Volume 65 Number 83 
      Produced: Tue, 06 Sep 22 14:54:28 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

A tefillin query 
    [Immanuel Burton]
Is Geirus deOraisa? (3)
    [Sammy Finkelman  Yisrael Medad   Chana Luntz]
Shabbat Candles and the Blessing 
    [Steven Oppenheimer]
Why is Geirut not mentioned in the Chumash? (2)
    [Chana Luntz  Sammy Finkelman]


From: Immanuel Burton <iburton@...>
Date: Mon, Sep 5,2022 at 05:17 PM
Subject: A tefillin query

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 65#81): 

> Immanuel Burton wrote (MJ 65#80):
>> ...
>> when I was shown by my father how to put on tephillin, he suggested to me 
>> that I count the number of windings as I go by saying in my head the verse
>> "Pote'ach et-yadecha, u'masbia le'chol-chai ratzon", which has a pause
>> after the third word. In time, I found myself leaving a gap between the 3rd
>> and 4th loops, not between the 4th and 5th loops, although, to the best of my
>> recollection, my father never said anything about leaving a gap.
>> ...
> The problem with this verse is that it has two maqefs [hyphens] which might
> be seen as joining two words into a single word, leaving only five words
> altogether.

According to Weingreen, two or more short words closely associated in meaning
may be joined together using a maqef, and then, for grammatical purposes, they
are considered as being virtually one word. I would suggest that being joined
for grammatical purposes means that for other purposes they are still considered
separate words.

The grammatical purposes outlined by Weingreen are that all the words joined by
a maqef lose their accents, and only the last word in the group retains its
accent, and that the loss of an accent before a maqef may often lead to an
adjustment in the vowels, e.g. "ayt koli" (as in "my voice") has a tzerei under
the aleph in the first word, but this becomes a seggol (et-koli) when the words
are joined by a maqef.

If one considers words joined by a maqef as a single word, how would that affect
things like the word count in Shema?

Immanuel Burton.


From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Fri, Aug 26,2022 at 02:17 PM
Subject: Is Geirus deOraisa?

Yisrael Medad (MJ 65#76) notes:

I wrote (MJ 65#75):

>> Geirus is deOraisa (Conversion is a Torah-based issue) because it is
>> mentioned in Parshas "Bo" in connection with the Korban Pesach (Shemos 12:48)

I didn't mention that that verse says "a Ger lives with you and does the Pesach
to Hashem, circumcise all males (that pertain to him)" and then he will come
close to do it "V'hayah K'ezrach Ha'aretz [and he will be like him that is
homeborn/citizen]" which I think means for all purposes.

> As a following verse [49] states: "no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof".
> It doesn't state 'you have to be Jewish to partake', just circumcised. Indeed,
> the next verse there, 49, states: "One law shall be to him that is
> homeborn/citizen, as well as for the stranger who is living among you."
> "Stranger", not a non-Jew who is now converted to Judaism.

He becomes just like a natural born Jew.

Side note: In the case of the mishnah in Nedarim (3:11) there we are dealing
with what did someone make a Neder (promise/vow) about and the general rule is
what somebody really intended, so there we would be less literal than usual, so
it gives no support there to any position, however.

> If it is Bible-sourced, one would think that by then, centuries later, the
> conversion process would be mentioned in Ruth and yet in chapter 2 there,
> no process noted

It wasn't considered important. Partially, because this could be settled every
year at Pesach.

The term going into the Kahal of Israel also implies conversion - what else does
it mean? Marriage you might say. But if an incomplete or contingent conversion
still allows marriage, then what is the importance of conversion? Answer, maybe:
It's important over an extended period of time. So we can wait to see if this
person has participated in the korban Pesach. (The important point is you don't
have anybody who is a partial Jew)

> "Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter-in-law, with her".
> She's not Jewish and no ceremony is mentioned.

Ruth calls herself a nochriah and Boaz tells her no, she isn't {Rus 2:10-12)
because she has put herself under the wings of Hashem Elokei Yisrael)

In any case, it wasn't important to determine in advance who was and who was not
Jewish, for use by third parties, until the first exile.

From: Yisrael Medad  <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Mon, Sep 5,2022 at 05:17 PM
Subject: Is Geirus deOraisa?

Haim Shalom Snyder asks (MJ 65#82) why do people care so much about if the
mitzva of conversion is deOraisa or deRabbanan.

This one person, me, thinks it unusual that while obviously Avraham Avinu
engaged in some form of conversion outreach; Yithro became a convert according
to Zevachim 116A; his daughter Tzipora did; we've mentioned Ruth; and there's
Rahav and a few others and, although this is all sourced in Torah Sh'ba'al Peh, I
do not doubt its Jewish veracity.

