Volume 61 Number 77 
      Produced: Sat, 20 Apr 13 17:46:29 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Changing a minhag 
    [Stu Pilichowski]
Cooking Kitniyos on Shevii Shel Pesach 
    [Tal S. Benschar]
    [David Lee Makowsky]
HaKedoshah or HaGedushah? 
    [Eliezer Berkovits]
Kitniot revisited 
    [Martin Stern]
Living in the Land of Israel 
    [Haim Snyder]
Matzah on Erev Pesach (2)
    [Martin Stern  Yossi Ginzberg]
Metzitzah BePeh 
    [Sammy Finkelman]
Selling chametz (2)
    [Elazar M. Teitz  Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz]
Trope (was Spring Cleaning) 
    [Katz, Ben M.D.]


From: Stu Pilichowski <cshmuel@...>
Date: Mon, Apr 15,2013 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Changing a minhag

If it's possible to change one's family minhag - and I posit it is - why 
don't Ashkenazim that want to eat kitniyot on Pesach simply change their 
minhag? What am I missing?

Stuart P
Mevaseret Zion


From: Tal S. Benschar <tbenschar@...>
Date: Mon, Apr 15,2013 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Cooking Kitniyos on Shevii Shel Pesach

Previous posts discuss what happens in Eretz Yisroel if the seventh day of
Pesach falls out on Friday.  That Shabbos is not Pesach in EY, and in theory one
could eat chometz, certainly kitniyos.  The question raised was "Can one cook
kitniyos on that Friday with the intent to eat them on Shabbos?"

The problem is that Eruv Tavshillin only permits one to cook on Yom Tov which
falls out on a Friday on a rabbinic level (miderabbanan).  What permits one to
cook on a Biblical level (mideoraysa)?  The gemara (Pesachim 46b) has two
opinions.  According to Rabbah, it is because you never know how much food you
may need on Yom Tov. There is always the possibility that unexpected guests may
arrive. And "since" you are allowed to cook on Yom Tov for possible guests, you
may also cook for Shabbat. The logic of "since," on which Rabbah bases the
permission, is referred to as "Ho'il." According to Rav Chisda, since both Yom
Tov and Shabbat are frequently referred to in the Torah as "Shabbat," the
permission given by the Torah to cook on Yom Tov applies not only to the Yom Tov
meal, but also to the Shabbat meal on the following Shabbat day.

As pointed out by Tosafot, there is a practical difference between the two
approaches. According to Rabbah, it would be Biblically prohibited to cook on
Friday afternoon, shortly before sundown, because by that time, any Yom Tov
guests would have come and gone. According to Rav Chisdah, however, this would
be permitted.  The Magen Avraham writes that the custom is to be machmir and
therefore daven early on such a Friday.

IMHO, this should have application to an Ashkenazi cooking kitniyos on Friday of
Shevii shel Pesach.  Since his custom is not to eat kitniyos that Friday, then
that appears to be the equivalent of cooking late in the day Friday.  In other
words, the nature of the food is such that he is definitely cooking for
tomorrow, and would not serve the kitniyos to guests if they arrived Friday
afternoon.  Thus according to Rabbah (and the Magen Avraham who is machmir that
way), such should be prohibited.

OTOH, in Eretz Yisrael there is a very large population of Sephardim who DO eat
kitniyos even on Pesach.  If one lives in a large city where there are many
Sephardim, I suppose one could argue acc. to Rabbah that Ho'il would include
Sephardic guests dropping by, and one feeding them kitniyos.

I was in EY one year when the calendar worked out this way.  I was visiting
someone, and that Friday night we went to a neighbor's Shalom Zachar, where they
served chickpeas (arbes).  They explained that they had asked a Sephardi 
neighbor to cook a pot of arbes for them that Friday in their pots, and then 
they served it on plastic plates at the Shalom Zachar, i.e. after Shabbos had 

(As for buying chummus, that seems to me to be perfectly permitted.  The
companies who make chummus serve a large Sephardic clientele, and these products 
have hasgochos for Sephardic customers - l'ochlei kitniyos bilvad.  So even if 
they were made on Chol haMoed, there seems to be no reason an Ashkenazi cannot 
buy some on Thursday and save it to eat on Shabbos.  There is no prohibition of 
bal yiraeh and bal yimatzeh for kitniyos [although you would have to eat them on 
disposable plates].)

