Volume 50 Number 71
                    Produced: Fri Dec 23  6:59:31 EST 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Birkat Ha Levanah
         [Evan Rock]
Israeli - diaspora Ashkenazic practice variations
         [Mark Steiner]
Mattityahu = Kohen Gadol?
         [David Curwin]
Other Types of Kashrut Certificates
         [David Curwin]
         [Joseph Kaplan]
Reality, Halachic Reality, and Bugs (2)
         [Daniel Nachman, Avi Feldblum]
Sephardic customs
         [Joseph Mosseri]
Syllabus Construction was RASHBAM
Tzedaka during davening
         [Tzvi Stein]


From: Evan Rock <theevanrock@...>
Date: Wed, 21 Dec 2005 08:02:42 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Birkat Ha Levanah

In a Orthodox Persian synagogue in the Peco / Robertson area of Los
Angeles on motzaei Shabbat the congregants go to the street and face the
sky looking at the moon while reciting birkat ha levanah. At times
during the blessing the individual congregants jump up and down. This
motion is repeated several times.  I am not familiar with this
minhag. Can someone explain it please and give the source for it?

Evan Rock

[I have seen this in almost all Ashkenazi shuls I have been at, it is at
the point where you repeat the phrase "Even though I jump I am not able
to reach you, so to ..". Avi]


From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Wed, 21 Dec 2005 19:09:57 +0200
Subject: RE: Israeli - diaspora Ashkenazic practice variations

I would like to commend Mordechai on his thoughtful posting concerning
the differences between minhag Ashekenaz in EY (Israel) and mihag
Ashkenaz elsewhere.  I agree that there is definitely an influence of
the Sefardim on this minhag.  For example, it is considered minhag EY to
add the word 'kadisha" in the kaddish derabbanan ("atra kadisha haden"),
yet I heard this formula among Jews of North African origin while
visiting France.

As for sim shalom during the minha prayer, we have three ancient

(a) Rambam, Ari, and sefaradim: say sim shalom at every prayer, even

(b) R. Amram Gaon, R. Yehuda hechosid, Rokeach, Rashi (in Likkutei
Pardes) etc.: Sim shalom continues birkat kohanim, which ends with
"veyasem lekha shalom."  Hence only during those prayers during which we
could "dukhn" do we say sim shalom; otherwise shalom rav.

(c) Maharam Rothenburg: Sim shalom is said whenever the Torah is read,
since it includes the words "ki ve-or panekha...torat hayim."  Thus some
Askhenaz communities say sim shalom on Mincha of shabbat.  (Mincha of a
fast day is both an opportunity for dukhnen and also for Torah reading,
so everybody says sim shalom then.)

Now, what about EY?  I agree with Mordechai that the approach should be
to suspect a partial influence of the Sefaradim here, but only to the
extent of causing the Ashkenazim to move from one minhag Ashkenaz to

Mark Steiner


From: David Curwin <tobyndave@...>
Date: Wed, 21 Dec 2005 14:59:25 +0200
Subject: Mattityahu = Kohen Gadol?

I went to a shiur this week by a leading expert on Bayit Sheni. He
described the historical period before, during and after the story of
Chanuka. He mentioned that until the Hasmonean revolt, the kohen gadol
had come from the house of Tzadok. Matityahu's son Yonatan was became
the first Hasmonean to take the role of kohen gadol. This seems to be
well backed up by the various historical sources I could find.

However, in the Al HaNisim prayer we say that Mattityahu was a kohen
gadol. How does that fit in with our historical understanding of the

-David Curwin


From: David Curwin <tobyndave@...>
Date: Wed, 21 Dec 2005 14:28:02 +0200
Subject: Other Types of Kashrut Certificates

The discussion of other types of kashrut certificates interested me. At
first I agreed with the poster who said that it wasn't
necessary. Whether we say food is kosher or not is not the only
determinant as to whether we can eat it. That steak might have every
hechsher, badatz, glatt, etc, but you still can't eat it on Yom Kippur!
So obviously there are other considerations in halacha besides "pure

However, that seems to ignore a major point. We don't eat fish with meat
because of a danger viewed at the time, and view it as a kashrut
issue. And even though many Achronim admit that the risk is no longer
prevalent ( http://www.ou.org/torah/tt/5761/vaera61/specialfeatures.htm
) in general we still follow the prohibition. How much more so should
the rabbis be concerned about proven health issues today! And while some
health issues may be still under discussion, those that would seem to
pose a clear risk should certainly warrant the removal of the hechsher.