Nevertheless, despite what I would consider the huge importance of accepting a
non-Jew into the Jewish nation, there is no explicit mention of a process or
actions that need to be undertaken while other less important matters merit
details in the Torah. That's why.

Yisrael Medad

From: Chana Luntz <Chana@...>
Date: Mon, Sep 5,2022 at 05:17 PM
Subject: Is Geirus deOraisa?

Haim Snyder writes (MJ 65#82):

> Much has been written recently in Mail Jewish discussing if the mitzva of
> conversion is deOraisa or deRabbanan. My question is, why do people care so
> much about this?
> Clearly, conversion is a mitzva, no matter what its source. As far as I
> know, the only difference between a mitzva deOraisa and a mitzva deRabbanan
> is what to do if there is a question as to whether is was performed, or
> performed properly: a mitzva deRabbanan is treated leniently and a mitzva
> deOraisa is treated strictly.
> Is that the concern here?

No.  There is a far more fundamental issue, as I explained in a previous post
(MJ 65#78), and it has to do with status.  If Geirus is d'oraisa, then once a
person converts, they are considered a Jew from the Torah, and obligated in
mitzvot from the Torah.  If Geirus is only d'rabbanan, then the convert is only
a Jew, rabbinically and hence is only obligated in mitzvot from the rabbis.
Given the halachic rule that in order for somebody to exempt somebody else's
obligation by acting as their shaliach [agent] they must have an equal or higher
level of obligation, if a convert was only obligated in mitzvot rabbinically,
they could not act (be their shaliach) on behalf of somebody who was obligated
from the Torah.  We would therefore need to keep records of all the people who
were descended from (at least female) converts, and stop them from doing
anything as a shaliach [agent] for anybody who could be shown to be historically
descended (at least via the female line) from pure Jews. 

By the way, we have a number of situations where we have some people obligated
rabbinically  and others from the Torah.  There are various situations where men
and women are considered (or at least discussed) to be in this scenario where
women are therefore not permitted to perform a mitzvah on behalf of men since
they are not considered to exempt men from their obligation.  Another one is in
terms of marriage; there are situations where someone can be considered only
married rabbinically, and not from the Torah, and the treatment (e.g. of the
need to give a get) is quite different.  There is also the case that I cited
where a boy may be considered an adult rabbinically but not d'oraisa, and we
need to be careful in such situations that such a boy does not do something
(e.g. in shul) that would in fact be attempting to act as shialiach for a full
grown adult who is obligated from the Torah, as such a boy cannot exempt a grown
man with a higher level of obligation. 




From: Steven Oppenheimer <steven.oppenheimer@...>
Date: Mon, Sep 5,2022 at 06:17 PM
Subject: Shabbat Candles and the Blessing

Perets Mett writes (MJ 65#82):

> Yaakov Gross wrote (MJ 65#80):
>> But if you are precluded from lighting a flame (as in a hotel or hospital
>> setting), and resort to use of electric lights as Neirot Shabbat, it follows
>> that you should use a battery powered lamp or, say, a pair of flashlights 
>> rather than a plug-in lamp, to fulfill the obligation of lighting Ner
>> Shabbat. 
> This is discussed in the (newly published) Vol 4 of Orchos Shabbos (Rabbis
> Gelber and Rubin) footnote 51
> which quotes Rabbi SZ Auerbach allowing (in principle) a battery powered lamp
> / torch but not mains electricity; however many authorities do not make this
> distinction

What is Rav Auerbach's position regarding using an electric bulb?  Must it be
powered by a battery or does he allow an electric lamp plugged into the electric
outlet (i.e. power from the electric company)?

In Shemirat Shabbat Kehilchata, chap. 49, note 22, we are informed that Rav
Auerbach preferred that battery powered lights be used (when candles are not
available) since the battery contains a constant fuel source, similar to oil and
wax candles.  A battery provides direct current (DC) as opposed to alternating
current (AC).  Alternating current (AC) is an electric current which
periodically reverses direction, whereas direct current (DC) flows constantly in
one direction.  DC provides a constant energy source, while the current in AC
periodically reverses direction and is constantly being renewed.  Rav Auerbach
felt that with AC there might be a deficiency regarding a constant fuel source
(Shevut Yitchak, vol. 8, page 34).

However, when a battery powered light is not available, Rav Auerbach also
permitted regular electric lights powered by the electric company (Halichot
Shelomo, Mo'adim (Tishrei-Adar), page 283, footnote 11).

