Volume 56 Number 12
                    Produced: Tue Dec 25  6:07:47 EST 2007

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Exact Time of Zemanim
         [Martin Stern]
Intermarriage, Assimilation and Responsibilities of Non Jewish
         [Janice Gelb]
         [Dr. William Gewirtz]
Tithing Produce from Israel (2)
         [Mark Steiner, <chips@...>]
Truma/Masar & the borders of israel
         [Leah Aharoni]
Zemanim on high
         [Dr. William Gewirtz]
Z'manim again, and again and
         [Michael Frankel]


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Dec 2007 06:56:01 +0000
Subject: Re: Exact Time of Zemanim

On Mon, 24 Dec 2007 08:58:54 +0200, Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...> wrote:

> Akiva Miller noted in mail-jewish Vol. 56 #06:
>       I would comment that "lo nitna Torah l'malachei hashareis -
>       the Torah was given to humans, not to angels". Hashem expects
>       no more than that we make our best efforts, and I suspect
>       that these calculations and clocks do meet that standard.
> This brings to mind the saying: "Measure with a micrometer, mark with
> chalk, cut with an ax." 8-)

I saw once again this year in Manchester, sheets purporting to give the
times of "nets" (sic) correct to the nearest second for each day. This
is simply impossible to calculate in advance. In a paper I published
"Sunrise, Sunset - a Modelling Exercise in Iteration", in the Journal of
Teaching Mathematics and Its Applications (vol. 9 no. 4, 1990) I did the
usual error analysis on the formula for calculating the times
corresponding to various altitudes of the sun and concluded that with
the most accurate values of the longitude and latitude of the observer,
declination of the sun and equation of time, the resulting time could be
in error by up to 1 second either way.  If one takes into account the
effects of height above sea level, this error could increase by almost a
further two seconds (in the area for which the data were prepared - it
could be much more serious nearer sea level). The effects of air
pressure and temperature on the refractive index of the atmosphere,
which can never be known in advance, increases the potential error by
38.7 seconds!

Martin Stern


From: Janice Gelb <j_gelb@...>
Date: Mon, 24 Dec 2007 13:50:17 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Intermarriage, Assimilation and Responsibilities of Non Jewish

Russell Jay Hendel <rjhendel@...> wrote:
> I was a bit disappointed that the thread on intermarriage/assimilation
> died out. Let me put it this way: Looking over the subject headings of
> the last 10 issues there were 2-3 on assimilation and about a dozen on
> the time to daven in the morning. I think assimilation deserves more
> than two issues.

It might have engendered more discussion if it had been approached in a
different way other than to blame non-Jewish women for it.

> Finally I point out the intellectual aspects of this law. If we say
> that non-Jewesses are NOT liable for who they are intimate with it
> would follow that American Jewry might God forbid assimilate and we
> would not blaim anyone--after all it is our own fault for
> participating. My point here is that American woman must have some
> responsibility on who they consort with.

You seem to be saying that non-Jewish women should consider and care
more about the continuation of the Jewish people than should the Jewish
men with whom they are involved. That's absurd.

Not only that, but although I hate to break it to you, many, many people
in America do not consider religion a prime factor when becoming
involved in relationships.  Non-Jewish women are not dating Jewish men
in order to contribute to the assimilation of the Jewish people.
They're dating Jewish men because they've found Jewish men who appeal to
them. No ulterior or philosophical motive involved.

-- Janice


From: <wgewirtz@...> (Dr. William Gewirtz)
Date: Mon, 24 Dec 2007 21:34:19 +0000
Subject: shiurim

i have a simple question.  I must be missing something, hopefully
someone will explain.

