Volume 42 Number 57
                 Produced: Sat May  1 23:49:59 US/Eastern 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Davening at Home with a Pet
         [Josh Backon]
Haggadah Minimum
         [Leah S. Gordon]
Music during Sfira
         [Joel Rich]
Music During The Omer (2)
         [Akiva Miller, <MPoppers@...>]
Pets and Tefilin
         [Zev Sero]
R. Akiva and Bar Kochva (3)
         [Ken Bloom, Yehuda Landy, c.halevi]
Smelling Chametz
         [Yisrael and Batya Medad]
Sniffing hametz
v'sabeinu m'tuvah
         [Simon Wanderer]
Yakov Birnbaum


From: <BACKON@...> (Josh Backon)
Date: Thu,  29 Apr 2004 20:15 +0200
Subject: Re: Davening at Home with a Pet

For starters, before I even answer the question, be aware that although
one may own a pet to protect property (see: Choshen Mishpat 409:3 for
parameters), the She'eilat Yaavetz (Alef 17) indicates that having a dog
as a pet is a "maaseh akum".

Regarding daavening at home where there is a pet: the problem is not the
pet per se but the halachic prohibition to say Kriyat Shema if there is
foul-smelling animal feces (Orach Chayim 79:4-5 [here BTW cat feces are
classified as tzoat adam in contrast to non-smelling dog feces]. Tefilla
has the same din and one is prohibited from praying in the same
situations as one is prohibited from reciting Kriyat Shema (Orach Chayim

Needless to say, there is even a greater stringency with regard to
regard to wearing of tefillin which require a "guf naki" (Orach Chayim

Josh Backon


From: Leah S. Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Thu, 29 Apr 2004 04:37:24 -0700
Subject: Haggadah Minimum

I have wondered for some time now (and heard various opinions):

What is the actual nucleus of the haggadah that one must say for the
Pesach seder?  I have seen many different versions of haggadot, with
some changes/omissions/inclusions.

Is there some minimal set of text that everyone must say (i.e.
including harried parent of young children or exhausted medical resident
or soldier)?  If so, what is it?

Are there leniencies for the 2nd seder (outside of Israel)?

With the usual directive that we will all consult our LOR's, I would
like to hear some views.

--Leah S. R. Gordon


From: <Joelirich@...> (Joel Rich)
Date: Thu, 29 Apr 2004 08:10:19 EDT
Subject: Re: Music during Sfira

      Understanding that music deprivation, even as a minhag, presents a
      difficulty for many people, they made their respective responses.

So why not follow the original takana which was never to listen to music
due to the destruction of the Bet Mikdash?

Joel Rich


From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Thu, 29 Apr 2004 14:59:45 -0400
Subject: Re: Music During The Omer

Harry Zelcer wrote <<< ... Ohreh Hayim 493, 'Laws Pertaining during the
Omer.' The Ber Heitiv writes: '... it is our minhag to allow even a
party that is not associated with a mitzvah - except that it is our
minhag to forbid excessive joy with dancing and circles.' It is
difficult to interpret the above as applying to one who is listening to
music on a radio or a similar device. >>>

Yep, that's what it says in Be'er Hetev 493:2, and pretty much the same
appears in Mishna Brurah 493:3, and in other places. But I'd go even
further than Mr. Zelcer: Not only is it difficult to apply that
prohibition to music from a radio, but it is also difficult to apply it
to a guitar, drums, or any other music that's not being played at a

In fact, if one reads it carefully, the concept of music is not even
mentioned. It only mentions the level of joy, and the dancing. Music is
not mentioned. So what is the source for prohibiting music during

I suspect it comes from the Mechaber, Shulchan Aruch Orach Chayim 560:3,
which discusses things which we practice *all year long* because of
mourning for the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash: "/The sages/
decreed, similarly, that one should not play musical instruments, and
melody/-making device/ or any sound-producing musical aid /in order/ to

(Usually, I'd have translated that myself, but I couldn't do justice to
the synonymity of those three phrases, so I have reproduced the
translation from Feldheim's English Mishnah Berurah.)

