Volume 40 Number 19
                 Produced: Thu Jul 24  4:30:50 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

B'racha on food grown in pots
         [Yaakov Fogelman]
Cities of Refuge
Driving and Danger (2)
         [Yair Horowitz, Frank Silbermann]
Kedusha deSidra
         [Yehonatan Chipman]
Levi-in-doubt pidyon
         [Raphi Cohen]
A LIST of BIG vs SMALL Commandments conflicts
         [Russell J Hendel]
"The Rebbe" (2)
         [Mark Symons, Haim Snyder]
Who is the Rebbe
         [Gilad Gevaryahu]


From: Yaakov Fogelman <top@...>
Date: Tue, 22 Jul 2003 12:03:59 +0200
Subject: Re: B'racha on food grown in pots

"Chips" reports that some rabbis rule that one makes "shehakol" on
fruits and vegetables grown in potted plants, e.g. on one's roof garden;
does a hole in the bottom of the pot affect that ruling? May one use for
the 4 species, on Sukkot, those so grown (on my Jewish 1/4 roof, I have
perhaps the only esrog tree inside a sukkah!)? I once heard, in the name
of the Vilna Gaon, that the blessing "shehakol" applies not only to a
food which has no more specific blessing, but to any such bodily
pleasure- e.g. air conditioning or a beautiful breeze (possibly sexual
pleasure too). Does anyone know the source for this view?

Jonathen Groner's claim that the precedent of Ps. 104:14 inspired the
language of the blessing "hamotzei lechem min haaretz" is quite
reasonable, but it just pushes the question back to our great religious
Zionist king, David- why did he choose "haaretz", rather than "Haadama"?
Thus we need the Vilna Gaon's explanation, that it links all human
sustenance to how the Jews treat, and live in, the Land of Israel, as
explicated in Avot.


From: <chips@...>
Date: Mon, 21 Jul 2003 22:30:20 -0700
Subject: Cities of Refuge

Anyone familiar with a commentator(s) saying that Macheneh Levy 
served as Orei Miklot ?



From: <Ggntor@...> (Yair Horowitz)
Date: Tue, 22 Jul 2003 08:42:02 EDT
Subject: Driving and Danger

>The Rav (Rabbi Dr Joseph B Soloveitchick) once personally confirmed to
>me (in response to a question that I asked him individually after shiur)
>that accidental killing in a speeding car is classified as NEAR-WILLFUL
>murder (2nd degree murder--in Jewish law there are 5 degrees)

>There are legal consequences to this - If I kill someone in a speeding
>car and their relative kills me (in revenge) then there is no death
>penalty. I also do not go to the refuge cities.

>It IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWS from this that violating the speed limit is a
>direct violation of THOU SHALL NOT KILL (and this is true whether you
>kill someone or not).

I think there might be a slight error in your conclusion that it
"immediately follows that violating the speed limit is a direct
violation of thou shall not kill." I think it immediately follows that
if you kill someone it is a direct violation of thou shall not kill. Is
throwing a stone safely out my window into a street near-willful murder?
Although I have not checked Rambam, I presume that it is not. It seems
to me that all depends on the safety of the action, and on what the
probablility that your action would result in a death was. Thus, as I
believe that it can be shown that speed limits were not enacted for
safety reasons (rather due to gas shortages), I think that there is a
decent argument that speeding within a safe range is halachically

Yair Horowitz

From: Frank Silbermann <fs@...>
Date: Tue, 22 Jul 2003 06:50:02 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Driving and Danger

I think one has to distinguish between "speeding" versus "violating the
speed limit."  Rav. Soloveitchick was referring to driving at an unsafe
speed.  Violating the speed limit may or may not involve this.

For example, in the 1970s the speed limits on highways were reduced to
55mph, even in Arizona (!), as a fuel-saving measure.  Some localities
lower speed limits unnecessarily to raise revenue from speeding tickets.
So violating the speed limit may or may not involve driving at an unsafe
speed, and therefore the comparison to near-willful murder does not
always apply.