Tal Benschar


From: David Lee Makowsky <dmakowsk@...>
Date: Mon, Apr 15,2013 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Frumming

In MJ 61#76, Menashe Elyashiv wrote:

> That is correct...I receive all 4 (!) haredi newspapers (my library
> subscribes to them for research). A female soldier who killed a terrorist
> becomes a soldier, a policewoman becomes a citizen, Kafar Habad or
> anything Habad is changed in Yated Ne'eman, the attack in Yeshivat Mercaz
> Harav took place in a Jerusalem building. In obituaries of rabbis, some
> years are missing because he taught in a dati leumi or habad yeshiva,
> etc. ...

> But they sometimes miss "correcting" the news ... they wrote the PM
> of South Korea's full name

I am guessing they did not know that person is a female.

David Makowsky


From: Eliezer Berkovits <eb@...>
Date: Tue, Apr 16,2013 at 05:01 AM
Subject: HaKedoshah or HaGedushah?

Can anyone explain the propriety of the word 'HaKedoshah' in the phrase
in Bentching: 'Ki im leyodcha HaMelyah, HaPesucha, HaKedoshah

As we are requesting that Hashem spare us from relying on human help,
instead providing for us from His own hand, in what way is Kedusha

A local Medakdek (here in London) has suggested an alternative text:
'HaGedushah' which would make more sense. Has anyone come across this
version? Can anyone explain the popular text?

Eliezer Berkovits


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, Apr 8,2013 at 02:01 AM
Subject: Kitniot revisited

An article by Daniel Sperber, A plea for kitniyot, appeared recently in
the Jerusalem Post Magazine (22 March)


He first outlines the history of the custom:

> At the turn of the 13th century, we are suddenly introduced to a new
> prohibition emerging in certain areas of French Jewry. Rabbi Isaac of Corbeil
> is the first to mention that some of his contemporaries do not eat kitniyot --
> legumes -- on Passover, though his brother-in-law Mordechai remarks that Rabbi
> Yehiel of Paris was accustomed to eating white peas (pul halavan) on Passover.
> Similarly Rabbi Simha of Pleize says he heard that Rabbi Yehuda of Paris
> himself ate kitniyot, and surely he did not err.
> ...
> By the 16th century, however, Rabbi Moshe Isserles writes that we Ashkenazim
> do practice this stringency -- i.e., do not eat kitniyot on Passover.

Perhaps I am a bit of a pedant, but I was rather irritated by his reference
to Rabbi Simha of Pleize. The actual name of his town was Falaise in
Normandy, the birthplace of William I the Conqueror. This sort of
mistransliteration from Hebrew is, unfortunately, all too common and betrays
a certain carelessness that should be avoided in reputable publications.

He then suggests a possible reason for the custom's adoption among

> NOW, THE reasons given for this new prohibition -- no trace of which can be
> found prior to the 13th century -- were varied: either that the sacks in which
> kitniyot were placed for transport and storage were the same as those used for
> grains forbidden on Passover; or that from kitniyot one could make products
> that looked similar to hametz.
> We may well ask why such suspicions arose only in France and in certain areas
> thereof, during the 13th century and no earlier. Several suggestions have been
> put forward. The most convincing, I believe, is that certain changes in
> agricultural practice took place in that period, with the discovery of the
> fact that planting legumes revitalizes soil that has been exhausted by
> successive grain harvests.
> The result was that in the medieval three-field system -- in which formerly
> one field out of three was always left fallow for a year so as not to exhaust
> the soil -- in certain areas, every third year, one field in rotation would
> now be used to plant legumes, thus reinvigorating the soil.
> This meant that when reaping a field of legumes, there would always be
> residual after-growths of grains mixed in with the harvest, and therefore the
> rabbis of those regions prohibited eating legumes, lest they contain small
> amounts of possible hametz.

This sounds very plausible, but I am not sure about his unsupported claim
that this practice of planting legumes was introduced so early. I had been
under the impression that the agricultural revolution only took place in the
18th century, but I may be wrong. However, his carelessness in transliteration
makes me suspicious that he may be equally cavalier in other matters. Can
anyone shed any light on this?

