Volume 55 Number 94
                    Produced: Tue Dec  4  5:57:36 EST 2007

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Cos B'racha (2)
         [Menashe Elyashiv, Avi Feldblum]
         [Menashe Elyashiv]
Kugel Preparation
         [Leah S. R. Gordon]
No Tachanun at a Bet Knesset in the case of a Brit
         [Joel Rich]
Preservation of Minhag Ashkenaz
         [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz]
Questions regarding the division of the parshiyot
         [Simcha MacIntyre]
Status of Non Jewesses having affairs with Jews
         [Russell Jay Hendel]
         [Dr. William Gewirtz]


From: Menashe Elyashiv <elyashm@...>
Date: Mon, 3 Dec 2007 20:02:31 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Cos B'racha

There are some who hold that the cup of wine used for zimun belongs to
the meal. Therefore, the mezamen should drink it, even if it is after
sunset.  This is true also for seuda shlishit of Shabbat Hazon, the wine
can be used. (I mezamen almost every week and drink the wine).

From: Avi Feldblum <feldblum@...>
Date: Tue, 4 Dec 2007
Subject: Cos B'racha

If I understand the issue correctly, I think Menashe touches on the main
point above. Basically, the Cos of Birchat Hamazon (cup of wine used as
part of bentching) is logically tied to the Birchat Hamazon and
therefore should be drunk, even if it is after shekia, just as you can
continue eating Seudah Shelishit after sunset on Shabbat afternoon /
evening. The custom and issue of doing this is tied to whether we
habitually are mezamen on a Cos (make the birchat hamazon using a cup of
wine). The basic halacha seems to be pretty clear that whenever three
people eat together they are mezamen, and part of that is that they make
the birchat hamazon with a Cos. For various historical reasons, most
likely related to the inavailability or cost of wine in Europe during
the last century or so, this halacha fell into lack of being done. Once
that happened, that caused the halachic link between the Cos and
previous meal to be weakened / broken. As a result, authorities ruled
that since ast the time you were eating, you did not assume that you
would make the birchat hamazon with a Cos, it is considered as drinking
after the meal, not as part of the meal. 

Given the availability of wine today, we should encourage the resumption
of the original halacha and should always make our zimun with a
Cos. Once this becomes common, then once again the Cos will be drunk
even on Seudah Shelishit that ends after sunset / tzais.

Avi Feldblum


From: Menashe Elyashiv <elyashm@...>
Date: Mon, 3 Dec 2007 20:15:30 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Kiddush

I try to avoid mass kidushim, just say mazal tov and get home by 10:15
for seuda. However, a early kidush is usually more civilized.  BTW,
there are 2 types of noodel kugel, the well known one, and the
yerushalmi one. Yerushalmi is a mix of burnt sugar, salt and pepper,
oil, noodels. Put in a large pot, it is cooked on the stove. A pot has
100 pre cutted portions. Before serving, it is carefully overturned on a
surface, and it is very hot! It is always served with a slice of pickle
(no bracha on the pickle because it is tafel). It seems that this kugal
is not mezonot for keveat seuda, altho someone told me that even so, it
could be.


From: <leah@...> (Leah S. R. Gordon)
Date: Mon, 3 Dec 2007 05:13:31 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Kugel Preparation

Regarding kugel being "mezonot" or not, one cannot assume that the
noodles are boiled prior to being baked.  For example, a common way to
make lasagna with store-bought [standard, dry] pasta is to put enough
liquid into the sauce that you can skip the boiling step, seal it with
foil, and bake it a bit longer, at a lower temperature.  Then you finish
it uncovered for the crispy top.

I have not tried this method for noodle kugel, but I see no reason that
it would not work.  Specifically I think it might work with egg noodles
or potato noodles, because those cook so quickly in just a little bit of

--Leah S. R. Gordon

P.s. To the other Leahs - please use your full name since now there are
more of us!  (I think I was the only posting Leah for a very long time
on this list.)


