Volume 41 Number 53
                 Produced: Tue Dec 23  5:52:58 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Chanuka Miracle 8 Days Or 7?
         [Mark Symons]
Chanukah - the "inside" can also be found "outside"
         [Ezriel Krumbein]
Citing Saadyah Gaon
         [Martin Stern]
Michael Berg Translation of Zohar
         [Stan Tenen]
Minyan and Nusach
         [Martin Stern]
Prayer when Time is Short
         [Joseph I. Lauer]
Saying Tachnun on Yud Tes and Kof Kislev
         [Gershon Dubin]
Test of Faith (2)
         [Yehoshua Kahan, Abie Zayit]
Website for Mosad Harav Kook publishers
         [Michael Kahn]


From: Mark Symons <msymons@...>
Date: Tue, 23 Dec 2003 02:31:10 +1100
Subject: Chanuka Miracle 8 Days Or 7?

I was reading the commentary on Tefila, "Baruch Sheamar", by Baruch
Halevy Epstein (the author of Torah Temima), where (in his commentary on
Al HaNissim) he addresses the question as to why do we not celebrate
only 7 days chanuka (because if there was enough pure oil for only one
day, yet it lasted for 8 days, then the miracle was that it lasted only
7 extra days).  He answers by quoting one of the geonim who has a
different version of the relevant gemara, namely that there was not
enough oil EVEN for one day, yet it lasted 8 days, which thus gives an 8
day miracle.

Another possible, more pragmatic answer occurred to me, ie that if the
chag were to last only 7 days, then the menorah that would be used would
be a 7-branched one, thus resembling the menorah of the temple. To avoid
this, the Chachamim instituted an 8 day chag, so that the menorah would
be an 8-branched one.

Any comments?

Mark Symons
Melbourne, Australia


From: Ezriel Krumbein <ezsurf@...>
Date: Sun, 21 Dec 2003 21:42:50 -0800
Subject: Re: Chanukah - the "inside" can also be found "outside"

>The Sfas Emes learns that one of the reasons why we light Chanuka licht
>indoors nowadays instead of outdoors is that in our time, the "outside"
>has come "inside".... meaning that outside influences have entered our
>home and thus we can do the mitzva just as well inside the house.

>That got me to thinking that in our time there could be an opposite
>effect at work also... the "inside" can also be found "outside" to an
>extent much greater than in the past.  By this I mean that one can
>sometimes glimse references to Orthodox Judaism in the most unexpected
>areas of popular culture recently.  One example that comes to mind is
>Carlos Santana saying "Kadosh Kadosh Kadosh" while accepting an award a
>few years ago. Two other examples that I noticed just in the last week
>were a reference to the Tshuva movement in the spoof newspaper "The
>Onion", and a reference to Kaballah on Saturday Night Live.

Unfortunately your examples only reinforce the Sfas Emes's point.
Parodies of Judaism hardly help the cause of true Orthodox Judaism nor
are they signs of spiritually with real content.  This is like saying
that American society must now be health conscience because there are a
lot of TV shows about doctors and hospitals.

Kol Tov


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, 21 Dec 2003 20:56:35 +0000
Subject: Re: Citing Saadyah Gaon

on 21/12/03 3:54 am, Leo Koppel <wallyut@...> wrote:

> Does anyone have correct source details for the following assertion from
> Saadyah Gaon?
> "Our nation is only a nation through its Torah"

Emunot veDeot 3,7

Martin Stern

[same reply from Gil Student <gil_student@...>. Mod.]


From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Mon, 22 Dec 2003 07:57:30 -0500
Subject: Re: Michael Berg Translation of Zohar

>Michael Berg is one of the majors leaders of the Kabbalah Centre "cult."
>My rav has poskened that his works may not be read.

Berg, et al., really are running a business.  It's cult-like, because
they take a lot of money, and then advise people to just stare at the
covers of the books they sell -- and other such silliness.  And of
course, their heavily hyped "kabbalah water" has risen to such levels of
public view that it has been ridiculed in popular science journals (such
as New Scientist).

However, while Berg is a problem, the Ba'al haSulam is not a problem.
Instead of relying on Berg as a source, it would be far better to go to
the B'nei Baruch website, which is run by descendents of R. Yehuda
Ashlag (the Ba'al haSulam).  <www.kabbalah.info>

Currently, I'm working from one of the commentaries on Zohar by the
Ba'al haSulam, and have found it to be clear, and spot-on in its meaning
-- when analyzed via the geometric metaphor and methods that I make used
of (based on B'reshit).

