Volume 60 Number 82 
      Produced: Thu, 10 May 2012 15:00:14 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

A problem with tumah (2)
    [Martin Stern  L Reich]
Beta Israel (2)
    [Sammy Finkelman  Joseph Kaplan]
Genetics (was "Beta Israel") 
    [Yisrael Medad]
Hashem yinkom damam? (2)
    [Robert Israel  Martin Stern]
Nat bar nat deheteira 
    [Perets Mett]
Non-gebrokts (2)
    [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz  Ari Trachtenberg]
Out of synch 
    [Martin Stern]


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, May 8,2012 at 01:01 AM
Subject: A problem with tumah

Perets Mett and Josh Backon (MJ 60#81) both quoted the Rambam as ruling
(Hilchot Mishkav u'Moshav 3:3) that any man who has relations with a
shomeret yom keneged yom, zavah gedolah or yoledet becomes tamei for seven
days just as for one who has relations with a niddoh.

This may well be the halachah, but I still do not understand the reasoning
behind it.  The Torah specifically says of a man who has relations with a
niddah (Vay. 15:24) that "HER tumah shall be on him and he shall be tamei
for seven days (like her)."  The tumah of a shomeret yom keneged yom lasts
only ONE day and that of a zavah gedolah is of indefinite duration, so why
should either impart a specifically seven day tumah?

The only explanation I can think of is that, since the Torah does not
specify the duration of his tumah in the latter cases, it assumes we can
work it out for ourselves.  By referring to someone who who has relations
with a temeiah (Vay. 15:33) rather than specifically a niddah, we are meant
to link all the others to the latter.  Whether this implies a seven day tumah
in all cases or only a tumah of the same duration as the woman is still not
clear.  It must be that the Rambam holds "dan minei uminei" i.e. we ignore
the specific circumstances of the woman.  This is difficult, and I would
welcome any further comments.

Martin Stern

From: L Reich <lreich@...>
Date: Tue, May 8,2012 at 01:01 PM
Subject: A problem with tumah

Martin Stern (MJ 60#80) wrote:

> My problem is what degree of tumah does a man who has relation with a zavah
> get? As regards the niddah, it states explicitly "if a man lie with her, her
> niddah status is transferred to him  and he will be tamei for seven days....
> Since a zavah does not have such a seven day tumah, does the man who has
> relations with a zavah katanah, who is tamei only for one day, become tamei for
> seven days (dan minei uminei - transfer the rules from one situation to the
> other without allowing for any differences) or only one day (dan minei ve'oki
> be'atrei - modify the rules to take account of differences in the second case)?
> Even worse, a zavah gedolah is potentially tamei indefinitely (if she cannot
> manage to count shiva nekiim), so would this mean a man having relations with
> her would be permanently tamei since he certainly cannot possibly count shiva
> nekiim?

> I have not as yet found any discussion of this problem. Can anyone shed
> light on it?

This query is dealt with in the Literature.

The Raavad of Posquieres opines (commentary on Sifro 8) that the transfer
coincides in timing, i.e. his tumah terminates at the same time as hers.
However, the Minchas Chinuch (182) assumes without comment that the man is
always tamei for seven days.

Elozor Reich


From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Sun, May 6,2012 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Beta Israel

Josh Backon (MJ 60#79) wrote:

> Dr. Steven Kaplan of the Dept. of African Studies at Hebrew University
> in Jerusalem is a acknowledged expert on Ethiopian history. His research
> definitively shows that there was NO connection between the Tribe of Dan
> and the Ethiopian Falasha community.
> ...
> Translation: they're not Jewish."

The tribe of Dan is not the only Jewish possibility.

The idea that they go back no further than the 15th century (1400s) is
an idea popular at the Hebrew University which may have been started by
the Roman Catholic James Quirin who wrote a book called "The Evolution
Of The Ethiopian Jews: A History Of The Beta Israel (Falasha) To 1920"
in 1992. This belongs in the same category as those who say the
history of Jews in general goes back no further than Alexander the
Great, which influenced the secular Israeli school system.

