Volume 9 Number 6
                       Produced: Sun Sep  5  9:58:14 1993

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Drash explanation on Le-David Hashem
         [Alan Cooper]
Kosher Mezuzah and Disaster (4)
         [Jonathan Baker, Yisroel Rotman, Shimon Schwartz, Morris
Question about Haftora
         [Warren Burstein]
Shabbat and burglar alarms
         [Jonathan Goldstein]
         [Mike Gerver]
Women and Hamotzi
         [Mike Gerver]


From: Alan Cooper <ACOOPER@...>
Date: Fri, 3 Sep 93 09:39:16 -0400
Subject: Re: Drash explanation on Le-David Hashem

Dov Bloom makes an important point when he observes that commentators on
Psalm 27 (and on any other text) ought to take cognizance of the
te'amim.  This observation needs to be qualified, however: it is to be
applied rigorously to peshat [literal/plain-sense] commentary, but not
necessarily to derash [homily].  For example, on the first verse of the
psalm, where Dov demanded the disjunction of le-david from hashem on the
basis on the te'amim, there are many wonderful commentaries that take
the alternative approach, joining the two words together.  For example,
in his Chiddushei Tehillim [Novellae on the Psalms], Rav Yeivi remarks:
"It is well known that the shekhinah [Divine Presence] is called
'David,' and when Hashem is for/with David [le-david], in other words,
when there is yichud [unity/union] on high, then Hashem is my light,
continually providing illumination for me so that I might know the right
path on which to walk."  Thus, Rav Yeivi reads the verse, "When David
[=shekhinah] is united with Hashem, then Hashem illuminates my way."
Would anyone argue that this represents the plain meaning of the verse?
I doubt it.  But I would defend its beauty and value, and suggest that
it ought not to be dismissed as a matter of grammatical principle.

With good wishes,  Alan Cooper


From: <baker@...> (Jonathan Baker)
Date: Tue, 24 Aug 93 23:07:57 -0400
Subject: Re: Kosher Mezuzah and Disaster

I thought the incident with the children and the mezuzot was Ma'alot,
where X number of children were killed in a terrorist attack in about
1974 or 1975, and the Lubavitchers claimed that the number of children
killed corresponded to the number of unkosher mezuzot in the school
building (it could have been another haredi group that made the claim,
but I think it was them.).

Sorry to be so vague, but I really don't remember the details.

	Jonathan Baker

From: Yisroel Rotman <SROTMAN@...>
Date: Fri, 3 Sep 93 01:55:04 -0400
Subject: Kosher Mezuzah and Disaster

A quick thought about attributing the cause of disasters to specific

It is very interesting to note that Megillat Eicha, written after the
destruction of the temple, is very vague about which sins caused the
destruction.  Yirmiyahu before the destruction in the book bearing his
name, is very specific about the social and religious sins occuring in
Jerusalem; the same is true with Ezekiel.  However, once the destruction
and the disaster occurs, the blame is put on the general term "our
sins", in Eicha.  Perhaps, one should not try to attribute sins to
people who are greiving.

Yisroel Rotman		<SROTMAN@...>

From: <schwartz@...> (Shimon Schwartz)
Date: Fri, 3 Sep 93 11:47:07 -0400
Subject: Re: Kosher Mezuzah and Disaster

  From: Allen Elias <100274.346@...>
  Is there any harm in suggesting to people to put kosher mezuzahs on
  their doorposts to protect themselves and their children?

Yes there is.  The question of ta'amei hamitzvot [the reasons for
particular commandments] arises from time to time.  One approach is
that we should explore ta'amim, in order to know G-d better.  HOWEVER,
we perform mitzvot because we are commanded, not because of specific
reasons.  In a few cases, we are explicitly given the -reward- for
mitzvot, as Allen supplied.  However, this should not be used as the
justification for the mitzvah.  To specialize an oft-given warning: if
one feels that he (/she) and his family are sufficiently "protected,"
is he exempt from attaching (kosher) mezuzot?

I have another reason for being uncomfortable.  Using "protection" as a
justification for mezuzot might give them the status (or appearance) of
being amulets.  Two consequences would be that Jews lose sight of the
fact that G-d, not the mezuzah, protects them; and that observant Jews
appear to be following superstitious practices, a chillul haShem.

From: Morris Podolak <morris@...>
Date: Sun, 5 Sep 93 04:52:03 -0400
Subject: Re: Kosher Mezuzah and Disaster

There has been much said about the relationship between a person's
actions and the consequences.  I would just like to point out that there
was an interesting article by Rav Chayyim David Halevi, Chief Rabbi of
Tel Aviv on this subject (it must be somewhere in his Aseh Lecha Rav)
where he argues that we cannot tell what sins are the cause of a
particular punishment, and that it is very naive to try to do so.

