Volume 57 Number 03 
      Produced: Tue, 11 Aug 2009 22:40:19 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

youth programs in shul 
    [Ruth Bernstein]
An incorrect reference? 
    [Martin Stern]
Intermarriage and Niddah 
Kadish yatom together (2)
    [David Ziants  Ben Katz]
Tevilat Kelim 
    [Meir Wise]
The Missing Hekesh 
    [Russell J Hendel]


From: Ruth Bernstein <ruth.bernstein@...>
Date: Sun, Aug 9,2009 at 01:01 AM
Subject:  youth programs in shul

Our shul is revitalizing our youth programs and I am looking for ideas
about how other shuls have helped their early primary students (grade K-3,
ages 5-9 or so) to attend shul and enjoy shul, particularly on Shabbat but I
am also of course interested in youth programming for other times and
Chagim.  We are particularly interested in activities that help
English-speaking kids learn to lead some parts of davening. 

If you know a shul with great children's programming, or even someone whose
kids attend shul enthusiastically and with regularity, could you please
recommend them to me at <ruth.bernstein@...> or give them my e-mail
address (same one) so that we may work together? 

Ruth Bernstein
Newton MA


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Aug 9,2009 at 02:01 AM
Subject: An incorrect reference?

On Sun, Aug 2,2009, I wrote
> The Elya Rabba (O.H.144,7) writes in the name of the Kol Bo (daf 9) ...

It should have read:

The Elya Rabba (O.H.124,7) writes in the name of the Kol Bo (daf 9) ...
but the problem of the 'missing' reference to the Kol Bo (daf 9) remains.

Martin Stern


From: Anonymous
Date: Mon, Aug 3,2009 at 10:01 PM
Subject: Intermarriage and Niddah

This (below) is NOT my writing, but it is an opinion I agree 
with. I respectfully submit it for consideration because it 
strikes at the heart of the issue. I do not know the author, 
and I'd like the article to be sent out on mail-jewish, but 
not in my name of course. Have a read of it and I'm sure you 
will agree that it is a valuable contribution to the debate. 

The article actually refers directly to the apparent 
leniency of having relations with a non-Jewess compared to 
the apparent stringency of having relations with a Niddah, 
using the very famous Rambam tshuvah on conversion.
The article comes from 


[It may be found within the section "The Test Case in Our Time: The Conversion
Controversy", and the section of specific interest begins on ninth paragraph
therein --MOD]


From: Ben Katz <BKatz@...>
Date: Mon, Aug 10,2009 at 08:01 PM
Subject: Kadish yatom together

Martin Stern wrote:
> > Many shuls do now have women saying kaddish aloud, although it is not yet
> > done everywhere.
> Though the custom of such shuls may have some basis, it might still be a
> problem of "chadash assur min hatorah (religious reform is strictly
> prohibited)"!

While I usually agree with the learned Martin Stern, I take exception to his
last comment "chadash assur min hatorah (religious reform is strictly
prohibited)".  To the best of my knowledge, this comment, with its meaning of
"religious reform is strictly prohibited" originated with the Chazon Ish and is
a clever play on words by a gadol hador, but is by no means a universally
accepted axiom, to say the least.

From: David Ziants <dziants@...>
Date: Sun, Aug 2,2009 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Kadish yatom together

With respect to Martin's preference of only one person saying kaddish 
yatom [Mourner's kaddish --MOD] at a time, I think the problems with this are
well known, for example this might mean someone who has a chiyuv [obligation
--MOD] not saying kaddish as there are too many people. Another problem is that
we often find people saying kaddish who do not have a real chiyuv, for example
for a parent-in-law or for a brother or sister or for a child (lo alainu - 
that none of us should ever fall into this situation). These people 
still want to say kaddish but their priority is low if there are others 
who are contending for a spot to say kaddish for a parent.  How can such 
a congregation deal with this?