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Mon, 3 Dec 2007 08:33:40 -0500
Subject: No Tachanun at a Bet Knesset in the case of a Brit

> AFAIK it is specifically the presence of one of these three
> individuals that exempts the congregation from saying tachanun. In
> some communities they endeavour to daven in different shuls in order
> to 'spread' the simchah to as many people as possible. This is quite
> distinct from the custom in certain groups of looking for any excuse
> to avoid tachanun.
> Martin Stern

How does this compare to the chatan who is advised to skip tfila
btzibbur in order to not keep the minyan from saying tachanun?

Joel Rich


From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabba.hillel@...>
Date: Mon, 3 Dec 2007 13:04:32 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re: Preservation of Minhag Ashkenaz

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
> This is a heartening contrast to the situation at the similarly named
> congregation in Manchester, England, where a small cabal has taken over
> and set about wrecking its minhagim by intimidating their opponents and,
> where this has not resulted in their leaving, physically barring their
> entrance to the premises. At present this matter is subject to a Din
> Torah so I cannot elaborate but any suggestions as to how to counter
> this Gleichschaltung would be welcome. As Edmund Burke is reported to
> have said "All that is needed for evil to triumph is for good people to
> do nothing".

This *should* be a matter for the Rav to handle.  In Baltimore, the Glen
Avenue Shul (which had been led by Rav Schwab) continued as an Ashkenazi
shul under Rabbi Feldman.  While Rabbi Feldman was himself a Chasid, he
made sure that the shul continued with all the minhagim that were
appropriate.  Any shul should follow the psak of its Rav, no matter what
"cabal" might try to take over.  Any Rav should be strong enough to
maintain the proper behavior in the shul and keep the members from
causing a chilul Hashem.

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


From: Simcha MacIntyre <simcha.macintyre@...>
Date: Mon, 3 Dec 2007 10:55:20 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Questions regarding the division of the parshiyot

I was recently looking throught the Abudraham, and would appreciate any
information regarding the following.

Near the end he lays down the rules governing which parshiyot are read
when, and the circumstances in which paired parshiyot are either split
or combined.

I note a few differences from our contemporary practice:

   (i) he says that vaetchanan is always read on the shabbat before
        tisha b'av [We always read this parsha on the week following the
        fast.  Also, to have nitzavim before rosh hashana he must have
        had an extra parsha in sefer devarim]

  (ii) he lists shlach and qorach as being paired parshiyot which can be
        split or combined [We never combine these parshiyot.  He doesn't
        desribe chuqat and balak as being paired parshiyot]

 (iii) in certain leap years he says that in some places mishpatim is
        split, and in others ki tisa.

Two things are immediately clear from this: firstly, that the scheme of
division of the parshiyot in his time was different.  Secondly, a
further implication from (iii) is that in his time there were different

Does anyone know the full details of the convention he followed?  In
other words, how did he divide up the Torah into weekly parshiyot?

When was the scheme we use today finalized?
Many thanks,


From: Russell Jay Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 2 Dec 2007 17:27:42 GMT
Subject: RE: Status of Non Jewesses having affairs with Jews

In a recent posting I mentioned the view of the Rambam (Laws of
Forbidden intercourse) that non-jewesses having affairs with Jews may be
executed.  Someone expressed surprise since the non-jewesses intentions
may be non-hostile and have been admiration of Jewish qualities

To understand the Rambam we have to go to his source. The source was the
war on Moab discussed in Nu24-Nu32. Moses was commanded to declare a
retalitory war on Moab. But what was the retaliation for?

Moab never used agression against Israel. Its crime was seduction! Women
including daughers high up in the Moabite Government had affairs with
Jewish men. The men consented (They were not forced). This resulted in
Gods anger against the Jewish people. The loss of life from God's anger
on the consented-to seduction was 8 times greater than the loss of life
for worshiping the golden calf.

The Moabite women were not necessarily malicious (Though their leaders
might be). We have to emphasize that the Jewish men consented.
Nevertheless God considered this an act of war which justified a
military retaliation.

So much for Moab. What about today. As can be seen from the above the
arguments "The women like the men, no one is malicious, there is
admiration of qualities" these arguments IN AND OF THEMSELVES do not
remove the "military nature" of the seductive act. They dont remove it
since the Moabite women had identical attributes.

