Volume 47 Number 82
                    Produced: Tue May  3 20:48:32 EDT 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Can you live 7 days w/o Potato Chips
         [Harold Greenberg]
Dessert and Berachot
         [Mark Steiner]
Fasting on Erev Pesach
         [Alan Friedenberg]
Kaddish pronunciation
         [Ira L. Jacobson]
Kinyan and Selling Chametz
         [Ari D. Kahn]
Linguistic Question - Tzara'as (2)
         [Robert Israel, Mike Gerver]
Musser Personality Query
Sfira Reminders
         [Yisrael & Batya Medad]
To Thy Own Self Be True--Jewish Source
         [Russell J Hendel]
Yirmiyahu and Grammar
         [Nathan Lamm]


From: Harold Greenberg <harold.greenberg@...>
Date: Thu, 21 Apr 2005 13:19:50 +0300
Subject: Can you live 7 days w/o Potato Chips

Can you live 7 days w/o Potato Chips-

Apparently not.  just returned from the super (Hebrew for supermarket)
with six large bags of Elite potato chips manufactured under licence
from Frito-Lay.  In addition to the kashrut certificate of the Chief
Rabbinate/Netivot Rabbinate as required by Israeli law, there is a
BaDaTZ certificate of the Eidah haHaridit Yerushalayim -"chag sameah
v'kasher - produced especially kasher l'Pesach parveh."

  Harold Hershel Zvi Greenberg
  Eilat on the Re(e)d Sea, Israel


From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Fri, 15 Apr 2005 15:47:13 +0300
Subject: Dessert and Berachot

>According to this opinion, since in our time it is assumed that all
>"seudot" will have a dessert course, therefore the dessert itself has
>de-facto become another item that is served "machamat haseuda" - a direct
>result of eating the bread meal.  Following this logic, it is no longer
>proper in our times and culture to make a new bracha on the dessert.

        I happen to know something about this matter, as my havruta and
I have been learning Tractate Berakhot (not exactly the daf yomi, we
just stay in the same place all the time, and every seven years, they
catch up to us; as a famous rebbe once said, "I feel so good here, why
should I go elsewhere?").

        I am not aware that this opinion has ever been committed to
writing, but I heard it in the name of Rav Ruderman, z"l, rosh yeshiva
of Ner Israel in Baltimore.

        Nevertheless, humra afficionados should be aware, that in this
opinion, there is less than meets the eye.  Because it is erev shabbat
and "erev Pesach", I will take the liberty of writing without looking up
the sources, caveat lector.

        We need to distinguish between two concepts: "dessert"
(i.e. food eaten after the meal is over, but before birkat hamazon) and
"appetizers" (technically "lo mahamat seuda"--for the erudite, I leave
open the question whether "parperayot" are in this category).

        The halakha is that "desserts" require a beracha before AND
AFTER eating them, except that the European rishonim held that gustatory
practices have changed, and we no longer have "desserts" in the Talmudic
sense, either because we don't take away the bread from the table
(Ashkenazic rishonism) or because we don't take away the table as they
did in the time of the Mishna before "dessert" (Spanish rishonim).  Let
me add that the American Orthodox Jewish practice of bringing out a
"Viennese table" after the "shmorg" and a full dinner, aside from being
revolting (as one Jew from Queens put it, "I have never heard that at a
Viennese wedding, there is a Boro Park table"), would seem to qualify as
a "dessert" in the Mishnaic sense and require a beracha both before AND
AFTER eating, as a "meal within a meal."  R. Ruderman's opinion would
not seem to apply to this.  I recommend (a) not eating at such a table
(for health reasons as well as a humra) or (b) to try to have the birkat
hamazon before the Table--if necessary, bringing the hatan and kallah
over to your table for an underground sheva berachot while nobody's

        But now, let's look into the question of "appetizers," a very
thorny question, about which there are many opinions.  One very
influential definition (which comes to us from the Geonic period) is
"anything not usually eaten with bread", another is "anything not part
of the essential meal (ikkar seudah--the definition of the Baalei
Tosfaot and others)".  All agree that fruits are appetizers; these
require a beracha at any part of the meal; again, R. Ruderman's opinion
is irrelevant to fruits.

