Volume 60 Number 51 
      Produced: Mon, 05 Dec 2011 15:09:43 EST

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Bar Elahin (3)
    [Yisrael Medad  Robert Schoenfeld  Martin Stern]
Bread over Wine Friday Night? 
    [Stu Pilichowski]
Chavivut hamitsvot 
    [Sammy Finkelman]
Chazeros Hashatz 
    [Sammy Finkelman]
Marit Ayin 
    [Bernard Raab]
Minhag question 
    [David Ziants]
Nut shells' muktzeh status (2)
    [Gershon Dubin   Stephen Phillips]
Secular courts serving ecclesiastical courts 
    [Immanuel Burton]
The solution to a conundrum 
    [Martin Stern]


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Sat, Dec 3,2011 at 07:01 PM
Subject: Bar Elahin

Of course, those who wrote of the references to Jesus & Muhammed realize 
that if Shimon Bar-Yochai was indeed the author of the Zohar, there's a 
slight problem of chronology there.


From: Robert Schoenfeld <frank_james@...>
Date: Sat, Dec 3,2011 at 08:01 PM
Subject: Bar Elahin

Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...> wrote (MJ 60#49):

> Brich Shmey, customarily recited before the Torah is taken out, contains the
> well-known passage "la al enash rachitzna vela al bar elahin samichna ela
> be-elaha dibishmaya"--I do not trust in a human being or rely on 'bar elahin'
> but instead on God who is in heaven."

> Because translating "bar elahin" literally "son of God" is theologically
> problematic, English translations, at least those I've seen (Art Scroll and
> Koren), translate the phrase as "angels" which, apparently, it means in the 
> Book of Daniel. (Others don't say brich shmay at all for this reason ...) 

Probably it means worshipers of other gods, not actually or physically sons of
gods, i.e. heathens, not Jews or other monotheists.


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, Dec 5,2011 at 02:01 AM
Subject: Bar Elahin

Ben Katz <BKatz@...> wrote (MJ 60#50):
> Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...> wrote (MJ 60#49):
>> Brich Shmey, customarily recited before the Torah is taken out, contains the
>> well-known passage "la al enash rachitzna vela al bar elahin samichna ela
>> be-elaha dibishmaya"--I do not trust in a human being or rely on 'bar elahin'
>> but instead on God who is in heaven."
> However, what is going on in Brich Shmay may be more subtle.  The author may
> be saying he doesn't put faith in enosh = Mohammed and bar elahin = Jesus.
> BTW, this then has implications for when and where the prayer was authored.

I am not sure that this identification is necessarily correct -- rather, the
passage might be a polemic at two groups of Judeo-Christians, those who considered 
Jesus to be a human with some special power of mediation (Arians) and those who 
saw him as part of the Divinity (Trinitarians). Both groups saw him as a conduit 
through which they directed their prayers, unlike the Muslims, who never 
attributed such a role to Muhammad.

If this identification is correct, this particular passage is not evidence of
late composition.

Martin Stern


From: Stu Pilichowski <cshmuel@...>
Date: Sat, Dec 3,2011 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Bread over Wine Friday Night?

This Friday night I found myself without wine or grape juice. So instead of
borrowing a bottle from a friend or neighbor (as I learned one is supposed to
do) I simply made kiddush with challah/hamotzie.

I found a citing in the mishna brura (siman 272 sif katan 32) that says one
could make kiddush on bread as the preferred way / lechatchilah, if he prefers
bread over wine. Ever hear of such a thing?

Stu P
Mevasseret Zion


From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Fri, Dec 2,2011 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Chavivut hamitsvot

Martin Stern asked (MJ 60#45):

> ... I notice many people do rush to take the arba minim before the
> end of chazarat hashats, when one should be concentrating on what
> the shats is saying, and, what to me seems even less justifiable,
> make the berachah on it then. Can anyone suggest a limud zekhut
> [ex post facto justification] for what seems to be a widespread
> custom?

