Volume 62 Number 86 
      Produced: Fri, 13 May 16 01:28:22 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

A Kedushah problem (2)
    [Martin Stern  Mark Steiner]
Concubinage Relationship 
    [Isaac Balbin]
Marital rape 
    [Meir Frank]
Movement of the dates of Yom Hashoah and Yom HaAtzmaut. 
    [Sammy Finkelman]
Sefirat Ha-omer 
    [Martin Stern]
Some Thoughts on An'im Zemirot 
    [Dr Russell Jay Hendel]
Techeles (Tyrian purple?) and Kala Ilan (indigo) 
    [Sammy Finkelman]


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, May 10,2016 at 04:01 AM
Subject: A Kedushah problem

Rabbi Elazar M. Teitz wrote (MJ 62#85):

> Martin Stern (MJ 62#84) cited a theory that in the k'dusha of Shabbos morning,
> wherein we recite the words "Az bekol ra'ash gadol adir vechazak mashmi'im
> kol", the words "adir v'chazak" are a misinterpretation of the abbreviation
> "a-ch-k," and that its correct reading should be "ofanim v'chayot kodesh."
> There are two major problems with this clever hypothesis which render it
> almost certainly incorrect.
> First, it strains credulity that two millennia of Torah scholars -- including
> many who wrote extensive works on t'filla -- were unaware of such an error.

I would agree with Rabbi Teitz on this point except for the known powerful
influence of the written or printed word in changing minhagim. Previous to
the invention of printing, siddurim were very expensive and most people
could not afford them - so they davenned from memory. When printed siddurim
became widely available, most people assumed that they were accurate and any
differences between what they contained and what had previously been said
arose from mistakes in the latter. A striking example is the way the Shami
(Syrian) rite spread in the Yemen because of the distribution of siddurim
printed in Damascus which followed the Sefardi rite which differed from the
Baladi (native) one current in Yemen. A similar more contemporary example is
the way the advent of Artscroll siddurim has led to some kehillot making,
albeit less radical, changes to their customs.

> Furthermore, "ch-k" would never be used as an abbreviation for "chazak."
> If one wants to theorize an error of interpretation of an abbreviation, it
> would be that the original was a-v-ch, which does lend itself to
> interpretation as "adir v'chazak" as well as "ofanim v'chayos," without
> mention of "kodesh".

Now that Rabbi Teitz mentions it, this probably was what I had heard not as
I had previously written - the word kodesh being subsumed in the chet
referring to the chayot (kodesh).

Martin Stern

From: Mark Steiner <mark.steiner@...>
Date: Tue, May 10,2016 at 09:01 AM
Subject: A Kedushah problem

I would like to support Rabbi Teitz's reading (MJ 62#85), "kol ra`ash, gadol,
adir, vehazak".  Out of curiosity I looked up ancient versions of the kedusha
(both in the "yotzer" and also in the repetition of the amida), including that
of R. Saadya Gaon.  Adir vehazak is in every one of them.  On the other hand, I
found in the Geniza, a version that doesn't have mashmi`im kol at all.


From: Isaac Balbin <isaac@...>
Date: Tue, May 10,2016 at 03:01 AM
Subject: Concubinage Relationship

On the issue of extra-marital relations Dr Hendel (MJ 62#85) mentions a form of
reasoning which leads to a conclusion both he and we do not accept. I agree with
Dr Hendel, however, I'd feel more comfortable if his reasoning was supported
'masoretically'  by buttressing his views with those of Acharonim [latter and
current]. Especially today, when many (more?) are distracted, and not pilloried,
for their banal animalistic sinning in this regard, which does not stem from
casuistically interpreting verses, a listing of the views of some Acharonim
across the spectrum is important. [And yes, I know the Rav's famous words in
rejecting the opinion of an Acharon presented to him regarding an issue: 'I am
an Acharon too, and I disagree]

Dr Hendel had rejected a third possibility in a more clinical form of writing:

'My view is that the Raavad's position that extramarital relationships are not a
violation of prostitution is untenable since a universal exegetical principle is
that unconditionally stated verses are to be interpreted casuistically'


From: Meir Frank <meirman@...>
Date: Thu, May 12,2016 at 11:01 PM
Subject: Marital rape

Irwin Weiss (MJ 62#75) cites Dr. Hendel (MJ 62#74) who cites a case from Iowa,
where a man was prosecuted for having sexual relations with his wife who had 
Altzheimer's and was determined to be unable to consent to sexual relations:

> The Iowa legislator was ultimately found not guilty. He contended that he did
> not have sex with his invalid wife, but that they merely kissed and 
> held hands.
> See:

This may well be a case of jury nullification, which seems all right with me in
this case.

For the husband's side of the story:


I guess in preparation for old age, not only does one need a will, an ethical
will, an advance directive, durable powers of attorney for health care and for
finances, and a HODS organ donor card, but one also must execute a durable power
of attorney for sexual matters.  It should probably designate the spouse to
decide the document maker's sexual behavior, but if that is an improper conflict
of interest, someone else.    OTOH, if the husband had had a durable power of 
attorney for health care, would that not have included sexual decisions?  Here's
a clause from a web-suggested text:  

"C. To give an informed consent or an informed refusal on my behalf with respect
to any medical care; diagnostic, surgical or therapeutic procedure; or other
treatment of any type or nature..."

I think that"Other treatment of any type or nature" covers it, but if it's not
clear enough, changing "medical" to "health" and adding "sexual" after
"surgical" should do it.    It could list details about what is wanted, and what
is not, in addition to giving general permission.

I would think both halacha and the civil law in most countries would respect
such a thing. But he didn't.  Rather, one of the daughters had the medical power
of attorney.  Surely he could still have been covered by a valid Sexual Power of
Attorney.   Maybe Irwin or one of the other lawyers here can break new ground by
promoting such a thing, for people at the early stage of Altzheimer's, etc. 
Younger couples might also want to agree in advance what is allowed when one
party is sleeping but about to awake.


has 3, including one prepared by the Commission on Law and Aging of 
the American Bar Association.

Meir Frank,   Baltmore


From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Wed, May 11,2016 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Movement of the dates of Yom Hashoah and Yom HaAtzmaut.

The date of Yom HaShoah, 27 Nisan  was probably picked because it is the first
date after Pesach that cannot come out on a Shabbos, and the people in Israel
who established the date wanted to commemorate the Warsaw Ghetto uprising which
started on the first day of Passover, and the next week is Yom  HaAtzma'ut,so
they'd have to push it off 3 weeks to be out of Nisan.

The 27th of Nisan can only come out on a Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, and rarely
on Friday,and the 5th of Iyar can only come out on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday
and rarely on Shabbos. Yom HaAtzma'ut was early pushed back to Friday when it
occurred on a Shabbos, but otherwise nothing was moved.

Then they realized they could move it, and now both days are moved all the time.
(They even have started to move some Lag B'Omer celebrations)

The history of the nidchah's are told here near the end:


Now if Yom Hashoah comes out on a Sunday,it is postponed to Monday, and on I
think if it comes out on Friday, it is pushed back to Thursday, and Yom
HaAtzma'ut can only come out on the 5th of Iyar in years in which that falls out
on a  Wednesday (and the subsequent Rosh Hashonah on a Shabbos) If it  comes out
on either Shabbos or Friday it is pushed back to Thursday, and if it comes out
on Monday it is pushed ahead to Tuesday in order to avoid Yom HaZikoron coming
out Motzai Shabbos.

This becomes an issue in Chutz LaAretz when there is any kind of observance of
these two days.

Rabbi Gil Student wrote about this here on his Torah Musings (or Hirhurim) blog:


He says R. Dr. Aaron Levine changed his practice (which had been to say Hallel
but always on the 5th of Iyar) because advances in communication now meant that
people were aware of what was going on in Israel. There are e-mails and
newsletters and live feeds.