The Ba'al haSulam's explanation of the birth of the letters, tzimtzum,
et al., is excellent.  (But I defy anyone to make sense of it without
thinking "geometry", in which case it becomes as clear as an old TV
whose horizontal hold has just snapped in and locked in a clear

If you'd like to discuss this, please respond on or off list.

Happy Chanukah.
Meru Foundation   http://www.meru.org   <meru1@...>
POB 503, Sharon, MA 02067 USA   Voice: 781-784-8902  eFax: 253-663-9273


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, 21 Dec 2003 09:05:22 +0000
Subject: Re: Minyan and Nusach

> However, several years ago, the weekday minchah assembled at work had
> three aveilim.  One was Lubavitch and when it was his turn for the amud,
> he davened nusach ari even though he was the only one in the minyan to
> do so.  I questioned him and he said his Lubavitch dayan told him that
> he is permitted to do so even if he is the only one davening that
> nusach.  I would be somewhat suspicious of both of these
> incidents--yours and mine.

   Mr Wise does not make it clear if this minyan was an ad hoc gathering
or a regular fixture. If the former there can be no objection to any
sheliach tsibbur using whatever nusach he wishes. However, if it were
the latter and a certain nusach had always been used, then nobody is
allowed to change it under any circumstances as was ruled by the Maharil
(Hilchot Yom Hakippurim 21, Machon Yerushalayim edition p. 339) who is
one of the main authorities on which Minhag Ashkenaz is based. He goes
so far as to state "one may not change a local custom in any way even as
regards the customary tunes" The story is then quoted of how he was
sheliach tsibbur in Regensburg on Yom Kippur one year and said an extra
selichah during Mussaf though the custom there was not to say that
particular one. A few days later his daughter died and he considered
this to be a punishment for his having made that change in the custom in

  So, if the gentleman mentioned were not prepared to use the fixed
nusach of the minyan he should not be allowed to be sheliach tsibbur
and, should he try to take over despite this, the others should walk out
to prevent him from so doing.

Martin Stern


From: Joseph I. Lauer <josephlauer@...>
Date: Sun, 21 Dec 2003 20:08:19 -0500
Subject: Prayer when Time is Short

    For historical reasons I found one of the items in R. Yonatan
Chipman's "Prayer when Time is Short" (MJ 41:47) to be most interesting.

    In Point 3 R. Yonatan refers to the "Siddur Tzahal (Nusah Ahid),
published in Israel some years ago specifically for the use of soldiers,
under the aegis of Rav Shlomo Goren ztz"l," and states that "the main
'short cut' [he] remember[s] was: 1) no Kedusha de-Yeshiva (i.e. the
middle part of Yotzer Hara [sic], which talks about the angels reciting
Kedusha -- this can be omitted because some rishonim say one shouldn't
say it anyway without a minyan, e.g. Rambam and Siddur Rav Saadya

    The reason I found this interesting is that I heard long ago of a
similar situation occurring around World War II when a Siddur was
prepared for Jewish service personnel in the United States armed forces
and it was suggested that the davening between Bor'chu and the Amidah
for Shacharis be shortened for emergencies situations in the manner
apparently later adopted by the IDF (although it is unclear to me if the
adoption by the IDF was for everyday purposes or only for emergency

    I heard that the suggestion was rejected by the Orthodox rabbis
consulted on the project despite the precedent of the early Siddurim
(cited by R. Yonatan) which differentiated between the Tefillas
ha-Yachid of Shacharis, which did not contain the Kedusha d'Yotzra and
associated paragraphs, and the Tefillos of the Tzibbur, which contained
the Kedusha d'Yotzra and associated paragraphs.  The reason I heard for
the rejection was that the scholars who suggested the shortening of the
davening in reliance on the precedents were from the Reform camp.

    I would, of course, appreciate learning both whether what I heard
(or my memory of it) is correct and any further details.

    Joseph I. Lauer
    Brooklyn, New York


From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Sun, 21 Dec 2003 19:19:45 -0500
Subject: Saying Tachnun on Yud Tes and Kof Kislev

From: <Smwise3@...>

<<However, several years ago, the weekday minchah assembled at work had
 three aveilim.  One was Lubavitch and when it was his turn for the
 amud, he davened nusach ari even though he was the only one in the
 minyan to do so.  I questioned him and he said his Lubavitch dayan told
 him that he is permitted to do so even if he is the only one davening
 that nusach>>

This is quite common; Chabad believe that their nusach is THE nusach for
anyone who is not familiar (as none of us are) of his particular
shevet's (tribe's) nusach going back to Biblical times.

