Volume 41 Number 68
                 Produced: Thu Jan  1  9:55:18 US/Eastern 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Michael Kahn]
Date of Yom HaShoah
         [Warren Burstein]
Dish soap = dvar charif? (3)
         [Aliza Fischman, Daniel Nachman, Batya Medad]
Kollel (2)
         [Gilad J. Gevaryahu, Edward Ehrlich]
Left at the Church
         [Yisrael Medad]
Nusach of a place
Polite form of speech
         [Perets Mett]
         [Stephen Kaye]


From: Michael Kahn <mi_kahn@...>
Date: Wed, 31 Dec 2003 23:32:19 -0500
Subject: RE: Chanukah

>The Hanukka story about the miracle of one jar of oil lasting 8 days
>does not appear in the earliest accounts of the Hasmonean victory; e.g.,
>the Septuagint and Josephus; and does not appear until a Talmudic story
>some 300 years removed from the event.

It does however appear in the Megilas Antiochas. I just read a great new
sefer on this Megila called Mamleches Cohanim. He writes that according
to Rav Saadia Goan this Megila was written by the sons of the
Chashmonaim! This places its composition way before the and Josephus. In
fact, Rav Saadia Goan translated this Megila into Arabic as part of his
effort to oppose the Karaites who denied the validity of the rabbinic
holiday of Chanuka. Mamleches Cohanim claims that the form of Aramaic
used in the megila is of the type used during the Second Bais
Hamikdash. (Any Aramaic scholars out there who would like to comment on

>While Chanuka is mentioned in Megilas Taanis, I'm not sure if it
>mentions the miracle of the oil.

Mamleches Cohanim writes that according to the B'hag, (early Rishon)
Megilas Antiochas was written by the elders of Bais Shamai and Bais
Hillel. That too puts its composition before the and Josephus. 

In the intrest of fairness I must mention that Mamleches Cohanim does
mention some researchers who feel that Megilas Antiochas was written at
a later date.

In any event, we have established that Megilas Antiochas a work which
according to both Rav Saadia Goan and the B'hag preceded Josephus
mentions the miracle of the oil.

Now, you mention the Septuagint, which confuses me. Wasn't the
Septuagint composed before the time of Chanukah? That would explain why
it doesn't mention it. 

>It is, under those circumstances, very easy for some people (i.e., me)
>to suspect that the miracle of the jar of oil didn't happen and that
>the 8 day celebration is to commemorate the eight days spent
>rededicating the Temple without any such miracle (as stated in the
>Septuagint and Josephus), and to suspect that either there was enough
>kosher oil or that someone was willing to stretch the supply by using
>nonkosher oil to keep the lamps burning.

Why do you feel the Gemara would make up a miracle that didn't occur?
Remember, bracha lavatala is considered very serious in
hallacha. Wouldn't the gemara make sure it had its facts straight before
enacting brachos for the menorah.

>So my question: Is it an absolute requirement of Judaism to believe
>in the story of a single day's jar of oil miraculously lasting eight
>days?  Or is it permitted to believe a less miraculous story of the
>Hasmonean victory and rededication of the Temple??

To my understanding, it is the generall concensuss of the Rishonim that
at least with regard to hallacha, the words of the Talmud are fully
binding. I have heard that to certain Spanish Rishonim felt that not all
AGADA are required to be understood literally. (Do not relly on this as
I have yet to clarify this topic. If anyone has more information on how
the Rishonim viewed agada please let us know.) I would say that since
the Talmudic account of the miracle of oil is the reason why the
HALLAChAS of Chanuka were enacted they must be accepted as fact.

Let us also remember that Josephus slanted some of his historic accounts
to curry favor with his Roman benefactors. Perhaps they would have
frowned on his recounting the miracle of the oil, which shows a
supernatural love of G-d for the Jewish people who the Romans had just
conquered so Josephus left it out. If I had to bet, I'd trust Chazal
over Josephus.

What do you think?


