Volume 47 Number 93
                    Produced: Mon May 16  6:23:31 EDT 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Eliyahu HaNavi
         [Prof. Aryeh Frimer]
Finalization of the haggada
         [Eitan Fiorino]
An interesting curiosity
         [Saul Mashbaum]
Interesting Letter From MiAvdut LeHerut-Kitniyot Project
         [Martin Stern]
Jefferson and Baba Kama (3)
         [Alex Heppenheimer, Mark Steiner, Nathan Lamm]
Nuts and Hametz
         [Daniel Wiener]
Quinoa (2)
         [Tzvi Stein, Martin Stern]
Second day Yom Tov
         [Alex Heppenheimer]
Taharo Customs
         [Perets Mett]


From: Prof. Aryeh Frimer <frimea@...>
Date: Fri, 13 May 2005 15:56:03 +0200
Subject: Re: Eliyahu HaNavi

> From: c.halevi <c.halevi@...>
> Some m-j readers have raised the question of Eliyahu HaNavi (Elijah the
> Prophet) not coming on Shabbat because of T'khum (violating the law that
> limits one's travel on foot during Shabbat). I think Eliyahu should get
> a pass on this issue.
> Pragmatically, when Eliyahu does come he will be saving the lives of
> countless Jews. One is not just permitted to violate the Shabbat to save
> one life - we are **commanded** to do so. Certainly Eliyahu, who will
> save many lives, should be exempt from worries of the distance he may
> travel to do this.
> On a more mystical note, there is the concept of "qvitzat ha'derech,"
> where a road is "jumped" or "shortened" to enable a holy person to
> traverse great distances in a short time. Surely Eliyahu HaNavi would
> have this power at this command.

    Charles Chi (Yeshaya) Halevi raises the issue of pikuach nefesh.  This
issue is actually raised by Rav Shlomo Zalman Braun in She'arim Metsuyyanim
beHalakha to Eruvin 43.  He argues that if it's pikuach nefesh, G-d will
work under the "ahishena" system and will come on shabbat as well - even if
there are techumin.  To be honest, in light of two millenia of Jewish
history, I can't imagine it any other way.
    It should be noted that we are talking about the coming of Eliyahu as a
corporeal figure to herald the redemption and the mashiach ben David.  As
noted already by the Hatam Sofer (Likutim [Shu"t helek 6] to HM 98; see also
Encyclopedia Talmudit), when he comes as an incorporeal/angelic being (like
at a brit - on Shabbat ) he doesn't have to worry about Techum and mitzvot
in general.  Thus, there is no problem with traditions which suggest that he
comes every year Seder night.  [Of course, if he is incorporeal he won't
drink from the wine either (:-)!]

Dr. Aryeh A. Frimer
Chemistry Dept., Bar-Ilan University
Ramat Gan 52900, ISRAEL
E-mail: <FrimeA@...>


From: Eitan Fiorino <Fiorino@...>
Date: Thu, 12 May 2005 17:02:01 -0400
Subject: Finalization of the haggada

> From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
> 2.  I always thought that the Eliyahu cup was just to resolve the
> issue of whether there were 4 cups or 5 during the seder (for the
> possible 5th lashon of geulah - vehayvayte - whose verse was probably
> omitted from the seder because of the trauma of the Roman exile, which
> took place shortly before much of the hagada was finalized)

Just a comment on the last part of this - geniza documents and the
teshuvot of the geonim suggest there was a huge diversity of haggadot
traditions long after the Roman exile.  There is a decent if somewhat
biased treatment of some of this in Lawrence Hoffman's book "The
Canonization of the Synagogue Service."



From: Saul Mashbaum <smash52@...>
Date: Fri, 13 May 2005 16:06:52 +0200
Subject: Re: An interesting curiosity

Dov Teichman wrote:
>I heard in a speech that shabbos that the Ohr Someach discusses a
>question that was brought to him from a shul where the custom was to
>auction off all the Shishis and all of the Chazaks for the upcoming
>year to two people. That year, like this year, Pekudei's Shishi was
>also Chazak. Who gets the aliya?

Dov is correct. See OS Tefilla, 13:20. The case came up in 1883; I
checked with Kal Luach, and indeed that year was like this year, a leap
year with Pesach on Sunday.  Saturday, March 10, 1883 was a 3-sefer
Torah Shabbat: Parshat Pkudei, Parshat Shkalim, and Rosh Chodesh,
something that came up this year as well..

There is a small modification in the case, which answers Laryy Israel's

>Could not the person who bought "hazaq" be called up as an added person
>(aharon) after the sixth person?

