Volume 58 Number 04 
      Produced: Sun, 25 Apr 2010 23:13:44 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

a problem in Yekum Purkan 
    [Martin Stern]
an unappealing but major(?) proverb 
    [Mark Symons]
comments on candle lighting 
    [Dr. William Gewirtz]
eating dairy on Shavuos 
    [Akiva Miller]
from the Zohar to VaYoel Moshe to Israel's Independence Day 
    [Yisrael Medad]
Israel independence day 
    [Ira L. Jacobson]
marriage and separation (6)
    [Carl Singer  Elazar M. Teitz  Leah S.R. Gordon  Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz  Russell J Hendel  David Tzohar]
thermometer on Shabbat 
    [Rose Landowne]
waiting for dairy 
    [Frank Silbermann]


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sat, Mar 27,2010 at 06:01 PM
Subject: a problem in Yekum Purkan

In the first Yekum Purkan, there is a phrase that is either 'dayanei devava'
or 'dayanei di vava', both of which are difficult to understand.

The former has the preposition 'de' meaning 'of' and makes the phrase mean
'judges of the gates' which is bit problematic.

In the latter, the relative pronoun 'di' meaning 'who', 'which' or 'that' is
used and the phrase would then mean 'judges who are gates' which is

The phrase is probably meant to mean 'the judges who sit in the gates', a
reference to  "Set up for yourselves judges and enforcement officers in all
your gates" (Deut. 16.18), but that should be 'dayanei di bevava', similar
to the earlier phrase 'di bevavel - who are in Bavel'. I have looked through
many siddurim and not found this formulation. Even the Machzor Vitry has
'dayanei devava' (with addition 'udayanei demata - judges of the town').

Is it possible that the correct form is 'di bevava', with the letter bet
three times, but that an early scribal error omitted one of them?

Any suggestions?

Martin Stern


From: Mark Symons <msymons@...>
Date: Sat, Apr 24,2010 at 05:01 PM
Subject: an unappealing but major(?) proverb

Yeshaya (Charles Chi) Halevi wrote:
>   Obvious question: If a dog eats vomit (and, BTW,
> excrement), just what exactly is meant when we permit certain things to
> be eaten on the grounds they are so inconsequential and nasty that not
> even a dog will eat them?

I think a dog has a tendency to specifically eat its own vomit, which is
what the proverb is referring to.

Mark Symons
Melbourne Australia


From: Dr. William Gewirtz <wgewirtz@...>
Date: Tue, Apr 20,2010 at 12:01 PM
Subject: comments on candle lighting

Martin Stern wrote:
> I know this is an old thread but I saw the summary of the dinim [laws --MOD]
> below in the issue of Daily Halacha on Friday 16 April:
> When making an early Shabbos one should remember the following;
> .....3. One should try to stretch the meal to eat at least a k'zayis [a
> (large) olive's worth --MOD] of bread after dark. (3)
> 4. It is permitted for a Jew who has (individually - as opposed to a whole
> community) accepted an early Shabbos to directly ask a Jew who has not yet
> accepted Shabbos (and certainly a non-Jew) to perform a melacha [prohibited
> Sabbath work --MOD] on his behalf, except for one's own wife. (4)
> 5. Members of a household are independent of each other. Therefore if the
> husband accepted Shabbos early for convenience sake (and not for the Mitzva
> of Tosafos Shabbos [adding to the Sabbath --MOD] ) the wife may light candles
> until Shkiah [sunset --MOD]. Likewise, when the wife lights candles early this
> does not require her husband, sons, or even daughters to accept Shabbos
> early...


A.  if you are going to abide by 3) stretch until the appearance of 3 medium
stars NOT sunset. (a depression angle of about 6 degrees.)  but you need not eat
a (large) olive's worth only an average olive. 

B.  4) is interesting and partially in conflict with 5) wrt your wife.  see below.

C.  This assumes the lack of a community custom or where there are multiple
minyanim in your community.  Where uniformity of practice exists, except in
emergency situations, it is best to follow minhag hamakom [the local custom
--MOD]. The dependence on your intent (convenience versus tosefet [addition
--MOD]) is arguable.

IMHO reprinting contemporary psak [legal decisions --MOD] without full context
will likely lead to people making improper deductions.  Out of compassion, I
will not ask when is plag haminkha according to the opinion we call that of the
Magen Avraham.


