Volume 64 Number 01 
      Produced: Fri, 07 Sep 18 09:08:09 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

A message for the new volume and New Year 
    [The Moderation Team]
Meaning of g'zeira 
    [Harlan Braude]
Rosh Hashanah on Shabbat 
    [Martin Stern]
Selling chametz on Shabbat (3)
    [Martin Stern  Martin Stern  Sammy Finkelman]
Set aside established practice 
    [Stuart Pilichowski]
The name OF Hashem? 
    [Jonathan Tanner]


From: The Moderation Team
Date: Mon, Sep 3,2018 at 09:01 AM
Subject: A message for the new volume and New Year

As moderators, may we take this opportune moment of starting a new volume to
wish all contributors and readers of Mail Jewish, a ketivah vechatimah tovah
and a happy and sweet year. We thamk you all for your many thoughtful and
incisive contributions and apologise for any errors on our part in
processing them. We look forward to many more in the future.

The moderation team


From: Harlan Braude <hbraude@...>
Date: Mon, Sep 3,2018 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Meaning of g'zeira

Eric Mack wrote (MJ 63#99):

> As a kohen, I've been duchening [reciting the Priestly Benediction in front
> of the congregation] for decades, but the wording of the paragraph we Kohanim
> recite after Birkat Kohanim and concurrent with the ba'al tefilah's recitation
> of Sim Shalom just caught my attention this Shabbat ...
> We say, "Ribbono shel olam, asinu ma she-gazarta aleinu [Master of the world, 
> we have done what you decreed upon us]" ...
> Does a g'zera [decree] from HaShem not usually have negative implications? If
> so, why is that word, in verb form, used regarding our Priestly requirement?

I understand this to acknowledge the challenge kohainim can face fulfilling this
mitzvah, since it requires that they bless even those among klal Yisroel they may 
not personally like all that much.


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Fri, Sep 7,2018 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Rosh Hashanah on Shabbat

I always thought that the primary reason for not blwing the shofar on Erev Rosh
Hashanah was to make a break between the blowing during Ellul, which is only a
minhag, and that on Rosh Hashanah itself, which is a mitzvah min haTorah. Since
we don't blow the shofar on Shabbat, it occurred to me this morning that, when
the first day of Rosh Hashanah falls on Shabbat, we could blow it on Erev Rosh

Though it does not apply this year, can anyone throw any light on why we still
do not blow it in this circumstance?

Wishing all members of mail-jewish a ketivah vechatimah tovah

Martin Stern


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, Sep 3,2018 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Selling chametz on Shabbat

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz wrote (MJ 63#99):

> In response to Martin Stern (MJ 63#98):
> From the context of the question and the way it is asked, it appears that
> "Alexa" is a program on Reuvain's computer that automatically sends the
> completed form to the Rabbi's email address. That in itself would raise a
> question as to whether it is valid.

I don't see much halachic difference between Reuvain pressing the send button
and his 'instructing' Alexa to do so. Both would seem to be analogous to his
'shooting an arrow'.

Martin Stern

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, Sep 3,2018 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Selling chametz on Shabbat

Leah Gordon wrote (MJ 63#99):

> Martin Stern wrote (MJ 63#98):
>> Joel Rich wrote (MJ 63#97):
>>> 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.
>>> ...
>>> Would it make a difference if Alexa had waited until after Shabbat to
>>> transmit the instructions?
> Perhaps Martin is not aware that Alexa is a robot, the invention of
> amazon.com <http://amazon.com>!

Now that Leah comes to mention it, I did come across this some months ago when
one of my sons-in-law demonstrated it but I had completely forgotten about it,
not being a regular user of such devices. As I remember, one had to say the word
'Alexa' to activate it, so Joel's scenario could not have occurred as he had stated.

If, however, Reuvain had said "Alexa sell my chametz", the process could
possibly have been activated. So the question depends on how awake Reuvain was
at the time. 

