Volume 58 Number 90 
      Produced: Sat, 21 Aug 2010 17:50:54 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Changing one's seat during availus 
    [Carl Singer]
Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire 
    [Alan Rubin]
Imaginative translation 
    [Ira L. Jacobson]
    [Perets Mett]
Marmarosh Shul 
    [Steven Oppenheimer]
matir assurim/issurim 
    [Robert A. Book]
The extent to which food must be cooked before Shabbat 
    [Jeremy Conway]
To the males of this list - A woman's status as a Jew 
    [Akiva Miller]
Using Subsequent Editions 
    [Akiva Miller]


From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Fri, Aug 20,2010 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Changing one's seat during availus

Many people have a minhag {custom} to move to a different seat when they are
an ovul {mourner}. I've heard this ascribed to the adage that a change in one's
location (makom) brings about a change in one's fortune (mazal.)

(1) are there any other reasons behind this minhag (and is it, in fact,
"only" a minhag.)

(2) a friend who is currently an ovul has changed his seat for weekday
davening, but returns to his regular seat on Shabbos. I presume this is because
one does not show signs of mourning on Shabbos. Do others know of this week-day,
Shabbos differentiation in practice?



From: Alan Rubin <alan@...>
Date: Fri, Aug 20,2010 at 07:01 AM
Subject: Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz wrote (MJ 58#88):

> There are those who say that the Judean Revolts actually led to the eventual 
> downfall of the Roman Empire by forcing withdrawal of legions from the other
> borders in order to put down the revolts.

So do they say that the revolts in the 1st and 2nd centuries CE caused
the fall of the Western Empire in the 5th century or the Eastern
Empire in the 15th!?

Alan Rubin


From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Fri, Aug 20,2010 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Imaginative translation

Jeanette  Friedman <FriedmanJ@...> stated the following (MJ V58 #86):

> Stephen Phillips wrote (MJ 58#83):
>> When a  marriage is unfortunately over, it is a question of 
>> "ve'ahavta l're'acha kamocha" [love your neighbour as yourself] 
>> that both parties should accede to its formal ending.

> The real translation is "love your neighbor because s/he is like 
> you." Not "as you love yourself."

I think Jeanette meant to say that the real translation is not as the 
meforshim think, but rather as she thinks.  For example, the Ramban, 
who explains why the expression is "lere`akha" and not "et re`akha."



From: Perets Mett <p.mett@...>
Date: Fri, Aug 20,2010 at 07:01 AM
Subject: Kolmos

Sam Gamoran wrote (MJ 58#83):

> The word is kuf-vav-lamed-mem-vav-samech.  Any other spelling or transliteration
> is an approximation or academic convention.  This subject has been thoroughly
> discussed in MJ previously.
> Besides, now that I am half-blind in one eye, anyone who reads anything into my
> typing and spelling (I wrote the first post on this) other than clumsiness is
> reading in far more than I intended.  All I wanted to do is identify a
> publication by name.  I also don't have the original magazine in front of me to
> even check how the publishers of Mishpacha spell it in Latin characters.

I deliberately did not quote Sam in my original posting because the
transcription "Kolmos" is that of Mishpacha, and I have no wish to shoot the



From: Steven Oppenheimer <steven.oppenheimer@...>
Date: Thu, Aug 19,2010 at 10:01 PM
Subject: Marmarosh Shul

A question was raised regarding the Marmarosh Synagogue that was located on
Coventry in Cleveland Heights.  I mentioned that it was relocated to Green
Road and became the Green Road Synagogue.

Someone suggested that this is not true.

I just checked with the Ba'al Koreh in our Shul in MB, Rabbi Tzvi (Harold)
Rosenbaum who grew up in Cleveland.  He told me his uncle was
the president of the Marmarosh Shul and it did become the Green Road
Synagogue and that the Green Road Synagogue building has the Marmarosh name
on it.

So, I guess it is up to someone out there who currently lives in Beechwood,
Ohio where the Green Road Synagogue is located.  Perhaps that person can
check to see if the Marmarosh name does indeed appear on the building.

Steven Oppenheimer, D.M.D.


From: Robert A. Book <rbook@...>
Date: Fri, Aug 20,2010 at 06:30 PM
Subject: matir assurim/issurim

Naomi Graetz <graetz@...> writes (MJ 58#87):

> Elazar M. Teitz wrote (MJ 58 #75) 
>> ... 
>> However, in his answer to me he wrote: "It should be pointed out that great 
>> as the mitzva is, one cannot be "matir assurim" (freeing prisoners) by being 
>> "matir issurim" (permitting that which is prohibited)."
> To continue this latest discussion I would like to add the following 
> (summarized from a shiur my husband lead in shul last shabbat): 
> In Vayikra Rabba Aharei Mot 22:10, in an interpretation of  the phrase "matir
> assurim" from Ps. 146:7, the point is made that "matir assurim" means both
> freeing prisoners and permitting the prohibited. "Assur" is a prisoner, but it
> is also something forbidden. The midrash interprets the phrase by having God
> saying "mah she-asarti lakhem hitarti lakhem" ["what I  forbade you, I [now]
> allow you" [Margoliot edition]. This is followed by a list of cases of 
> forbidden things that are permitted (either in other places in the Torah or 
> by rabbinic literature). Devarim Rabba Re'eh 4:9 discusses the issur 
> (prohibition) of eating meat which is not from a sacrifice, allowing one to 
> eat properly slaughtered meat in any place ...