Additionally, someone asked about a hechsher for treatment of employees.
There is an organization in Israel that does this, and you can read
about them (and articles by rabbis supporting them) here:


-David Curwin


From: Joseph Kaplan <penkap@...>
Date: Wed, 21 Dec 2005 14:07:52 -0500
Subject: Rashbam

Both Rashi and and Ranbam knew language pretty well and if they wanted
to say "seek" meant prayer AND prophecy, they could have easily said it
just as Dr. Hendel said it means both.  But they didn't; they said "seek
only means..."  I for one do not think that it is reasonable to say that
"only" does not mean what it says, and that Rashi and Rambam did not
mean what they said.  What is reasonable is to say that Rashi and Rambam
meant what they said, and if that doesn't fit into a theory that you
have, then maybe the theory should be reevaluated.

I also do not understand how Dr. Hendel can be "SURE" he is right.  He
writes there are verses that support "seek" meaning "prayer" and verses
supporting it meaning "prophecy" and verses supporting it meaning both.
Since the verses saying both supports, according to Dr. Hendel, his
theory, he is sure that that interpretation is the correct one in
Genesis, and ignores the other lists of verses he refers to.  Whether
that is audacious or not, I don't know; but I certainly do not think it
is mature or conservative.  It is this type of dogmatism -- I'm "SURE"
I'm right and everybody who disagrees with me is wrong, and those who
are wrong (like Rashbam) are not worthy of study --that engender, I
think, the type of negative personal responses to Dr. Hendel's posts
that he objects to.  Maybe some intellectual modesty would help.

Joseph C. Kaplan       


From: Daniel Nachman <lhavdil@...>
Date: Wed, 21 Dec 2005 10:56:30 -0600
Subject: Re: Reality, Halachic Reality, and Bugs

On 12/20/05, Avi Feldblum <mljewish@...> > wrote:

      It appears to me, Elozor, that you are ending up supporting the
      original assertion: That "Halachic Reality" does not necessarily
      equal "Physical Reality". The chemistry is not relevent.

This is an interesting line of inquiry, and I hope that posters will
bring in other examples.

A halacha that might fall under this category is that the flavor
imparted by treif foods is not considered treif if it is rancid (notein
ta'am lifgam).  If some bacon falls into your baked beans, it is subject
to bitul b'shishim (nullified only if the volume of beans surpasses the
volume of the bacon by a factor of at least sixty to one), but if the
bacon imparts a rancid flavor to the beans, or even just an unpleasant
flavor, it is considered as though it were not bacon at all, even if
there is a lot of it in the beans.

D. Nachman

From: Avi Feldblum <avi@...>
Date: Fri, 22 Dec 2005
Subject: Re: Reality, Halachic Reality, and Bugs

I would not put Daniel's example into this same catagory. The status of
issur due to a mixture in itself not a measureable physical reality. If
the halacha is that when two items of certain characteristics mix, they
create a new status of issur, and that under the conditions that one of
the items is "rancid (notein ta'am lifgam)" the status of issur does not
take effect, I do not see that as an issue of physical vs halachic
reality. I will give you an example I do consider of this catagory in
the same area. If you have a hot metal pot with food of one type in it
(e.g. meat) and then milk splatters on the outside of that pot, we hold
(if I remember correctly) that the milk is bolea (absorbed) into the pot
and transfers ta'am to the food inside the pot. To take this to a
further extreme, assume you take the meat containing pot and place it is
a larger milk containing pot, where everything is at a temperature well
above yad soledes, I'm pretty sure that the halachic reality is that the
meat has been infused with a ta'am of milk and is forbidden. Now, if one
were to take a good modern steel pot and do this experiment, and then do
a chemical analysis of the food inside of the meat pot, I strongly
believe that it is unlikely that you will find much evidence of any
actual transfer of milk into the pot. So here too is a case where there
is a "halachic reality" that might not match the "physical reality".



