Volume 61 Number 57 
      Produced: Thu, 29 Nov 2012 14:32:54 EST

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Chanukah Educational Resources and 335 Chanukah Videos  
    [Jacob Richman]
How does your Shule records Nedavos (donations) on Shabbos? 
    [Josh Backon]
Is Reform legitimately a form of Judaism? (3)
    [Marshall Gisser  Josh Backon  Martin Stern]
    [Steven Oppenheimer]
Naming of "Bet El" (2)
    [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz  Sammy Finkelman]
Patur aval assur (2)
    [Keith Bierman  Avraham Walfish]
Should an aveil act as shatz in the 12th month?  
    [Elazar M. Teitz]


From: Jacob Richman <jrichman@...>
Date: Wed, Nov 28,2012 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Chanukah Educational Resources and 335 Chanukah Videos 

Hi Everyone!

Chanukah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, is observed for 
eight days, beginning on the evening of the 25th day of 
the Hebrew month of Kislev. This year, Chanukah starts 
Saturday night, December 8, 2012.

Chanukah is a wonderful holiday of renewed dedication, 
faith, hope and spiritual light. It's a holiday that says: 
"Never lose hope." Chanukah commemorates the victory of a 
small band of Maccabees over the pagan Syrian-Greeks who 
ruled over Israel. 

The Jewish Trivia Quiz

What does the Hebrew word Chanukah mean ?
What type of foods do we specificaly eat on Chanukah ?
What activities are forbidden during Chanukah ?
Are woman obligated to light the menorah ?
How many candles do we need for all of Chanukah ?
Which family was Judah the Maccabee from ?
How many branches did the menorah in the temple have ?

The above questions are examples from the multiple choice 
Flash quiz. There are two levels of questions, two timer settings.
Both kids and adults will find it educational and enjoyable.

Free Chanukah Clipart 

Whether you need a picture for your child's class project, 
a graphic for your synagogue, Hillel or JCC Chanukah
announcement, the Jewish Clipart Database has the pictures
for you. You can copy, save and print the graphics in
three different sizes. 

There are now 335 (yes, 335!) Cool Chanukah video links at:

There is something for everyone.
This year's new videos include:
Shooby Doob Shloimy - The Chanukah Miracle 
The Yeshiva Boys Choir - "Daddy Come Home" 
StandFour - Eight Nights - Hanukkah Mashup
Matisyahu "Happy Hanukkah" 
(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Dreidel)
Rube Goldberg Machine Technion Israel - A Chanukah Miracle
"Gangnam Chanukkah"
Chanukah The Festival of Lights Overture
Marolin Hebrew Academy: Those Were the Nights of Chanukah
Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks: The Hidden Story of Chanukah 
Making Sufganiot in Chaya's Kindergarten
Chanukah Oy Chanukah (in Yiddish)
Happy Hanukkah from Mevaseret Band
 and many more....

To learn more about Chanukah, I posted on my website 
125 site links, ranging from laws and customs to games and 
recipes. Site languages include English, Hebrew, Russian, 
Spanish, French, Portuguese, German and Italian.
The address is:

Chanukah Humor (including lyrics to Chanukah songs)

Please forward this message to relatives and friends, 
so they may benefit from these holiday resources. Thank You!

Happy Chanukah!
Chag Sameach!


From: Josh Backon <backon@...>
Date: Tue, Nov 27,2012 at 04:01 AM
Subject: How does your Shule records Nedavos (donations) on Shabbos?

Menashe Elyashiv wrote (MJ 61#56):

> I do not even try to record the sales on Shabbat, as we have 2 minyanim, and we
> sell the Minha aliyot also. So I remind the public that we work on the honor
> system. However, I do have someone mark the Yamim Noraim sales, not by name, but
> by sale. It gives us an indication how much we "made" from the sales. With or
> without the system, there are some who "forget" to pay ... one esteemed member
> owes at least 1000 shekel from Yom Kippur.

This reminds me of the old joke NISHT IN SHABBES GERED  (Yiddish for: "on shabbat
we don't talk about such matters").

It's Shabbat morning and Murray says to Irving: "NISHT IN SHABBES GERED, I have
a nice property for sale." 

Irving says: "NISHT IN SHABBES GERED, how much?"

Murray: "NISHT IN SHABBES GERED, $80,000." 

An hour later during Mussaf, Irving says, "NISHT IN SHABBES GERED, I'm

Murray replies: "NISHT IN SHABBES GERED, it was just sold to Sammy for $90,000 !!"