From: Yehonatan Chipman <yonarand@...>
Date: Tue, 22 Jul 2003 12:53:59 +0300
Subject: Re:  Kedusha deSidra

In MJ v40 n17, Martin D. Stern wrote:

    <<... Incidentally, it occurred to me that the substitution of the
verse 'HaShem yimlokh le'olam va'ed' for 'Yimlokh HaShem le'olaam,
Elokayikh Tsion ledor vador, Hallelukah" may have had a similar
[anti-Christian polemic] motivation since the verse from Tehillim also
has three Divine names and might have been subject to similar heretical
interpretation. Has anyone come across it?>>

    I don't know a source for what he's looking for, but I once heard
something in the name of Rav Soloveitchik, suggesting that "Hashem
Yimlokh..." (Exod 15:18) and "Yimlokh Hashem..." (Ps 146:10) are in some
sense, even halakhically speaking, interchangable, as both represent the
concept of Malkhut (Divine kingship).  This substitution appears, not
only in Kedusha de-Sidra, but also in Kedusha de-Yeshiva.  Namely, he
argues that the verse "Hashem Yimlokh le'olam vaed" at the very end of
"Emet va-yatziv" is seen as complementing "Kadish" and "Barukh" in
"Birkat Yotzer," since both are within the overall rubric of the
blessings of Shema.

    (This idea appears in a collection of the Rav's oral teachings about
the Siddur collected by Rav Isaiah Wohlegemuth which was at the time
being prepared for press.  I don't know whether it was ever in fact

    Yehonatan Chipman


From: Raphi Cohen <raphi@...>
Date: Tue, 22 Jul 2003 03:25:37 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Levi-in-doubt pidyon

Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...> asked:

>> Thank you for sharing this impressive list of poskim.  I have one
>> question that perhaps is addressed in some of the sources you cite:
>> Does/when does the fact that we are nowadays not definitely sure of
>> who is or is not a kohen, factor into the other doubts?

You bet it is addressed! It is such a major question that because of it
the Beracha was changed from "Lifdot et Haben" to "Al Pidyon Haben". We
now use a generic formula (which can be understood as if we blessed
Hashem for giving us a mitzvah) rather than a specific formula (which
would imply that we bless Hashem for the mitzvah we are doing now),
because we are not sure the Cohen is a real Cohen. My understanding is
that those who bless "Al Mitzvat Tzitzit" on a tallit katan do it for
the same reason, because they are not sure that there is a sufficient
shiur to bless "Leit'atef Betzitzit".

The requirements to be Cohen Meyuchas or Vadai (certain) are extremely
stringent, and the Hazakah is that today no Cohen is. See Rambam
(Issurei Biah 20) and the Shulchan Aruch (Even Haezer 3). The number of
major poskim who deal with this point is larger than I can quote here.

This is not a vain Humra. Some suggest to be particular in the choice of
the Cohen, suggesting some family names (Kahana, Rappaport, others) are
strong indicators. The Gaon miVilna himself was as particular as to make
several pidyonim for himself as an adult (one of them with Mahara"m
Rappaport Hacohen).

So, your question still stands. How can we still be blessing (even a
generic blessing) when the Cohen is only a Cohen Hazakah? The answer
brought by poskim (Sefer Vatikim Yore Deah 305) is that we follow the
majority of cases: as most Cohanim are Kosher, we assume that the Cohen
we choose for this specific first-born is Kosher and therefore the
pidyon can take place with a blessing and the ceremony is valid.

How comes we suddenly follow the majority of cases in Monetary Laws? The
reason to this is that the father is required in any case to give the 5
coins to a Cohen, therefore he cannot pretend that no Cohen in the world
is Kosher enough to claim his coins.

Some have suggested particular Hiddurim, like looking for a Cohen who is
also married to a Bat Cohen, so that if he is finally found to be safek,
he still can claim that he took the money in the name of his wife's
family, and the ceremony is still valid (see Shu"t Chatam Sofer
25). Others have suggested to have the intention to give the 5 coins to
all the Cohanim Vadayim in the world wherever thay are, and then give
the money to any Cohen in their name (Minchat Chinuch 357), but Imre
Bina says that this system dsqualifies the pidyon, because the Cohanim
Vadayim have no way to finally get the money.

>> And, BTW, I never disagreed that, as you write, "When in doubt, a
>> posek should be asked to judge"

I hope this was never implied in my reply. If it sounded so, I publicly
apologize. You used the formula "Of course, CYLOR", and I used this one.

> And certainly not with "May we only hear of smachot."


Raphi Cohen


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Mon, 28 Jul 2003 19:36:31 -0400
Subject: A LIST of BIG vs SMALL Commandments conflicts

The question of big vs small mitzvahs has come up in several issues
(v40n12-16). I think it would be better to formulate this as conflicts
between mitzvahs (rather than qualifying it as conflicts between big and
small mitzvahs).

