Volume 47 Number 29
                    Produced: Sun Mar 20 22:32:19 EST 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Lost or Stolen talis & tefelin (Baltimore area)
         [Abraham Dachman]
Measuring time vs. keeping track of time (2)
         [Mike Gerver, Avi Feldblum]
Purim and Pesach Programs at Drisha
         [Judith Tenzer]
When can we disagree with a Gadol---Not drinking on purim
         [Russell J Hendel]


From: Abraham Dachman <adachman@...>
Date: Fri, 18 Mar 2005 05:16:29 -0600
Subject: Lost or Stolen talis & tefelin (Baltimore area)

I believe I lost or had my tails / tefelin stolen in the
Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

Is anyone aware of any way to alert individuals and organizations if
attempt is made to sale it by a thief?

Please daven for me that they should come back to their rightful owner.
Avrahm Hillel ben Eliyau Chaim

Abraham H. Dachman, MD, FACR
Professor of Radiology, The University of Chicago, MC 2026
5841 S. Maryland Ave., Chicago, Ill, 60637
tel: 773-702=6200


From: <MJGerver@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Fri, 18 Mar 2005 07:08:09 EST
Subject: Measuring time vs. keeping track of time

Related to my posting in v47n21, I have thought of two cases where
halacha requires measuring time, rather than keeping track of time, and
I wonder how far back these halachot were formulated in those terms:

1) The requirement that matzoh be finished baking within 18 minutes of
the time the flour first comes in contact with water. I thought of this
after Hillel Markowitz pointed out that many "magic incantations" may
actually just be methods of timing recipes for preparing herbal remedies,
etc. Although for most food recipes precise timing is not necessary
(looking at the food or poking it with a fork can substitute for timing),
it is absolutely crucial for baking matzoh for Pesach. What is the
earliest source defining chametz as resulting from mixing flour and water
and not baking it completely within 18 minutes? And what technology was
used to time the baking when this halacha was first defined in this way?
I am not suggesting that the meaning of chametz has changed since matan
Torah, only that the operational definition probably has. As anyone who
has baked matzoh knows, 18 minutes is only slightly longer than the time
required to make matzoh when you are doing it as quickly as possible.
Originally, the operational definition may have been "work as quickly as
possible, and have an experienced person there who can tell intuitively
if there has been too long a delay." Later, when sufficiently accurate
timers were invented, the definition may have been made more
quantitative. The Greeks, at least the Hellenistic Greeks, had water
clocks that might have served the purpose, and I'm not sure when hour
glasses first appeared; I think sundials would not have been quite
accurate enough, especially since you can't very well bake matzoh
outdoors in the sunlight.

2) If you make a mistake in saying a bracha, you can correct your
mistake, without starting the bracha over again, if you catch your
mistake within the time it takes to say (toch kidei dibbur) "Shalom
aleichem, Rabbi." Aryeh Gielchinsky also pointed this example out to me,
after I thought of it myself. The technology for this particular
measurement of time has always existed, but the concept of measuring time
was not widely known (as explained in my posting in v47n21) until about
1200 or 1300 CE, at least in the non-Jewish world, although the concept
and method appear in philosophical writings of Augustine of HIppo, 800
years earlier. What is the earliest written source for "toch kidei

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel

From: Avi Feldblum <feldblum@...>
Date: Sun, 20 Mar 2005 18:37:29 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Measuring time vs. keeping track of time

On Fri, 18 Mar 2005 <MJGerver@...> wrote:

> 1) The requirement that matzoh be finished baking within 18 minutes of the 
> time the flour first comes in contact with water. 
> ...
> What is the earliest source defining chametz as resulting 
> from mixing flour and water and not baking it completely within 18 minutes?
> ...

I think we have two different items slightly mixed here, but still
potentially interesting from Mike's point of view. I will admit that the
"requirement that matzoh be finished baking within 18 minutes of the
time the flour first comes in contact with water" is one of those
"halachot" that I find to be somewhat problematic. The gemarah clearly
defines what is the halacha / requirement for something to be considered
Chametz for Pesach. This requirement is based on certain changes in the
dough (either the cracking of the upper surface due to the effects of
the rising or the creation of the gluten stringiness). It is a simple
experiment that anyone can do at home, try it with both plain flour and
water and with flour, water and yeast. I feel very confident in saying
that you will not find any of these requirements anywhere near 18
minutes after you stop kneading flour and water together.

So where does the universally accepted requirement of 18 minutes come
from. Hopefully someone who has studied Pesachim more recently that I
will be able to better give the citation, but it is talking about a
dough that was found to have already been kneaded and you do not know
provenance of this dough. In that case, if the dough has been sitting
idle for more than "mehalech mil" - the time it takes to walk a "mil",
then as a stringency, even if it does not have any of the classic
requirements of Chametz, one still needs to treat it as Chametz. The
process by which we start with this Halacha and end up with the current
requirements is an interesting question, and I've got to believe that
someone has already written on it (if anyone knows any references,
please feel free to post them, I for one would love to read it).