Rav Elyashiv even permitted fluorescent lights, arguing that Rambam (chapter 2)
and the Tur (264) require ner daluk beShabbat [a light on Shabbat].  The
requirement is that there should be light that illuminates the darkness and from
which one may benefit.  It doesn't require an act of lighting as do Chanukah
candles.  Therefore, even fluorescent lights would qualify.  Rav Elyashiv
concludes that one may even recite the beracha of lehadlik ner since in common
usage, when people refer to lighting electric lights, they use the term
"hadlakah" (Ashrei Ha'Ish, vol. 2, pages 48-49; Hilchot Shabbat beShabbat
(5776), vol. 1, page 152, footnote 28; Shevut Yitzchak, vol. 8, page 32).
For further discussion see the sefer Hameir La'Aretz, vol. 2.

Steven Oppenheimer, D.M.D.


From: Chana Luntz <Chana@...>
Date: Mon, Sep 5,2022 at 05:17 PM
Subject: Why is Geirut not mentioned in the Chumash?

Yisrael Medad  writes (MJ 65#82): 

> I hope that if I rephrase my question and clarify its context I will focus
> attention on what bothers me.
> As pointed out on the "Is Geirus d'Oraitha?" theme, conversion is not a
> mitzva. Fine. But one would think that the process of joining the Jewish
> people would be a subject that would be treated. As we are aware, there are
> several verses that begin "If ... then". Why is not conversion not at all
> mentioned?

And the simple answer is that it is - in the Torah sheba'al peh [the Oral
Torah].  That is what I and Rabbi Teitz (and any other Othodox Rabbi you ask)
will say. The question only gets off the ground if you deny the existence of
the Oral Torah and say that the Chumash, or written Torah, is the only Torah
given at Sinai.  

> True, there is no mitzva to convert and yet the process of conversion
> involves Torah actions that require a blessing to be recited as when the
> convert immerses. As I myself pointed out, the origin of conversion is a
> construct: that the B'nai Yisrael leaving Egypt underwent a symbolic
> conversion ceremony to become (more?) Jewish. That construct is not in the
> Torah. 

No.  That construct is not in the written Torah.  Only if you do not believe
in the Oral Torah can you say that it is not in the Torah as the Torah comprises
both the Oral and Written Torah.

> As for insisting that a midrash is actually Torah Sh'Baal Peh, and therefore
> d'Oraitha, well, that's another issue. 

No, this is a key issue.  One of the problems is that people use the term
midrash to mean what are actually, halachically, two completely different kinds
of things: - the midrash halacha and the midrash agada.  The midrash halacha is
understood within Orthodoxy to include the earliest written down form of much of
the Oral Torah.  At the point at which the Rabbis were struggling to keep the
Oral Torah oral, and felt the need to write much of it down, it was first
written down in the context of the midrash halacha.

Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi then (drawing inter alia on the midrash halacha) compiled at
least some of the Oral Torah into the Mishna, and Rav Chiya compiled it into the
Tosefta, and others wrote it down in other forms of Braita.  But much of what
the Gemara quotes as Oral Torah can be found in its earliest written form in the
midrash halacha, as set out in e.g. the Mechilta, Sifri or the Sifra.

Midrash agada are, in contrast to midrash halacha, non-legal tannaitic (or
later) expositions of the Torah.  When people use the term midrash as a
shorthand, they often mean midrash agada.  The midrash agada is accepted
halachically as not being Oral Torah, while the midrash halacha is often the
first writing down of the Oral Torah and is what the gemora not infrequently
quotes in order to set out halacha which it understands as being d'oraisa, i.e.
from the Torah, understanding it to be the exposition of the Oral Torah. It
understands these midrash halacha as being d'oraisa, i.e. from the Torah,
meaning part of the Oral Torah, because the Tannaim and Amoraim accepted much
of the midrash halacha as being the written down form of the Oral Torah -
understanding that it ended up having to be written down much later in order
to avoid it being lost, but nonetheless understanding it as being the other
half of the Torah, given at Sinai, along with the written Torah. 

So my questions back to you are: 

a.	Do you believe in the Oral Torah i.e. what does that term mean to you? 

b.	If you do, what is in it and how do we know what is in it? 

Kind regards


From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Tue, Sep 6,2022 at 01:17 PM
Subject: Why is Geirut not mentioned in the Chumash?

Yisrael Medad wrote (MJ 65#82):

> As we are aware, there are several verses that begin "If ... then". Why is
> conversion not at all mentioned?

But it is:

We have an "if" and a "then" at Shemos 12:48 (he not only eats from the Korban
Pesach but becomes like someone who grew up in the land) and in this week's
parashah, at Devarim 23:2-9 there is a list of some exceptions to Geirut to be
"admitted into the congregation" (or assembly - Hebrew K'hal) - "of Hashem" and
that ends with a positive possibility, a "then" and Rashi says that with other
nations they are permitted right away to be.

The phrase there means marriage, or at least that is the main thing affected,
but it has to mean something a little more.


End of Volume 65 Issue 83