Volume 59 Number 93 
      Produced: Tue, 01 Feb 2011 14:54:41 EST

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

A problem with the haftarah for Mishpatim 
    [Martin Stern]
Dor Revi'i on Shiluach Hakein 
    [David Glasner]
Dr. Joan M. Gerver, z"l 
    [Adina Gerver]
From The Jewish World Review (3)
    [Martin Stern  Stuart Wise  Frank Silbermann]
Legal Shiluach Hakein (2)
    [Orrin Tilevitz  Chana Luntz]
Lending a helpful hand 
    [Carl Singer]
Opening / closing the Ark (2)
    [Martin Stern  Martin Stern]
Premature death announcement 
    [Shmuel Himelstein]
Searching for Tradition 
    [Martin Stern]


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sat, Jan 29,2011 at 04:01 PM
Subject: A problem with the haftarah for Mishpatim

The haftarah for Mishpatim starts from the 8th verse in chapter 34 of
Yirmiyah and then adds the last two verses of the previous chapter at the
end. We sometimes jump forward in a haftarah but generally we do not go
back. Can anyone explain the anomaly this week?

Martin Stern


From: David Glasner <DGLASNER@...>
Date: Sun, Jan 30,2011 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Dor Revi'i on Shiluach Hakein

[Mod. note: David Glasner is a great-grandson of the Dor Revi'i, R. Moshe Shmuel

In light of the recent discussion of shiluach ha-kein I thought that the comment
of the Dor Revi'i on the interpretation of the Havot Yair might be of some interest.

>From Dor Revi'i on Hullin 139b 
(http://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=37184&st=&pgnum=387&hilite= ):

Our Rabbis taught:  It is written:  If a bird's nest chances to be before thee
[in the way, in any tree or on the ground].  What does Scripture teach hereby?
But because it is also written:  Thou shalt in any wise let the dam go, but the
young thou mayest take unto thyself, I might suppose that one should go 
searching over mountains and hills to find a nest, the text therefore states: 
'chances to be', that is, if it happens to be before you.

The Havot Yair proved from here that even if one does not want the young, it 
is obligatory to send away the mother and to take the young, inasmuch as the 
Talmud deduces from "chances to be" only that one is not obligated to search 
over mountains and hills for a nest in order to fulfill this commandment.  

And I am astonished, because the point of what the Talmud deduces is precisely
that you should not conclude that there is an absolute obligation to seek after
a nest in order to fulfill the obligation just because the Scripture says
"shale'ah teshalah" (the repetition implying that one must seek after an 
opportunity to perform this commandment, as noted by Rashi).  But the Scripture
says "if a bird's nest chances" to exclude that absolutist interpretation.  
Consequently even if one does chance upon a bird's nest, one is not obligated to
send away the mother unless he really does want to take the young.

The Havot Yair also refers to the explanation of the Zohar that the reason for
the commandment is that the pain of the mother in flying from place to place in 
search of her young may arouse the mercy of the Almighty for his children in 
exile.  But it is well known that esoteric reasons in most cases are not
consistent with the halakhah, as I have already shown concerning the sciatic 
nerve, which, according to the Zohar, is a remedy for the transgression of Jacob
in marrying two sisters, because that particular transgression (one of 365
negative commandments) in turn corresponds to the sciatic nerve, one of the 365
sinews in the body.  But this would accord with the view of R. Judah that the
prohibition of the sciatic nerve only applies to one of the sciatic nerves, but
not to the view of the Sages that the prohibition applies to both sciatic 
nerves.  Also the reason for tefilin being worn on the left hand (i.e., that it 
is close to the heart) does not correspond to the halakhah inasmuch as this 
reason would imply that a left-handed person should also wear tefilin on his 
left hand.  And there are many other cases like this.  Also the Hidushei ha-Ran
contradicts the opinion of the Havot Yair.


From: Adina Gerver <gerver@...>
Date: Tue, Feb 1,2011 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Dr. Joan M. Gerver, z"l

I am sad to report the recent passing of my grandmother, Dr. Joan Menkin Gerver,
z"l, mother (not father as previously posted in error in MJ 59#92) of Dr. Mike
Gerver (mail-Jewish contributor), after 86 years of amazing accomplishments.



From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Wed, Jan 19,2011 at 05:01 AM
Subject: From The Jewish World Review

Jeanette Friedman wrote (MJ 59#87):

> Rabbi Judah says: Whoever does not teach his son
> a trade or profession teaches him to be a thief.

This has generated quite some discussion in subsequent digests.

