Volume 52 Number 01
                    Produced: Wed Apr 26 16:00:07 EDT 2006

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Lighted athletic shoes
         [Israel Caspi]
Minhag of the Apta Rav (6)
         [Wendy Baker, Nathan Lamm, Shimon Lebowitz, Yehudah Prero, Fay
Berger, Alan Friedenberg]
New Sefer!
         [Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer]
Pay non-Jew with non-Kosher Food? (3)
         [Martin Stern, Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz, Leah S. Gordon]
Shlissel Challah (3)
         [Joseph Ginzberg, Perets Mett, <DTnLA@...>]


From: Israel Caspi <icaspi@...>
Date: Tue, 18 Apr 2006 17:23:21 -0500
Subject: Lighted athletic shoes

Has there been any discussion -- or does anyone know of a psak -- with
regard to Shabbos and Yom Tov, about childrens athletic shoes (sneakers)
that flash lights when you walk ?

--I. Caspi


From: Wendy Baker <wbaker@...>
Date: Mon, 17 Apr 2006 11:25:54 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Minhag of the Apta Rav

> In his Ohev Yisrael, the Apta Rav, Avraham Yehoshua Heschel, notes a
> minhag to be observed at Seuda Shlishit on the Shabbat after Pesach
> which is to make an impression on the challot with a key (and maybe even
> to bake the challot in the shape of a key?).
> Anyone hear of this?  Practice it?

I know that there are those who still practice this custom as it is 
frequently brought up at this time of year on the jewish-food recipe swaping 
mail list I belong to.  From what I gather from these discussions it is 
used for the challah for the whole shabbat, or, at least for Friday 

Wendy Baker

From: Nathan Lamm <nelamm18@...>
Date: Mon, 17 Apr 2006 07:00:04 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: Minhag of the Apta Rav

The Encyclopaedia Judaica has a photograph (I believe the entry is
"Food") of an Israel Museum collection of various Challot, with
explanations for each. One is a Challah (plain loaf) with a key, or the
impression of one, baked into the top. I don't recall the exact time of
the year the challah is intended for and don't have the Encyclopaedia
handy, but it may have been the Yamim Noraim (as in opening the gates of
heaven, etc.). Of course, it may have been made after Pesach for other
reasons. There were other interesting shapes for various chagim-
ladders, hands, birds, and more.

From: Shimon Lebowitz <shimonl@...>
Date: Mon, 17 Apr 2006 17:27:59 +0300
Subject: Re: Minhag of the Apta Rav

In my family there is a tradition to make challa with a key, but not for
that shabbat. They are used on Hoshana Rabba, symbolizing the final
"locking" of the gates of Teshuva that have been open since Rosh

Another symbolic challa is used on Erev Yom Kippur - with a "ladder" on
it, "may our prayers go up...".


From: <dapr@...> (Yehudah Prero)
Date: Mon, 17 Apr 2006 10:57:56 -0400
Subject: Re: Minhag of the Apta Rav

See http://torah.org/learning/yomtov/pesach/5761/vol7no04.html for an
explanation of the Schlissel challa minhag.

Mo'adim l'simcha,

Yehudah Prero

From: <juniperviv@...> (Fay Berger)
Date: Mon, 17 Apr 2006 15:56:27 -0400
Subject: Minhag of the Apta Rav

Encyclopedia Judaica Volume 6 p.1419 in the subject of Food has a lovely
illustation of various special hallot.The 5th illustration has the
following comment:"Hallah from Volhynia for the first Sabbath after
Passover.The key placed on top of the loaf symbolizes the "gate of
release" which traditionally remains open for a month after the

Fay Berger

From: Alan Friedenberg <elshpen@...>
Date: Tue, 18 Apr 2006 09:07:20 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Minhag of the Apta Rav

This is called "Schlissel Challah."  The following is
quoted from Mail Jewish, Vol. 36, Number 11:

" . . . this had to do with a blood libel, where a chassidishe rebbe
found blood in his wine bottles (after his shul key fell off the wall a
few times on the Friday night before Pesach). See, after the key fell
off the wall, the rebbe went back to the shul and found that the wine
bottles were filled with blood, so he threw them all out. The next day
the powers that be came to the shul to prove a blood libel, but there
was no blood in the wine bottles, so the town was saved.

