Volume 51 Number 89
                    Produced: Wed Apr  5  5:41:09 EDT 2006

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Berg Zohar (3)
         [Jonathan Baker, Shoshana Ziskind, Yisrael Medad]
COmplexity of Rabbinic Decisions (Was the 10 sons of Haman)
         [Russell J Hendel]
Layperson selling Chametz
         [Elazar M. Teitz]
Most fluorescent lamps contain glowing metal
         [Tom Buchler]
Once a century event
Portable Eruv for Camping
         [Mike Gerver]
Slifkin - censorship and critique
         [David Riceman]
Tinok Shenishba: One who knows NOTHING about Judaism
         [Dr. Josh Backon]


From: Jonathan Baker <jjbaker@...>
Date: Mon, 3 Apr 2006 08:09:39 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Berg Zohar

> I am chairman of my synagogue in Jerusalem. Two weeks ago we received a
> surprise gift (literally) at our doorstep - the Berg translation of the
> Zohar from the Kabbala Center (I believe this is Madonna's rebbe). I've
> asked a rav what to do with this gift, but I haven't received an answer.

Well, if it's anything like his old translation of the Ramchal's Klalei
Chochmat ha'Emet, it's not going to be particularly readable.  There's a
new translation out that's much better, "The Kabbalah of the Ari Za'l"
covers the same Ramchal kuntress with some explanatory footnotes.

That's the one Berg book I have.

 jon baker    <jjbaker@...>     <http://www.panix.com/~jjbaker> -

From: Shoshana Ziskind <shosh@...>
Date: Mon, 3 Apr 2006 19:59:23 -0400
Subject: Re: Berg Zohar

My sister gave me something by Berg and another book that was also
somewhat inappropriate for me and I sent it to the public library for a
donation. I'm not sure if this is shyech in Israel though.

Shoshana Ziskind

From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Mon, 03 Apr 2006 16:26:56 +0200
Subject: Berg Zohar

We in Shiloh were told to chuck it as in addition to translating, there
is "interpretations" that are problematic.  I've gone through some
material and if you have very little preparation for Zohar, one could
get sidetracked and especially if you believe the theories in the

If you want to keep it personally and use it when you are studying from
the Sullam or Matok Midvash, that's another thing.

Yisrael Medad


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 2 Apr 2006 20:35:04 -0400
Subject: RE: COmplexity of Rabbinic Decisions (Was the 10 sons of Haman)

With Passover coming up the classic case of the dynamic power of the
Rabbi is brought to mind. I myself am not familiar with all details but
the classic case involves Kitniyoth--grains like rice etc. In the old
days these would be mixed with grains eliglble for leavening. Hence a
rabbinic injuction prohibited eating them on Passover. But this
injunction placed unnecessary burden on poorer people who subsisted on
them. Hence the a) severity of eating leaven, b) the propriety of
placing a fence and the c) unnecessary burden had to be all
balanced. Thus we find leniencies mentioned in the
literature---typically a person would go to a Rav who would assess the
whole situation (including other alternatives).

This brings to mind a discussion we had around Purim about leining the
10 sons of Haman in one breath. I called the Talmudic requirement
"obscure".  I argued most people cannot utter the 10 names of Haman AND
lein properly (with pauses and notes). Alex demurred and said if it is a
Gemarrah we must follow it.Avi argued that the impossibility of
performance is not a factor in calling the Talmudic statement
obscure. Alex conceded to me that it would be OK for a person who can't
lein properly to waiver this requirement but asked me for a source that
the proper leining takes precedence over the requirement to say the 10
names in one breath.

I believe I have some answers and even an explanation of the Talmud. I
also want to raise issueson how we decide law and whether we do have the
right to "classify" statements. Here are some thoughts.

(1) I would interpret the Talmudic statement "say them in one breath" to
mean that if several people are "splitting" up the reading that no
INTERRUPTION should take place during the 10 sons of Haman (So I am
interpreting "one breath" as "No interruption" not literally one breath)

(2) The requirement to lein with proper cantillations and proper pauses
holds throughout the year. We have never heard of a waiver of this
requirement. Therefore if the Talmud states something ("one breath")
whose literal interpretation contradicts something done the whole year I
would decide in favor of the law more frequently practiced vs the law
that occurs once. Hence the leining is paramount.

(3) I guess therefore I am calling the Talmudic statement "statistically
deviant" since it is a statistical anomaly to violate the laws of
leining. I also feel justified in calling something "statistically
deviant" as obscure.

