Volume 60 Number 42 
      Produced: Wed, 28 Sep 2011 12:42:31 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Bracha on chocolate (2)
    [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz  Gershon Dubin]
Meaning of the Ending of Aleynu (2)
    [Monica Cellio  Martin Stern]
Mini RH Dvar Torah for you 
    [Alexander Seinfeld]
More on khatzot 
    [Dr. William Gewirtz]
Relatively Modern-day Jewish slavery 
    [Shmuel Himelstein]
Stiebel in Auckland (2)
    [Orrin Tilevitz  Guido Elbogen]
Travel on erev Shabbat 
    [Alexander Seinfeld]


From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahillel@...>
Date: Tue, Sep 27,2011 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Bracha on chocolate

Alexander Seinfeld <seinfeld@...> wrote (MJ 60#41):

> 3. Here in the States one can buy several different brands of raw cacao
> powder. If you want to get a powerful experience, I heartily recommend
> taking a heaping tablespoon of cacao, pour in hot water, then sweeten to
> taste (my taste is about 1 tsp per tbs of cacao). Not only is it delicious
> and chocolaty, it's extremely low-cal (unlike a chocolate bar) and (they
> say) full of good stuff like anti-oxidants. Great weight-control drink. But
> what bracha should you make on it?

Consider the fact that orange juice (squeezed directly from the fruit) is
shehakol. Also consider that the  cacao is ground into a powder so that it
is no longer recognizable as the fruit. This is also a chocolate flavored
drink (you say 1 tbsp per glass) rather than the fruit itself.

I would be inclined to reason that all of these reasons would lead one to
say shehakol. Similarly, the contents of the chocolate bar is no longer
recognizable as the fruit and is "cooked." This would again incline me
towards a shehakol even if the primary ingredient were chocolate (not

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz

From: Gershon Dubin  <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Tue, Sep 27,2011 at 02:01 PM
Subject: Bracha on chocolate

Alexander Seinfeld <seinfeld@...> wrote (MJ 60#41). 

> There is a little-known responsum  from Rav Shlomo Zalman Aurbach z'tzl
> who  concludes that if a person did make the "ha-aytz" bracha on chocolate
> he would not need to make another bracha (unlike, for instance, one who
> erroneously said "ha-aytz" on a glass of water. 

I have not seen that responsum (have you-do you have a citation?) but heard that
he actually held that the beracha should lechatchila be haeitz, but didn't want
to publicize it because everyone was used to making a shehakol.



From: Monica Cellio <cellio@...>
Date: Tue, Sep 27,2011 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Meaning of the Ending of Aleynu

Bill Bernstein wrote (MJ 60#40):

> I  recall a drasha I saw (perhaps it's a gemara somewhere).  In aleinu we
> say, On that day HaShem will be One, etc.  They ask, isn't He already
> One?  As it says, Shma Yisroel etc?

I asked this question on judaism.stackexchange.com here:


To summarize (follow the link for details and sources), while we already 
know that God is one, the end of Aleinu means that

(1) everybody else will agree with us and will serve God, and
(2) all other gods will be destroyed.


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, Sep 27,2011 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Meaning of the Ending of Aleynu

Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...> wrote (MJ 60#41):

> Bill Bernstein wrote (MJ 60#40):
>> I  recall a drasha I saw (perhaps it's a gemara somewhere).  In aleinu we
>> say, On that day HaShem will be One, etc.  They ask, isn't He already
>> One?  As it says, Shma Yisroel etc?
> I think that's the reason why it says both: HaShem will be one and His
> name will be one. The key point is the second one. But you need both.
> If you say just the first the question is "isn't He now one?" If you
> have just the second, then you could say His name will be one but
> maybe that won't be correct.

I think Sammy may have hit on the important point that, of course, Hashem is
one and the crucial aspect is the meaning of the phrase "and His name one".
IIRC its explanation is that all nations will recognise Hashem and no longer
worship other deities. 

