Volume 6 Number 18

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Automatic light on Shabbat
         [Steven J Epstein]
Brachot over Incomplete Things
         [Marc Leve]
Deeper reasons behind some takanot
         [David Kramer]
Fingernail Clippings
         [Eli Turkel]
Grasshoppers (2)
         [Zev Hochberg, Zev Farkas]
Havdalah wine
         [Sam Gamoran]


From: <steviep@...> (Steven J Epstein)
Date: Mon, 18 Jan 93 16:53:38 -0500
Subject: Re: Automatic light on Shabbat

David Sherman responds to Laurent Cohen's statement:

> This makes me think about a question I had once: imagine you spend
> Shabbat in a hotel and say on friday night you go to the toilets. When
> you turn the lock you realize you put the light on. What can you do
> then?  can you go out knowing you will put the light off or do you have
> to spend all shabbat there?

with the following remark:

>Perhaps, in such an extreme case, you can rely on the fact that the
>light going on or off is a side effect of what you are intending to do,
>rather than your objective?  I once asked a rabbi what to do in a more
>common situation: you forget to unscrew the light bulb in your fridge
>before Shabbos.  His reply was to try to open and close the fridge door
>as little as possible over Shabbos.  (I.e., he did not say that one must
>not open the door and therefore must eat crackers and canned tuna and
>drink tap water all Shabbos.)  The rabbi in question is the rabbi of a
>large Orthodox shul, who is known as being on the lenient side.  Of
>course, CYLOR.

This latter case is discussed in the shmirat shabbat kehilchata.  Rav
Neubirt states that the halacha is not clear and that one should consult
their local orthodox rabbi. In the footnote, however, Rabbi Shlomo
Zalman Auerbach states that closing a refrigerator and consequently
turning off the refrigerator light is not recomended.  [Opening a
refrigerator door, knowing that the light will go on, is even more

The reason is that both the actions of opening and closing the
refrigerator door fall under the category of 'psik reisha de'nicha
leih'. [An action that generates another action that is sure to happen
and is something that one wants - Mod.] One appreciates the light to see
the food, after the refrigerator door is opened, and one appreciates the
fact that the light is turned off (so the food will remain cool) after
the refrigerator door is shut.

However, Laurent Cohen's case is quite different. The poor soul who is
stuck in the bathroom on shabbat and desires to eventually leave does
not care at all whether the light will go off or not after departing.
Thus, this is a case of pseek reisha d'lo ichpat leh.[An action that
generates another action that is sure to happen, but that one does care
whether or not it happens - Mod.]  Furthermore, if this halachik inmate
opens this bathroom door in a nonstandard manner (kil'achar yad), he
would create a a situation where he would only be prohibiting two
rabbinical ordinances - psik reisha de'lo ichpat leh along with melacha
kil'achar yad and this is most likely permissible.

Steve Epstein


From: <BITTERE@...> (Marc Leve)
Date: Tue, 19 Jan 93 01:26:05 -0500
Subject: Re: Brachot over Incomplete Things

Regarding brachot over "incomplete" things like charity which might be
refused or a Get that might not be delivered: On yom kippur we say a
bracha which includes: "melech mochail v'soleach l'avonoteinu...".  What
if He doesn't? There is a story that this is like a boy in the market
with his father and upon seeing an apple that he likes says "borei pri
ha'etz" and the father - who wouldn't allow a bracha l'batalah rushes to
buy the apple...

It would seem then that events that may not occur should not be blessed
over.  Regarding the get, one would think that since there is a need for
kavana (v'katav >lah<) the time for the hypothetical bracha would be
immediately before its writing. But, there are cases when the sofer is
advised to dawdle so that perhaps the couple change their mind (e.g. -
get tafur) and relent. The lack of finality or of a davar mugmar would
thus seem to be the decisive factor.



