Volume 66 Number 15 
      Produced: Wed, 16 Nov 22 07:36:06 -0500

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Decision making 
    [Joel Rich]
Hashoel shelo mida'at - borrowing? 
    [Joel Rich]
Inaudible Mi shebairachs 
    [Orrin Tilevitz]
Mashiv haru'ach 
    [Chana Luntz]
Proposed change to Israel's Law of Return 
    [Prof. L. Levine]
Saying Kaddish  
    [Carl Singer]
Two days Yom Tov 
    [Chana Luntz]
Walking through a crosswalk on Shabbat in Israel 
    [Chana Luntz]


From: Joel Rich <joelirarich@...>
Date: Tue, Nov 15,2022 at 11:17 PM
Subject: Decision making

The project 


helps to explain a method of decision making based on what one's tribal affinity
determines, not based on consideration of the specific assertions/facts being

Dos this have any application to our halachic community?


Joel Rich


From: Joel Rich <joelirarich@...>
Date: Tue, Nov 15,2022 at 11:17 PM
Subject: Hashoel shelo mida'at - borrowing?

The Shulchan Aruch allows one to borrow another's tallit or tfilin on the
assumption that one would be happy to have another do a mitzvah with his property.

Questions: What if you have past history which might indicate this might not be
a good assumption? What if after the fact you find out that this person did not
want you to use his property? (Are you yotzei? Did you steal?)

Joel Rich


From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Thu, Nov 10,2022 at 09:17 PM
Subject: Inaudible Mi shebairachs

Martin Stern writes (MJ 66#14):

> Chaim Casper wrote (MJ 66#13):
>> Martin Stern notes (MJ 66#11) that there "is a tendency for the gabbai to
>> recite misheberachs in an undertone so that nobody can hear the name of the
>> person mentioned nor, for that matter, the purpose of the misheberach."
>> ...
>> The second mi shebayrakh prayer we recite is on behalf of the sick in the
>> community.  Rabbi Schechter has ruled that this prayer should be recited
>> quietly as we do not want to publicize that someone is ill.
>> ...
> I cannot understand the reasoning behind this. On the contrary I think one
> should publicise that someone is ill so that people will do the mitzvah of
> bikkur cholim [visiting the sick] or, at the very least, enquire about the
> sick person which will give them some encouragement that people are
> concerned about them. 
> ...

IMHO there is something more fundamental at issue. In general, personal prayers
are not permitted on shabbat and yom tov, and the nusach of the mi sheberach
follows that ("shabbat hi [or yom tov hu] miliz'ok"]. The whole purpose of the
mi sheberach for sick people is to announce the name so that the community may
pray for him or her. Not announcing the name defeats the whole purpose (as does,
again IMHO, the practice -- I would not call it a minhag -- of having the gabbai
recite the nusach of the misheberach and having individuals fill in the names of
the sick people silently, on their own. And if someone does not want to
publicize the name of his loved one, the obvious solution is for that someone
not to give the gabbai the sick person's name.


From: Chana Luntz <Chana@...>
Date: Sat, Nov 12,2022 at 07:17 PM
Subject: Mashiv haru'ach

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 66#14):

> Haim Shalom Snyder wrote (MJ 66#13):

>> ...
>> However, referring to the insertion in the winter as mashiv haru'ach, in my
>> opinion, misses the point.

> Haim is quite right but unfortunately the general practice is to refer to it
> (probably wrongly) as 'mashiv haru'ach' and, to borrow a phrase from
> elsewhere, "minhag oker din [custom overrides the strict rule]".

I think it is a bit more than that though.  Because our halachic literature
frequently works in a kind of code that makes no sense if you take the words
literally.  Perhaps the classic is "psik reisha" - which is literally "cut off
its head" - where the full phrase is "psik reisha v'lo yamut" - "if you cut off
its head will it not die?" - being code for - inevitable causality. But "cut off
its head" is more than just minhag, it is the language of the halacha, even
though when translated into English one might be tempted to think of Alice in
Wonderland, and surely using the first two words misses the point as the key is
the inevitability of death.  

Indeed the Gemara code for what we are describing is in fact "l'hazkir" [to
remember or recall] (see Ta'anit 10a) which if you follow the logic suggested
above seems even worse than saying mashiv haru'ach, as we remember so many
things, so why use that term to describe the rain in winter?  And similarly for
the Gemara then using "to ask" for "ten tal umatar l'bracha" - given that the
whole section of blessings in which ten tal umatar is inserted are about asking
and we ask all year (and "ten bracha" is an ask). So it rather seems to me that
using mashiv haru'ach to mean mashiv haru'ach u'morid hagashem given the
Ashkenazi practice is a very minor breach of logic by comparison, even if some
people do say mashiv haru'ach v'morid hatal.




