Volume 60 Number 52 
      Produced: Fri, 09 Dec 2011 13:03:42 EST

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Bar Elahin (2)
    [Ben Katz  Sammy Finkelman]
Bread over Wine Friday Night? (2)
    [Sarah Beck  Shayna Kravetz]
Chavivut hamitsvot 
    [Martin Stern]
Chumash with Onkelos for Android? 
    [Daniel Cohn]
Nut shells' muktzeh status 
    [Shalom Krischer]
Nutty solution (nut shells' muktzeh status) 
    [Leah S.R. Gordon]
Origin of the name Bryna 
    [Shoshana Charnoff]
Secular courts serving ecclesiastical courts (2)
    [Martin Stern  Shimon Lebowitz]
The samech (was "Minhag question") 
    [Irwin Weiss]
The solution to a conundrum 
    [Bernard Raab]
Why Do We Light Chanukah Candles and Why Do We Bless Them? 
    [Yisrael Medad]


From: Ben Katz <BKatz@...>
Date: Mon, Dec 5,2011 at 09:01 PM
Subject: Bar Elahin

Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...> wrote (MJ 60#51):

> 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.

There are other problems with believing the Zohar is a 2nd century work.  

From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Wed, Dec 7,2011 at 04:01 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 ...)

> But that presents another theological problem: if, as I thought we were 
> supposed to believe, "angels" are simply agents of God, what is the matter
> with trusting them?

The problem is relying on them as independent agents. It's this idea
it's meant to counteract (or forswear). It's the same thing as what is in the
Rambam's Sholosh Esrei Ikurim (also known as Maimonides' 13 principles of 


"Principle V. That God, blessed be He is worthy that we serve Him, to
glorify Him, to make known His greatness, and to do His commands.

"But not to do this to those that are below Him in the creation. Not to
the angels or to the stars or the planets or anything else, for they
are all created things in nature and in their functioning, there is no
choice or judgment except by God Himself. Also it is not fitting to
serve them as intermediaries to God. Only to God should you incline
your thoughts and your actions. This is the fifth principle and it
warns against idolatry and most of the Torah speaks out against this."

What's in Brich Shmey is not meant to counteract or forswear an idea a
Jew couldn't possibly hold. We are talking about a somewhat realistic
possibility. Created things that a Jewish believer could believe exist
with certain powers, but, this is saying, we don't rely on such
things.  It is not necessary to point out that we are not doing
something totally off the wall.


From: Sarah Beck <beckse@...>
Date: Mon, Dec 5,2011 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Bread over Wine Friday Night?

In MJ 60#51, Stu Pilichowski wrote:

> 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?
Although I cannot speak to the halacha, among Lubavitch in Europe this
(bread instead of wine/grape juice) was a matter of routine, according
to a friend whose father a"h was from a Lubavitch town near Vilna.
Although I do not have the Ari siddur in front of me, in my edition
there is a little note that says clearly: "al hapat" ("[when making
kiddush] on bread") and gives hamotzi as the bracha.

--Sarah Beck

From: Shayna Kravetz <skravetz@...>
Date: Tue, Dec 6,2011 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Bread over Wine Friday Night?

In reply to Stu Pilichowski <cshmuel@...> (MJ 60#51):

This was our family's custom for all my formative years; on Friday 
nights, we would wash before kiddush, say the regular kiddush with 
ha-motzi replacing borei pri ha-gafen, and eat the challah 
immediately after the conclusion of the second paragraph of kiddush.

The interesting hava-amina that arises is:  should the bread be 
covered if it is the primary food upon which one is m'kadeish?  If 
one covers the lechem as a zecher of the mahn which was covered as it 
lay on the ground, then it should make no difference whether the 
motzi is the principal or secondary brachah.  However, if one covers 
the lechem to 'conceal' it while making the brachah on the yayin, 
then it should not be covered here.

For what it's worth, our practice was to cover the challah, even in 
the absence of wine.

Shayna in Toronto


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, Dec 5,2011 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Chavivut hamitsvot

Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...> wrote (MJ 60#51):
> 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.

Chazal instituted chazarat hashats for those who did not know the prayers
well enough to be able to say them themselves (in the days before siddurim
were widely available). Though this reason no longer applies, we are not in a
position to abandon the custom. The shats can only recite it if 9 other
adult males are present and paying attention, otherwise he is reciting
brachot levatalah [to no purpose]. It is therefore suggested that every
individual should pay attention so as to ensure this and not rely on others
doing it. The halachah takes a rather dim view of those who engage in any
other activity, let alone 'daydream' during chazarat hashats, so I find Sammy's 
opening comment surprising.

While learning is not strictly prohibited, the Mishnah Berurah writes that
one should not do so because it sets a bad example to the less learned.

> 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 halachic obligation - MOD], so he kept
> that but made that the only recitation, which resulted in it getting more
> attention.

AFAIK, he abolished the silent amidah at mussaf because those who could pray
for themselves had got into the habit of chatting during chazarat hashats.
Such behaviour was decried throughout the generations, and the Shulchan Arukh
describes it as "gadol avono min'so" [his sin is greater than he can bear,
an allusion to Cain's comment regarding his murder of his brother].

