can never get rid of it totally. Go to the unit where you can eat

Akiva Miller

From: Gil Student <gil_student@...>
Date: Wed, 16 Jul 2003 11:32:05 -0400
Subject: Re: Big Mitzvah

Michael Kahn wrote:
>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.

Interesting.  The Sdei Chemed discusses this very questions and brings
opinions on both sides.  The Netziv discusses a related question in his
Herchev Davar to, I think, Bamidbar 17:12 and concludes that if the
second violation will be definite then one should opt for the lesser
violation, in this case eating on Tzom Gedalya.  But if the second
violation will not be definite then one should opt for the second
violation, in this case eating on Yom Kippur. The Toras HaYoledes
discusses this regarding an abortion.  If there is a possibility that an
abortion will be halachically required and the fetus is within the first
forty days (which, according to many, is a lesser violation), should the
mother have the abortion then or wait until the danger is definite even
though the violation will be greater?  He brings all the relevant

Gil Student

From: <JoshHoff@...>
Date: Wed, 16 Jul 2003 10:58:54 EDT
Subject: Re: Big Mitzvah

There is a teshuvah of the Radbaz concerning a person in prison who
asked a somewhat similar question( I forgot the exact case) and the
Radbaz told him to do the first mitzvah that came his way. I think that
some poskim disagree.


From: Reuben Rudman <rudman@...>
Date: Thu, 17 Jul 2003 10:54:07 -0400
Subject: Re: Blessings on Korbanos

In MJ40#12, Dov Teichman writes: 
> I'm sure there are other better references, I just dont know them. But
> every Korban had a bracha for its consumption...

Interestingly, yesterday's Daf Yomi has just the reference for this.

Zevachim 37a, discusses if the bracha for a zevach (the Chagiga, an
edible korban) covers the korban Pesach or vice versa.  Rashi (s.v.
Bireich birkas haPesach...) gives the text for the two brachos, based on
a Tosefta in Pesachim.  The text includes the phrase ...le'e'chol es
haPesach (or haZevach).  This shows that this was the bracha for
actually eating the meat and not for preparing it.

On the other hand, the Aruch HaShulchan Ha'asid, in Siman 192, Paragraph
4, based on the Rambam, gives the text as "...al achilas haPesach (and
HaZevach).  He specifically states the bracha is said just prior to the
eating of the korban.  So, in spite of the difference in the texts of
the bracha, it is the bracha for the eating of the korban (by the way,
the Chagiga is eaten first).  The difference in the text of the b'racha
is a machlokes Rishonim (difference of Halachic opinion between the
early commentators on the Talmud) and is discussed in a famous Rosh at
the beginning of Pesachim (Chapter 1, Paragraph 10 in the Rosh on
Pesachim 6a). Details are beyond the scope of this particular topic.

Reuben Rudman 


From: I.H Fox <ilan_25@...>
Date: Wed, 16 Jul 2003 11:18:25 +0000
Subject: Re: Conversions

Was there a posek that disagreed with the Igrot Moshe the question of
non orthodox convertions? I am refering to a Hashash in a case of a
conservative convert with a mila and tvila that although he will not
marry a jew we will no allow him to work on shabos. this question is
relvant when we interpert kabalt hamitzvot like the ramban and not like
all contemporary poskim


From: <Minikar30@...> (Karen)
Date: Wed, 16 Jul 2003 14:04:11 EDT
Subject: Re: Danger and driving

"From: Immanuel Burton <IBURTON@...>

      "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?"'

I'm not sure about specifics, but first of all, there's dinah demalchuta
dinah--that we follow the rules of the country we live in (unless they
conflict with Torah, of course) and that goes for speeding, talking on
cellular phones, driving under the influence, etc. Second, it is
extremely important to be kadosh (holy) and to take care of
ourselves--we must not put ourselves into potentially life-threatening
situations. One way to look at it is that we have no right to injure our
bodies or put them into danger, as they aren't our own that we can
choose to mess up...As far as driving itself goes, it is a pretty
widespread, accepted thing, and as high as numbers of accidents are, we
must consider the percentage of people who do drive and the necessity of
it. Given that driving itself is an accepted practice, we look at the
examples you gave--doing something like not wearing a seatbelt or
driving under the influence, that very significantly increases the risk,
probably isn't the best idea halachically, because they are so risky and


