Volume 60 Number 37 
      Produced: Fri, 16 Sep 2011 11:10:30 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

B'racha on crust coated American peanuts - m'zonot or ha'adama (3)
    [Martin Stern  Michael Poppers  Akiva Miller]
Davening without talis and tefilin 
    [Martin Stern]
Hashem as "King" (3)
    [Tony Fiorino  Alexander Seinfeld  David Tzohar]
Kedem Grape Juice (shortage?) 
    [Leah S.R. Gordon]
Regarding phone booth davening 
    [Leah S.R. Gordon]
Shabbat in New Zealand (2)
    [Orrin Tilevitz  Judith Weil]
Shabbat Shalom (3)
    [Mark Steiner  Ira L. Jacobson  Leah S.R. Gordon]
Tribal origins of Ashkenazim and Sephardim (3)
    [Lisa Liel  Tony Fiorino  David Tzohar]


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, Sep 13,2011 at 05:01 PM
Subject: B'racha on crust coated American peanuts - m'zonot or ha'adama

David Ziants <dziants@...> wrote (MJ 6036):
> This evening, I bought a small packet of American peanuts coated with a
> kind of a thin hard biscuit crust.
> ...
> I said "borei p'ri ha'adama" because from what I learnt in shi'urim
> [lectures] and from personal discussion with Rabbanim:-
> a) When there is this situation, one just says the b'racha of the ikar
> [main item].
> b) Sometimes what is tafel and what is ikar is not always obvious, and
> in these situations it can go according to personal taste.
> ...
> In the case of this evening's nuts I felt the b'racha I said was the
> correct one - but on reading the information printed on the packet, my
> question is:-
> Are there any other halachic factors that could give weight that the
> b'racha is mezonot - and not ha'adama - despite that the bulk of each
> round thing in the packet is a nut?

Generally something made from the five species of grain is automatically the
ikar and the correct berachah is mezonot. The only exceptions are

1) where a small amount flour has been added to an otherwise shehakol
confection for binding purposes but NOT for flavour

2) where the mezonot item is only used to hold the other one and would never
be eaten on its own e.g. an ice cream cone

This would cause problems with cheesecake where it might be argued that a
thin pastry base was only there to support the main part (so one would only
make a shhakol) but it could equally well be argued that it is an intrinsic
part of the whole cake (requiring mezonot). In practice consult your LOR.

Martin Stern

From: Michael Poppers <MPoppers@...>
Date: Tue, Sep 13,2011 at 05:01 PM
Subject: B'racha on crust coated American peanuts - m'zonot or ha'adama

In MJ 60#36, David Ziants <dziants@...> asked:
> Are there any other halachic factors that could give weight that the
> b'racha is mezonot - and not ha'adama - despite that the bulk of each
> round thing in the packet is a nut?

That the appropriate b'rachah would be "M'zonos" even when the grain product
seemingly is secondary and is a minority ingredient is noted in BT B'rachos
(36b, bottom of page, in the Vilna edition).  For some thoughts, see the VBM
shiur by R'Moshe Taragin, available online at
http://www.vbm-torah.org/archive/metho65/19metho.htm .

Best wishes for a shanah tovah umsuqah to all! from
Michael Poppers * Elizabeth, NJ, USA

From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Tue, Sep 13,2011 at 08:01 PM
Subject: B'racha on crust coated American peanuts - m'zonot or ha'adama

David Ziants (MJ 60#36) asked about the bracha on peanuts having a coating made
primarily of flour.  The analysis he gave would work well for those peanuts
which are coated in chocolate. But flour has a special status, causing the
bracha of a food to be mezonos even when the flour is a small minority of the
ingredients, and even when it is not the main reason for eating the food. If I
remember correctly, the only requirement for mezonos is that the flour is there
for taste or texture, and not merely as a binder.

For further information, I'd suggest looking in any book about these halachos,
and seeing what they say about cheesecakes and ice cream sandwiches.

Akiva Miller


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, Sep 13,2011 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Davening without talis and tefilin

Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...> wrote (MJ 60#36):
> I would think the problem here could be that:
> 1) You shouldn't make the brachah before its time.
> and
> 2) If the time occurs while they are on, the proper form of the
> brachah would not longer be "L'*" but "Al *"

Whether we use the formulation "L'..." or "Al ..." in any particular
situation is not clear but it certainly has nothing to do with whether one
makes the berachah before or after doing the mitsvah - one must always say
it before.
> We say for instance "Al Netilas Yadayim" because it is said after the
> performanace of the mitzvah is completed.

The correct procedure is to wash, take the towel in one's hands, say the
berachah and then dry them. Drying is part of the mitsvah and so one is
saying the berachah before completing it.