Martin Stern


From: Daniel Cohn <4danielcohn@...>
Date: Fri, Dec 9,2011 at 06:01 AM
Subject: Chumash with Onkelos for Android?


Does anyone know of an android app for learning the parsha with Targum Onkelos?
Or even a website with same, with readable nikkud?




From: Shalom Krischer <Shalom_Krischer@...>
Date: Thu, Dec 8,2011 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Nut shells' muktzeh status

>From Gershon Dubin (M-J V60#51):
> ...
> 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,
> etc.
With all due respect to Gershon (and I KNOW that he knows this, and probably 
simply forgot, as products such as Charmin have been invented by now), but the 
Gemara definitely allows for the use of stones that have been prepared before 
Shabbos for their use on Shabbos (although the purpose for which stones were used 
in those days was definitely more "yucky" than nut shells).

--Shalom Krischer


From: Leah S.R. Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Mon, Dec 5,2011 at 07:01 PM
Subject: Nutty solution (nut shells' muktzeh status)

In reference to how to be allowed to remove nut shells from the table on
shabbat, I guess the best solution would be to invite me to your house.  My severe
allergy to nuts means that it would elevate the removal to pikuah nefesh. :)



From: Shoshana Charnoff <info@...>
Date: Tue, Dec 6,2011 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Origin of the name Bryna

Does anyone know what the source of the Yiddish name "Bryna" is?  Also, what
would be the Hebrew equivalent?



From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, Dec 5,2011 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Secular courts serving ecclesiastical courts

Immanuel Burton <iburton@...> wrote (MJ 60#51):

> 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?

Once the BD has given permission for the case to be taken to the civil
courts for enforcement, it is considered to be public knowledge, so the laws
of lashon hara do not apply. Furthermore, somebody who refuses to obey the
ruling of a Beit Din before whom he had agreed the case should be heard is called
a rasha [wicked person]. For such people, publicising their wickedness is
permitted and may even be a mitsvah if it puts pressure on them to change
their attitude and accept the ruling.

Martin Stern

From: Shimon Lebowitz <shimonl@...>
Date: Tue, Dec 6,2011 at 07:01 AM
Subject: Secular courts serving ecclesiastical courts

In reply to Immanuel Burton (MJ 60#51):

I quite agree with the question, but from the opposite angle.
I have no knowledge of these people's existence, and for
all I know the names were "changed to protect the innocent."
But if these are NOT "John Doe" names, would this be
L.H. for the people who DO know them?



From: Irwin Weiss <irwin@...>
Date: Mon, Dec 5,2011 at 10:01 PM
Subject: The samech (was "Minhag question")

Thanks to all who responded directly and also to David Ziants especially for his
comments (MJ 60#51).

The Samech is in one of my chumashim, the Eitz Chayim Chumash, and is found in
verse 27 between "Vayipaked M'kom David" and "Vayomer Shaul El Y'honatan B'no."
The Chumash is based on the Leningrad Manuscript B19A (L), which is, according
to the notes in the Chumash, the "oldest complete manuscript of the Hebrew
Bible, dating from approximately 1009 C.E., directly copied from manuscripts of
the Masoretes of Tiberias."  None of my other Chumashim has the Samech.  (A
friend of mine said that the Simanim Tikkun also has the samech.)

Irwin Weiss
Baltimore, MD


From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Wed, Dec 7,2011 at 10:01 AM
Subject: The solution to a conundrum

Martin Stern <md.stern@...> wrote (MJ 60#51):

> David Tzohar 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.

I assume that what David meant was the act of sitting shiva, but this still begs
the question, since that is forbidden on Shabbat as well.

Bernie R.


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Tue, Dec 6,2011 at 06:01 AM
Subject: Why Do We Light Chanukah Candles and Why Do We Bless Them?

The first paragraph of the Shulkhan Arukh dealing with Chanukah, 670, 
does not mention in a direct fashion the custom/mitzvah of lighting 
candles but rather dwells on the behavior connected with the day (no 
fasting or eulogies - except for a wise man; work permitted; women do 
not work during the time the candles are lit; feasting).  

It is only in the second paragraph that the details and minutiae are explicated.  

In the third paragraph of the section, 672, when dealing with someone who 
has completely missed the usual time for lighting, the Mishnah Brurah 
explains in note 11, that if one has arrived home late, in addition to 
the detail that he has until amud hashachar to light, in order to be 
able to say the blessing, he must wake up the household members ("min 
hanachon sh'yakitzem k'dai sheyuchal l'hadlik bivracha").  

It could follow, that if he cannot wake them, or makes his choice not to do
that, then he should not pronounce the blessing. There is a further discussion 
in the Sha'ar HaTziyun, however, in note 17, but both possibilities seem 
to exist: yes, bless no matter what, or no, do not bless unless he can awaken
some other household person. In other words, the theme of pirsumei nisa is 
of paramount importance in this instance.

a. Is that a logical conclusion from my reading?

b. Does that apply to both blessings, or perhaps only the first - or the 

c. So, the lighting is to cause light to be seen and that is the 
commandment, not necessarily the act in and of itself?
Yisrael Medad


End of Volume 60 Issue 52