Unfortunately it has reached the stage where it has become fashionable in
certain circles to consider the word 'work' to be one of those four-letter
words of Anglo-Saxon origin not used in polite company!

Martin Stern

From: Stuart Wise <Smwise3@...>
Date: Wed, Jan 19,2011 at 06:01 AM
Subject: From The Jewish World Review

Alex Heppenheimer <aheppenh@...> writes (MJ 59#92):

> I will  agree that it doesn't work as an approach for the masses; "many
> tried to follow R' Shimon ben Yochai's approach [of having "one's work done
> by others" while one studies Torah exclusively], and it didn't work for
> them" (Berachos 35b). But there is indeed room in Jewish thought for rare
> people to do exactly that, and it is wrong to stigmatize them.

And who is to decide who these rare people are? Actually the stigma attaches to
those people who do NOT sit and learn for years without a future plan for
supporting himself let alone a family. The rarest of commoditiies these 
days is a ben Torah who also has the desire to be responsible and (gasp) 
work.  Isn't it a wonder that all these guys sitting and learning are "the 
best" in yeshiva with the highest middos, as if those who do not follow that 
path are devoid of Torah knowledge and middos. And when the future plan is 
going into chinuch (education) by default, it's bad for the kids being 
taught and bad for the person in front of the class. 
What makes matters worse is that the system is set as such that even those  
who really do not want to sit in the yeshiva for years do so for marriage 
purposes since the pool of girls looking for the learned guy who wants to be 
responsible looks as small as the guys who want to work. It's a sad state of 
affairs because we may never know the natural talents some people in mncertain
areas that could have a positive impact on society.
Stuart Wise

From: Frank Silbermann <frank_silbermann@...>
Date: Wed, Jan 19,2011 at 10:01 AM
Subject: From The Jewish World Review

Subject: From The Jewish World Review
Ben Katz wrote (MJ 59#92):
> Rambam is also pretty clear on this. He says anyone who
> learns full time while receiving charity has forfeited his 
> share in the world to come (ayn lo chelek ba'olam habah).

OTOH, such a high degree of mesiras nefesh (altruism)
-- that one would forfeit one's share in the world to come
for the sake of Torah -- is indeed worthy of honor.
Frank Silbermann          Memphis, Tennessee


From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Tue, Jan 11,2011 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Legal Shiluach Hakein

Chana Luntz wrote (MJ 59#91):

> the Chatam Sofer holds in his commentary on Shas on Chulin 142a (d"h "Uma") not
> like this and suggests that if you don't want the eggs then there is no mitzvah
> at all.

It occurred to me to ask: does he hold that the mitzvah is essentially a
negative one, not to take the eggs unless one first sends away the mother, and
no more? That is, does he hold that not only is there no mitzvah to send away
the bird and take the eggs unless one wants them, but also that one gets no
reward for wanting the eggs enough to do the mitzvah? If that is true, then the
only logical reason for the mitzvah would seem to be rachmanus on the hen, but
the gemara rejects that reason out of hand.

Look at the mitzvah of tzitzit. The mitzvah applies only to a four-cornered
garment (and then only if it's woven). There is no affirmative mitzvah, in
theory, to wear a four-cornered garmet so that one can observe this mitzvah.
Nonetheless, it is treated as a "mitzvah chavivah"; as a practical matter men
always wear a four-cornered garment to do this mitzvah. If the government were
to decree that men are not permitted to wear tzitzit, does that create a
conflict with dina demalchuta (and the free exercise clause) or would the answer
be "just don't wear a four-cornered garment"? I suspect the answer is the
former, and if so, how -- even according to the Chatam Sofer -- is shiluach
hakein different?

From: Chana Luntz <Chana@...>
Date: Tue, Jan 11,2011 at 07:01 PM
Subject: Legal Shiluach Hakein

I wrote (MJ 59#91):

> Could you then say that today, what is involved in shiluach hakein,
> given the reality of the authorities, is not longer the same mitzvah
> that it was in the days of Chazal, and just as the Aruch HaShulchan and
> the Chavos Yair agree that one is not required to go out searching for
> a bird to send away, because of the tircha involved, one is no longer
> required to perform the mitzvah if it does come to your hand, because
> the tircha involved in such a performance is so much greater than ever
> contemplated by Chazal.

And Orrin Tilevitz replied in that digest:

> AFIK, whether dina demalchuta applies may depend on whether the law is
> enforced, not whether one is in actual fear of the laws being enforced
> in one's own case. 

