Volume 56 Number 50
                    Produced: Mon Oct  6  5:19:46 EDT 2008

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Eating Fish and Meat
         [Russell Jay Hendel]
Luach and Annual for 5769 from Machon Moreshes Ashkenaz
Pi and the Gemora
Rosh haShana customs
         [Batya Medad]
takana's given a reason
Tzara'at :) - not really
         [Leah S. R. Gordon]
Value of pi
         [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz]
Vatikin on Rosh Hashana
         [Heshy Summer]
Yamim Noraim - When to Say Piyut L'el Orech Din
         [Moshe Bach]


From: Russell Jay Hendel <rjhendel@...> 
Date: Sun, 5 Oct 2008 17:15:11 GMT
Subject: RE: Eating Fish and Meat

My thanks to Dr Backon and Meir Shinnar for their attempts to clarify
the issues surrounding the eating of fish and meat. For purposes of this
posting I a) accept fully Dr Backon's medical statements and also b)
Meir's statements about science being age dependent. My purpose here is

Here is another way of putting it: After agreeing on the harm of fish
and meat and after agreeing that science can change there are still
other issues which should be discussed. Note: Many ml-jewishers may not
think the fish-meat prohibition worthy of importance - my goal here is
to show that it is indicative of a wide area of Jewish issues which
CANNOT be resolved SOLELY by appealing to science (Dr Backon) and
science of the age (Meir).

By way of background I review my Tradition review (Late 70's) of a
smoking literature citation of Rav Moshe that smoking cannot be
prohibited. (In passing my Tradition "responsum" has been cited in
several smoking literature books).

To be very brief I cite two Rambams: a) It is PROHIBITED under penalty
of rabbinic lashes to suck coins since the dirt on them is harmful
(Murder 12) b) It is ADVISED (but not prohibited) to avoid excessive
consumption of certain types of fruits (Character 4). I resolve these
two Rambams (prohibited vs advised to avoid) by introducing the idea of
"some redemptive (physical) value." Fruit consumption has BOTH
redemptive (physical) value (as even bad fruit contains needed calories
vitamins and psythochemicals) while coin sucking has no redemptive
physical value (The body gains nothing physical from the sucking (though
there may be psychological value).

The concept of "some redemptive physical value" is a lens by which we
may examine various halachic issues. To defend this concept I cite a
famous example in which an infant in a hospital was denied the right to
excessive salt consumption - the infant died and an autopsy showed the
infant had an unusually high need of salt. The point here is that as
long as there is some redemptive physical value halacha NEVER makes
prohibitions on mixtures or excesses (I take note that Dr Backon advised
me against using this word but I believe this the only way to proceed
with this discussion).

I now return to meat and fish. Recall I accepted Dr Backon's declaration
that mixtures are harmful. However I just showed from an analysis of
Rambams that halacha does not prohibit harmful mixtures if there is
"Some redemptive physical value." Meat and fish (together or separately)
DO have redemptive value. End of story. There is no need to prohibit.

At this point I would like to challenge Dr Backon who cited acharonim
who prohibited the mixture: Dr Backon must now resolve these authorities
with the resolution of the Rambam that I presented. And in this sense I
would like the thread continued. Here are the issues:

a) Do these acharonim / authorities disagree with my resolution of the
Rambam. If so HOW DO THEY resolve the two halacha's cited. b) Or perhaps
these acharonim (like Rav Moshe) made a 'mistake' and overlooked the
resolution of the Rambam which prohibits making a prohibition c)
Continuing b) suppose these acharonim allow prohibition of items with
"some redemptive physical value." Then where do we draw the line: What
else is prohibited - gooey cakes, fatty koogles (Even on shabbath),
excessive sweets?, salt (if you already had your 2500 mg quota for the
day). And before you say "Yes...halacha does not encourage you to harm
yourself and has the right to prohibit these items" think about the
consequences - are we to surrender all our personal matters to the
Orthodox Review Board of Dieticians and Rabbis. And what about the
infant who died from the well meaning doctors who prohibited his
excessive salt.