(4) Now to the heart of the matter and to my disagreement with Avi.
Thoroughout Jewish law AND EVEN IN THE BIBLE we find reinterpretation
based on contradiction and anomaly. For example the BIble says that
"When Moses raised his hands the Jews were winning and otherwise they
were losing" The Talmud literally makes fun of this Biblical verse: "Do
you win a war by raising hands...(in effect 'how silly') Rather RAISING
HANDS means PRAYER...when the Jews prayed they won and otherwise not."
So we see that the Talmud thinks it Kosher to reinterpret based on
contradiction in performance (Hands dont win a war). The verse then
becomes obscure...it doesnt mean what it says. In a similar manner I
think that intrinsic to analyzing the Talmudic statement is it
possibility of implementation...and if you can't implement it...you
SHOULD call it obscure and reinterpret it.

I think the above issue touches on alot of issues discussed on Mail
Jewish. I have tried to carefully outline why I approached the problem
the way I did (and still do) and why I think performance and
classification "as obscure" ="anomalous" should be part of the decision

Have a Happy Passover
Russell Jay Hendel; http://www.Rashiyomi.com/


From: Elazar M. Teitz <remt@...>
Date: Apr 3, 2006 3:30 PM
Subject: re: Layperson selling Chametz

> I did ask and got permission years ago, to sell my office-based
> chametz to a nonJewish colleague.  I actually gathered up the stuff and
> he gave me some money (73 cents I think) and he said, "I am going to keep
> this, and who knows if I'll agree to sell it to you or anyone
> else."  He said this in answer to me explaining both how the
> "sale" usually works but that in halakhic fact, it needs to be a real
> sale. And he took my things to his cubicle: e.g. my hot-pot, oatmeal
> packets, mug, whatever.  After the chag, I think he'd eaten some of it :)
> but agreed to sell me back the hot-pot.

   I hope you took the pot to the mikveh, as is required of all food
utensils purchased from a non-Jew.  No rav includes chametz utensils in
the sale, for that reason.  Instead, they are rented to the non-Jew, and
only the chametz absorbed within them is sold. (This is a good example
of why one should not undertake a private sale.)



From: Tom Buchler <tbuchler@...>
Date: Mon, 03 Apr 2006 10:57:27 -0400
Subject: Most fluorescent lamps contain glowing metal

>From: <stevenj81@...> (Steven White)
>2. ... (In comparison, today, if the lights are fluorescent then the
>violation _might_ be rabbinic.  That's another discussion, and I'm not
>looking to start it.)

Part of the means of operation of most common fluorescent lamps involves
bringing a small metal filament to the point of glowing. On a lamp that
has nearly burned itself out, you can see this as an orange glow at the
ends of the tube. As far as I understand the matter, this puts kindling
of common fluorescent lamps into the same realm of Torah violation as
kindling an ordinary incandescent lamp. Even in some so-called Cold
Cathode fluorescent lamps, the cathode gets hot enough to glow.

A physicist on the list might be able to confirm: as far as I
undersatnd, LED lamps do not contain glowing metal at all, and would be
a suitable device for the discussion that you wish to avoid regarding
Torah versus rabbinic permissibility of kindling a non-incandescent lamp
on Shabbes.



From: <chips@...>
Date: Mon, 03 Apr 2006 21:43:01 -0700
Subject: Once a century event

On Wednesday at two minutes and three seconds after 1:00 in the morning,
the time and date will be

01:02:03 04/05/06

not quite once-in-a-lifetime but still ...



From: <MJGerver@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Mon, 3 Apr 2006 17:04:58 EDT
Subject: Portable Eruv for Camping

Harold Zvi Greenberg writes, in v51n86,

      A cousin made exactly that trip.  He found that fellow campers
      hung their wet laundry on the eruv to dry.  After explaining to
      them that it has a religious purpose, they removed their laundry
      from it.

Is there any halachic reason not to let non-Jewish fellow campers hang
their laundry on it? Was he worried about the weight of the laundry
making it fall down? And if a Jewish fellow camper hangs laundry on it,
wouldn't you want to avoid saying anything which would cause him or her
to remove it on Shabbat, since that would be carrying outside the eruv?
On the other hand, if a possibly Jewish fellow camper hung laundry on it
before Shabbat, I can see that you would want to encourage removing it
before Shabbat began.