The idea of a connection to Shevat Dan goes back to Eldad Ha-Dani (who, by the 
way, did not claim to be from Ethiopia -- later on, some Ethiopian Jews apparently 
thought he did), a mysterious traveler in the 800s.

From: Joseph Kaplan <penkap@...>
Date: Mon, May 7,2012 at 07:01 PM
Subject: Beta Israel

Martin Stern writes in MJ 60#81: 

> It was, I believe, worries along these lines that prompted the Israeli
> Chief Rabbinate initially to ask Ethiopian immigrants to undergo tevilah
> leshem gerut mishum safeik [immersion in a mikveh for conversion purposes
> to remove any doubt] to clarify their Jewish status." 

Are the rules for gerut mishum safek the same as regular geirut?  Would
those who would have converted mishum safek now be undergoing the same type
of questioning and threats of retroactive retraction of their conversion
that other converts are now undergoing because of their level of observance?

Those are my questions.  My comment is that I think that just as it is
important to take conversion standards seriously it is important to take
seriously the status of those who have already been accepted as part of the
Jewish People.  ISTM that the questioning of the status of Beta Israel does
not take the latter seriously enough nor is sufficient attention paid to the
hurt that such questioning inflicts on our brothers and sisters.

Joseph Kaplan


From: Yisrael Medad <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Tue, May 8,2012 at 02:01 AM
Subject: Genetics (was "Beta Israel")

As regards the discussion on the Beta Israel, I only paid close attention
to the last digest's (MJ 60 #81) comments.  My apologies.  But, basically except
for Chabad, and based on Rabbis Moshe Feinstein, Ovadia Yosef, Azriel
Hildesheimer and others, Ethiopians Jews are indeed Jews.  Period.  They
should be considered no worse from a Halachic point of view than an
Ashkenazi who prefers to restrict his intake of kitniyot.  To suggest

>> ...Translation: they're not Jewish."

based on genetic studies seems problematic because if genetic studies trump
Halachic tradition and discussion, what do we do with this 2010 BBC report
from Professor Tudor Parfitt from the University of London:

"British scientists have succeeded in proving the Lemba tribe of Zimbabwe
and South Africa descended from Jewish ancestors...According to the report,
the scientists conducted DNA tests on a large sample of the Lemba people,
which confirmed Semitic origins dating back more than two millennia. The
BBC says that the 80,000 Lemba tribe members abstain from eating pork, wear
yarmulke-like skull caps, conduct ritual animal slaughter, and even put a
Star of David on their gravestones. The report says the tribe has an oral
tradition that links them to the ancient Jews. They also circumcise their
male children, which is not a common practice in Zimbabwe, but is one of
the basic principles of the Jewish faith.  Members of the priestly clan of
the Lemba even have a genetic element also found among the Jewish priestly
line - known as Cohen."?

Mobile Post Efraim 44830
Shiloh, Israel


From: Robert Israel <israel@...>
Date: Mon, May 7,2012 at 09:01 PM
Subject: Hashem yinkom damam?

In MJ 60 #81, Yisrael Medad wrote:

> Re Martin Stern's MJ 60#80 "yinkom" vs."yikom" grammatical query based on 
> his thinking that "Nakam is a peh-nun verb", I can but suggest that a 
> review of Tanakh will bring us to Exodus 21:20's "he shall surely be 
> punished" and Nachum 1:2's "The LORD is a jealous and avenging God" and 
> Numbers 31:2's "Avenge the children of Israel..." -- all three examples, 
> and more, suggest otherwise.

In Exodus 21:20, "yinakaim" is a nifal imperfect ("he shall be avenged"), 
where the nun is followed by a qamets; in Nachum 1:2 "nokaim" is a qal 
participle, where the nun is followed by a cholem; in Numbers 31:2 "n'kom" 
is a qal imperative, where the nun is followed by a vocal shva.
None of these is a qal imperfect which is what seems to be called for in 
this case, and Holladay's "A Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old 
Testament" confirms that this would be "yikom" in the third person 
singular, "tikom" in the second person singular (examples cited being 
Leviticus 19:18 "lo tikom", Deuteronomy 32:43 "ki dam avodav yikom").

