Volume 61 Number 74 
      Produced: Sun, 07 Apr 13 16:28:31 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

A grammatical query 
    [Chaim Casper]
Chalav Yisrael 
    [Sammy Finkelman]
Chamets for Israelis on Shabbat if Seventh day of Pesach is Friday 
    [David Lee Makowsky]
Chasid/mekubal speaking to men and women with mixed seating?  
    [David Ziants]
Educational Resources about the Holocaust 
    [Jacob Richman]
Expired kashrut certificates 
    [David Ziants]
Israel & the Da'ah bird 
    [Steven Oppenheimer]
Kosher mushrooms 
    [Orrin Tilevitz]
Matza in Nissan (3)
    [Carl Singer  Stuart Wise  Martin Stern]
Metzitzah BePeh 
    [Steven Oppenheimer]
Orthodox Jews and the aliya crisis (3)
    [Frank Silbermann  Stuart Pilichowski  Haim Snyder]
Selling Chometz 
    [Carl Singer]
Spring Cleaning 
    [Orrin Tilevitz]


From: Chaim Casper<surfflorist@...>
Date: Sun, Mar 31,2013 at 02:01 PM
Subject: A grammatical query

Martin Stern (MJ 61#73) asked:

> Can anyone explain why some parts of the pi'eil verb 'bikeish' lose the dagesh
> [diacritic --mod] in the middle letter, kof, e.g. 'mevakshim', the plural
> participle.
> It seems that this is not true of pi'eil forms of other verbs e.g. the parallel
> 'meshamrim' which does have a dagesh in the mem (Yonah 2,9)."

I know gornischt mit gornischt (a positive integer less than one) about dikduk.
 So I presented Martin's query to Dr Norman Bloom, a dear friend of mine, who is
a maven (expert) in dikduk.   This is his response:

It has nothing to  do with the letter kof, as I had theorized.
The dagesh-less kof with the shoresh BKS only occurs in the present and
future tenses and only when the kof is accompanied by a schva.

I came across no other verb in binyan piel (except when the middle letter
is Alef, Heh, Het, Ayin,or Resh) which is similarly dagesh-less.
It is only an enigma if you work under the premise that everything in
Hebrew must have a dikduk rule to justify it. That is patently not true,
Dikduk is not a physical science subject to global rules. It is a
descriptive discipline that attempts to put some degree of order into why
people speak the way they do.

B'virkat Torah and B'virkat Hag haPesah,
Chaim Casper (with the aid of Norman Bloom)
North Miami Beach, FL


From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Thu, Mar 28,2013 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Chalav Yisrael

Has anyone considered the question if any milk with an Jewish Orthodox
supervision, like the OU, is, by definition, already, Chalev Yisroel!?
Or close?


From: David Lee Makowsky <dmakowsk@...>
Date: Wed, Apr 3,2013 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Chamets for Israelis on Shabbat if Seventh day of Pesach is Friday

I was curious.

I am assuming that (like last year) if the seventh day of Pesach is Friday,
for those that normally only keep 7 days (those who halachically are
considered to live in Israel) they must refrain from Chametz on Shabbat
since the Chametz cannot be bought back before hand.

Is my assumption correct?

If my assumption is correct, can the Chametz be sold with a "right to use"
clause for that Shabbat so that Chametz could be eaten on that Shabbat in
such a situation?

David Makowsky
(847) 942 - 2636


From: David Ziants <dziants@...>
Date: Sat, Mar 30,2013 at 08:01 PM
Subject: Chasid/mekubal speaking to men and women with mixed seating? 

I have just spent Shabbat Chol Hamoed at a hotel with a mainly Dati Leumi crowd.

The "scholar in residence" was Rav Chayim Idels from North Tel Aviv. I had
no idea who he was beforehand, as I only found out about his position
through google search this evening (Motzei Shabbat).  The first
impressions I had (without knowing he was from Tel Aviv) was of a
bestreimelled chasid who was willing to spend (some of) Pesach in Ramat
Rachel Hotel (mehadrin - no kitniyot but gebrochts) and speak to religious
people obviously of a different "shape". When he mentioned, in the Friday
night drasha, of his family connection with the Tzadik Reb Ariye Levine
tzatzal (if I am not mistaken his wife is a great-grand-daughter), then I
began to understand where an influence comes from.

The amazing thing I found was that he specifically gave a shiur - which
involved a lot of kabbalistic ideas - in a hotel conference room (rather
in the shul with a mechitza) where men and women were sitting next to each
other. In my own Dati Leumi community, almost all shiurim are such that men
sit at one side and the ladies sit at the other side of the hall. Any comments?