But I wasn't discussing the generality of dina d'malchusa dina, but the
specifics of positive mitzvos in general and shiluach hakan, and in particular.
> That is, if a practice is banned because of dina
> demalchuta, it is banned even if one can do it with no fear of civil
> punishment (e.g., by raiding a nest when no witnesses or enforcement
> agents are around.)  So I don't think you can avoid the question by
> arguing that the possibility of arrest changes the nature of the
> mitzvah.

What I was arguing was that, ignoring dina d'malchusa dina (or assuming that it
could be neutralised), there is still the halacha that one is not required to
spend more than a fifth of one's income on any positive mitzvah (see the Rema in
Orech Chaim siman 656) even if it is a mitzvah overes [a mitzvah where the
opportunity to do it will pass]. So if the cost of challenging dina d'malchusa
dina under the free exercise clause would eat up more than a fifth of one's
income then that, it seems to me, might change the equation for any positive
mitzvah. And, it would seem to me, this is even more true if the consequence of
the action might involve a jail sentence which would eat up the entirety of
one's income, even if one was subsequently freed.  I went slightly further,
however, and speculated as to whether shiluach hakein might have a lower
threshold than even this standard fifth, based on its defined status as a
mitzvah kalah [easy mitzvah].  This last is purely my speculation, however,
based loosely on the language of the Chatam Sofer.




From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Tue, Jan 25,2011 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Lending a helpful hand

I saw this story on the Partners in Kindness email.

"Today, as I was getting out of my car at the supermarket to pick up some
groceries, I saw an elderly woman who had just put her shopping cart back
into the corral.
"I noticed that she was struggling with her cane to get to her car. At that
point I asked her if using the cart would help her walk. When she told me
that it would, I gave her the cart, told her to use it to get to her car,
and offered to take it back for her.
"She accepted the offer and expressed her gratitude."

OK, gentlemen -- halachically under what, if any, circumstances might you
offer this elderly woman your ARM to hold onto lest she fall.

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Wed, Jan 19,2011 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Opening / closing the Ark

Carl Singer <carl.singer@...> wrote (MJ 59#92):
> Perhaps having lived / davened in many communities over the years, thus in
> many venues, it's a difference among communities -- but it seems that
> nowadays in many shuls there is little "ceremony" regarding the opening and
> closing of the Aron Kodesh.
> In the extreme, davening from Ayn Kemocha on is silent or inaudible prior to
> the opening of the Aron and the removal of the Sefer Torah. Similarly,
> upon the return of the Sefer Torah after Layning.
> Is this a shared observation?  Does this perhaps correlate with a reduction
> in Chazunis or a separate phenomenon?

I have also noticed this. The more elaborate rituals associated with taking
out the Sefer Torah and returning it have been traditional in Central and
Western European Orthodoxy but were viewed as being Yekkish in yeshiva
circles. I heard one advocate of the latter style refer to such singing as
involving "church tunes". As the yeshivishe approach has spread, its
proponents have driven out these despised "yekkishe ceremonies", sometimes
together with those who wished to uphold them.

Martin Stern

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Wed, Jan 19,2011 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Opening / closing the Ark

Shimon Lebowitz <shimonl@...> wrote (MJ 59#92):
> I have a feeling we are putting the horse before the cart.
> The Sefer-Torah is supposed to be brought to the bima, and after the
> reading it gets returned to the Aron haKodesh.
> There are various readings which are said during these processions,
> not the other way around.

This is, of course, quite correct but there is still a correlation between
the stages in the process of taking out / returning of the Sefer Torah and the
various readings to be associated with them the precise nature of which, if I am
not much mistaken, was Stuart Pilichowski's original query (MJ 59#90).

Martin Stern


From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
Date: Sun, Jan 23,2011 at 04:01 AM
Subject: Premature death announcement

While looking through hebrewbooks.org, I chanced upon a journal named
HaDvir, published in Jerusalem in 1919. That issue had an obituary for Rav
Meir Simcha (the "Or Same'ach"), which, it was claimed, had been killed in a
pogrom as he walked down the street. In Hebrewbooks.org, the item is No.
22896. The only problem with this "information" is that Rav Meir Simcha
actually died in 1926, while seeking medical treatment. 

Can anyone shed light on the origin of this incorrect information? 

Shmuel Himelstein


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Jan 30,2011 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Searching for Tradition

Can anyone help me to obtain some early issues of Tradition? I am trying to
get hold of 1.1-2.2, 5.1 and 16.3 in particular but might be interested in
some later issues (from 18.3 onwards) as well.

Martin Stern


End of Volume 59 Issue 93