Volume 56 Number 14
                    Produced: Tue Dec 25 21:13:16 EST 2007

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

The 9-man minyan
         [Orrin Tilevitz]
Convert as Shul President
         [Orrin Tilevitz]
Hebrew term for Sunrise
         [Jack Gross]
Redemption of Captives
         [Annice Grinberg]
         [Martin Stern]
Tithing Produce from Israel (2)
         [Akiva Miller, Dov Bloom]
         [Harry Weiss]
Zemanin: Accuracy vs Approximation
         [Russell J Hendel]
Z'manim again, and again and
         [Bernard Raab]


From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Mon, 24 Dec 2007 15:52:05 -0800 (PST)
Subject: The 9-man minyan

There are nine men in a shul, of which you're one, and the official
davening time has come and gone.  The assembled, under the direction of
the local rabbi (though not yours) or otherwise, move to start davening,
intending to count as the tenth some other person or object in the shul
(e.g., a small boy, a woman, an open aron kodesh).  Assume that if you
left now you could get to another minyan, but that the others present
won't.  Should you leave?  May you leave?  Would it make any difference
if you had already been designated as the sheliach tzibur?

For background on the halachic iffiness of public davening with 9 men
plus, see Shulchan Aruch O.C. 55; Beit Yosef (on the Tur) 55; Frimer,
Women and Minyan (available on the web), especially notes 75 and 93; and
ML Jewish 36:11.  None of these sources specifically addresses my


From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Mon, 24 Dec 2007 15:49:47 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Convert as Shul President

Not to pick on him but, from Mordechai Horowitz:

> Yet no one suggests that we ban converts from being shul Rabbis.

To return to a discussion I initiated on this list some months ago,
according to R. Moshe Feinstein, a woman may act as a kashrut supervisor
but, in deference to the Rambam, may not give the hechsher itself
because of "serara".  May a convert rabbi give a kashrut hechsher?  If
not, this would seem to be a big impediment for a rabbi in a small
community where any hechsher on a local establishment will necessarily
be from him, and would seem to effectively preclude him from acting as a


From: Jack Gross <jbgross@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Dec 2007 10:33:14 -0500
Subject: Re: Hebrew term for Sunrise

>> From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
>> The word is hanetz, the heh not being the definite article but
>> indicating a hiphil formation from the root natsats.
> yup, but it's henetz, not hanetz.


hechel = (he) began, past tense
hachel = begin!, imperative; begin, infinitive; beginning, gerund

"budded" (of plants), "rose" (of the sun) = henetz
"budding", "rising" (gerund) = hanetz


From: Annice Grinberg <annice@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Dec 2007 13:23:25 +0200
Subject: Redemption of Captives

I don;t know if this as been discussed on the list before, but what does
the halacha say about releasing murderers in exchange for the freeing of
an captive Israeli?



From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Dec 2007 09:28:49 +0000
Subject: Re: Tahanun

On Sun, 23 Dec 2007 12:13:39 -0600, Alex Herrera <odat@...> wrote:

> Shalom Carmy responds to my observation that folks who are emotionally
> invested in the joy of prayer will often look for excuses to avoid
> Tachanun because the prayers are striking depressing...
>  ....
> I will rush through Tachanun (not paying too much attention) and avoid
> it when I can do so legally (which is rare). I will linger on the joyful
> parts of prayer. G-d will be the final judge.

I must disagree with Alex here. This Monday, while saying Tachanun, I
thought about what he had written and decided that I certainly did not
find it at all depressing but rather a realistic summary of our position
in this world. Perhaps if he did not rush through it he might also pick
up the finer nuances. In particular, I found the pizmon we add on
Mondays and Thursdays particularly relevant and moving.

I once heard a rav say that tachanun is perhaps the climax of our
davenning.  He said that we first sit for Shema, then stand for Shmonei
Esrei and finally prostrate ourselves for Tachanun, only to conclude as
we arise, "And as for us, we do not know what to do but our eyes are
raised to You.  Remember HaShem your mercy and kindness which have been
from eternity ..."

Martin Stern


From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Dec 2007 13:53:38 GMT
Subject: Re: Tithing Produce from Israel

chips asked:
> 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.

I believe that you are misinterpreting the hechsher on the label. If you
see a hechsher symbol on a product (whether it is from Israel or not),
it means that the food can be eaten within all relevant halachos. In
other words, just like you don't need to worry that there might be some
lard in it, you also don't need to worry about whether non-Jews might
have handled the wine in a way which might make it forbidden to
drink. And similarly, you don't need to worry about teruma, or maaser,
or shemitta, or bishul akum, or if challah was taken, or any other
halachos which might be relevant.

This is subject to several caveats, however. For example, the
authorities who give the hechsher might rules differently on some
halachos than you feel. For example, the hechsher might define "yayin
mevushal" differently than you do. If so, non-Jews might have handled
the wine in a way which you would not approve of. Another example:
Machinery may have been kashered in a way that you do not accept. Or:
The hechsher might rely on Israeli land being sold for Shemitta but you
don't. In all these cases, and many more, we must choose our hechsherim
carefully; but once a person has decided that he does rely on a
particular hechsher, he does not need to ask "I supposed to spill out a
portion of wine", because he relies on that hechsher for everything.

Of course, anyone can choose to be more selective about his
hechsherim. For example, someone can choose to rely on the OU for
everything *except* that the OU certifies dairy products with
govt-certified milk, whereas this person might only want
rabbinically-certified milk. Such a person would restrict himself to OU
items which are pareve, or meat, or marked "Chalav Yisrael".

