Volume 58 Number 08 
      Produced: Tue, 04 May 2010 20:42:36 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

a problem in Yekum Purkan 
    [Yisrael Medad]
an unappealing proverb, revisited 
    [Sam Gamoran]
candle lighting time 
    [N. Yaakov Ziskind]
eating dairy on Shavuos 
    [Batya Medad]
follow-up on "kid inadvertently treifs grape juice?" 
Israel independence day (4)
    [Sammy Finkelman  David Tzohar  David Ziants  Art Werschulz]
marriage and separation 
    [Carl Singer]
mythology (was kid inadvertently treifs grape juice?) 
    [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz]


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Mon, Apr 26,2010 at 03:01 AM
Subject: a problem in Yekum Purkan

It is well-know that the Aramaic of the Zohar is very problematic
grammatically and syntactically and that fact is used to prove that the
Zohar could not have been authored by Rav Shimon Bar-Yochai.


From: Sam Gamoran <SGamoran@...>
Date: Wed, Apr 28,2010 at 02:01 AM
Subject: an unappealing proverb, revisited

Charles Chi (Yeshaya) Halevi wrote:
>Therefore, my original question stands. How can we use "not fit for a dog" in
>determining standards about something being kosher or not, when a dog displays
>such a lack of culinary criteria ?

There are some things within the realm of "human food" that a dog will NOT eat.
 I remember a chocolate cake mishap some 20 years ago.  The sugar in the batter
was accidentally omitted and the resulting cake was impossibly bitter.  We put
it in front of the two dogs.  They sniffed it, poked at it, and walked away.



From: N. Yaakov Ziskind <awacs@...>
Date: Tue, Apr 20,2010 at 02:01 PM
Subject: candle lighting time

Martin Stern wrote:
> For halachic purposes, all hours are one twelfth of the time between sunrise
> and sunset [or daybreak and night according to the opinion] and NOT clock
> hours.

I thought that for calculation of Mincha Gedola (the earliest time to
pray the afternoon prayer) one waited 30 minutes after chatzos (midday
between sunrise and sunset), not 6.5/12 of the time between sunrise and
sunset, which would be the logical result of using sha'ot zemaniyot
(hours calculated relative to the length of the day/night).

Nachman Yaakov Ziskind, FSPA, LLM


From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Mon, Apr 26,2010 at 01:01 AM
Subject: eating dairy on Shavuos

The custom of eating dairy on Shavuot is not universal at all.  It's
Ashekaz.  Our Tunisian branch of the family eats meat, as do many of our
neighbors of various "Eidot."  [Communities --MOD]



From: Anonymous
Date: Fri, Apr 30,2010 at 06:01 AM
Subject: follow-up on "kid inadvertently treifs grape juice?"

Thank you to all who wrote in regarding my son, grape juice, cup, and
"Percy Jackson" books.

First, my shul rabbi, whom I consulted, said to throw out the juice (already
done), and that the cup did not need kashering.  I don't fully understand
why it didn't need kashering.  It's possible that because we were just
packing for a move, and I wasn't 100% sure which cup it was, that he was
lenient on that.  Or maybe it was because my son didn't really believe in
Poseidon, and/or because he's a minor.  I think, but I might not be
remembering clearly, that he told me it was halakhically the same as
if it were wine, due to the status of grape juice as wine in our context.
Anyway, my rabbi did not in any way indicate that he found my house/cups
unkosher hereafter.  :)  He reads M.J so he can chime in if I'm not being

Re. education, there is no way I would ever refrain from exposing my children
to as large/significant body of knowledge as, say, Greek Mythology.  What
a loss for them that would be!  I could possibly be convinced to deny them
the "Percy Jackson" books, which while fun, are not significant in the
same way.

In so many things, including this case (I have come to think), the best thing
to do is to "fight speech with more speech".  Instead of banning a book,
discuss it and contextualize it in the family's values.  Otherwise, what
am I going to do, only let him read Devora Doresh mysteries for his whole
childhood?  (And those mysteries are among the best of the "kosher
children's literature" genre.)

I was thinking, suppose he had read "Henry and Ribsy" and decided to
try to make a bologna/cheese sandwich.  Although to *me* the
avodah zarah was so much Worse, an eight-year-old did not have the
to understand that this particular difference in cultures is super
important.  Well, now he does.  We had a zillion discussions about it,
plus of course he saw us panic and dump out the grape juice, etc.
It also led to discussions about reading material, mimicking what you
read, and so forth.

Thanks for all the comments.