One needs to proceed with extreme caution in interpreting "matir
assurim" as enabling one to "permit the forbidden."  Otherwise one
risks turning all the prohibitions into mitzvot.  Indeed, this was the
approach of the followers of the false Messiah Shabbatai Zvi, who
(after his obvious failure) interpreted the bracha "Baruch Ata Hashem matir
assurim" to mean "praised is he who permits the forbidden" -- and used that to
"permit" all sorts of things that are truly, and to all evidence eternally,
forbidden, including ritualized adultery that led to them being excluded from
the mainstream Jewish community.

This is not meant to preclude a solution to the agunah issue of
course.  However, a "solution" purporting to be based on "permitting
the forbidden" would not really be a solution.

--Robert Book    


From: Jeremy Conway <jeremy.conway@...>
Date: Fri, Aug 20,2010 at 10:01 AM
Subject: The extent to which food must be cooked before Shabbat

I refer to Ari Trachtenberg's post in MJ 58#83.

The extent to which food must be cooked before Shabbat also depends on whether
or not the heat source is considered to be garuf v'katum (the equivalent of
having raked away the coals or sprinkled ash over them.)

If the heat source is covered with a blech  (a metal sheet) before Shabbat, it
is sufficient that the cholent has been placed on the blech before Shabbat,
irrespective of whether or not raw meat is throw into the pot immediately before

Some poskim (halachic authorities) treat a non-adjustable hotplate as being
equivalent to a blech (or even preferable to a blech), but others do not.
Some poskim, including Rav Farkash and seemingly Rabbi Falk, treat any device
which does not have an adjustable temperature dial, such as a 2 piece crockpot
without a dial, as being equivalent to a blech.  Others, however, opine that any
device used for cooking cannot be regarded as being equivalent to a blech.
Some poskim allow tin foil to be used as a blech for a crockpot, but others do not.

If the heat source is not garuf v'katum, the food must be cooked to the extent
which Ben Derosai (a robber who ate his food half cooked - Rambam - or a third
cooked - Rashi) would cook his food.  The Piskei Teshuvot points out towards the
beginning of Chapter 253 that the time taken for the food to reach Yad Soledet
Bo (the temperature at which the hand would recoil, which could be as high as
76C in this context) must be excluded, since the time taken to reach this
temperature is not (halachically) considered to be cooking time.  In addition,
it is not appropriate to divide the remaining time by 2 or 3, because the
cooking process is not uniform.  The real test, according to the Piskei
Teshuvot, is whether the food is fit to eat in an emergency.

If the food is not cooked to the requisite extent before Shabbat and the heat
source is not garuf v'katum, there is, as you state, a heter (halachic
dispensation) to throw raw meat into the pot immediately before candle lighting.
 Some poskim hold that this heter does not apply nowadays because our ovens cook
more quickly than the ovens of yesteryear (but this seems to raise a wider
question about the halachic status of our ovens), others hold that the heter
does apply in the case of a crock pot because it cooks the food slowly, and yet
others apply the heter without reservation.
IMHO, the paragraph in Shemirat Shabbat K'Hilchata on which your friend's
decision was based was taken out of context.  The practical halacha depends on
the precise circumstances of the case and any psak (halachic ruling) should
consider all the relevant issues.

Regards from Leeds, England.
Yechiel Conway.


From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Fri, Aug 20,2010 at 10:01 AM
Subject: To the males of this list - A woman's status as a Jew

I wrote (MJ 58:82):

> I concede that in shul, there is precious little for the women
> other than to watch and listen and pray -- and that in too many
> shuls the watching and listening is difficult or impossible.

I now see that I should have dwelt on the above a bit more. I thought that
writing "precious little" and "too many shuls" did a decent job of showing my
sympathy for women who feel like outsiders when they come to services. But now I
see that either I did not show my sympathy well enough, or perhaps I'm truly not
as sympathetic as some would like me to be, in which case I sincerely apologize.

On the other hand, I do not understand the emphasis which is placed on
participation in the shul services. There any many Jewish things I do outside of
services, some of which the women of my community do more prominently than the
men. In fact, on our list of community functions
(http://schedule.thejec.org/wklyschedpdf.pdf) I see 22 women listed, and only 8
men -- almost triple! Reading and writing to Mail-Jewish (and similar email
lists) is no small part of the Jewish things that fill my day, and I don't think
anyone can seriously argue that the MJ women are excluded or even merely
tolerated; they are full and active members, totally equal to the men.