One of the disputants bought all the chazaks, the other the "next to the
last aliyah" all year. In this case, on this special Shabbat, these two
types of aliyot are one and the same.

This passage in the Ohr Sameach is cited by R. SY Zevin in Hamoadim
B'Halacha p 190.

Saul Mashbaum


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Wed, 11 May 2005 14:33:14 +0100
Subject: Interesting Letter From MiAvdut LeHerut-Kitniyot Project

on 11/5/05 3:38 am, I wrote:

> It is only those so-called Sephardim from the eastern regions like
> Iraq who go to the trouble to do so and then eat them.

I received a query regarding my use of the term "so-called Sephardim"
from a lady whose daughter had married into an Iraqi family which ate
rice on Pesach so, perhaps, I should explain.

Strictly speaking, the Sephardim are those Jews whose ancestors
originated in Spain. This would include the Spanish speakers
(megurashim) in North Africa, but not the Arabic or Berber speakers
(toshavim), and the Ladino speakers of the Balkans and Levant, but not
the Romaniots (Greek speakers) who lived in the Balkans since Byzantine
times nor the Arabic speakers of Aleppo or Iraq who lived in the region
since Talmudic times at the very least. It is simply incorrect to lump
together all non-Ashkenazim as Sephardim. She should ask her mechutanim
whether they consider themselves to be Sephardim or Bavliim and I think
would find they prefer to opt for the latter title if given the
choice. According to my "Sephardi" friends it is only the Iraqi and
similar groups who actually eat rice on Pesach, certainly not the
Moroccans, which seems to be entirely consistent with what she wrote to

Martin Stern


From: Alex Heppenheimer <aheppenh@...>
Date: Fri, 13 May 2005 06:56:42 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: Jefferson and Baba Kama

In MJ 47:91, Bernard Raab wrote:

> The fact that US civil tort law follows much of our halacha in these
> matters may not be entirely coincidental. We know that Thomas
> Jefferson studied Baba Kama because he had a copy in his personal
> library (the Vilna edition) which he clearly was able to read since he
> made notes in the margins. It is now in the Library of Congress in
> Washington (as is Jefferson's entire library, which was the initial
> collection of the LOC) and was on display some years ago.

Very interesting! Out of curiosity, I looked up the record for it in the
LoC's online catalog. Assuming that I've found the right one


then it's actually a Latin translation of Baba Kamma, printed in Leiden
in 1637. Which means, I guess, that Jefferson was not _that_ much of a
talmid chacham. :)

(Incidentally, the Vilna press - which eventually became the famous
"Widow and Brothers Romm" firm - was founded in 1789, but they didn't
begin publishing their first edition of the Talmud until the 1830s, some
years after Jefferson's death.)

Kol tuv,

From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Fri, 13 May 2005 14:17:24 +0300
Subject: RE: Jefferson and Baba Kama

We know that Thomas Jefferson studied Baba Kama because he had a copy in
his personal library (the Vilna edition) which he clearly was able to
read since he made notes in the margins.

I doubt that Thomas Jefferson lived till 1842 (when the Vilna edition of
Baba Kama was published).

Mark Steiner

From: Nathan Lamm <nelamm18@...>
Date: Fri, 13 May 2005 05:42:33 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Jefferson and Baba Kama

I highly doubt Jefferson had a Vilna Shas, which was published sixty
years after his death. Of course, the Talmud, since its earliest printed
editions, has followed the same basic format, so his would look similar
to ours.

While Jefferson himself didn't have much to do with the foundation of US
law (he wasn't involved in writing the Constitution, for example), it
certainly is true that the early Americans, in both the 17th and 18th
Centuries, had great interest in Jewish traditions. I'm not sure if this
would have filtered down to tort and insurance rules, though.

Nachum Lamm


From: Daniel Wiener <wiener2@...>
Date: Fri, 13 May 2005 09:44:49 +0200
Subject: Nuts and Hametz

most nut stores in yerushalayim use flour so that the salt attaches to
the nuts. american peanuts here in Israel are hametz.  dan wiener


From: Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...>
Date: Thu, 12 May 2005 23:43:23 -0400
Subject: Re: Quinoa

> From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
> The seeds looked almost identical to millet seeds which were also
> available which would tend to suggest that it should be treated
> similarly i.e. as kitniot. Also the pictures of the plant shown to me
> looked very similar to certain varieties of millet, which would
> strengthen this argument.

I think you're making the mistake of "gezairal al gezaira" (decree on
top of decree).  A certain food may be classified kitniot because it is
similar to *chometz*.  It cannot be classified kitniot because it is
similar to another food that is kitniot.

