Volume 57 Number 93 
      Produced: Mon, 15 Mar 2010 06:50:32 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

a new Haggadah 
    [Nachum Amsel]
    [Martin Stern]
aruch hashulchan Orach Chaim online! 
    [Dovi Jacobs]
candle lighting time 
    [Martin Stern]
chareidi Internet ban (3)
    [Batya Medad  Mordechai Horowitz  Akiva Miller]
Community standards 
    [Wendy Baker]
halakhic relativism (2)
    [Mark Symons  <chips@...>]
health versus Ashkenaz kitniyot ban 
    [Batya Medad]
hiddushim on the mainstream in Mail-Jewish (2)
    [Jeanette Friedman  Ira L. Jacobson]
wedding rings 
    [Carl Singer]
    [Menashe Elyashiv]


From: Nachum Amsel <namsel@...>
Date: Wed, Feb 24,2010 at 01:01 AM
Subject: a new Haggadah

I have just published a new Haggadah called "Making Seder of the Seder" -
Deeper Answers to Simple Questions You've Always Asked About the Haggadah.
The purpose is to show that the Seder could and should be understood on many
levels and ask the "obvious" questions that very often are not dealt with.
Since I have published this Haggadah myself, please contact me off line to
obtain a copy. I have made a Hebrew as well as English version.

All comments are welcome.



From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, Mar 9,2010 at 03:01 AM
Subject: almemar

Ari Trachtenberg wrote:
> In my edits of a recent post, I translated "almemar" as pulpit and was
> castigated by one of our readers.  Does anyone know of a more accurate, short
> translation of the word into English, as seen in the following text:
>>>> The Honorary Officers in the synagogues in the UK often sit in a box
>>>> (enclosed pew) in front of the almemar [pulpit --MOD].

The best translation of "almemar" is "reading desk" to distinguish it, if
one wants to, from the word "bimah", the often enclosed and raised area from
which the Torah is read, which is best rendered "reading platform". The word
is derived from the Arabid "al-minbar" with the same meaning.

Martin Stern


From: Dovi Jacobs <dovijacobs@...>
Date: Tue, Mar 2,2010 at 01:01 AM
Subject: aruch hashulchan Orach Chaim online!

I'm pleased to announce that the online Aruch Hashulchan at Hebrew Wikisource is
now complete for Orach Chaim in its entirety. Never before has Orach Chaim been
so easy to access, navigate, and learn. The material is free to use for any purpose.

These 693 simanim have taken nearly four years of labor to edit and upload by
two main contributors, myself and Netanel. The current draft of the third chelek
(Moadim) is by myself, the second chelek (Shabbos) by Netanel, and the first
chelek (Seder Hayom) by both of us together.

In addition, dozens of other occasional contributors have fixed typos, improved
punctuation and added links. Now that the text is complete, it is especially
important to stress that this is not just material that people can use but also
to which they can contribute by constantly making it even better. Anyone can
make an improvement; all such contributions are validated by experienced editors
at Hebrew Wikisource before the draft improvement goes "live."

Besides Orach Chaim, significant parts of Yoreh Deah have also been complete for
some time, and a new contributor by the name of Asaf Azariah has recently been
contributing text for Basar ve-Chalav (complete) and Melichah. Others have even
made initial attempts towards translating selected simanim into English.

http://he.wikisource.org/wiki/AHS:OH (Orach Chaim)
http://he.wikisource.org/wiki/AHS:YD (Yoreh Deah)

I plan to go back to Yoreh Deah now as well (including working on the Levush as
a substitute for the missing parts of the Aruch Hashulchan). I will be starting
soon God willing with Hilchos Challah.

These texts are offered to the public with a prayer: May God grant strength and
prosperity to the State of Israel, protect her citizens and the soldiers who
defend them. May He heal the wounded, free the captives, and protect His people
Israel in all places from those who would destroy them. Please study halachah
through the online Aruch Hashulchan with that prayer in mind, and for the speedy
recovery of Rivka bat Teirtzel.

