Volume 42 Number 60
                 Produced: Tue May  4  6:32:26 US/Eastern 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Chassidim with dogs
         [Michael Engel]
Is Sifri halacha?
         [Mark Symons]
Jacob Birnbaum
         [Irwin Weiss]
         [Shlomo & Syma Spiro]
Mishnah-Sifray-Tosefta - A suggested approach to Beraithas
         [Russell J Hendel]
New Site Announcement
         [Michael Feintuch]
Not mourning excessively
         [Tzvi Stein]
         [Michael Kahn]
R. Akiva and Bar Kochva
         [David Eisen]
Standing in the Temple Ruins (3)
         [Martin Stern, Mike Gerver, Yisrael Medad]


From: Michael Engel <mengel1@...>
Date: Mon, 3 May 2004 22:44:56 -0400
Subject: Chassidim with dogs

Hello Irwin,

May I ask you where you live and, if possible, can you identify which
group of chaddisim these dog-owners belong to? I have known chassidim
for many years both as friends and relatives and grew up among them. I
have never known chassidim to get near a dog let alone own one. They
certainly refrain from touching dogs (or any non-kosher animal) and
generally disapprove of any Jew who does. Most of them, adults as well
as children, keep as far away from them as possible. I do know of a
chassid who owns a yiddish-speaking papaguy (parrot). He is an
exception, having been raised on a farm. His wife doesn't share his
affection for pets, however, and insists that the bird be restricted to
his perch in the lavatory.

Michael Engel


From: Mark Symons <msymons@...>
Date: Tue, 4 May 2004 07:22:23 +1000
Subject: Re: Is Sifri halacha?

As I understand it, Halacha refers only to laws governing behavior, not
to accuracy of historical information.

Mark Symons
Melbourne, Australia


From: Irwin Weiss <irwin@...>
Date: Mon, 3 May 2004 07:54:43 -0400
Subject: Jacob Birnbaum

  Thanks, Aliza, for the link to the biography of Mr. Birnbaum and his
founding of the "Soviet Jewry" movement.  I remember so well many of the
protests in Washington, D.C. when I was a youth.  We had "Free Soviet
Jewry" bumper stickers on our car, buttons on our shirts, and marched
with our signs.  In the early spring of 1970, there was a massive sit in
on the street in front of the Soviet Embassy.  800 or so persons were
arrested for blocking traffic, including me.  I thought my parents would
kill me, but actually they seemed proud, particularly my father (Z"L)
who had escaped Vienna just before Kristallnacht.

I think that all of the efforts, from the behind the scenes efforts of
Chabad and the Rebbe and the mainstream efforts of Birnbaum, and the
more radical efforts worked together synergistically, and actually
achieved the goal.  In that sense, it was K'lal Yisrael, working



From: Shlomo & Syma Spiro <spiro@...>
Date: Mon, 03 May 2004 20:01:50 +0200
Subject: JDL

bh, shelishi Emor

In the elaborate article in Azure about Yakov Birnbaum referred to in a
recent posting, Birnbaum is given credit for the organization of the
American Jewish community in support of Russian Jewry in the Stalin and
post Stalin times.  Some mention is made of R. Meir Kahane z'l and the
JDL in bringing the topic of Russian Jewry to the headlines.  But I
believe the article scants the Rabbi's contribution by dwelling on some
of the unfortunate negative occurrences.  Regrettable as they are, and
they were surely because of a lack of control by the rabbi, all told it
was mainly after the JDL came on the scene that something moved to
relieve the plight of Russian Jewry both by the Jewish community and the
general public.  Perhaps in another generation, when passions cool,
someone will write the true story of Rabbi Kahane's efforts on behalf of
those unfortunate Jews and a clearer more honest picture will emerge.


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Mon, 3 May 2004 20:02:14 -0400
Subject: Mishnah-Sifray-Tosefta - A suggested approach to Beraithas

The discussion in volume 42 number 59 on what the status of sifre is can
be summarized with 4 basic observations.

First: All tanaim had their "versions" of a Code of Jewish law. They
recited these laws and reviewed them.