From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Sun, Apr 25,2010 at 11:01 AM
Subject: eating dairy on Shavuos

In the thread titled "waiting for dairy", Steven Oppenheimer wrote:
> There is a custom to eat dairy foods on Shavuot.  Before the giving
> of the Torah, the  Jews were permitted to eat non-kosher meat. After
> the giving of the Torah (on Shavuot), this became forbidden.  All
> their dishes became prohibited, and they could only eat dairy foods.

This is something I've heard many times, but I never understood it.

I do understand that after the Torah was given, and we now had to follow the
laws of Kosher slaughter, it became forbidden to eat any improperly-slaughtered
meat that might have been around. And it would also have become forbidden to use
any pots that had been used for such meat, until they'd become koshered.

But wouldn't it also have become forbidden to eat any cheese that had been made
with non-kosher rennet? Shouldn't we also avoid cheese on Shavuos for this very
same logic?

Even if I'm somehow mistaken about the cheese, and that they *could* have eaten
cheese which had curdled prior to receiving the laws of Kashrus, consider this:
They had no pots to cook it with. Prior to getting the laws of kashrus, they did
not maintain two sets of pots, but used the same pots for meat and dairy.

Thus, if it is true that "All their dishes became prohibited", then it seems to
me that it is a mistake to conclude that "they could only eat dairy foods."
Rather, if all their dishes became prohibited, then they could only eat RAW
foods until they got a chance to kosher their utensils (by whatever means of
koshering they practiced at that time).

Is there some flaw in the above logic? Shouldn't the custom be to focus on raw
foods, rather than on dairy? In fact, when I refer to "raw foods", I don't only
mean salads and unprocessed milk, but raw meat as well - slaughtering on Yom Tov
is allowed, so why not a steak tartare on Shavuos?

Akiva Miller


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Mon, Apr 19,2010 at 09:01 AM
Subject: from the Zohar to VaYoel Moshe to Israel's Independence Day

An extrapolation from perhaps a theological problem to the difficulty of
Halachic observance: how do we relate to Yom HaAtzmaut?
The Zohar in Parshat Pikudei (Page 224A; or Paragraph 65 in the Sullam
edition) sets up a theological problem:  it seems to imply that even an
evil person is rewarded for his good deed even if that deed, which
seemingly is 'good', is intended to cause evil, and even actually does.

Here is a textual expansion:

The 42 sacrifices of Balak 
When Balak made his sacrifice he intended to placate God because he had
killed so many people. God did not accept this sacrifice, nor did the
Other Side. Those who were to be punished were cursed in Hashem's name
but until now they have not been punished, nor have the sacrifices been
accepted by either side. The sacrifice offered was to propitiate the
Other Side, but it has not done so, and nor has it met with God's

and a translation of the passage:
          65. Come and see: All is predisposed and revealed before the
Holy One, blessed be He. Though Balak and Bilaam did not mean to devote
THEIR SACRIFICES for the Holy One, blessed be He, yet all is established before
Him, and He does not reduce their reward at all in this world. At that time they
had power over Yisrael, by their sacrifice which caused
twenty-four thousand people from Yisrael to pass away, besides those who
were killed, as it is written, "Slay every one of his men that have attached
themselves to Ba'al Peor" (Bemidbar 25:5), and "Take all the chiefs of
the people, and hang them up before Hashem" (Ibid. 4). And even now that
sacrifice impends upon Yisrael to cause misfortune. They built seven altars, AND

Note the phrase: "He does not reduce their reward at all in this world".

The Matok Midvash, the commentary of Daniel Frisch (which I found in his
new siddur with Zoharic commentary. And R' Frisch was a member of the
Toldot Aharon community), elucidates that even though evil was caused
and intended, the making of a sacrifice to the Holy One for his sake
even if for the wrong reason would merit a reward.  As he writes:
'everything is orderly and fixed and revealed before God that he pays a
reward for good deeds in this world to the evil doers and even
non-Jews...that even if Balak and Bilaam intended not to please God with
their sacrifices but that He should agree to their desire to curse
Israel, all is orderly and they will be payed for their sacrifices...'.