There are actually several examples covered in the Talmud and SA(Code of
Jewish law). In deciding the issues the terms BIG and SMALL are not
used--rather some attribute is used. Allow me to list some examples (Two
of which were already referenced)

It will emerge from this list of examples that the real question is WHAT
Conceptually the terms BIG and SMALL mean ABSOLUTELY big and small; it
seems that the proper perspective is that every mitzvah has certain
attributes with respect to which it is big and other attributes with
respect to which it is small Here is the partial list

(a) Buying wine or Chanukah candles (ISSUE: Proclaiming the
miracle)(Rambam Chanukah 4:13)

(b) Listening to ones parents vs returning lost articles (ISSUE: number
of Biblical commandments involved (returning lost articles involves 2
commandments while honoring ones parents involves only 1--Rambam laws of
Theft and Lost 11:19)

(c) CASE: Someone asked you to watch leavened products till they come
back. It is however Passover Eve. If you do nothing the product will
become worthless--sothe law of returning lost articles is applicable).If
you sell it early (and get a good price) you will be violating the law
of watching entrusted articles.(ISSUE: Responsibility of each Contract
participant to worry about losses; cf Rambam Laws of Watched and Lent
articles 7:5 but contrast Inheritance 11:3!!)

(d) CASE: You live in a rural area--you have a choice of going to a
nearby towns with either ONLY Shofar blowing or ONLY Musaf davening in a
minyan. Which do you do (ISSUE: Biblical vs Rabbinic Shofar 3:13)

(e) Fasting on Zom Gedalia vs Yom Kippur (ISSUE: which mitzvah comes
first)(Cited in a previous issue of mljewish--However the ISSUE:BIBLICAL
vs RABBINIC approach seems to also have merit-- see Rambam Chanukah 4:13
Shofar 3:13--thus I would question if the Chafetz Chaiims decision to
observe Zom Gedaliah was absolute or based on some special circumstance)

(b) Eating Kosher vs Observing Shabbath(ISSUE: bodily affected
mitzvoth-cited in a previous issue--again the issue of Capital offenses
vs ordinary offenses seems to have merit--it therefore appears to me
that the citation made in a previous issue must have had special

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


From: Mark Symons <msymons@...>
Subject: RE: "The Rebbe"

On a bit of a tangent to this, why is it that we refer to "The Rambam",
"The Ibn Ezra", "The Maharal", whereas Rashi and Ramban, for example,
don't get the definite article?

Mark Symons
From: <Haim.Snyder@...> (Haim Snyder)
Date: Tue, 22 Jul 2003 12:26:32 +0300
Subject: Re: "The Rebbe"

In Volume 40 # 18, the moderator added this to Bob Tolchin's response:
[From a practical perspective, I agree with R. Chipman. Where possible
(and I remember) when people use such language in postings, I ask that
you put the detailed reference in paranthesis the first time you use it,
e.g. the Rebbe (Lubavitch), the Rav (Soloveichik) etc. I note that
Russel has been doing that since the email from R. Chipman. Mod.]

Please be advised that in Israel, the term "the Rav" is generally a
reference to Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak Hacohen Kook and Americans have to be
careful to stipulate that they're talking about Rav Soloveichik when
they use the term.

Haim Shalom Snyder


From: <Gevaryahu@...> (Gilad Gevaryahu)
Date: Tue, 22 Jul 2003 09:20:30 EDT
Subject: Who is the Rebbe

Martin D Stern (MJv40n17) asserted:

<<If Yehonatan Chipman is being so precise he should not call Rabbenu
Hakadosh Rav Yehudah Hanasi but Rabbi Yehudah Hanasi. There is a general
principle of 'Gadol meiRav Rabbi, vegadol mei Rabbi Rabban, vegadol
meiRabban shemo' which may be loosely translated that 'the rabbinic
titles in ascending order of stature are Rav, Rabbi, Rabban, but the
greatest Sages (like Hillel) need no title at all'.>>

Titles change with passage of time and within various groups. Rav or
Ha'Rav meant Rabbi Kook amongst the Zionists in the early part of the
century, and this very title meant Rabbi JB Soloveichick among YU
graduates in the middle to the late parts of the 20th century. Some use
the title Rav even today. For Merkaz Harav Yeshiva student even today it
will mean Rabbi Kook, whereas in YU environs it will mean Rabbi
Soloveichick. In my shul "Rav" means the Mora deAtra of the shul.
Therefore, I see no offense for Lubavich Chassidim to call their late
Rabbi as "The Rebbe." But common sense will suggest that for outside
these groups a full name should be use to avoid confusion.

Gilad J. Gevaryahu


End of Volume 40 Issue 19