To recap: I have presented a balanced halachic position which prohibits
non-redemptive harm but allows individual expressions.

I think there is something fishy buried in all these responsa. There are
some meaty issues that we should all bite into.

A Happy and Sweet New Year to All MlJewishers whether you eat meat or
fish or both or neither

Russell Jay Hendel; Ph.d., A.S.A.  http://www.Rashiyomi.com/


From: <Phyllostac@...> (Mordechai)
Date: Mon, 29 Sep 2008 02:29:20 EDT
Subject: Luach and Annual for 5769 from Machon Moreshes Ashkenaz

Once again, as in previous years, I am happy to announce the
availability of the new edition of the Luach Minhogei beis Haknesses
livnei Ashkenaz, for the year 5769.

The electronic version of the luach, comprising over fifty pages of
intricate detail related to Ashkenazic Shul customs (prayers, tunes,
etc.) is available, upon request, free of charge, compliments of Machon
Moreshes Ashkenaz. It is of interest to Bnei Ashkenaz ('Yekkes'), as
well others interested in minhogim, scholars and laymen.

In addition, I also have available some information related to the newly
released Yerushoseinu III, an annual volume issued by the Machon
dedicated to the Torah heritage of Ashkenaz, specifically the table of
contents and some sample pages, for interested parties.

Thank you and kesiva vachasima tova - a gut gebentsht yohr.



From: <chips@...>
Date: Sun, 28 Sep 2008 17:10:35 -0700
Subject: Re: Pi and the Gemora

> In summary: The Talmudic Rabbis were aware of the ambiguity of
> measurement whether it be a) 4 cubits b) diagonal of a square, c) area
> of a circle. They therefore arranged legal approaches to deal with this
> ambiguity. 

That is all very well and good, 
B U T 
it does not explain the Gemora about Shlomo haMelech's bowl. After giving the 30x10 
measurements, there is a complaint that the measurements don't provide the required 
volume that was known about the bowl. In the reply, the Gemora does not even metion that 
the 30x10 was not the actual measurement. It insteads gives an answer that is somewhat 
calculas in answer.


From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Mon, 06 Oct 2008 18:47:15 +0200
Subject: Re:Rosh haShana customs

>> We all need to learn to conserve our energies for the more important
>> issues. Example: the Ashkenazi order of Tephillah on RH which is totally
>> unreasonable, inhumane and a turn-off for many. 

I guess you go to the wrong shul.  The dovening in ours here in Shiloh 
was great fun.



From: <chips@...>
Date: Sun, 28 Sep 2008 17:10:35 -0700
Subject: Re: takana's given a reason

> However, if the Rabbis made a takana for a stated reason, based on a
> faulty assumption, or if the premises of their assumption has changed
> (and now here's where I will get into trouble :-)) the takana may not
> /should no longer apply.

	The GRA was very uncomfortable with this, and he attempted to
close this line of thinking by writing that just because a reason was
given, it does not mean it was the *real* reason for the takana.

	I don't think this line of reasoning has been accepted by later


From: <leah@...> (Leah S. R. Gordon)
Date: Wed, 1 Oct 2008 17:15:42 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Tzara'at :) - not really

> Chaza"l do teach us that the tzara'at of the Torah, when inflicted on a
> person, is related to lashon hara, and when on a house can be related to
> stinginess. Its treatment involves ritual and spiritual matters (such as
> the fact that only a cohen is valid to make decisions, regardless of his
> knowledgeability).
> ...
> Ketiva veChatima Tova,
> Shimon

A few years back, we got some suspicious-looking spots on the ceiling.
I called my very-religious-sister and told her I feared we were gettin
Tzara'at.  She said, "I suggest you consult a plumber."  I said, "That's
not a very spiritual answer!"  ;) Luckily, we seem to have stopped being
so gossipy/stingy, or at any rate, it never spread.

