Volume 64 Number 14 
      Produced: Sat, 02 Feb 19 16:12:44 -0500

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Amoraic Statements 
    [Orrin Tilevitz]
Another tachnun question 
    [Carl A. Singer]
    [Joel Rich]
Halacha kebatrai 
    [Joel Rich]
Master or masters? 
    [Martin Stern]
Modern Orthodoxy? (2)
    [Ari Trachtenberg  Orrin Tilevitz]
Nichum aveilim 
    [Joel Rich]
Omitting Tachnun related to a Bris 
    [Carl A. Singer]
She'asa nisim  
    [Joel Rich]
Sidra division 
    [Shmuel Himelstein]
Some further problems with Mishpatim 
    [Martin Stern]
Tav. nun. tzadi. bet. hay. 
    [David Ziants]


From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Tue, Jan 8,2019 at 08:01 PM
Subject: Amoraic Statements

Joel Rich asks (MJ 64#13) for writings on how to think about Amoraic statements
that are not sourced but very basic (i.e., why weren't they recorded earlier).

One place to look is Torat HaNevi'im by R. Zvi Hirsch Chayes. I don't know if he
deals with that precise question (I'm in a class on it, and we're only part-way
through), but the book tries to explain how Chazal had authority to make various
decrees that aren't set out in the Torah.


From: Carl A. Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Tue, Jan 15,2019 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Another tachnun question

We know, of course, that one does not say tachnun if a Chusan is in shul.

What if a kallah is present?

Carl Singer


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Fri, Jan 11,2019 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Haftarah

I recently was in a Shul in Israel where they said the haftara from a Chumash
yet the baal korei [reader] read it for the person who got the aliyah.
Apparently this is standard practice in this Shul - has anyone seen this done

Joel Rich


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Thu, Jan 24,2019 at 01:01 AM
Subject: Halacha kebatrai

The Maharik (84) posits that we only apply halacha k'batrai (the law follows the
later decisors) after the time of Abaye and Rava because before that time
everyone only learned their teachers' traditions whereas in their time they
would learn all the traditions. 

My simple question - what factor(s) caused this change? (But it does answer
where "Havayot d'Abaye V'Rava" came from).

Joel Rich


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sat, Feb 2,2019 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Master or masters?

At the beginning of Mishpatim (Ex. 21), the Torah refers to the master of the eved
ivri [indentured Hebrew slave] in what appears to be a plural form. We find in
v.4 'adonav' rather than 'adono', and 'adoneha' rather than 'adonah', as if
derived from the plural form 'adonim', though the verb 'yiten' associated with
it is singular.

Similarly, with reference to a goring bull (v.29) we also find the owner
referred to as 'ba'alav' rather than 'ba'alo', as if derived from the plural
'ba'alim' (incidentally the word used in rabbinic Hebrew or a master of a slave).

This has always puzzled me but nobody I have asked so far could explain why we
have these anomalous forms. Does any member of the mail-jewish family have any
ideas on this?

Martin Stern


From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Tue, Jan 8,2019 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Modern Orthodoxy?

Joel Rich wrote (MJ 64#13):
> I believe that R'SZA would not allow the use of electronics lechatchila as he
> sees it as rabbinically prohibited but only in a case of need (e.g. hearing 
> aid, security camera) and only with possible other safeguards.

My understanding mostly concurs with yours.  He only permitted electronics in
the case of need, but I do not think that this had to do with the rabbinical
prohibition.  Instead, it had to do with:

1.   The social cost of permitting electricity to the community that has been
abstaining from it.

2.  The relative ease with which actual Shabbat-prohibited work can be done with
electricity (as opposed to, say, water ... where you could set up a water wheel
to convert flowing water into forbidden work, but this is not something that can
be done "off the shelf" today).

I have always found it perplexing that the frum community has chosen to permit
other commonplace activities that seem to mimic the use of electricity, for
example: water -  flushing a toilet on shabbat, wherein water is permitted to
flow from higher potential to lower potential, possibly with an electric pump
and very likely causing materials to move from the public area [reshut harabim]
to a private area [reshut hayachid].



Prof. Ari Trachtenberg
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Boston University

From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Mon, Jan 21,2019 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Modern Orthodoxy?

Another data point regarding the discussion on this point several months ago. I
just found a letter I wrote in 1979 to Rabbi Bernard Levy, the late O.K.
Laboratories kashruth administrator (and father of the current incumbent). 

