Volume 60 Number 17 
      Produced: Fri, 10 Jun 2011 09:26:09 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Birkat Cohanim in Eretz Yisrael (4)
    [Martin Stern  Akiva Miller  Judith Weil  Shmuel Himelstein]
Milchigs on Shavuot (2)
    [Stuart Wise  Chaim Casper]
Mohalim Traveling on Shabbat - a possible solution (2)
    [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz  Bernard Raab]
Status of a Ben Pekua 
    [Josh Backon]
Wall posters in shuls - Modim d'Rabbanan 
    [Martin Stern]
What Day Of The Week Will Shabbos Be In Samoa? (3)
    [Bernard Raab  Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz  Bernard Raab]


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, Jun 7,2011 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Birkat Cohanim in Eretz Yisrael

David Tzohar <davidtzohar@...> wrote (MJ 60#16):

> 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?

When we stay in Yerushalayim, I daven at the Gur shul complex in Malchei
Yisrael and they duchan every day there.

Martin Stern

From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Tue, Jun 7,2011 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Birkat Cohanim in Eretz Yisrael

In reply to David Tzohar (MJ 60#16):

I do not know their reasons, but I can at least point out that some of this is
from long ago, and well documented. "Sefer Eretz Yisrael", by Rav Yechiel Michel
Tukachinsky, printed in 5715 (1954-55), is a standard work on the customs in the
Land of Israel, and you can read it online at


He writes at the bottom of page 22 (my translation):

"In the Galil, the custom nowadays is that the Kohanim do not say this blessing,
except only on Shabbos and Yom Tov, and it is not clearly known based on whom,
or on what basis, this custom developed."

Akiva Miller

From: Judith Weil <weildj@...>
Date: Wed, Jun 8,2011 at 07:01 PM
Subject: Birkat Cohanim in Eretz Yisrael

In reply to David Tzohar (MJ 60#16): 

Birkat Kohanim is not done every day everywhere in Israel. There are a
number of places, like Haifa, where it is done every Shabbat. This is not
the Diaspora custom, as the Diaspora custom is only on festivals, not on
Shabbat. I don't know the custom in Gur, but I have never heard of an
Israeli community following Diaspora custom in this.


From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
Date: Thu, Jun 9,2011 at 06:01 AM
Subject: Birkat Cohanim in Eretz Yisrael

To clarify to David Tzohar (MJ 60#16):

1) There are two different minhagim in Eretz Yisrael regarding Birkat

a) Duchening every Shacharit, Musaf, fast-day Minchah if it is
Minchah Ketanah, and Neilah if it is not too late after Shki'ah - Minhag

b) Duchening only at Musaf  - Minhag HaGalil. Whether this is what the Chassdim
follow, I do not know

2) There are many Sefardic communities (e.g., Hong Kong) where they Duchen
daily throughout the year.

Shmuel Himelstein


From: Stuart Wise <Smwise3@...>
Date: Tue, Jun 7,2011 at 02:01 PM
Subject: Milchigs on Shavuot

In reply to the question (MJ 60#16) from Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
regarding eating milchigs on any yom tov:   

If I'm not mistaken, either the Mishneh Berurah or some other posek says  
one should still have fleishigs on Shavuos, and indeed that is what we do, as 
I  believe the halachah states, that you wash, eat the moclhigs, then 
remove that  challah, and after waiting a period, continue the seudah with 
Stuart Wise

From: Chaim Casper <surfflorist@...>
Date: Tue, Jun 7,2011 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Milchigs on Shavuot

In reply to the question (MJ 60#16) from Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
regarding eating halavi on any yom tov:   

In Pesahim 119 the hava amina [initial hypothesis] is that one needs meat and
wine for simchah.   But the conclusion of the gemara is that meat was needed for
simhah only when the beit hamikdash was in existence.   Nowadays, we need only
wine for simchah.   The Rambam, zt"l, ruled like the hava amina because he
usually ruled for when the Beit Hamikdash was in existence (I guess he had more
emunah than we do!).  However, most Rishonim rule like the maskanah [conclusion]
of the gemara which is today we need only wine for simchah.   On the other hand,
the majority of the Acharonim rule like the Rambam.   For many of them, if they
had a piece of meat every three months, that was a simchah.  But for us who have
meat all the time, can we really say that meat is a simchah especially if the
conclusion of the gemara is that we only need wine?   And what about those of us
who prefer dairy to meat -- must we have meat for simchat yom tov and like the
hava amina but not the maskanah?

The Rama, zt"l, seems to offer two options on Shavuot: 

A) dairy on day one and meat on day two and 

B) dairy [and bentching] followed by meat [and a separate bentching].  [My
German/Yekka friends through the years have always held to eat 4 meat meals (why
should Shavuot be any different from any other yom tov?)].   