From: Prof. L. Levine <llevine@...>
Date: Tue, Nov 15,2022 at 09:17 AM
Subject: Proposed change to Israel's Law of Return

The results of Israel's recent election skewed toward right-wing candidates,
some of whom want to restrict who the country welcomes under its Law of Return.

Far-right and Orthodox parties made a strong showing in Israel's elections two
weeks ago, and are expected to gain influence in Israel's next governing
coalition, which is currently forming. Those groups have demanded that only
those with a Jewish parent be allowed to immigrate to Israel. Now, those with a
Jewish grandparent or who have converted to Judaism are allowed to immigrate.

See for more:


I assume that the sentence "Those groups have demanded that only those with a
Jewish parent be allowed to immigrate to Israel is not precisely correct. It
should say those with a Jewish mother.

I do hope that this change will take place. I find it ludicrous that Israel has
been using the Nazi definition (namely, one grandparent is Jewish) of who is a
Jew as its standard.

Professor Yitzchok Levine


From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Thu, Nov 10,2022 at 12:17 PM
Subject: Saying Kaddish 

Is it  

(1) commendable,  
(2) permissible or 
(3) prohibited      


1- grandparent
2- great-grandparent
3- cousin
4- friend
5- stranger

[a] when there is no-one else available to say kaddish

[b] when others are available to say kaddish?

I thought this was obvious but apparently not so.

Carl A. Singer, Ph.D.
Colonel, U.S. Army, Retired
70 Howard Avenue
Passaic, NJ  07055



From: Chana Luntz <Chana@...>
Date: Thu, Nov 10,2022 at 02:17 PM
Subject: Two days Yom Tov

Menashe Elyashiv  writes (MJ 66#14):

> Two days in temple time?? The two days started at the end of the Tannaim
> period, when the Cutim ruined the "torch system", that sent the right date of
> Rosh Chodesh to Bavel.

On what basis does he conclude that the Cutim ruined the torch system at the
end of Tannaim period? 

True, the Mishna in Rosh HaShana 2:2 states "Initially they would light torches.
After the Cutim ruined [this] they instituted that messengers should go out ..."
but neither the "initially" nor the "they instituted" says when that happened -
and in the earlier Mishna (1:3) regarding the riding out of the messengers it
states: "In six months of the year the messengers would go out ... And when the
Temple was standing, they would go out also in Iyar because of Pesach katan".

This would seem to demonstrate unequivocally that messengers were already going
out while the Temple was still standing, and hence that the ruining of the torch
system by the Cutim had to have happened much earlier than the end of the
Tannaitic period. 




From: Chana Luntz <Chana@...>
Date: Tue, Nov 15,2022 at 06:17 PM
Subject: Walking through a crosswalk on Shabbat in Israel

Yaakov Shachter writes (MJ 66#14): 

> Why do you ask specifically about Israel?  It is just as forbidden in Chicago.
> Amira l'nokhri [asking a non-Jew to do melachah for oneself] is Rabbinically
> forbidden, and causing a Jew to sin is also only Rabbinically forbidden,
> unless he would not sin otherwise (in which case it is Scripturally
> forbidden).  Nor can you reasonably say that you are not engaged in amira; if
> you walk in front of a moving car, you clearly want it stop, eyn amira gdola
> mizzoth [there is no greater amira than this].

Might this not depend on the basis for amira l'nochri - where there is some

If you hold: 

a.	Like Rashi on Avodah Zara 15a - that the prohibition is from (or at least
based on) Yeshayahu 58:13 of diber davar - that would seem to specifically
restrict the act of speaking not stepping into the traffic; 

b.	Like the Rambam Hilchot Shabbat perek 6 halacha 1 - it is to prevent Jews
treating Shabbat lightly "that they would come to do it themselves". Would the
Rambam regard this as a case where this is being risked?  If Jews step in front
of the traffic causing drivers to slow - is that really likely to make them then
go and drive so they can slow themselves?  Doesn't feel like the case the Rambam
is trying to capture (rather than the more classic - it is forbidden to tell a
non-Jew to cook for you lest you come to cook yourself) 