I have a trivial answer to the stirah that the noda beYehudah made
famous.  I do not know why this has not been suggested; it may have and
i have not seen it or why it is wrong?  al regel achas, even before you
get to volume measures versus length, the length based shiurim are also
different than the proportions in the gemara, an amah is not observed to
be 24 egodlim.  If you assume the ratios are not meant to be exact if
all entities are measured, and start NOT with an egodel, but with an
observed / measured average amah, the contradictions fall away.  I would
assume that since amah is in the torah, it trumps an edogel, like the CI
argues why length trumps volume.  using 1/24 of an amah for an egodel
(versus measuring), the gemara in pesachim is exact with a 19 inch or so
amah.  I only skimmed the chazon ish and the steipler, this must have
been obvious and I cannot figure it out.  What am i missing??  why am I


From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Sun, 23 Dec 2007 22:07:39 +0200
Subject: RE: Tithing Produce from Israel

My impression is that exporters of produce from Israel are NOT required
by the rabbinate to tithe the food (truma, maaser, etc.). The rationale
for this is an opinion of the Rambam whose meaning is disputed but can
be understood to mean that produce exported abroad does not require
separating the tithes.  Many authorities, however, do not think this
this reading is correct, and if the production (gemar melakha) was
finished in the borders of Israel, the requirement of tithing remains
wherever the produced is exported to.  My recollection is that R. Moshe
Feinstein, zatzal, held this, and so do many authorities.

I believe then that if buying Israeli produce in a supermarket abroad we
can be fairly sure that the produce should be tithed, at least without
saying the blessing.

From: <chips@...>
Date: Mon, 24 Dec 2007 17:27:10 -0800
Subject: Re: Tithing Produce from Israel

I am looking at the label for a bottle of wine from Mount Tabor Estates
in the Galilee, grapes of 2003.  I see no mention of tithing. Am I
supposed to spill out a portion of wine to cover the tithing??  Seems to
me that the OK should mention that by their symbol.


From: Leah Aharoni <leah25@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Dec 2007 09:30:32 +0200
Subject: Truma/Masar & the borders of israel

Dr. Josh Backon wrote:

> The Aruch haShulchan (lR. Yechiel Michal Epstein who wrote his sefer
> in the late 1880's) combines Yoreh Deah Siman 331 with 332 and writes
> in a 2 line synopsis that terumot and maasrot *einam nohagin klal
> bizman ha'zeh" [these laws are not in effect AT ALL in modern times)
> and he reiterates this at the end of the sentence ('v'sidrani halachot
> elu b'hilchot she'einam nohahot bizman ha'zeh").
> The Mishneh l'Melech was R. Yehudah Rosanes (Constantinople:
> 1657-1727) and was heavily involved in the ban against Shabbetai
> Zvi. Perhaps there is a connection between his ban on Shabbetai Zvi
> and his psak on the kedusha of terumot and maasrot. I don't know and
> it's only a hunch.

I think it's important to view each psak in its proper historical
context. The first agricultural settlements in Rishon Letzion, Petach
Tikva, and Zichron Yaakov were established in 1882. Their initial years
were very difficult and it took time until they established any type of
viable agriculture.

Subsequently, at the time of Aruch Hashulchan and certainly at the time
of Mishne Lamelech there simply was no Jewish agriculture in Eretz
Israel and certainly no exports to chutz laaretz. So obviously these
laws did not apply at the time of Aruch Hashulchan. If there is no
Jewish-grown produce, there is no truma and maser.

This reminds of an incident related by rav Nevenzal (the Rav of the
jewish Quarter). Someone cited Kitzur Shulchan Aruch as saying that one
should make Kiddush in the Sukkah on Shmini Atzeret and asked why
doesn't anyone follow the Kitzur's psak. Rav Nevenzal was incredulous at
the question, since the Kitzur was written in chutz laaretz where the
first day of Shmini Atzeret coincides with yom tov sheini shel galuyot,
which does not exist in Israel.

Leah Aharoni


From: <wgewirtz@...> (Dr. William Gewirtz)
Date: Mon, 24 Dec 2007 03:21:29 +0000
Subject: Zemanim on high

chips writes:  
> I don't have one in front of me, but I'm pretty sure that the Navy
> base the times on sea-level. Is there a halachic basis for doing so?
> For cities like Denver, this would be at least a few minutes of
> difference.

