Volume 63 Number 97 
      Produced: Mon, 27 Aug 18 12:07:49 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

A problem with Rabbeinu Tam's bein hashemashot 
    [Dr. William Gewirtz]
An Epistemological Fallacy 
    [Orrin Tilevitz]
Another kedusha desidra problem 
    [Martin Stern]
Braying in Shule 
    [Irwin Weiss]
Greeting people 
    [Martin Stern]
Kohanim / Aliyah 
    [Stuart Pilichowski]
Selling chametz on Shabbat 
    [Joel Rich]


From: Dr. William Gewirtz <wgewirtz@...>
Date: Wed, Aug 22,2018 at 07:01 AM
Subject: A problem with Rabbeinu Tam's bein hashemashot

Robert Israel wrote (MJ 63#96):

> Dr. William Gewirtz wrote (MJ 63#95):
>> Anyone who has watched both horizons in Israel from sunset until 
>> almost 45 minutes after sunset can attest to the changing conditions. 
>> While in northern France both horizons are still changing almost one hour 
>> after sunset during some seasons of the year, in Israel anyone looking 
>> towards the eastern half of the sky around one hour after sunset will see 
> I think it's not so easy these days to reproduce the night sky conditions they
> had back then, either in northern France or Israel, except maybe in the far
> depths of the Negev. Unless you're many miles away from towns and lit 
> highways, you'll have the glow of electric lights to contend with. Look up  
> "Light pollution".

I thank Robert for his quick response. I have written previously about light
pollution and its potential impact on multiple areas in zemanim and would make
the following three points:

First, light pollution has greater impact on the visibility of stars, than on
the appearance of the eastern horizon, which the gemara that I referenced
addresses. The gemara talks of comparing the horizon with either the upper part
of the sky or some other point in an easterly direction to see if they are
equivalently dark. Unlike the appearance of stars, both are impacted by
increased illumination.

Second, I have made this observation in areas with very limited illumination,
close to the latitude of the Middle East. Undoubtedly, making the observation in
the absence of any illumination would validate it completely.

Third, the gemara is speaking about the appearance of points to the east not
their scientifically precise equivalence; appearance is entirely observable in
situations even with very limited illumination.

Any of the three assertions is enough to validate my questioning the position of
Rabbeinu Tam; the three taken together validate the question in toto.

Dr. William Gewirtz


From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 21,2018 at 05:01 PM
Subject: An Epistemological Fallacy

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 93#96) in reply to me (MJ 63#95):

> Orrin Tilevitz wrote (MJ 63#95) 
>> ...
>> In hard science, if the data contradict the hypothesis, you look for another
>> hypothesis, even if sometimes it takes time for this to happen...
> Absolutely true! but the way opponents to the 'gospel truth' of evolution are
> treated, it seems that its proponents are so convinced that they are not 
> making much effort to find an alternative.

This is the crux of the the dispute between Martin and me. Martin and I agree that:

(i) God created the world 

(ii) scientists have found no scientific alternative to evolution. 

Where we disagree is that Martin thinks scientists should say that "Hashem did
it" is such an alternative scientific theory, and that "Hashem did it" is the
cure for any failings in evolution or the details therein. I disagree on both
counts, but I guess we'll have to agree to disagree.


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 21,2018 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Another kedusha desidra problem

Haim Shalom Snyder wrote (MJ 63#96):
> Martin Stern (MJ 63#95) wrote:
>> Haim Shalom Snyder wrote (MJ 63#94):
>>> In response to Martin Stern (MJ 63#93):
>>> ...
>>> 2) The prayer is called kedusha desidra. The verse "Vekara zeh el zeh
>>> ve'amar 'kadosh, kadosh, kadosh ..." is the first response in the kedushah.
>>> Later we also find the verse "Vatisa'eini ruah va'eshma aharai ra'ash gadol
>>> 'baruch kevod Hashem mimekomo'" which is the second ...
>> Haim makes the point that these are complete verses. Since we have the rule
>> that we may not split verses, surely it is incorrect for the tzibbur to
>> pause after saying "Vekara zeh el zeh ve'amar", as if it were part of the
>> verse "Ve'atah kadosh ..."
> However, that rule has a number of exceptions, including the regular
> kedusha. There, the second response is just the last 4 words of the 11 word
> verse "Vatisa'eini ruah va'eshma aharai kol ra'ash gadol baruch kevod Hashem
> mimekomo".

There is an opinion that one can also make such a break after an etnachta
which would apply to the second response in the regular kedushah but not the
first one. 

