Volume 60 Number 86
      Produced: Fri, 01 Jun 2012 12:23:53 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

    [Michael Poppers]
Berakhah on matzah at seder
    [Mark Steiner]
Bracha for Hallel (4)
    [Tony Fiorino  Yisrael Medad  Ben Katz M.D.  Menashe Elyashiv]
May a woman wear a tallit?
    [Martin Stern]
New holidays
    [Martin Stern]
    [Martin Stern]
The Importance of Torah She-be'al Peh
    [Orrin Tilevitz]
Using a camera on the Sabbath in an Emergency Situation
    [Yisrael Medad]


From: Michael Poppers <MPoppers@...>
Date: erev Shabbos, 01 Jun 2012 at 2:49pm EDT
Subject: Administrivia

Due to apparent problems with the BU.EDU system, this digest is being sent to
Mail-Jewish listmembers from my Google Groups account.  Please note that
replies intended to be published to Mail-Jewish should be submitted, as before,
to the <mj@...> mailbox.  Thank you.


From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Wed, May 23,2012 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Berakhah on matzah at seder

In MJ 60#85, Martin Stern wrote:

> I fear Mark has misread the Rambam. According to the cited halachah (8:6),
> the berachah that was omitted was "al achilat maror", NOT "al achilat
> matzah", though he ruled that it was said on the korech, when the two were
> eaten together, rather than before the first eating of matzah, as we do
> nowadays, when only "hamotzi" was to be said. However, he also rules (loc.
> cit.) that those who ate maror and matzah separately were to say both
> mitzvah berachot.

The Rambam (8:6) says as follows (my translation):
Afterward, he says the beracha 'al netilat yadayim' and washes his
hands...and takes two reqiqim, divides one of them and puts the broken
one together with the whole and makes the motzi...Afterwards, he puts
[korekh] matza and maror together, dips them into the haroset, and makes the
beracha...'al akhilat matzot umerorim' and eats them.  If he ate matzah by
itself and maror by itself he makes each beracha by itself.

>From this we see that the beracha at the standard seder in the time of
the Temple was "al akhilat matzot umerorim", not "al akhilat matzah".  "Al
akhilat maror" was also not made.  The latter two berakhot would be made
only if he ate the matzah and the maror separately.  So I believe I read the
Rambam correctly.  (Today maror is considered only a rabbinic mitzvah, while
matzah remains a Biblical mitzvah--so we do not eat them together with a
single berakha as in the Temple times.  Instead, we eat them together
("korekh") to remember the Temple, and we do this only after we have
eaten matzah and maror separately with a berakha for each.)

Now a question could arise: the Rambam says that, prior to eating the matzah
and maror which are the mitzvah, one makes a motzi.  Why are we not required
to make (not only hamotzi but also) the berakha al akhilat matzah on THIS
matzah, as we do today?  The Rambam after all has ruled that eating matzah
separately requires a separate berakha of al akhilat matzah!

Prof. Saul Lieberman, in his Tosefta Kifshuta, end of Pesahim, states that
in the old days, the "bread" used in the motzi at the seder would NOT be
"shmura matzah", but Gentile loaves (non-hametz of course and with an OUP),
what is called in the Talmud "betzekot shel nokhrim". At the end of the
meal, they would bring out the shmurah matzah for the mitzvah.  As a pure
speculation, perhaps the Rambam, who uses the word "reqiqim" rather than
"matzah", has this idea in mind.  But again, pure speculation--this would
mean that the leader of the seder (in the time of the Temple) breaks in
half, not a shmurah matzah, but a Gentile loaf!  I can understand the
reluctance of my readers to swallow this.  But these readers will have
to offer a different solution to the puzzle of the previous paragraph.


From: Tony Fiorino <afiorino@...>
Date: Wed, May 23,2012 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Bracha for Hallel

In MJ 60#85, Avraham Friedenberg asked:
> After we finished davening on Yom Yerushalayim, one of the minyan regulars
> - originally from Chicago - told us that he had heard that someone once asked
> Rav Aharon Soloveichik if one should say Hallel with or without a bracha on
> Yom Yerushalayim.  His answer was that he did not say Hallel with a bracha on
> Yom Yerushalayim, nor did he say Hallel with a bracha on Rosh Chodesh.  Can
> anyone shed any light on this?  Did he really not say a bracha for Hallel on
> Rosh Chodesh, and if not, what were the reasons?