The Rama is basing this view on the idea of 2 cooked items like at the Pesah
seder.   But instead of having two kinds of meat (the korban pesah and the
korban hagigah), he is suggesting we have two kinds of meals, one dairy (first)
and (then) one meat.   On the other hand, the Mishneh Brurah, zt"l, held from
the midrash that I learned in my youth, viz, that when Moshe Rabbeinu came down
from Har Sinai with the laws of shechitah especially as they extensively apply
to meat, there was a hora'ah sha'ah that everyone should eat dairy while
preparing to use meat.  Thus, I remember the New England Academy of Torah
dormitory in Providence used to make kiddush, wash, make motzi, have a
couple of blintzes, bentch and then clear the table and have a regular
meat yom tov meal in accordance with this midrash and Mishneh Brurah.

Chaim Casper
North Miami Beach, FL
(305) 865-0433


From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahillel@...>
Date: Tue, Jun 7,2011 at 02:01 PM
Subject: Mohalim Traveling on Shabbat - a possible solution

Asher Samuels <asher.samuels@...> wrote (MJ 60#16):

> 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.

There are doctors in various communities that do indeed function as
mohalim. However, the point being made is that there are many
communities where they do not have people who have undergone the
training to become a mohel. Since becoming a mohel is not the same as
the training needed to become (for example) a urologist, most
urologists do not perform circumcisions on a regular basis, and many
small communities do not have a bris often enough for the training to
stay in practice, it would not necessarily be a good idea to rely on
someone with this type of training. A mohel who can be trusted to
perform a bris at short notice will often have performed hundreds or
thousands of them.

There is a quip about the mohel who rarely says tachanun because he is
usually at a bris.

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz 

From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Tue, Jun 7,2011 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Mohalim Traveling on Shabbat - a possible solution

Asher Samuels wrote (MJ 60#16):
> 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.

It is interesting how distant residents of Israel have become to the reality in
galut. Most Jewish communities outside of the great urban centers do not have
doctors, dentists, etc. with any training or interest in halachic Judaism, even
if nominally Jewish. You might be able to find a doctor to do a circumcision,
but don't count on a bracha. But a good idea nevertheless.

Bernie R.


From: Josh Backon <backon@...>
Date: Wed, Jun 8,2011 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Status of a Ben Pekua

Orrin Tilevitz (MJ 60#16) queried on the halachic status of a Ben Pekua:

> 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.

This could be done only on a deserted island where there is NO possibility
whatsoever of mating a Ben Pekuah herd with "normal" cows [see Aruch haShulchan
YD 13 #12 "oto ha'vlad ein la takana b'shechita"  and Aruch haShulchan YD 13#15]

Re: the status of 'hamevashel basar b'chalav SHEL bat pekua" with the 
answers being:

a) R. Akiva Eiger (s"k 13) "tzarich iyun"  if it's like chalav shechuta
b) Meshivat Nafesh YD "safek l'duno k'chalav shel shechuta"
c) Noda B'Yehuda YD 36  "issur d'oraita"

Although according to Torah law this animal when grown doesn't require shechita
(Yoreh Deah 13:2) Chazal prohibited this and required shechita and even in the
case of mating a male *ben pekuah* with a female *ben [bat] pekuah* (YD 13:4)
the offspring would require shechita. In addition, although there is no
condition of Treifot or Gidin with a Ben Pekua, there is still the prohibition
of DAM (blood).

I remember that the Daat Zekeinim specifically indicates that Avraham served the
Malachim Basar b'Chalav [most other mefarshim say it wasn't BABA"CH [e.g. Bechor
Shor, Rokeach, Abarbanel]. The Malbim says the calf was created by using 
the Sefer Yetzira (like in the story in the gemara in Sanhedrin 65b). BTW I
wonder if the Meshech Chochmah learns there's no BABA"CH with BP from the din of
KACHAL (udder).

Last but not least: since many poskim rule that there is no din of CHELEV
(forbidden fat) in BP, then there's no din of NIKUR ACHORAYIM. In other words a 
kosher sirloin steak !!


Josh Backon


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, Jun 7,2011 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Wall posters in shuls - Modim d'Rabbanan

Avraham Friedenberg <elshpen@...> wrote (MJ 60#16):

> 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.

Such posters are put up in chutz la'arets as well where kohanim only duchan
on Yom Tov. Also they are not always put up on the front wall. So I very much
doubt if this was the original reason.

Martin Stern


From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Tue, Jun 7,2011 at 01:01 PM
Subject: What Day Of The Week Will Shabbos Be In Samoa?

Bernard Raab wrote (MJ 60#13) regarding his son's trip to Australia:
>> He was prepared to avoid any melacha for the hour or two until nightfall
>> (which primarily would mean avoiding use of the lavatory with its electric
>> door switch, etc.), but wondered if he would be expected to daven Shabbat
>> Mincha and Maariv again. My opinion was yes, based on the following
>> reasoning.... 

