Volume 63 Number 20 
      Produced: Thu, 12 Jan 17 01:50:01 -0500

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Another significant occurrence of fifteen? 
    [Menashe Elyashiv]
Devar reshut 
    [Joel Rich]
Exactly six consecutive days of Leining? (2)
    [Haim Snyder  Chaim Casper]
Free Will 
    [Joel Rich]
Genuine Converts 
    [Yisrael Medad]
Lighting Hanukah candles Motzei Shabbat Kodesh 
    [Martin Stern]
Sheitlach and Avodah Zara 
    [Orrin Tilevitz]


From: Menashe Elyashiv <menashe.elyashiv@...>
Date: Tue, Jan 3,2017 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Another significant occurrence of fifteen?

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 63#19): 

> In previous postings, I have drawn attention to the apparently significant
> occurrence of fifteen in our liturgy (MJ 63#06, 62#36,34,32,30 et al.) as
> indicating a rise in sanctity. This morning, Rosh Chodesh Tevet, I noticed yet
> another one. 
> The korbanot mussaf for Roshei Chodoshim and Regalim (apart from Succot where 
> 70 bulls are brought over the first 7 days of the festival on behalf of the 70
> non-Jewish nations and one is brought on Shemini Atzerret specifically for 
> Klal Yisrael (Suc. 55b)) consist of two bulls, one ram and seven sheep.

However, Rosh Hashana & Yom Kippur have 1 bull.

There are also: 15 steps in the Temple, 15 Shirei Hama'alot, 15 praises in
Ishtabah, 15 words in ve'yasiv ve'nachon...


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Sat, Jan 7,2017 at 09:01 PM
Subject: Devar reshut

Is there a true concept of devar reshut (a choice of actions which HKB"H deems
equally acceptable) or is there only one thing at every given moment that
maximizes HKB"H's "happiness" with us? (I realize one could say these are not
mutually exclusive)

Joel Rich


From: Haim Snyder <haimsny@...>
Date: Tue, Jan 3,2017 at 04:01 AM
Subject: Exactly six consecutive days of Leining?

Asher Samuels points out (MJ 63#19) that when Rosh Hashanah is on Thursday and 
Friday + Shabbat + Tzom Gedalia (delayed to Sunday) + Monday, there are 5
consecutive days of leining. What he doesn't point out is that Hallel is NOT
said on any of those days.


Haim Shalom Snyder

Petah Tikva

From: Chaim Casper <surfflorist@...>
Date: Tue, Jan 3,2017 at 09:01 PM
Subject: Exactly six consecutive days of Leining?

Asher Samuels (MJ 63#19) discusses "long streaks" of morning Torah readings.  
The common thread in all the streaks of consecutive Torah readings that he
mentions is that most if not all days of those streaks are days when Hallel is
said.   So I would ask what is the longest streak of Torah reading without
saying Hallel?
I come up with five days: 

1&2) Thursday and Friday are Rosh Hashannah, 3) Shabbat, 4) Zom G'dalyah Nidheh
(Zom G'dalyah is usually Tishrei 3, but since Tishrei 3 is a Shabbat in this
scenario, the fast gets pushed off to Tishrei 4 / Sunday, and 5) Monday is a
regular Torah reading day.

Can anyone come up with a longer sequence of Hallel-free Torah readings? 

B'virkat Torah,
Chaim Casper
North Miami Beach, FL


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Sat, Jan 7,2017 at 09:01 PM
Subject: Free Will

Consider the following assertion: HKB"H sets the world in motion based on
specific "rules of nature." He allows those rules of nature to interact with our
free will choices. In certain situations he chooses to intervene in a manner
that cannot be proven or predicted in order to produce a specific result. Each
of us is ultimately judged on our free choice efforts with some combination of
results in this world and/or the next. Thus, suffering or success in this world
may be a combination of "random" or HKB"H's direct influence.

What percentage of Rishonim would find this description accurate? Achronim?
Laity then and now?  If this has changed over time, WHY?

