Volume 57 Number 82 
      Produced: Wed, 03 Feb 2010 21:54:20 EST

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

18 minutes candle lighting 
    [Dr. William Gewirtz]
Chaz"al about the man the Xtrians believe is Mashiach? (4)
    [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz  Shmuel Himelstein  Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz  Bernard Raab]
Chazal on the man the Xtrians believe is Mashiach?  
    [Ira L. Jacobson]
Contemporary Composers of Prayers  
    [Naomi Graetz]
Customs at a pidyon ha'ben (2)
    [Art Werschulz  SBA]
eiruv exercise 
Halachic Relativism 
    [David Tzohar]
Hiddushim on the mainstream in Mail-Jewish 
    [Ira L. Jacobson]
kosher wine 
mail-jewish Vol.57 #81 candleighting time 
    [Michael Kahn]
Videos from Haiti 
    [Jacob Richman]


From: Dr. William Gewirtz <wgewirtz@...>
Date: Wed, Feb 3,2010 at 10:01 AM
Subject: 18 minutes candle lighting

Joseph Mosseri wrote:
> Most Jewish Calendars the world over show candle lighting as 18 minutes before
> sunset. When did this custom of 18 minutes start? Where did it start? What
sources do we have that mention it?  Why was 18 chosen and not 10, 20, or 30?

Not entirely clear.  Some have associated this custom with the opinion of R.
Eliezer mi'mitz whose isolated view is that "the time to walk a mil" before
sunset is the beginning of Shabbat; rather questionable.  Most likely, most in
modern times equate 18 minutes with "the time to walk a mil,"  a common length
of time for various halakhot [Jewish laws --MOD].  Some begin a bit earlier - 20
and thirty minutes are also common.  Remember that when the start of Shabbat
after sunset was practiced, as it was more commonly in Europe in earlier times,
times longer than 18 minutes were also more common.

The much harder question is 40 minutes, which is the custom of Jerusalem!

BTW a full discussion of this and related issues is on the seforim blog today: 

dr. william gewirtz


From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahillel@...>
Date: Sun, Jan 24,2010 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Chaz"al about the man the Xtrians believe is Mashiach?

I will not presume say what "Chazal say" as I am not an expert on the
subject, however, I can point out some logical implications of what we
do know.

First, the only source that we appear to have which contains a
reference is their book, which was written some time after the events
it is alleged to describe. We do not have any contemporary independent
writings that we can point to and say that it came from that era.
Writings that might be used to show that era (such as the Dead Sea
Scrolls) or writings that refer to the Essenes, are general and do not
refer to a particular person.

The writings of Chazal were subject to "pressure" from the surrounding
society and could have involved "self-censorship" besides not being
contemporary with that era. I will not categorize the actual writing
involved in this public forum except to say that there are discussions
that show why many of the stories in "that book" do not appear to be
consistent with what we know to be facts and others have been
"explained" in a "natural" manner (instead of supernatural) by
non-Jews who believe in Xianity. There was a usenet group
(alt.messianic) on the internet that actually dealt with these
matters, but I have not looked at it in some time and do not know if
the arguments still continue or if it has been "taken over" by a
particular side.

As a result, I would consider any claims about the "historical" person
as being dubious at best. This includes claims that range the full
gamut from the total belief in the religion to the belief that there
was no such person (as a historical matter). As such, I tend to ignore
any claims on the matter as irrelevant to me.

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

From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
Date: Tue, Feb 2,2010 at 11:01 PM
Subject: Chaz"al about the man the Xtrians believe is Mashiach?

A bitter Jewish "joke" states that even if Yeshu never existed, the Jews
nevertheless killed him.

Shmuel Himelstein

From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahillel@...>
Date: Wed, Feb 3,2010 at 06:01 AM
Subject: Chaz"al about the man the Xtrians believe is Mashiach?

Lisa Liel wrote:
> It's rather lame to try [to] claim that there's no connection
> whatsoever between Yeshu and the Christian deity...

There are those who say that the reference is to the same person but 
that the people who set up the date deliberately made it later in order 
to conform with the talmud speaking of "forty years" before the 
destruction of the second temple. In fact, using Google, one can find 
missionary sites that "prove" when the events "must" have happened for 
that reason. In any case, that is backwards reasoning as it assumes the 
events and their connection to what happened before the destruction and 
"reasons" from there. There is no actual writing of what happened at 
that time except in their books which we do not accept as valid sources.

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

From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Wed, Feb 3,2010 at 07:01 PM
Subject: Chaz"al about the man the Xtrians believe is Mashiach?

Lisa Liel wrote:
> There's no certainty that the man ever existed...

