Volume 63 Number 84 
      Produced: Wed, 02 May 18 16:45:17 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

A punctuation problem (2)
    [Yaakov Shachter  Sammy Finkelman]
A strange order of subjects in Vayikra 
    [Martin Stern]
Egg Matzo 
    [Leah Gordon]
Green Beans for Ashkenazim on Pesach (was Egg Matzo) 
    [Orrin Tilevitz]
Removing tefillin on Chol Hamoed 
    [Immanuel Burton]
The semantics of mehadrin (was Egg Matzo) 
    [Martin Stern]
Voluntary exile? 
    [Immanuel Burton]


From: Yaakov Shachter <jay@...>
Date: Mon, Apr 30,2018 at 04:01 PM
Subject: A punctuation problem

Many thanks to the members of this mailing list (MJ 63#83) who corrected my
pshat (MJ 63#82) of Leviticus 10:19.  Special thanks to Rabbi Elazar Teitz for
out the significance of the qamatz in Jonah 4:9, which I never noticed before,
despite all the many times I looked at that word while hearing it chanted
publicly.  And, beyond the lesson in pshat, many thanks to all of you for the
lesson in humility.

Jay F. ("Yaakov") Shachter
6424 N Whipple St
Chicago IL  60645-4111

From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Mon, Apr 30,2018 at 06:01 PM
Subject: A punctuation problem

Alex Heppenheimer wrote about Vay.10:19 (MJ 63#83):

> See Ibn Ezra's commentary on this verse.

I found a reference to that in the Chizkuni's commentary (translated by Rabbi
Eliyahi Munk (not to be confused by Rabbi Elie Munk) and am grateful for this
translation of what ibn Ezra said, but what is his explanation of the question
about the xataf pattax under the "heh"?

Everybody seems to treat this as a question, although, if you look at it, the
Gemorah in Zevachim 101 (coming up in Daf HaYomi the day after the fast of the
9th of Av is observed this year, i.e. on the 11th of Av, Monday July 23)
actually does not seem to take that as a question, whatever else it does to the
plain pshat.


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Apr 29,2018 at 07:01 AM
Subject: A strange order of subjects in Vayikra

Seven years ago I wrote regarding Tazria/Metzora (MJ 60#02):

> It struck me that the order of topics in these sedras is a bit peculiar.
> They start with the parshat hayoledet (woman who has given birth) and then
> divert to the varieties of tzara'at (various 'plagues' affecting people,
> clothes and houses) and their purification rituals before returning to the
> other gender-specific tumot: zav, ba'al keri, niddah and zavah. It would seem
> more logical for the yoledet to be included among the latter, so one might
> have expected them to be listed together either at the beginning of Tazria or
> at the end of Metzora.

As far as I can see nobody made any comments on this apart from Tal Benschar
who wrote (MJ 60#03):

> I had very similar thoughts this past Shabbos.  Just to strengthen the
> question a bit, one would think that the parshiyos at the end of Metzorah
> (niddah, zavah, baal keri and zav) would precede the parsha of yoledes.  After
> all, in personal experience they certainly do -- one has to deal with the laws
> of Niddah (and for a man in the time of the BHMK, baal keri) well before the
> laws of giving birth.
> So we have an ordering issue as well as the interruption with the laws of
> Metzorah.

I think his last point can be extended since the whole order of subjects in
Vayikra is very strange. While everything runs fairly smoothly through
Vayikra, Tzav and the first part of Shemini (up to the end of ch. 10), all
dealing with sacrifices, there seems to be a diversion to the laws of
permitted and forbidden (non-sacrificial) foodstuffs. I do not seem to be
alone in this problem; Rabbi Elie Munk writes in his commentary "The Call of
the Torah", translated from the original French by E S Mazer (Artscroll,
1992, p.98):

"Neither the traditional sources nor the later commentators fully explain
the transition from the chapters concerning the sacrificial service to those
dealing with the dietary laws."

He brings a few suggestions but these sound very much ex post facto
rationalisations than true explanations. One would have expected that the
first part of Acharei Mot which continue the narrative (ch. 16) to have
preceded it, and also the following sections (ch. 17) which are related to the
sacrificial cult. The latter also refer to various dietary restrictions so
would be a natural lead to the dietary laws (ch. 11).

That brings us to ch. 12. While Rashi, quoting the Midrash, gives a
plausible reason why the parshat hayoledet should follow - that in the
order of creation, the animals preceded humanity - this does not answer my
original question since the other tumot hayots'ot min haguf all are
specifically human (in fact only apply to Jews). In fact I would have
thought that a more logical order would be as Tal Benschar suggested.