        To exempt yourself from making a blessing over fruit eaten
during the meal one could try actually eating the fruit together with
bread (I know one rav who eats bread with ice cream for dessert--is ice
cream worth the trouble?) as in the yeshivishe khumres often denigrated
on mail-jewish.  But even this humra won't work according to the Geonim
and Rashi, who regard this as an ineffective ploy that doesn't change
the nature of the appetizer.

        Once we move away from fruits, we immediately move into a battle
zone.  For example, the "Halachot Gedolot" (a Geonic work), followed by
Rashi, hold that all cereals are "appetizers", and require a beracha
before eating them, even during the meal (eaten for "dessert" they
require a beracha even afterwards, even though you intended to recite
birkat hamazon in the end), while most other Rishonim follow Tosafot in
saying that cereal is certainly part of the meal.  There is a very
interesting "Bi'ur Halacha" about cereal, which I recommend for those
who don't realize that the Chofetz Chaim was a genius in learning.

        Let's conclude with the case of cake for dessert, presumably the
case covered by R. Ruderman's opinion, since cake is today considered
part of the "ikkar seudah".  Nevertheless, there remain those (Rashi and
Geonim, overthrown by the "French Revolution" of the baalei hatosafot)
who define an "appetizer" as "something usually eaten with bread", and I
don't think that cake applies.  What complicates matters even more is
many cakes are really breads and require ha-motzi (but then you don't
need to make a beracha on the cake for dessert, since you already made
the ha-motzi!).  Machmirim who want not to run afoul of every opinion
need to recite the birkat ha-mazon before eating cake.

        In defense of humrot, I note that the subject of berakhot lends
itself to them, uniquely in halakha.  (I have an invincible argument
that the beracha on a glass of tea is "boreh pri ha-adama", available on
request--I can't bring myself to inflict it on the general readership.)
The Arukh Hashulhan, a work not otherwise known for humrot, states in
his introduction to the subject, that it's a good thing in the area of
blessings, to try in fact to fulfill every opinion, thus going beyond
the letter of the law (hassidut in the original sense of that word).
There are many sources, from the Jerusalem Talmud to Tosafot
recommending us to avoid disputed berachot, available again on request.

        The theory behind these opinions is that making a ha-motzi on
bread can exempt other foods in one of the following ways:

(a) The food is subsidiary (tafel) to the bread--if you eat it with

(b) The food is an ancillary (parperet) to the bread.

(Categories (a) and (b) are explicit in the Mishna.)

Next we have

(c) The food resembles bread even if it isn't bread (breadlike cakes for

(d) The food is part of a meal whose major component is bread.

        The various opinions disagree which specific cases apply to
which foods, and when.

Mark Steiner


From: Alan Friedenberg <elshpen@...>
Date: Wed, 20 Apr 2005 12:32:47 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Fasting on Erev Pesach

Are there any particular groups where bochrim forgo the minhag of making
a siyum on erev Pesach and do fast?  I always thought the siyum was
universal, but after being on this list for some time, I realize that no
minhag is universal!

Chag kasher v'samayach,
Alan Friedenberg
Baltimore MD


From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Thu, 21 Apr 2005 13:14:13 +0300
Subject: Re: Kaddish pronunciation

D. Rabinowitz <rwdnick@...> stated the following on Wed, 20 Apr
2005 06:12:59 -0700 (PDT)

      In brief, here is the story about these first two words.  No one
      until the early 17th century was minaked the first two words in
      Kaddish with a segol.

I don't think anyone ever vocalized the words with a segol.  I think you
may have meant a tzere.

<Haim.Snyder@...> (Haim Snyder), on Tue, 19 Apr 2005 08:41:09
+0300, noted:

      Whereas it is true that yitgadal v'yitkadash is grammatically
      proper in Hebrew, the change to the tzeirei makes the distinction

Both are grammatically correct in Hebrew.  So that even if one accepts
that the words are actually Hebrew, there is no need to change the
vowels form those in otherwise universal use.