Gmar Chatima Tova,
 Leah S. R. Gordon


From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahillel@...>
Date: Sun, 28 Sep 2008 10:21:41 -0400
Subject: Re: Value of pi

> From: Ben Katz <BKatz@...>
> From: <chips@...>
>>> 1) The Talmud based on a verse in Kings of a temple construction with
>>> a diameter of 10 and circumference of 30 infers that the mathematical
>>> constant pie is 3. Some authors have seen this as a "belief" or a
>>> "Sanctioning" of pie as 3.
>> It would have been obvious to anyone that pi # 3 without any major
>> scientific breakthrough, as indeed it was as they simply took the actual
>> measurements. So to me the explaination that pi = 3 was to be used for
>> halachic purposes seems somewhat obvious and not an apolegetic at all.
>> HOWEVER, what does bother is the continuation of the Gemara which
>> discusses Shloma haMelech's bowl. After giving what is basically the pi
>> = 3 measurements, there is then a complaint that the length measurements
>> don't fit the volume measurements. And the Gemara does NOT answer that
>> "pi = 3" is itself an approximation.
> 	The gemara and even the medieval tosafists were unaware of even
> relatively basic geometry.  They use relatively crude mathematical
> proofs to calculate things such as the area of circle.

The point that was being made in the discussion was not that the value
of PI was an approximation (since that "goes without saying") but what
was the purpose of the kri/ksiv (difference between the written and oral
versions) of the word used. Also, the question would be that in the
circumstance being presented in the Navi, the approximation would not
have been sufficient.  Even if the fraction would not have been used, it
should have said that the circumferance was 31, not 30 (with the
approximation) because of the actual measurement by rope that would have
been used.

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


From: Heshy Summer <hhandls@...>
Date: Sun, 5 Oct 2008 18:56:44 +0200
Subject: Vatikin on Rosh Hashana

For the last several years I have been davening at a vatikin minyan on
Rosh Hashana.

This year, someone (not from the minyan) suggested that Shulchan Aruch
591:8 and MB thereon, that says an individual should not daven musaf (or
blow shofar) before 3 hours because Hashem is angry at that time - also
applies to a tzibbur.  He says that a tzibbur should not be blowing
shofar or davening before 3 hours.

I tried, in vain, to pursuade him that the SA, MB and MA only refer to a
yachid, and that if they wanted it to apply to a tzibbur - they would
have said so.  In fact, the Taz is explicit that it does not apply to a

Does anyone else read the sources as including the tizbbur?



From: Moshe Bach <moshe.bach@...>
Date: Sun, 5 Oct 2008 17:39:03 +0200
Subject: Yamim Noraim - When to Say Piyut L'el Orech Din

G'mar Chatimah Tovah to all.

In every place I've davened, the piyut L'el Orech Din is said in
shacharit on the first day of Rosh Hashana, and it is said in musaf on
the second day of Rosh Hashana.  Someone showed me a machzor where it
says that there is a machloket - dispute - on whether forgiveness is
granted in the first 3 hours of the day or in the 2nd 3 hours of the
day, therefore we say the piyut on shacharit and in musaf, respectively,
on the two days of Rosh Hashana.  There was no source brought for this
statement.  It also doesn't really explain, then, why we say the piyut
during shacharit on Yom Kippur.  Comments?

On a related note, we typically say many line by line piyutim such that
the the chazzan says the first phrase of the piyut, then we start the
responsive part after the first phrase of the piyut, and .  For example,
we will say the lines:
	L'vochen levavot b'yom din, l'goleh amukot badin
	L'dover meisharim b'yom din, l'hogeh de'ot badin.
Not the typical way that the piyutim are printed in the machzor.  I
vaguely recall this was discussed once, any comments?

Along these lines, my father ZT"L taught me that for the piyut v'chol
maaminim, that the chazzan should "run in" the phrase before the piyut
into the introductory phrase of the piyut, that is to say "ha'melech
hamishpat ha'ochez b'yad midat mishpat;" that is the phrase "ha'ochez
b'yad..." ends the previous statement.  He didn't have a source other
than his oral tradition.

maury (moshe) bach
<mbach@...>, moshe.bach@intel.com


End of Volume 56 Issue 50