Volume 57 Number 97 
      Produced: Thu, 01 Apr 2010 20:17:49 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

'Its' pyre? 
    [Martin Stern]
    [Eyal Cohen]
Attempted Limited Hareidi Ban on Internet Use 
    [Yisrael Medad]
chareidi Internet ban 
    [Daniel Wells]
electronic stuff etc (4)
    [Martin Stern  Harlan Braude  Bernard Raab  Batya Medad]
Green Eggs and ham for Purim 
    [Martin Stern]
HaLachma Anya Translations 
    [Art Werschulz]
halakhic relativism 
    [Martin Stern]
I. The Evolution of the Kezayis   II. Pesach for Pets 
    [Rabbi Natan Slifkin - Zoo Torah]
kid inadvertently treifs grape juice? 
    [Eli Turkel]
Quinoa in Israel on Pesah 
    [Alan Rubin]
    [Tal S. Benschar]


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sat, Mar 27,2010 at 06:01 PM
Subject: 'Its' pyre?

At the beginning of the sedra of Tzav (Lev. 6.2) the word 'Mokdah', which is
often translated 'its pyre', is used. However there is no mappik in the heh
[a dot that indicated the letter is to be pronounced when it is at the end
at the end of a word], that indicates the third person feminine 'its'
[literally 'her' since the word 'olah' to which it refers is grammatically

Ibn Ezra (ad loc.) comments that either the heh is an inconsequential
addition or that there are two words 'moked' and 'mokdah' that have the same
meaning 'a pyre'. From his comment it seems he also has a problem with this
word and is speculating as to the significance of the heh.

Otherwise I have not found any explanation for this strange formation. Can
anyone suggest one?

Martin Stern


From: Eyal Cohen <eyal08@...>
Date: Sun, Mar 21,2010 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Amish

I'm no expert but I understand that the Amish believe in the Bible and  
keep the 7 Noachide commandments amongst others.

Telling Rabbi Wise, whose argument was most coherent and logical that  
he might as well be Amish should not be allowed on this site.

Eyal Cohen


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Mon, Mar 15,2010 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Attempted Limited Hareidi Ban on Internet Use

When the ban posters first began to appear, I was informed by a major
Hareidi user that the first response that he heard from a Hassidic Admor
was "leave it to those Litvaks to try to ban anything that might smack
of Simcha (joy)".


From: Daniel Wells <biuashur@...>
Date: Tue, Mar 23,2010 at 12:01 PM
Subject: chareidi Internet ban

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

Not really. One of the bosses of Yated was also the owner of several
lucrative chareidi websites......


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, Mar 23,2010 at 06:01 AM
Subject: electronic stuff etc

Ari Trachtenberg wrote:
> Is there a principle that activity that occurs naturally within
> our bodies must be permitted, even outside the body?  There
> is some logic to it (after all, we cannot stop these activities
> on Shabbat), but there also appear to be counterexamples, such as
> forbidden milk-meat mixtures that happen naturally within the digestive
> system.

This last example is hardly a problem since, I presume, Ari is considering
such mixtures as may occur as the various foodstuffs proceed through the
intestines rather than at the time of eating. Once food enters the stomach,
or at least within a short time thereafter, it is mixed with gastric
secretions which are extremely acidic and thereby, in effect, rendered
nifsal mei'achilat kelev [inedible even by an animal] and, therefore, are no
longer considered as food with a milk or meat status. Any subsequent mixing
has therefore no halachic significance.

This is almost certainly the rationale for the custom of waiting one hour
between meat and milk, and vice versa, mentioned in the Shulchan Aruch and
as practised by Jews from the Netherlands to this day.

The six hour gap is based on a concern lest fragments of the first foodstuff
might become lodged between the teeth, something that is no concern after
such a long time since they are presumed to have disintegrated by then.

I do not know the reason why we German jews wait three hours since this is
not mentioned in the halachic literature but, as Hillel Hazakein put it, "Im
lo neviim heim, benei neviim heim" [literally "if they are not prophets they
are the sons of prophets" but more loosely "all customs that have been
widely adopted must have some basis" and cannot be abolished even if we are
unaware of them].

Martin Stern

From: Harlan Braude <hbraude@...>
Date: Tue, Mar 23,2010 at 08:01 AM
Subject: electronic stuff etc

In MJ V57#95 (Digest), Nathe London wrote:
> I am shocked at [XYZ]'s unwarranted attack on [ABC] and
> [...]
> [ABC] is one of the leading scholars in London and is involved in great
> Chesed projects without a salaried position. He and his rabbanit have an 
> open house and help the poor, widows, orphans, students and converts.

