Volume 54 Number 12
                    Produced: Sat Feb 17 22:43:39 EST 2007

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Beit Din Experience
         [Shimon Lebowitz]
Lengthy Misheberachs
         [Richard Fiedler]
Purim and History
         [Lisa Liel]
Purim Torah
         [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz]
Sakuneh (2)
         [Joel Rich, Barry S Bank]
"That Dreaded Disease" (3)
         [Edward Black, Eli Turkel, Martin Dauber]
Tikkun Chatzot
Women's Prayers
         [Carl Singer]


From: Shimon Lebowitz <shimonl@...>
Date: Thu, 15 Feb 2007 14:18:29 +0200
Subject: Re: Beit Din Experience

<Meirhwise@...> (Rabbi Wise) said:

> as a principle of Jewish Law that whoever is summoned to a Beit Din
> has the right to chose which Beit Din the case is heard in. That is to
> say the Nitan (defendant) not the To'en (applicant) choses which Bet
> Din.

I have not checked Choshen Mishpat or any other sources, but doesn't the
gemara say "eved loveh le'ish malveh", (the borrower is "enslaved" to
the lender) and must go to his beit din?



From: Richard Fiedler <richardfiedler@...>
Date: Thu, 15 Feb 2007 06:37:58 -0500
Subject: Lengthy Misheberachs

From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
> Many, many years ago, I davened in a Shul across from the main station
> in Jerusalem on a Shabbos morning. The full davening, with no
> omissions except for lengthy Misheberachs after the Aliyot, took an
> hour and ten minutes - and it was not a particularly short Sidrah and
> did not feel overly rushed.  In general, the Minyan I daven at in
> Ramot, Jerusalem, takes between 90 to 105 minutes, and is no way
> rushed. No, there is no speech, and no, we do not have world-famous
> Chazanim, and no, we do not have interminable
> Misheberachs. Incidentally, it is a very quiet Minyan - maybe because
> people are constantly involved.

Your message struck a chord in me. I daven on Shabbat at he Kotel with
the minyon of Ephriam Kaspi. It is charaterized by the fact that Mr.
Kaspi brings down from his home his own Safer Torah. The Misheberachs
after the Aliyot are minimal but the one for Cholim and soldiers is
quite lengthly indeed.

For years I davened at another minyon in the Old City which had plenty
of time for D'var Torah's and lengthly misheberachs after Aliyot but did
the common, everyone mentally fill in his own names, Misheberachs for

I became sensitive to this issue when my son had a very serious battle
with cancer in which to this day B"H he has prevailed. I switched
minyons principally over this issue though I never stated it to anyone
before. I no longer add my son's name but I do add my 90+ year old
mother who B"H is doing well most weeks but I think is entitled to all
the help she can get.

My question (or statement) remains for what do we pray.


From: Lisa Liel <lisa@...>
Date: Wed, 14 Feb 2007 11:22:11 -0500
Subject: Re: Purim and History

On Mon, 12 Feb 2007 10:40:39 -0600, Ben Katz <bkatz@...> wrote:

>>From: Lisa Liel <lisa@...>
>>With Purim coming up, I was hoping to share the work of Dr. Chaim
>>Heifetz, who has done a lot of work on the history of that period, 
>>in terms of reconciling conventional history with Jewish chronology.
>I appreciate the passion and the references Ms. Liel has shared with 
>the list.  However, the matter is not so simple.  Persians were very 
>tolerant (remember it was Cyrus who allowed the Jews to return to

So Cyrus was tolerant.  That doesn't imply anything about other Persian
kings.  Also, I wouldn't assume that Cyrus allowed us to return because
he was so tolerant.  Yes, it benefited us, but I imagine Cyrus, like any
king, acted on the basis of what would benefit him and his kingdom.

>and the story of Esther goes against everything else we know about
>their rule.  There is no record of a Queen Esther and all Persian
>queens had to come from one of 7 royal families, as I recall.

That may have been true at certain points during the Persian Empire.  It
is not necessarily the case at all points.  Furthermore, if a Greek
writer who told his stories for entertainment and patronage says one
thing and our Sages, who were local to the region and descended from the
people who actually lived there, say something else, why do you assume
that the Greek writer is accurate and that the Sages are just making
things up?

