Volume 53 Number 16
                    Produced: Wed Nov 29  5:11:47 EST 2006

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Chanukah on the J Site and 142 holiday links
         [Jacob Richman]
Halacha, R. Kook and eating Meat
         [Immanuel Burton]
Inspecting tefillin at airport security (2)
         [Tzvi Stein, Ari Trachtenberg]
LED Flashlights
         [Ari Trachtenberg]
Lost Ketubah
         [Naomi Kramer]
question regarding Megillah 18b
         [Alex Heppenheimer]
Torah and Ideal State
         [Immanuel Burton]
Torah Ideals & Halacha, R. Kook and eating Meat
         [Richard Dine]


From: Jacob Richman <jrichman@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Nov 2006 05:58:22 +0200
Subject: Chanukah on the J Site and 142 holiday links

Hi Everyone!

Chanukah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, is observed for eight days,
beginning on the evening of the 25th day of the Hebrew month of
Kislev. This year Chanukah starts at sundown, Friday, December 15, 2006.
Chanukah is a wonderful holiday of renewed dedication, faith, hope and
spiritual light. It's a holiday that says: "Never lose hope." Chanukah
commemorates the victory of a small band of Maccabees over the pagan
Syrian-Greeks who ruled over Israel.

The J Site - Jewish Education and Entertainment 
has several entertaining features to celebrate Chanukah:

Jewish Trivia Quiz: Chanukah

What does the Hebrew word Chanukah mean ?
What type of foods do we specificaly eat on Chanukah ?
What activities are forbidden during Chanukah ?
Are woman obligated to light the menorah ?
How many candles do we need for all of Chanukah ?
Which family was Judah the Maccabee from ?
How many branches did the menorah in the temple have ?

The above questions are examples from the multiple choice Flash
quiz. There are two levels of questions, two timer settings.  Both kids
and adults will find it enjoyable.

Additional Chanukah resources and games on the J site include:
Free Chanukah Clipart 
The Multilingual Hangman Game (English / Hebrew)
The Multilingual Word Search Game (English / Hebrew / Russian)
My Hebrew Songbook (Hebrew Song Lyrics)
My Jewish Coloring Book (online / offline)

The J site has something for everyone, but if that is not enough, I
posted on my website 142 links about Chanukah, from laws and customs to
games and recipes.  Site languages include English, Hebrew, Russian,
Spanish, French, Portuguese, German and Italian.

All 142 links have been reviewed / checked this week.
The web address is:

Please forward this message to relatives and friends, so they may
benefit from these holiday resources.



From: Immanuel Burton <iburton@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Nov 2006 12:11:46 -0000
Subject: RE: Halacha, R. Kook and eating Meat

In Mail.Jewish v53n14, it was written:
> One of his great disciples was R. David Cohen, "Rav HaNazir", 
> who was a strict vegan who avoided wearing as well as eating 
> anything derived from animals.

Did he wear non-woollen tzitzit?  What about tephillin?  And how would
one make a Sefer Torah, a mezuzah or a megillah without using that
animal product known as parchment?  What about a non-animal shofar?

As I mentioned in an earlier posting, eating meat is mandatory at least
once a year with the Korban Pesach, and as written above there are some
things which absolutely do require animal products.  (I think that
discussing the use of animal products might be deviating from the
original topic of eating meat, though.)

Immanuel Burton.


From: Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Nov 2006 08:41:33 -0500
Subject: Re: Inspecting tefillin at airport security

From: Mordechai Horowitz <mordechai@...>
>From: Moshe Bach <moshe.bach@...>
>> Hi.  I recently flew on several domestic flights in the US.  I was
>> invariably stopped at security, because my tefllin were suspicious to
>> the security personnel.  They went through my hand luggage, opened my
>> tefllin case, looked at the tefillin, then let me go.  I don't
>> particularly like strangers handling my tefillin.  Does anyone have
>> advice on how to avoid these checks?  (Obviously I don't want to check
>> tefillin in checked baggage, which could get lost.)
>A bigger worry could be is that the "security" personnel decide they
>want to open your tefillin and inspect them on the inside.  The Rabbi of
>my shul once had to talk security out of it.
>I think this would a be a good issue for the OU and Aguda to work on to
>ensure Homeland Security educates inspectors on what tefillin is.

