Volume 63 Number 87 
      Produced: Fri, 08 Jun 18 12:10:32 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

A problem with the splitting of Sefer Bamidbar (2)
    [Sammy Finkelman  Immanuel Burton]
Are we racists? 
    [David Tzohar]
Say Good Shabbos 
    [Carl A. Singer]
Selling a Beit Knesset? 
    [Joel Rich]
Seltzer and Bacteria (was Soda water) 
    [Leah Gordon]
Yahrtzeit Kaddish? (2)
    [Orrin Tilevitz  Chaim Casper]


From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Wed, May 30,2018 at 05:01 PM
Subject: A problem with the splitting of Sefer Bamidbar

In response to Martin Stern (MJ 63#85), I think a lot of the reason for the
varying lengths of the different sedrahs is to make things easier for the Ba'al

Parshas Naso has a lot of virtually identical pesukim. While it's the longest
sedrah in the Torah in terms of verses and the Ba'al Koreh is given more to
read, the time it takes to read it is not that much longer, but that's not what
really matters. What's important is not how long it takes to read but how
difficult it is for what needs to be remembered to be remembered and that's
about the same.

The trup, or maybe the targum, which maybe wasn't read originally, goes back at
least all the way to when the one year cycle of longer readings from the Torah

Similarly to Parshash Naso, Parshas Pinchas is almost as long - 168 verses - but
a lot of them are korbanos, close to the same especially for Succos, and there
is a census.

You could have a question about Mattos-Masei, which are almost always combined
and are not so easy. It could be that originally they weren't combined so often.
Perhaps they had the meturgamen in mind and it is not so difficult to translate.

I too have wondered how else the beginning of Sefer Bamidbar could be split, and
thought how the first three sedrahs could be made into four.

Martin Stern also wrote (MJ 63#86):

> I noticed last Shabbat at minchah that Moshe Rabbeinu was instructed to
> sprinkle the Levi'im with 'mei chatat' (Bam.8:7). However, the rules as to how
> it should be made and used are only found much later (Bam.19). Is there any
> explanation for this apparently anomalous order?

The Parah Adumah is kept apart in a separate isolated section as are some other
things in the Torah. And while the Mei Chatas of Bam. 8:7 may be the same as the
Mei Chatas of Bam. 19:9 the surrounding halachos are completely different.

From: Immanuel Burton <iburton@...>
Date: Wed, May 30,2018 at 09:01 PM
Subject: A problem with the splitting of Sefer Bamidbar

Martin Stern asked (MJ 63#86) about Moshe Rabbeinu being instructed in Parshat
Beha'alotecha to sprinkle the Levites with "mei chatat", a reference to the
Parah Adumah process, whose rules are formally given a few pericopes later, in
Parshat Chukat.

Exodus 15:25 (Parshat Beshalach) describes how Hashem showed Moshe Rabbeinu a
tree which he threw into the water at Marah and made the water sweet.  The verse
concludes, "...there He established [for them] a statute and a judgement, and
there He tested it".  Rashi, citing Mechilta and Sanhedrin 56b, says that the
statute referred to here is the law of the Parah Adumah.  It would therefore
seem that the law of the Parah Adumah was presented shortly after the splitting
of the Red Sea, even though the formal presentation of this law isn't recorded
until Parshat Chukat.

Immanuel Burton.


From: David Tzohar <davidtzohar@...>
Date: Fri, Jun 1,2018 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Are we racists?

I recently saw an interesting clip on the internet. A black woman got on a
crowded subway in NY with three young children crowded subway in NY. Another
black woman asked people to get up and give them their seats. When nobody (all
white) did so her reaction was "If they were Jews you would all get up!" A young
yeshiva bachur who happened to be there (and couldnt hide his Jewishness tried
to reason with her sayng "let's not make this a racist issue" Her reaction was
"Jews are not a race but a religion and they all stink they won't rent us

Black antisemitism isn't new, I remember it from 50 years ago, but its getting
worse and, together with right-wing antisemitism, should be a real concern to
American Jews. But it seems that the 90% of American Jews who are not Orthodox
seem content to lower their heads, continue to vote Democrat and hope that it
will not affect them. Unfortunately their reaction is to continue to assimilate
and intermarry.

This is the silent holocaust. If things continue this way in 50 years a
community of close to six million will shrink to a few hundred thousand Haredim
and Hassidim.

I know from personal experience. Of my seven cousins three who are Orthodox
married Jews and two made aliya, and one lives in a Litvishe ghetto in north NJ.
The other four all married non-Jews.

Brothers!! wake up! The only answer is Aliya. We are waiting for you here with
open arms to be part of the Geula and not the Golah.

David Tzohar 
Armon Hanetziv 


From: Carl A. Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Thu, May 31,2018 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Say Good Shabbos

I had an interesting discussion the other day:

Growing up I lived in a heavily Jewish (but not necessarily observant)
neighborhood. Walking to shul when I saw Jewish neighbors mowing their lawn or
getting into their car we would exchange a friendly "Good Shabbos" -- that's just
the way it was.