IRA L. JACOBSON         


From: Ari D. Kahn <kahnar@...>
Date: Thu, 21 Apr 2005 12:45:48 +0200
Subject: RE: Kinyan and Selling Chametz

The issue regarding a kinyan when selling chametz is as follows:
according to some psokim there is no need for a formal kinyan, it is
done in person so that the seller will take the sale seriously.

Ari Kahn


From: Robert Israel <israel@...>
Date: Wed, 20 Apr 2005 10:44:40 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Linguistic Question - Tzara'as

Irwin Weiss <irwin@...> wrote:

> Linguistic question: Any possibility that tzara'as is the word from
> which we get psoriasis? Both are, of course, skin diseases.

Not likely.  <http://www.etymonline.com> says:

     1684, from L.L. psoriasis "mange, scurvy," from Gk. psoriasis "being 
itchy," from psorian "to have the itch," from psora "itch," related to 
psen "to rub."

Robert Israel                                <israel@...>
Department of Mathematics        http://www.math.ubc.ca/~israel 
University of British Columbia            Vancouver, BC, Canada

From: <MJGerver@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Wed, 20 Apr 2005 17:52:04 EDT
Subject: Linguistic Question - Tzara'as

Irwin Weiss asks, in v47n73

      Linguistic question: Any possibility that tzara'as is the word
      from which we get psoriasis? Both are, of course, skin diseases.

Nope. Psoriasis comes from the Greek verb root psa-, meaning "rub,"
which comes the Indoeuropean root bhes, also meaning "rub." The "r" in
"psoriasis" is not part of the root. Tzara'as comes from the Hebrew
shoresh tzadhe-resh-ayin, meaning "to be leprous" (or whatever you want
to call the disease), which has cognates in Arabic and other Semitic
languages meaning "to throw down, to prostrate oneself, to humble
oneself." So the only thing the two roots have in common is an "s" or
similar sound (though it's at the beginning of the Semitic root, and at
the end of the Indoeuropean root), and the meanings of the two roots are
not very close either. There's no reason to think they are related.

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel


From: <Tournesol5@...>
Date: Sun, 17 Apr 2005 19:01:13 EDT
Subject: Musser Personality Query

Hi. There is a (possibly apocryphal) account of a mussar personality who
would have various items (e.g. a recipe for homemade soap) with him when
he traveled in order to be of help to people. Do you know the name of
this mussar personality, and where this account is published? Thanks


From: Yisrael & Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Thu, 21 Apr 2005 06:40:15 +0200
Subject: Sfira Reminders

Click Passover, and the subscription form is on the bottom.  Daily email 

Chag Sameach



From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Wed, 20 Apr 2005 23:25:29 -0400
Subject: RE: To Thy Own Self Be True--Jewish Source

How about the law ' The poor of your city take precedence over the poor
of another city' Or the law 'Your lost articles take precedence over
your friends lost articles' This has the connotation I COME FIRST which
is one way of interpreting 'To Thy Own self be true.'

However you could interpret 'To Thy own self be true' to refer to
knowing ones faults. If so then this is a non-jewish idea: In fact the
symbolists say the exact obvious: They quote the obscure law in leprosy:
'A person cannot declare impure his own blemishes' (Symbolic
interpretation obvious).  In fact Judaism emphasizes that we cannot
recognize our own faults and therefore need priests and friends to help
us out.

In fact the famous Talmudic dictum 'No one dies with even half his
desires fulfilled' also contradicts the idea of 'knowing oneself'. (In
passing this Talmudic dictum is the symbolic interpretation of throwing
the blood ONLY HALF WAY up in the ELEVATION offering).

So my point of view is lets discuss whether 'to thy own self be true' is
true before we find Jewish sources for it.

A few ideas: Hope others will give ideas also Happy Passover

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


From: Nathan Lamm <nelamm18@...>
Date: Fri, 15 Apr 2005 06:08:02 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Yirmiyahu and Grammar

It should be recalled that Yirmiyahu seems younger and less educated
than other nevi'im when called by Hashem; it's been suggested by some
that this accounts for his irregular (incorrect?) grammar and numerous
kri/ktivs (spelling mistakes?). Note that he alone among nevi'im has a
scribe (Baruch ben Neriyah) writing down his words.

Nachum Lamm


End of Volume 47 Issue 82