There is a safek between Rabbenu Tam and the Rambam regarding a beracha on chatzi
hallel (its recitation is a minhag) - Sephardim do not make a beracha on chatzi
hallel; they recite "ligmor et hahallel" on the full hallel.  Ashkenazim recite
"likro et hahallel" on both full and chatzi hallel.  Italians recite "ligmor" on
full and "likro" on chatzi.  Not sure about Temanim, but my guess is they hold
like the Rambam.

If the imperative to recite hallel is uncertain (e.g., chatzi hallel),
then the principle of safek berachot lehakel (i.e. don't make a beracha --Mod.)
ought to apply.


From: Yisrael Medad <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Wed, May 23,2012 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Bracha for Hallel

In MJ 60#85, Avraham Friedenberg asks about Rav Aharon Soloveichik not
saying Hallel with a bracha on Rosh Chodesh.

Could it be he's a Sefaradi or a Rambanist who declares that one
doesn't say a bracha (benediction) on Hallel if it is a minhag (custom)?

Yisrael Medad
From: Ben Katz M.D. <BKatz@...>
Date: Wed, May 23,2012 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Bracha for Hallel

In MJ 60#85, Avraham Friedenberg asks about Rav Aharon Soloveichik not
Hallel with a bracha on Rosh Chodesh.

I can't speak for Rav Aharon Soloveichik, but the Yemenites' beracha for
Hallel is "ligmor et ha-halel [to complete the hallel]," thus they do
not say a beracha on days when hallel is not completed - i.e. on Rosh
Chodesh or the last days of Passover. (Interestingly enough, when the
Yemenites say "incomplete" hallel they also leave out a few more things
than we do.)

From: Menashe Elyashiv <Menashe.Elyashiv@...>
Date: Tue, May 29,2012 at 02:01 AM
Subject: Bracha for Hallel

In answer to the question from Avraham Friedenberg (MJ 60#85) cited

Same for me, I do not say "half" Hallel with a bracha, neither on Rosh
Hodesh nor on Pesah after the first day. That is the Rambam's & Maran
the Shulhan Aruch's opinion on whether one should say a bracha on a
custom, as there is no obligation to say Hallel on these days. BTW, that
was the pesak of the Chief Rabbinate in Israel for Yom Ha'atsmaut & Yom
Yerushalayim until R. Goren changed the pesak according to his opinion.


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Wed, May 30,2012 at 12:01 PM
Subject: May a woman wear a tallit?

Rabbi Dov Lipman, the director of the English-speakers' division of the
Am Shalem movement of Rav Amsalem who broke away from Shas recently,
wrote recently in the Jerusalem Post that "since according to Jewish
law there is nothing wrong with a woman wearing a tallit, why are
women not permitted to wear a tallit at the Kotel? It is correct that
traditionally women have not worn them, but a woman violates no Jewish
law when she does. Creating legislation forbidding women to wear a
tallit simply because it rubs certain individuals the wrong way is not
valid". (Women and the Wall, 21 May '12)


I think he is incorrect. For a woman to wear a tallit gadol would be an
infraction of the prohibition of "lo tilbash" (cross-gender dressing)
since this garment is perceived as a specifically-male one.

While there may be nothing wrong with a woman attaching tsitsit to a
four-cornered garment, it should be one designed for women. I am sure
that those women who wish to do so for religious reasons would be able
to design some form of four-cornered undergarment to wear under their
clothes, analogous to, but distinct from, the tallit katan worn by men.

Insisting on wearing a tallit gadol in public might raise the suspicion
that the lady in question is more interested in some sort of 'religious'
assertivism, the complete antithesis of the traditional Jewish attitude
of "kol kevod bat melekh penima".

What do other members of Mail-Jewish think?

Martin Stern


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Wed, May 30,2012 at 04:01 AM
Subject: New holidays

In his "Ask the Rabbi" column in the (Manchester, UK) Jewish Telegraph,
Rabbi Chaim Kanterovitz of Gatley brought the various positions of
halachic authorities regarding under what circumstances one can declare
a new holiday. Since his arguments are brought by many others, I think
it might be an interesting thread for Mail-Jewish to discuss.

