Volume 59 Number 43 
      Produced: Mon, 27 Sep 2010 12:27:50 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

    [Ira L. Jacobson]
Buying Arba'at haMinim in Israel 
    [Eric Mack]
David Berger on Christianity 
    [Mark Steiner]
    [Shmuel Himelstein]
Maariv after YK 
    [Russell J Hendel]
Mezonos Bread?  Motzi Cake? (2)
    [Martin Stern  Batya Medad]
More on Birkat hacohanim on Neilah after sunset 
    [Josh Backon]
Position from which to read haftarah 
    [David A. Kessler]


From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Mon, Sep 27,2010 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Boycotts

David Tzohar stated the following in MJ 59#42:

> It seems that the parent company of Shefa Shuk also owned a coffee 
> house called AM-PM, operated under franchise which was guilty of 
> opening before the end of Shabbat on Saturday night.

No.  They are open the entire Shabbat.  The difference is not a few 
minutes, but rather about 25 hours.  And they are not a coffee house, 
but a chain of convenience stores; almost supermarkets.

While I do not wish to assess the effectiveness of the boycott, I 
have two (or three) facts.  First, Shefa Shuq does not advertise at 
present in any haredi newspapers, and as far as I know they also 
stopped advertising in the non-haredi religious papers (that took a 
while longer to go into effect).

And in Petah Tiqwa , the parent company closed down one of the Shefa 
Shuq branches and reopened it under the name of a non-religious 
(non-haredi) sub-chain.

And in Dizengoff Center in Tel Aviv, the parent company closed down 
one of the AM:PM branches and reopened it under the name of a 
non-religious (non-haredi) sub-chain.  See 
http://www.calcalist.co.il/marketing/articles/0,7340,L-3363070,00.html .

The boycott seems to have had some effect.



From: Eric Mack <ewm44118@...>
Date: Wed, Sep 22,2010 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Buying Arba'at haMinim in Israel

Two hours before chag I looked at our arba'at minim [4 species for Succot] and
discovered there were only three minim; the aravot [willows] were not included.
In our past three years here in Israel, I bought all four species at once, I am
told that this sale of only three species is common practice in Israel, because
of the short shelf life of the aravot.  However, to my mind it is consumer
fraud, given that some vendors do sell all four species, and given that all the
signs and flyers promoting the merchandise clearly say "arba'at ha-minim".
Your thoughts?

Chag Sameach.

Eric Mack, Jerusalem


From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Sat, Sep 25,2010 at 05:01 PM
Subject: David Berger on Christianity

The following may be considered an addendum to my previous postings on
Christian worship, in which I made reference to Rabbi Dr. David Berger's
analysis of the Tosafot in Sanhedrin -- which gives a comprehensive account of
all the extant interpretatins.  Prof. Berger has graciously permitted me to
share the latest version of this analysis with the readers of mail-jewish,
who will have the opportunity to learn from one of the leading experts in
Jewish-Christian relations in the Middle Ages.  The excerpt below is taken
from Prof. Berger's book on Chabad Messianism, and in fact constitutes
Appendix Three of that book.  I have placed his footnotes in square brackets
in the text.

Tosafot on "Association" (Shittuf)

In the previous appendix, I made reference to the tosafists' discussion of
what they call "association."  Because of the importance of this text to a
key contention of this book, I present here a more detailed and technical

