Volume 60 Number 16 
      Produced: Tue, 07 Jun 2011 12:52:31 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

    [Martin Stern]
Ban on circumcision? 
    [Frank Silbermann]
Birkat Cohanim in Eretz Yisrael 
    [David Tzohar]
Brachot reversed - why? 
    [Avraham Friedenberg]
Fugu Plan 
    [Art Werschulz]
In Vitro Meat 
    [Orrin Tilevitz]
Milchigs on Shavuot 
    [Martin Stern]
Mohalim Traveling on Shabbat - a possible solution 
    [Asher Samuels]
Photos of the Jerualem Day Flag March and Jerusalem Day T-Shirts 
    [Jacob Richman]
Rabbis boycotting Jewish proprietors  
    [Harlan Braude]
Wall posters in shuls - Modim d'Rabbanan 
    [Avraham Friedenberg]
What Day Of The Week Will Shabbos Be In Samoa? (2)
    [David Ziants  Dr. William Gewirtz]


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Jun 5,2011 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Administravia

There was a slight technical hitch with the last digest which I deleted
instead of it being approved. I managed to reconstruct it from the archives
but it was in a slightly unusual format. In particular at the beginning it had
inserted: [snip]

and this should simply be ignored - nothing was missing (I hope!).

Martin on behalf of the mail-jewish team


From: Frank Silbermann <frank_silbermann@...>
Date: Mon, May 30,2011 at 06:01 AM
Subject: Ban on circumcision?

Martin Stern (MJ 60#13) wrote:

> Apparently, San Francisco's citizens will be invited to vote on whether to
> ban the circumcision of males under the age of 18 in November.
> This is a recrudescence of Neopaganism, as the Jerusalem Post put it in an
> editorial (27 May):
> "Opposition to brit mila dates back to ancient times. ... Defacing
> the male sexual organ was seen ... as an attack on the ... adoration
> of nature, considered perfect and a reflection the will of the gods."
> ...
> Any comments?

Yes, it always frustrates me when some Jews people justify their opposition
to a particular political candidate on the grounds that "he is supported by
those (pious Christians)." What do they imagine the alternative to
Christianity in Western society to be?

Frank Silbermann Memphis, Tennessee


From: David Tzohar <davidtzohar@...>
Date: Sun, Jun 5,2011 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Birkat Cohanim in Eretz Yisrael

According to the ReMA and Mishna Brura, in the galut Birkat Cohanim is done
by the Cohanim only on Musaf of the festivals. The reason is that it must be
done with "simcha" which is lacking in the Jewish diaspora (I recently
wrote a post on this subject on my English blog). Only in Eretz Yisrael is it
done every day (one of the perks of making Aliya!). There are however some
communities in Israel who follow the diaspora custom: chassidei Gur and some
communities in Haifa and Tzfat. Does anyone know why these communities don't
follow the general custom of Eretz Yisrael?

David Tzohar


From: Avraham Friedenberg <elshpen@...>
Date: Fri, Jun 3,2011 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Brachot reversed - why?

Does anyone know of any reason why the two morning brachot "she'asah lee kal
tzorchee" and "ha'maycheen meetz'aday gaveir" are reversed between nusach
Ashkenaz and nusach Sfard?

Avraham Friedenberg
Karnei Shomron, Israel


From: Art Werschulz <agw@...>
Date: Sun, Jun 5,2011 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Fugu Plan

Bernard Raab wrote (MJ 60#15):

> (Ever wonder why the Japanese, who were allied with Germany during WWII,
> offered refuge to the Jews of Europe? If you would like to arrange for an
> extensively illustrated lecture on this fascinating subject, email me.)

There's a fascinating book on this subject, called "The Fugu Plan", by Rabbi
Marvin Tokayer (who spoke at our shul about this topic, as well as other Jewish
Japan-related topics).