On the basis of the above, besides the theological question of normative
vs. antinomian, since we are on the eve of Israel's Independence Day,
would not this train of thought justify, paradoxically, the Zionist
ideology even according to R' Yoelish Teitelbaum's tract of VaYoel Moshe
who views Zionism as evil and the Sitra Achra (the Other Side)?  Should
not Yom HaAtzmaut be celebrated?  Even if for the wrong reason?

Yisrael Medad


From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Sat, Apr 24,2010 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Israel independence day

With slight changes:
>The problem with Yom Ha`Atzma'ut is Hillul (desercration) Shabbat. 
>As the ceremonies take place at night, and Israel has been on 
>Daylight time starting about 25 years ago, Motza'ei Shabbat is a bad time.

It has been suggested that this argument also applies to Log Ba`Omer 
(so named for the logs we burn), and that the celebration to be held 
on Motza'ei Shabbat should also be postponed by one day.  The answer 
I heard is that the Admorim [Rebbes] would not stand for this.



From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Fri, Apr 23,2010 at 05:01 PM
Subject: marriage and separation

> I am looking for halachic opinions on the following scenario. I am a single
> man who is friendly with a non Jewish woman. She wants to proceed to a sexual
> relationship, which I would like. Her situation: living in her home,
> separated from her husband. He also lives there but they have been separated
> for two years. They stay in the "marriage" until the kids are older. What lines
> do I cross if I cross the line.

Perhaps we should dissect this situation into several questions.
I guess a key underpinning here is the following question:
Is this woman considered an aishes ish (loosely, is she considered to be

Would the answer to this question differ if:
(1)  either she or her husband are Jewish,
(2)  the form of their original marriage  (civil, common law, some
"religious" ceremony)
(3)  the form or degree of their separation.  For example, if they were not
sharing a household - let's say they lived in different cities but did not
have a "formal" divorce.
(4)  what impact, if any, a civil or non-Jewish religious divorce or
dissolution of their marriage would have on this question.

From: Elazar M. Teitz <remt@...>
Date: Fri, Apr 23,2010 at 05:01 PM
Subject: marriage and separation

> I am looking for halachic opinions on the following scenario. I am a single man
> who is friendly with a non Jewish woman. She wants to proceed to a sexual
> relationship, which I would like. Her situation: living in her home, separated
> from her husband. He also lives there but they have been separated for two
> years. They stay in the "marriage" until the kids are older. What lines do I
> cross if I cross the line.

     Three prohibitions:
     (1) Cohabiting outside of marriage
     (2) Cohabiting with a non-Jewish woman
     (3) Adultery, which while not being a capital offense as is adultery with a
Jewish woman, is nonetheless included in the prohibition of adultery.
     There is no difference between a single man and a married man.

From: Leah S.R. Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Fri, Apr 23,2010 at 05:01 PM
Subject: marriage and separation

I find the below posting interesting on a few levels, and since I'm
sure he will be plenty excoriated by my M.J colleagues, I will take a
different tack with this post.  First of all, I think it is interesting,
perhaps commendable, that Anonymous is coming to M.J (instead of
for instance "Savage Love") for advice.

Anonymous, I would ask yourself the following questions:

1. Am I committed to doing what is morally, and/or Jewishly right,
in spirit as well as the letter of the law?

2. How did this friendship get to the point of our mutual acknowledgment
of a desire for a sexual relationship?  Was I intending for this
to happen, and if so, how does that fit into my [apparent] desire to
lead a halakhic lifestyle?

3. How would I feel about this situation if the woman were Jewish,
and if it is different, does that imply any re-thinking I need to do
about how I view women and their status relative to myself?

4. What am I hoping to gain from a sexual relationship with this person?
How do I view my sexual relationships as part and parcel of my [Jewish]
life in general?

After thinking over some of those issues, I would also delve into the
truth of any "separation" that doesn't involve actually...uh...separating.

I must confess that I get a kind of icky feeling about the implication that
because the woman (and her husband?) are not Jewish, that their
personhood/sexuality does not count in your own morality.  It might well
be, and I'm sure we'll learn here, that they don't "count" per the
halakha.  However, I think we all know that they count to you.  I.e.
such activity could ding the neshama [soul --MOD].