In their view, then, their one size fits all, and they feel justifed in
using it even in a shul that davens a different nusach and they're the
only one davening nusach Ari.



From: Yehoshua Kahan <orotzfat@...>
Date: Sun, 21 Dec 2003 19:54:29 +0200
Subject: Re: Test of Faith

I was waiting for someone to mention what I have settled upon as the
drash-which-is-pshat in answer to the questions: precisely what was
Avraham's test?  As no one has mentioned it, here goes:

    Hashem does not command Avraham to take his son, his only one, whom
he loves, that is Yitzchak to offer him up as a burnt offering upon one
of the mountains which He shall show him.  Rather, "Elokim" does.  That
is, G-d appears to Avraham via the name associated with din, gevurah,
that is: judgement, power, stricture, division, boundaries, separation
etc.  Of course, there IS a test involved in separation from the one who
is the continuity of his life's mission, yes, indeed, there IS a test
involved in reconciling this directive with the previously enunciated
promise, "for through Yitzchak shall offspring be called for you".  But,
to my mind, these recede the moment Avraham sets forth on his journey.
For, after all, when one is convinced that the one addressing you is
G-d, anything becomes possible, even imperative, and, psychologically,
it may be that the more seemingly outlandish the demand, the greater the
confirmation that the command issues from the One who is beyond all
logic.  And so, as the midrash reports, the adversary-who-is-just
doing-Hashem's-bidding attempts to dissuade Avraham on the way,
questioning his hearing, trying to undermine Yitzchak's trust, and,
ultimately, pulling out the most powerful weapon - the truth: Avraham,
you've passed the test, there's a ram waiting.  Nothing can deter
Avraham, he moves forward with single-minded determination, Yitzchak, in
their only recorded conversation in all of Chumash, asks naively, or is
it suspiciously, where is the "seh"?  Avraham answers briefly, and his
actions are continues through a series of seven verbs to the seeming
inexorable conclusion, the seventh verb in the infinitive to suspend

"And a MAL'ACH of HASHEM" called to him"...  Now, G-d reveals
His will to Avraham through the name associated with lovingkindness,
acceptance, forgiveness, boundlessness...  Do not harm Yitzchak.  But,
no, it's not a direct revelation, it is merely a Mal'ach.  How can a
mere Mal'ach, its voice reflected off of the cloudy mirror of prophetic
conciousness, stay a hand loaded with all the passion, the power, the
certainly, the ultimacy of the direct word of Elokim?  From within the
certainly and the psychic momentum of a devotion powered by Gevurah, can
one even detect, let alone integrate and act on, the faint angelic voice
of Hesed??  Isn't it perhaps just a voice of self-indulgent pity and
need?  Or, a least, aren't the seeds now sewn for confusion?  No.
Avraham heard the voice of Elokim, and now he hears the voice of YKVK,
overpowering even when filtered through a Mal'ach.  NOW, says Hashem, I
KNOW that you are a G-d-seeing fearer in the full sense, hearing My
voice in its full complexity, as it manifests now through Hesed and now
through Din.  THIS, to my mind, is the true test of Avraham.  It serves,
I believe, as a paradigm for the test we all face, one which we all can
pass, for, as Hashem declares at the beginning of the parashah: "for I
KNOW him [Avraham] - he shall command his children and his household
after him to keep the path of Hashem..."  Happy Trails!!

Rav Berachot and Chanukkah Sameach,
Yehoshua Kahan

From: <oliveoil@...> (Abie Zayit)
Date: Sun, 21 Dec 2003 21:32:37 +0000
Subject: Test of Faith

I'd recommend reading Erica Brown's "Religious Language and Modern
Sensibilities: Teaching the Akeidah to Adults" that recently appeared in
ATID's _Wisdom from all my Teachers_, a collections of essays of Jewish
educational issues.  You can see the table of contents at

Abie Zayit


From: Michael Kahn <mi_kahn@...>
Date: Sun, 21 Dec 2003 02:05:24 -0500
Subject: RE: Website for Mosad Harav Kook publishers

Does anyone know the website for Mosad Harav Kook publishers? I can't
find it on the net.

Also, does anyone know sites where I can buy books on Jewish History on
the net or stores in New york City that are well stocked in this area.
I'm referring to classics like Sefer hayuchsim and books by authors like
grossman, Ta-Shma etc...

Does anyone know of Jewish history study groups in NYC or have advice as
to who is good to read on these subjects? Any advice is appreciated
either here or privately to my email.

Yitzy Kahn


End of Volume 41 Issue 53