Martin Stern


From: Tony Fiorino <afiorino@...>
Date: Tue, Sep 13,2011 at 10:01 PM
Subject: Hashem as "King"

Reuven Kimmelman has written on this topic, in particular the historical
development of the concept of God as King in the liturgy.  See his article in
_Liturgy in the Life of the Synagogue_, edited by Ruth Langer and Steven Fine. 
If I recall, he discusses the replacement of an earlier view of prayer as
analagous to a slave approaching his/her master with a later view using the
King-subject metaphor.


From: Alexander Seinfeld <seinfeld@...>
Date: Wed, Sep 14,2011 at 01:01 AM
Subject: Hashem as "King"

Ira Bauman <irabauman1@...> wrote (MJ 60#35):
> In preparation for Rosh Hashana, I would like to see if any person can shed
> some light on these problems I have with the Rosh Hashana liturgy.
> A major theme on RH is the "coronation " of Hashem as king.  Is king the
> best we can do?  Is it even appropriate?  I understand that the Torah is
> replete with anthropomorphic comments to allow us a better understanding of
> Hashem.

I have a similar but slightly different take on your question.

Hashem runs the world - knowledge or belief?

Well, we believe it to be true, because we have evidence that it is true.
But why do we need evidence? Why doesn't Hashem simply reveal Himself in
some immistakable way?

Answer: evidently, Hashem's "hiding" behind the veil of the material world
is good for us. The goal is certainly to "know" that Hashem runs the world,
but to get to that knowledge on our own, rather than be spoon-fed.

The word "melech" is related to "m'lich" - i.e., "the one who causes
movement". The degree to which we meditate on and internalize the idea that
this invisible but evidently very Real and True Creator is causing the world
to go 'round, is the degree to which we are "making Hashem melech".

Hope that's helpful... If not, hit the delete key...

Kesiva v'chesima tova,

Alexander Seinfeld

From: David Tzohar <davidtzohar@...>
Date: Wed, Sep 14,2011 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Hashem as "King"

Ira Bauman (MJ60#35) has a problem with the concept of Hashem as king. It is
one thing to be uncomfortable with the metaphor, commentators since the time
of Onkelos have dealt with this. But to deny the kingdom of Hashem and to
compare it with the mortal kingdoms of the likes of Kaddafi and Idi Amin?!!
This is a gross distortion and comes perilously close to an expression of
kefira. Even the kings Solomon and David who are held up as examples of
righteous kings are portrayed in the Tanach and rabbinic literature as
flawed. By contrast, Hashem is the perfect king and judge. If not why should
we observe his commandments? Without the metaphor it would be difficult to
understand the concept of the kingdom of Hashem in its revealed and simple

We must understand that this concept can only be understood on a deeper,
mystical level. Malchut is one of the ten sefirot (spheres) which describe
the attributes of Hashem. Malchut is one of the lower sefirot in which Hashem
"descends" and appears in our world. Davka in the month of Ellul this is
emphasized. There is the metaphor of "Hamelech basadeh" where the King leaves
his lofty palace to meet his subjects in the field. This direct contact is
the preface to the coronation of Hashem on Rosh Hashana, as He who was, is,
and always will be the King of the universe.

David Tzohar


From: Leah S.R. Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Thu, Sep 15,2011 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Kedem Grape Juice (shortage?)

Has anyone else found a shortage of Kedem Grape Juice (large bottles)?  I
have gone to several stores and one Shaw's [I live near Boston] called their
distributor for me, and there seems to be a lack of product available.  Now
hopefully I have not *caused* a shortage/hoarding by even asking the
question on M.J :)  We do have wine, and a few bottles of KGJ left, but I
had wanted to stock up for the season, obviously.

--Leah S. R. Gordon


From: Leah S.R. Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Thu, Sep 15,2011 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Regarding phone booth davening

My friend Shifra in college told me the story of someone she knew, who had
gone into a phone booth to daven mincha (as mentioned previously by David Ziants
in MJ 60#35 in his posting regarding using cell phones as siddurim).

Apparently the woman was davening, and there were repeated knocks on the
booth, and the woman thought to herself, "they'll just have to wait; I'm
using the booth" - and she had taken the receiver under her chin to look
more authentic.

Evidently after davening, she opened the door and the person there was a
repair technician who said, "that phone is broken and we have to fix it"
with a very strange look.

--Leah S. R. Gordon


From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Tue, Sep 13,2011 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Shabbat in New Zealand

In response to my query about the location of the shtiebel in the Auckland
suburbs, Bernard Raab asks (MJ 60#36) whether they observe Shabbat on Saturday.

They do.