I think that even if halakha doesn't say NO to this situation, it has
DANGER written all over it.  How could it possibly end well?  Are you
anticipating a bout or two of casual sex and then you move on to a nice
Jewish wife?  Are you thinking you will convince her to leave her husband,
convert, and become that nice Jewish wife?  None of this will happen without
a heck of a lot of emotional work on all of your parts.

On the other hand, everyone deserves a nice fulfilling relationship, I
really believe that.  Can you re-focus your efforts on making friendships
with more appropriate candidates for long-term relationships?  My icky
feeling continues if there's an undercurrent here of 'no Jewish woman is
good enough for what I want'.

--Leah S. R. Gordon

From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahillel@...>
Date: Sun, Apr 25,2010 at 12:01 PM
Subject: marriage and separation

Anonymous wrote:
> I am looking for halachic opinions on the following scenario. I am a single
> man who is friendly with a non Jewish woman. She wants to proceed to a sexual
> relationship, which I would like. Her situation: living in her home, separated
> from her husband. He also lives there but they have been separated for two
> years. They stay in the "marriage" until the kids are older. What lines do I
> cross if I cross the line.

I find it difficult to understand why someone would be trying to ask for 
a "halachic justification" for something like this. There are so many 
things wrong with this situation that it is hard to know how to express 
the problem.

Of course, the fact that she is not Jewish should be sufficient to know 
that this should not continue.

Even if she were Jewish, the fact that she is "separated" and not 
divorced would be sufficient to forbid this relationship.

The fact that the husband is still in the house living with the woman 
would even mean that any "divorce" would not be legitimate.

This of course is even according to secular law as far as I understand it.

Even if just separating was sufficient to be considered a "divorce", 
that would not be the case here as they are still living together, even 
if they claim that they are "separated".

As a practical matter, with children in the house as well, I would say 
that the best advice for "Anonymous" would be to run as far as he can as 
fast as hen can. This is definitely a situation that must be avoided.

This is what I would say even if "Anonymous" were not Jewish from a 
purely secular and practical viewpoint as well.

       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: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Sun, Apr 25,2010 at 01:01 PM
Subject: marriage and separation

I am sure many people were moved by the openness of anonymous, who despite being
involved with a non-Jewish married woman, seeks religious guidance. I would
first like to publicly complement him for seeking such guidance. I would also
like to publicly thank the moderator and moderator team for making such
anonymous posts possible. I believe such anonymous posts significantly enhance
the mail-jewish experience.

Before I answer his question I would like to cite a story of the Rav, Rabbi
Joseph B. Soloveitchick, with whom I learned for many years.  "A person called
me one day advising me that he was about to be intermarried.  He inquired about
the status of intermarriage in Jewish law." I explained to him "A person who
intermarries cuts himself off from his people and is no longer Jewish." The
person thanked me and hung up. Two months later I received another call from the
same gentleman: "Rabbi Soloveitchick, I just wanted to thank you for your
advice. Based on our conversation I called off the wedding. I didn't know
intermarriage was such a serious crime. I don't want to be cut off from the
Jewish people."

The story has a (or many) point(s). The Rav did not give him an elaborate
"outreach" talk.  The Rav simply told him the "facts."  It would have been a
mistake to assume the person "knew what he was doing."  The Rav's approach
worked in this case.

With this background three responses should be made to anonymous.

1st) Intermarriage, as the Rav explains, does cut oneself off from the Jewish
people. One manifestation of this is that your children will not be Jewish. But
more importantly you yourself will cease being Jewish. If for example you
attempt to come to some Jewish affair (e.g. a synagogue) with your non Jewish
wife you will probably be asked to leave (presumably because it is bad image for
the children).

2nd) (Other mail jewishers may disagree) The woman has a "status" of a married
woman. Consequently any sexual relationship with her is a violation of the
decalogue commandment prohibiting adultery. (There is a misleading legal
statement that "There is no marital status among non Jews" but that doesn't mean
there is no PROHIBITION of adultery. Rather, it means that a Jewish court will
not execute a Jewish man based on a NON JEWISH statement that the woman he was
with had a married status. In other words, the lack of marital status among non
Jews is purely an operational statement whose purpose is to exempt courts from
their obligation to administer a death penalty on Jews based on non Jewish
testimony. The prohibition of adultery applies to both jewish and non-jewish
females with the distinction that there is a possibility of a death penalty from
affairs with a Jewish female).