Josh Backon


From: Marshall Gisser <mgisser@...>
Date: Mon, Nov 26,2012 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Is Reform legitimately a form of Judaism?

Torah is a cohesive whole. Twice, God says in the Torah not to add to or
subtract from His words.  One need not go to the extremes of Reform or other
deviations to deny Torah. Even one making a single change suffices to deny God's
words, and is no longer considered as following Torah ... even if one says Moses
originated a single verse on his own (Maimonides 13 Principles, Principle VIII).

This not only applies to laws or verses, but more crucially, to the
Fundamentals. And those who violate the more crucial Fundamentals, like
knowledge of what God is, are far worse. So those who believe God has parts, has
sefirot, or that part of God is "in" man, have sinned the most.

Rabbi Marshall Gisser

From: Josh Backon <backon@...>
Date: Tue, Nov 27,2012 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Is Reform legitimately a form of Judaism?

Ben Katz wrote (MJ 61#56)

> I think it is legitimate to argue that Orthodoxy today is the best
> representation of RABBINIC Judaism.  However, Orthodoxy as practiced today is
> much more restrictive than Rabbinic Judaism was, especially as practiced by 
> many Rishonim (early sages, 11th - 15th centuries).  Ibn Ezra and Rashbam, for
> example, would be thrown out of many yeshivot today for writing their 
> classical Torah commentaries, and they are only the best-known (but not the 
> worst) "offenders".  See, for example, the arguments marshaled in Chapters 
> 3-8 of my book "A Journey Through Torah: a critique of the documentary 
> hypothesis" (Urim, 2012).

You should see how the Meharshal (16th century Poland) castigated the Ibn Ezra
as a Min and Apikorus in the Introduction (hakdama) of his commentary Yam Shel
Shlomo to the talmudic tractate Bava Kamma [2nd page, 1st column, 1/3 down the 
page]. For hundreds of years the Ibn Ezra was rejected and never studied in
yeshivot. The only reason the Ibn Ezra was included in the standard Mikra'oht
Gedolot is because a non-Jewish Italian printer inserted it.  The Ibn Ezra was
also somewhat ridiculed by the Baalei Tosaphot (see: Tosaphot Rosh Hashana 13a
d"h d'akrivu; Taanit 20b d"h b'hachinto [look who they suddenly use as an
example ! :-)];  Kiddushin 37b d"h mi'mocharat ha'pessach).

Josh Backon

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, Nov 27,2012 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Is Reform legitimately a form of Judaism?

Keith Bierman wrote (MJ 61#56):

> As far as the Rambam's middot, wasn't that part of what originally got his
> books banned and burned?

This was not the main reason. AFAIK, it was his allegorical approach in the
Moreh Nevuchim (which raised the greates objection) as well as his
inclusion of what was essentially an Aristotelian philosophical section in
the first section of his Yad (which was seen as introducing non-Jewish ideas
into the halachic sphere).

> Would we really say to someone who observes all the mitzvot (including tahrat
> hamispacha, kashrut, daily torah study, etc.) that they weren't Jewish because
> they'd given up on Moshiach (at least in the strict sense of the tradition,
> riding a donkey through the proper gate, etc.)?  If so, to what end?

This was the point I was trying to elucidate - how far can a movement
deviate before changing from a sect within Judaism to becoming a separate
religious philosophy.

> I always that what made Judaism so different from other religions was our
> focus on action rather than philosophy per se.

I fear that Keith has rather oversimplified matters. Someone who keeps all
the mitzvot in order to serve some idol is clearly an idolator. In the
present-day context, an idol is not simply a statue putatively endowed with
supernatural power but an ideology that will 'save' the world.

Martin Stern


From: Steven Oppenheimer <steven.oppenheimer@...>
Date: Mon, Nov 26,2012 at 09:01 PM
Subject: Mechitzah

Chana Luntz writes (MJ 61#52):
Rav HY Henkin at the end of siman 2 also brings that he heard from many
reliable sources that Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik permitted people to daven
in a shul where the mechitza was only 10 tefachim high, and he cites his
grandfather Rabbi Yosef Eliyahu Henkin as having once permitted someone in
his presence to daven in a shul where the mechitza was 11 tefachim high.  It
should be noted that Rav Feinstein specifically rejected this view regarding
separate reshuyos and only needing a ten tefach mechitza, but as has been
pointed out by others, it would appear that this view regarding a minimum 10
tephachim separation is what is commonly followed in America today.