(BTW, meanwhile I have found the location of the shtiebel, or "Stiebel" as they
spell it, but since it's not on the Auckland Hebrew Congregation website I'm not
posting it; anyone interested may email me privately).

And I have another dateline-related question, which I don't recall being
answered in the recent thread. Let us say that you fly from New Zealand to the
U.S., across the Pacific, on the day of a taanit other than Tisha B'av. You will
land on the west coast of the United States on the same day you left, several
hours earlier, i.e., on the same taanit. In the interim, you have gone through a
night, so the fast has ended. Must you fast twice? Do you instead get to pick
which one? May you take the position that you needn't fast either time because
it is unclear which day your're supposed to fast, and safeik derabanan lekula?
And the opposite question: a flight leaving the U.S. on the day before a taanit
will arrive in New Zealand on the day after the taanit. Are you exempt from
fasting either time? Does it matter if the flight leaves the U.S. after dark, so
that the day of the taanit has begun even though the taanit itself has not?

From: Judith Weil  <weildj@...>
Date: Tue, Sep 13,2011 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Shabbat in New Zealand

Bernard Raab <beraab@...> wrote (MJ 60#36):

> And could you please find out if they observe Shabbat on Saturday, since
> apparently there are still some among us who cling to the idea that there
> are Jewish communities somewhere that follow the p'sak of the Chazon Ish
> regarding a halachic dateline which differs from the international dateline
> (which would require that they observe Shabbat on Sunday)?

I did some research a few years ago on dateline-related issues. As I
understood it, New Zealand's local community, Australia's Chabad community
and its Mizrachi community, regard the New Zealand Shabbos as coinciding
with Saturday. Australia's Yeshiva community, and I think its Chassidim,
other than Chabad, regard it as unclear whether Shabbos coincides with
Saturday or Sunday. They therefore avoid being in NZ over a weekend, but if
they are they observe two days (the second day possibly not as a complete
Shabbos, but just not doing work).

The source of the controversy is the question of whether the Jewish dateline
lies 90 degrees (six hours) or 180 degrees (12 hours) from Jerusalem. 

According to one of the opinions, the dateline would fall within Australia.
There is nevertheless no problem within the mainland, because of the opinion
that an entire landmass always observes the same day. 

The same question that applies to NZ also applies to Tasmania. Although NZ's
Jewish community is relatively young, Tasmania's goes back a lot further,
and Shabbos was always observed there on Saturday.

I don't think anyone thinks that Shabbos should be observed just on a Sunday
in NZ. The question is whether it should be just Saturday, or both Saturday
and Sunday.

I consulted a number of people at the time and received some fascinating
information and heard some fascinating opinions that I am reluctant to
publish on a public list. The dateline question is one that is very, very
interesting and I felt I just touched the tip of the iceberg.



From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Tue, Sep 13,2011 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Shabbat Shalom

Joseph Mosseri (MJ 60#35) asks about the expression Shabbat shalom.  The closest
I found to Shabbat shalom in the Talmud is "shivtu beshalom", said when
visiting mourners or patients on Shabbat.  I have a theory that Shabbat
shalom is a Modern Hebrew replacement for the Yiddish "gut shabbes."
However, in Yiddish there are two related expressions: "Gut shabbes," which
is said only on Shabbat, and "A gutn Shabbes", which can be said before
Shabbat, since it expresses a wish that the person should have a good
Shabbat.  There might even be halakhic differences between these two, since
some of the Aharonim say that merely saying "Gut shabbes" Friday night
fulfills the Biblical commandment of "Kiddush hayom".   "A gutn shabbes" would
not in my opinion help, since it does not express the greatness of Shabbat.
Shabbat Shalom replaces both of these Yiddish expressions, hence the
confusion Joseph detects.

From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Wed, Sep 14,2011 at 04:01 AM
Subject: Shabbat Shalom

Martin Stern stated (MJ 60#36):

> I have noticed that some people are avoiding saying Shabbat Shalom 
> or Gut Shabbos on Fridays as they always used to do and say Erev 
> Shabbat Shalom or Gut Erev Shabbos instead, which strikes me as over-pedantic.

There is a shita that holds that saying Shabbat Shalom (or its 
equivalent in other languages) is one way to accept Shabbat (as long 
as it is done after pelag haminha).

Perhaps these people are not ready to accept Shabbat and therefore 
refrain from saying that formula.


From: Leah S.R. Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Thu, Sep 15,2011 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Shabbat Shalom

I always thought it was weird when people said "shabbat shalom" earlier in
the week, but then noticed it is usually people who won't see you again
until after shabbat (or on shabbat) so that made sense.  I like it a heck of
a lot more than when people don't say "shabbat shalom" on shabbat, passing
on the sidewalk, despite obviously knowing you're Jewish [but you're dressed
and/or coming from a direction so they suspect a different hashgafa].