Dovi Jacobs


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, Mar 9,2010 at 03:01 AM
Subject: candle lighting time

Menashe Elyashiv wrote:

> One has to light before sunset (of course this is according to the Geonim,
> not R. Tam).  However, if one brings in Shabbat at Plag time [a set time
> before sunset --MOD], candle time is at Boei Kala or Mizmor Shir time.

This is not entirely accurate. One may light candles, and bring in Shabbat,
as an individual from plag haminchah [one and a quarter hours before sunset
or night according to another opinion)]. This is the earliest time.

Where a community brings in Shabbat, the latest time for lighting by its
members is, as Menashe states, at Bo'i Kala or Mizmor Shir.

> Lighting too early can have a situation that the candles are lit but work in
> the house continues by everybody except the mother.

This is no problem so long as everyone is aware that the mother has accepted
Shabbat on herself as a personal stringency and so can do no melakhah [forbidden
work on Shabbat --MOD]. It does affect others in the family.

Martin Stern


From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Sun, Mar 7,2010 at 02:01 AM
Subject: chareidi Internet ban

Many Torah Jews take advantage of the Torah shiurim [lessons --MOD] available on
the Internet, kosher restaurant databases etc.  It's up to us how we utilize the
Internet.  It could be for Kodesh [sanctified --MOD] or chol [profane --MOD].  
Batya Medad

From: Mordechai Horowitz <mordechai@...>
Date: Sun, Mar 7,2010 at 07:20 PM
Subject: chareidi Internet ban

Shoshana writes
> Somebody questioned why Aish and Ohr Samayeach have websites. For the  
> former two, you could use the argument that it's aimed at people who  
> are not chareidi in order to mekarev [bring closer to faith --MOD] them, but
> not aimed at the chareidi crowd...

And does shemayisrael.com offer its rabbinic ordination program on the 
internet as a kiruv project?

BTW the charedi Rabbis have removed the ban. [I believe that their] real goal
was to close down competitors to a website they support.


From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Mon, Mar 8,2010 at 04:01 PM
Subject: chareidi Internet ban

Shoshana Ziskind wrote:
> Somebody questioned why Aish and Ohr Samayeach have websites.
> ...  you could use the argument that it's aimed at people who  
> are not chareidi in order to mekarev [bring closer to faith
> --MOD] them, but not aimed at the chareidi crowd. Of course I
> know plenty of people who are already frum [observant --MOD]
> who have sent me links to aish but it is a valid argument.

In addition, I'd like to suggest some more answers: Perhaps Aish and Ohr
Samayeach are not chareidi. Or, perhaps they *are* chareidi, but not all
chareidim forbid use of the Internet.

(This is another example of why I try to avoid using labels like "chareidi" or
"observant". Not everyone uses them the same way, and when we presume that
others mean the same thing that we do -- when actually they don't -- use of
these labels is more likely to confuse things than to clarify them.)

Akiva Miller


From: Wendy Baker <wbaker@...>
Date: Thu, Mar 11,2010 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Community standards

Janice Gelb  wrote:
> A friend of mine's mother had a father who was a
> butcher in New York and claims that the community
> standards for kashrut become much more strict
> after this influx in the late 1940s - early 1950s.
> -- Janice

When I was growing up in New York City in the 40s and 50s, Welch's grape 
juice was commonly used in the Modern Orthodox circles my family was 
involved in.  No one used grape juice for Kiddush in those days and grape 
juice was considered just another juice, not a form of wine.

Glatt was not a concept in observance for most observant Jews. I imagine it 
existed in some parts of Brooklyn where there were Hassidic communities.

Pesach had some differences too.  Most foods contained matzo meal, like 
cakes and cake mixes that were offered at the time.  Today I cannot find 
an already prepared cake that contains matzo meal although mixes are 
readily available..  Everything is non-gebrocts [matza with no contact with
water even after baked --MOD].  Non-gebracts was not part of the universe of my
community and was not discussed.  Peanut oil was the standard Pesach oil and
today it is unavailable because it is no longer considered profitable to make it
for the portion of the observant community who would use it.  My Uncle Sam used
to go down to the Lower East Side of Manhattan to get machine shmurah and
Shick's cakes for the sedarim at his home, but not hand shmurah.   He was the
only member of the large family of Hungarian-Jewish ancestry among the rest of
us of Russian/Polish/Lithuanian ancestry.  All of us had been born in the US, 
the families having immigrated well prior to 1900.