If he had not been conscious, his 'command' would probably be classified as
mitaseik [preoccupied] and would have had no halachic significance. Since Alexa
was not a human, whatever it did subsequently would not have been linked back to
Reuvain and, so, it would have been irrelevant as to when it transmitted the
message. The nearest analogy would be someone flailing their arms while asleep
and turning on a light switch - the fact that the room was now lit would not
necessitate leaving it.

If, on the other hand, he had been sufficiently conscious to have understood
what he wished to do but not that it was Shabbat, he would be classified as
shogeig [careless] and, possibly, been subject to the kenas [rabbinic penalty]
of not being able to benefit from his action, at least until sufficient time
after Shabbat for the action to have been completed (presumably this short delay
would not have been significant). The crucial point is just how conscious
Reuvain would have had to be.

The same considerations as I had originally suggested on the mistaken assumption
that Alexa was a human would still apply

>>> Tzarikh iyun [the matter requires much deeper probing] and would have to be
>>> considered by an exceptionally learned posek [rabbinic decisor].

though the pesak might be different. As I had written
>>> Joel's scenario sounds like the sort of questions that Rav Yitzchak
>>> Zilberstein discusses in his works "Veha'rev Na" and "What if ..." so he
>>> might be the appropriate person to consult.

Martin Stern

From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Tue, Sep 4,2018 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Selling chametz on Shabbat

In response to Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz (MJ 63#99):

Yes, of course.

I guess this is comparable to having written a letter, or filled out a paper
form, authorizing the Rabbi to sell chometz, but not actually sent it to the
Rabbi before Shabbos, and then a non-Jew, mistakenly thinking he had been told
on Shabbos to take it over to the Rabbi, took it from his home, and it was left
in the shul on Shabbos where the Rabbi saw it after Shabbos, thinking it had
been left before Shabbos, and in the meantime Reuvain had completely forgotten
about it
until the time for selling chometz had passed. and the Rabbi didn't ask him
about it on Sunday because he already had the authorization.

There are lots of subsidiary questions. For instance, if there had been no
communication at all, but the Rabbi was relying on past practice or the
understanding they had in general, would it still be a good sale?


From: Stuart Pilichowski <stupillow@...>
Date: Tue, Sep 4,2018 at 03:01 AM
Subject: Set aside established practice

I'm looking for examples where a practice / halacha is set aside in order not to
embarrass someone in public or private.


Shana Tova,

Stuart Pilichowski

Mevaseret Zion, Israel

Phone 972- 527-222-827


From: Jonathan Tanner <jwtanner@...>
Date: Tue, Sep 4,2018 at 04:01 PM
Subject: The name OF Hashem?

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 63#99):  

> There is another punctuation point in the recitation of selichot. The
> introduction to the 13 middot, "Keil Melekh yosheiv al kissei rachamim ...",
> concludes by quoting the preceding verse (Ex.34:5) "Vayered Hashem be'anan
> vayityatzeiv imo sham vayikra veshem Hashem". In that verse the word "veshem"
> carries a tippekha which separates it from the final word "Hashem", implying
> that one should make a short pause between them. Not doing so makes a slight
> change to its meaning from "and He called out with a name: 'Hashem' [G-d's
> aspect of mercy]" - i.e. the two words "veshem" and "Hashem" are nouns in
> apposition - to "and He called out the name OF Hashem" - with "veshem" being
> treated as in semikhut [joined to the following noun "Hashem"]. This is
> probably such a fine distinction that one need not be too worried about it but
> there is no harm in reading it correctly.

Martin Stern is correct that the tippekha separates "vayikra veshem" from
Hashem" in Ex. 34:5.  Contrast this with Gen. 12:8, where the tippekha separates
"vayikra" from "beshem Hashem" (and thus there is a daggesh in the first letter
of beshem there).  One could argue that, in Ex. 34:5, the meaning suggested by
the placement of the tippekha is that Hashem called rather than Moshe; see Ibn
Ezra, Rashi and Onkelos, and Minchat Shai on that verse.


End of Volume 64 Issue 1