Volume 45 Number 62
                    Produced: Sat Nov 13 20:51:16 EST 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Blind people and halacha
         [Brandon Raff]
Breastmilk unkosher for adults
         [David I. Cohen]
Chanuka - Oil vs Candles
         [Brandon Raff]
Halacha and Change
         [David I. Cohen]
I LIKE/LOVE this parsha question
         [David Charlap]
A Jewish custom
         [Janice Rosen]
Lateness to Shul
         [Martin Stern]
Saying Thank You (2)
         [Joel Rich, Deborah Wenger]
"sha'avatainu..." verse of "anna b'koach" prayer
         [David Ziants]
Yes, we have bigger problems
         [Carl Singer]


From: Brandon Raff <Brandon@...>
Date: Sun, 14 Nov 2004 00:14:40 +0200
Subject: Blind people and halacha

I understand that a blind person is still obligated to light Shabbat
candles because the light could be of help for other people. Would a
blind person be obligated in the mitzvah of Havdallah? Are there any
other halachas that blind people could be exempt from or (even counter
intuitively) be obligated with ?



From: <bdcohen@...> (David I. Cohen)
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 2004 12:02:56 -0500
Subject: Breastmilk unkosher for adults

> "It has already been stated a few times that breastmilk is unkosher for
> adults. Can someone please provide a source for this halacha? I've never
> heard this.
> Abbi Adest"

I believe that Abbi is correct and that breast milk is indeed kosher for
all. The Gemara is Kereisos 22a discusses the issue. See also Kesuvos
60a.  The gemara first makes a logical argument that the drinking of
breastmilk should be forbidden, but trumps this with an explication of a
passuk. Rav Sheshes then states that the breastmilk is permitted even

Rashi (in Kesuvos) says that this is only in a cup, but it is forbidden
to drink breastmilk directly from a breast (except for infants). See
Yoreh Deah 81.

I hope this clears up the confusion.

David I. Cohen


From: Brandon Raff <Brandon@...>
Date: Sun, 14 Nov 2004 00:10:11 +0200
Subject: Chanuka - Oil vs Candles

I was wondering - Chanuka recalls the miracle of finding the untouched
flask of olive oil bearing the Kohen Gadol's signature, and that the one
day's volume of oil burned for eight days [ignoring the military
victory].  Why then do [some groups] light wax candles to commemorate
the miracle and not use olive oil like the Chassidim do?


[Two quick notes. First, the list includes Chassidim among the various
groups who take part in our conversations here, they they are not
outside of "us", second there are many of "us", both chassidic and none,
who do use olive oil for the menorah for Chanuka. Many of "us" who do
not, feel that the primary issue is the light itself, not the source of
the light, and candles provide a better light. Mod.]


From: <bdcohen@...> (David I. Cohen)
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 2004 12:39:51 -0500
Subject: Halacha and Change

Rav Teitz wrote:
> The amidah was composed at the time of the Jews' return from the
> Babylonian exile. The times to say them were geared to the times the
> korbanos were offered, but the prayer itself was not instituted as a
> replacement for the korbanos.

I would cretainly never disagree with Rav Teitz. But I am curious how to
understand the gemara in Brachot (I think daf 26 which has an argument
of amoraim if the tefilot were instituted by the Avot or as
representative of the sacrafices. Also, how should we understand the use
of the verse "Unishalma parim sifateinu" (may the utterance of our lips
be in replacement of our sacrafices) which I believe Tosphot quotes
there in discussing Mussaf. (This is all from memory)

David I. Cohen


From: David Charlap <shamino@...>
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 2004 09:04:39 -0500
Subject: Re: I LIKE/LOVE this parsha question

> I have heard several rabbis discuss how we consistently misuse the word
> "love" in our everyday conversation. As an example, it is not uncommon
> for a person to say "I love chicken!".
> [snip]
> How do you explain the fact that Yitzhak Avinu used the word love when
> referring to food? Isn't this how we are not supposed to use this word
> according to the example of the rabbis?

I don't see much of a problem.  It's an idiomatic expression, not
intended to be taken literally.  Everybody in every generation uses
idiomatic expressions, even in the Torah.  Why should this be any

For instance, many parts of the Torah refer to various body parts of God
("face of God", "with an outstretched arm", etc.)  Nobody takes these
expressions literally - we all assume a non-literal meaning and have no
problem doing so.

Similarly in modern English conversation.  For instance, it's common for
people (even aldults) to refer to something as "cool" as a sign of
approval, even though the phrase has absolutely nothing to do with

WRT the rabbis' comments you cited, they point out how the expression is
not supposed to be understood literally.  But I see no place (in your
citation) where usage of the expression is prohibited.  Perhaps there is
another source that you didn't cite?

-- David


From: Janice Rosen <janicer@...>
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 2004 12:54:05 -0500
Subject: re: A Jewish custom

> From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
>       (English translation published 1998.)
> I admit that I never read this book, but am I the only one who is
> horrified by the choice of titles?  To think that we Jews have SAINTS?

In Hebrew the title is :"Ha°aratsat ha-kedoshim be-kerev Yehude Maroko"
(published in Israel, 1984), so it is an imprecise translation from
"kedoshim" (holy ones). Ben-Ami writes that among his Moroccan Jewish
informants what he refers to in English as "saints" are referred to
amongst themselves as "tsaddiq" ("saddiqah" for women), "khaham" (sage),
and often as "baba" (affectionate term for father), this latter term
generally used during the individual's lifetime. There is also some use
of the local Arabic terminology, "sidi" (for males) and "lalla" (for

Janice Rosen (<janicer@...>)


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 2004 11:36:36 +0000
Subject: Re: Lateness to Shul

on 12/11/04 10:31 am, Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...> wrote:
> It is well established that the Almighty does not need our prayers.  As
> such, when we are praying we are doing it for our own sake or for the
> sake of our community.