Wendy Baker


From: Mark Symons <msymons@...>
Date: Thu, Mar 11,2010 at 07:01 AM
Subject: halakhic relativism

Martin Stern wrote:
> Ira L. Jacobson wrote:
> > The prohibition in the Torah is not against killing.  Lo tirtzah
> > means "thou shalt not MURDER," not "thou shalt not kill."
> ... there is an interesting difference in the punctuation of the
> phrase "lo tirtzach" between the ta'am tachton (the way it is read
> privately) and the ta'am elyon (the way it is read as part of Kriat
> Hatorah)...
> Perhaps the fact that this hint is only conveyed in the ta'am elyon [Higher
> or Divine understanding] is to teach us not to take the law into our own
> hands on our own ta'am tachton [lower understanding].

The basic point of Ta'am Ha'elyon is for each commandment to make up one 
pasuk, hence there are some very long ones (which, because of the rules 
of cantillation sequencing, require many of the notes that are notated 
by marks above the words - eg pazer, geresh, zarka, segol - which also 
have a higher pitch) - and some very short ones. The commandment Lo 
Tirtzach is thus a 2-word pasuk [sentence --MOD]. The only possible trop
sequence for a  2-word pasuk (where the 2 words aren't hyphenated) is tipcha sof
pasuk. In this type of situation the tipcha therefore doesn't have its usual 
pausal power as regards meaning (even though it still acts as a 
separating note technically eg in terms of forcing a dagesh kal in the 
the first letter of the next word despite its own word ending in aleph).

Mark Symons

From: <chips@...>
Date: Fri, Mar 12,2010 at 02:01 AM
Subject: halakhic relativism

> There are relatively few instances where halacha has been changed
> significantly because of changes in the social or cultural climate. A few
> examples:
> and in modern times
>  1-The hetter mechira of Rav Kook which allowed "selling" the land in
> Israel to goyim in order to circumvent the prohibition of working the land on
> the sabbatical year (not accepted by the charedi community)
>  2-the hetter of Rabbi Moshe Feinstein allowing use of milk from
> non-Jewish dairies (not unive[r]sally accepted)

At best both of these responsa are oversimplified to the point of being
wrong, especially that of Rav Moshe's and dairy products.

Rav Moshe created a category of 'cholov haCompanies' as a subset of
'cholov akum'. There were a couple of qualifications that needed to be
met in order to be categorized as 'cholov haCompanies'.  Suffice it to
say that one can not just walk down the road in Thailand and get some
milk from the non-Jewish farmer.


From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Fri, Mar 12,2010 at 03:01 AM
Subject: health versus Ashkenaz kitniyot ban

A friend of mine has finally, after decades of suffering, found a way
for relief of arthritis.  (read her story:
tis.html ).  Nightshade vegetables are tomatoes, peppers, paprika,
eggplant and yes, potatoes.  The potato restriction makes it very
difficult on Passover.  Her husband consulted with their rabbi and was
surprised to hear that she is required, not allowed, required/must
choose two kitniyot substitutes to eat on Passover.  This isn't a
blanket "now you are a Tunisian" psak (rabbi's decision) canceling
Asheknaz minhag, custom.  It is a medical Jewish Law decision by a
Torah-true Orthodox Rabbi.  Apparently, the rabbi also instructs
diabetic Ashkenazim to do the same, choose two kitniyot, since potatoes
are so highly glycemic, dangerous for diabetics.
I suggest that Ashkenazim with diabetes have a good talk with a rabbi
who has knowledge of health issues.  And it may be worth it for
arthritis sufferers to try out the no nightshade diet.  From what my
friend says, if you don't ban nightshades 100%, you won't get any
relief.  It's only doable if you're in total control of your cooking and


From: Jeanette Friedman <FriedmanJ@...>
Date: Tue, Mar 2,2010 at 10:01 PM
Subject: hiddushim on the mainstream in Mail-Jewish

