Volume 9 Number 45
                       Produced: Tue Oct 12 18:51:40 1993

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Bicycle on Yom Tov
         [Yehuda Harper]
Force of Tradition
         [Robert A. Book]
Heter mechira during shmita year
         [Allen Elias]
Questions on Succos
         [Steve Roth]
Residence in Israel
         [Nathan Davidovich]
Sabbatical Year
         [Lon Eisenberg]
San Francisco Jewish Questions
         [Paul Claman]
         [Yosef Bechhofer]
Translation of the Siddur
         [Claire Austin]


From: Yehuda Harper <jrh@...>
Date: Sat, 9 Oct 93 21:25:09 -0400
Subject: Bicycle on Yom Tov

Over the recent yom tovim, several friends and I were wondering about
the permissiblily of using a bicycle on yom tov.  I understand that
riding a bicycle is forbidden on Shabbos because of carrying; but what
about yom tov since one is allowed to carry?  The reason the question
came up is that I live about 6 miles from the shul I usually walk to on
Shabbos.  A 12 mile round-trip hike once a week is bearable; but walking
that far for 3 days in a row doesn't do nice things to the feet.  I was
wondering if anybody knows of any responsa concerning this question and
what the majority opinion is?



From: <rbook@...> (Robert A. Book)
Date: Mon, 4 Oct 93 18:34:28 -0400
Subject: Re: Force of Tradition

Michael Allen <allen@...> writes:
> >> <bob@...> (Ezra Bob Tanenbaum) writes:
> >> "[...] Only tradition stops us. [...]"
> Then the Torah stops us, for "minhag avoteinu torah hi" (the traditions
> and customs accepted by the observant community in any generation
> becomes binding on subsequent generations).  Why should this be so?  It
> needs to be taken to heart that our connection to Torah at all is rooted
> in the acceptance of the generation that stood under Har Sinai and
> proclaimed "Na'aseh v'Nishma" -- we will do (and/so that) we will
> hearken/understand.

But what if the traditions are *adopted* by later generations, and were
not even part of the Torah that was given at Har [Mt.] Sinai?  For
example, we use many prayers in the liturgy which were written in the
Middle Ages, and thus could not possibly have been accepted by the
generation that stood under/at Sinai.  As another example, many people
where certains forms of clothing on Shabbos that clearly originated in
the 16th and 17th centuries (C.E.), and did not exist at the time of

The above argument implicitly assumes that all the "traditions and
customs accepted by the observant community in any generation" have
existed for all generations.  But, in fact, many of our traditions and
customs are quite recent.

Hayim Hendeles <hayim@...> writes:

> I heard recently from Rabbi Frand (who quoted someone else ...) that
> the Hebrew word for "minhag" [tradition --RAB] consists of the
> identical letters as the word for "Gehinom" [hell --RAB]. My
> understanding of that, is one who tampers with "minhag" runs the risk
> of "gehinom".

This argument is really no argument, since one could just as easily use
this fact to argue that one who adheres to closely to tradition is
*pursuing* gehinom.

Although lexical similarities and gematria [numerical values of letters]
may be used to elicit a point, one can prove almost anything this way,
so these methods cannot be used to prove or disprove anything in

--Robert Book


From: Allen Elias <100274.346@...>
Date: 08 Oct 93 06:49:06 EDT
Subject: Heter mechira during shmita year

Can anyone explain the validity of selling land to gentiles during the
seventh year? The idea behind shmita is to let the land rest during the
seventh year. After selling, the land is still being worked. It appears
to me the sale is merely an evasion of the requirement to let the land

The Torah mentions in the Tochachos (admonitions) that exile is the
punishment for not letting the land rest during shmita. Perhaps our
losing half of Eretz Israel is a warning from Hashem to strictly adhere
to Shmita.


From: <rot8@...> (Steve Roth)
Date: Mon, 4 Oct 1993 23:20:17 +0000
Subject: Re: Questions on Succos

>What is the origin of the prayer we see in today's siddur?