Martin Stern


From: Haim Snyder <haimsny@...>
Date: Mon, Apr 15,2013 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Living in the Land of Israel

In MJ 61#76, Martin Stern's response on the issue of Orthodox Jews and the aliya
crisis brings up the question of whether there is or there is not a mitzva to
live in the Land of Israel, and he cites the Rambam as one who does not think
that it is.
The Rambam omits other "mitzvot" when they are implied or are a necessary
prerequisite to mitzvot he does list. Since there are mitzvot which can only be
performed in the Land of Israel (for example, shmita [I picked that since it
isn't dependent on the existence of the Temple]), it follows that living in
Israel has its religious "rationale" and is the reason why many of the Orthodox
Jews who oppose the State of Israel still feel obligated to live there. The
Vilna Gaon sent his students to Israel before the establishment of the state was
even seriously considered and they believed that they were fulfilling a mitzva.
The addition of the State does not make this less so.
This is being writtten on Yom Ha'Atzmaut, so I wish everyone Moadim l'Simha.
Haim shalom Snyder


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, Apr 15,2013 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Matzah on Erev Pesach

Leah S. R. Gordon wrote (MJ 61#76):

> Regarding abstaining from eating matza, Martin Stern writes (MJ 61#74):
>> 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)"!
> I am sure Mr. Stern meant no offense, but this comment bothers me on three
> levels:
> 1. The original gemara assumes that the agent, or person reading it and
> eating matza, is by definition a man (and for that matter, a married man) -
> but there's not much I can do about this issue, as it was historically
> likely to be the case.
> 2. The original gemara uses sex as a metaphor for eating, objectifying the
> woman (and with a not flattering object, if you feel the way most of us do
> about matza).
> 3. Mr. Stern introduces this as being "colourful" which to me, adds tinder
> to a smoldering of offense.  I can't do much about what the gemara said in
> its day, but I hope that a modern man, on a co-ed listserv, would
> understand that this is not a great quote to bring and would empathize with
> how his female readers might feel.

I am sorry Leah took umbrage -- I certainly did not quote the Gemara with that
in mind.  However I think she is wrong on two points:

1.  The problem is that Hebrew does not have an intransitive euphemism for
'having sexual relations' but this does not mean that both parties are not
equally culpable (in the absence of any duress) when engaging in premarital

2. The original gemara does not use sex as a METAPHOR for eating -- rather,
it merely expresses an analogy. Again, a woman would be as equally culpable as
a man, so she is not being objectified.

I suppose I should have paraphrased by writing "having relations with one's
betrothed before the marriage ceremony" without reference to "HER father's
house" and should not have described the gemara as "colourful", which I hope 
would have avoided offending female sensibilities - for that lapse I certainly

Martin Stern

From: Yossi Ginzberg <jgbiz120@...>
Date: Mon, Apr 15,2013 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Matzah on Erev Pesach

> 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)"!

This "colorful" and obviously offensive-to-many metaphor is presumably used 
because before we eat the Matzah at the Seder, we make seven brachos, just 
like you-know-what!
Yossi Ginzberg


From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Mon, Apr 15,2013 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Metzitzah BePeh

In MJ 61#76, Steven Oppenheimer wrote:

> According to an article published today in the Israeli press (April 10,
> 2013) the Pediatric Medical Society and the Society of Neonatologists in
> Israel have determined at least 1/3 of the cases of Herpes in newborns can
> be directly linked to unprotected MbP.  They are going to issue a letter
> urging the use of a glass tube for the performance of metzitzah.

That's a nice peculiar word: "linked"

It indicates that the people opposed to prohibiting it by law, or at least
to having parents sign a consent form, are right.

MbP might be way for herpes to be transmitted from the baby to the mohel,
but not much, if any of added risk for transmission from the mohel to the

WHICH WAY are the bodily fluids going??

True,  a mohel can transmit herpes to a baby, but he doesn't have to be
doing MbP to do that! In fact many visitors could do that. Herpes is spread by
direct skin-to-skin contact.


It's often attributed to kissing the baby.

About 5% of babies contract neonatal herpes after the birth. This usually
happens when the baby is kissed by an adult who has an active infection of
oral herpes (cold sores). This can happen to any baby (especially if the
mother does not carry the herpes simplex 1cold sore virus). The baby may
have some protection if the mother has had cold sores in the past and has
passed on her antibodies to her baby.


Now we must understand, kissing is only a presumption. Getting close to
the baby or things the baby puts in its mouth may be enough.

Absorbing bodily fluids would greatly increase the risk of transmission and
this could help make up for an adult's much more robust immune system, so
avoiding MbP is a way for the mohel to avoid becoming infected.

Once he has it,  it's probably enough just to touch him or to touch
something he touches to transmit it to the baby, but - and they may be
right here again - if the mohel takes some kind of anti-voral product that
could be prevented.