From: Sammy Finkelman <finkelmanm@...>
Date: Tue, Apr 20,2010 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Israel independence day

Mordechai Horowitz]:

MH> Why is Israel Independence day pushed off when Israel's day of
remembrance falls on Sunday?  I understand why you would move the day
when there is a conflict with Shabbat but when it falls on Motzei
Shabbat it doesn't make sense?

Because they actually do a ceremony the previous evening and would even
start it while it was still Shabbos because 8 PM could still be Shabbos.
That's what I heard today.

So the way it is now Israeli Independence day can only come out on a
Tuesday, a Wednesday or a Thursday,  and the only time it actually is
observed on the 5th of Iyar is when it is on a Wednesday  (and Rosh Hashonah
will be on Shabbos)

Originally it was only shifted when it came out on Shabbos, which is rare
(corresponding to Rosh Hashonah being on a Tuesday. It wasn't too many years
that they reaklized they could move it around, and also Yom Hashoah. The
27th of Nisan was probably picked because it never falls on a Shabbos and
only rarely on a Friday but now it is moved when it is Friday too.

Some calendars haven't caught up.

From: David Tzohar <davidtzohar@...>
Date: Sun, Apr 25,2010 at 10:01 PM
Subject: Israel independence day

Israels Independence day is put off off when it falls on a Sunday, so there
should be no Shabbat desecration issues with people going to memorial
services at the opening of memorial day on Saturday night.
David Tzohar

From: David Ziants <dziants@...>
Date: Wed, Apr 28,2010 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Israel independence day

With respect to what Sam Gamoran <SGamoran@...> writes:

> 1) Yom Ha'Atzma'ut is a "new" holiday (people are still alive who remember when
> it came into existence).  The halachot (laws) are still being worked out
> dynamically with no long-standing tradition.  Log B'Omer is an "ancient" holiday
> that has been observed for generations on Motzei Shabbat so it would not be
> appropriate to change it now.

Concerning the suggestion that the date of La"g b'Omer cannot be 
changed, I totally agree. It will be interesting to see how Yom 
ha'Atzma'ut will develop from the point of view of it's religious 
practice, change of days, liturgy etc.. I read of talk that there are 
those (maybe secularists) who think that Yom Hazikaron should not be so 
close to Yom ha'Atzma'ut because many people (especially those who are 
personally affected) cannot make the transition so quickly. This would 
also, hopefully, enable celebration of Yom Ha'atzmaut to start earlier 
(as I raised in my previous posting).

> 2) Yom HaZikaron (Memorial Day) observances (and this is what would be motzei
> Shabbat [upon the departure of Shabbat --MOD]) are communal in nature and may
> take place at a cemetery.  Log B'Omer celebrations tend to be "family" or
> "groups of friends" oriented with the notable exception of the central
> celebration at Mount Meron.  They do not worry about hillul Shabbat [desecration
> of Shabbat --MOD] at Mount Meron because of the type of people who go there and
> the option exists to arrive before Shabbat and sleep over.  I read that this
> year they cleaned out a number of nearby chicken coops and turned them into
> makeshift dorms for youngsters.  Sleeping at a cemetery before a Yom Hazikaron
> ceremony is not an option.

A number of remarks here:

a) There is a call from the Israeli Chief Rabbinate as well as from 
environmentalists that we should start trying to reduce the number of 
bon-fires thus smog in the air by encouraging communal celebrations 
rather than private. Although there is a small voice on this line within 
the chareidi [=Ultra Orthodox] sector, it would probably take longer for 
this call to be headed in those circles.

b) I now live in a religious neighbourhood, but when I previously lived 
in a mixed neighbourhood I unfortunately saw a lot of chillul shabbat [= 
desecration of Shabbat] because of La"g b'Omer including bon-fires being 
alight before Shabbat goes out. Also the fire brigade is likely to start 
its rounds (they drive around to ensure safety issues) before Shabbat 
terminates. In the "better" cases,  preparations are being made before 
Shabbat goes out and the participants are at lease aware not to light a 
fire until Motzei Shabbat.

c) Although I have never been to Meron, I have occasionally seen footage 
of the celebrations there, on TV. Although real secularists would 
probably have nothing to do there, the impression I get is that there is 
a big mixture of people and not every one is Shomer Mitzvot [=keeps the 
mitzvot] in the way we are used to from our own environment. Especially 
among the Eidot HaMizrach [=Jewish communities from Middle Eastern 
countries] there are a lot of traditional Jews who may keep many things 
in a general way, but are not aware or interested in the details of 
halacha that hopefully (for example) most people on this mailing list are.