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, May 10,2016 at 02:01 AM
Subject: Sefirat Ha-omer

Perets Mett wrote (MJ 62#85):

> Alan Rubin (MJ 62#84) asked:
>> When I was acting as shliach tzibbur when I was an avel it was always my
>> custom to recite the count aloud directly after finishing shacharis.
>> ... I am surprised that this is not adopted everywhere.
> 1 the mitzva of counting the Omer is at night; if one counts by day no brochoh
> is said ...

Nonetheless this suggestion is a good idea even if it is only to remind
people who may have forgotten to count the previous night. It would enable
them to count with a berachah the following night.

Martin Stern


From: Dr Russell Jay Hendel <rashiyomi@...>
Date: Wed, May 11,2016 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Some Thoughts on An'im Zemirot

In connection with the An'im Zemirot thread, Mark Steiner (MJ 62#85) makes some
very insightful comments on prayer, which however require greater scrutiny. I
cite below his 3 points and respond to them by adding greater clarification:

> 1. According to the Ramban, prayer is not a biblical commandment on men
> or women.

Actually, according to the Ramban, prayer *is* a biblical commandment but only
in times of distress. Contrastively, Rambam holds that biblically, there is a
commandment to pray everyday whether or not you are in distress. According to
all, praying three times a day is rabbinic. The biblical commandment of prayer
applies to both men and women according to all.

> 2. According to the Rambam, prayer is a biblical command on men and women.
> However, he defines "prayer" as a threefold combination of:
> (a) praise,
> (b) request,
> (c) thanksgiving.
> It seems clear that An`im Zemirot does not count as prayer.  R. Haym
> Soloveitchik ruled that the formula modeh/modah ani does not count as prayer,

Very insightful but incorrect. There are two answers:

A) If An'im Zemirot is really not prayer, then why prohibit minor girls from
reciting it. Here is an analogy, would anyone object to minor girls making
announcements at the end of service - who has given birth, who is getting
married, who is giving kiddush? Certainly not. And is not the reason no one
objects to this because it is not prayer. If An'im Zemirot was really not
prayer then there would be no basis for suggesting prohibiting minor girls
from saying it.

B) On a deeper level, Mark is making a classical misreading of laws of prayer.
It is definitely true that

i) Rambam, Hilchot Tefillah, says daily prayer is biblical and

ii) Prayer must have 3 components, praise, request and thanksgiving.

But that doesn't mean that the 3 components are *essential*. (Classically,
whenever you read a law and its requirements, especially if it is complex, you
have to ask about each requirement whether it is preferred or essential in the
sense that absence of the requirement requires you to redo it).

In fact, as I have mentioned several times, we learn the laws of prayer from
Hannah (Berachot 31).

Let us carefully examine Hannah's prayer (1 Samuel 1:10-11). Not only does 
Hannah not praise God; according to the Talmud she actually insults Him! Verse
10 in Samuel 1:1 states, "She prayed on (AL) God" rather than "She prayed to
(EL) God." Must Hebrew and secular scholars simply dismiss this and say the
prepositions AL and EL interchange. The Talmud in Berachot shockingly interprets
the AL, on, literally. They quote Hannah as saying "God, why did you give a womb
and breasts if I can't have children?" Her own testimony as stated in the
verses, is that she spoke in anger and was bitter.

So Hannah's prayer did not have the 3 components. Nevertheless, it is considered
the paradigm of prayer! We learn how to pray from her.

What then do I do with the Rambam? The answer is found in 

1) I Samuel, 

2) where Hannah, 

3) years later, praises God with her famous song.

I can conceptualize this as follows

a) Prayer does require praise, petition, thanksgiving.

b) but they do not have to be simultaneous.

c) It is OK to petition when you are bitter and praise on a later date after you
receive what you want

d) but then biblical prayer refers either to all 3 components simultaneously
together, or, to any individual component.