From: <davidk@...> (David Kramer)
Date: Tue, 19 Jan 93 01:30:38 -0500
Subject: Deeper reasons behind some takanot

A guy I went to school with, Ephraim Weiss, pointed out two takanot
(actually I think there were more but these 2 I remember) where it seems
that Chaz"l gave the reason for a Takana specifically to instill a
certain feeling in a person and not necessarily for the literal reason

The first is the halacha that when you say Birkat Hamazon (Blessing
after meals) you should remove or cover all knives on the table. The
reason given is to prevent someone from being so distraught when he says
"Uvenai Yerushaliam Ir Hakodesh" (ReBuild Jeruselum the Holy City) that
he might use the knife to hurt himself. The question is - Chaz"l make a
Takana only if the motivation for the Takana applies to a large number
of Jews. Is it really possible that so many Jews are on the level that
they are so devasatated by the destruction of Jerusalem that they would
injure themselves? The answer may be - no - but Chazal wanted to
illustrate how much a person *should* be distraught over Jerusalum.
They instituted the takana to cause us to think about the tremendous
sense of loss we should feel - and if we don't feel it - at least we
should be reminded how strongly we should feel.

Another similar case is the institution of Viduy (confessions) in the
Mincha service of Erev Yom Kippur. The reason given by Chaz"l is if you
choke and die while you are eating your "seuda hamafseket" (the last
meal before the fast) you will have confessed your sins and repented
before you die. Now, if you think about this for a minute - it's a bit
puzzling. If that's the case you should say Viduy in Shacharit that
morning lest you choke at breakfast, or for that matter, the night
before or the mincha before that or... The point is that if you follow
that logic you should always say Viduy in every prayer because there's
always is a danger that something might happen. But it could be that on
the eve before Yom Kippur Chaz"l were simply trying to bring home
exactly that point - to make you think - and make you realize how
dependant we are on the grace of our Creator - and that at any minute he
can 'Rachmana Lezlan' take your life. This is a very appropriate frame
of mind to enter the day of Yom Kippur.

[  David Kramer                       |  INTERNET: <davidk@...>  ]
[ Motorola Communications Israel Ltd. |  Phone (972-3) 565-8638 Fax 565-8754 ]


From: <turkel@...> (Eli Turkel)
Date: Tue, 19 Jan 93 08:36:02 +0200
Subject: Fingernail Clippings

     Many people have a custom to throw the fingernail clippings into
the toilet. I recently read that the Hazon Ish objected to this as the
Gemara only talks about burning and burying. His personal custom was to
save all the fingernail clippings and burn them with the chametz before



From: Zev Hochberg <HOCHBRGZ@...>
Date: Mon, 18 Jan 93 19:35:44 -0500
Subject: Re: Grasshoppers

Benjamin Svetitsky asks:

> I just want to get this straight:  Has anyone actually met any Yemenite
> Jews who consume grasshoppers?  I live in Rehovot, with a large number
> of Yemenite Friends and neighbors, and I've seen NO sign of it.  Just
> how current IS this picture of the lingering tradition of kosher
> grasshoppers?

A friend of mine reports seeing a large locust invasion in Israel, in
the mid '50's. She says many Yemenites collected and ate the critters.
Sorry, no recipes supplied. Perhaps the current generation hasn't
maintained the habit.

Zev Hochberg

From: Zev Farkas <farkas@...>
Date: Tue, 19 Jan 93 13:41:28 -0500
Subject: Grasshoppers

I have seen several replies and personal communications to my remarks on
whether an ashkenazi may eat grasshoppers offered by a sephardi.  I had
made the (admittedly less-than-perfect) analogy to eating the peas and
carrots and leaving the porkchop.  The objection was raised that it was
more like eating the carrots and leaving the rice on passover, but I
disagree with this objection.

In the passover case, the sephardi is using rice, which for an ashkenazi
comes under a rabbinic prohibition.

In the grasshopper (or is that really locust?) case, the ashkenazi,
without the help of his sephardi friend, would have to consider any insect
to possibly be "sheketz" ("disgusting"), and thus BIBLICALLY prohibited. 
The question is whether he can rely on his sephardic friend's tradition to
differentiate between permissible and biblically prohibited.

Zev Farkas, PE                                :)
<farkas@...>       718 829 5278


From: <shg@...> (Sam Gamoran)
Date: Tue, 19 Jan 93 12:08:40 -0500
Subject: re: Havdalah wine

As I've heard it:

   in the eyes, on the forehead, etc. to carry from Shabbat into the coming
week - or for "bina" (understanding, enlightenment)
   in the pockets for "parnassa" (livelihood, income)

I've also heard a minhag that women don't drink from havdalah or they
will grow a beard (acquire masculine attributes?).  Also a minhag that a
child holds the candle at the height that their future spouse will be.
Anyone able to elaborate on these childhood folklore?


End of Volume 6 Issue 18