The Rama and others qualify that decree, describing situations where it
does and does not apply, to the point where (it seems to me) most people
listen to music in any situation, and usually aren't even aware that
this halacha exists. One notable exception is that in Yerushalayim
itself, many are careful to have no more than a one-man band at

I suspect that Sefirah is another example of this. In other words, even
though Sefirah itself should allow music as long as it's not at a party,
we take this opportunity to properly mourn for the Beis HaMikdash by
avoiding music entirely.

Akiva Miller

From: <MPoppers@...>
Date: Thu, 29 Apr 2004 18:38:33 -0400
Subject: Re: Music During The Omer

In M-J V42#55, MShinnar wrote:

> The minhag that I heard in the name of RYBS was that the minhage avelut
of sfira paralleled those during the 12 months of avelut (rather than
shloshim or shiva).  During that time, what was prohibited was simchat
mre'im - parties with friends (with some expectation of reciprocity) -
music was only prohibited during such a simcha, not intrinsically. <

As I understood my Rebbe in YRSRH, R'Shelomoh Eliezer Danziger
sh'l'y't'a', there was no intrinsic connection between music and simchah
such that listening to music should be prohibited during y'mai s'fira.
For those who don't know him, R'Danziger was (and, one hopes, still is
:-)) a TIDE and Hirschian proponent and exponent (some M-Jers may have
"met" him through his "Jewish Action"-magazine critique of R'Elias'
"Nineteen Letters" commentary and the subsequent public dialogue) and an
independent thinker of the highest caliber.

All the best from

-- Michael Poppers via RIM pager


From: Zev Sero <zev@...>
Date: Thu, 29 Apr 2004 15:40:48 -0400
Subject: Pets and Tefilin

Batya Medad <ybmedad@...> wrote:

> I'll never forget that it's forbidden to touch a dog when you have
> t'filin on, not that I've ever (had them on that is.)  [...]
> and they gave him some thick book to read to see what he did wrong. 

Do you remember what the book said?  And can anyone else supply a source
for this alleged law?  Because I've been wearing tefillin for 27 years
now, and I've never heard of it either.  I wonder whether it applies to
cats as well.

Zev Sero


From: Ken Bloom <kabloom@...>
Date: Thu, 29 Apr 2004 10:22:20 -0700
Subject: R. Akiva and Bar Kochva

> I've never heard before that Rebbe Akiva lived to 120. But don't take my
> word for it -- the Encyc. Judaica says R. Akiva's approximate lifetime
> was far less: from about 50-135 C.E.  The Jewish Encyc.Online.com pegs
> him at born about 50 C. E. and martyred about 132. That puts him in his
> 80s, not 120!  As for his Rabbeim, that would require a major search and
> I lack the time. There are billions of m-j people wiser than I am, and
> perhaps somebody could shed some light on this.

This cannot be correct, considering that Rabbi Akiva [started to] learn
torah at age 40, and was able to stand at the smoldering ruins of the
Temple (70 C.E.) and make his optimistic statement that just as the
prophecy of the destruction of the temple had been fulfilled, so too
would the prophecy of the redemption. According to these Encyclopedias,
he would have been 20 at the time.

From: <nzion@...> (Yehuda Landy)
Date: Thu, 29 Apr 2004 13:24:32 +0200
Subject: Re:  R. Akiva and Bar Kochva

	I don't know the aources used by the encyclopedia. The Sifri 357
states that R. Akivah among others lived till 120 years. If we agree on
the approximate period of his execution (Bar Kochva revolt) giving him
eighty years, and taking into account that he started studying Torah at
the age of forty, means that married Rachel the daughter of Kalba Savua
after the churban. This would mean that Kalba Savua remained rich after
the churban, (in Gitin 5th perek he is listed as one of the three rich
pepole of Yerushalayim). This poses some difficulty to me.