Sholom Parnes responded (MJ 60#15):

> The psak (halachic ruling) that I heard regarding Jewish astronauts is that
> they observe Shabbat based on their point of departure from Earth. We
> certainly would not expect them to pray the 3 daily prayers each time their
> spaceship completes another orbit! Why should it be any different for those
> flying out of Australia on Sunday?

Halacha has to be practical and has to "feel right", or it will be ignored. The
first Jewish astronaut, Judith Resnick (A"H), was anxious to honor her religion
by lighting Shabbat candles in space, although she understood it would be
electric lights rather than real candles. She was advised to observe the Shabbat
as it would be observed in Houston, the location of mission control, and AFAIK,
she did so. Obviously, any other decision would have been impractical, and would
not have "felt right".The reason we do not apply this "psak" to Earth-bound
travelers is that it just would not feel right. A common schedule for flights
from New York to Tel Aviv is you depart New York sometime before midnight, and
you arrive in Israel on the following afternoon. Would you feel right davening
shachrit after you arrive? If you select a flight with a stop in Europe in order
to save money, you may arrive after dark. The space traveler is in a different
regime altogether. Think of a traveler to Mars. Once out of Earth orbit the
familiar day-night cycle no longer occurs. The sun is always in view. What

Bernie R.

From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahillel@...>
Date: Tue, Jun 7,2011 at 02:01 PM
Subject: What Day Of The Week Will Shabbos Be In Samoa?

David Ziants <dziants@...> wrote (MJ 60#16):

> 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.)

The point being made is that the world has unanimously defined the
seventh day of the week as the day that is currently called in English
"Saturday". This has been accepted by every Jewish community in the
world and is followed by everyone. If a community were to attempt to
change the calendar, it would probably not be accepted. The original
situation was because traveling between communities was difficult and
the communities themselves were isolated. As an example, consider the
end of "Around the World in 80 Days" where Phileas Fogg does not
realize that he is a day off until the end of the trip. This actually
happened during Magellan's trip.


---------------------- begin quote --------------------------------------

The need for a date line was first flagged when Ferdinand Magellan's
expedition circumnavigated the world in 1519/1522. The surviving crew
(a mere 18 men out of 217 who departed) returned to a Spanish stopover
sure of the day of the week, as attested by carefully maintained
sailing logs. Nevertheless, those on land insisted the day was one day
later. This phenomenon, now readily understandable, caused great
excitement at the time, to the extent that a special delegation was
sent to the Pope to explain this temporal oddity to him. The
protagonist in The Twenty-One Balloons also travelled toward the west.

The effect of ignoring the date line is also seen in Jules Verne's
book 'Around the World in Eighty Days', in which Phileas Fogg returns to
London after a trip around the world, thinking that he has lost the
bet that is the central premise of the story. Having travelled in the
direction opposite to Magellan, he believes the date there to be one
day later than it is. Lest anyone accuse Fogg of cheating by obtaining
one extra day, this is not so. On average, each travel day was 18
minutes short of a full 24 hours, accumulating to one full day, which
they failed to correct as we would by setting our calendar back a day
in mid-Pacific.

An error in navigation due to the date line has also been suggested as
a reason for the disappearance of Amelia Earhart and her navigator
Fred Noonan in 1937. Earhart was flying her Lockheed Electra between
Lae, New Guinea and Howland Island on 2 July 1937 when they
disappeared shortly after crossing the date line. Noonan may have made
a mistake in using the proper dates. An error of this magnitude could
have resulted in a 60-nautical-mile (110 km; 69 mi) difference in the
relative location of their intended target. In addition, due to the
oddities of the date line, Earhart and Noonan are shown to have been
alive on the day after they disappeared, flying for several hours on 3
July local time and then disappearing on 2 July.[6]

The date line is also a central factor in Umberto Eco's book The
Island of the Day Before, in which the protagonist finds himself on a
becalmed ship, with an island close at hand on the other side of the
International Date Line. Unable to swim, the protagonist's writings
indulge in increasingly confused speculation of the physical,
metaphysical and religious import of the date line.

--------------------------------- end quote

In fact, the very concept of "time zones" is modern and came about
because the railroads (as an example) could not reset the clock on the
train based on the "local noon" at every stop.

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz 

From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Tue, Jun 7,2011 at 03:01 PM
Subject: What Day Of The Week Will Shabbos Be In Samoa?

Dr. William Gewirtz <wgewirtz@...> wrote (MJ 60#16):

> 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
> dateline).

I am very anxious to hear how that is so, since when my son was in Australia, he
assumed that  he was not to call us in the US on Sunday morning because he was
under the impression that we were still enjoying Shabbat. Was he wrong?

> 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.

I look forward to Dr. Gewirtz's paper, and would ask him to elaborate on the
last point. In particular, is he suggesting that a traveler to Australia from
the west during the sefirah period should be observing Shavuot a day after the
local community? Would he do so even if he intends to stay or to settle in
Australia? If the latter, when does he transition to the local calendar?

--Bernie R.


End of Volume 60 Issue 17