I found the above citation of Rav Henkin's responsum surprising, so I looked
it up.

Rav Yehuda Henkin does indeed cite sources who relay that Rav Soloveitchik,
z"l commented on a mechitzah 10 tefachim in height.  Rav Y. Henkin writes
that he was told that Rav Soloveitchik permitted a few times (kama pe'amim)
utlizing a mechitza of only 10 tefachim under extreme circumstances (be'sha't
dechak gadol).

Rav Y. Henkin goes on to cite his grandfather, Rav Y. E. Henkin, z"l, who
was asked by a teacher (rebbe) in a high school where students (boys and
girls) davened together,  the boys sitting up front and the girls behind
them.  Would he be permitted to join them in davening if the mechitzah was
only 11 tefachim high?  Rabbi Y. E. Henkin did not say (in general) whether
this is permitted or prohibited.  He did give permission to the rabbi
making the inquiry to allow this only if he was unsuccessful in convincing
the school to raise the height of the mechitzah and only if there were no
other options (ein derech acheret).

Both these citations present extreme circumstances and not the norm.  Both
poskim clearly do not advocate accepting a low mechitzah.

Furthermore, Chana's statement that "a minimum 10 tephachim separation is
what is commonly followed in America today" bears further examination.  I
have lived in a number of states in the U.S. and I have not seen that 10
tefachim is the norm.  And I am speaking of non-chareidi shuls.  There may
be places that choose to follow such a leniency (10 tefachim is about 40
inches), but declaring that this is the new normal would require more

It is interesting that past battles seem to return to be fought again and
again.  How sad it is, IMHO, that mechitzah is again under attack.
Steven Oppenheimer, D.M.D.


From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahillel@...>
Date: Tue, Nov 27,2012 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Naming of "Bet El"

In reply to Irwin Weiss (MJ 61#56):

There was a typo in the first reference. It should be 28:19 not 28:7.

28:19) And he called the name of that place Beth-el, but the name of the
city was Luz at the first.

Here he names it because of the dream of the ladder.

35:1) And God said unto Jacob: 'Arise, go up to Beth-el, and dwell there;
and make there an altar unto God, who appeared unto thee when thou didst
flee from the face of Esau thy brother.'

Here we see that he remembers the name from the last time.

35:7) And he built there an altar, and called the place El-beth-el, because
there God was revealed unto him, when he fled from the face of his brother.

Here we see that he is naming the place of the altar with a name referring
to "God of Beis-El" so he is referring to a part of the place already named

35:15) And Jacob called the name of the place where God spoke with him,

Here it is a recognition of why he called the place "Beis-El".

We can also consider that it was only Yaakov who called it that and the
inhabitants would not have accepted it. Thus he had to keep "renaming" it.

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz

From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Tue, Nov 27,2012 at 02:01 PM
Subject: Naming of "Bet El"

Irwin Weiss wrote (MJ 61#56):

> Bet El is named, apparently, three times by Yakov (Breishit 28:7, 35:7 and 
> Why 3 times? Is not one enough?

Well, no.

The first time (actually at 28:19), it is a private name (it's just for himself,
and only he knows) and he may not know what the name of the place is, so he
gives it a name.

Even though the Torah seems to indicate this is a permanent name, it's not so at
the time. It becomes permanent only because of what happens later.

The second time, it's a public name, done in front of his entire family.

The third time, he indicates he wants that to be the permanent name of the 

Although he doesn't 100% stick to that, using the name Luz when he speaks to
Yosef in Mitzraim when he gets sick so that it looks like he might be on his
deathbed, but he actually isn't, and he blesses Yosef's two sons and declares
that they should be separate shevotim (in Parshas Veyichi at 48:3).

Because at this point Yaakov's exact words are quoted, and he used the name Luz,
it has to be explained somewhere that the name of the place was originally Luz.

Now the question is:

Why isn't that name mentioned earlier, at 28:11?

Instead of "BaMOKOM" - at a place - let it say "Luz".

Why is that instead mentioned at the end of 28:19?

The answer could be that, at that time, Yaakov didn't know the name of the place
- or the name of the place didn't matter to him - and that's why the the Torah
only says "BaMOKOM",  because in many cases the Torah uses words in the 
viewpoint of some people there - and maybe we should do that too, if you really 
want to tell how things were.