R. Levy had written an editorial in the June-July 1979 issue of the O.K.'s
publication, The Jewish Homemaker, advocating formal, systematic kashruth
training for Jewish women. So far, so good, but it seems (based on my letter) he
referred to "modern orthodox" Jews who "come into town for a fun afternoon and
dinner at a fancy [treif] restaurant" and "many a modern rebbetzin" whose homes
are "kosher style". Unfortunately I did not keep a copy of the editorial. 

My letter points out that Jewish men would equally benefit from such training,
and is otherwise scathing. I have no record of having received a reply.

Orrin Tilevitz


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Thu, Jan 24,2019 at 01:01 AM
Subject: Nichum aveilim

When one is physically distant from a friend who is sitting shiva, as a general
rule, is it better to (pick one) call, text, or email during the shiva period?
Or, is it better to wait until you actually see the person again?

Joel Rich


From: Carl A. Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Tue, Jan 15,2019 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Omitting Tachnun related to a Bris

Scenario 1:

Our shul has a morning (6:10 or 6:15 AM) minyan daily.  When there is a
bris, there is usually a 7:30 or 8:00 AM minyan for those attending.
None of the principals for the bris (mohel, father, etc.) are present
during the first minyan.)

However, a table and the Kesay Eliahu are present  near the Aron Kodesh
(only) when a Bris is planned.

Scenario 2:   The Mohel shows up before the first minyan has reached

Scenario 3:  (Unlikely)  The Mother or the Baby (but not the Mohel or the
Father) are present before the first minyan has reached tachnun.

Under which of these circumstances should the first minyan not recite tachnun?

Carl A. Singer


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Thu, Jan 17,2019 at 12:01 PM
Subject: She'asa nisim 

The S"A (O"C 2181) lists out a number of places requiring the bracha of she'asa nisim where miracles 
occurred for the Jewish people (e.g., sea spitting). Did they still have a tradition in his time as to the actual 
location? If not, why record these specific places.

Joel Rich


From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
Date: Wed, Jan 9,2019 at 01:01 AM
Subject: Sidra division

Does anyone have an idea as to why the ten Makkot are divided between Parshat
Va'era and Parshat Bo? And if so, why is there a break at this specific point?

Shmuel Himelstein


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sat, Feb 2,2019 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Some further problems with Mishpatim

Can anyone explain why the Torah reverts at the end of Mishpatim (Ex. 24) to
Matan Torah which it would seem should have been included in Yitro?

There would also appear to be some inconsistencies between the two accounts
such as the number of days Mosheh Rabbeinu stayed on Har Sinai. Has anyone
any suggestions as to how they may be reconciled?

Martin Stern


From: David Ziants <dziants@...>
Date: Thu, Jan 17,2019 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Tav. nun. tzadi. bet. hay.

Usually I have rendered the Hebrew abbreviation that appears on gravestones
and other memorials: tav. nun. tzadi. bet. hay as: "tihiye nishmato / nishmatah
tzrora bitzror hachayim" meaning: "May his/her soul be bound up in the bond of
This uses the word neshamah but someone recently pointed out to me that it
should be: "tihiye nafsho / nafshah tzrora bitzror hacheiyim" using the word
nephesh - that is also usually translated "soul" (The word "nephesh" and
"neshamah" are both feminine gender)
I was shown that the expression is based on the words of Avigayil to David
in first book of Shmuel 25:29:-
"... v'heiyta nephesh adoni tz'rura bitzror hacheiyim ait Hashem Elokecha ...
[yet the soul of my lord shall be bound in the bond of life with the L-rd
thy G'd.]" (translation taken from Koren Tanach 1977 ed)
I still feel that the use of "neshamah" is the correct rendering for the
abbreviation  - or at least the most prevalent today.
Could it be to do with the definition of "nephesh" and "neshamah" as it is used
in the Tana"ch as opposed to its possibly changed meaning in Rabbinic literature
and present day jargon?
It seems that in the Tanach, the word "nephesh" refers to the spiritual part of
each one of us that exists before and after our physical time in this earth
whereas "neshamah" (from word neshimah = breath) is the spiritual entity that
keeps us physically going. Yet in today's jargon we refer to "illui haneshamah"
(elevation of the soul after it has left the body) and we refer to living people
as "nephashot".
I would be interested to hear any feedback.
David Ziants
Ma'aleh Adumim, Israel


End of Volume 64 Issue 14