From: Akiva Wolff <wolff@...>
Date: Thu, 17 Jul 2003 09:21:48 +0200
Subject: Re: Danger and driving

>    No one has mentioned that the danger of an accident is at least in
> part a function of the caution exercised by the driver himself.
> Virtually every serious accident is caused by reckless or foolish
> behavior on the part of one driver or another.  Hence, one can reduce
> the danger to oneself and one's passengers by always following the rules
> of road safety (which includes proper maintenance of one's car, not
> drinking and driving, etc.).  I recently had cause to see the tragic
> results of this from close up.  Of course, there is always the danger
> that one may be the victim of a careless and irresponsible driver, of
> whom there are many on the roads, certainly here in Israel, but by
> driving safely one can greatly reduce the danger of fatal accident to
> oneself -- in my guess-timate, by around 50%.

All of this reminds me of the old 'joke' - what's the most dangerous
part of an automobile? - the nut behind the wheel.

Certainly much of the cause of these tragedies is human error. The
problem is, human error is pretty common. There are always going to be
'bad' drivers on the road. In fact, almost every driver, no matter how
competent, has his weak moments when he's very tired, or upset about
something, or had a little too much to drink and yet he feels he has no
choice but to to drive to someplace he needs to be. These people are
endangering lives.

I recently read a study on anger (done in the U.S.) that showed that the
most common way men deal with 'letting off steam' when they're enraged
is to get in their car and go driving. There are certainly worse ways to
let off steam, but it doesn't make me feel any safer on the roads.

Given the above, is there room for halachic consideration on whether to
use an automobile-based transportation system when there are safer (and
also, less expensive and less polluting) alternatives out there? Should
a Jewish state invest more of it's transportation budget (if such a
thing still exists) on improving public transportation or on the
infrastructure for an automobile-based system?

It seems that at least one major halachic authority (the Steipler Gaon)
believed that this was worthy of consideration.


From: <DTnLA@...> (Dov Teichman)
Date: Tue, 15 Jul 2003 23:55:21 EDT
Subject: Re: Levites washing hands of kohanim

Shlomo &Syma Spiro <spiro@...> writes:

      <<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 was most likely the latter.  I don't think the Gemara would leave out
such a significant detail of the daily routine in the Bais Hamikdash.
Aside from that, I think that being that the Kiyor was in the Ezras
Cohahim, I dont think Leviim were even allowed there.  And also, the
Rambam writes what the duties of a Levi were and nowhere does he include
opening spigots or the like.

Dov Teichman


From: Leah Aharoni <leah25@...>
Date: Thu, 17 Jul 2003 00:26:04 +0200
Subject: Little Red Wagon and Shabbat

Re Alan Friendenberg's post

I think this case is different, since there is no issur of hotzaa
mereshut lereshut on Yom Tov, as opposed to Shabbat.



From: <Yisyis@...> (Ira Bauman)
Date: Wed, 16 Jul 2003 09:37:39 EDT
Subject: Re: Shiluach Haken

      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....

Baruch shekivanta!  During this past month, the Bergen Record had an
article where fish conservationalists actually made this point and are
trying to have throwback policies for sport fishermen changed.  

Ira Bauman

From: Meir Possenheimer <meir@...>
Date: Thu, 17 Jul 2003 10:03:09 +0100
Subject: Re: Shiluach Haken

> Subject: RE: Shiluach Hakan (sic)

In the light of all the correspondence on the above topic, may I
respectfully point out that the Mitzvah is "shiluach hakane", and not as

From: Rabbi Y. H. Henkin <henkin@...>
Date: Thu, 17 Jul 2003 09:42:24 +0200
Subject: Shiluach Haken

    See Bnei Banim, vol. 3, maamar 5 (pp. 194-6), citing inter alia Sefer
haMitzvot Lo Taaseh 406 "b'shaat tzeidah," and Chidushei haRaran on
Chulin 139a,
     The views of rishonim take precendence over those of achronim, but
most of the latter in any case agree with the rishonim on this issue. The
Netziv in Meromei Sadeh writes that "such is the widespread custom," not
to shoo away the mother or take the eggs unless one intends to use them.

    With Torah blessings,
    Rabbi Yehuda Henkin 


End of Volume 40 Issue 14