>There is a tremendous amount of exaggeration in the book (10 parties,

Where do you see 10 parties?

>6 months of preparation for 1 night with the king,

Why is this "exaggeration"?

>a gallows 50 amot tall ...).

Again, why do you assume it's exaggeration?

>The book clearly has a Persuian setting and is probably mocking many
>aspects of Persian society.  To me the book is a powerful reminder of
>the dangers of Jewish societies in galut (even in relatively safe
>havens) and of how God works nowadays (behind the scenes).

Certainly it's not just a history book.  It's intended to teach us
lessons, yes, as all of Tanach is.  But why does that mean that it's not
historically accurate as well?

>The gemara also has many unhistorical comments about the Persians
>(Koresh hu Daryavesh ... Cyrus = Darius ...) with which they also may
>be making polemical and not histotrical points.

I think you're misreading what Chazal say about that.  They never
suggest that Cyrus isn't Cyrus.  On Rosh Hashana 3b, near the bottom, it
says "Hu Koresh, Hu Daryavesh, Hu Artachshast".  This is referring
explicitly to the Darius in whose second year, the building of the
Second Temple began, and it is explaining why Rav Avahu's statement that
"Koresh melech kasher hayah" was brought in a context that was clearly
referring to Darius.  Rashi right there explains that "the Darius who
reigned after Ahasuerus is also being called Cyrus".  There's no hint
that the Gemara is actually confusing or conflating Darius with Cyrus,
only that they sometimes chose to call Darius by the name Cyrus as well.

>Finally, when 1 iconopclast scholar has an opinion different from
>everyone else, sometimes there is a reason that he/she is in the

First of all, Hoschander is the one who claims that the events of the
Megillah were historical, and that there was a point during Persian
history when the Jews were imperiled.  Heifetz uses Hoschander's work in
his revision of Persian history.  Second of all, by that argument, the
fact that Jews are a minority in the world would suggest that maybe the
Christians and Muslims know something we don't.

I don't really understand why it's so hard to accept that the history of
the Persian empire as described in Jewish sources might be as accurate,
if not more, than that described in Greek sources.



From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabba.hillel@...>
Date: Thu, 15 Feb 2007 08:03:46 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Purim Torah

In the last Rabbi Reisman tape that I received (titled "Purim Torah") he
points out that Daryavesh (Esther's son) was halachically Jewish.  He
references Rav Yonasan Eibshutz that this is actually what had caused
his original hatred of the Jews.  He had been told by the astrologers
that the king following him would be Jewish and as a result he was
afraid that they would revolt and take over the kingdom.  This is why he
wanted to kill all the Jews (as opposed to Haman who was Amalek).  That
is why he reacted so strongly against Haman when he found out that
Esther (and therefore his son and heir) was Jewish.  Now that it was his
son who was Jewish, the next king would be Jewish and he would make sure
that he took the throne.

Rabbi Reisman also mentioned the medrash that Haman had sold himself to
Mordechai.  This next part is my own analysis. An eved k'naani is also a
Jew (in a sense).  THis also gives a practical reason why Haman wanted
to kill *all* the Jews because Mordechai would not bow.  If he did not
kill Mordechai, then the truth of his status would come out (a master
does not bow to a slave). If he just killed Mordechai, he would become
the eved of Mordechai's heir and the truth could still come out.  Since
all Jews eventually have an heir, the only way he could avoid being an
eved is if Mordechai died with no heirs.  The only way that could happen
is if their were no Jews left.

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


From: <JRich@...> (Joel Rich)
Date: Wed, 14 Feb 2007 18:34:04 CST
Subject: Re: Sakuneh

From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>

> GIVEN THE FOLLOWING PREMISE - - that a dwelling with only one exit is
> asakuneh. <danger> (I.e., don't argue this point.)
> What are the halachick implications?  Specifically:1 - May you choose to
> live in such a dwelling?2 - Must you warn someone lest THEY do so?
> For those who wonder why this question is raised, it's a derivative of
> a discussion on a local (Passaic) group re: home-based businesses
> and stores.  I'm asking this limited question to avoid questions of
> civil law and also of mesirah -- both of which resulted in more heat
> than light.

clor but imvho the answer (based on just the facts and assumptions
stated) will turn on whether 'society' views it as an acceptable

Joel Rich

From: Barry S Bank <bsbank@...>
Date: Wed, 14 Feb 2007 13:42:40 GMT
Subject: Sakuneh

> From: Carl Singer <casinger@...> writes
> If "...a dwelling with only one exit is a sakuneh. <danger> ...
> What are the halachick implications?  Specifically:
> 1 - May you choose to live in such a dwelling?
> 2 - Must you warn someone lest THEY do so?"