I did hear a story (possibly apocryphal) about the same situation
happening but not such an innocuous ending.  It was customs, not airport
security, that was looking through someone's baggage and found the
tefillin.  The customs inspector asked what they were and what was
inside, and the man patiently explained.  The inspector asked the man to
open them, and he said that he couldn't, because one needed to be a
trained scribe (sofer) to do so.  So the inspector, said, "OK, we'll get
a scribe then".  Somehow, the customs people got hold of a sofer, who
came to the airport, opened the tefillin, and they were full of

From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Nov 2006 14:20:28 -0500
Subject: Re: Inspecting tefillin at airport security

  From: Moshe Bach <moshe.bach@...>
> Hi.  I recently flew on several domestic flights in the US.  I was
> invariably stopped at security, because my tefllin were suspicious to
> the security personnel.

Reminds me of the time a friend of mine, who was staying in a guest room
in a dorm, went to the kitchen area to daven and was eventually stopped
by a security guard who claimed that one of the dorm residents called in
that a strange man dressed in leather was shaking uncontrollably in the

Ari Trachtenberg,                                      Boston University
http://people.bu.edu/trachten                    mailto:<trachten@...>


From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Nov 2006 14:10:57 -0500
Subject: Re: LED Flashlights

> From: Michael Mirsky <mirskym@...>
> I once attended a shiur given by someone from the Institute of Science
> & Halacha that made the same points.  In the end, it appeared that
> according to them, there likely is only a problem with electricity in
> the case of an incandescent light bulb because it's a hot as (and
> therefore halachically like) fire.

I paraphrase from an article of Rabbis Broyde and Jachter in the Journal
of Halacha and Contemporary Society (I believe 21:4-47) in the name of
Rabbi Auerbach:

"In my opinion there is no prohibition [to use electricity] on Shabbat
or Yom Tov ... (However, I [Rabbi Auerbach] am afraid that the masses
will err and turn on incandescent lights ... and thus do not permit
electricity absent great need...) ... the key point in my opinion is
that there is no prohibition to use electricity on Shabbat unless
 ... causes a prohibited act like cooking or starting a flame."

Ari Trachtenberg,                                      Boston University
http://people.bu.edu/trachten                    mailto:<trachten@...>


From: Naomi Kramer <naomikramer@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Nov 2006 16:47:09 -0500
Subject: Lost Ketubah

I wondered if you could inform me how to replace a lost Ketubah?

Thank you,
Naomi Kramer


From: Alex Heppenheimer <aheppenh@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Nov 2006 07:32:39 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re: question regarding Megillah 18b

In MJ 53:15, Art Werschulz asked:
>On the fifth wide line of Megillah 18b, we are told: "R. Meir went to
>Asya to intercalate the year, and there was no megillah there, and he
>wrote one out from memory and read it."
>I don't understand this passage.  If he was going to intercalate the
>year, he would need to arrive before Adar Sheini.  Wouldn't this give
>him enough time to get back home, or at least to some place that did
>have a megillah?

Not necessarily. Intercalation could be performed up to the end of Adar
(Eduyos 7:7); if it wasn't done by Purim, then indeed it would be
necessary to read the Megillah twice that year (Megillah 6b). So R' Meir
might have already been in Asya by 14 Adar and had to read the Megillah,
even though he knew that this date would retrospectively be Purim Katan
once he declared it a leap year.

>Moreover, if Asya was so desolate that it didn't have a kosher megillah,
>why did R. Meir take the trouble to go there specifically to intercalate
>the month?