Today I live in a neighborhood where virtually all of the Jewish families are
observant -- but when I cross paths on Shabbos many (perhaps half) DO NOT
respond to my "Good Shabbos".

Someone suggested that they may be davening while walking to / from shule and
thus not answering --  should I give the benefit of the doubt?

BUT then again, a respected Rabbi who I see each weekday morning at Shacharis
explained to me that (with some exceptions) the importance of greeting one's
fellow individual is such that it is OK to interrupt one's davening to return a


Carl A. Singer


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Sun, Jun 3,2018 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Selling a Beit Knesset?

The Rambam (Matnot Aniyim 8:11), based on Bava Batra 3b, states that a Beit
Knesset (Synagogue) is not sold to raise funds for pidyon shvuyim (redeeming
captives) but rather new funds must be collected for that purpose. (The Gemara
in B"B is worth looking at - what exactly is the halachic force of "people don't
sell their homes"). 

Two items:

1. This seems to imply a complex interaction between tzedakah priorities and
other halachot (perhaps respect for Beit Knesset or people's intent in
donations) or it might be that tzedaka priorities are multivariate?

2. What if the other fundraising fails - would the community sell the Beit Knesset?

Joel Rich


From: Leah Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Tue, May 29,2018 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Seltzer and Bacteria (was Soda water)

Sammy Finkelman wrote (MJ 63#86):

> Now the thing is seltzer (not just Alka Selzer) could also be used for 
> medicinal purposes, because the carbonation kills bacteria, by exploding them 
> although this source does not explicitly have that:
> http://www.foodrepublic.com/2014/06/19/8-things-you-probably-didnt-know-about-
> seltzer/

I realize this is tangential to the issue, but Sammy has repeated an urban
legend.  All sources that claim an antibiotic capacity for seltzer (such as the
link provided), explain that any such effect is due to the acid-base balance
which is slightly acidic when there is a higher level of dissolved carbon
dioxide.  Nothing about "exploding" bacteria (how would this work exactly?).

In fact, an interesting study was done almost a hundred years ago precisely to
determine whether the chemical or the pressure was the reason for depressed
bacterial activity in carbonated beverages.  Nitrogen pressurizing had no effect
on bacteria.  The paper is available to the public here:


--Leah S. R. Gordon


From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Tue, May 29,2018 at 02:01 PM
Subject: Yahrtzeit Kaddish?

Avraham Friedenberg wrote (MJ 63#86):

> In my "growing up" shule, if someone had a yahrzeit, the Rabbi would make an
> announcement during Aleinu: "Yahrzeit kaddish!" The person observing the
> yahrzeit would say kaddish by himself. This would be followed by a communal
> recitation of "Mizmor shir chanukat habayit l'David," followed by another
> kaddish - this time recited by all who were saying Kaddish.
> I'll point out that I've never seen that done anywhere else since then.

A shul on NYC's Lower East Side -- it might have been the Young Israel -- where
I davened once when I was saying kaddish for my father 10 years ago, has (or
had) exactly this minhag.

From: Chaim Casper <surfflorist@...>
Date: Tue, May 29,2018 at 07:01 PM
Subject: Yahrtzeit Kaddish?

Avraham Friedenberg and Yisrael Medad (MJ 63#86) responded to Joel Rich's
question (MJ 63#86) about "Yahrzeit Kaddish," where the gabbai (or rabbi) would
announce "Yahrzeit kaddish" at which point only one person who is observing a
yahrzeit would say the mourner's kaddish (kaddish yatom) alone.  

First, my empirical experience with this situation is slightly different from
theirs.  I used to see it at a shivah minyan in the home of the bereaved
(avelim).   After shacharit and ma'ariv, at the very end, Lamnazeah (Pslam 49)
or Mikhtam LeDavid (Psalm 16) would be said depending on whether tachanun was to
be said that day or not.   (This was my experience during my residencies in the
Upper West Side of Manhattan, Providence and Miami Beach).   Someone would call
out "Aveilim kaddish" or some variation thereof, and only the avel/mourner would
say kaddish and everyone, including other mourners (e.g. those in the 12 months
following the death of their loved ones or someone who was observing a yahrzeit)
would answer amen. 

Occasionally, I would see it in shul by the kaddish after Aleinu or L'David,
whichever was the last kaddish of that minyan.   But as I said, this was only

In my current community of North Miami Beach, no such announcement is made.  
Instead, everyone who is saying kaddish, the mourners during the 12 months
following the burial of a loved one, someone observing a yahrzeit and those
sitting shivah, say kaddish together whether in shul or in the shivah house.  
When I asked why it is not as in my previous communities, I was told that
originally, only one person said kaddish for all the mourners in the community
(see the Mahzor Vitry or the RaM"A).  

It is only a later development that everyone who is mourning would say kaddish
together, so there is no longer any need to have one person say it to the
exclusion of the others.     

Bvirkat Torah,
Chaim Casper
North Miami Beach, FL


End of Volume 63 Issue 87