Second: Some versions were better than others. The version of Rabaynu
Hakadosh is known as the Mishnah---his version became accepted as
law. Other versions were not accepted (But also not rejected). Some
classic examples of OTHER VERSIONS are the Tosefta, Sifray, Sifrah and

Third: However all other versions were still halachic compilations of
tanaim. Therefore the Talmud considered it a legitimate activity to
attempt to RECONCILE the Mishnah with other versions If no such
reconiliation happened then the mishnah law prevailed.

Fourth: Rabaynu Hakadosh left out of the mishnah the reasons and
Biblical sources for the laws. Thus among the other tanaitic
compilations the sifre had a better status than say the tosefta in that
it provided the basis for many laws.  Furthermore if you say open Sifray
Leviticus and compare it with say Talmud Zevachim you will say that many
ENTIRE Talmudic commentaries on mishnahs are nothing more than Sifray

So bottom line: I consider the Mishnah, Sifray and Tosefta all versions
of Jewish law: The Mishnah has an accepted status; the tosefta has a
something-to-explain-status.The sifray seems to have an almost equal
status since its basic function is to derive the laws which the mishnah
summarizes.  This threefold approach seems to be reflected in Talmudic

Russell jay Hendel; http://www.Rashiyomi.com/


From: Michael Feintuch <emunah2@...>
Date: Sun, 2 May 2004 13:34:55 -0700
Subject: New Site Announcement

Check out our site at hashgachapratis.com



From: Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...>
Date: Mon, 3 May 2004 21:48:47 -0400
Subject: Re: Not mourning excessively

Nevertheless, we do find that certain mourning practices for the
Destruction of the Temple do apply year-round, such as leaving a part of
one's house unfinished (one square tefach).  So it becomes a question of
"where do you draw the line?"


From: Michael Kahn <mi_kahn@...>
Date: Mon, 03 May 2004 12:12:25 -0400
Subject: RE: Pets

>The Chassidim who live next door to me have a dog. The Chassidim who
>live across the street have a dog.

In my entire life I have yet to meet a chosid with a dog. I'm not
doubting you. Just wondering, where do you live and what group do these
chasidim belong to?


From: David Eisen <davide@...>
Date: Mon, 3 May 2004 13:00:55 +0200
Subject: RE: R. Akiva and Bar Kochva

Following up on Yeshaya's question below, I would greatly appreciate if
the forum could also answer some or all of the following questions for a
shiur that I intend to give Shavuot night:

A.  During what decade did the famous Seder in Bnei Beraq take place?

B.  During what decade did the succession struggle take place in Yavne
between Rabban Gamliel and R. Elazar Ben Azarya (REBA)?

C.  If REBA became the Nasi of the Sanhedrin after the decade of the
years 70 - 80, how could he have been only 18? After all, he was an
adult prior the Hurban - see TB Shabbat 54b and especially Tosafot al

D.      With respect to REBA's statement in the Hagada of
"Amar REBA," some girsaot read Amar LAHEM REBA," i.e.,
attributing the statement that is quoted in the Mishna in the first Pereq
of Berakhot as having being said at that famous Seder. If REBA was only
18 at the time that this statement was made, the Seder could not have
been said during the time of the Bar Kokhva rebellion - but much
earlier. In fact, some commentaries assert that this Seder was held in
the year 71 and even though R. Aqiva was one of the youngest present, the
venerable sages decided to spend the Seder with him due to his
indefatigable optimism in the face of Hurban and were confident that he
would keep up their spirits and Simhat Hag even without the ability to
celebrate Pesah with a Qorban Pesah. Could the mahloqet concerning this
girsa relate to this chronological conundrum?

E.  Do any orthodox sources question the historical veracity of REBA
being only 18 when elected Nasi? The commentaries on the Yerushalmi
suggest that his statement in the Mishna of "harei ani k'ven 70 shana"
simply means he was APPROXIMATELY 70 years old and not akin to a 70-year
old when he was actually only 18. On a pshat level, if REBA's famous
Mishnaic statement roughly means "ALL OF MY LIFE, I have not heard this
interpretation" then what is so significant about this statement if he
said it only when he was an 18-year old?

