Volume 57 Number 01 
      Produced: Fri, 31 Jul 2009 15:21:42 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

    [Ari Trachtenberg]
Birkat Kohanim in Haifa 
eat from a vessel that was not toiveled (2)
    [Stephen Phillips  Orrin Tilevitz]
Intermarriage and Niddah 
    [Harlan Braude]
Kadish yatom together 
    [Wendy Baker]
MOL suf (2)
    [Ben Katz  Saul Mashbaum]
More peripatetic musings 
    [Shmuel Himelstein]
translation of Shema Yisrael (2)
    [Ben Katz  Bernard Katz]
Uploaded New Learn Hebrew Video - In the Kitchen 
    [Jacob Richman]


From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Thu, Jul 23,2009 at 10:50 PM
Subject: Administravia

With the change in volume number, we would like to remind the readership 
of the mail-jewish ground rules described at:

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From: <Menashe.Elyashiv@...>
Date: Fri, Jul 24,2009 at 02:01 AM
Subject: Birkat Kohanim in Haifa

In general, there are 2 main minhagim.
R. Y. Karo, in the Shulhan Aruch states that Birkat Kohanim is done daily, 
(also Musaf & Neelah or Minha on fastdays) and that is the minhag (custom --MOD)
of  Israel and Egypt.  This is the minhag of almost all the near & far east. 

RaMa holds that B"K is only on Holydays & Yom kippur Musaf, although there 
were some places that did B"K in Shaharit or Neela.  When the GRA's talmidim
came here, they followed his opinion that B"K is done daily.

No one really knows where the North Israel minhag came from, and where the 
north starts. The Sefaradim, who were there before the Ashkenazim came, do 
B"K daily.  Rabbi A.Y Kook, when visiting Haifa, in spite of their "minhag" 
did B"K.  That is why the present Rav of Haifa, R. SY Hakohen, changed the 
non B"K minhag in his synagogue to daily B"K.  Also, Jerusalem Kohanim do B"K 
in the Rasb"i Kever [grave of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai? --MOD]. Don't ask how,
that can be.

BTW, there are other non north places that do not have daily B"K, e.g. 
Kefar Habad, Kevazat Yavne.

There is a problem when Sefardi Kohanim come to a "minyan factory". I saw 
signs in the Tibaria shetibel forbiding B"K. As Kohanim vacationing there, 
we made sure to find a Sefardi place so not to miss a Mitsvah Deorayta [Torah
obligation --MOD]


From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Mon, Jul 27,2009 at 10:01 PM
Subject: eat from a vessel that was not toiveled

Rabbi Wise asserts that the prohibition of eating from a vessel bought from a
non-Jew without immersing it is no less prohibited than eating non-kosher food,
and that it is derived from parshat Matot.  He also adds,

> Again I would ask that people who do not know the sources or rationale of this
> mitzvah refrain from mocking it in a public forum. . . . . Why not look at the
> sources or ask a rabbi before writing in on such subjects?

Rambam, Hil. Maachalot Assurot [forbidden foods], XVII:5 states that the
requirement of immersing vessels bought from a non-Jew is "midivrei sofrim"
["from the words of writers", apparently rabbis in this context --MOD], and he
calls the passage in Matot a "remez" [hint]. There are those who understand the
Rambam to mean that the requirement is solely of rabbinic origin.  Other
rishonim [leading 11-15th century rabbis] who so hold (I recall that they
include the Ritba and the Ran) are listed in the Entziklopedia Talmudit article
on the Tevilat Keilim.

And I have read that rabbis in the U.S. in the early part of the last century
permitted the immersion of purchased vessels in a sink.  Not quite what you
would expect from an immersion of indisputably Toraitic origin.

From: Stephen Phillips <admin@...>
Date: Tue, Jul 28,2009 at 08:01 AM
Subject: eat from a vessel that was not toiveled

Akiva Miller translated "Igros Moshe", in Yoreh Deah Volume 3, Section 22, last
> "Someone is eating in a hotel or restaurant or similar, where they do *not*
> immerse their utensils, and they place in front of him some pieces of meat or
> similar food, served on a metal or glass utensil.  He isn't really using it
> [the plate] for the needs of the meal. Even though utensils which are used
> for dry things are indeed also considered "meal utensils", and they must be
> immersed -- but since the food does not become forbidden
> [by being in an unimmersed plate],
> in a difficult situation (Hebrew: b'shaas had'chak) one can allow (Hebrew:
> yesh l'hatir) picking up the food with his hands, or with something that does
> not need to be immersed [such as a plastic fork], and to eat it. But in a
> situation where the food *needs* the utensil, such as a soup, or liquid
> foods, [which are not on a plate but in a bowl] it is forbidden to eat from
> it until it is immersed. It is considered a "meal utensil", because you need
> it for the needs of the eating, and at the time of the eating."