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Fri, 13 May 2005 08:48:18 +0100
Subject: Quinoa

I was not suggesting any definitive halachic position, merely suggesting
what might be relevant facts about quinoa.

Tzvi is miscategorising the ban on kitniot: it is not a gezerah but a
minhag, the main problem being exactly what was the minhag's scope. What
is at issue is whether the minhag was specifically restricted to items
available at the time or these were merely examples of the general
category that it was taken on to avoid on Pesach. If the former view is
taken then clearly quinoa is not kitniot, if the latter then it might be
and this is not adding a "gezeirah al gezeirah".

Furthermore, botanical categories may not be entirely equivalent to
halachic ones, any more than 'work' has the same meaning in regard to
Shabbat as it has in the science of mechanics or, for that matter, a
reshut harabbim has the same halachic significance in hilchot Shabbat as
in hilchot tumah vetaharah.

That quinoa resembles millet might suggest that, had it been available
at the time, it would have been included but, whether to do so, can only
be decided by a qualified Orthodox rabbi. At present this is a matter of
dispute but a consensus might be expected to be found in the near

Martin Stern


From: Alex Heppenheimer <aheppenh@...>
Date: Fri, 13 May 2005 07:28:25 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: Second day Yom Tov

In MJ 47:61, Bernard Raab wrote:

>> From: Harry Weiss:
>> He [R' Aaron Rakeffet] did say he made concession which was
>> putting on tefflilin on the 8th day saying that if it was
>> Yom Tov that it was just an ornament and if no if was for
>> the Mitzvah of tefillin.
> I thought I had heard about all the variations but this is a
> new one. Did he make a brocho on putting on the tefillin? If
> it is an "ornament(!)", is this not a brocho l'vatala? If
> not, then doesn't the Musaf violate the stricture of "ain
> mosifin"? Just asking...

The question of whether tefillin can be worn as an ornament, not for the
sake of a mitzvah, is actually the subject of a Tannaitic dispute in the
Gemara (Eruvin 95b and Rashi there, s.v. Tanna Kamma and s.v. Rabban
Gamliel). In that discussion, Rabban Gamliel holds that they can indeed
be considered an ornament, and therefore one who finds a pile of
abandoned tefillin on Shabbos may wear them into the city two pairs at a
time, even though one would generally not wear them this way on a
weekday: there's no problem of "bal tosif" since according to his view
Shabbos is not a time for wearing tefillin, so even the first pair is
considered ornamental rather than an attempt to fulfill the mitzvah. By
contrast, the Tanna Kamma holds that Shabbos is indeed a time for
putting on tefillin, so adding a second pair would violate "bal tosif."

[In this case, the actual halachah as recorded in the Shulchan Aruch
(Orach Chaim 301:42) is something of a hybrid: while we accept that
Shabbos is not a time for wearing tefillin, one may bring in only one
pair at a time from the pile, not two.  Maharsha to Eruvin 96b, cited in
the Baal HaTanya's Shulchan Aruch (301:51), explains that since people
generally don't wear two pairs of tefillin at one time, the second pair
can't be considered an item of apparel at all. Nonetheless, the Baal
HaTanya adds, as per Rashi, that there's no problem of "bal tosif" with
the first pair since it's not the time of fulfillment of the mitzvah at

Applying this to the case of the 8th day of Yom Tov, then, similar logic
would apply: if it's not a proper time for wearing tefillin, then they
can indeed be considered an ornament. (This would presumably require
that the tefillin be put on without a berachah; perhaps Mr. Weiss can
confirm whether this is indeed R' Rakeffet's practice.)

Kol tuv,


From: Perets Mett <p.mett@...>
Date: Fri, 13 May 2005 16:20:46 +0100
Subject: Taharo Customs

Yisroel Medad wrote:

> All I can contribute is that once, when a very young boy, I poured out
> a glass of water or juice for someone sitting next to me by tilting
> the bottle away from me, sort of backhandedly.

> My step-grandmother (my grandfather, when widowed, went back to Brody
> in Poland in 1932 to marry the younger sister of his late wife) got
> very excited and ordered me fairly abruptly to stop immediately.  I
> was later told that that is the way the water is spilled out in the
> Taharat HaMet ritual.

I too have heard similar stories - from people who have never seen a
taharo.  Maybe there is, or was, a custom to pour the tisho kabin
backhandedly in some communities.

All I can say is that, in 32 years as a misasek in a chevra kadisha
(a) I have never seen a taharo performed with a drinking glass, and, 
(b) the water is poured in a normal, forward fashion.

I can only guess that in former times buckets did not have handles, 
necessitating backhanded pouring.

Perets Mett


End of Volume 47 Issue 93