Returning to An'im Zemirot: This song is a fulfillment of one component of 
prayer, the praise component. Since it is prayer, we can legitimately ask if
minor girls should be allowed to lead the congregation in biblical prayer.
I would strongly argue that, since we learn about prayer from women, and, since
minors tend to be genuinely happy, it would be appropriate to educate minor
girls (hinukh) and have them lead the congregation.

> 3. Despite what I said in my previous post, that An`im Zemirot reflects the
> victory of the Rambam and R. Saadya against the anthropomorphizers of
> Ashkenaz, it is clear to me that the Rambam himself would have forbidden
> the singing of this piyyut because of his strong opposition to praising God
> beyond what is enacted by Hazal.  He actually opposes all piyyutim for this
> reason.  But he would certainly have regarded this particular piyyut as a
> violation of the law of prayer, not a fulfillment of it.

Whoa there! A great deal of An'im Zemirot does not praise God but describes our
personal relationship with him. Consider the emphasis on the 1st person in the
following passages:

1) *I* will make pleasant songs; *I* will weave poetry; because to You, *my*
soul thirsts.

2) *My* soul desires the shadow of your hand

In passing, it is not true that there is no petition in An'im Zemirot. Compare
the last verse:

3) May *my* chattings be pleasant on You.

What about the praises of God that do occur in An'im Zemirot? I would respond
that the Talmud allows praise if there is citation of verses. In Shemoneh Esray
we cite Deut. 10:17. An'im Zemirot cites other biblical phrases especially from
Song of Songs. I previously explained in the name of the Rav, that the Rambam
opposed Piyyutim because they are not mainstream prayer (not because they are

Dr. Russell Jay Hendel;


From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Wed, May 11,2016 at 02:01 PM
Subject: Techeles (Tyrian purple?) and Kala Ilan (indigo)

I had read - the last I heard - that actually the two colors, Techeles (Tyrian
purple) and Kala Ilan (indigo), came from the same chemical, and that's why they
are so hard to distinguish, but now I have read something in a book published in
2003 (Napoleon's Buttons: 17 Molecules That Changed History by Penny Le Courteur
and Jay Burreson) that indicates that that may not be so.

* Techeles is actually the dyed wool, not the dye itself.

It says that Tyrian purple contains two bromine atoms (at opposite ends of the
molecule according to the diagrams on page 164 and page 167) instead of hydrogen
atoms at that place.

In addition, it says that indigo is not colorfast, which seems to imply that
techeles is. I know there is a test given in the Gemara for distinguishing them.

This website, http://tekhelet.com/tekhelet-timeline/  however, says that in
1980, Prof. Otto Elsner "[t]ogether with Ehud Spanier of Haifa University ...
found that when the dye is in a reduced state (a prerequisite for dyeing wool),
exposure to ultra-violet light will transform the blue-purple colorant DBI
(dibromoindigo) to unadulterated blue (indigo).

And that, in 1985, Rabbi Eliyahu Tavger "... after much trial and error, ...
succeeded in applying the process according to the halakha from beginning to end"

So that would mean they are the same, or are they? The article


says that Techeles was actually a mixture of the two compounds, although largely
DBI, but really three compounds. It says that the color blue, as opposed to
purple,  comes from molecules with only one bromine atom, MBI (monobromoindigo).

"Several textile remains have been found to be dyed with a mixture of DBI and
indigotin that corresponds empirically to the product of banded dye-murex. 12"

"Wool that had been dyed purple with banded dye-murex changed colour to blue on
heating. 26

This intriguing finding may not be ascribed to a change occurring in any DBI
present, since this  compound is eminently stable. It was therefore hypothesised
that this purple dyeing contains mainly MBI, and that MBI has this peculiar
property of thermal colour instability.

When synthetic MBI became available later, it was found to have a violet colour. 27"

It also says that the meaning of the word "blue" has changed in English so it is
hard to follow color descriptions.

Both Tyrian purple and indigo have been made artificially (that would be in the
last hundred years or so) but now have been replaced by other dyes


End of Volume 62 Issue 86