So now, people either put the key into the challah or make an impression
of the key in challah, and its called "Shlissel Challah" and its a
segulah for parnassa, and they do it the shabbos after pesach."

"The minhag of women (or men) baking the house key into the challah on
the Shabbat following Pesach (also known as a shliss [=key] challah) is
explained with the following reasons:

1. Based on "Pitchi Li Achoti, Ra'ayati..." ("Open up, my
darling..."--Shir HaShirim 5:2), on which the Medrash states "Pitchu li
petach ke-chudo shel machat...," (cf. Shi HaShirim Rabbah 5, s.v. "Kol
Dodi Dofek") = something like "Open your hearts (in teshuvah) like the
eye of the needle, and I (God) will open the rest like [a very large

2. According to Kabbalah on Pesach the gates to heaven were open, and
following Pesach the lower gates are shut, and it's up to us to open
them again, therefor on the 1st Shabbat we put the key on the challah to
show that through the mitzvah of Shabbat we are opening the locks
[original source?].

3. In the desert the Jewish people ate from the manna until after Pesach
upon entering the land (with the bringing of the Omer, see: Josh. 5:11),
at which point the ate from the produce of the land, and became
dependant on their livelihood for the first time (now they had no
manna). The key in the challah after Pesach is a request the God should
open the Sha'arei Parnasah (gates of livelihood). Alternatively, the
manna began to fall in the month of Iyyar, and this Shabbat is always
Shabbat Mevarchim Iyyar.

See: Sefer Ta'amei HaMinhagim, pp. 249-50.  See: Encyclopedia Judaica,
vol. 6, pp. 1419-20 for a photo of a shluss challah (and other "special"
challot).  It seems (from both of the above sources) that the minhag was
to bake the key on top of the challah not inside (a la the old jail
break trick).

My wife prepares a shliss-challah each year--however I had to go out and
buy an antiquated looking skeleton key, both to make it look more
authentic, and because the top of keys in Israel ("pladelet" keys) are
generally made of plastic, and there's a fear it will melt in the
baking!  We have also begun the custom of using a shliss-challah for the
meal on the night of Yom aAtzmaut--for the reasons see the story related
at the beginning of "O! Jerusalem," pp.  9-10--ve-ha-mavin yavin."

Alan Friedenberg
Baltimore MD


From: Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer <rygb@...>
Date: Tue, 18 Apr 2006 16:51:18 -0400
Subject: New Sefer!

One of the Ohr Somayach alumni who was a ben bayis by us has published
my "collected [English] writings." They are available for free download
or purchase at:


(reuven's Storefront - Lulu.com)

An excerpt from the site:

"    Bigdeh Shesh (Hardcover)

(From the back cover) "Think, Ask, Internalize!" This title of one of
the many gems within this volume sums up the writings of Rabbi Yosef
Gavriel Bechhofer. Whether it's Chassidus vs. Misnagdus, Talmud
Yerushalmi, Eruvin, Medical Ethics, History, Biographies, or any number
of Hashkafic topics, the Bigdeh Shesh never ceases to bring up something
new, something interesting, and most importantly, something to think
about! "

Please note that neither he nor I make any money off the book - only
lulu.com does.


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, 17 Apr 2006 11:50:12 +0100
Subject: Re: Pay non-Jew with non-Kosher Food?

On Tue, 11 Apr 2006 22:46:08 -0400 Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...>
> I went to a gas station to use their vacuum to clean my minivan for
> Pesach.  The seats were already removed and the floor looked about like
> what you'd expect it to after being used by a large family for a year,
> (with food having been removed during the year only when you could
> locate it by smell).
> A non-Jewish-looking homeless man was stationed by the vacuum (not sure
> how he got the idea that it was the place to be) and offered to vacuum
> the van for me so he could "buy a sandwich".  I insisted I would only
> pay him in food, not money (to avoid the money going for alcohol) and he
> agreed.
> Was it OK for me to let him pick out something from the Burger King
> drive-thru (I made sure it didn't have meat and cheese... he ordered a
> chicken something meal) or should I have taken him to a kosher place
> (which would have cost me more and been more complicated since they
> don't have drive-thrus)?