This would be in line with the basic idea expressed in the tefillot of Rosh
Hashanah that Hashem is king of ALL the world and should be recognised as such
by everyone. Of course Aleinu was originally the introduction to the Malchuyot
[Kingship] passage in mussaf on RH. It was only added to the daily tefillot much
later, in the days of Rabbeinu Tam after the martyrdom of the Jewish community
of Blois, who impressed both Jews and non-Jews by chanting it to its traditional
haunting melody as they were being burned alive.

Martin Stern


From: Alexander Seinfeld <seinfeld@...>
Date: Wed, Sep 28,2011 at 02:01 AM
Subject: Mini RH Dvar Torah for you

Feel free to use if you like or to ignore.

By what zechut [merit] have we and will we merit Eretz Yisroel [living in
all of the Land of Israel]? How many times does the Torah remind us,
because I promised it to Avraham [Abraham] etc.

Even when we will merit it, this will be truly on Avraham Avinu's coat-tails.

But let us look at what was promised to Avraham Avinu first and foremost,
"your name will be 'Avraham' because you will be the father of many nations"
(i.e., the whole world will become monotheistic and it will be in your

But 'Avraham' can also be read as "Av-RHM" - Father of 245 (245 is the
gematria of RHM).

I.e., God is promising, "our covenant is not fulfilled until your message
reaches 245 distinct nations".

If you look at the UN count (with newly added South Somalia et al.), at about
193 nations, we seem far away from 245, even with potential splits of

But who says the UN has the last word on the definition of nation? Maybe
nation doesn't mean nation-state but rather a group of people recognized by the 
world to have a distinct nationality.

For this I turn to the official 2-letter internet codes. You know, Israel is
.il, the UK is .uk, the USA is .us, etc.

I first checked this about 3 years ago, and we were up to about 230 or so.

On a whim, I checked again yesterday. Exactly 245. The promise may now be
fulfilled. But the ball is in our court to make Hashem King, to fulfill
within ourselves the true meaning of monotheism and its implications, and to
become a light to the nations (finally!).

Have a sweet, healthy & fruitful 5772! 

Alexander Seinfeld


From: Dr. William Gewirtz <wgewirtz@...>
Date: Tue, Sep 27,2011 at 09:01 AM
Subject: More on khatzot

In MJ 60#41, the thread on khatzot continues.

Interestingly, the issue about khatzot addressed by Rabbi Elazar M. Teitz and
others and RMF ztl's position that it is the same every day is probably related
to many similar positions, all difficult if not impossible to justify, held by
many achronim. For example, the Zurich community, based on a mesorah from R.
Nosson Adler, maintains that khatzot is slightly before astronomical midday. R.
Shlomo Zalman Auerbach ztl maintained that khatzot halailah, important as the
latest time to eat the afikomen, is also earlier. In Jerusalem, over 100
years ago, there was a battle over the correct method to calculate the opinion
of what we call the Magen Avraham. The method used also resulted in khatzot
occurring before astronomical midday and was abandoned. Since the new method
adopted, proposed by R.Yechial Michel Tukatzinsky and strongly supported by
Ramban in Torat Ha'Adam, resulted in a slightly later time for sof zman kriat
shema, it was opposed by R. Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld.

In a forthcoming paper, I provide a possible explanation of how the custom of
Jerusalem and Zurich originated and how it may have morphed into this rather
difficult position. That may also explain RMFs position; it would not fully
explain the position of RSZA.

Dr. William Gewirtz


From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
Date: Tue, Sep 27,2011 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Relatively Modern-day Jewish slavery

I think Josh Backon (MJ 60#41) is misinformed about the Cochin Meshuchrarim
Jews. There is no doubt that these were originally non-Jews, who, upon
manumission, became full Jews. That is as Jewish Law demands. Unfortunately, the
Cochin Jews did not treat them that way, and by adding their caveat about
"according to the customs of Cochin" when freeing these slaves, attempted to
convey that the Meshuchrarim - while Jewish (otherwise they could never get
an Aliyah), nevertheless wanted to "keep them in their (inferior) place." 