We do find that Asya was used for this purpose in later times too
(Sanhedrin 26a, in the times of R' Yochanan and Reish Lakish), though it
is true that Tosafos (Yevamos 115a s.v. Amar R' Akiva, and elsewhere)
distinguishes between the two episodes: R' Meir performed the actual
intercalation, while R' Chiya and R' Shimon went to Asya only to do the
intricate calculations needed to determine whether a leap year would be
necessary. In both cases, though, Tosafos attributes this to some
difficulty (probably Roman persecution) in Eretz Yisrael, which forced
them to leave the country to work on the issue in peace. Apparently
indeed Asya was far enough off the beaten path that the Romans would
ignore their presence there. (I believe it's usually identified as
somewhere in Asia Minor, and from the Yerushalmi Kilayim 9:3 - an
episode involving R' Meir, incidentally - it seems that Asya was on the
coast of the Mediterranean Sea; but I don't know what district it was

Kol tuv,


From: Immanuel Burton <iburton@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Nov 2006 09:28:25 -0000
Subject: Re: Torah and Ideal State

In Mail.Jewish v53n14, Yeshaya Halevi raised the point of how Adam could
have kept the Torah, given that he didn't have parents to honour, there
was no-one else's wife he could covet, etc, etc.  In Mail.Jewish v53n15,
Avi Feldblum wrote of an explanation that the ideal state is one in
which the Torah can be derived by Man without it having to be given by

I don't think the first point precludes the idea that the Torah could
have been given to Adam.  There are many commandments in the Torah which
do not apply to me, e.g. redemption of the first born (I'm a Levy), all
of the commandments relating to Kohanim, commandments relating to being
the king, etc.  Nevertheless, I have still received these commandments.
Furthermore, when the Torah was given there were commandments that were
not yet relevant, such as those pertaining to the Land of Israel, which
had not yet been conquered.  So, the Torah could have been given to Adam
for him to pass down the generations until it became (for want of a
better word) relevant.

As for the second point of being able to deduce the Torah on one's own,
how would that work with statutes, e.g. the Red Heifer?  By definition
these are beyond human understanding, so how can anyone work them out on
their own initiative?

I once read an explanation (I'm afraid I've forgotten where) of why
Hashem waited 26 generations before giving the Torah, rather than give
it to Adam, Noah, Abraham, or even Moses at the burning bush.  The Torah
dictates how we live in a society, and was therefore given by Hashem to
a society as a whole and not to an individual.  In order for there to be
a society, Hashem waited until the Israelite nation had formed.  (Quite
why He had to wait until the nation was as large as it was is a
different question.)

Immanuel Burton.


From: Richard Dine <richard.dine@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Nov 2006 14:06:33 -0500
Subject: Torah Ideals & Halacha, R. Kook and eating Meat

Responding to:
Comment 1: 
>Immanuel Burton wrote that
>If the state in which Man was first created is the ideal, then does
>that mean that not having the Torah is the ideal?  After all, the Torah
>wasn't given to Adam.  In fact, he didn't even have the seven Noahide

Comment 2: 
>To sum up my position on this, if anyone is interested (and these are
just my opinions),
>a) it is permitted to eat meat
>b) there is ample evidence that meat eating is not an ideal state, and
>one should therefore minimize it
>c) causing prolonged animal suffering is completely forbidden and one
>should therefore do one's best to not contribute to it.
>Practically speaking, if one can't bear to give up meat, keep it to a
>minimum, and look for reliable, kosher, free range and other
>non- factory farm sources.
>Mark Goldin

Both of the comments below can be answered by an excellent summary
Nehama Leibowitz provides in her English Language studies, from Re'eh
where she notes that the permission given in Dvarim for eating Basar
Hutz is given quite grudgingly and where she quotes from Rav Kook at
length.  There she makes the point that in the ideal state we should not
eat meat but that Judaism recognized that humanity cannot immediately
adopt the highest standard so the Torah permits meat but shames our
eating of it.

Richard Dine


End of Volume 53 Issue 16