In v51n86, Aliza Berger asks,

      1) Isn't it altogether unsafe to leave food out, which might
      attract bears to the camping site?

Remember, the food is up to 2000 amot from the camp site, or even
sqrt(2) x 2000 amot. It would probably be a good thing to attract bears
away from the camp site.

Martin Stern writes, in v51n87,

      But one is halachically not allowed to use a tree on Shabbat at
      all so one cannot take the eiruv suspended from it even if it were
      within reach.  However, it could be left in a locked box at its
      base which animals would be unable to open.

The problem with using a locked box is that you would have to go back
after Shabbat and pick it up, assuming you wanted to keep it, and didn't
want to litter. Someone wrote to me off-line and suggested (though he
wasn't sure of the details) that even though the tree itself is muktzah,
and you cannot take a food that is, say, directly resting on a branch of
the tree, you might be able to suspend something from the tree, and rest
the food on that. If everything were biodegradable (string and paper
bags), then you wouldn't have to go back and collect it after Shabbat.
But perhaps this wouldn't provide much protection from animals,
certainly not from big animals.

The best solution would be a fully biodegradable locked box. Even the
lock would be biodegradable. As a patent agent, it goes against my
instincts to mention that idea here without patenting it first, but I
hereby donate it to the public. I'm not sure what you would make the
lock out of, or the rest of the box. You would not want to use a
material that would attract animals to eat it, and you would not want
animals to be able to bite or claw their way through it when it is new,
but you would want bacteria to be able to attack it and decompose it in
a reasonable time. Any ideas?

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel


From: David Riceman <driceman@...>
Date: Mon, 3 Apr 2006 08:46:09 -0400
Subject: Re: Slifkin - censorship and critique

> From: Michael Frankel <michaeljfrankel@...>

> R. Slifkin's translation reads "there are many better and greater
> people among US who..".  now, hebrew "me'mennu" will indeed suffer a
> translation "among US".  <snip> i can only speculate what R.Slifkin's
> reasons for this emendation may have been, but nevertheless wonder
> whether he has seen this particular translation elsewhere.

Hazon Ish al HaRambam ad. loc.  For a different attempt at apologetics
see Twersky "Rabad of Posquieres" p.282 note 52.

David Riceman 


From: Dr. Josh Backon <backon@...>
Date: Tue, 04 Apr 2006 22:06:54
Subject: Tinok Shenishba: One who knows NOTHING about Judaism

Steven White disagreed with my translation of the term KLAL (nothing) in
defining Tinok Shenishba in the Rema YD (Hilchot Ribit) 159:3 "she'eino
yode'a mitorat yisrael KLAL". The Beit Yosef (TUR Yoreh Deah 159)
quoting the Nimukei Yosef uses a slightly different term (mei'olam)
[never] ("ela mi shelo he'kir b'torat yisrael MEI'OLAM... aval mi
she'omeid bein yisrael v'holech...."). From the contrast (2nd phrase)
one understands the first and it literally means what it says: nothing
or never.

This total lack of knowledge about Judaism is the sine qua non of Tinok
Shenishba as defined by poskim.


1) Radbaz on Rambam Hilchot Mamrim 3:3 on Karaites in his day (early
16th century) why they are NOT Tinok Shenishba.


1) Aruch Hashulchan Orach Chayim 242 # 19 ("velo yada KLAL al inyan

2) Chut haMeshulash I 13 d"h mihu ("d'lo yada ha'issur mei'olam
 .... v'hu eino yodea ma heim yisrael .... velo yada klal she'hu
yisrael") (has no idea who who or what Jews are; has no idea he is

3) M'Lamed l'Ho'il II YD 115 d"h ra'iti defining who is NOT a Tinok
Shenishba ("she'harei yodea shafir ma heim yisrael v'she'yisrael
tzrichim lihyot nimolim")

4) Sridei Eish I 11 p. 29 ("harei ha'naar ha'zeh eino yode'a kloom v'hu
tinok she'nishba") [the Sridei Eish in the 1960's used Modern Hebrew:
kloom = nothing)

5) Shevet haLevi IX 198 (re: chilonim) ("gam im nagdir otam anusim
machmat chinuch she'hem ha'lo yod'im she'yesh torat yisrael .. kasheh
litein la'hem mamash din tinok she'nishba")

To reiterate: he term refers to someone who knows absolutely nothing
about Judaism or that he is even Jewish.

Dr. Josh Backon


End of Volume 51 Issue 89