c.	Like Rashi on Shabbat 153a - that the prohibition is due to the non-Jew
acting as a shaliach [agent] of the Jew (on a rabbinic level) - perhaps, in that
on some level it does feel like the non-Jew is slowing on behalf of the Jew.  On
the other hand it is not as though the Jew really wants the non-Jew driving down
the street, he would be perfectly happy were the non-Jew himself keeping Shabbst
by not driving (or driving anywhere else bar this particular street).  So it is
hardly the classic shlichut scenario, where you are getting the non-Jew to do
something the Jew would himself like to do but can't because of Shabbat; 

d.	Based on Shemot 12:16 where the Torah says "all work should not be done"
rather than "you should do no work" - suggesting that no work should be done on
your behalf by a non-Jew. However while the SMaG holds that indeed this makes
amira nochri d'oraita [from the Torah], and quotes a Mechilta, the  consensus of
poskim would seem to be that this is merely an asmachta and rabbinic (see the
Beit Yosef Orech Chaim siman 242)- even those who have it in the Mechilta, and
many don't seem to have it in it. But the language of the Mechilta is that the
non-Jew should not perform "your work", so asmachta or not, its seems to be only
focusing on "your work".  And is a non-Jewish driver slowing to avoid hitting
you "your work"?  It is for your benefit, agreed, but surely it is his own work
that you are forcing him to do, which seems rather different. 

In addition, even if we say that this is a form of amira l'nochri, one of the
exceptions is of course pikuach nefesh [saving a life] and arguably once you
step out into the street, if the non-Jew does not slow, then you have a pikuach
nefesh situation right there and then, so they are permitted to slow even if it
is a violation of shabbat (and rather your violation would seem to be putting
yourself into danger).  Now if you are saying that the reason you are not
actually risking your life is because you are doing it on a zebra crossing (as
per the title) and you are only doing so gingerly by putting a foot on the
crossing indicating that you want to cross then actually is it not true that the
primary reason the car driver is obligated to slow/stop is the secular law. 
Either he doesn't want to get a fine or he is a law abiding type who does not
want to violate the law.  Thus, at least it seems to me, it makes it very
difficult to say that it is "your work" that is being done and that any of the
above reasons for amira l'akum are being triggered. 

Now, do note that there is one other situation with a non-Jew and shabbat that
is not often discussed, and that is the drasha that can be found in Yevamot 48b
where the gemora says:

"'And the ger' [Shemot 23:12] - this is a ger toshav. You say this is a ger
toshav or perhaps it is a ger tzedek [convert], just as it says 'and the ger
which is within your gates' [Devarim 5:13] which is speaking about a ger tzedek.
How do I then understand 'and the ger' [Shemot 23:12], this is a
ger toshav." 

And Tosfot Yevamot 48b comments on this:

"'This is a ger toshav':  Rashi explains that he accepts upon himself not to
worship idols and violating Shabbat is like idol worship and this is difficult
because, if so, we should include it in the seven mitzvot that in Mesechet
Avodah Zarah (64b) we derive that one is called a ger toshav when he accepts the
seven mitzvot which the sons of Noach accepted and further in Perek Arba Mitot
(Sandhedrin 58b) they said that an idol worshipper who rests on Shabbat is
liable for the death penalty and even on a week day how much more so on Shabbat
and in (Kritut 9a and there) it says that Rabbi Akiva said that a ger toshav is
not warned on Shabbat and it seems that here in the doing of a melacha for the
need of a Jew similar to the resting of your maidservant"

And similarly in Tosfot Kritut 9a: 

"Ger toshav who does melacha for himself:  from here is a question on that which
is says in Perek Hacholetz (Yevamot 48b) that it says and your maidservant shall
rest and the ger, this is a ger toshav and it is explained in Rashi that he
accepts upon himself that he will not worship idols and violating Shabbat is
like worshipping idols and here it says that a ger toshav does melacha and can
be answered that this is dealing with the case of not doing work for the sake of
his master, but for himself it is permitted and from here the Ri holds that it
is permitted to allow a non-Jew to do his work on Shabbat in the house of a Jew
for his own sake." 

So perhaps if the particular non-Jew in question was a ger toshav, then it might
be that this kind of work (i.e. slowing to enable a Jew to cross) is within the
category of work prohibited to him by the Torah as per Tosfot. But it is not
clear if 

a) one can have a Ger Toshav outside of the land of Israel,

b) if someone can be one without formal acceptance in front of Beit
Din or

c) whether such a status even exists today.  

And in Chicago it is hardly likely that the majority of drivers are necessarily
gerim toshavim. And since, in any event, this is not a widely discussed din, the
parameters are much less well defined as the classic amira l'nochri referred to




End of Volume 66 Issue 15