He quotes the Chatam Sofer (YD 233 and OC 191) as ruling "that days of
joy likened to Purim must be established when a miracle occurs saving
the Jewish community from impending physical danger". However, I think
he was extrapolating the latter's argument too far when applying it to
such days as Yom Yerushalayim or Yom Ha'atzmaut.

The crucial point is that such Purims were only celebrated in the town,
or region, in which they occurred and were never accepted as a general
holiday for all Jews.

Similarly, his example of the one of the author of the Chayey Adam
"which his family celebrate to this day!" was restricted to his
descendants and no one else.

While the cases he cites might be used as a precedent to argue that
days like Yom Yerushalayim or Yom Ha'atzmaut might be introduced as
holidays for Jews living in Israel, it is far from clear that this can
be extended to those living in the Diaspora.

There is one further point that Rabbi Kanterovitz had overlooked.
Generally, such local Purims are celebrated on the day of the salvation,
but Yom Ha'atzmaut has been fixed on the day that the state was
declared, which was followed by the invasion by the neighbouring Arab
states. By his arguments, it should have been on the date the war ended
but, unfortunately, that seems simply never to have happened. Perhaps
the date when the armistice agreements were signed might have been
appropriate, but the date of the beginning of the war seems not to be
congruent with Jewish tradition. Even Purim itself was postponed by one
day in Shushan because hostilities had not ceased.

Martin Stern


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, May 29,2012 at 04:01 AM
Subject: Temimim?

I wonder if anyone else noticed that in the maftir on Shavuot, the olot
hamussafim [burnt offerings brought on special days] (Bam. 28:27) are
not described as being 'temimim [perfect]', unlike those of all other
yamim tovim. Admittedly the word appears at the end of the parshah
(28:31), almost as an afterthought, but the omission seems strange. I
have not as yet found any explanation. Can anyone help?

Also, in most cases the Torah writes 'temimim' - Tamid [daily offering]
(28:4) and the mussafim for Shabbat (28:9), Rosh Chodesh (28:12), Rosh
Hashanah (29:3) and Succot (29:14, 17, 20, 23, 26, 29, 32 & 36) - but
on two occasions we find 'temimim yihyu lachem [they shall be perfect
for you]' - Pesach (28:19) and Yom Kippur (29:8). Can anyone suggest an
explanation for the difference in the last two cases?

Martin Stern


From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Tue, May 29,2012 at 12:01 AM
Subject: The Importance of Torah She-be'al Peh

The Importance of Torah She-be'al Peh is because what the Torah says,
understood literally, might not be what it means.

On Sunday afternoon, the first day of Shavuot, in reading through
back copies of The New York Times, I ran across an obituary of
the Reform scholar W. Gunther Plaut, which contained this timely
gem: --- In 1935, shortly after he came to the United States,
the future Rabbi Plaut received an eloquent lesson in textual
interpretation and the reader's need for a learned guide. Newly
arrived in Cincinnati, he was shown an article in the sports section
of a local newspaper by his fellow seminarians. Glancing at the
headline, he recalled years later, he thought the article was about a
revolution in Italy. The headline said, "Reds Murder Cardinals." ---


From: Yisrael Medad <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Mon, May 28,2012 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Using a camera on the Sabbath in an Emergency Situation

A unique situation has arisen in Yesha, the areas of Judea and
Samaria. Faced with acts of violence and property damage taking place
increasingly on the Sabbath by Arabs and their internationalist hordes,
thus severely restricting setting the story straight as the most of the
residents of communities in Judea and Samaria so targeted are populated
by Shabbat-observant people and many hours go by while but one version
of the events is being flashed across computer screens and from there to
radio and TV stations, the Rabbi of Yizthar has made a crucial Halachic

Dudy Dudkevitch has permitted the special interdict security response
teams to carry and use, in addition to weapons and fire-fighting
equipment, also cameras to record the vandalism of the Arabs and their
cohorts from abroad.

My blog post has some more information and points to Hebrew-langauge


Yisrael Medad

End of Volume 60 Issue 86