(Are there any new trends within the chassidic communities that foster
Rabbanim such as this? Are the Dati Leumi communities such as mine
becoming "too frum"?)

David Ziants
Maaleh Adumim


From: Jacob Richman <jrichman@...>
Date: Tue, Apr 2,2013 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Educational Resources about the Holocaust


Holocaust Remembrance Day is Monday, April 8, 2013. 
I posted on my website 180 links to learn about the Holocaust. 
Site languages include English, Hebrew, Arabic, French, German, 
Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. 

The website address is:


Please forward this message. 
Thank you.

We must not forget. 



From: David Ziants <dziants@...>
Date: Sat, Apr 6,2013 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Expired kashrut certificates

I posted something similar on a local forum and think that this might be 
especially relevant to Israeli subscribers of Mail-Jewish.

Concerning establishments that have not yet received up-to-date Rabbanut 
kashrut certificates, I received a bit of advice from one of the 
eateries close to where I work, and that is to phone either the 
mashgiach (direct supervisor) or his supervisor - one of the two phone 
numbers that are on the old certificate. By speaking to the mashgiach 
one can clarify if there is a certificate on its way and one can eat 
there, or if there is a real problem and one should not eat there.

On Friday I followed this advice, when I did my normal household Friday 
rounds locally, and rang the mashgiach rather than just assume the 
certificate was late.

This policy bore fruit because one of the establishments had a kashrut 
flaw - not sure if before or during Pesach - and the mashgiach told me 
that I could not eat there. For another establishment which also had an 
outdated certificate, the mashgiach said it was OK to eat from because 
for this one it was just a question of settling the bill with the Rabbanut.

I deliberately have not mentioned the names of the establishments 
because any formal announcements should come from the Rabbanut itself. 
In any case, what was true on Friday, might not be true on Sunday - thus 
each time a clarification is needed.

David Ziants


From: Steven Oppenheimer <steven.oppenheimer@...>
Date: Fri, Apr 5,2013 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Israel & the Da'ah bird

This week's parasha, Shemini, enumerates the non-kosher birds.  Among them is
the Da'ah bird.

Rabbi Zalman Serotskin, in his commentary on Chumash, explains why the Da'ah
bird is the same as the Ra'ah bird that is mentioned in Parashat Re'eh (chap.14,
ver. 13).  It is called Ra'ah because of its incredible visual acuity (the root
of ra'ah means to see).

However, it uses Hashem's gift of enhanced sight to see neveilot in Eretz
Yisrael, while sitting in Bavel (T.B. Chulin 63a,b).

Rav Sorotskin explains that since it uses its talents to find fault with Israel,
it is a treif bird.

So too, adds Rav Sorotskin, people who live in Chutz La'Aretz and criticize and
find fault with Israel, "ein da'at haTorah nocha mizeh," (the Torah is
displeased with this type of behavior.)

See here:

Steven Oppenheimer, D.M.D.


From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Fri, Mar 29,2013 at 12:01 AM
Subject: Kosher mushrooms

Today I bought a package of ordinary, fresh mushrooms and noticed that it had OU
certification. This may be old news, but I have not bought mushroom more than
twice before in the last 25 years. I can find nothing online saying that fresh
mushrooms require kosher certification. Is this certification like one on
bottled water or is there some reason I might have thought (a hava amina) that
mushrooms could be non-kosher? Were they perhaps pre-washed, like Bodek?
(Nothing on the package says so, and they were a bit dirty.) Were they perhaps
grown on manure from kosher animals?


From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Thu, Mar 28,2013 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Matza in Nissan

Ari Trachtenberg wrote (MJ 61#73):

> Does anyone know the halachic basis for the custom not to
> eat matza from the start of the month of Nissan until the seder night?

Perhaps the wording of the above question needs some additional review -- a
custom (minhag) does not necessarily have a halachic basis.

I can say unequivocally that the reason I don't eat after PURIM (not Rosh
Chodesh Nissan) is because I married a Litvak whose family has this minhag.