Akiva Miller commented (MJ 60#46):

> I agree that this is not the best way of doing things, but as one
> who is guilty of it myself, I'll offer these ex post facto justifications:

> Depending on various factors, there simply might not be enough time to do
> these things if one waits until after the chazan has completed his repetition
> of the amidah. In some shuls, there might be a short break while the chazan
> attends to his own lulav, but in others he might have it already prepared so
> that he can begin Hallel with only a slight delay.

That the whole story. Whoever is managing the davening in that shul,
did not give enough time for things.

Now there is no obligation to listen to Chazeros Hashatz. If there is
anything it would be Kedushah and Modim. If someone, let us say, is
behind in the davening, they don't listen. You might say there is an
obligation to say Amen but that's only if you are paying attention.
Too many people not doing so maybe could be a problem for the minyan.

But there is an obligation to take the Lulav and Esrog and people want
to do this before the beginning of Hallel because it is held up during
Hallel, so they wind up preparing before Hallel. If no special time
is given before Hallel for people to take the Lulav and Esrog out of
their comntainers, and hold them up and make a brachah, this will


From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Fri, Dec 2,2011 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Chazeros Hashatz

If I am correct:

The Rambam stopped Chazeros Hashatz - or rather he stopped the
individual recitation of Shemonah Esrei - because people were not
paying attention to Chazeros Hashatz. Chazeros Hashatz was needed for
many people to be yotzei [fulfil their halchic obligation - MOD], so he kept
that but made that the only recitation, which resulted in it getting more 

There is no personal obligation that I know of to follow Chazeros
Hashatz - it is just a method of fulfilling the obligation to say it -
although there may be some obligation to answer Amen if you do.


From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Fri, Dec 2,2011 at 02:01 AM
Subject: Marit Ayin

Ben Katz wrote (MJ 60#50):

> Bernard Raab  wrote (MJ 60#49):

>> I have found marit ayin to be a highly subjective phenomenon. My best
>> illustration of this was the time that my wife was given a prescription by 
>> her doctor on Friday afternoon with instruction to begin taking the 
>> medication immediately. Since it was already candle-lighting time, and our 
>> pharmacy was directly opposite our shul, I took the prescription with me on 
>> my way to shul. The medication would be ready for pick up on my way home 
>> from shul. Of course,this meant that I would be seen going into the pharmacy 
>> on Shabbat just as everyone was leaving the shul, so my concern was with 
>> marit ayin. I consulted our LOR, a highly respected posek ha'ir. His 
>> response: "What are you worried about? Everybody knows you -- nobody will 
>> think you are being mechalel Shabbos."
>> Would that it were so!
> I believe for marit ayin to apply someone needs to see the entire act.  
> Someone seeing you walk in and out of a drug store and pick up an item 
> without paying should realize you made some other arrangement; thus this act 
> should not qualify as marit ayin.

Of course you are correct. If someone could see me complete the transaction
inside the pharmacy, a highly unlikely event, then it would not qualify as marit
ayin. My concern, and the traditional definition of marit ayin, is when someone
sees only a portion of the complete incident, and could draw a mistaken
inference from it about what may or may not be permitted on Shabbat. Here is
another example:

Many years before the above-described event, my wife and I bought our first
home, a typical suburban ranch house. The previous owner had installed a lawn
sprinkler system with a 10-day clock. This meant that you could select any
pattern of days for watering the lawn which would repeat every ten days. This
meant that whatever pattern you selected, a week would arrive in which the
sprinklers would come on on Shabbat. I knew that this might lead someone to
conclude that I had turned on the sprinklers on Shabbat, perhaps to conclude
that there is no prohibition of doing so, a typical case of marit ayin. I could
have replaced the clock with a 7-day clock which would avoid the issue, although
it would not obviate the YomTov problem. And so I consulted our LOR, also an
eminent Rav and educator. His initial reaction was: "So what's the problem?"
"Marit ayin", I responded. His response was very similar to the one I got many
years later: "Don't worry about it. Nobody will think that you chose to turn on
the sprinklers..."