There seems to be an added reason for this: in ch. 11, tumat sheretz
(vv.29-38) and tumat neveilah (vv.39-41) are mentioned, so the tumot
hayots'ot min haguf would be a natural continuation. However, these are
'light' tumot [tumot erev] which can be 'cured' at nightfall the same day after
immersion in a mikveh. Tumat hayoledet is much more severe, lasting 7 (after a
male) or 14 (after a female) birth. In fact the only 'light' tumah among the
tumot hayots'ot min haguf are the ba'al keri (15: 16-18) and, implicitly, the
zavah ketanah (15: 25 which mentions "many days" excluding one or two).

Therefore one might have expected the order to have been: first the parshat
ba'al keri followed by parshat zav as a pathological discharge similar to it
- both referring to males. One might have suggested that its female
equivalent parshat zavah should follow but, since it depends on parshat
niddah, the latter must precede it. Parshat hayoledet would then follow them
naturally since it refers to itself as "like the tuma of a niddah" (12:2,5).

Returning to my original question regarding why parshat hayoledet should
come before parshat metzora, one thought occurred to me this year: the
former refers to the circumcision of a male child on the eighth day so,
possibly, this is a hint to the fact that it takes precedence over the
tzara'at, which one is not usually allowed to remove (Dev. 24:8), in that
one performs with the circumcision even if the tzara'at is on the orlah

As I asked previously, is this rather strange order in which the Torah is
arranged supposed to teach us something additional?

Martin Stern


From: Leah Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Tue, May 1,2018 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Egg Matzo

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.

On this odd assertion that matzah ashira is "chametz gamur" - imagine the
following scenario:

You buy a box of matza ashira in anticipation of a sick/elderly person coming to
your seder who will need it.  That person is unable to attend, and you don't use
the matza ashira.  After Pesach, you have the box of matza ashira that you
certainly owned during Pesach.

Does anyone seriously contend that you should burn the matza ashira?  (Or even
refrain from eating it?  Whether you want to or not is beside the point :) ) 
Wouldn't this be the rule if it were "chametz gamur"?

--Leah S. R. Gordon


From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Sun, Apr 29,2018 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Green Beans for Ashkenazim on Pesach (was Egg Matzo)

Jack Gross wrote (MJ 63#63): 

> Kitniyot, while off the menu for Bnei Ashkenaz, are Kasher for others -- 
> Lammehadderin min hammehadderim. Go tell the Bet Yaakov girls I see selecting
> green-beans erev pesach that they are "non-mehadrin".

In 1948 or so, when when my rav, R. Jacob Kret, z'tl, an Eastern European rosh
yeshiva, came to the Old Broadway Synagogue -- then, a congregation of
halachically-ignorant Eastern Europeans who probably had never met a Ben Sefarad
-- he observed them eating green beans on pesach. R. Kret, believing that green
beans were kitniyot but puzzled that everyone was eating them, went to his
mentor, R. Eliyahu Henkin, and asked whether he, R. Kret, should correct them.
R. Henkin's response was "No" -- while most Bnei Ashkenaz have the minhag of not
eating green beans on pesach, they are NOT kitniyot because they don't have
either of kitniyot's simanim -- they aren't grown together with any of the 5
grains and can't be ground into flour. So while the major kashrut certification
organization list green beans as kitniyot, according to R. Henkin this would be


From: Immanuel Burton <iburton@...>
Date: Sun, Apr 29,2018 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Removing tefillin on Chol Hamoed

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 63#83):

> Since those communities who say the Kedushah starting Keter yitnu lecha both
> on Rosh Chodesh and Chol Ha'Moed, I don't understand why a different
> reasoning is necessary. At most the second reason is additional but the
> first still applies so tefillin should be taken off before Musaf anyway.

Maybe what the Rema means is that the only reason that tefillin are taken off
before Musaf is on account of the kedusa of "Keter yitnu lecha", and not because
of the Musaf prayer itself.  This would mean that one would have to find another
reason to justify taking off one's tefillin at an earlier point, e.g. before Hallel.

> I must query this last point that "the sign of the day, which is Hallel on
> Succos" on two grounds:
> 1. We say Hallel on Chanukah but do not remove tefillin beforehand
> 2. The shatz only unwraps the retzuah from his hand and wraps it round his
> wrist on Succos, as someone doing hagba'ah does on any day (to avoid tircha
> detzibbura [inconveniencing the congregation]).