From: Stuart Wise <Smwise3@...>
Date: Fri, Mar 29,2013 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Matza in Nissan

In reply to Ari Trachtenberg (MJ 61#73):

I can't say for sure, but I would venture to say it has to do with eating  
the matzah the night of pesach with gusto (b'taiavon),  The custom appears  
to be widespread but not universally adopted. I know people who will eat 
matzo  until erev Pesach as long as it isn't the type of matzo used at the 
seder. I  myself do not eat Matzah from Purim because I am not particularly fond 
of it, so  give myself the extra time to eat it b'taiavon
Stuart Wise

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Apr 7,2013 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Matza in Nissan

In reply to Ari Trachtenberg (MJ 61#73):

This is a minhag and not halachah. In fact, some people abstain from eating
matza for a full 30 days, i.e. from after Purim. As far as halachah is
concerned the ban only applies to Erev Pesach, though there is some dispute
as to whether this includes the previous night. As the Gemara rather
colourfully puts it "Eating matzah on Erev Pesach is like having relations
with one's betrothed while she is still in her father's house (i.e. before
the marriage ceremony)"!

Martin Stern


From: Steven Oppenheimer <steven.oppenheimer@...>
Date: Sun, Apr 7,2013 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Metzitzah BePeh

The defenders of unprotected Metzitzah BePeh claim that the incidence of
morbidity is almost unheard of.

Even though a thorough analysis was written by Dr. Shlomo Sprecher
documenting the perils of unprotected MbP (Hakirah Journal - available
online at Hakirah.org), and even though the CDC has published their
conclusion that unprotected MbP is dangerous and even though leading
Infectious Disease experts have strongly advised against the practice of
unprotected MbP, some organizations have refused to recommend modifying the
practice by using a short glass tube.  Many poskim have allowed and
advocated the use of a glass tube.

Agudas Yisroel is involved in a lawsuit against the City of NY which passed
a law requiring informed consent.

Now it is being reported that there are 2 more cases in the last three
months of herpes transmission to a baby post MbP.  The most recent case was
in March 2013. The baby developed disseminated Herpes Simplex Virus but
survived.  Hopefully there will not be any long term damage to the baby boy.

The family claims they were not given informed consent forms by the mohel.
 This would be contrary to NYC law.

We will see how this will play out.  What is the acceptable rate of infant
morbidity and mortality when doing MbP?  Would zero percent be our goal?

See the following:

Steven Oppenheimer, D.M.D.


From: Frank Silbermann <frank_silbermann@...>
Date: Thu, Mar 28,2013 at 08:01 PM
Subject: Orthodox Jews and the aliya crisis

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 61#73):

> Michael Freund, chairman of Shavei Israel, writes on this topic in the
> Jerusalem Post (8 March)
> http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Columnists/Article.aspx?id=305734
> First he notes the low and declining aliya, especially from the West:
>>  "Consider the following: last years figure was the lowest recorded since 2009
>>  and the third-lowest in the past two decades..."

I'm surprised to hear this. Were western anti-Zionist haredi Jews more
interested in making Aliyah in past decades?  I didn't think they were ever much
interested.(But perhaps they make up a rapidly increasing proportion of
westerners who identify as Jews).

I admit I've met precious few irreligious socialist Zionists in recent
decades,but I did not think this decline was a particularly recent development.
Among Jews whose rabbis affiliate with the RCA and identify with YU, I would
have assumed that the rates of Aliyah was actually _increasing_.Certainly, I
heard of communities in decline here as families make Aliyah in response to the
day school tuition crisis.  (Perhaps the shrinkage of this population in the
west accounts for declining Aliyah.  There just aren't as many people of this
type remaining to make Aliyah.) 

> I think he has not taken into account what is possibly one of the major
> disincentives to Orthodox Jews, that the Establishment in Israel, as
> embodied in the Supreme Court and the 'left leaning' media, is largely
> indifferent, if not antagonistic, to Orthodox Judaism.
> This has led to a reaction in some Orthodox circles of becoming far more
> insular and withdrawn from general society. Israel has become polarised,
> leading one to feel forced to adopt a position with which one is not
> entirely happy. 
> At least in Western states the government does not interfere in the internal
> workings of Jewish communities and Orthodox Jews can operate as they see
> fit. The non-Orthodox are also free to form groups according to their own
> principles and so do not need to agitate against Orthodox practice, as they
> do on a regular basis in Israel.
> So why should Orthodox Jews put themselves under the rule of those hostile
> to their way of life who wish to recreate them as 'new Jews' emancipated
> from the 'ghetto mentality of religious tradition' - "lihyot am chofshi -
> chofshi min hamitsvot"?

It would be a surprise to me to hear that Orthodox Jews have less influence on
Israeli life today as contrasted with, say, the early years of the State.

Frank Silbermann              Memphis, Tennessee

From: Stuart Pilichowski <stupillow@...>
Date: Thu, Mar 28,2013 at 09:01 PM
Subject: Orthodox Jews and the aliya crisis

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 61#73):

> So why should Orthodox Jews put themselves under the rule of those hostile
> to their way of life who wish to recreate them as 'new Jews' emancipated
> from the 'ghetto mentality of religious tradition' - "lihyot am chofshi -
> chofshi min hamitsvot"?