To deny that "he" ever existed is a huge insult to Christians, akin to those
Arabs who deny our own cherished history in the holy land. About 2 years ago the
Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City had an exhibit of the life of Pope
John Paul II, with emphasis on his relations with the Jews, etc. As a result
many Christian school groups were brought to the museum. As a volunteer docent I
was called upon to lead many of these groups through the museum. I welcomed this
opportunity to teach the youngsters something about Judaism.  At the start of
each tour I asked each group one question: What is the difference between
Judaism and Christianity? Almost invariably they answered: "Jews don't believe
in Jesus". My response was: "We believe in the historical Jesus, but not in his
divinity". I went on to explain that in Jewish history there have been many
claimants to the title of Messiah, even to our very own era by the followers of
a very famous (though deceased) rabbi, but that none had yet been accepted by
the majority of Jews, and we still anxiously await his arrival. This bit of
history was generally accepted with rapt wide-eyed attention. It was obviously
something they (or their adult supervisors) had never heard of.  I felt that it
just made them very anxious to learn more about Judaism.Bernie R.


From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Fri, Jan 29,2010 at 03:01 AM
Subject: Chazal on the man the Xtrians believe is Mashiach? 

Ben Katz stated the following in mail-Jewish Vol.57 #80 Digest:

>There is a terrific book that collects all of the statements re 
>Jesus in chazal (including the censored talmudic passages) by the 
>great Christian Hebraist Robert Travers Herford...

Without expressing any opinion on the contents of this book, and 
without intending to deprive anyone of parnassa [salary --MOD], I wish to point
out that this book, which is in the public domain, can be downloaded free 
at http://www.archive.org/details/christianityinta00herfuoft and 
http://juchre.org/herford/herford.htm (as well as at other sites).



From: Naomi Graetz <graetz@...>
Date: Wed, Feb 3,2010 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Contemporary Composers of Prayers 

Thanks to Sammy Finkelman for bringing Michael Graetz's prayer to the attention
of MJ readers. 

It can be easily accessed at 
and has been included in the new V'ani Tefilati: Siddur Yisraeli on page 228,
which also includes the more traditional tefillat ha-derech. 

The purpose of the prayer entitled tefillat le-nahag is to focus on the driver's
responsibility and to do things like keep a distance, give right of way etc.
Most of all it focuses on the fact that we have it in us to control our yetzer
hara [evil inclination --MOD] of competition and of the supreme value of human
life. I disagree with Sammy who writes: "if it said too often, it loses its
impact..."  As a driver in Israel, I feel that every time I go any place, even
just to buy groceries, but certainly on the highway, that I should bentch gomel
[make a blessing on a life-endangering experience --MOD] when I return. And
having spent two sabbaticals in the U.S., I think it is as true there as here.
You can never not be aware of your responsibility as a driver!  This is
something I feel very strongly about. Kol tuv, Naomi


From: Art Werschulz <agw@...>
Date: Thu, Jan 28,2010 at 07:01 PM
Subject: Customs at a pidyon ha'ben

Moshe Bach wrote:
> From the few pidyonei ha'ben that I've attended, I recall people putting
> jewelry, garlic, sugar on a silver tray where the baby is trying to nap...
> Can someone point me to written sources for these customs?

The mykosherhome.com website has the following explanation; I also think I saw
it recently in Torah Tidbits:

> Some communities have the custom to give out cloves of garlic or sugar cubes
> at a pidyon haben. This is in keeping with the kabalistic notion that whoever
> eats from a pidyon haben is considered as if he completed eighty-four fasts. By
> distributing garlic or sugar, which has the ability to flavor or sweeten an 
> entire meal, the hosts enable others to reap the spiritual benefits of
> partaking from the seudah.

Art Werschulz

From: SBA <sba@...>
Date: Fri, Jan 29,2010 at 12:01 AM
Subject: Customs at a pidyon ha'ben

Not sure abut the jewelry, but the garlic and sugar is there for guests to
take home and (regularly) add to their food.
Why? Because eating from a seudas [meal of --MOD] Pidyon Haben is equivalent to
having fasted 84 times. Seeing that sugar and garlic keep for a long time makes it
possible to repeat the '84 fasts' each time some of it is used.



From: <Menashe.Elyashiv@...>
Date: Sun, Jan 24,2010 at 03:01 AM
Subject: eiruv exercise

Many people (in Israel) do not realise that it is the eiruv [figuratively,
enclosure --MOD] that allows carrying on Shabbat. I have seen this many times,
not only in the army in Arab cities, but also in places that do not have an
eiruv at all! There are small, not religious places that do not have an eiruv,
and one could be there on Shabbat (say a Brit Mila by relatives). Also, living
on the  edge of the city. And in some eiruvs, not in every part of the enclosure
is carrying allowed. Very big open spaces are not in the eiruv! One more 
point - the wire eiruv is not according to all Poskim. It is accepted 
today, but it is not allowed by Maran in the Shulhan Aruch.  Only in 
"walled cities" one can carry.