Perhaps I should have phrased this differently:  The sign of a tabernacle
applies on all 7 days of Succos, and the occasion of it being Succos is
represented in Shul by the saying of Hallel.  Given the reason why tefillin are
taken off before Musaf, the recitation of Hallel is itself not a reason to
remove tefillin, unless Hallel is being said when there is an applicable sign,
e.g. having to sit in a tabernacle through Succos.

I was under the impression that one unwinds the tefillin straps on one's hand
before haba'ah so as to be able to get a better grip on the Sefer Torah - after
all, is there any reason why one has to be direct contact with the handles of
the Sefer Torah when lifting it?

For those who say Hallel on Yom Ha'atzmaut, has anyone ever suggested that one
should remove one's tefillin before Hallel?

> This last point is certainly correct since one person's concept of 'logic'
> often varies from someone else's, as a result of the influence of incorrect
> assumptions.

Indeed.  As Doctor Who said ('The Wheel In Space', 1968):  Logic merely enables
one to be wrong with authority.

Immanuel Burton.


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Apr 29,2018 at 12:01 PM
Subject: The semantics of mehadrin (was Egg Matzo)

Jack Gross wrote (MJ 63#83):

> Menashe Elyashiv wrote (MJ 63#82):
>> All matza ashera [sic] are non-mehadrin.
> Nonsense.
> ... Matza Ashira, if the procedure ensures that it contains absolutely no
> added water: Fine without restriction for other than Bnei Ashkenaz --
> Lammehadderin min hamehadderim; fine without qualms among Bnei Ashkenaz for
> those who need it.
> The avoidance of Matza Ashira among Bnei Ashkenaz is a chumra, combining
> Rashi's opinion that a dough containing both water and Mei Peirot may rise
> faster than with water alone, with a fear that some water may inadvertently
> get mixed in. Even if one were to combine flour, water and Mei Peirot into a
> dough, so long as it is kneaded normally and not allowed to stand before
> baking, no one holds it is "hametz gamur".

This is a semantic dispute. It all depends on how you define the word mehadrin.
I suspect that all Menashe meant was that it was not available with a mehadrin
certification - not that it was non-mehadrin in some objective sense, whatever
that might be. One possibile definition, I suppose is 'kasher according to EVERY
chumra' but this almost certainly cannot be realised in practice for most products.

Perhaps mehadrin is merely a relative term meaning stricter, and has no precise
definition. This would appear to be the case when used by kashrut supervising
bodies who have two-tier certification - ordinary, relying on numerous (not
always widely accepted) leniencies to keep the cost of products down, and
mehadrin, in which some (but not necessarily all) of these leniencies are not
relied upon.

A parallel is the term 'glatt kosher' when used regarding the certification of
chickens, let alone dairy products, which cannot be used except with reference
to mammals according to linguistic purists.

Martin Stern


From: Immanuel Burton <iburton@...>
Date: Sun, Apr 29,2018 at 09:01 PM
Subject: Voluntary exile?

David Tzohar wrote (MJ 62#82):

> Brothers I have great news for you. There is no exile, it ended 70 years ago
> with the establishment of the State of Israel. There is a diaspora made up of
> those who either cannot (and are therefore "anusim") or will not make aliya
> (mezidim).

Jastrow provides two definitions for the word "galut":

(1)  Exile.
(2)  A diaspora.

So what is meant by exile?  A person who kills someone else through 
negligence is exiled to a city of refuge even though they are still in 
the Land of Israel, so I would suggest that exile is a state of being barred
from one's home while being explicitly refused permission to return.  We are
still barred from the Temple Mount (try going up there and praying, and see what
happens to you), and we are still without the long list of Temple-related
ceremonies and accoutrements listed in the paean "U'me'rov avoneinu ain lanu"
recited during the Musaf repetition on Yom Kippur.  I would therefore maintain
that at best the exile is not completely over, but, as David wrote in his
posting, there is valid reason to believe that we are on the way (and hopefully
well on the way).

Incidentally, the prayer for the State of Israel recited by the United Synagogue
in the UK (which is an Orthodox organisation) does not refer to Israel as
"rayshit semichat ge'ulatanu".  The full text can be viewed online at:


(If someone out there could shed light on who wrote this prayer, I would 
very much like to know.)

He continues:

> I do not understand how Orthodox Jews can be content to sit on the sidelines 
> and watch the redemption of the Jewish people in its land besiyatta deshmaya.

What rational rationales have been given for not moving to Israel now that
there's a Law of Return in place and one can indeed just go?

Immanuel Burton.


End of Volume 63 Issue 84