As you might expect, this is in dispute.  It is well known that in
previous generations, babies born while the sun was still visible from
the hills around Jerusalem and Chevron had their brit as if the sun had
NOT set.  See the related position of the first Lubavitcher rebbe in his
missive reprinted the movement's siddur.  (assumed rationale for these
positions is varied.) Gemara shabbat 118B (concerning residents of
Tiberius and Meron) implies support as well, though not absolutely
definitive. RMF has two tshuvot one addressing and one bearing on the
subject.  I have other fundamental reasons to strongly concur to
starting Shabbat a bit after "sea-level sunset", certainly in Denver.

However, current accepted practice is to be machmir; in fact it has
turned on its head when a booklet made its way around charedi circles in
Jerusalem about 2-3 years ago attacking those living in valleys around
Jerusalem for starting Shabbat using the calendar (sea-level) implying
the chumrah is more than mandatory!

Clearly, Lemaaseh, we start shabbat at "sea-level" sunset.  In a dire
situation, there is an absolutely clear basis for a heter.  Ask your
local mile-high Posek!


From: Michael Frankel <michaeljfrankel@...>
Date: Mon, 24 Dec 2007 00:35:49 -0500
Subject: Z'manim again, and again and

From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
>> now we should ask - just what is sunrise and sunset. i think - need
>> to check but in hurry right now - according to the US navy tables
>> (which I assume everybody uses) these refer to the rising and setting
>> of the center point of the sun..

> Nope. They use the same definition that we use. My source is "Tables
> of Sunrise Sunset...From page 7: "The times of sunrise and sunset in
> the main table are the local civil times at which the upper edge of
> the Sun's disk is actually seen ..."

I see I wasn't sufficiently clear in stating the problem with
sunrise-sunset. i mentioned navy tables (and indeed am surprised their
sunrise sunset might corresponds to visual appearance/disappearance of
the sun's edge as reported by a. miller - though i still haven't
bothered to look up and verify that myself) but that is a red herring
which i regret introducing and doesn't affect the fundamental
halakhic-astronomical problem.  which is this.  the astronomical truth
is that "day" and "night" are equal at the equinoxes (t'qufos).  this is
stated by chazal and reiterated by the gaonim, and it is the latter's
shitoh which is one of the two (along with RT) prevalent z'manim
calculations in the world today.  so this has operational halakhic
resonance.  however, it is equally obvious to me that equality of day
and night at the equinoxes is only true using the rising-setting of the
sun's centroid.  using rising/setting of the edge of the orb will
guarantee that "day" and "night" and the sho'os z'maniyos associated
with each are in fact not equal, contra chazalic and gaonic statements.
I have no good answer to this.  (suggestions that gaonic measurements
weren't all that accurate don't cut it with me, since differences of ten
minutes or so in day vs night should have been very readily detectable
even with the primitive technologies of the day)

From: <chips@...>
> I don't have one in front of me, but I'm pretty sure that the Navy
> base the times on sea-level. Is there a halachic basis for doing so?
> For cities like Denver, this would be at least a few minutes of
> difference.  -rp

since the US navy does not often consult halakhic sources, i'll guess
they just went ahead and published without haskomos.  but perhaps you're
asking whether pos'qim may base halakhic z'manim on a sea level
determination of the various astronomical phenomena.  and the answer is
surely yes - though machloq'sim abound.  some certainly would instead
point to local ground truth in places such as denver.  denver however is
on a long high plane. other, related, machloq'sim exist re the proper
correction to be made for surrounding hills, with potentially different
answers dependong on whether they are near or far.  a correspondent
informed me off-line (i wasn't aware of this and simply report the
assertion) that R. Hershcel Schachter is one of those who take the
z'manim at sea level (but you'd have to check with him.)  a basic proof
text is B. Shabbos 118 where r. yosi praises denizens of t'veryoh and
tzipori who have longer shabbosim (or shabbosos) because of their
depth/height above sea level.  many (but certainly not all) rishonim and
acharonim say this was just a chumroh and they should/could have
calculated it as if they were in the "flat".  i.e. correct the time.
but correct to what? simplest answer is correct to sea level.  see igros
moshe, O"H 97 (which, by the way, i believe contains a mistake in
metzius in one matter).

Mechy Frankel


End of Volume 56 Issue 12