According to Wikipedia (fount of all wisdom?) the Paradesi Synagogue (in Cochin)
had three classes of members: 

White Jews were full members. The White Jews, or Paradesi Jews, were the
recent descendants of Sephardim from Holland and Spain.

Black Jews were allowed to worship but were not admitted to full membership.
These Cochin Jews were the original Jewish settlers of Cochin.

Meshuchrarim, a group of freed slaves who had no communal rights and no
synagogue of their own sat on the floor or on the steps outside. However, in
the first half of the 20th century, Abraham Barak Salem, a meshuchrar,
successfully campaigned against this discrimination. 

Shmuel Himelstein


From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Tue, Sep 27,2011 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Stiebel in Auckland

Andy Goldfinger <Andy.Goldfinger@...> wrote (MJ 60#40):

> Message from the Stiebel Committee
> ...
> We are in the difficult position of having more people wanting to attend the
> Stiebel services on the High Holy days than the Raye Freedman Library building
> can accommodate. We are specifically referring to 3 services: First Day Rosh
> Hashanah, Kol Nidre and the day of Yom Kippur, including Ne'ila.

> An email was sent earlier to those AHC members who attend Stiebel services with
> some regularity, asking them to book for these three services. From the
> responses it is already clear that there are more people who wish to attend than
> the library can hold. A second email was sent email to those people advising
> them of this and encouraging them to attend the services at Greys Ave.

Since the AHC doesn't publish the address of the Raye Freedman Library I won't
either, but it is 8.4 km from the Greys Ave. building. The implication of the
second email is that people should drive to services. AHC serves Jews of all
denominations (even though the services are Orthodox). While I am in no position
to pasken or criticize, the permissibility of this advice is at least debatable.

From: Guido Elbogen <havlei.h@...>
Date: Tue, Sep 27,2011 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Stiebel in Auckland

I was intrigued to notice that the location of the main Auckland Hebrew
Congregation was stated  to be at at 108 Greys Avenue, Auckland Central while
absolutely no mention of the Steibl location could be found.

However after seeing the post (MJ 60#40):

> Message from the Stiebel Committee
> High Holy Day Stiebel service attendance:
> the Raye Freedman Library building

I found in google one document with the address 788 Remeura Rd, Remuera

Is there an intentional desire to hide the address?


From: Alexander Seinfeld <seinfeld@...>
Date: Wed, Sep 28,2011 at 02:01 AM
Subject: Travel on erev Shabbat

Carl Singer wrote (MJ 60#41):

> I believe this family
> (a) shouldn't have bought those tickets in the first place and
> (b) definitely should never have gotten on the plane.
> I say this not just as a matter of opinion but as a lesson learned from a
> Gadol HaDor.

Martin Stern <md.stern@...> wrote (MJ 60#41):

> I would not have contemplated leaving any later for that very reason and have
> tried to avoid travelling out of town on Fridays ever since.

One need not take Carl's word for it - see Mishna Berura 249:3 (towards end)
- he seems too hold it's mamash assur [explicitly forbidden] to make such a
risky trip erev-Shabbos [Sabbath eve].

(That said, it seems to be permitted for a big enough mitzvah - we don't
know why this family bought those tickets - perhaps they were going to do a
big mitzvah? Perhaps they asked their Rav who told them it's risky but they
should go? Perhaps their error wasn't getting on the plane, it was getting
off the plane? Perhaps they were in transit from another flight from far
away and had in fact left home on Thursday and had no clue that this might

(Incidentally, see also Shulchan Aruch 266 - what to do with one's mukseh
items [money etc. that may not be carried on Sabbath] if chas v'shalom [God
forbid] one finds oneself not yet at destination on Friday at sunset and
must descend from one's mule and walk the last mile, or to our example, if
one finds oneself stuck in the airport on Shabbat with mukseh items, may it
never occur.)

Kesiva v'chatima tova to all - may you be inscribed and sealed in the Book
of Life!


End of Volume 60 Issue 42