I removed the names from the excerpt, because my point refers to anyone, not
just the parties involved in this particular exchange.

While I think it's important (if not a mailing list ground rule) that folks 
not attack one another, I think that posted opinions are fair game without
regard to the identity and background of the author. Readers can decide for
themselves who's argument is more convincing. I learn much from lively, civil,

As we've discussed repeatedly, MJ is not a collection of responsa from our 
poskim [legal deciders --MOD].  It's a forum for open discussion (within certain
limits) of issues contributors want to explore.

Having said that, I would agree that if there are people who's opinions 
deserve - for whatever reason - a higher-degree of deference than others, we
need to develop a way to identify them.  Not all of us know an author's
biography or how to gauge his/her authority.

From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Wed, Mar 24,2010 at 06:01 PM
Subject: electronic stuff etc

Nathe London wrote:
> Perhaps Rabbi Wise was too subtle but if I understand his meaning it is  
> as follows.
>    * The Torah does not mention electricity nor does it mention guns.
>    * It speaks in and lays down principles.
>    * It forbids ignition on the sabbath whether by fire which is mentioned  
> or any other form of ignition.
>    * It prohibits murder with tools that existed in it's day and those to  
> be invented in the future. That is why the Torah is a living document  
> that speaks to all generations.
> Hence the learned Rabbi's comparison of electricity to guns was  
> absolutely correct as an example of two future inventions covered by  
> the Torahs laws.

I assume by "ignition" you mean "combustion", i.e., the rapid consumption of
some material by burning. If there was a gemara on the subject, which, of
course, there is not, one of the tanaim would be sure to question your equating
combustion with electric energy. An electrically-generated spark can be used to
ignite a fire, but the spark itself is not fire and does not consume any
material. You may have noticed that removing some garments on a cold wintry day
can generate numerous sparks as the materials are parted. Yet none of the
material is consumed and no burn marks are evident. (For those who were not
paying attention in science class: the spark is the conduction of electricity
through the air itself, by the sudden appearance of very high voltage, which
causes the air to become temporarily able to conduct electricity. The same
phenomenon causes lightening, and while both the little spark and the giant
lightening bolt can ignite fires, neither are fires themselves.) It would seem
that removing the garment is permitted on Shabbat.  At least I have not heard
anything to the contrary!  Even the traditional electric (incandescent) light
bulb is not fire and does not "burn", despite the popular use of the term.
(People talk about "burning a CD", although no combustion is involved there
either.)I am not arguing about reversing the long-standing prohibition against
the control of light bulbs on Shabbat, even though "long-standing" in this case
is only about 100 years, which some might question as long enough to constitute
mesorah. Rather I am focused on the very new uses of electricity in
microelectronic applications for which there is yet no mesorah.

Thanks for advancing the discussion--Bernie R.

From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Fri, Mar 26,2010 at 01:01 AM
Subject: electronic stuff etc

There are some very serious halachik problems with ebooks on Shabbat,
finding one needs repairs, dealing with batteries or however they work.

When I was becoming religious in the 1960's (NCSY and Seminar) I
remember learning that even though bicycles were totally mechanical they
shouldn't be ridden on Shabbat because of potential need of repair.  (I
don't remember much being said about eruv, even though they were still
very rare.)  Certainly ebooks can't be removed from all the electrical
aspects.  They aren't electric frames on the wall or table, which like
electric clocks, aren't touched and if they "die" on Shabbat, big deal.

No doubt, that like the digital cameras and computers with their "short
shelf lives" you'll find that the ebooks won't last long.  You can read
the same paper book for decades.

Hotels and electric keys are problems, but arrangement can usually be
made with the management in advance as a condition for staying in that
hotel.  Hotels are businesses.  They want to keep customers.



From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, Mar 23,2010 at 06:01 AM
Subject: Green Eggs and ham for Purim

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz wrote:

As a Yekke, proverbially thought to lack a sense of humour, might I suggest
that there could well be a problem with the kashrut of green eggs
(presumably the eggs themselves rather than their shell) since they might
come from some non-kosher species. AFAIK the eggs of kosher birds are not

Martin Stern


From: Art Werschulz <agw@...>
Date: Tue, Mar 23,2010 at 07:01 AM
Subject: HaLachma Anya Translations

Mark Symons wrote:
> I seem to recall that several years ago someone posted to MJ information 
> about a database of translations of HaLachma Anya into several languages 
> - either on the internet or in a personal file. I've tried to search for 
> this, both on MJ and on Google but haven't been able to find it. Does 
> anyone - esp the original poster - have any information about this? I'm 
> particularly interested in a Finnish version.