From: Joseph Mosseri <joseph.mosseri@...>
Date: Wed, 21 Dec 2005 08:07:42 -0500
Subject: Sephardic customs

On the subject of Sephardic customs at weddings, berit milah, etc.

    I was at the same wedding that Deborah Wenger was at and asked about.

    It is the custom among the Jews of Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, etc.. to
bless the new couple with Birkat Kohanim at the end of the ceremony
before the Hatan recites Im Eskahekh Yeroushalayim and breaks the
glass. Does this custom exist among all Sepharadim? I can not say. As
far as the custom of saying birkat Kohanim at a berit milah that was
described by Shemuel Himelstein, I've never seen such a thing.

    There are many customs that are followed by all Sepharadim but more
than that each city had it's own peculiar customs. Sephardim take a lot
of pride in their country of origin and more so in their city of
origin. Most try to adhere to these customs but many times can not if
they do not live together with others from the same place. What happens
then as that many customs get jumbled together with origins being

    In today's Jewish society especially in the USA where Sepharadim are
way outnumbered by Ashkenazim, many Sepharadim have lost almost all
their laws and customs. Slowly though there are those that are trying to
reeducate the masses as to who and what the Sepharadim were so they can
reclaim their rich heritage.

    Are there so many different customs among Ashkenazim depending upon
city of origin? If so why don't we hear about them?

Hanoukah Same-ah,
Joseph Mosseri


From: <aliw@...> (Arie)
Date: Wed, 21 Dec 2005 20:56:22 +0200
Subject: Re: Syllabus Construction was RASHBAM

in MJ 50/67, Russell Jay Hendel wrote:

>Enough said. I have explained my viewpoint. I have also pointed 
>out that I am willing to be flexible on terms like censorship. My 
>real point is that we should discuss our criteria. Once that 
>Happens I think the conclusions I stated (that eg Rashbam has 
>no pedagogic usefullness) MAY be a consequence. Even if it is 
>not a consequence I think the discussion worthwhile.

why do i have to commit myself davka to one parshan or another ?  and
why is one parshan pedagogically challenged, so to speak, because i
don't find him stimulating or he doesn't delve into enough issues for me
? why does it matter if two parshanim have opposing viewpoints on the
proper meaning of a word or phrase ? i think avi was referring to your
willingness (or assumption of the right) to use the points which raise
those questions to question a parshan's ability or credibility, or to
censor this one or that one (as opposed to just making your own decision
about what to learn, when, why and how, and leaving the rest of us to
make our own decisions).  would you censor a modern day posek because he
allowed something that another modern day posek disallowed, and you
favor the latter ?

the concept of eilu v'eilu divrei Elokim chaim exists, to my mind,
because judaism is a dynamic religion with enough elasticity for
everyone willing to live by the basic rules, and enough varieties of
opinion, within those rules, for each to do his own thing, without fear
that another will find fault, or censor, or demand criteria.  same goes
for opposing opinions of parshanim.



From: Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...>
Date: Wed, 21 Dec 2005 06:18:52 -0500
Subject: Re: Tzedaka during davening

>From: <ERSherer@...>
>Every shul I have ever davened shachris in, somebody takes the pushka
>around during the shaliach tzibur's chazorous hashas. I assume this is
>what Rabbi Amsel refers to.

I have seen this a lot but I am very happy that the shul I go to
regularly does *not* do this.  I personally found the jangling
distracting and disturbing.  Another great thing about my shul is that
the schnorers don't seem to know it exists so they hardly ever show up
during davening...  definitely a big advantage to davening there.


End of Volume 50 Issue 71