This would appear to be explicitly permitted in the Torah (Dev. 14.21)
where it states that a neveilah should be given to a ger [toshav who is
allowed to eat non-kosher food as opposed to a ger tseddek who is like
any other Jew], so that he should eat it, or sold to a nokhri [who still
worships idols]. As opposed to basar bechalav or yayin nesekh (in the
strict sense as opposed to wine merely handled by a non-Jew), it is only
forbidden to eat non-kosher food but one may have other benefit from it.

Also in the USA a person who does not look as if he is Jewish, and does
not claim to be a Jew, can be assumed to be a non-Jew on the principle
of kol deparish meiruba parish, anything that has separated from a
population is assumed to have separated from its majority
component. Whether this would apply in Israel is more doubtful.

Martin Stern

From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabba.hillel@...>
Date: Tue, 18 Apr 2006 10:25:04 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: Pay non-Jew with non-Kosher Food?

Unless the non-kosher food is asur be'hana'ah (forbidden to get ANY
benefit from -as in milk and meat or chametz on Pesach) it should be OK
as the nonJew is allowed to eat nonKosher food and you are allowed to
own it for permitted purposes (such as selling to nonJews, etc.).

Thus, it should be OK However, I am not a Rav and one should get into
the habit of asking a Rabbi.

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz | Said the fox to the fish, "Join me ashore"
<Sabba.Hillel@...> | The fish are the Jews, Torah is our water

From: Leah S. Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Mon, 17 Apr 2006 04:27:05 -0700
Subject: Pay non-Jew with non-Kosher Food?

Tzvi Stein asks about paying a beggar with a nonkosher BK chicken meal,
for car-cleaning services.

(First of all, I totally get the chametz-under-the-mats phenomenon!
Perhaps we have a tiny bit of common ground after all.  :) )

I, too, prefer to give beggars food (or food gift certificates) when
possible.  I bought a book of McDonald's $1 gift certificates to have on
hand for this reason.  I hadn't thought about it being an issue if they
buy cheese+meat with the g.c.; is it?  Am I really getting a benefit
from that?  Hm; I suppose KFC g.c. would be better, since I'm not sure
there is D'oreita milk+meat in that restaurant, though I actually have
no idea.

But something else struck me about the story - it sounded as if Tzvi
drove the stranger through a drive-thru in his car.  I think this was
probably a really bad idea.  I have heard of car-jacking happening under
exactly these circumstances (apparently-down-and-out person asks for
ride/food and then mugs/car-jacks driver).  My own husband was almost a
victim of this; thank Gd the guy didn't get violent but did try to shake
him down for some more money after the "ride to the train station"
before being willing to get out of the car.

--Leah S. R. Gordon


From: Joseph Ginzberg <jgbiz120@...>
Date: Mon, 17 Apr 2006 18:32:35 -0400
Subject: Shlissel Challah

This custom is alive and well, although used for all the shabbat meals.
I am under the impression that it is chassidic in origin.

I have met people with several variants on this, some make the challah
itself in the shape of a key, others impress the house key into the
challah and pull it out, yet others put a house key into the challah,
and others make a key-shaped "braid" on top.

As I recall, it is in several of the minhag indexes, which I don't have
at hand at this moment. I think there is a connection between the
blessing of Iyar on that week, the month in which the Mannah started, so
it "reminds" the Almighty to send us our livlihood, and is also a
reminder of the connection to Shir Hashirim's "Pischi li", Open my

Yossi Ginzberg

From: Perets Mett <p.mett@...>
Date: Mon, 17 Apr 2006 16:39:43 +0100
Subject: Shlissel Challah

we know a number of people (mainly women I guess, but if I said that I
lay myself open to a barrage of complaints) who bake a shlisl khale for
the Shabbos after Pesach.

A key is impressed into the base of the khale and removed after baking
to leave a key-shaped impression. Our makhteyneste who is an eynikl of
the Oheiv Yisroel is very particular about this custom.

Jews in Congress Poland had a different custom: they baked egg matzos
(which Ashkenazi Jews do not eat on Pesach) for this Shabbos.
Consequently the Shabbos post-Pesach is known as "shabes geyle matzes"
(yellow matzo Shabbos).

a gitn moyed!

Perets Mett

From: <DTnLA@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Apr 2006 20:15:10 EDT
Subject: Re: Shlissel Challah

Of course! Everyone knows about "Shlissel Challah" ;) I've heard some
even bake the keys inside the challah.

Many reasons are given.


End of Volume 52 Issue 1