In Lech Lecha, for instance, at 12:14-15, it's not Sarai, it's "HaISHA" - the
woman. Because that's all she is to them - some anonymous woman. Or in Toldos at
26:13, not "Yitzchak" but "Ha-ISH", because his name and his identity and his
background mean nothing to them. (In Shemos 11:3, it's "HaISH Moshe" because the
name Moshe carried quickly, so almost as soon as they knew it was someone they
knew something about him. This is imitated in Megillas Esther at 9:4, where the
idea is added that Mordechai was gettting greater and greater. Holech there
could be borrowed from somewhere else. I found Shmuel 1 2:26 and Divrei HaYomim
2 17:12.)

Sometimes, when a person's identity is mentioned (or as in this case, a place), 
it is only mentioned later, as in Bamidbar at the end of Parshas Balak and the
beginning of Parshas Pinchas. Only at the end, after the event is over, do we
get told that the name of the man was Zimri ben Sahlu - and he was in fact a
head of a house of the Shevet Shimon (possibly not the whole tribe) - and the
woman's name was Cozbi bas Tzur, and she was the daughter of one of the heads of
a family of Midian (and in fact one of their kings).

But since to most of the witnesses of the act of Pinchas this would have just
been some Jewish man and a Midianite woman, that's all that gets said at that 


From: Keith Bierman <khbkhb@...>
Date: Mon, Nov 26,2012 at 07:01 PM
Subject: Patur aval assur

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 61#56):

> Keith Bierman wrote (MJ 61#54):
>> To use the old quip, "patur velo assur" (exempt doesn't mean forbidden).
> I am not familiar with this 'old quip'.

The moderators edited my original, which used mathematical notation. I did
not choose to dispute their rendition (in retrospect, perhaps a mistake on
my part).

Since non-Jews (who are patur from all but 7 mitzvot) can convert (and thus
be liable for most of the 613), patur does not equal assur!

Since a cohen is forbidden from marrying a convert, we can infer that women
may convert as well. Thus, women may accept the yoke of mitzvot that they
were originally exempt (patur) from.

As for the other threads of the discussion, I am not going to defend the
US Conservative movement and especially the writings of Elliot Dorff.

If one can point to such blunders on the part of the Israeli based Masorti
movement, that would be far more educational.

From: Avraham Walfish <rawalfish@...>
Date: Tue, Nov 27,2012 at 06:01 AM
Subject: Patur aval assur

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 61#56):

> Keith Bierman wrote (MJ 61#54):

>> To use the old quip, "patur velo assur" (exempt doesn't mean forbidden).
> I am not familiar with this 'old quip'.
> The Talmudic adage is 'patur aval assur', literally 'exempt but forbidden'.
> This is usually applied to where someone is patur [exempt from bringing a
> korban chatat [sin offering]] because he has not transgressed a Torah
> prohibition which would have made him chayav [obligated to bring a korban]
> -
> but what he has done is nonetheless prohibited Rabbinically - assur.
> AFAIK there are only three cases of patur umutar (i.e. the action is
> permitted), one of which is that one may squeeze out a boil on Shabbat (I
> forget the other two offhand).

Two caveats:

1. The gemara in massekhet Shabbat (3a) says there are only 3 cases *in
massekhet Shabbat* of "patur umutar". Elsewhere there are many cases.

2. The gemara is referring to "patur" from liability for transgression, not
"patur" from a positive obligation. There are many cases in the halakhah of
"patur" from an obligation, but "mutar" to do so - e.g. women's fulfilling
positive time-bound commandments.



From: Elazar M. Teitz <remt@...>
Date: Mon, Nov 26,2012 at 11:01 PM
Subject: Should an aveil act as shatz in the 12th month? 

To the best of my knowledge, there is no custom for an aveil not to serve as a
shatz during the twelfth month, nor should there be.

Kaddish is generally reserved for mourners.  If none are present, all but the
last kaddish are generally omitted.  Hence, saying kaddish in the twelfth month
represents a public demonstration that the deceased is considered in need of a
full year's atonement -- that is, a statement that s/he is a rasha gamur [wholly
evil], which is certainly disrespectful to the departed's memory.

Serving as shatz, however, although a mourner has priority, is not in his
exclusive province. Whether or not an aveil is present, there is still need for
a shatz.  A person serving as one thus does not in any way indicate, by so
doing, that he is an aveil, and that he is seeking a z'chus [merit] for a
departed parent in need of same; he is merely the one filling a public need. 
Hence, there is no reason for him to decline the role. 



End of Volume 61 Issue 57