					Yehuda Landy

From: c.halevi <c.halevi@...>
Date: Thu, 29 Apr 2004 18:38:20 -0500
Subject: RE: R. Akiva and Bar Kochva

Shalom, All:

After I said the Encyc. Judaica and the Jewish Encyc.Online.com peg
E. Akiva being in his 80s, when he died, not 120, Ken Bloom wrote >>This
cannot be correct, considering that Rabbi Akiva learned torah at
age 40, and was able to stand at the smoldering ruins of the Temple
(70 C.E.) and make his optimistic statement that just as the prophecy
of the destruction of the temple had been fulfilled, so too would the
prophecy of the redemption. According to these Encyclopedias, he would
have been 20 at the time.<<

The story I heard is not that the ruins were smoldering, but that
jackals wandered in it. I doubt a jackal would wander through a fiery
area, so it had to have taken place when the heat died down, so to
speak. Exactly when this took place, I do not know.

Yeshaya (Charles Chi) Halevi


From: Yisrael and Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Thu, 29 Apr 2004 13:52:01 +0200
Subject: Re: Smelling Chametz

      (7) at the end says that its forbidden to smell hot bread on
      Pesach even that belonging to a non-jew.  Dov Teichma >>

      So what is the solution?

That extra day is not Pesach in Israel.  It's a chutz l'aretz



From: c.halevi <c.halevi@...>
Date: Thu, 29 Apr 2004 12:10:21 -0500
Subject: Sniffing hametz

Shalom, All:

Responding to my noting that >>we all benefit from hametz sold *every*
day of Pesah because food and whiskey are taxed, and those taxes provide
money for police, firefighters etc.<< Martin Stern wrote that >>This is
irrelevant if the sales are between non-Jews. We are only enjoined from
benefiting from Jewishly owned hametz.<<

It is sad but true that in Israel and other countries Jews buy hametz on
Pesah, and some is bought from Jewish-owned stores and bakeries.
Therefore my original question stands: How can we prohibit anyone from
benefiting from the smell of hametz when we all benefit from hametz sold
*every* day of Pesah because food and whiskey are taxed, and those taxes
provide the benefit of money for police, firefighters etc. in every

Yeshaya (Charles Chi) Halevi


From: Simon Wanderer <simon.wanderer@...>
Date: Thu, 29 Apr 2004 13:13:31 +0100
Subject: v'sabeinu m'tuvah

>From: Adam M Charney <adam@...>
>Among the variants in text in Ashkenazic siddurim is that of
>mituvecha/mituvah in the barech alainu bracha in the daily shmoneh
>esreh.  Siddur Vilna notes that the mituvah language is the girsa of the
>Gra and specifically refers to the tuv of eretz Yisrael.  If the focus
>of the prayer is on Eretz Yisrael, I have wondered about the implicit
>contradiction in the structure of the prayer - we are praying for EY,
>but we shift our language of v'sain bracha/ v'sain tal u'matar levracha
>based on the agricultural cycle in chutz laaretz.  One explanation is
>that while the prayer primarily refers to EY, since it is including
>secondarily chutz laaeretz we follow the agricultural schedule of chutz
>laaretz.  For one thing, that explanation makes no sense - that a
>secondary level meaning dictate the language of the prayer and for
>another, I don't recall seeing the Gra ever asserting that chutz laaretz
>is included in the bracha.

>It would seem to me then that in theory the girsa of the Gaon should
>require the switch of v'sain tal language at the same time that it is
>added in EY, rather than in December.  Any thoughts?

I recall seeing a quote from the Rosh in T'shuvos (I believe it's quoted
in the Tur) that if he were able, he would make those in Chu"L switch to
Tal Umatar on 7 Cheshvan as well.


From: <MIKE38CT@...>
Date: Thu, 29 Apr 2004 20:41:52 EDT
Subject: Yakov Birnbaum


An article (plus an editorial) on Yakov Birnbaum, one of the truly great
Jewish heroes of the 20th century.  I'm glad the rest of the Jewish
world is finally learning more about this unique individual, whose
actions are directly responsible for saving so many Jewish lives.

Michael Feldstein 
Stamford, CT


End of Volume 42 Issue 57