In all cases Holladay cites for this root, when the nun would end a closed 
syllable (i.e. would only have a silent shva under it) it is assimilated to 
the kuf.

Robert Israel
Department of Mathematics
University of British Columbia
Vancouver, BC

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, May 8,2012 at 01:01 AM
Subject: Hashem yinkom damam?

Re Yisrael Medad's MJ 60#81 response [quoted above --Mod.]:

I am afraid Yisrael is incorrect. The basic rule regarding peh-nun verbs is
that the nun is elided when there is a prefix that consists of an open
syllable, and then the next root letter takes a dagesh indicating doubling.
So we find 'yikom' in Dev. 32, 43 and Yehoshua 10,13 and 'tikom' in Vay.
19,18. This is the same as 'yipol' from 'nafal', 'yidor' from 'nadar' etc.
This also applies to the piel and pual forms though, since they already have
a dagesh in the middle root letter, no further dagesh can be inserted, e.g.
'venikamti' (2 Mel. 9:7, Yir. 51:36) or 'yukam' (Ber. 4:15,24, Shem. 21:21)
Nowhere in Tenakh does a word 'yinkom' appear.

Yisrael's proof texts are all based on parts of the verb that do not have
such a prefixed open syllable. In Exodus 21:20, the first form is 'nakom'
which is the infinitive which does not have a prefix, similar to 'shamor'.

In Numbers 31:2 the word is 'nekom' which is the imperative which also does
not have a prefix, similar to 'shemor'. While the rule for the imperative is
usually stated as "take the second person singular of the imperfect and
delete the pronominal prefix" (tishmor > shemor) this is not strictly
correct. There is no deletion as such, only its omission, so the nun is not
deleted in its absence.

In Nachum 1:2 the word is 'nokeim' and 'venokeim', which are the participle,
similar to 'shomer'.

This leaves one form in Exodus 21:20, 'yenakeim', but this is a niphal
imperfect, for which the closed syllable 'yi-n-' is the prefix (or, perhaps
better, prefixes) and its nun is always elided, and the first root letter of
the verb takes a dagesh, as in 'yeshameir'. The same applies to the hitpael
where the prefix is also a closed syllable 'hit-', 'mit-', 'yit-','tit-' or
'nit-', depending on the part used.

The letter 'nun' seems to be particularly liable to elision with a
neighbouring consonant. For example, the preposition 'min' meaning 'for'
loses its nun when attached to a noun, and the latter's first letter then
takes a dagesh. Similarly, verbs ending in a 'nun' lose it when there is a
pronominal suffix beginning with a consonant -- for example, 'natati' from
'natan' as opposed to 'shamarti' from 'shamar' (but 'natnu' in the third
person plural where the suffix does not start with a consonant). The reason
for all of this is probably euphonic.

Martin Stern


From: Perets Mett <p.mett00@...>
Date: Thu, May 10,2012 at 01:01 AM
Subject: Nat bar nat deheteira

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 60 #80):
> When staying at a mehadrin glatt non-gebrokt (und alle maialos [and the
> ultimate in Kashrus strictures --Mod.]) hotel over Pesach, an interesting
> problem arose. In the late afternoon, we wished to have a cup of tea and were
> told that milk was not available. Intrigued, I asked the proprietor why, and
> she explained that the cakes had inadvertently been baked in the meaty oven.
> This must have been a case of nat bar nat deheteira [use of a cooking utensil
> that had absorbed permitted (in this case meaty) flavour to cook a pareve
> item - both being permitted foodstuffs - but which had not been left for 24
> hours in between]. While a case could be made for lekhatchila [in the first
> instance] not putting that cake into a cup of milky tea, I would imagine that
> bedieved [after the fact] this would have been a chumra [stringency] and one
> would not have done any real issur [prohibited act]. I cannot see why the
> proprietor should have found it necessary to do more than notify the guests of
> the problem. 