--Leah S. R. Gordon


From: Lisa Liel <lisa@...>
Date: Tue, Sep 13,2011 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Tribal origins of Ashkenazim and Sephardim

Judith Weil <weildj@...> wrote (MJ 60#36):

> I have come across a contention that Sephardim are primarily from the 
> tribe of Yehuda while Ashkenazim are primarily from Binyamin. I was told 
> that the source for this is Ovadia verse 20, and the Rashi on this verse. The 
> verse states that Yehuda was exiled to Sepharad, which the Targum translates as
> Spain.
> This is all very well, but Ovadia is prophecy and not history. Is anyone
> aware of any historical indication of the origins of the Sephardi and
> Ashkenazi communities?

I would imagine that a tradition like this would probably be based on 
the idea that the first Sephardi rabbis were from Babylon, and the first 
Ashkenazi ones were from the Land of Israel.  The leadership in Babylon 
was the Exilarchy, which was descended from the House of David, while 
the leadership in Israel was the Ethnarchy, who were descendants of 
Hillel.  And according to Rav Sherira Gaon, if I'm not mistaken, Hillel 
was from the tribe of Benjamin (also from Judah on his mother's side, 
but tribe is patrilineal).

But there's been an awful lot of mixing, and when Jews were expelled 
from Spain, those who went to Ashkenazi countries became Ashkenazim, so 
I don't think we can say anything about tribes at this point, other than 


From: Tony Fiorino <afiorino@...>
Date: Tue, Sep 13,2011 at 11:01 PM
Subject: Tribal origins of Ashkenazim and Sephardim

In reply to Judith Weil  <weildj@...> (MJ 60#36):

The pasuk itself does not actualy specify Yehuda; rather it mentions "galut
Yerushalayim."  Although the dating of Ovadia is uncertain, there is no question
it was composed long before there was any diaspora in Europe.  Indeed, Ovadia is
likely referring to the exile resulting from the destruction of the first
temple, so the identification of "Sepharad" in this pasuk with Spain is no doubt
an anachronism - more likely it referred to someplace within the Babylonian empire.

If, when you ask about the "origins of the Sephardi and Ashkenazi communities,"
you take "Sephardi" in the traditional sense as meaning Jews of Spain, as far as
I know there is no evidence for a Jewish presence in Spain before second Temple
times, perhaps around the time Jews appear in Rome - most likely these would
have arrived in Spain from North Africa.  I don't know if  those settlements
were continuous with later communities in the Middle Ages.  If by "Sephardi" you
assume the modern usage, referring to Levantine or Mizrachi Jews, then we
obviously have ample evidence of a Jewish diaspora east of Eretz Yisrael from at
least the time of the destruction of Bayit Rishon.  As far as Ashkenazim go, the
accepted chronology has Jews migrating to the Rhine valley in Germany from
northern Italy and southern France in the 9th or 10th century, though there may
have been some pre-medieval Jewish settlement that was not continuous with those
later communities.


From: David Tzohar <davidtzohar@...>
Date: Wed, Sep 14,2011 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Tribal origins of Ashkenazim and Sephardim

In reply to Judith Weil  <weildj@...> (MJ 60#36):

I don't know of any historical basis for the tribal origins of Ashkenazim
and Sefaradim. There are however theories about origins from the time of the
second exile which are based on historical facts. 

The origins of Ashkenazim are from three different groups:

1- Those exiled to Rome and Italy who migrated through Provence to Germany
and central Europe and from there to Poland, Russia, the Baltic states and
the Ukraine.

2- Exiles from Bavel (present day Iraq), who migrated through southern
Russia and from there to the rest of Eastern Europe.

3-Descendants of the Khazar kingdom of southern Russia who converted to
Judaism and assimilated into the Jewish communities of Eastern Europe after
the fall of the Khazar kingdom.

The Sefaradim were a more homogeneous group who came to the Iberian
penninsula before and after the destruction of the second temple and the
failure of the Bar-Cochba rebellion. After the expulsions from Spain and
Portugal they dispersed mainly to Italy, Greece, the Balkans, and Turkey. In
North Africa  they mixed with the descendants of the ancient communities
from the times of Carthage and Hellenist Alexandria.

The communities of Yemen, Persia, Afghanistan, and India while often called
Sefaradim have different origins with no connection to the Sefaradim. The
Yemenites for instance came to Yemen from Eretz Yisrael after the
destruction of the first temple. The same is true of the origins of the
Persian community.

David Tzohar


End of Volume 60 Issue 37