And now, I like to introduce another point to this discussion, one which I've
heard from my wife and daughter, but very rarely in public:

When women voice their feelings about being banned from full participation in
shul, that should be balanced by voicing their feelings about being *not*
*required* to fully participate in shul.

In other words, I do believe that these women have sincerely negative feelings
about not being able to lead the service, or get an aliyah, etc etc etc etc. But
I would like to hear how those same women feel about not having to wake up early
every single morning to go to shul for morning services. Or about not having to
interrupt one's afternoon or evening to go to shul. Or about not having to say
the full service at all, minyan or not.

I can tell you that on a short winter afternoon, if I am at work in a non-Jewish
office, or out with my family on a Sunday, finding a time and place for mincha
(the afternoon prayer) is not a simple task.  And in the summer, I can't go to
bed as early as I might like, because it is too early for maariv (the night
prayer). I'll admit that I'm not perfect at these things, and when I fail, I
feel bad and guilty about this failure.

How do these women feel about these things? Are they, or are they not, quietly
relieved about not having these obligations? As for those women who have
voluntarily chosen to take these obligations upon themselves, how do they feel
when it is difficult to do so? Do they feel as bad about it as the men do (or as
the men *ought* to), or do they quietly say, "Well, at least it's not a real

Let's get a little science-fictiony for a moment: How many women would be
willing to trade this world for one where they are fully equal to the men in
shul, but they also have to daven three times a day, on a specific schedule,
properly with a minyan, even when it is rainy or snowy, or when one is at work,
or on a Shabbos afternoon when one would rather hang out with friends?

Eitan Fiorino wrote (MJ 58:87):

> I suspect that no woman to whom the "kohein envy" analogy has
> been cited has ever responded "thank you very much; I now feel
> comfortable and at ease as a woman in the synagogue."  I would,
> however, venture to guess that many woman have instead thought
> to themselves "well, another guy who doesn't get it; just doesn't
> get it at all." I'd be willing to put my assumption to a "show of
> hands" among the female M-J readership (or any other sample for
> that matter) . . . 

Believe it or not, I agree with you. I just don't get it at all. (Neither do my
wife or daughter, by the way.) But I am willing and eager to learn.

Akiva Miller


From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Fri, Aug 20,2010 at 06:30 PM
Subject: Using Subsequent Editions

Leah S.R. Gordon (MJ 58:89) wrote:

> To follow up on relying, or not, on subsequent editions of books
> like "Shemirat Shabbat..." I would say that sure, for a telephone
> book, the most recent edition is the one on which to rely.
> Halakhot about nail polish on shabbat are not likely to have new
> revisions in quite the same way. Halakhot about new technologies
> like DNA cloning, ok - but I think anyone who reads the books in
> question can see a gradual chumra increase.  I'm not interested
> in the chumra of the month, or in following rules written for
> someone who doesn't know better [as some posters claim is being
> done].

I'll admit that I too have noticed this "gradual chumra [strictness] increase".
But on occasion I have double-checked, and it's not unusual to be a case of
confirmation bias. (See more at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias)
Believe it or not, there are also cases where the later version is more LENIENT,
as I'll show below.

But why do you think that "Halakhot about nail polish on shabbat are not likely
to have new revisions"? I understand that it is not a rapidly-changing
technology, but have you never changed your mind about something? Is it so
difficult to understand that a rabbi might hold one way today, but 15 years
later he'll feel differently?

Let me amplify what I wrote in MJ 58:82 (when this thread was titled "Following
the latest version"):

> It seems to me that Rav Neuwirth (the author) changed his mind
> between these two editions. Regarding soap, he seems to be
> slightly more lenient, going from "assur - forbidden" to "ayn -
> don't". But regarding nail polish, he is clearly stricter, going
> from "mutar - permissible" to "tov l'himanea - it is good to
> refrain".

At that time, I wanted to point out that in one case he got stricter, but in the
other he got more lenient. But right now, what I'd like to show is that in both
cases, he became less extreme, and more moderate.

Really! Regarding soap, he went from the absolutist "It is forbidden!" to the
weaker "Don't do that." And regarding regarding the polish, he went from "You
have carte blanche" to "It's better to avoid it."

As I wrote there, he DID include footnotes to explain his reasoning, going from
a terse 17 words in 1965, to over 11 lines in 1979. In his earlier work, the
reasons are very cut-and-dried. But with continued learning over the following
decade and a half, his later work gives reasons both pro and con, and I'm not
surprised that his ruling became more... well, this is not a very respectful
term, but I can't think of a better way to say it: His later ruling, which
includes logic to be strict and also to be lenient, ends up appearing, by
comparison, a bit "wishy-washy". His agenda was not to be strict, only to be as
correct as he could be.

If anyone does not have access to either of these Hebrew volumes, I'll be happy
to scan these pages and email them to you. (And if anyone has the third edition,
could you share what he now says?)

Akiva Miller


End of Volume 58 Issue 90