But it is hypocritical for us to ask HKBH not to keep us waiting if we
don't think it of much consequence to keep Him waiting, whether He needs
it or not.

> Therefore, we should balance our need to daven with other extermely
> important mitzvot ben adam l'chavero (between men) ... and the manner
> of objecting to a late-comer is no less important than the time at
> which one comes to davening.

Therefore discussion on mail-jewish is an appropriate way of raising the
topic without putting anyone to shame.

Martin Stern


From: <Joelirich@...> (Joel Rich)
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 2004 09:08:57 EST
Subject: Re: Saying Thank You

      I've been told that if one thanks someone for doing a mitzvah that
      it lessens the merit of the mitzvah.

Perhaps it means the good feeling the doer gets when being thanked
counts as part of the reward for the mitzvah. I don't pretend to know
how HKB"H totals up the rewards but...

Joel Rich

From: Deborah Wenger <deb.wenger@...>
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 2004 10:33:52 -0500
Subject: Re: Saying Thank You

Carl Singer wrote:
> I've been told that if one thanks someone for doing a mitzvah that it
> lessens the merit of the mitzvah.  In part I see this as a form of
> modesty on the part of the good-deed-doer -- but then it strikes me that
> actions of the recipient of the good deed (or anyone else for that
> matter) shouldn't have any impact on the merit of the doer.

I don't have sources, but intuitively I'd think the opposite. Hakarat
hatov [acknowledging something good, in this case the mitzvah that has
been done] is a mitzvah in itself, is it not? Therefore, if person A
does a mitzvah that helps person B, and person B thanks person A, then
person B has also performed a mitzvah, which I'd think would give person
A "extra credit" for both doing the original mitzvah and giving person B
the opportunity to do one as well.

Just my $ .02...



From: David Ziants <dziants@...>
Date: Sat, 13 Nov 2004 22:31:29 +0200
Subject: "sha'avatainu..." verse of "anna b'koach" prayer

On Friday Night, last Shabbat, I didn't have my normal Rinat Yisrael,
and found myself with a Siddur with the "anna b'koach" prayer (which we
say before "lecha dodi") arranged one line per verse, so that each verse
is an acronym for a hidden name of G-d.

Unlike the names that are associated with day-to-day attributes (such as
"rachum"="merciful"), no obvious meaning can be seen in these
names. Fair enough because these names are hidden, and it is not for
most of us to delve into this.

I could not help noticing though that the acronym for the last verse
"sha'avatainu kabel, ush'ma tza'akatainu, yodeia ta'alumot" (just before
"baruch shem...")  seems to have a very negative connotation. I might be
mistaken in my reading but, ignoring the "vav" which creates an
abjective, and the "yud" with the "tav" (at the end) means "appertaining
to", we are left with the most significant letters "shin",
"kuf","tzaddi" which means "undesirable", especially with reference to
foreign gods (see for example malachim bet 23:24).

Maybe some of the more kabbalistic members of this forum can suggest
ways of resolving this condrary?

I can understand if my way of reading is rejected, especially as the two
sets of the extra grammatical letters ("vav" and "yud" with the "tav")
do not normally go together as the "yud" with the "tav" is used for a
noun. I can also appreciate that an acronym such as this does not have
to be grammatically sound, and so am not so bothered by this aspect.

If there are people who prefer to send to me suggestions offline, rather
than post, I don't mind sending a summary of some of the ideas I

David Ziants
Ma'aleh Adumim, Israel


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 2004 08:34:34 -0500
Subject: Yes, we have bigger problems

> I've reflected on this a bit and I think my main objection is that with
> so many serious issues that need to be addressed in the frum community,
> is lateness to shul what we need to focus on?  What about the shidduch
> crisis, agunot, teens at risk, etc. etc.  ....

I've heard this sentiment many times -- for example, "with the
intermarriage crisis how can you complain about people not saying Good
Shabbos."  -- I disagree with this "logic" as life is not an either

Two points specific to coming late to shule --

(1) If I set my priorities such as to make it to shule on time and thus
    help make the minyan and help other Jews who need to say Kaddish,
    why should I feel good about the person who always comes in right
    before borchu so he can get an extra 15 minutes sleep?  I'm
    subsidizing his bad (to me) habits or set of priorities?  If we all
    behaved as he did, we would not have a minyan.

(2) The rights of the many vs. the rights of the individual.  Thirty
    people davening quietly, in comes number 31.  He is late, making a
    commotion, talking, davening aloud out of synchronization with the
    tzibor ....  The "liberal" responses focus on: tolerate, judge not,
    turn the other cheek (a Christian concept, btw), an opportunity to
    teach, if you point this out to him he may stop coming altogether,
    etc.  -- I propose that a perfectly acceptable response is for the
    appropriate person (congregation's Rabbi?) to privately tell him
    that his behavior is unacceptable and that he should remedy same --
    you may be doing him a favor.

A young lawyer in our congregation (clearly a good debater) once tried
to argue that my coming on time was problematic -- he tried to twist
that I focused on this instead of the things that he held important
(tolerance of those coming late, comes to mind.)  I asked him what a
judge (haMavdil) would do if he came to court 15 minutes late.  Alas, we
only got into an argument.

Carl Singer


End of Volume 45 Issue 62