A Talmudic regulation urged Jews to avoid business partnerships with pagans
lest a dispute arise in which the gentile partner would take an oath in the
name of his god.  The Jew would thus violate a biblical injunction that the
Talmud understands to forbid causing someone to invoke the name of "another
god." What is the standing of this regulation in Christian Europe?
The tosafists [Tosafot Sanhedrin 63b s.v.  asur; cf. Tosafot Bekhorot 2b,
s.v. shemma.  See also R. Yeruham, Toledot Adam ve-Havvah 17:5] maintain
that accepting an oath from Christians is permissible because they swear in
the name of the saints [Tosafot appears to be thinking of an oath attested
in Christian sources which said, "I swear in the name of the omnipotent God
and these four sacred Gospels (evangelia)."  See J. Katz, "Sheloshah
Ma'amarim Apologetiyyim be-Gilguleihem," in Halakhah ve-Kabbalah (Jerusalem,
1986), p. 279, n. 60.], to whom they do not attribute divinity.  It is true,
Tosafot continues, that they mention "the name of Heaven" [presumably God]
along with the saints "and their intention is to something else [a better
text reads "Jesus of Nazareth"], but this [i.e., "the name of heaven"
without explicit mention of Jesus] is still not an idolatrous name.  Also,
their intention is to the Creator of heaven [and earth]."  This last
sentence may mean either that in addition to Jesus they have in mind the
Creator or, in a formulation more accurately reflecting Christian doctrine,
that while they think of Jesus their ultimate intention is the true Creator.
In either case, Tosafot maintains that Christians intend to worship the true
God but cross a crucial line by incorporating a human being into their
conception of the divine.  The tosafists even considered the possibility
that one actually pronounces the name of a foreign deity by simply saying
the word "God" with Jesus in mind, and they take for granted that the
explicit invocation of his name would run afoul of this prohibition.
This, however, is not quite the end of the text.  The enigmatic
continuation, which has produced a literature unto itself, says, "And even
though they associate the name of Heaven with something else, we do not find
that it is forbidden to cause someone else to associate, and the commandment
not to cause a blind man to stumble [i.e., not to cause someone to sin] does
not apply because Noahides [i.e., Gentiles] were not commanded regarding
this [i.e., association, as an alternate version of the text says

The assertion that there is no prohibition to cause someone to associate is
a narrow, technical point.  It means that although there is a specific
prohibition against causing someone to invoke the name of another god, there
is no comparable, focused prohibition against causing "association"
(shittuf).  There is, however, a general prohibition against causing sin,
which at first glance should forbid a Jew from creating a situation in which
his Christian partner will "associate" in an oath.  Tosafot concludes,
however, that gentiles, unlike Jews, are permitted to "associate," and hence
a Jew who causes them to do so has not caused sin.

Rabbinic commentators and decisors have provided two distinct
interpretations of "associate" as it is used in this text. Since the first
of these interpretations can yieId two quite different explanations of what
Tosafot actually meant by the assertion that gentiles are not commanded to
avoid association, I will refer to the two versions of that interpretation
as 1A and 1B. According to both 1A and 1B,  "association" here refers to the
unarticulated thought of Jesus included in the Christian's mind when he uses
the word "God" in his oath.  One who thinks of Jesus when saying "God," even
if he sees the former as connected with the Creator of heaven and earth, is
in effect acknowledging the Creator along with something else.  Such an oath
is prima facie an act of avodah zarah, and a Jew may not cause it.
Interpretation 1A assumes that the tosafists' final response accepts the
premise that this oath is an expression of shittuf and hence, in principle,
an act of avodah zarah.  However, it understands that response to introduce
the striking principle that Jewish law has a dual standard for avodah zarah.
For a Jew, an act of "association" indeed constitutes avodah zarah, but for
a gentile, not merely an oath but even prayer and prostration to God along
with "something else" is flatly permissible.  Thus, the Jew is not causing
any sin at all. This interpretation was proffered in early modern times and
has been embraced in our own day by ecumenically oriented Jews because of
its assertion that gentiles who engage in Christian worship do not commit
avodah zarah.