From: Warren Burstein <warren@...>
Date: Wed, 31 Dec 2003 13:30:32 +0200
Subject: Date of Yom HaShoah

I've been looking at various computer programs that compute the Hebrew
Calendar, and found some discrepancies regarding the date of Yom
HaShoah.  The regular date is Nisan 27.  This can fall on Sunday,
Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.  The discrepancies are with Sunday and
Friday.  I'd like to make sure I have my facts straight before talking
to the authors of the various programs.  If any of them are on this
list, I have nothing but admiration for the fine work in all of the
programs, and only want to help clear up this minor issue in whichever
programs it might be a problem.

In 2001, Nisan 27 was a Friday.  I believe this means that Yom HaShoah
is moved to the preceding day; however, Hebcal 3.2
(http://www.sadinoff.com/hebcal) leaves it on Nisan 27.

 From holidays.c:
      tmpholp->name = "Yom HaShoah";
      PushHoliday (tmpholp, &var_holidays[NISAN][27]);

I think the same problem is found in an old version of Edward M
Reingold's holidays.el, distributed with Gnu Emacs.  Sadinoff writes
that he used the version that came with Emacs 19 as a source.

(list (calendar-gregorian-from-absolute (+ abs-p 12)) "Yom HaShoah")

That puts Yom Hashoah 12 days after Pesach (abs-p), on Nisan 27.

Kaluach 2 (http://www.kaluach.org/) correctly puts Yom Hashoah on Nisan 26
that year.

Now as to Sunday, I found in
http://www.tichnut.de/jewish/jewcalsdkdoc/holidays.html, "If the 27
Nisan falls on Saturday or Friday, then Yom Hashoah falls Thursday.
Since 1997 (5757), Yom Hashoah is postponed to Monday if the 27 Nisan
falls on Sunday."

Well it can't fall on Saturday, but it agrees with Kaluach about Friday.
Kaluach doesn't postpone from Sunday to Monday.  This will happen next
year (2004).

A more recent version of Reingold's code, distributed with Emacs 20.7 does
do this correction (but doesn't limit it to 1997 and above):
             (list (calendar-gregorian-from-absolute
                    (if (zerop (% (+ abs-p 12) 7))
                        (+ abs-p 13)
                      (+ abs-p 12)))
                   "Yom HaShoah")
That means if Nisan 27 is a Sunday, use the following day.

Can anyone confirm for me these two rules: if it falls on Friday, move to
Thursday, and if it falls on Sunday, move to Monday?


From: Aliza Fischman <fisch.chips@...>
Date: Tue, 30 Dec 2003 11:24:35 -0500
Subject: RE:Dish soap = dvar charif?

My two cents:
Those were bar soaps, not liquid soaps, so the bar came into physical
contact with the dishes and food particles.  Today, dish soaps are
liquid.  The sponge comes in contact with the dishes, but the soap
doesn't.  I am not sure that the milchig and fleishig soaps were due to
the charif nature as much as the fact that they came in contact.

Anyone else know differently?  

Aliza Fischman

From: Daniel Nachman <nachman@...>
Date: Tue, 30 Dec 2003 11:03:57 -0600
Subject: Dish soap = dvar charif?

My thanks to all who responded to my message about dish soap possibly
being considered charif.  I was skeptical when I first heard this, but
then I thought that perhaps there was some legitimate chumrah or special
case that my friend had learned.  For all I knew, maybe there was some
some specific type of dish soap that people once used that was
halachically charif.  It got me wondering.

I don't ordinarily inquire into other people's kashrut, but in this
case, my friend gave me some plastic baby bottles to donate to the
non-Jewish daycare at my workplace.  She said that she had treifed them
by using the wrong dish tub to wash them in.  I asked whether she had
checked with a rabbi, since as far as I knew, there might be a chance
that they were still kosher.  She was surprised to learn that not
everyone considers dish soap charif.  I didn't know the psak that soap
may be pogem, so I didn't mention it.

If the topic comes up again, I'll suggest again that she talk to her
rabbi, at least for the principle if not for the specific sha'alah,
since she's surely being unnecessarily strict.  Thanks again for all the
info and the many perspectives.


From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Tue, 30 Dec 2003 19:24:40 +0200
Subject: Re: Dish soap = dvar charif?

Good reason to use liquid soap.  I stopped with the cakes and pastes
years ago.