The main distinguishing feature between Moabite and say American women
is that the Moabite government actively pursued this with the
expectation that God would punish the Jews. Such an intent and
perception is absent from the American government.

Nevertheless, there are serious positions taken by secular modern
authors on the American scene that assimilation is costing more Jews to
America than physical anti-semitism in many European countries. It is
not clear how the Rambam would rule on such a situation where the people
think it OK but the government is not advocating it. But the
consequences are devastating to the Jewish people.

Here is an analogy: I know a certain friend gets freightened by cats.
Wouldnt it be ethically wrong for me to bring cats to him. Can I argue
"His fears are his problem." Would it matter if I am Jewish or
non-Jewish? Can I argue "It is not one of the 7 noachide laws."

The point of the analogy is that American non Jewish women are aware of
the impact of what they do on the Jewish people. My analogy above argues
for "responsibility" but not for a death penalty. As I indicated, a
distinguishing characteristic between America and Moab is lack of
government involvment by America.

However one point that can be inferred from the above is that in any
perspective the non-jewess cannot be perceived as "an innocent
bystander." There are ethical obligations to be aware of consequences of

In light of the fact that many modern authors have decried the rapid
assimilation rate perhaps it would be worthwhile to discuss the legal
aspects of non-jewish obligations towards jews (not to mention our own
obligations towards ourselves).

Russell Jay Hendel; http://www.RashiYomi.com/


From: <wgewirtz@...> (Dr. William Gewirtz)
Date: Mon, 03 Dec 2007 14:14:04 +0000
Subject: Zemanim

Rabbi Alexander Seinfeld writes:

> The Kitsur Shulchan Aruch admonishes one to wait in the summer "until
> all light is gone from the sky". This is more stringent than most people
> practice today.
> But I have indeed noticed that in North America, from San Francisco and
> northward (all the moreso in Seattle, where I visit each summer) there
> can be light in the NW sky up to 100 minutes or more after shkiah
> (sunset).
> I have never observed such a phenomenon in the winter.

First some halakhic background: Looking for no light in the western sky,
is akin to the position of Rabbeinu Tam.  If one were to take 'no light
in the western sky' strictly, then you would arrive at the personal
chumrah of the Rav ztl, that is not followed even by most of his closest
Talmidim.  I do not know for certain the position of the R. Ganzfried,
but I suspect that is not what he meant by the phrase; I suspect he was
slightly more lenient in defining 'no light.' Overwhelmingly, we follow
the geonim (or a fixed 72 minutes, touched on before and well beyond a
post for discussion).  For those follow ing th e geonim, there is always
(significant) 'light in the western sky' when Shabbat is over.  Stated
in terms of depression angles, Shabbat is over when the sun is 7.5 ^
8.5 (our practice) degrees below the horizon, 'light is no longer
present' anywhere from 11 to 18 degrees, depending on exactly what is
meant.  I suspect, but do not know, that the Rav waited till 20 degrees.

Second, some geography.  Disregarding elevation (2nd degree impact),
Jerusalem is about 30 degrees, NY 40, and London 50 north of the
equator.  SF is a bit south of NY and Seattle is a bit south of London
and both are close in latitude to Frankfurt and Pressburg, and other
cities for which we have a rich amount of halakhic practice from major
poskim of the last centuries.

Next some mathematics.  The impact of latitude and season is non-linear.
That roughly means that the further from the equator you go, the impact
of season becomes more pronounced.  In the limit, as you approach the
poles, it is always light in the summer.  If you examine a calendar
based on say 8.5 degrees, then you would see the number of minutes after
sunset you wait in the summer is greater than the winter and both are
greater than spring and fall.  If you then compare how divergent the
times are, you would find, Seattle about 15 minutes, NY about 10 minutes
and SF somewhat less than NY.  In Jerusalem the difference is about 5
minutes and London more than 20.  If you do the same exercise with 'no
light', particulary with stricter definitions, the differences are much
more pronounced.  At the other extreme, if you do the calculation with 3
degrees, the difference is slighter.

And permitting some humor: Rabbinic observation in the winter may be
less accurate since it is difficult to stay out in the cold.  VehaMaivin

dr. william gewirtz


End of Volume 55 Issue 94