Interpretation 1B, while agreeing that "association" refers to the
unarticulated thought of Jesus included in the oath, insists that actual
Christian worship violates the prohibition of avodah zarah for anyone, Jew
or non-Jew.  Consequently, if a Jew caused a gentile to bow or sacrifice to
the God of Christianity, who includes Jesus of Nazareth, that Jew would have
caused the blind to stumble.  An oath, however, is different.  It is not an
act of worship and hence does not rise-or sink-to the level of a prohibited
form of avodah zarah for a non-Jew.  Association in an oath is permitted to
gentiles; association in worship is forbidden.  One proponent of 1B notes
the general principle that any act of avodah zarah that would not be a
capital offense for a Jew is permitted to gentiles. [Hazon Ish, Yoreh De'ah
62:19.] In this instance, a Jew thinking of Jesus along with the true
Creator while taking an oath in the name of God would violate the general
prohibition against avodah zarah but would not be subject to execution;
hence, such an oath is not forbidden to gentiles at all.

Explanation 2 understands "association" differently. The problem of causing
the name of another god to be mentioned has already been disposed of by
Tosafot's earlier comments.  The issue now is a lesser prohibition that
would rule out taking an oath in the name of both God and a religiously
significant entity like a saint even though that entity is not understood to
be divine.  It is this prohibition, not that of avodah zarah, which applies
to Jews but not to Noahides.[ For a fairly clear exposition of this
understanding of Tosafot, see Mahatzit ha-Shekel to Orah Hayyim 156:2, s.v.
yithayyev.  (In one edition, the relevant paragraph was omitted, probably
because of its argument that shittuf is forbidden to gentiles.)]
In sum, both 1A and 1B clearly maintain that if a Jew took an oath in the
name of God understood as the Creator of heaven and earth but including
Jesus of Nazareth, he would be committing an act subsumed under the
prohibition of avodah zarah.  If he prostrated himself to God so understood,
he would be committing classic, full-fledged avodah zarah.  Even proponents
of explanation 2 could agree with this position, and they probably do.


From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
Date: Mon, Sep 27,2010 at 07:01 AM
Subject: Etrogim

Israel radio broadcast an interview with an expert on Etrogim, who mentioned
that this year they found an Etrog weighing 7.5 kilos ( 16.5 lb.). He
mentioned that this would easily explain the Gemara that Rabbi Akiva carried
his Etrog on his shoulders. BTW, this expert's Etrog this year weighs about
3 kilos (7.7 lb.)


Shmuel Himelstein


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Mon, Sep 27,2010 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Maariv after YK

This was discussed a few years ago and I gave, what I believe, a satisfactory

Maariv (and all daily prayers) correspond to the daily sacrifices. Rabbi Hirsch
(in his essay Shmoneh Esray, found in Vol 3 of the translation of his collected
words, Feldheim) explains that the prayer-sacrifice correspondence is not only a
correspondence in number but a correspondence in parts. Rav Hirsch shows in
detail how EACH blessing corresponds to an ORGAN GROUP brought on the altar.

So 1) The HEAD of the animal is brought first CORRESPONDING to the petition for
INTELLIGENCE (First of the middle blessings); 2) The SPLEEN/LIVER (known for
their production of antibodies/elimination of harmful items in the body) is
brought 5th CORRESPONDING to the petition for HEALTH, (fifth of the middle
blessings), 6) the STOMACH is brought 6th CORRESPONDING to the prayer for
SUSTENANCE (6th of the middle blessings).

The blessing FORGIVE US FOR WE HAVE SINNED is the 3rd of the middle blessings
and corresponds to the offering of KIDNEYS/ADRENAL GLANDS (Adrenals sit on top
of the Kidney). Since the ADRENALS regulate emotional homeostasis (The adrenals
enable you to get excited when you need to (Adrenaline, cortisone)) the ADRENALS
roughly correspond to FORGIVENESS (Where one is not caught in the depression
from sin).

Now several observations are pertinent.

First: Maariv on YK corresponds to the DAILY OFFERING that WAS ALREADY BROUGHT
during the day of Yom Kippur (there are no  sacrifices at night!). But then the
SACRIFICE/DAILY PRAYER is not a prayer on NEW SIN that we ask forgiveness for,
but rather a reiteration of the prayers during the day - a prayer for
forgiveness. And even though we already attained that forgiveness the organs may
be burnt through the night...so we in effect COMMEMORATE what we just accomplished.