F.  It is interesting to note that the first person to use the phrase of
"harei ani k'ven 70 shana" was none other than R.  Yehoshua who was a
2nd generation Tanna (REBA was a 3rd generation Tanna) in Mekhilta 15 on
P. Bo and said in the context of a hiddush said by none other than REBA
in Yavne the aftermath of controversy between Rabban Gamliel,
R. Yehoshua and Reba (BTW - some girsaot record R.  Yehoshua as saying
"harei ani k'ven 80 shana" - which would be sensible has he was from an
earlier generation than REBA).  Is it possible to suggest that when
R. Yehuda HaNasi wrote the Mishna, he intentionally "borrowed" an idiom
coined by R. Yehoshua in order to create a literary allusion to this
century-old controversy?  Could this be an example of an "ancient

G.      Was the Mekhilta written before the Mishna?

B'virkat HaTorah,

David Eisen
E-mail: <davide@...>
Telephone: (972-2) 623-9200


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, 03 May 2004 11:42:08 +0100
Subject: Re: Standing in the Temple Ruins

on 3/5/04 10:38 am, Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...> wrote:

> After the Temple's destruction, it was permitted to enter the Temple Mount
> area, at least to some certain portions which would support all the
> other sources and interpretations that are more lenient in the attitude
> whether or not one can today enter sections of what we call Har Habayit
> but which actually are not to be identified as the sacred/sanctified
> portion of the courtyards.

It is fairly obvious that some parts of the present "Haram ash-Sharif"
are not part of the original Har haBayit, let alone the Beit HaMikdash
itself.  One only has to do the various calculations of the size of the
latter (perhaps going lechumra on the length of an amah etc. in modern
scales of measurement) and the various opinions regarding the original
nature of present-day topographical features to come to this
conclusion. In particular it seems highly likely that the present
al-Aksa mosque is on an area which in Temple times was open even to
non-Jews. This might imply that it could remain even after the Beit
HaMikdash is rebuilt (may it be done speedily and in our time), perhaps
as part of the prophecy that "My house will be a house of prayer for all
peoples". So much for the Arab slander that the Jews wish to destroy it!
The only problem with access today, apart from Moslem intransigence, is
to delineate the permitted and potentially forbidden areas which may be
difficult and would probably be ignored by those Jews who do not
subscribe to halachah. Because of this it is probably best not to ascend
to any part of the Mount under present conditions.

Martin Stern

From: <MJGerver@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Mon, 3 May 2004 16:54:59 EDT
Subject: Standing in the Temple Ruins

Yisrael Medad, in v42n69, mentions Rabbi Akiva standing by the ruins of
the Temple, and says

      the important point for me is not his age but rather the fact that
      he actually was standing on/in the Temple esplanade.  In other
      words, after the Temple's destruction, it was permitted to enter
      the Temple Mount area, at least to some certain portions which
      would support all the other sources and interpretations that are
      more lenient in the attitude whether or not one can today enter
      sections of what we call Har Habayit but which actually are not to
      be identified as the sacred/sanctified portion of the courtyards.

I can think of two reasons why this incident may be irrelevant to that
question. 1) Was he necessarily standing on the Temple Mount itself?
Maybe he was just standing next to it. All we know is that he was close
enough to see a fox in the area of the Kodesh HaKodashim, but I imagine
one could see a fox at that location if one were standing just outside
the boundaries. 2) Even if he was on the Temple Mount itself, maybe he
was tahor. I think I remember reading somewhere that the ashes from the
parah adumah [red heifer] were not used up for a couple of hundred years
after the destruction of the Temple. Surely it would still have been
available in Rabbi Akiva's lifetime.

Mike Gerver

From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Tue, 04 May 2004 00:17:50 +0200
Subject: Re: Standing in the Temple Ruins

the Gemara is quite explicit.

Rabbi Akiba and friends approach Jerusalem in three stages: from afar,
at Mt. Scopus and in Har Habayit i.e., "hegi'u l'har habayit".  and,
yes, maybe he was ritually pure, and then again, maybe he wasn't.
perhaps he was of the opinion that once the walls (mechitzot) were no
longer standing, that the sanctity wasn't applicable.


End of Volume 42 Issue 60