See the beginning of Mesechta Taanis,1st perek (chapter 1) for an
extensive discussion of where the obligation to daven for rain comes
from and also the Ran there for the form of prayer that we see today,
especially Nusach Sefard and Ashkenaz. In brief, the gemmora explains
that we learn out the obligation to mention rain in Shemoneh Esrei from
the Torah where it says "To love Hashem your God and to serve him with
all your heart"-Deut 11:13.  The gemmora says what is this service with
your heart-it is tefilla (praying). Then it says in the next verse in
the Torah -"and I will provide rain for your land in its proper time-the
early and late rains." Since these verses are right next to each other
the Gemmora proves that rain is associated with tefilla.

>Are we only asking G-d for rain at the appropriate times in the land of
> Israel, or do we also asking for appropriate rain wherever we may be?
> (for example, in the Eastern U.S., it's appropriate for moderate
> amounts of rain to fall evenly through the year.)

The gemorra bases the timing of praying for rain upon events in Eretz
Yisrael, where, of course, it almost never rains in summer and does rain
in winter. While the situation is different in the US, it seems clear
that the focus of our davening is for the entire world's benefit, so it
would seem rainfall here is included too.

>What's the connection between sufficient rain at the appropriate season
> and our spiritual well-being? (Aside from the obvious connection that
> one's spritual well-being is enhanced if one is not flooded out and
> isn't worried about crop damage and the food supply.)The Talmud says
> that Sukkot the time of judgement on water, that is G-d will decide
> the meteorlogic and hydrologic character of the coming year.  On what
> basis is this judegemnt made?  Does it have to do with how well the
> Jews are keeping the Torah, whether or not people are managing their
> physical resources adequately, or is there some other criteria for
> judgement?

I just saw an interesting approach by the Sfas Emes (You can also find
it in an English adaptation by Rabbi Yosef Stern entitled "The Three
Festivals", published last year by Feldheim.) He says that Israel's
blessings are different from those of the non-Jewish world. The latter
are content to benefit from Hashem's goodness without awareness of where
this goodness comes from, and without considering the purpose of
Hashem's blessings. They just enjoy these benefits in a superficial,
purely physical fashion. In contrast, the Jew knows that everything
comes from Hashem. We are committed to using these apparent material
blessings (e.g., rainfall) to a higher purpose. What is that higher
purpose? We want freedom from money worries to give us the time to
devote to spiritual pursuits and to learning Torah. (This is also
mentioned in a gemmora in Brochos that when we follow the will of
Hashem, our material pursuits will be taken care of by others.) It is a
sign of our differences from the non-Jews that we wait to pray for rain
until Shemini Atzeres while the non-Jews are already enjoying its
benefits on Succos.  

Gitt Moed 
Steve Roth, M.D.  Assistant Profesor Anesthesia & Critical Care
Univ of Chicago 5841 South Maryland, MC-4028 Chicago, IL 60637
Internet: <rot8@...>
312-702-4549 (voice) 312-702-3535 (FAX) 312-702-6800 (page operator)


From: Nathan Davidovich <0005426728@...>
Date: Sun, 10 Oct 93 19:53:46 -0400
Subject: Residence in Israel

     My wife and our four children, ages 4 - 13, are planning a one year
living experiment in Israel, as a prelude to Aliya.  The year will
commence toward the end of next summer.  We are trying to find a family
interested in living in Denver, Colorado for the same year, and to trade
residences and car with each other. We are shomer shabbos with a
strictly kosher home and require the same facilities, and need a family
who will take proper care of kashrus in our home.  We have a three
bedroom home with a den and basement.  We are within walking distance of
two orthodox shuls, within the eruv, and belong to the only shul in
Denver that has had an ongoing daf-yomi shiyur for the last 2 1/2 years.
We are looking for something in the Jerusalem or Efrat area.  I have
been an attorney in Denver for many years and will be attempting to
complete the qualifications for opening an office in Israel. I will
therefore need to be within reasonable driving distance of Jerusalem and
Tel Aviv.  My wife and I will be visiting Israel on November 8th and
would be happy to meet with anybody who has an interest in the above
arrangement. We will bring a video of our home so that you will know
what we are offering.  You may reply by e-mail, contact me in Denver
before November 7th, or leave a message for me in Jerusalem at the law
offices of Avi Perez, 248 484 or 248 485. My e-mail number is (MCI)
542-6728.  My address in Denver is 547 South Grape Street and my home
telephone number is (303) 321-0179. My office number is (303) 756-7333.