Second: On a deeper level the 3rd blessing is NOT JUST a prayer for forgiveness.
It is rather a prayer for ALL EMOTIONS (Adrenal/cortisone) It is a prayer that
we can get excited, be calm, or do whatever we please in situations in life. For
example, the prayer to get high in a tennis match or golf match or a jogging,
would be classified under the 3rd blessing since this is governed by the
ADRENALS (Just to recap: INTELLIGENCE = HEAD = 1st; SPLEEN/LIVER = 5th =
HEALING; STOMACH = SUSTENANCE = 6th; so ADRENALS are the organs of excitement -
if you want to get high in a tennis match you pray for it in the 3rd blessing). 

If we have any question left over it is the following: Why did the formulators
of the blessings RESTRICT the 3rd blessing only to FORGIVENESS. Of course the
point here is that a person who sinned may be withdrawn from world activities
and needs FORGIVENESS to reachieve his emotional homeostasis. Or perhaps Chazal
emphasized the primary item connected with adrenals.

SUMMARY: The blessing FORGIVE US...has to be seen in a wider context. 
1) It corresponds to sacrifices/prayers ALREADY brought during the day
2) corresponds more broadly to all emotions of excitement. 
3) We have left a minor problem - why doesn't the blessing correspond to the
full symbolic meaning of the organs brought.

Russell Jay Hendel; Phd ASA http://www.Rashiyomi.com/


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, Sep 27,2010 at 07:01 AM
Subject: Mezonos Bread?  Motzi Cake?

Orrin Tilevitz wrote (MJ 59#42) regarding pat haba bekisnin. AFAIK the exact
definition of this term is a matter of dispute and there are 3 opinions as
what Orrin to what precisely it is.

1.  something made according to the regular bread recipe but with 'mei
peirot' [literally fruit juice but, from a halachic perspective, includes
other substances such as oil, eggs etc.], substituted for the water, i.e.
cake - this would appear to be what Orrin refers to when he writes "the
category of 'mezonos bread' does not exist because one cannot taste the
apple juice, substituting for water, that supposedly endows mezonos bread
with this halachically quality" since it is the altered taste that is
crucial according to this definition.

2.  thin crackers (made from regular flour and water) - this explains the
Sefardi custom of treating matsot as mezonot apart from during Pesach.

3.  a (regular) dough stuffed with fruit or other things e.g. apple pie -
whether pizza comes under this heading id a matter of dispute since it has
the 'stuffing' on top of the bread rather than wrapped in it.

If something has all 3 characteristics, e.g. strudel, it is definitely pat
haba bekisnin and one makes borei minei mezonot before and al hamichyah
after eating it. 

Where only one or two apply one comes into a safeik [position of doubt] so
one should avoid eating too much of it since, if one eats kedei sevia [until
completely satiated] one would have to make hamotsi and birchat hamamzon.
Thus, in such cases the distinction might be between eating a small amount
as a snack as opposed to making a meal of it.

There is a further opinion that an item must have 'tsurat hapat' [be the
appearance of regular bread] to qualify as bread thus excluding, for
example, bridge rolls so eating a large number of them can land one in quite
a lot of halachic problems. I think that this must be the problem to which Orrin
is alluding.

Martin Stern

From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Mon, Sep 27,2010 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Mezonos Bread?  Motzi Cake?

If I remember correctly...   Way back when, in Stern College I remember 
learning that there was a halachik question about what is really 
mezonot, a dough with the fruit/flavoring mixed into it or "pockets" 
like a pie or strudel. So if you're eating both types of cake/cookies, 
let's say chocolate cake and apple strudel, one must be hamotzei, but 
nobody seems to follow that psak.