Art Werschulz


From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Sun, Jun 5,2011 at 06:01 PM
Subject: In Vitro Meat

An article in the June, 2011 issue of Scientific American, "When Will Scientists
Grow Meat in a Petrie Dish?", 


implicitly raises interesting halachic issues, none mentioned in the article.
The meat in question would be cultured muscle tissue (presumably with naturally
embedded fat, so that the stuff tastes good, although I didn't see that in the
article) that originated as stem cells from a cow. I could find no discussion of
these issues on line. About a year ago, there was some announcement about
growing in vitro pork, and the only discussion of halachic relevance I could
find was a quote from a conservative rabbi saying that of course it would be not
kosher. There has been some discussion on this list in recent memory about the
propriety of giving hechsherim on vegan "meat" and the like, and that discussion
may have some tangential relevance here. In any event, here is my list of questions:

1. Would this stuff be considered meat at all subject to the prohibition of
mixing it with milk? I would guess that the answer would be that it is.

2. Are there circumstances in which it may be eaten at all? The question is
whether shechita [ritual slaughter] is a general machshir [enabler] for the
eating of meat (other than in the case of a ben pakua -- which I'll get to) and
since shechita is impossible perhaps the meat may never be eaten.

3. If the inability to perform shechita is not a bar, may the meat be eaten in
all circumstances? If not, does it depend on where the stem cells came from?

For example:

(a) If they came from a live cow, is the resulting tissue forbidden because of
eiver min hachai [a limb of living animal]?

(b) If they came from a dead cow, must that cow have been kosher (properly
slaughtered and not otherwise disqualified, e.g., because of disease)?

(c) May the stem cell have come from a portion of the cow that may not in any
circumstance be eaten (e.g., cheilev)?

(d) If shechita is normally an issue, if the stem cell came from a ben pakua [a
fetus pulled out of a cow that had been properly slaughtered, and therefore may
be eaten without being slaughtered itself] does that solve the problem?

Incidentally, speaking of a ben pakua, I had heard -- although I could never
find this inside -- that once one has a ben pakua, its descedents also would not
require shechita. This implies that creating a race of such cattle would be a
solution to the problem now facing Jews in such places as Switzerland and New
Zealand. Has anyone seen this proposed in this context? Obviously, in vitro
meat, if it could be made to work and if it avoids shechita issues, would be
another solution.


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, Jun 7,2011 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Milchigs on Shavuot

On Yom Tov we have a mitsvah of simchah [rejoicing] which the Gemara tells
us involves eating meat and drinking wine. Strictly speaking the former
referred to eating the meat of the shalmei simcha [special sacrifices
brought on Yom Tov] which we cannot do until the Beit Hamikdash is rebuilt,
speedily in our days. However we still eat meat as a zecher [remembrance] of
them. In consequence, I have always wondered as to the custom of eating
milchigs on Shavuot and have come up with the following possible

The shalmei simcha were only offered during the day (as opposed to night) of
the festival and therefore were not available on the first evening so we do
not need to eat meat at that meal. On the other hand, on Chol Hamoed, to
which the mitsvah of simchah equally applies, we should eat meat, at least
at the two main meals of each day.

This argument would not apply to the first night of Pesach when we would
have had to eat the meat of the Korban Pesach and Korban Chagigah. Whether
the gezerah shavah chamishah asar chamishah asar [inference through linked
phrases] would entail eating meat on the first night of Succot is

However Shavuot would seem to be an exception according to everyone and so
one could argue that a milchig meal the first evening is not a negation of
the mitsvah of simchah.

Any comments?

Martin Stern


From: Asher Samuels <asher.samuels@...>
Date: Sun, Jun 5,2011 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Mohalim Traveling on Shabbat - a possible solution

I don't want to take away from the livelihood of professional mohalim, but
from what I understand the requirements to perform milah are:
     a)  One is Shomer Mitzvot
     b)  One knows how to perform milah
     c)  One knows why one is doing it (i.e. for the sake of the mitzvah,
not a routine medical procedure).

Considering that most Jewish communities seem to have a doctor, dentist, or
someone with some basic medical training, what's the problem with having one
of them train to serve as a mohel?  That solves the issue of someone needing
to travel, finding that person a place to stay over Yom Tov (especially a
three-day Yom Tov), etc.