However, from Mike's basic question of how early is there a concept of
measureing time vs keeping track of time, there clearly seems to be the
talmudic measure of time identified as "mehalech mil" - the time it
takes to walk a "mil". I believe this measure is used a number of times
in various halachot. So if this meets your requirement for an example of
"Measuring time vs. keeping track of time", then you clearly have it as
talmudic, and now the only task would be to see whether it is amoraitic
vs tanaitic and if you can actually place it within whichever era it is
first used.



From: Judith Tenzer <jtenzer@...>
Date: Fri, 18 Mar 2005 14:11:05 -0500
Subject: Purim and Pesach Programs at Drisha

Purim Class on Monday, March 21
Wendy Amsellem will teach a lunchtime class on Monday, March 21, 12:30 -
2:00 p.m. on Women's Obligation in the Reading/Hearing of Megillat
Esther. The class is coed; tuition is $25, including lunch.

Purim at Drisha - Women's Tefillah and Women's Megillah Reading
Women are invited to join Drisha students on Friday, March 25, for a
very special celebration of Purim. Women's Tefillah begins at 9:00 a.m.
followed by Women's Megillah reading from a scroll written by a woman,
at Drisha, 37 West 65th Street, 5th floor.

Purim Cards - Honor your family and friends on Purim with a donation to
Cards are $15 for a set of 5.  Stop by the Drisha office today or call

Talmud Class at Kushner Yeshiva in Livingston, NJ
Women are invited to an open class on Thursday, March 31, 8:15 - 9:30
a.m. at Kushner Yeshiva in Livingston, NJ. No prior experience with
Talmud is necessary. http://www.drisha.org/continuinged/satellite For
information contact <jtenzer@...>

The Haggadah as a Celebration of Midrash
The Annual David Rapoport Memorial Lecture will take place on Thursday,
April 7, at 7:30 p.m. Tammy Jacobowitz will lecture on The Haggadah as a
Celebration of Midrash, The lecture is coed and open to the community.

Pesach Lunchtime Classes
If you'd like to learn something new that you can share at your Seder,
you can find it at Drisha. We are offering several 12:30 - 2:00 p.m.
lunchtime classes:

Leaving Our Own Egypts: Hasidic Perspectives on Pesach - Shai Held
Monday, March 28

The Theme of Adoption in the Passover Story - Rachel Friedman
Tuesday, March 29

Haggadah - David Arnow
Monday, April 4

Gold, Silver, and Clothing: The Last Moments of Egypt in Israel - Joanna
Thursday, April 7

Exodus Illuminated: The Art of Medieval Illustrated Haggadot - Sharon
Thursday, April 14

All of these lunchtime classes are coed; tuition is $25, including lunch. 
See full course descriptions at http://www.drisha.org/continuinged/pesach.

Advance registration is requested.

Program for High School Girls

Visit the High School Program's new website http://highschool.drisha.org/ 
for information about summer and year-round program. This summer's program 
runs from June 27 through July 29. For information and an application, 
visit the website or contact Wendy Amsellem, Director of High School 
Programs at <wamsellem@...>

Purim sameach from all of us!

Judith Tenzer
Program Director, Drisha Institute for Jewish Education
37 West 65th Street, 5th floor, New York, NY 10023
(212) 595-3447


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Sat, 19 Mar 2005 23:02:06 -0500
Subject: RE: When can we disagree with a Gadol---Not drinking on purim

Recall over the last 2 months we have had the thread of when/can-we
disagree with a gadol. The issue initially arose over smoking.

Rabbi Tvi Weinreb, Vice President of the O.U. recently wrote on the O-U
website advice and a decision to recommend against teenagers drinking at
all on Purim. Here Rabbi Weinreb is overriding a standing interpretation
on a Jewish custom to drink on purim.

It might therefore be interesting to our thread to examine his reasoning.
(Just to be clear: His "psak" has intrinsic interest in its own right and
I hope all parents reading this take it seriously).

Rabbi Weinreb first points out that as a Rabbi connected with teenage
functions he frequently encounters teenagers who wind up dead or in
hospital emergency rooms from overdrinking (that is overdrinking by
itself, not consequences like car accidents).

Rabbi Weinreb also points out that many teenagers do not understand yet
the concept of moderation.

Rabbi Weinreb is therefore motivated to recommend complete abstention for
teenagers from drinking on purim.

Rabbi Weinreb is well aware of traditions on the matter: He cites several
sources that the  mitzvah was never to get drunk but only a little tipsy
AND IN LIGHT of the above experiences he recommends total abstinence. 

We could (if interest arises) discuss his exact sources and reasoning.
For the while I think the halachic logic and its evolution interesting:
a) We start with a tradition to drink on purim b) We then observe many
hospital cases and teenagers incapable of moderation c) we are motivated
to seek a stoppage d) we find sources consistent with the above not to
mention the intrinsic sources of saving our teenagers.

I would respectfully argue that a similar procedure happens with the
smoking. We see the statistics and the current permissability (Of Rav
Moshe) and are therefore motivated to prohibit smoking and override Rav

I think an important point in both the above examples is that Jewish law
is not a mechanical process but rather also an intuitive
process--sometimes a Rav will start with a conclusion and then work
backwards to find justification. I know this is dangerous but it is
equally dangerous to simply blindly follow the code of Jewish law as is
without taking into account modern consequences.

Happy Purim to all 
Russell Jay Hendel; http://www.Rashiyomi.com/


End of Volume 47 Issue 29