Volume 63 Number 81 
      Produced: Fri, 20 Apr 18 11:01:59 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

A punctuation problem 
    [Martin Stern]
Egg Matzo 
    [Sammy Finkelman]
Holocaust - a substitute for Torah? 
    [Martin Stern]
Removing tefillin on Chol Hamoed 
    [Martin Stern]
Voluntary exile?  (4)
    [Frank Silbermann]


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Apr 15,2018 at 06:01 AM
Subject: A punctuation problem

When Moshe Rabbeinu saw the sons of Aharon burning a sa'ir chatat [goat
brought as a sin offering] instead of eating it (Vay.10:16), he became
angry. He was appeased when the latter pointed out that, after the deaths of
Nadav and Avihu, they were onanim and were prohibited from eating
sacrifices. (This event occurred on Rosh Chodesh Nisan)

>From his reply "Ve'achalti chatat hayom" (Vay.10:19) it is deduced that the
chatat that was burned was the regular Rosh Chodesh one and not either of
the two one-off dedication chata'ot brought only on that specific occasion,
i.e. his words should be translated "How can I eat today's sin offering (the
one brought because of the day rather than the inauguration ceremonies)?".

There is one problem with this translation - the trop [punctuation] has a
pashta on the word 'chatat' - and it is a disjunctive - implying that
Aharon's words must be translated "How can I eat a sin offering (i.e. any
sin offering) today?"

Can anyone give an explanation of this?

Martin Stern


From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Fri, Apr 13,2018 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Egg Matzo

Martin Stern wrote: (MJ 63#80):

> David Tzohar wrote (MJ 63#79):
>> AFAIK all Ashkenazi authorities in Israel pasken that all "matzah ashira
>> including egg matza is to be considered chametz gamur on the safek that it
>> contains some water moisture and so is assur bekolshehu.
> This sounds an exceptionally stringent ruling.

I think what the Ashkenazi authorities in Israel are saying is egg matza is to
be *considered* chametz gamur because of a safek, but they don't mean it really
is. They just want people to treat it that way, so they are not maybe following
through all across the board.

Now, the question is, what's going on?

Michael Rogovin (MJ 63#80) says it is found in Israeli supermarkets. Is he
talking about ones that have some kind of kosher certification?. Does it matter
that only Ashkenazi authorities (and does that include or not include the Chief
Rabbinate?) have ruled like  this? Is the egg matzah imported from other countries?

I found something that may shed some insight on egg matzah, or maybe
non-egg-matzah egg matzah, that Sephardim may eat during Pesach,

Rabbi Dr. Ari Z Zivotofsky and Dr. Ari Greenspan wrote in an article entitled

The Thick and Thin of the History of Matzah printed in Hakirah Summer 2014


"The Shulhan Gavoah (Salonika, Greece, 1692-1768) reports (end of OC 458; 51b)
that for the same halakhic reason, the custom in Salonika was to bake everything
a few days before Pesah and nothing was kneaded on Pesah. And should there be a
need for more matzah on Pesah, such as for a brit milah, they would make only
egg matzah using wine or oil in lieu of water because (according to the
Sepharadic ruling) it cannot become hametz."


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, Apr 12,2018 at 07:01 AM
Subject: Holocaust - a substitute for Torah?

While it was certainly a terrible tragedy, I get the impression that the
Holocaust has become a substitute for Torah for many nowadays. As far as I
can see, it is just one further case of the way the Jewish people have been
persecuted over the millennia and only differs from previous episodes in its
manner of execution.

Admittedly, the Nazis y"sh applied 'industrial' techniques to improve their
'efficiency' but that does not really make a qualitative difference. Despite
the new Polish law to the contrary, I very much think that antisemitism was
much more deeply ingrained in Poland, let alone the Ukraine and Baltic
States (as evidenced by the large numbers of their inhabitants who actually
operated the death camps on a day to day basis under German supervision),
than in Germany itself and, had their peoples been as efficient as the
Germans, the death toll would have been much higher.

The only significant difference between the Holocaust and its predecessors
is that, being based on a pseudoscientific racial theory, there was no way
to avoid death by, for example, converting to the persecutors' ideology.

Apart from its more recent occurrence, perhaps this is why it appeals to
secularised Jews, who no longer consider the Torah as the sine qua non of
Jewish identity r"l, as a substitute form of self-definition.

This would obviously not apply to those who actually experienced it, or
whose children suffered from their parents' trauma, but for later
generations stressing it may well be counterproductive.