From: David Tzohar <davidtzohar@...>
Date: Sat, Jan 30,2010 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Halachic Relativism

I recently listened to an audio shiur that was given by Rabbi Broyde (from
Emory University)


on the subject of womens hair covering.  He notes that 50 years ago it was
accepted in the American Orthodox community that women did not have to cover
their hair. Indeed even "the Rebbitzin" , the wife of the leader of orthodox
Jewry Rabbi J. B. Soloveitchik, did not cover her hair.  He tries to explain
this by saying that the cultural climate of the times was such that women who
did not cover their hair were not considered to be immodest. It is one thing
to say that about minhagim (customs) or humrot (stringent observance) of
 halachot, but to say that halacha p'suka (halacha determined by recognized
rabbinic decisors) is determined by societal or cultural conditions is IMHO
very dangerous. This relativist view will erode the integrity of the
halacha.  I would like to hear your opinions on this.


From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Sun, Jan 31,2010 at 02:01 AM
Subject: Hiddushim on the mainstream in Mail-Jewish

I apologize for the interval between the appearance of the material 
on which I comment and the appearance of my comments.  This was 
beyond my control.

In Mail-Jewish Vol.57 #57 Digest we learn that Ba`al HaTurim is not a 
mainstream Torah commentary.  I am not convinced that this claim is accurate.

We also learned in mail-Jewish Vol.57 #56 Digest that both R' Nahman 
of Breslav and a Mail-Jewish contributor are mainstream prayer 
composers.  I am pleased to note that one such prayer is indeed 
recited in synagogues, contrary to my previous impression.

I have no doubt that more people study the Ba`al HaTurim commentary 
on the Humash than recite certain obscure prayers.  Ba`al HaTurim is 
printed in every edition of Miqra'ot Gedolot that I know of.  On the 
other hand, certain obscure prayers are privately printed in booklets 
published by the author.  The Ba`al HaTurim commentary may be a bit 
hard to discern, since the commentary on each page may be headed "bet 
ayin heh tet" rather than having the name spelled out.  The BAHT does 
indeed comment, as Rabbi Meir Wise pointed out in his erudite yet 
polite style, that "she gave me [fruit?] from the tree and she hit me 
with the tree until I obeyed her and ate."  I had never considered 
this before, but the commentator indicates that spouse abuse has been 
around for a long time, and not necessarily "man beats woman."

I have found an interesting article (in Hebrew) about Ya`aqov Ba`al 
HaTurim.  It is at http://tinyurl.com/yfskecg .  We learn that the 
BAHT printed in Humashim today is but the headings of the entire long 
commentary.  And that after Ya`aqov Ba`al HaTurim wrote the basic 
hakalkhic work, Arba`ah Turim, his father in law asked him to write 
an INTERESTING book (and not one that deals only with halakha), and 
that is why and how he wrote his Torah commentary.

I have been informed that what I had thought was an obscure prayer 
recited nowhere is actually recited in three places:  the Corpus 
Christi Synagogue, the Holy Blossom Temple, and the synagogue of the 
St. Paul Hebrew Day School.  My apologies to the author.



From: SBA <sba@...>
Date: Tue, Feb 2,2010 at 11:01 PM
Subject: kosher wine

> Don't we have a famous dictum in chaza"l  that translates to:
> Even though (the People of) Israel are sinners they still remain Israel!

I am unsure what you are trying to say here.
But you have not answered the question on how rabbis and kashrus orgs can
allow non-mevushal [non cooked] wine to be served by gentiles or irreligious Jews.



From: Michael Kahn <mi_kahn@...>
Date: Tue, Feb 2,2010 at 11:01 PM
Subject: mail-jewish Vol.57 #81 candleighting time

Joseph Mosseri wrote:
> Most Jewish Calendars the world over show candle lighting as 18 minutes before
> sunset.
> When did this custom of 18 minutes start?
> Where did it start? ...
According to www.scjfaq.org/faq at
http://www.shamash.org/lists/scj-faq/HTML/faq/07-04.html it was Rav Henkin's
calendar that fixed the 18 minute time in the US.


From: Jacob Richman <jrichman@...>
Date: Sun, Jan 17,2010 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Videos from Haiti

I created a page with the three YouTube videos 
of Israeli doctors and IDF search and rescue in Haiti.


1. Footage from the IDF Field Hospital that has been set up in 
Port-au-Prince, Haiti, after the earthquake. This video includes 
footage of the first baby born at the field hospital on 
January 17, 2009.

2. IDF Search and Rescue teams in Port-au-Prince Haiti pulled
a 52 year-old Hatian man from the rubble of a collapsed building.
The team worked for 8 hours to extract the man, who was in good
condition despite wounds on his limbs and dehydration.
He had been trapped in the rubble for 90 hours, and had managed
to communicate his location to rescue forces via sms.

3. Fox news last night interviewed the IDF doctors in the
Israeli Field Hospital in Haiti.


"Whoever saves a life, 
it is considered as if he saved an entire world."

Shavua Tov,


End of Volume 57 Issue 82