> There are also several other advantages to ensuring that Yom Ha'Atzma'ut does
> not occur on a Monday or Thursday.  Actually with the extant calendar it never
> occurs on a Thursday and this latest change prevents Monday as well.

> 1) There is no conflict in choosing between the regular weekly Torah portion
> and any other reading from inyanei d'yoma (events related to the day).  More
> on that below.
> 2) There is no conflict between Yom Ha'Atzma'ut and the (not widely observed)
> fasts of BH"B (Monday-Thursday-Monday) that take place starting the first
> Monday after Rosh Chodesh (beginning of the month of) Iyar.  This avoids
> "embarrassment" of having some Jews fasting on a day that others are reciting
> Hallel.

I agree that it is an embarrassment that there are Jews who do not want 
to celebrate Yom ha'Atzma'ut, and I do not think it is likely that such 
people will go to a shul that says Hallel. Thank you for pointing out 
that the delayed date prevents the BH"B clash, as this is a facet that I 
did not think of.

With respect to the below remarks, there are some things I agree with, 
and some things I do not. Of course, I am no authority and not even 
close to being one, that can determine what is right and what is not 
right. Although I say full hallel with b'racha and go along with Rinat 
Yisrael in all its nuances including shabbat p'sukaei d'zimra [psalms], 
I still think that the extra p'sukaei d'zimra is a bit strange and out 
of place for this day.  I will give my very humble opinion on Sam's 
remarks below..

> While I am on the subject of Yom Ha'Atzma'ut observances I want to write about
> something that bothers me in the prayers chosen for this day.  I wonder if I am
> the only one...  It seems to me that the prayers for Yom Ha'Atzma'ut should more
> closely follow the "matbeya" (prototype) for prayers on a holiday of Rabbinic 
> origin.  The two classical Rabbinic holidays are Chanukah and Purim.  On these
> days we:
> - say Hallel (Chanukah only because Purim took place outside of Israel)
> - read a special portion from the Torah
> - say Al Hanissim (the prayer of Thanksgiving for the miracles that took place
> on these days)
> - say Shehechiyanu (Purim and first day Chanukah) though we also are saying it
> for the special commandments of the day of the day (lighting the menorah,
> reading the megilla, mishloach manot, etc.)
The above seems very close to what is documented in kibbutz hadati 
(Religious Kibbutz Movement] machzor [=holyday prayer book].
Saying "Shehechiyanu" can always be instituted by stipulating that a new 
fruit or piece of clothing be worn by the person who recites. The 
difference between Chanuka and Purim is that each of these festivals 
have specific mitzvot for the day(s). Is mangle {sartastic grin} a 
Mitzva of the day?

With exception of reading from the Torah, which I don't think is easy 
for the Rabbanim to institutionalise, the other additions seem OK.

> It seems to me that we should be following the same prototype for Yom
> Ha'Atzma'ut.
> - Why don't we have a special Torah reading with three people called up and
> saying the blessings?  If the haphtarah (prophetic reading) from the eight day
> of Passover is to be read why don't we say the blessings?
If not followed by reading from the Torah it cannot be called 
"haphtara". It is just a reading from the prophets, thus no haphtara 
b'racha [=blessing] is recited. Even if Monday with the standard daily 
kriat hatorah,  the prophet reading was placed there as a separate 
entity. Because of this situation, I agree that it is a bit out of 
place. Maybe, Rav Goren (see below), felt that k'riat hatorah would be 
added as the redemptive process makes progress and iy"h we will 
experience more of the chesed of hashem [= lovingkindness of G-d].

> - Why don't we say a (newly composed) Al Hanissim.  I recall seeing one whose
> origin, I believe, was, from a Conservative Background.  Does that make it
> non-kosher?
There is "al hanissim" in kibbutz hadati (Religious Kibbutz Movement] 
machzor [=holyday prayer book]. In my opinion, it is kosher and am 
surprised that it hasn't been more widely adopted. For the last 
centuries, there has been n aversion to adding new piyutim [=poems] and 
our own personal prayers within the sh'moneh esrey [=major prayer said 3 
times every weekday] maybe as a reaction to the reform who wanted to 
change things which are not in line with Judaism. In principle though, 
it is allowed afaik, and provided the prayer is composed by a proper 
authority and within guide-lines of halachic [=Jewish law] thinking, I 
don't see why it should not go.