In M-J V57#88, Yael Levine responded to Ira L. Jacobson:
>> 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.
> Furthermore,  the three places which Ira Jacobson listed are all places 
> whose names bear  something Christian. This is not to be taken seriously. 
Holy Blossom is a reform congregation of more than 7000 in Toronto that  
began as Orthodox in 1826.
Corpus Chrisi Synagogue: Pick one of two. Beth Israel is a Temple.
Ahavas Sholom in Corpus Christi is frum.
Bnai Israel is not described except as a synagogue in Corpus Christi.
St. Paul Talmud Torah is a Jewish Day School in St. Paul Minnesota.
as is the Lubavitch Cheder of St. Paul.
Jeanette Friedman co-author with David Gold
Why Should I Care? Lessons from the Holocaust

From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Wed, Mar 3,2010 at 03:01 PM
Subject: hiddushim on the mainstream in Mail-Jewish

Yael Levine stated the following in mail-Jewish Vol.57 #88 Digest, 
first quoting your humble servant:
>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.

My apologies to Ms. Levine notwithstanding, I have since learned that 
I was mistaken, and that the obscure prayer she mentions is not 
recited in the Corpus Christi Synagogue.  My apologies to the rabbi 
and the members of the Corpus Christi Synagogue.

I had also written, as Ms. Levine was so kind to point out, that
>a prayer written by a MJ contributor was published in a obscure booklet.

Ms. Levine states, however, that this is not the case.  She points out that it
>was first published in HaZofe, [a now defunct] Orthodox newspaper
that was primarily read by employees of Bank Mizrahi and Bar Ilan 
University, who received free subscriptions paid for by their 
employers.  Perhaps it was not read by them, but it was at least 
received by them every weekday morning.

Ms. Levine stated that the prayer "was printed in many places, 
including in Tefillat Nashim."

This still does not specify HOW MANY places, but more to the point 
does not say anything about my contention that the prayer is recited 
in only two synagogues.  If that contention is wrong, and Ms. Levine 
provides a list of "the many places" where the obscure prayer was 
published, and if she will quantify the claim that "the prayer is 
recited in many shuls" (other than, of course, the Holy Blossom 
Temple and the synagogue of the St. Paul Hebrew Day School) and 
identify these "shuls," I will be pleased to apologize once again.

>Furthermore, the three places which Ira Jacobson listed are all 
>places whose names bear something Christian. This is not to be taken 

I am sorry that the synagogues I mentioned did not consult either 
with me or with Ms. Levine before they chose their names.

I thank Ms. Levine for giving me the opportunity to respond, and I 
look forward to her response to my suggestions above.



From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Wed, Mar 10,2010 at 09:01 AM
Subject: wedding rings

This may be a bit "lighter" than some other discussions, but my curiosity
raised - I had to write.

Yesterday evening in route to a meeting a grabbed a quick meal in
Manhattan.  At the next table were four young women (a few with their
children) who by their dress (sheitel AND black cap) and their Yiddish
dialect were Satmar.  Two of the four were wearing wedding rings on their
fingers -- two were not.

I've heard two explanations:  (1) that some wear wedding ring on a chain as
a necklace - I wouldn't have noticed as it was only the moving hands that
caught my attention
(2) some don't wear wedding ring because of issues of fit (hand swelling,

In any case -- the "light" question is why weren't they wearing their
wedding rings.  The "heavy" (halachic) question is, is there a requirement
under ordinary circumstances for a married woman to wear her ring - or a
surrogate ring*.

* I know someone who has a $25 ring that she wears on a daily basis in lieu
of her actual wedding ring which has greater value, sentiment and is more
vulnerable to damage.



From: Menashe Elyashiv <Menashe.Elyashiv@...>
Date: Fri, Mar 12,2010 at 06:01 AM
Subject: Yibbum

In his Yabia Omer, part 6, even haezer no. 14, RO Yosef brings a case he 
had in 1951 in the Petah Tikva Rabbinical court. He allowed Yibbum. In an 
other case, he allowed Yibum and after that divorce, because of a problem 
with the yabbam's feet (part 5 no. 18).


End of Volume 57 Issue 93