It would hard to say that babies should have as few visitors as possible
(and get out of such places as hospitals where many infections are
transmitted) because people wouldn't listen. But they think if people have
only religious reasons for doing things, especially misguided religious
reasons, that they can go after.


From: Elazar M. Teitz <remt@...>
Date: Mon, Apr 15,2013 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Selling chametz

Keith Bierman wrote (MJ 61#76):

> I have always wondered about the rationale for the precise formulation we
> use in these contracts. If the contract were written along the lines of the
> non-Jew putting down a down payment, with the full amount due at the end of
> chag, with a stipulation that if the payment isn't received on-time that
> the transaction is null and void ... why would there have to be a
> repurchase at all?

If the chametz were sold with such a stipulation, it would mean that the
transaction is retroactively null and void.  This, in turn, would mean that the
chametz never left the ownership of those who sought to sell it.  Thus, the
would-be sellers would have violated the requirement to rid themselves of
chametz, and the chametz itself would be prohibited to all Jews after Pesach.

The sale is made unconditionally, with a deposit given at the time of the sale,
and the rest of the value representing a debt the purchaser owes to those who
sold.  Most rabbanim have a specific stipulation in the contract that the
sellers waive any right to hold the chametz as security for the payment due. 
The contract calls for the determination of the exact amount owed to be made the
day after Pesach.

Shortly after the end of the chag, the rabbi repurchases the chametz by
returning the amount of the deposit.  He stipulates that if, during the
eight-and-a-half days during which the non-Jew owned the chametz, it appreciated
in value, the non-Jew forgives the amount due him.  If, on the other hand, it
has depreciated in value, so that the non-Jew owes the amount of depreciation to
those purchasers who are getting back less value than they sold, we forgive that
difference to him.


From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahillel@...>
Date: Mon, Apr 15,2013 at 10:01 PM
Subject: Selling chametz

Keith Bierman wrote (MJ 61#76): 

> Carl Singer wrote (MJ 61#74):
>> Now here is my issue / question:
>> Normally when one engages an agent to do something
>> ...
>> Most shuls will announce the earliest time for the "repurchase"
>> ...
> I have always wondered about the rationale for the precise formulation we
> use in these contracts. If the contract were written along the lines of the
> non-Jew putting down a down payment, with the full amount due at the end of
> chag, with a stipulation that if the payment isn't received on-time that
> the transaction is null and void ... why would there have to be a
> repurchase at all?
> No doubt this is covered in the sources, so pointers to the appropriate
> texts will be greatly appreciated.

I asked my rabbi and he says he sets it up as a repurchase by logic. He
explicitly purchases it back from the non-Jew rather than have any automatic
stipulation. He also arranges for permission for the Jew to use "his" (that
is the non-Jew's) chametz very shortly after Pesach is over in the local
area so that he would not wind up repurchasing it too early for those who
are in a time zone to the west of us.

An example would be someone who has chametz in Israel and New York. IIRC
the Rav would have to arrange to have it sold before Pesach begins in
Israel but could not purchase it back until after Pesach ends in New York.
This could cause problems for people who travel for Pesach

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz


From: Katz, Ben M.D. <BKatz@...>
Date: Mon, Apr 15,2013 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Trope (was Spring Cleaning)

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 61#76):

> Orrin Tilevitz wrote (MJ 61#74):
>> 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 ... 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 wrong?
> Though R. Shlomo Alkabets has used a phrase from Isaiah 52:2, I don't think
> he is obliged to stick to its punctuation. AFAIK such 'distortions' are not
> uncommon among the composers of piyutim, often being used to attract the
> reader's attention or to make a specific point. In this case either
> punctuation makes sense ,so, despite also being a bit of a pedant, I feel
> Orrin is being somewhat over-pedantic this time.

How carefully to follow the trope even in context is an interesting issue. 
Chazal (the rabbis, esp when they wish to be homiletical) disregard  trope all
the time (think of the 13 midot [characteristics] of God ending with nakah
[interpreted as forgiving sin rabbinically but in context means the exact
opposite]).  Even grammarians such as Ibn Ezra, who usually criticize others for
not following the trope, occasionally will interpret contrary to the trope. 
While I believe trope should generally be followed as well, there are admittedly
a few verses in Tanach where it is basically impossible to do so (at least to 


End of Volume 61 Issue 77