From: <Gevaryahu@...> (Gilad J. Gevaryahu)
Date: Wed, 31 Dec 2003 10:08:24 EST
Subject: Kollel

Esther Posen  wrote (MJv41n65) about the Kollel:
<<... This is not true of the small community kollels out of town,
however those kollelim service the community and the men that learn in
them provide community service while in kollel.

So whether you like the life style or not, whether you find the system
flawed or not, if you are not donating money to a kollel or a fellow in
kollel noone is living off your money without your consent.>>

A Kollel comes into a community, the Rosh Kollel is working almost full
time on fund raising, mostly from the host community, competing in an
unfair way with the local Jewish institutions. "Unfair" because the
other local community organizations are volunteer based. The Kollel
community sends its many kids (ken yirbu) to the local Orthodox
school/s, claiming minimum earnings and therefore pay minimum tuition to
the school. The cost to the community is (direct and indirect costs)
~$200,000 per year to the local community.

Couldn't this money better be used by Jewish day schools? Isn't this
Kollel the cause (indirectly) that some Jewish kids cannot afford Jewish
education? Yes, true, their many programs add adult and other Jewish
education to the community -- but these educational programs can be
delivered much more efficiently by other means! My intuitive reaction
is, therefore, that a Kollel like that is net net not augmenting the
Yiddishkeit in a community. I would like to see some more research on
the issue of "Does the Kollel movement helps Jewish survival?"

Gilad J. Gevaryahu

From: Edward Ehrlich <eehrlich@...>
Date: Wed, 31 Dec 2003 18:58:40 +0200
Subject: Kollel

In Israel, the situation is quite different. Both men learning in a
Kollel and the Kollelim themselves receive government subsidies.

Ed Ehrlich <eehrlich@...>
Jerusalem, Israel


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Wed, 31 Dec 2003 19:50:58 +0200
Subject: Left at the Church

      Bill Bernstein <bbernst@...> asks:
      should one give directions using a church as a landmark.

a)  at the very least, don't say "hang a left at the church".

b) when I was in England, I noticed that when walking to Munk's, the
entire congregation, save for me, when approaching the right-hand turn
off of Golders Green Road into the schule alley (if you are coming from
the west), would go out to the very edge of the sidewalk as there is a
church there and they would do all they could to avoid getting any
closer than necessary.

Coming from the Bronx where there is a bar and a church on every corner,
I never felt the need to be so obvious in avoiding the property.

Yisrael Medad


From: <perzvi@...>
Date: Wed, 31 Dec 2003 17:28:45 GMT
Subject: Nusach of a place

Agreed -- being someone who davens Nusach Ari (probably more by habit
than shito these days) I always ask the Gabbai (or ad-hoc) Gabbai what
the minhagim are before -- Tachanun during Mincha, Sefira before or
after Aleinu, Tefilla l'Dovid in Shacharis before Shir Shel Yom, Boruch
Hashem Bayom by Maariv -- all these should be understood by a shaliach
tzibbur before they agree to take the amud.


From: Perets Mett <p.mett@...>
Date: Wed, 31 Dec 2003 15:34:12 +0000
Subject: Polite form of speech

Tal Benschar wrote:

> Other posters have pointed out that other languages (German, French)
> have two forms of address, one conveying more respect, the other more
> familiar.  Yiddish has the same two forms, du and er, similar to the
> German.  English originally also had this (thou and thee were informal,
> you formal), but the informal fell out of use.

Almost... but not quite.

In German the polite form is Sie and is is similar to 3rd person plural.

Yiddish, in common with French, uses 2nd person plural ('ir' or 'ets',
depending on dialect of Yiddish) as the polite form of speech.

Yiddish also has a super-polite form of speech (used for parents and
rebbes - including rosh yeshives) in which 3rd person singular is used
instead of 2nd person.

Perets Mett


From: Stephen Kaye <kayed@...>
Date: Wed, 31 Dec 2003 11:45:40 -0000
Subject: Sha-atah

Can anyone please explain to me the grammatical reason why at the
beggining of Modim in the amidah we say "Sha-atah" with a kamatz on the
shin and not "She-atah" with a segol.

Stephen Kaye


End of Volume 41 Issue 68