Also, one must realize that there are also some very practical issues to
be dealt with. Even if a product has a hechsher which I rely on, I
cannot eat it if it is dairy and I've just eaten meat. That is something
which is totally out of the control of the manufacturer or the
hechsher. That fact is pretty obvious, but less obvious is the law of
Chometz Owned By A Jew On Pesach. We are all careful about the bread and
cookies that we buy in the weeks after Pesach, but it is easy to forget
how long liquor can be on the shelf until we buy it.

On a related matter, I would be remiss if I did not comment on the
question "Am I supposed to spill out a portion of wine to cover the
tithing??" If the wine DID have a requirement to be tithed, merely
spilling out a portion of it would NOT suffice. Rather, one must declare
some of the wine to have this status, and some of the wine to have that
status, and some of the wine to have the other status. Only then will
the rest of the wine's status get changed. The OU has an article on how
to do this, at
http://www.oukosher.org/index.php/common/article/separating_terumah/ And
the Star-K's article on it is at

Akiva Miller

From: Dov Bloom <dovb@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Dec 2007 23:58:33 +0300
Subject: Re: Tithing Produce from Israel

>Mark Steiner <marksa@...> wrote A further note: since this
>is the sabbatical year (shmita), I remark that it is forbidden to
>export produce from Eretz Yisrael during the sabbatical year.  Those
>who rely on the "heter mechira" ... will treat the produce as though it
>did not have the sanctity of the sabbatical year (kedushat shvi`it) and
>allow its exportation.  However, please note that on the assumption
>that the produce has no sanctity, the produce then requires tithing!

Not so simple.

Whether in EY one should tithe from the products of a non-jew depends on
a few disputes:

1. Whether the products of a non-jew have kedushat sheviit is the
   subject of a famous dispute between the MaBit and R Y Caro , but the
   general practice in EY is to say no kedusha. (But it is a machloket.)

2. Assuming the psak is like the Beit Yosef (no kedusha) , if a Jew did
   "meiruach" - does that obligate the produce to be tithed? Sefer
   Charedim for instance says no, but the predominant view seems to be
   yes (see Sefer HaShmitta of YM Tucochinsky p 47.)

3. So if the produce of Heter Mechira have the din of a goy's produce
   but meiruach done by a jew, in EY the prevelant minhag would be to
   separate Truma Maaser and maaser ani (which you can eat, see Sefer
   HaShmitta of YM Tucochinsky p 47 again) - based on the conclusions of
   the above 2 machlokot. Now all this is in EY, but R Chana Luntz
   recently posted showing that the Mishna, Rambam and SA all clearly
   pasken that outside of EY there is no obligation of tithing at all
   (in any year, not just shmitta) . The Mishne LeMelech and RMF do
   required tithing.

Conclusion: You have a few machlokot one on top of the other and only if
you pasken a certain way on each would you get the tithing
obligation. Any other permutation of results would give no obligation to


From: Harry Weiss <hjweiss@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Dec 2007 08:16:07 -0800
Subject: Trumot/maasort

> From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
> 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.

In the Kosher Spirit magazine that came out around chanukah time (an
insert in the Jewish Press).  the oK mentioned that nothing under
hasgacha has any Shviis products, since they rely on neither Heter
Mechirah or Otzar Bes Din.  They also said that Trumot and Maasros have
been taken from anything under their supervision.


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Dec 2007 08:06:10 -0500
Subject: Zemanin: Accuracy vs Approximation

Jewish law in several places EXPLICITLY states that measurement is not
meant to be 100% micro-exact.

Example 1: Carrying an object more than 4 cubits on the Sabbath carries
a death penalty. However the cubits are not "objective" cubits but
rather they are measured by the persons "own cubit" (The length from his
elbow to his 3rd finger). It follows that two people could perform the
same physical action with one executed and one going away scott free.

Example 2: Rambam (Murder, 9) explicitly states that "if a dead corpse
is found equidistant between two cities then both cities must bring an
EGLAH ARUFAH (The sacrifice brought upon finding corpses in the open)

Nevertheless there are many places where Jewish law is PARTICULAR about
measurement. For example (Rambam, Thefts 8) the prohibition of false
measurements in business apply to even small volumes (such as 1/33 of
the volume of 1.5 eggs).

The question remains what we do about zemanim. I would borrow some
programming language metaphors and argue that prayer is EVENT driven
(rising sunrise) vs. ABSOLUTE. The enactment is to say Shmoneh esray at
SUNRISE and consequentlyl the issue is not millionths of a second but
when you can see the sun (or at least its rays) I would consequently go
so far as to argue that if you live in a metropolis where you cant see
the sun because of apartment buildings then YOUR time of praying would
be delayed till you can see them(And before I am yelled at I point out
that even with death penalties measurement is relative to the person not
absolute as shown in example 1 above)



From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Dec 2007 13:37:03 -0500
Subject: Z'manim again, and again and

>From: Michael Frankel 

>...  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)

Yes, the astronomical truth is that the day and night are of equal
length every place on Earth (at sea level) at the equinoxes , but these
occur only two days every year when the sun is above the equator. But
since the sun is never really at the equator but only crossing the
equator, that is not a good day to be making precise measurements. Plus,
from Wikipedia: "These effects (atmospheric refraction) together make
the day about 14 minutes longer than the night at the equator, and
longer still at sites toward the poles."  Ignoring the effects of
atmospheric refraction, day and night are of equal length every day of
the year, however, to an observer at the equator. Since I am pretty
confident that none of the chazal or the geonim lived anywhere near the
equator, then the basis of their knowledge would have to be those
observations which they could make only twice a year, only
approximately, and without really knowing the proper day for the
observation. Hence I doubt they would ever have gotten to the precision
capable of distinguishing the differences noted above.

Greeting from the planet Earth --Bernie R.


End of Volume 56 Issue 14