There are other opinions that restaurateurs and hoteliers do not need to immerse
their utensils as they are not using them to eat from, rather their's is a
commercial use to make a profit from their customers. This is discussed by
(inter alia) Dayan Weiss zt"l in Sh"ut Minchas Yitzchak Volume 1 Siman 44 and
Rav Ovadiah Yosef Sh'lita in Yechaveh Da'at Volume 4 Siman 44 and Yabia Omer
Volume 7 Yoreh De'ah Siman 9.  Rav Ovadiah rules that one may eat in a kosher
restaurant/hotel, even if he knows that the utensils had not been immersed. He
goes on to say that if the owner of the restaurant or hotel wants to be strict
and immerse the utensils, then he should do so without a Blessing.

The above is brought for discussion purposes only, and not for a p'sak [ruling].
Stephen Phillips


From: Harlan Braude <hbraude@...>
Date: Mon, Jul 27,2009 at 10:01 PM
Subject: Intermarriage and Niddah

IN MJ V56#96, Rabbi Meir Wise wrote:
> On the subject of marrying out versus sleeping with a niddah - I
> wouldn't recommend either!  And discussing which is worse is futile and
> non-productive.
> [...]
> My rosh yeshiva Maran Rav Nochum Rabinovitch clearly stated that
> intermarriage is worse.  I think part of the argument is that one can
> always do teshuva even after any sin - see his yad peshuta on hilchot
> teshuva of the rambam.

Since your rosh yeshiva addressed the issue of which is worse, it would 
appear that he did not share your view that such a "discussion is futile and 

In general, those of us who may not have considered let alone read up on an 
issue like this can learn from these discussions.  To me, that's neither futile
nor non-productive.

True, one could argue that one should consult one's Rabbi for that 
information and to get his buy-in before posting rather than risk disseminating
misinformation.  But, that gets to whole point of the MJ forum. If we weed out
all the personal observations and opinions, then it loses it's value. We might
as well respond to every post with: "Please consult your local Orthodox Rabbi."

I don't think that the misunderstandings and disagreements posted here are 
intended to mock the mitzvos, as you warned in a separate posting (though,
perhaps sometimes we could do a better job of expressing ourselves). Rather, I
see them, in effect, as requests for clarification from the people who have
learned the issues (either through experience, study or both).

Think of it as an opportunity, not an insult.


From: <Menashe.Elyashiv@...>
Date: Tue, Jul 28,2009 at 03:01 AM
Subject: Kaddish

In mail-jewish Vol.56 #96 D. Ziant asked:
> Is someone able to enlighten why the Ashkenazi and Sephardi customs 
> different?

The Sephradi custom is based on Kabbala, that divides Shaharit by the 4 
worlds (olamot).  Starting from the lowest and moving up, and then moving 
back down.  When moving to the next world, a Kaddish is said. 
As the Amida is in the highest world, there is no need for Kaddish. That 
explains 5 Kaddishim. The last one, Kaddish Al Israel (=derabbanan), is 
the mourners Kaddish, and it puts all the prayers in to their right place. 

As Kaddish should be said after rabbinical study or psalms, Alenu does not 
fit into either one.  What you have seen is a Moroccan "custom", saying 1/2
Kaddish after Alenu, although the late R. Massas wrote that it is not based on


From: Wendy Baker <wbaker@...>
Date: Tue, Jul 28,2009 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Kadish yatom together

> From: David Ziants 
> Martin Stern wrote:
>> In some large Ashkenazi communities like Amsterdam this problem was to some
>> extent avoided by having all the mourners go to the front of the shul and
>> say kaddish together in unison there, but most others do not do so, giving
>> rise to the cacophony commonly heard nowadays.
> At least two of the ashkenazi shuls in my neighbourhood in Ma'aleh
> Adumim ask that kaddish sayers stand together, whether at the front or
> near the bimma.
> So this issue of finding ways that kaddish is said together, is catching on.

This custom of standing together would raise problems for women saying 
kaddish, as they would not join the men in a group.  Many  shuls do now 
have women saying kaddish aloud, although it is not yet done everywhere.

Wendy Baker


From: Ben Katz <BKatz@...>
Date: Tue, Jul 28,2009 at 12:01 PM
Subject: MOL suf

Rabbi Ed  Goldstein wrote:
> Why is it mol suf and not mool soof [in last week's Torah reading --MOD]? if
> someone has access to minchat shai, he might explain. todah.  

Minchas Shai doesn't comment.

Mahram has a midrashic answer, related to the play on the word "mol" and "milah"
(because of the + merit of berit milah we crossed the Red Sea miraculously). 
Mahram bases his midrashic approach on the fact that there are only 2 uses of
mol in Tanach - here in Deut. 1:2 and in Joshua, where it refers to berit milah.
 (While Mahram is technically correct, there is a 3rd "mol" in Tanach in
Nehemiah [12:38] that means "near" [not circumcison] but it is spelled plene
with an extra aleph; of course, Mahram did all of this from his head, while I
had the help of a concordance.)