David Ziants


From: Meir Wise <meirhwise@...>
Date: Sun, Aug 2,2009 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Tevilat Kelim

In response to Orrin Tilovitz, the vast majority (and we follow the majority) of
the Rishonim are of the opinion that tevilat kelim is indeed from the Torah and
they include:

* Rashi (to Avodah Zara 75b)
* Sefer HaOrah simon 81
* HaPardes 125
* Rabbenu Tam in Tosafot to Yoma 78a and Yevamot 47b
* Ritva to Avodah Zarah 17
* Rif brought by Shaagat Aryeh 56
* Eshkol part 3 p140
* Rambam maachalot asurot chap 17 according to Shut HaRashba section 3, 255 and 259
* Raavad
* Meiri
* Raviyah pesachim simon 464
* Ramban hashalem to Avodah Zara ad loc
* Rashba to Avodah Zara in the Torat HaBayit
* Rooh in the Bedek Habayit dinei taaruvot bayit 4
* Rabenu Yechiel of Paris piskei ri miparis no 84
* Or Zarua Avodah Zara simon 288
* Semag as brought by the Aruch Hashulchan
* Rosh simon 36
* Semak mitzvah 199
* Orchot Chayyim
* Kol Bo
* Rabbenu Bachya on the Torah (matot)
* Terumat Hadeshen
* Issur VeHeter Haaruch
* Maran the Bet Yosef who writes in the Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah 120:9 that we
do not believe a minor regarding tevilat kelim AS IT IS A TORAH LAW
* Responsa Terumat Hadeshen
* Levush Yorah Deah 120

Many of the commentators on the Rambam also consider that despite the
fact that he wrote amru chachamim (the Sages said) he still holds
that it is a Torah law.  As he writes in chapter 4 of the Hakdama
lePeirush Mamishnayot (Introduction to his commentary on the Mishna)
where he discusses halacha leMoshe misinai which despite not having an explicit
verse nevertheless is a Torah law! For example, etrog is not
mentioned explicitly but all the Sages of the Talmud agree that it is a
Torah law and this is followed by the Rambam.

Examples of this would be:
* Sukkah 83 mishna 13 The Sages said that a man does not fulfil his
obligation with the lulav of his friend
* Baba Metzia 33b they (the Rabbis) said that a shomer chinam takes an
oath and is exempt . It is known that oaths of shomrim are FROM THE
* The beginning of Hilchot Tefilah in the Rambam. The Sages said: What
is the Service of the heart" this is Tefilla. Although every cheder
boy knows that the Rambams opinion is that Tefilla is FROM THE TORAH!
* Also look at Hilchot Gittin perek 10 concerning rayach get.

The fact that we make a beracha who has sanctified us with His
commandments and commanded us to immerse vessels although this is not
one of the 7 rabbinic mitzvoth would seem to indicate that it is indeed
a Torah law.

Having said all that, I cannot understand what difference it makes. It
is well know that when the Chazon Ish was asked why he was strict with
Shemitta since it is only rabbinic nowadays, he replied that most of
Jewish life today is of rabbinic origin.

Would one think of not observing Chanukah , Purim or Simchat Torah
which are all of rabbinic origin?  Or most of the customs of Shabbat
including candles, Kiddush over wine, challot, zemirot etc etc. What
kind of Shabbat or Judaism would be left if we treated these things
lightly. (No do not answer that please)

I was aware of the heter of the American rabbis but did not mention
it for fear of publicising something that they allowed post facto to
become an ab intio permit. But since Mr Tilevitz has [made]
this public albeit without sources and any explanation allow me to

Tevilat kelim unlike the tevila of a nida does not require a mikva but
requires 40 seah [a measure --MOD] of water. Also unlike a nida one is not
required to toivel the dish in its entirety at one go i.e one may hold the dish
dip half, withdraw it, turn it around and then dip the other half.
The heter of the American rabbis was limited to those people who lived
in places where there was no mikveh nor any seas, rivers, lakes etc.
They correctly argued that if one say put a plug in a bath or sink and
opened the cold tap fully one would be connected to the city water
supply which would be connected to a source of water far more than 40
seah and would in extremis suffice for ones dishes to be considered
toiveled. They did NOT say that everyone should do this ab intio not
does this mean that it is not a Toiradig mitzvah (sic). They were 
concerned, as I am, to help Jews in difficult circumstances without
altering the halachah or perverting the Torah.
The opinions of Reb Moshe Feinstein and Reb Yaakov Kamenetsky, both of
blessed memory, are brought in an easy Hebrew summary in Divrei
Chachamim page 189 by Rabbi A Z Ginsburg of New York.