> - Why do we add (see the Rinat Yisrael and similar siddurim (prayerbooks)) so
> many passages not said on any other holiday?  Is it to cover up that perhaps
> we think Yom Ha'Atzmaut isn't a full-fledged "real" holiday?

I agree that some things are strange. For example the Yom Kippur Ne'illa 
stuff at end of arvit (and some shuls say hallel there like on first 
night Pesach). Also, as mentioned above, the extra p'sukai d'zimra at 
shacharit. It was Rav Goren zatza"l who, I think, moulded this liturgy 
and he also had in mind the sephardi and possibly kabbalstic mind set 
that also includes a lot of shofar blowing etc. Thus, just as we pray 
for "blow the great shophar" in our daily sh'moneh esrey [=major prayer 
said 3 times every weekday] , why not actualize this?

The question is, whether any one would dare break away from Rinat 
Yisrael and compose the liturgy that gives Yom ha'Atzma'ut the 
importance it deserves, but is more in line with ashkenazi [= 
communities originating from Europe] thinking. Moreover, this would need 
to be acceptable to the type of shuls who, today, use Rinat Yisrael and 
not compromise on the norms that have already been accepted by many, 
such as full hallel with b'racha. (When, iy"h - G-d willing, more 
important days emerge on our calender to shadow Yom ha'Atzma'ut, then 
may be it will end up being reduced to half-hallel on Yom ha'Atzma'ut, 
with whatever ramifications there are for saying a b'racha before half 
hallel - similar to Rosh Chodesh.)

David Ziants
Ma'aleh Adumim, Israel

From: Art Werschulz <agw@...>
Date: Wed, Apr 28,2010 at 06:01 AM
Subject: Israel independence day

Sam Gamoran wrote:

> It seems to me that we should be following the same prototype for Yom
> Ha'Atzma'ut.
> - Why don't we have a special Torah reading with three people called up and
> saying the blessings?...
> - Why don't we say a (newly composed) Al Hanissim...
> - Why do we add (see the Rinat Yisrael and similar siddurim (prayerbooks)) so
> many passages not said on any other holiday?...

In addition to a special Al HaNissim, Conservative shuls do a Torah reading from
the beginning of Eiqev.

AIUI [As I understand it --MOD], the reason that O[rthodox] shuls (that do read
the prophetic portion) don't say the brachot [blessings --MOD] on same is that
you can't have a haftarah (with brachot) if you don't have a Torah reading.

Art Werschulz


From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Thu, Apr 29,2010 at 11:01 PM
Subject: marriage and separation

>  Adultery is a class B misdemeanor." So depending on where Anonymous and the
> scope of the doctrine "dina demalchuta dina" [the secular must be observed
> as if it were part of the halacha], the proposed sexual relationship may violate
> halacha if for no other reason.

Not to in any way minimize civil adultery statutes -- but for clarification,
"dina demalchuta dina" is specific to monetary / business laws -- not law in
general.   Although there are ample good reasons for obeying ALL of the "laws of
the land" -- "dina demalcuta dina" isn't the catch all.

Carl Singer


From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahillel@...>
Date: Fri, Apr 9,2010 at 04:01 PM
Subject: mythology (was kid inadvertently treifs grape juice?)

An interesting point on this would be whether the ancient mythologies
would still be considered "avodas zara" [idol worship - "strange"
worship] or not. There is the concept that if the nonJews involved
have "destroyed" the Avodas Zarah themselves, then the object (such as
an idol) is no longer considered a "god". This might be the case with
the Greek mythology which has long been abandoned by the Greeks and
Romans themselves.

On the other hand, there are idols which are still worshiped and would
indeed be subject to that problem. For example, there was a case that
occurred in Yerushalayim (this is from memory - I think from
soc.culture.jewish) in which someone noticed that the waiters in a
Chinese restaurant were taking a circuitous path from the kitchen in
delivering the food. On investigation, it was found that they were
passing a statue that had been thought to be a decoration and
"offering" it the food. The restaurant lost the hashgacha [kosher
certification] and had to close.  A similar problem occurs with the
"Hairy Krunchers" since the real name of the group translates to
"Praise the [name of idol]". As a result, one should not use the
actual name of the group.

Another question would be that since the Greek idols are no longer
worshiped, would a joke of this type still be valid "worship" or not.
However, in this case, it is a good idea for the child to be taught
that such "jokes" are indeed a serious matter. Even the use of a
fictional "name" can be serious. For example, Scientology was first
invented as a "joke" by a science fiction author before he turned it
into an actual cult that has caused and is causing many problems to
this day.

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


End of Volume 58 Issue 8