Joel Rich


From: Yisrael Medad  <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Tue, Jan 3,2017 at 02:01 AM
Subject: Genuine Converts

Responding to my theoretical (but quite common example) of a conversion
situation, Martin Stern writes (MJ 63#19):

> Yisrael Medad wrote (MJ 63#18):
>> A woman has undergone non-Orthodox conversion, has been married now for 10
>> years and is also a mother. Realizing her conversion is not recognized she
>> undergoes an Orthodox conversion.
>> Would anyone dissallow the conversion based on an "obvious" presumption that
>> she is only undergoing the conversion for "non-genuine" reasons, i.e., rather
>> for love of her children and husband.
> As in all such cases, it is impossible to make a judgement on the 'facts' as
> outlined by Yisrael without clarifying the details of lady's situation. If she
> is prepared to follow a Torah lifestyle then the "obvious" ulterior motive
> does not necessarily disqualify her. However, if she shows no intention to do
> so, then following the technicalities of the conversion process would be pure
> farce and have no halachic effect, leaving her as non-Jewish as before...

Perhaps. But what is happening now in the Israeli Rabbinical bureaucracy is that
if she does display intention but later on, lapses, intentionally or otherwise,
if she does not revert to her previous religious practices she becomes a secular
Jew in essence but the courts seem to seek to negate and disqualify her conversion.

My pointing to the Rambam, I thought, indicates that he would not be too happy
with this new development.

Yisrael Medad


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, Jan 3,2017 at 02:01 AM
Subject: Lighting Hanukah candles Motzei Shabbat Kodesh

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz wrote (MJ 63#19):

> Haim Snyder wrote (MJ 63#18):
>> This year we will light Hanukah candles on Motzei Shabbat Kodesh twice.
>> There are 2 opinions on which comes first, making Havdala on the cup or
>> lighting Hanukah lights.
>> Those who decide on the basis of "tadir veeino tadir, tadir kodem" [more
>> frequent and less frequent, the more frequent comes first] will make
>> havdala first and then light the Hanukah candles ...
> Another factor would be that one should make havdalah before performing
> melacha, even though one can wait. This is analogous to not eating or drinking
> before havdalah. Mishna Brurah 299:1
> ...
> This is one of the reasons that I was taught for lighting Chanuka candles in
> shul before saying havdalah, while saying havdalah upon arriving at home
> before lighting Chanukah candles.

I would have thought that the crucial factor is pirsumei nissa [publicising
the miracle] which would require lighting Chanukah lights at the earliest
opportunity in shul, i.e. as soon after one has said the shemoneh esrei
which contains havdalah, in the from of atah honantanu, in the fourth
berachah. This will not happen if lighting is delayed until after havdalah
after which everyone leaves shul.

The order is, therefore, analogous to lighting before ma'ariv on weekdays
and for precisely the same reason.

Martin Stern.


From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Tue, Jan 3,2017 at 07:01 AM
Subject: Sheitlach and Avodah Zara

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 63#19):

> Orrin Tilevitz wrote (MJ 63#18):

>> Those interested in the 2004 controversy over sheitlach made from hair
>> supposedly derived from Hindu tonsure ceremonies and in historical, economic,
>> and sociological aspects of sheitel wearing in general might wish to read 
>> Emma Tarlo, "The Secret Lives of Hair" (Onworld Books 2016), particularly the
>> chapters entitled "Tonsure", "Idolatry", and "Sheitel".
>> The author, an anthropology professor at Goldsmiths at the University of
>> London, is respectful towards religion, both Hindu and Orthodox Jewish, but 
>> is strongly biased in favor of fact.
> The last comment is unfortunate in that it might be understood to mean that
> others who might dispute her conclusions are liable to distort reality in so
> doing.

I suggest that Martin read the book before concluding that this inference is

>> rabbis attempting to certify sheitel manufacture depend on the manufacturers
>> to tell them where the hair comes from;
> This would seem to be the only way to find out. However, if they suspect
> that the latter may be misleading them, they should withhold certification.
> Only "meisi'ach lefi tumo [unsolicited statements made unaware of the
> halachic purpose of the enquiry]" can really be used.

I am not sure that "meisi'ach lefi tumo" is a realistic possibility any longer.
(I do not recall the author's mentioning this concept.)

Isaac Balbin wrote on the same topic (MJ 63#19):

> I ended up giving a Shiur Klolli on the issue and am absolutely convinced it 
> is not Avoda Zoro but a 'hechsher' towards approaching the doll which
> represents a deity.

As I read it, this is sort of the author's implied conclusion as well, although
again I urge Isaac also to read to the book.


End of Volume 63 Issue 20