Years and years ago on mailjewish there were discussions about whether 
"mezonot bread" exists or not.  It made a big impression on me, so 
except on a plane where I can see the instructions of the mashgiach 
saying it's mezonot, if it looks like bread and is eaten like bread then 
it's hamotzei.

Our Tunisian son-in-law takes a piece of matzah every year after 
Passover is over and blesses mezonot on it.  It's a cracker according to 

Batya Medad


From: Josh Backon <backon@...>
Date: Mon, Sep 27,2010 at 09:01 AM
Subject: More on Birkat hacohanim on Neilah after sunset

Dr. William Gewirtz wrote (MJ 59#42):

> Dr. Backon's references are pre-Gaon and Baal Hatanya and from European
> Achronim whose knowledge on the impact of latitude/season on these issues
> has been questioned and are strongly influenced by Rabbeinu Tam. While they
> clearly are supportive, I prefer to quote poskim either from the Middle East
> or who are known to follow some version of the Geonim or both. Beyond your
> gabboim, there are any number of even prominent roshei yeshivot and rabbonim
> who believe that sunset precisely defined is the cutoff, without realizing how
> difficult it is to reconcile such a view withthe text on Shabbat 34b and 35a.
> Does anyone really think that after neilah in our distant past, they would
> kvetch avienu malkenu for close to half-hour??

Vey iz mir. I wasn't discussing the definition of shekiya ("sunset") 
but whether duchening is done at Neila. Either duchening isn't done [Rema,
Mishna Brura, Aruch haShulachan] or can be done EVEN AT NIGHT (not just after
shekiya) as per the Magen Avraham OC 623 who states if Neila started during
daylight, the Cohanim duchen even if it's already dark ("v'afilu icher ad
ha'laila" quoting the Maharil) although he does suggest NOT to duchen during
Neila. [LAILA is **night**]. The She'elat Yaavetz (R. Yaakov Emden 1697-1776)
writes that he AGREES with the opinion of the Maharil.

PEYRUSH RASHI: according to the Maharil and the She'elat Yaavetz (and also the
Magen Avraham) even if it's pitch black (NIGHT) one can duchen during Neila.


Josh Backon


From: David A. Kessler <kessler@...>
Date: Mon, Sep 27,2010 at 06:01 AM
Subject: Position from which to read haftarah

There is a relatively new "fashion" making the rounds these days and I was
hoping someone could provide information on its provenance.  The fashion is
to stand on the side of the bima when reading the haftara, as opposed to
facing the aron kodesh.  The justification, I am informed, is from a Mishna
Brura comment (Siman 147, Sief Katan 29, which cautions the person holding
the 1st sefer when the maftir is read from the 2nd sefer to sit slightly to
the side in order not to sit directly behind the Ba'al Kore.  This has been
elevated evidently to a major issur, so that in order to avoid the problem,
the Haftara reader stands completely off to the side to avoid any "chashash".

The questions troubling my soul are:

1) Is there any source for the Mishna Brura's concern?  It seems to me
that the many centuries-old design of bimahs with a bench directly behind for
the Sefer Torah holder to sit during maftir argue strongly against any such

2) Who is responsible for generalizing the Mishna Brura's instruction to the
Sefer Torah holder to the reader of the Haftara?  Clearly, no one suggests
that the Baal Kore of the 2nd sefer has to stand to the side!

3) How widespread has this viral "meme" spread?  At a shul in La Jolla, CA,
I was INSTRUCTED by the gabbai to stand on the side of the bimah.  My son
tells me this was common practice at his Yeshiva HS in Israel as well.

4) Is anyone else as offended by this reform movement as I am.  If it didn't
bother the Maharal in the Alteneue shul to stand with ones back to the Sefer
Tora, why should it bother us?

Moadim Le'simcha,
David Kessler

David A. Kessler
Professor of Physics
Dept. of Physics
Bar-Ilan University IL52900 Israel


End of Volume 59 Issue 43