                         Nathan Davidovich


From: <eisenbrg@...> (Lon Eisenberg)
Date: Sun, 10 Oct 93 02:37:07 -0400
Subject: Re: Sabbatical Year

Martin London wrote:
>                                                            For example,
>this year is the sh'mita year (sabbatical year when all the fields in
>Israel are supposed to be left fallow).  We all know very well that the
>fields of Israel will not go fallow.  Halachically acceptable means (at
>least for 90% of the Orthodox Jews of Israel) have been found to keep
>Israel's agricultural industry productive during the sh'mita year.

Let me point out that nowhere near 90% of Torah observant Israelis rely on
the "heter mekhirah" ("selling" the land to a non-Jew and then working it
with business as usual).  I would also like to mention that the rabbinate of
Jerusalem phoned Rabbi Yitzhak Berkowitz (who lectures about shemittah at
Aish HaTorah) and told him to please convey the following when he lectures:
The rabbinate of Jerusalem does not agree that the "heter mekhirah" is
acceptable; its members do not personally use it.  They use it when giving
hashgaha because of pressure from the government (lest the government make
life so miserable that there would be no government kashrut supervision at


From: <paulclaman@...> (Paul Claman)
Date: Sun, 10 Oct 93 22:18:21 -0400
Subject: Re: San Francisco Jewish Questions

I will be staying in the Union Square area of downtown San Francisco Nov
10 - 13 attending a surgical meeting.  I am interested to know of
possible minyanim (especially for shabbat) in the area.  I seem to
remember a Chabad house nearby?  Also could someone up date me on kosher
food services & restaurants.  Does the Lotus Garden vegetarian
restaurant still have a Hashgacha for Kashrut?  Please post reply in my

Thank you


From: <YOSEF_BECHHOFER@...> (Yosef Bechhofer)
Date: Mon, 4 Oct 93 22:25:39 -0400
Subject: Shmitta

In passing, Moshe London mentions that 90% of Orthodox Jews find a way
around Shmitta. I would like to point out that in fact the majority of
knoledgable Jews, and almost every single Yeshiva Gedola of any stripe
in modern Israel, do not rely on the Heter Mechire, the present
application of which is indeed on shaky Halachic grounds, and is
essentially done to try to diminish the culpability of those who will
farm during Shmitta regardless.


From: Claire Austin <CZCA@...>
Date: Tue, 5 Oct 93 07:53:05 -0400
Subject: Translation of the Siddur

> From: Howard Joseph <NOJO@...>
> A very good siddur is available from France called "Siddour Maor Libi."
> ........There is no Hebrew at all.                                    ,
> ALso available from Paris are 2 vol                                   umes
> that contain parts of the Yom Kippur service. Maor Libi is published
> by LA MAISON DU TALETH, 5 Rue de la Presentation, 75011 Paris. It is
> probably available from the COLBO Book Store in Paris.

Les editions Colbo also publish an "interlinear" translation of the
Siddur (ashkenaz).  This is different from the Metsudah "linear"
translation which has English and Hebrew side-by-side in short phrases
vertically down the page.  In the Colbo edition the translation is word
by word with the French word appearing directly above the corresponding
Hebrew one.  It is very well done.  My question is, "Is there such an
interlinear translation in English?"

A related question, does anyone know of an interlinear translation of
the Tanach (Bible)?  I have seen one (available in a Jewish bookstore in
NY no less) put out by (I think) the Baptists.  Does anyone know of a
"Jewish" edition, either linear or interlinear?

Claire Austin


End of Volume 9 Issue 45