I don't recall seeing this on MJ.  OTOH, Murray Spiegel recently wrote a book
"300 Ways to Ask The Four Questions: From Zulu to Abkhaz".  For details, go to 
Disclaimer: Murray and I were friends in college.

Art Werschulz (8-{)}   "Metaphors be with you."  -- bumper sticker
GCS/M (GAT): d? -p+ c++ l u+(-) e--- m* s n+ h f g+ w+ t++ r- y?


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, Mar 15,2010 at 11:01 AM
Subject: halakhic relativism

[Mark Symons wrote:
> Martin Stern wrote:
>> ... 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 ... - 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.

Of course Mark is correct on the level of pshat [plain meaning of a text]
but my comment was based on the Zohar and is on the level of sod [mystical
understanding]. There is no contradiction, merely a different way of looking
at the texts.

Martin Stern


From: Rabbi Natan Slifkin - Zoo Torah <zoorabbi@...>
Date: Sat, Mar 27,2010 at 01:01 PM
Subject: I. The Evolution of the Kezayis   II. Pesach for Pets

I. Since olives are very small, how did the halachic measurement of a
"kezayis," the size of an olive, get to be so big? I wrote an essay on this
entitled "The Evolution of the Olive: The Halachic History of the Expanding
Kezayis," which can be downloaded at

II. At this time of year, many Jewish pet owners are wondering what to feed
their cats and dogs and hamsters and birds and fish on Pesach. You can find
out the answers at this link:

Chag sameach,
Natan Slifkin


From: Anonymous
Date: Thu, Apr 1,2010 at 09:01 AM
Subject: kid inadvertently treifs grape juice?

My sons recently read the Percy Jackson series of Greek-mythology-modern-times
books, and loved them.  I think they were appropriate and amusing, well-written
children's literature.  In them, however, the kids know personally, and
thus worship, Greek gods/goddesses.  There is a part of the book when at
summer "demigod training camp," the kids offer parts of their meal to their
god/goddess parents.

My eight-year-old son, to my utter horror, took the leftovers in the
kiddush cup the other week, and said, "I offer this to the god Poseidon!"
as a kind of joke.  Did he treif [render unkosher --MOD] the grape juice in the
cup?  If it had been wine, would he have?  Did he treif the cup?  We had a long
family discussion, needless to say.  We threw out the juice but did not
kasher the cup.

I am still kind of horrified by the experience, though I guess it was a
valuable learning experience.  (And who really has avoda zara [foreign worship -
often idol worship --MOD] learning experiences these days....)

Any thoughts..?  Please don't suggest banning all non-Jewish children's


From: Eli Turkel <eliturkel@...>
Date: Fri, Mar 26,2010 at 06:01 AM
Subject: quinoa

BTW [By the way --MOD] if one looks at the Jewish Action article
the OU doesn't allow Canola oil and doesn't recommend Quinoa,
but do[es] allow citric acid (eg aspartame).

Eli Turkel


From: Alan Rubin <alan@...>
Date: Fri, Mar 26,2010 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Quinoa in Israel on Pesah

I can happily report, following the psak [decision --MOD] of our Rav that quinoa
is not kitniyos, that my daughter who has been in seminary in Jerusalem is
back in London for Pesach bearing packets of quinoa; though they were
in the section of the shop reserved for kitniyos eaters.

Unfortunately quinoa packaged in a facility approved for Pesach does
not appear to be available in the UK.

Alan Rubin


From: Tal S. Benschar <tbenschar@...>
Date: Mon, Mar 15,2010 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Yibbum

I heard several times from R. Herschel Schachter that R. Y.B. Soloveichik once
was presented with a similar issue:  the yavam [man involved in the levirate
marriage --MOD] had had his feet amputated, so could not do chalitzah
[renunciation of the marriage --MOD].  He consulted with R. Chaim Heller, and
they paskined [decided --MOD] that the yavam should perform yibbum (marry the
yevama) and then divorce her.

Tal Benschar


End of Volume 57 Issue 97