> Another exception, and one that is more flagrant since it changes the meaning,
> is the 13 midot, ending with the word "Venakeh".

This is obviously a deliberate flouting of the rule to make a specific homiletic
> His suggestion of not saying it at all and relying on "shomei'a ke'oneh" is
> what the Shulhan Aruch (OH 125:1) says to do with the beginning of kedusha.
> However, the only minyan that I know of (and I admit that my knowledge is
> nowhere near complete) that the congregation doesn't say N'kadesh is in the
> Hurva in Jerusalem, which follows Nusach HaGra strictly.

This was the normal practice in Central Europe and continues to this day in
the communities stemming from that area. I suspect that it was abandoned in
the mid-nineteenth century (like the recital of piyutim) in Eastern Europe
which may explain why it continues at the Hurva in Jerusalem, which was founded
by the Peirushim who had arrived earlier.

In an earlier posting (MJ 63#94) he wrote:

> Why the third verse is changed here from what we say in the actual kedushah
> is another story.

This anomaly has also always puzzled me, as well as its omission in the kedusha
deyotser (the first berakhah before Shema in the morning). If Haim has an
explanation perhaps he could provide it.

Martin Stern


From: Irwin Weiss <irwin@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 21,2018 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Braying in Shule

Carl Singer (MJ 63#96) asks what to do about a person who davens loudly and
off-key in shule.

I am anxious to hear some responses as my shule has the identical issue. Its
very disconcerting. (I guess that is a pun). I am hesitant to ask people not to
daven aloud, or to insult them.  I am contemplating ear plugs (for me, not them).

Irwin E. Weiss
Baltimore, MD


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, Aug 20,2018 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Greeting people

>From time to time members complain about the declining levels of derekh eretz
[good manners], in particular the way people seem no longer to acknowledge
greetings and respond appropriately.

A rather facetious melamed zekhut ['justification'] occurred to me recently. It
is recorded that Shammai ruled (Avot 1:15) that one should greet everyone one
meets cordially but there is no mention that Hillel ruled likewise.
Those who do not respond might think that this is a case of a dispute between
them and then apply the rule of "machloket beit Hillel uveit Shammai, halachah
keveit Hillel".

Of course there is no indication that Hillel disagreed either, so perhaps we
could apply the rule of "shetikah kehoda'ah damya [silence is equivalent to
agreement]" (Yev. 87b). But the non-responders are obviously stringent in this
matter on the principle of "yafah shetikah lechakhamim kal vachomer letipshim
[silence is good for the wise and even more so for fools]" (Pes.99a) - and "ein
bur yerei cheit [an uncouth person is not careful to avoid sin]" (Avot 2:6) as
Hillel himself observed.

Perhaps this thought is more appropriate to Purim than Ellul but one should
always try to be melamed zekhut on others especially at this season, and hope
that HKBH will then similarly be melamed zekhut on us.

Wishing all mail-jewish members a ketivah vechatimah tovah.

Martin Stern


From: Stuart Pilichowski <stupillow@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 21,2018 at 02:01 PM
Subject: Kohanim / Aliyah

Perets Mett wrote (MJ 63#96):

> In response to Stuart Pilichowski (MJ 63#95):
> Self-esteem? Dignity? What on earth is he talking about. There is nothing
> embarrassing about a person who is ill not fasting. If the kohen (or anyone
> else) is in poor health he is NOT ALLOWED to fast. There is nothing to be
> embarrassed about doing the correct thing.

I'm talking about taking into account the feelings of an individual who for 60+
years has been recognized as a kohen and thus received the first aliyah. Now,
because of failing health he's denied the aliyah and the members of the minyan,
as few as they may be, understand what's happening but take pity on this poor soul.

Rather than focus everyone's attention on Mr. Kohen by denying him the aliyah I
say let him have it. I believe this is found in the fifth chelek of shulchan aruch.

Stuart Pilichowski


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Fri, Aug 24,2018 at 02:01 PM
Subject: Selling chametz on Shabbat

Reuvain awakes in the middle of the night and, forgetting that it was Shabbat,
states, "Please sell my chametz." Then, realizing that it's Shabbat, he makes a
mental note to take care of it after Shabbat. He then forgets about it until
after Pesach has already started.

However, Alexa heard his pronouncement, made a complete list of his chameitz,
found the website that he used the previous year to sell his chameitz and
transmitted the fully filled out forms with the password. The sale was completed
by the Rabbi running the website. 

Is Reuvain's chametz usable by him after Pesach? 

Would it make a difference if Alexa had waited until after Shabbat to transmit
the instructions?

Joel Rich


End of Volume 63 Issue 97