He comments "a case could be made" but it would be mutar [completely permitted]
according to the Mechaber [R. Yosef Karo] but osur lechatchilo [completely
forbidden] according to the RMO [R. Moshe Isserles] (Yore De'ah 95:2).
However, according to the Shach, the Mechaber allows it if (in this case)
the cake had already been baked in meaty dishes, but not to bake the cake
this way with the intention of dipping it into milk. Obviously the hotel did
not intend this so Sefardim could go ahead and dunk their cake in their tea
but Ashkenazim would not be allowed even to contemplate doing so.

Perets Mett


From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahillel@...>
Date: Mon, May 7,2012 at 08:01 PM
Subject: Non-gebrokts

Leah S. R. Gordon wrote (MJ 60#81):
> Martin Stern (MJ 60#80) wrote:
>> There was one point, however, that I noticed and on which, perhaps, those
>> who are particular not to eat gebrokts can help me. I noticed some other
>> guests were breaking their matzah into their soup, which I imagine would
>> cause problems. What is the status of the crockery, cutlery, etc. as far
>> as non-gebrokt eaters is concerned?
> I know that some people who follow the non-gebruchts custom, do eat
> gebruchts (on their Pesach dishes) on the last day of Pesach. Also this
> year, when the eighth day fell on Shabbos I believe they prepared the
> gebruchts food on Friday, the seventh day. My guess is that, from their
> point of view, it doesn't 'treif' the dishes when they do it themselves, so
> the most they would have to do is to put the dishes aside and not use them
> until the next year. Could that be correct?

Ay a shiur that I attended some time ago, it was stated that this minhag is
*designed* to show that non-gebrokts is a chumra. Thus, we are told of rabbis
who would not eat gebrokts themselves but would not insist on their families
following that minhag. Similarly, eating gebrokts on the last day of Pesach
shows that it is not the same as chametz on Pesach and that the pots, dishes and
utensils remain kosher lePesach.

It is similar to those people who keep chalav yisroel but will eat in the
homes of those who do not keep chalav yisroel. If it was a matter of
kashrus rather than a chumra, they would not be allowed to do so.

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz 

From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Mon, May 7,2012 at 11:01 PM
Subject: Non-gebrokts

Leah S. R. Gordon wrote (MJ 60#81):

> I know that some people who follow the non-gebruchts custom, do eat
> gebruchts (on their Pesach dishes) on the last day of Pesach.

My understanding is that Chabad holds this way, to separate the last
day from the the biblically mandated seven.  It makes sense ... after
all, the Torah clearly says that we should eat matza seven days, and
that we should not add (or diminish) from what is written.




From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, May 10,2012 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Out of synch

In MJ 60#79, I quoted from the Ask the Rabbi column authored by Rabbi
Yitchak Schochet in the (London) Jewish News (26 Apr.). A follow-up appeared
in this week's issue (10 May):

Dear Rabbi,

I enjoy reading your Ask the Rabbi column. Last week you wrote that, in
Israel, the sedrot of Behar and Bechukati are split so everyone reads the
sedra of Bemidbar the Shabbat before Shavout.
You also implied that Bemidbar is normally read on the Shabbat before
Shavout. I'm sure you're aware that, in some years, Nasso is read the
Shabbat before Shavout. This was the case last year and will be again in


Dear Gary,

Several people wrote to me about this issue and points relating to it.
What was implied is that the first portion of Bamidbar (Numbers), at the
very least, must be read before Shavuot. There must always be at least one
portion separating the final portion of Leviticus (Bechukosai) because of
the admonition contained therein and the festival of Shavuot, just as there
has to always be one portion between Ki Tavo (seventh portion of
Deuteronomy) and Rosh Hashanah, for the very same reason.

Another correspondent, Rafael, pointed out something interesting for which
I'm most grateful. The one-year cycle of completing the Torah reading
originated in the Diaspora. In Israel at that time, they still used the
triennial cycle. 

That means the need to synchronise came up much later, when in Israel they
adopted the single-year cycle and therefore the whole issue was a much later
addition to the other rules.

It would, therefore, be more correct to say that Israel is "jumping ahead"
when the eighth day of Pesach (in the Diaspora) falls on a Shabbat rather
than we in the Diaspora are "catching up."


End of Volume 60 Issue 82