Also note that "separation" does not constitute divorce. Separate couples do get
back with each other. This woman is married, period.

3rd) A famous Rashi accuses Moses of renouncing the simultaneous holding of the
Priesthood and teacher (Ex04-14). Had Moses been Priest and teacher he would
approach a question on intermarriage both legally and personally!

So allow me to make some elementary psychological remarks. 1st) If this woman is
married but separated she has needs that will **quickly** vanish as soon as she
gets her divorce. Don't you see that? 2nd) You have been very open in speaking
about your religious legal crisis. Can you also be open on your psychological
needs. What do you like about her. Could you take a pencil and paper and write
down a dozen words (or two word phrases) describing what you like about her? And
if you have this list, do any of your friends know about it? Perhaps they know
of single Jewish women who resemble her. 

The above 3 points are avenues of exploration. To recap: If you continue 1) Are
you aware how much you will be cut off from the Jewish community 2) are you
aware all the other prohibitions you will violate 3) have you tried to resolve
your legal problems by seeking a support group from your friends who possibly
could help you find someone similar.

Wishing you well and encouraging you to continue your anonymous dialogue:
Russell Jay Hendel;Ph.d. A.S.A. http://www.Rashiyomi.com/

From: David Tzohar <davidtzohar@...>
Date: Sun, Apr 25,2010 at 11:01 PM
Subject: marriage and separation

A Jewish man who has relations with a married non-Jewish woman is not
guilty of adultery (punishable by death by stoning) since the marriage is not
recognized by Jewish law but rather the relative misdemeanor of znut
Harlotry), punishable by flogging(OUCH).  The Biblical law says "Ha boel
aramit kanaiim pog'in bo" (if a man has relations with an Aramaian woman
vigilantes may kill him.) It is interesting that this is one of the only
places where the Torah allows taking the law into your own hands, not relying
on due process in a court of law. This is based on the case where Pinchas Ha
Cohen killed Zimri and Cosby Bat Tzur ( Bamidbar 25:14).

In any case my advice to anonymous-Find yourself a nice Jewish girl!!

David Tzohar


From: Rose Landowne <Roselandow@...>
Date: Fri, Apr 23,2010 at 05:01 PM
Subject: thermometer on Shabbat

If you only need a ballpark figure, there are those heat-sensitive plastic
strips that have numbers from 97 to 105 or so written on them.  You put it on
the forehead, and the numbers temporarily change color until the actual
temperature number remains green as long as it is on the forehead and when you
take it off, it all returns to black.  This seems like a non-electronic
approach, though I wonder whether  it would be considered dyeing since the
effect is so temporary (anyone who may know more about this is welcome to comment.)

Rose Landowne


From: Frank Silbermann <frank_silbermann@...>
Date: Tue, Apr 20,2010 at 01:01 PM
Subject: waiting for dairy

>> ... Apparently, the German community still relies on the Ashkenazi Rishonim'
>> opinion of one hour -- but generally accepted a chumra (stringent custom) of
>> extending it an extra two hours.  Since when does a community require
>> the backing of the Rishonim to adopt a chumra?

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz V58 N2 :
> I think that the original question was based on the assumption, that
> rather than being a community chumra [stricture --MOD], the 3 hours
> was a specific determination, just as the 1 hour or 6 hour values were
> specific determinations of a time.  In any case, the question would still
> arise as to how the chumra developed and how it was determined that
> three hours was the proper amount of time for this chumra.

I'm OK with that -- as long as we understand that the question is purely
of academic curiosity with no halachic significance.

I guess I'm just being overly sensitive to imagined suggestions that
the German custom is in any way improper, deficient or inadequate!

Given German Jews' original reliance upon Askenazi Rishonim who specified
a one-hour wait, and the fact that German Jews never had a custom of
waiting more than 3-hours,  it's a khal v' khomer ("how much 
moreso...") that 3-hours is an acceptable custom.

(This is especially apparent when one remembers that the laws of kashrut
are essentially khukim -- things we do not for any reason but solely because
G-d commanded them.  Therefore, if neither God nor German Jews'
past or present sages imposed upon them a 6 hour wait, then there's no
impetus for Jews with the 3-hour custom to change.)

Frank Silbermann


End of Volume 58 Issue 4