You may be tempted to conclude from this that I am a fire-breathing charedi or
perhaps a fervent chasid with costume to match. Those who know me will find such
thoughts truly hilarious. My conclusion from these incidents and others is that
marit ayin might have had some serious reach in the European shtetle, but is
rarely found to be applicable in today's social environment.  I can speculate
about the reasons for this, but I would be interested to know if any of you
have had similar experiences and agree or disagree.

Bernie R.


From: David Ziants <dziants@...>
Date: Thu, Dec 1,2011 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Minhag question

Irwin Weiss asked in MJ V60#49:
> From where comes the minhag that if one has, God forbid, a death in the
> family, that one sits in a different place then his usual place in shul, as a
> sign that something isn't right?
> I noted that in the Haftarah for Machar Chodesh, which we read today, there is 
> in verse 27 a Samech [indicating a paragraph break - MOD] in the middle of the 
> sentence .... Saul is having a big festive meal for Rosh Chodesh (New Moon)
> and he notes a chair with no guest .... Distress results. How come David isn't 
> there, he wonders? The seating order is not normal.
> I don't know if this is the reason for the Samech in the middle of the Pasuk
> (sentence), but, in any event, when not everyone is there and seated in a
> normal way, Saul senses that something is amiss. (It would be like if you had
> plans for 15 people for Thanksgiving and someone didn't show up ..... Where
> could they be? Is there something wrong?)
> Now, I sort of doubt that this is the source of the minhag. So, what is the
> source of the minhag?
The minhag of sitting in a different place in shul, during the year of 
mourning, is I think more to do with forcing a degree of disorientation 
on oneself rather than demonstrating something amiss.

I actually want to relate more to the narrative of the Haftara, and also 
I agree that this has probably nothing to do with the mentioned custom.

Reading the pesukim [sentences], it was only on the second day of Rosh 
Chodesh that Shaul became suspicious of David's absence.
Neither in my edition of the Koren Tanach nor in my Mikraot Gedolot 
[Tanach with commentaries] do I see a paragraph break in the middle of the 
pasuk, but it is just before pasuk 27. Your idea about an empty seat 
represented by a space mid-pasuk would have been nice if this was the case.
I did see that many of the paragraphs end negatively "will die", "is 
impure" - maybe the ba'aley mesora [those who documented the scribal 
traditions] wanted to separate the continuation of the narrative from 
these suppositions (sounds like "supper" but no pun intended), which in 
any case b"h never materialised. ("David's seed will live for ever" in 
the other paragraph endings of the haphtara is what did materialise.)

Apart from possibly Avner sitting in Jonathan's place to keep him from 
his father's hitting range (see Radak there), I don't think that there 
were any other changes of places documented. The pasuk especially 
mentions that it was David's seat that was empty and no one tried to 
conceal it. I imagine that it could happen quite frequently that a guest 
could be spiritually impure and therefore would not be able to partake 
of sh'lamim or even not want to sit at the king's table out of respect 
(I think also Radak). But then, I would expect specifically the 
opposite - the reclining pillow of the missing person would discreetly 
be removed (no table and chairs those days) and other guests in the 
know would swap positions so the missing guest would be less noticeable. 
For there is an embarrassment involved, and the done thing would to try 
and conceal it. (For example, a generation later, King Shlomo built the 
Bet Mikdash with tunnels so that the kohanim who became impure in the 
middle of the night could leave the area quickly and quietly.)

So, it seems that Jonathan wanted his father Saul to notice that David 
was missing, and probably what annoyed him the most is that an apology 
(he had no idea it was fabricated) was only given on the second day.

David Ziants,
Ma'aleh Adumim, Israel


From: Gershon Dubin  <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Thu, Dec 1,2011 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Nut shells' muktzeh status

Chaim Casper <surfflorist@...> wrote (MJ60#50):
> The definition of mukzeh is anything one cannot use on Shabbat and YomTov. 