Let me conclude with a quote from the Megilat Sefer of Rabbi Yaakov
Emden at the end of chapter two where he relates what happened to a man
who tried to get the Chacham Tzvi (Rabbi Emden's father) to allow him
to transgress a rabbinic prohibition in the matter of contracting a
marriage which was only prohibited by the rabbis.

[extended quote cut - please see the book --MOD]

With every good wish
Rabbi Meir Wise, London


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Sun, Aug 2,2009 at 11:01 AM
Subject: The Missing Hekesh

The thread on why the technical talmudic exegetical method of Hekesh (roughly,
juxtaposed words) is absent from the official list of 13 Rabbi Ishmael
exegetical rules has gone on now for half a dozen postings (In vol 56,
#82,83,84,88,90 and 93). Many good points have been made.

I think at this point the thread could benefit from a turn of direction. I
suggest that we start discussing specific examples (that is instead of
DESCRIBING the rules in English we should ILLUSTRATE them). But Talmudic logic
is notoriously detailed and long (sometimes). I have deliberately (tried to:))
make the posting short enough to cover the basic theme (and indicate
complications that could be discussed in a terminal paragraph).
Before presenting the examples let me clarify that there are THREE terms being
used in the discussions:
1) The Rabbi Ishmael rule of inferring from CONTEXT;
2) The HEKESH rule - inference from juxtaposed words in a sentence;
3) The SEMUCIN rule - inference from  juxtaposed sentences in a paragraph.
What I shall argue below is that all 3 rules INFER meaning from **proximity of
topics in the same paragraph**. The explanation of this rule is that by chosing
to place multiple topics in one paragraph the author is communicating that these
topics have some commonality. On my Rashi website I sometimes refer to the
application of any of the 3 rules as the PARAGRAPH rule.

Before proceeding with the Talmudic examples let me give an English example of
the PARAGRAPH rule. "Johnny came home from the store. His mother asked him to
place the milk in the Frigidaire. Johnny gave his mother one of her favorite

In this example BECAUSE the apples, eggs and grocery store are mentioned in the
same paragraph one is justified in inferring that the apples were also bought at
the grocery. I emphasize that if the apples were in a separate paragraph (e.g. a
paragraph about his mother's birthday and the cake, wine, and apples he gave
her) then we would NOT be justified that the apples were purchased at the
grocery store with the eggs. 

In other words the decision of whether to INFER that the apples were purchased
with the eggs SOLELY depends on whether the eggs, grocery store and apples are
mentioned in the SAME paragraph. In Talmudic lingo it is the paragraph structure
itself which drives the inference. For this reason I call this rule the
PARAGRAPH rule. Now let me give the 3 Talmudic examples.

1) Inferrence from CONTEXT: The classical example! (Pesachim 86a)The Ten
commandments form a paragraph. The Paragraph theme is "serious Biblical
prohibitions." One measure of seriousness is that they receive a death penalty.
Hence the INFERENCE FROM CONTEXT that the prohibition "THOU SHALL NOT STEAL"
refers to Kidnapping which is a form of theft with a death penalty. By contrast
the "Dont steal" in Lv19 refers to monetary theft (since no context justifies
otherwise) (Note: It is the Talmud itself which uses the term CONTEXT to
describe the exegesis)