I think most North American Jews don't give aliyah even a cursory thought. 
Would that they give it a passing consideration. . . . . then perhaps the 
rationalizations and the justifications for not making aliyah would begin . 
. .

Stuart Pilichowski
Mevaseret Zion

From: Haim Snyder <haimsny@...>
Date: Fri, Mar 29,2013 at 04:01 AM
Subject: Orthodox Jews and the aliya crisis

In MJ 61#73, Martin Stern wrote:

> I think he has not taken into account what is possibly one of the major
> disincentives to Orthodox Jews, that the Establishment in Israel, as
> embodied in the Supreme Court and the 'left leaning' media, is largely
> indifferent, if not antagonistic, to Orthodox Judaism.

As an Orthodox Jew who came to Israel from the States 40 years ago, I can state
that I don't feel any antagonism to me or those who believe like me. I am what
is defined here as Dati Leumi or Kippa S'ruga.

> This has led to a reaction in some Orthodox circles of becoming far more
> insular and withdrawn from general society. Israel has become polarised,
> leading one to feel forced to adopt a position with which one is not
> entirely happy.

My brother, who lives in Modi'in Eilit, does have problems with the
establishment, but even he admits that the situation in Israel in terms of the
ability to lead an Orthodox life and raise one's children with a proper
religious education is far better here than the situation anywhere else in the

The latest government, with Habayit HaYehudi playing a major role in its
formation and platform, is perhaps less good for the Hareidim, but it is better
(IMHO) than previous governments for the Dati Leumi and irreligious sectors, who
are, in reality, the majority of Jews living here.

The major difference between man and other animals is that man can rationalize.
Martin's arguments are, again IMHO, rationalizations for not performing the
mitzva of living in the Land of Israel.

Haim Shalom Snyder
Petah Tikva


From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Tue, Apr 2,2013 at 11:01 PM
Subject: Selling Chometz

I heard an interesting shiur over Pesach and it brought a question to mind.

== below is my understanding -- I welcome comments and corrections:  ==

Apparently, the process for selling chometz is usually as follows:
(I've simplified re: location, time zones, multiple individuals, etc.)

1-  Before Pesach someone (a "client") appoints a shaliach (an agent) to
act on their behalf and sell their chometz to a non-Jew (call him "purchaser")
.... with the stipulation that payment in full will be required at a specified
time (say right after Pesach ends.)

2- the agent sells the chometz to the purchaser per the above stipulation

After Pesach ends the agent meets with the purchaser and requests payment.

3- the purchaser states that he is unable or unwilling to make payment in
order to complete the purchase transaction.

4- as a result the purchaser agrees to give back the chometz and the agent
repossesses same on behalf of his "client".

Note: It is an oversimplification and an error to say that the original
purchase is voided - if so then in retrospect your chometz was never sold
and thus in your possession during Pesach. Similarly, the agent doesn't simply
"buy back" the chometz - although that is the general loose terminology.


Now here is my issue / question:

Normally when one engages an agent to do something on their behalf they may
ask the agent to notify them upon successful completion of the task OR one
may ask the agent only to notify them in the event of failure.

Given the latter option (notify only in the event of failure.)

So the client should not expect or require any notification regarding step #2
above, i.e. the successful sale of the chometz before Pesach.

BUT since this is meant to be a valid purchase (not a sham transaction)
shouldn't the agent be required to notify the client that the payment was
not made, that the chometz was repossessed and that the client, again, owns
the chometz in question?

Carl Singer


From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Fri, Mar 29,2013 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Spring Cleaning

AFIK, the source for the verse in Lecha Dodi that begins "hitnaari me-afar kumi"
is Isaiah 52:2, where the trop punctuates it as hitnaari me-afar, kumi. You'd
translate that as "shake yourself off from the dust, arise". That is not how the
verse is conventionally sung (except by pedants like me) but it is how the
Artscroll Siddur punctuates it, in both Hebrew and English, how JPS translates
it (although the 1985 translation reverses the order, as in "arise, shake off
the dust") and how the Koren Tanakh translates it. I recently noticed, though,
that the Rinat Yisrael siddur punctuates it as "hitnaari, me-afar kumi" -- as
does the new Koren siddur. Even odder, Rabbi Sacks's translation in that siddur
is "shake yourself off, arise from the dust". Are both Rav Tal and Rabbi Sacks


End of Volume 61 Issue 74