In this connection there is a fascinating midrash.  Moshe asks G-d to
show him His ways (to let him understand the nature of reward and
punishment).  So G-d tells Moshe to wait by a well and watch.  Moshe
sees a first man come to the well.  As he bends over to drink a wallet
falls out of his pocket.  A second man comes to drink from the well,
sees the wallet and takes it.  A third man comes to the well and drinks.
As he does so the first man returns and demands his wallet.  The third
man denies having it and a fight breaks out where the first man kills
the third one.  Now G-d asks Moshe if he understood.  Moshe, of course
admits he didn't understand a thing.  So G-d explains.  The father of
the first man owed money to the father of the second, so that was set
right.  The third man sinned in a way in which an Earthly court could
not punish him, so that was set right.  The point is, that the world is
very non-linear.  You cannot understand it from only local observations.
Since only G-d has a global picture of what is happening, only He can
decide what is fair and what isn't.  Anyone who tries to explain G-d's
actions by dealing only with local phenomena is at best naive.  Moshe


From: <warren@...> (Warren Burstein)
Date: Wed, 25 Aug 93 02:03:59 -0400
Subject: Re: Question about Haftora

And while we're asking questions, why is it that when the Ashkenazim
read more it's an extra page, while when the Sefaradim read more
(very rare, could be only once all year, I haven't counted) it's
a line or two.



From: <Jonathan.Goldstein@...> (Jonathan Goldstein)
Date: Fri, 3 Sep 93 01:54:53 -0400
Subject: Shabbat and burglar alarms

Can someone please help with advice/references for the following

A house has motion-detectors all over the place, which flash a red light
when movement is detected. Is moving around in such a house (setting
lights on/off due to such movement) permissable on Shabbat or Yom Tov?

If the flash-light feature is disabled, and the motion-detectors left
on, is moving in such a house permissable?

What about areas which require high-level automated security, such as
automated tracking by a CCTV of moving bodies? Is it permissable to
enter such an area on Shabbat?

The main question here as far as I can see is: if a person's voluntary
movement indirectly causes electrical (and/or mechanical) devices to
operate, is this a chillul Shabbat?

I've checked Shmirat Shabbat and the above situation is not addressed.

On a related note, what do shomer Shabbat people do when a non-observant
friend invites them to visit (no food, just company) on Shabbat?


Jonathan Goldstein       <goldstej@...>       +61 2 339 3683


From: <GERVER@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Wed, 25 Aug 1993 2:28:18 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Sunrise/Sunset

Warren Burstein asks in v8n65 how halachic times differ from
astronomical times of sunrise and sunset. This is discussed in Chapter 9
of "Rabbinical Mathematics and Astronomy" by W. M. Feldman (3rd edition,
Hermon Press, 1978). One difference is the effect of atmospheric
refraction, which makes the sun appear to be on the horizon when it is
actually 35 minutes of arc below the horizon. Since halachic sunrise and
sunset occur when the sun first appears or is last visible, rather than
when the center of the sun appears on the horizon, you have to add 16
minutes of arc (half of the diameter of the disk of the sun) to make a
total of 51 minutes of arc, i.e. halachic sunrise and sunset occur when
the center of the sun is actually 51 minutes of arc below the horizon.
Feldman also mentions different opinions on the duration of twilight,
and tentatively concludes that they all amount to different opinions
about how far below the horizon the sun has to be, i.e. according to a
given opinion, the sun has to be a certain number of degrees below the
horizon for twilight to be considered over, regardless of the time of
year of the latitude of the observer. The programs I have seen for
calculating tzeit hakochavim [the end of twilight, literally the coming
out of the stars] use this approach. If I recall [and of course you
should check this with your rabbi before using it as a basis for
calculating when Shabbat is over] the most strict opinion is that the
sun has to be 18 degrees below the horizon, which is the definition of
civil twilight, while 9 degrees and 12 degrees correspond roughly to the
common practices (at mid latitudes) of ending Shabbat either 60 minutes
or 72 minutes after the time of day at which candles were lit at the
beginning of Shabbat (18 minutes before sunset).

Mike Gerver, <gerver@...>


From: <GERVER@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Wed, 25 Aug 1993 1:53:10 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Women and Hamotzi

Michael Kramer asks in v8n65 for information on the origin of the minhag
he has seen of the husband making kiddush and the wife making ha-motzi.
This is of interest to me because my wife and I have this minhag, which
we picked up from friends in Berkeley, California, at the time we were
married in 1974. We were told by a LOR that it was fine halachically
because women and men are equally obligated to make ha-motzi. We have
continued this minhag, although outside of Berkeley and places like
Berkeley, it sometimes elicits odd looks from guests, and I get the
impression that our kids think it's a little weird, although they would
not say so to our faces.

The fact that Michael Kramer, who is at UC Davis, not far from Berkeley,
knows people who have this minhag, makes me wonder whether it didn't
originate in Berkeley in the early 1970s.

Mike Gerver, <gerver@...>


End of Volume 9 Issue 6