2) Inference from PROXIMATE SENTENCES (Semuchin): Beracoth 21b notes that the
following two sentences are proximate in one Biblical paragraph: Ex22-17:18,
"Dont let a witch live" "Give death to those committing bestiality."  Here again
we argue that the FACT that the 2 sentences belong to one paragraph suggests
that the Author intended them as reflective of one theme. The theme seems to be
very serious pathological crimes meriting death. The Talmud then infers "Just as
bestiality is punishable by a death penalty of stoning so is witchcraft
punishable by a death penalty of stoning." (More comments on this below) (Again
note: The Talmud explicitly describes this as SEMUCHIN not as CONTEXT)

3) Inference from PROXIMATE WORDS in one sentence (HEKESH): The Talmud (Zevachim
57a) notes that Nu. 18:18 states "And the blood of the FIRSTBORN shall be yours
LIKE the BREAST...and THIGH...they are yours" The word LIKE in this sentence
further justifies making an inference from the proximate mention of FIRSTBORN
and BREAST-THIGH in one sentence. The Talmud states that the DURATION OF TIME
during which the FIRSTBORN and the sacrifice which has a BREAST-THIGH procedure
may be eaten are the same BECAUSE these two items are proximate in one
verse-they are compared to each other and therefore have the same properties.
(The Talmud debates further since the PEACE and THANKSGIVING offering both have
BREAST-THIGH procedures but difference durations).
I hope by now the reader sees where I am going. In all three examples the
PROXIMITY of two items - firstborn and breast thigh, witch and bestiality death
sentences, theft and sabbath descecration - this PROXIMITY in one paragraph
justifies inferring similarity of attributes of the two items - theft-sabbath
has a death penalty, firstborn-breast-thigh offerings are eligible to be eaten
for the same amount of time and witches-bestiality have the same penalty.
So I believe I can now reiterate my thesis - HEKESH, SEMUCIN are both EXAMPLES 
of the CONTEXT rule. Rabbi Ishmael chose the word CONTEXT since it subsumes many
disparate principles (I believe now Martin and others will see the strength of
my argument that CONTEXT is a GENERAL category subsuming HEKESH, SEMUCHIN and
many other rules like the BULLET rule I mentioned a few postings ago)

In this last paragraph I mention several technical items (Which the non
technical reader is free to ignore). 1) I deliberately picked an example of
HEKESH where the Biblical word LIKE is used (explicit HEKESH) The above
arguments would apply to other examples.
More importantly I deliberately picked an example (witchcraft-bestiality) where
Rabbi Judah disagrees. The Talmud states that Rabbi Judah does not ACCEPT
PROXIMATE (Semuchin) arguments except in Deuteronomy (NOTE: I incorrectly cited
Rabbi Judah in a previous posting - his objection is to SEMUCHIN not to HEKESH
and his objection is to its use in non Deuteronomy books - fortunately my basic
argument in the previous and this posting remains untouched).
But if Rabbi Judah disagrees with accepting proximity how can I say that all 3
rules - Semuchin, Hekesh, and Context are one and the same?
Good question. Let me counter-does anyone believe that Rabbi Judah does not
accept that THOU SHALL NOT STEAL applies to kidnapping? Furthermore, true, that
Talmud uses the word CONTEXT by kidnapping and PROXIMATE by witches. But is the
METHODOLOGY different? In both cases the similarity of the proximate items
justifies inference. So we have a strong question on the Talmudic statement that
Rabbi Judah does not accept SEMUCHIN (Proximateness) in non Deuteronomy books?
Does that mean he doesn't accept CONTEXT also?

I would answer these question as follows: Rabbi Judah accepts proximity and
context throughout the Torah but rejects using it to infer a specific death
penalty (In other words Rabbi Judah only accepts PROXIMATE and CONTEXT to
justify general sharing of attributes). I could defend this in further detail
but I just wanted to show a different approach to this whole topic. I would be
interested if people want to continue the technical aspects of this subject and
if they still disagree with my main thesis.

Russell Jay Hendel; Phd. ASA http://www.Rashiyomi.com 


End of Volume 57 Issue 3