Asher Samuels
Jerusalem, Israel


From: Jacob Richman <jrichman@...>
Date: Wed, Jun 1,2011 at 07:01 PM
Subject: Photos of the Jerualem Day Flag March and Jerusalem Day T-Shirts

Hi Everyone!

Today, June 1, I took photos at the Jerusalem Day Flag March.
I posted them online at:

I also uploaded to Facebook, 24 photos of Jerusalem Day T-Shirts.
The address of the Facebook album is:

Enjoy the photos!

Have a good day,


From: Harlan Braude <hbraude@...>
Date: Mon, May 30,2011 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Rabbis boycotting Jewish proprietors 

In MJ 60#14, Carl Singer wrote:

> Meanwhile another Posek has reportedly provided advice (P'sak?) to avoid
> Jewish contractors lest one end up having to go to a Beis Din if there is 
> a dispute. I don't know if this second instance reflects personal 
> experience, or halacha --- but it certainly caused me to wonder.

Wow! That is surprising and on many levels.

Would concerns of potential litigation (in Besi Din) preclude conducting 
business of *any* sort with fellow Jews (unless one contends that construction
is an exceptionally dispute-laden industry)?!

Would it matter whether the company owners reside in the same town as the 
Jewish clients? The theory here being that disputes between people of the same 
kehila might cause disunity within the kehilla if friends/neighbors take sides, etc.

Isn't resolving financial issues between Jews in Beis Din a mitzvah? Do we 
avoid mitzvot that may get "messy" (emtionally or publicity-wise, etc.)?

By extension, would this Posek instruct Jewish-owned construction companies 
to avoid accepting business from fellow Jews?

This is scary stuff!


From: Avraham Friedenberg <elshpen@...>
Date: Mon, Jun 6,2011 at 02:01 AM
Subject: Wall posters in shuls - Modim d'Rabbanan

I had assumed the posters are there for the Kohanim waiting to duchen.  They
don't carry siddurim with them, so the poster is a ready made way for them
to recite Modim.

Avraham Friedenberg
Karnei Shomron, Israel


From: David Ziants <dziants@...>
Date: Thu, Jun 2,2011 at 11:01 AM
Subject: What Day Of The Week Will Shabbos Be In Samoa?

With respect to my reply on MJ 60#13 I related to the star-k map:
http://www.star-k.org/images/timezones.pdf ,

but I had not yet seen their explanation which was quoted by another 
mail-jewish subscriber. I am pleased that my posting was more-or-less in 
accordance with their explanation.

There were opinions that I did not mention, that I learnt, and some of 
these were brought by other subscribers. One opinion brought, turns the 
issue into a community based thing (possibly relying on the 
international date line) as any mentions in our early Rabbinic 
literature are hints and not necessarily halachic. With this, I find it 
very difficult to be convinced that just because the local population 
call the day "Saturday" we have to make the day-part of that date, 
together with the night before it, Shabbat. What if the local population 
were to decide to call the 3rd day of the week "Saturday" ("Satur..." 
comes from Saturn which is Shabetai, i.e. Shabbat)? It seems though, 
because of the diversity of halachic opinion, it is difficult to be 
completely wrong if one follows "Saturday" at almost everywhere on the 
globe. (I am sure that there are some who feel the day of shabbat should 
be based on one halachic opinion according to a consistent approach, 
even if minority, rather than be based on majority opinion, as the 
star-k does.)

Another opinion that I did not mention, but I recently read somewhere, 
was that of the Brisker Rav. I sort of gleaned this information from 
different blogs on the www, and so am unable to give the original source.

He follows the Chazon Ish dateline (at 90 degrees East from Jerusalem), 
but does not accept that a landmass will defer the date line to the 
eastern coast thereof. I have no idea whether anyone actually follows 
this view, but if someone did, according to that opinion, Shabbat would 
be Saturday night and Sunday on the East coast of Australia.

I am beginning to fantasise now...

So a group of Brisker Jews come together and decide to start a community 
in Australia, positioned exactly on the Chazon Ish, and their Rav's, 
dateline. Why not? (Except better to live in Land of Israel, but that is 
probably not their focus!) Then they can practice all the rulings of 
their great Rov on a week-to-week basis. Maybe there will be havdalla 
stations/kiddush stations as one goes from one side to the other. So the 
conversation goes on a Sunday afternoon:-

Moshe from east side of street:- Gut Shaboss!!