From: Saul Mashbaum <saul.mashbaum@...>
Date: Tue, Jul 28,2009 at 02:01 PM
Subject: MOL suf

Rabbi Ed  Goldstein asked
> Why is it mol suf and not mool soof [in last week's Torah reading --MOD]?
> if someone has access to minchat shai, he might explain.

I can't answer this question, but can pass on some valuable information to
the members of this list. It turns out just about everyone on this list who
can read Hebrew has access to the Minchat Shai, and almost any Torah book in
Hebrew he would want to consult.

www.hebrewbooks.org contains scanned copies of a literally incredible number
of classic Torah works. You can easily locate a sefer you're interested in
by searching from the home page. When you locate the sefer, you can read it
online (!), or download it (!). For example,
http://www.hebrewbooks.org/14036 is the Minchat Shai, readable online or
downloadable. P 73 is the page for the beginning of the book of D'varim.
Disappointingly, the Minchat Shai does not address the question asked.

This website is, as I understand it, a Lubavitch project; they uploaded
their entire central library of tens of thousands of volumes,and are
constantly adding new books. The home page says 38,431 classical Hebrew
books are available for download (I keep wanting to write an exclamation
point in this posting). Most books are searchable.

The site has many other features, including a one minute clip about the
scanning process. I *highly* recommend that everyone here visit this site
(with which I am not affiliated in any formal way) and familiarize himself
with its possibilities. This is a genuine revolution in the possibilities
for Torah learning and scholarship.

Saul Mashbaum


From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
Date: Fri, Jul 24,2009 at 10:01 AM
Subject: More peripatetic musings

We recently spent over a week in Paris, and Davened in a Shul close to where
we were staying. The gorgeous Shul building is over 100 years old, and I
would assume that originally it was an Ashkenazi one.  Now, however, it is
basically an Eidot Mizrach one, probably due to the immigration of many Jews
from North Africa.

A number of interesting items I noticed:
On Shabbat, Birkat Kohanim is recited by the Kohanim at the Shacharit

The following prayers are said using the "Hoiche kedushah" formulation,
where the Chazan starts saying the Amidah aloud, without having the
congregation recite it quietly first:
* Mussaf on Shabbbat (maybe why there is no Birkat Kohanim then)
* Shacharit and Mussaf on Rosh Chodesh
* (I believe) Shacharit on Mondays and Thursdays (maybe because the prayer
service is longer on those days).

The reading of the Torah is from the bimah at the front of the Shul, but is
read FACING the congregation (and not the Aron Kodesh). I once saw this
(over 50 years ago) in a London Shul.

The Chazan/Baal Keriyah (who I was told is originally from Morocco) seems to
alternate Trop from one Aliyah to the next between Ashkenazi and Eidot
Mizrach. However, when he recites the Shema aloud during the prayers he uses
the Ashkenazi trop [cantillation --MOD] (maybe because it takes much less time
the way he reads the Torah).

There is no Birkat Kohanim on weekdays.

Shmuel Himelstein


From: Ben Katz <BKatz@...>
Date: Mon, Jul 27,2009 at 08:01 PM
Subject: translation of Shema Yisrael

Irwin Weiss wrote:

> The word "Shema" is, of course, typically translated as "Hear!"
> What concerns me, to borrow a phrase from a Simon and Garfunkel song from 1966,
> is people "Hearing Without Listening".

Hear also means listen/understand, as in a judge hearing a case, or in the
expression "now hear this".

From: Bernard Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Mon, Jul 27,2009 at 09:01 PM
Subject: translation of Shema Yisrael

Arnie Resnicoff writes:
> When we are told in the Navy, "Now Hear This," longstanding military 
> tradition tells us that there are three parts to that command:
> 1 - Listen 2 - Understand 3 - Obey

There is an archaic English word that captures this idea quite nicely, the 
word 'hearken'.  The OED gives the following as one of its meanings: "To 
apply the mind to what is said; to attend, have regard; to listen with 
sympathy or docility".

Bernard Katz


From: Jacob Richman <jrichman@...>
Date: Mon, Jul 20,2009 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Uploaded New Learn Hebrew Video - In the Kitchen

Hi Everyone!

I uploaded a new Learn Hebrew video to the Internet.
The topic of the new video is: In the kitchen.

The 25 words in the Learn Hebrew video include:
bowl, cup, dishwasher, fork, frying pan, funnel, glass, 
hot plate, kettle, knife, ladle, napkin, microwave oven, 
oven, paper towel, pitcher, plate, pot, refrigerator, 
rolling pin, sink, spoon, strainer, table, towel

The address is:

The updated page also contains past videos that I uploaded.

Feedback is welcome.

Please share this message with anyone that may be interested
in learning Hebrew. Thank you!

Have a good day,


End of Volume 57 Issue 1