Muktzeh has several different definitions.  The one into which nut shells fall
is called muktzeh machmas gufo;  muktzeh because it has no permissible use on
Shabbos.  Other examples besides nutshells would be sticks and stones, money,

> Thus, zorekh makom zorekh gufo would be the antithesis of mukzeh

No. There is another category of "muktzeh"  (quotation marks because, technically,
it is not muktzeh but a category unto itself) called "keli shemelachto
le'issur";  a utensil whose primary use is for an activity which is prohibited
to perform on Shabbos.  For this category **only**  there is an "out" of tzorech
gufo or tzorech mekomo.  There is no such heter for muktzah machmas gufo. 

> In addition, Rabbi Riskin once said to me that rubbish because of its "yucky"
> nature is mukzeh. But there is a special din for rubbish that we are allowed
> to throw it out on Shabbat and Yom Tov precisely because we feel uncomfortable
> with it around.

Correct;  this is called "geref shel re'i" which literally is a
chamber pot that has been used;  the Gemara expands it to general yucky. 
However, the Gemara also says that one may not make a geref shel re'i with the
intended purpose of disposing of it as such.  So the quest for a solution


From: Stephen Phillips <admin@...>
Date: Fri, Dec 2,2011 at 06:01 AM
Subject: Nut shells' muktzeh status

Chaim Casper <surfflorist@...> wrote (MJ 60#50):

> The definition of mukzeh is anything one cannot use on Shabbat and Yom
> Tov.    Thus, zorekh makom zorekh gufo would be the antithesis of mukzeh or
> something that is unusable on Shabbat and Yom Tov.     We can't use
> nutshells on Shabbat but we may need the space underneath it.  And so if
> you need that table space for tomorrow's meal or if you need the cup
> itself, one would be allowed to spill out the contents into a rubbish
> container.

I'm not sure I wholly understand this comment. As far as I am aware, zorekh
makomo zorekh gufo only applies to a k'li sh'melachto l'issur [a utensil whose
main use is for a prohibited purpose], which wouldn't apply to the shells.

> In addition, Rabbi Riskin once said to me that rubbish because of its
> "yucky" nature is mukzeh.  But there is a special din for rubbish that we
> are allowed to throw it out on Shabbat and Yom Tov precisely because we
> feel uncomfortable with it around.

That I believe is the basis for the heter [permission] to remove the shells;
they are a g'raf shel re'i [something disgusting].

Stephen Phillips


From: Immanuel Burton <iburton@...>
Date: Sat, Dec 3,2011 at 11:01 PM
Subject: Secular courts serving ecclesiastical courts

As a matter of interest, did the background story to this discussion 
about secular courts serving ecclesiastical courts have to be reported 
with the names of the parties involved?  Was this permitted under the 
laws of Lashon Hara?  Do I, living outside the UK where this background 
story happened, have to know the names of the parties involved?

Immanuel Burton.


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, Nov 29,2011 at 04:01 PM
Subject: The solution to a conundrum

David Tzohar <davidtzohar@...> wrote (MJ 60#49):

> In reply to the question:
> "What activity is prohibited on chol hamoed but permitted on shabbat?"
> Martin Stern <md.stern@...> wrote (MJ 60#48):
>> Work done by a non-Jewish contractor (not an employee paid for his time)
>> doing building work on one's property when it is chuts letchum and no Jew
>> can get there on Shabbat or Yom Tov, i.e. no marit ayin is possible. On Chol
>> Hamoed there is no restriction on travel so marit ayin is a problem.
> This isn't exactly an activity, but aveilut which is forbidden on chol
> hamoed is observed on shabbat.

I cannot understand what David means - building is certainly a forbidden
activity (melachah) whereas aveilut is a state rather than an activity.

Martin Stern


End of Volume 60 Issue 51