Just to add to the discussion, almost all apartments in Israel have only
one exit.  Worse -- many have soragim (wrought iron bars) on all the
windows so that, in case it is necessary in an emergency to evacuate the
apartment, leaving via the windows is precluded and the single doorway
is the only way to exit the apartment.

When we purchased our apartment, in a religious community, from Mishav,
a building company sponsored by the Mizrachi organization which almost
exclusively builds for and sells to shomrei mitzvot -- observant Jews
(we had to produce a document from our rabbi attesting to the fact that
we qualify on that score) -- we definitely were not warned about the
fact that the apartment had only one exit!

TTBOML, no one in Israel has ever paskened that one may not "choose to
live in such a dwelling" nor has anyone suggested that it is necessary
to "warn someone lest THEY do so."


From: <edwardblack@...> (Edward Black)
Date: Wed, 14 Feb 2007 13:10:19 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: "That Dreaded Disease"

 From: <Meirhwise@...> (Rabbi Meir Wise)
>A young married man with 2 children is undergoing heavy treatment for
> the 3rd recurrance of that dreaded disease. His name is

Is the use of the term "that dreaded disease" in the email below
(Vol. 54 #08 Digest) halacha or superstition.?

Kind regards
Edward Black

From: Eli Turkel <eliturkel@...>
Date: Wed, 14 Feb 2007 15:43:20 +0200
Subject: "That Dreaded Disease"

Why do some diseases not have names in some circles?

Eli Turkel

From: Martin Dauber <mhdauber@...>
Date: Wed, 14 Feb 2007 12:39:56 -0800 (PST)
Subject: "That Dreaded Disease"

In the 21st (goyishe)century I find it ridiculous to call Cancer "that
dreaded disease" and chemotherapy "heavy treatment".  What is the
benefit of this nicknaming, especially to the uninvolved?

moshe tzvi dauber, md


From: Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Fri, 16 Feb 2007 00:49:30 +0200
Subject: Tikkun Chatzot

Last week's Me'orot HaDaf HaYomi, quite incidently, related to an issue
I brought up here on Tikkun Chatzot and, in summary,

a.  An early source: the Rosh on Berachot, Para. 2

b.  Yosef Caro thought it important enough to relate to it right at the
beginning of the Shulchan Arukh.  

c.  The Eshel Avraham asserts that it is to be said only by someone who
has slept a full sleep and awakens especially at midnight for the
prayer.  If one needs to sleep, he isn't required to awaken but can
trust that at least 10 men somewhere around the world are saying the
prayer service.  Others disagree.

d.  The Ya'avetz (Mor u'K'tziah) advances the notion that the "right
moment" (et ratzon) cannot be everywhere around the globe at different
times but only in Eretz Yisrael.

e.  Other writers express the thought that since Tikun Chatzot is in
actuality participating in the pain of the Shechinah, then only persons
of high moral standards should be saying it.

f.  An extension of this is thatonly persons who possess the ability to
pray with Kavannah but when asked about this, the Yosef Chaim said that
anyone presented with an opportunity for a mitzvah, must try his best
and not claim that since he hasn't the right kavvanah, he is not

Yisrael Medad


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Wed, 14 Feb 2007 07:30:35 -0500
Subject: Women's Prayers

Can anyone add insight into the various prayers or recitations that
women say after havdallah.

I'm, of course, aware of the (Yiddish) Gut Fun Avruhm.

After havdallah my mother recites the phrase "a gut voch, a gebenched

We were recently hosted on an out of town trip by a wonderful family.
After her husband completed havdallah, our hosted recited wonderful (but
lengthier) sequence of similar appeals, not unlike what we say during
birkat haChodesh.



End of Volume 54 Issue 12