Yankle from west side of street:- Gut Wocht!!

Moshe:- Want to come your side and cross the date line so I can write 
down notes from the Rav's shabbat drasha this morning, before I forget 
what he said.

Yankle:- you are welcome to my house, but don't forget to make havadalla 
after you cross.

Yankle:-  You need to use wine!

Moshe:- I don't think so, because I am going to cross back into shabboss 
soon afterwards. Why don't I just say "baruch hamavdil bain kodesh l'chol"?

Yankle:-  But you know that the great Rov insisted on a full havdala 
before melacha [prohibitted work on shabbat] (cf  

Moshe:- That's right! Good that they instituted these havdollo stations 
at the cross-over points.

Moshe:- But it is daytime...

Yankle:- So you just use wine and say the br'cha for havdalla. No candle 
and herbs. After you return, you will need to accept shabbat again.

Yankle:- Also remember that no one uses the eruv despite the fact that 
in normal circumstances it would be  mehadrin and we only have very 
small streets in our community.

Moshe:- What is the big problem, then?

Yankle:- Complications - the whole eruv has to be valid the whole of 
shabbat as an eruv, but at this time the west side of the eruv is not 
functioning as an eruv because it is not shabbat here (DZ made that one up).

Moshe:- Oy vey - I now realise we have a problem of techum [distance 
between un-built up areas one is allowed to walk on shabbat]. You see, 
we follow the opinion that distance is calculated as a function of the 
time one walks that distance.  It is going to take me a whole day to 
cross the road...

Yankle:- Oy vey - lets discuss this with the Rav...

Of course I made up most of the above. Could even be considered "Purim 
Torah". Still, according to the Brisker, as well as following the 
technical Chazon Ish date-line as a straight longitude, they ignore the 
issue of land mass that the Chazon Ish and most others see as an issue, 
and also do not think  that it is necessary that the whole community 
have to do the same . So, according to them, could any of the above 
scenario  be theoretically possible?

Note I did not relate to the possibility that Moshe also kept shabbat 
the day before - Saturday - at the same time as Yankle - and this was a 
second day for him - as although they are Briskers, they did not want to 
ignore all the other halachic opinions.

David Ziants

Ma'ale Adumim, Israel

From: Dr. William Gewirtz <wgewirtz@...>
Date: Sun, Jun 5,2011 at 11:01 PM
Subject: What Day Of The Week Will Shabbos Be In Samoa?

IN MJ 60#15 Bernard Raab writes:

> I am amused that after labeling my input as both "logically faulty and ...
> internally inconsistent", Dr. Gewirtz goes on to basically confirm it. It
> seems that every young rabbi who travels to Australia or the Far East has
> a lot of fun reviewing thevarious opinions and history of the subject, but
> in the end finds himself observing Shabbat on the local Saturday, which
> confirms that the international dateline is "halacha-lema'aseh" (i.e. the
> practical halachic dateline).

My apologies for not being clear. If you believe in following the local custom
of Jewish communities (something I personally favor), it does not imply that the
international dateline is "halacha-lema'aseh" (i.e. the practical halakhic

If you follow local custom it may well be the case that you assert there is no
such notion as a dateline in halakha. Crossing the international dateline has no
halakhic significance whatsoever. According to those who follow local custom,
the dateline is neither a logical or halakhic necessity. Rather the
international dateline is an artifact, for which the halakha has no need. This
is an important point that has led people to assert that those who follow local
(Jewish) custom have adopted the international dateline or something close to
it. That does not follow logically and except for the brilliant (but farfetched)
opinion of R. Dovid Shapiro is also internally inconsistent. (All the other
major opinions that assert lines, do not conform to local custom.) In a
forthcoming paper, I will explain how the halakha easily deals with establishing
the day of the week, without reliance on any dateline.

Again, it is also important to separate the issue of how a traveler is to
practice (when to daven or count the omer) from how permanent residents
of a particular locale are to practice.


End of Volume 60 Issue 16