I think this overemphasising of it is a pernicious development in that it
bases Jewishness on a negativity (look what THEY did to US) rather than a
positive lifestyle based on our own traditions. It may even contribute to
assimilation in that one possible reaction might be to disconnect from one's
Jewish heritage in order to 'escape' a possible repeat - despite the way the
Nazis 'researched' the genealogies of Germans suspected of being descended
from Jews who had done precisely that.

Martin Stern


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Apr 15,2018 at 06:01 AM
Subject: Removing tefillin on Chol Hamoed

On one day of Chol Hamoed Pesach, I had to leave too early to daven with a
minyan and had to decide when to take of my tefillin.

The minhag is to do so after kedushah (except on the day when the keriah is
the two parshiot from Bo - Kadesh and Vehaya ki yeviacha - that are contained
in them, when the tefillin are removed after reading them).

It struck me that there seemed to be no reason for removing them until after
Uva leTzion as is done on Rosh Chodesh. I speculated that the origin of the
current custom was that, on Chol Hamoed Succot, people were afraid that the
retzuah [strap] might be a chatzitzah [interposition] between the hand and
the lulav and later the custom of early removal spread to Pesach where this
was not a problem. This explanation seems a bit dubious since one could
merely unwrap the retzuah from one's hand and wrap it round one's wrist, as
someone doing hagba'ah does.

Can anyone shed light on the current custom?

Martin Stern


From: Frank Silbermann <frank_silbermann@...>
Date: Thu, Apr 12,2018 at 07:01 AM
Subject: Voluntary exile? 

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 63#80):

> Having spent Pesach in Dubrovnik with a group predominantly from Israel,
> it struck me that it was hardly appropriate for them to say in Mussaf "umipnei
> chata'einu galinu mei'artzeinu ... [because of our sins we are exiled from
> our land]" since, having left voluntarily, it might be mechze keshikra
> [appear to be a lie]. Perhaps they should have substituted something like
> "umipnei chata'einu azavnu et artzeinu ... [because of our sins we have
> abandoned our land]"!  Any comments?

Perhaps it is analogous to the Vidui (confession) we say on Yom Kippur, in which
we list the sins of Klal Yisrael -- even those which we personally have not done.

Frank Silbermann
Memphis, Tennessee

From: Mark Symons <mssymons@...>
Date: Thu, Apr 12,2018 at 07:01 AM
Subject: Voluntary exile?

In response to Martin Stern (MJ 63#80):

To me, 'Umipnei chataeinu galinu meiartzeinu' means 'Because of our sins as a
people, we, as a people, were exiled from our land' 2000 years ago. Especially
as it goes on to say 'and (therefore) can no longer go up to appear at the
Temple', rather than saying 'we can no longer live in The Land', because the
fact is that some of us do live there, and others of us could move there but
choose not to. But it's about what happened to the nation, and the ongoing
ramifications for the nation, rather than individuals within the nation.

Mark Symons
Melbourne, Australia

From: Bill Bernstein <billbernstein@...>
Date: Thu, Apr 12,2018 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Voluntary exile?

In response to Martin Stern (MJ 63#80):

Two points: 

1. I believe people living in Israel still say this today. 

2. Exile is a spiritual state as much as a physical one - and we are certainly
all there.

Bill Bernstein
Brunswick, GA.

From: Immanuel Burton <iburton@...>
Date: Thu, Apr 19,2018 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Voluntary exile?

In response to Martin Stern (MJ 63#80):

Leaving Israel for the duration of Pesach does not change the historical fact
that we were indeed exiled from the Land of Israel almost 2000 years ago on
account of our sins.

What I think is a more relevant question is why living in Israel is considered
by some to no longer being in exile. Isn't exile a state of being as opposed to
a geographical location? We do not have a Temple standing on Temple Mount, and,
indeed, Jews aren't even permitted to pray there. Israeli law does not always
follow Halachah, and there are non-Jewish members of the Knesset (and currently
a Druze member of the Israel cabinet), so in what way is Israel under
exclusively Jewish rule? Can this really be called a full homecoming that has
ended our exile?

Please bear in mind that these questions are in no way intended to denigrate the
State of Israel or deny its right to exist, but are intended to raise awareness
of how it is possible to live in Israel while still being in exile.

So, no, I don't see any contradiction in an Israeli saying "because of our sins
we are exiled from our land" when they have voluntarily left Israel for the
duration of a Festival.

Immanuel Burton.


End of Volume 63 Issue 81