Volume 9 Number 47
                       Produced: Wed Oct 13 18:00:11 1993

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Mashiv Haruach x 30
         [David Mitchell]
Personal 'Disasters'
         [Sam Gamoran]
Shabbas in Vancover
         [Frank Silbermann]
Shmitta (3)
         [Morris Podolak, Martin London, Jonathan Katz]
Smoking on Yom Tov?
         [Avi Hyman]
         [Lon Eisenberg]
Three questions
         [David A Rier]
Zakai/ Hov
         [Zvi Basser]


From: David Mitchell <H7HR1001@...>
Date: Wed, 13 Oct 93 12:08:05 -0400
Subject: Mashiv Haruach x 30

During the first 30 days after Shemini Atzeret, if one is not sure
whether he said "Mashiv Haruach Umorid Hagashem" in the Amidah, he must
repeat the Amidah.  After 30 days, in a case of doubt, we assume that he
_did_ say the phrase, and so he does not repeat the Amidah.  Does anyone
know how the rabbis arrived at the number 30?


From: <gamoran@...> (Sam Gamoran)
Date: Wed, 13 Oct 93 03:56:44 -0400
Subject: Personal 'Disasters'

There has been a lot of discussion on m-j lately about the way to interpret
disasters that befall others - but what if a disaster (rachmana litzlan
G-d forbid) or merely an unusual event happens to *you*?  What actions should
one take.

In the past twenty hours the following mishaps happened in our household:

1) my son broke his nose (hairline fracture fortunately, no treatment required)
on the first day of the Fall season baseball practice

2) no sooner did my wife come home from the doctor/x-ray then my
daughter was bitten by a scorpion in the house.  Again, fortunately it was
a small black one so no treatment other than an ice-pack was required.

3) during the night a cat got inside and soiled a goodly part of the
upholstery of our new car.  This is not on the same level as a health
problem but it is uncommon.  It is also the only one of these three events
that won't heal itself and actually involves a permanent loss (stains).

Apart from the obvious making sure that the car windows are closed - what
is one to do when such a series of unusual events occurs so quickly?  The
immediate response of my wife and some of my neighbors is "check the
mezuzot."  Not a bad idea since it's been long enough - but it doesn't seem
like enough to me.  Is there something else - more along the lines of
checking ones actions, giving tzadaka, etc. that one does in these


From: Frank Silbermann <fs@...>
Date: Tue, 5 Oct 93 15:52:50 -0400
Subject: Shabbas in Vancover

I will be in Vancouver for thie ILPS'93 (Logic Programming) conference
which is Monday 11/25 - Thursday 11/28.  The airline ticket requires me
to stay over Shabbas 10/29-30, so I will probably return Sunday 10/31.

Any suggestions as to a place I can stay for Shabbas (to leave Sunday
morning?)  Is anybody attending the conference looking for a roommate?
(nonsmokers only, please)

Frank Silbermann	<fs@...>
Tulane University	New Orleans, Louisiana  USA


From: Morris Podolak <morris@...>
Date: Wed, 13 Oct 93 04:49:33 -0400
Subject: Shmitta

Now that several people have submitted postings on the heter of selling
the land, I feel I have to point out several things.  First, although
the heter was always questioned, it always found support from the very
greatest poskim of previous generations.  Not only did Rav Kook support
it, but the original heter was proposed by a number of gedolim even
earlier, including Rav Yitschak Elchanan Spektor.  There is no question
that it would be better to keep shmitta without relying on the heter,
the question is what the cost would be.  I'll get back to that shortly.
 Second: It is well known that the Chazon Ish opposed the heter.
Originally he suggested that farmers take the year off, and if they
could not afford that, then they could go into the building trade for a
year, or find some other job.  What about the food that will not be
produced?  Well you can get that from the Arabs.  This suggestion worked
well (for those who were willing to do this) prior to 1949.  With the
establishment of the State of Israel it became alot more difficult to
get food from the Arabs, and the Chazon Ish came up with a series of
innovations that allowed Jewish farmers to produce some food.  Without
getting into the details, these innovations of the Chazon Ish were also
heterim, and were (in my opinion) no less radical.  Certainly non of the
earlier poskim offered them as a solution to the shmitta problem, and
yet these were accepted.  My point is that even the Chazon Ish relied on
heterim.  The question is which form of heter is more halachically
 There is another issue, however: what is the problem that you are
trying to solve.  The Chazon Ish's heterim solved the problem of how the
individual Jewish farmer may support himself (although with difficulty)
during and after the shmitta year, and how the individual Jewish
consumer can obtain the produce he needs during that time.  Rav Kook's
heter solved the problem of how to keep the Jewish settlement (now
State), which relies heavily on agriculture, viable during and after the
shmitta year.  By selling the land he also kept the non-religious from
violating the shmitta.  The Chazon Ish's solution may be less
objectionable, but it only solves the local problem.  Rav Kook's
solution solves the global problem.
 Now lets get back to the cost.  Aside from saving the non-religious in
spite of themselves (which is a worthwhile act in itself), this growing
tendency not to relay on the heter mechira hurts in another way.  When
we first came to Israel I researched the problem from the halachic point
and decided one could rely on the heter mechira (an excellent book on
the subject is "Shnat Hashmitta" by Rav Tukachinsky, an outstanding
scholar, who supports the heter.  Possibly for this reason, I have not
seen his book in the stores for the last 14 years).  In later years I
decided that one would like to support those farmers who do not rely on
the heter, in the hope that eventually the heter would become
unnecessary, so we bought from stores that were labelled "Otzar Bet
Din".  As it turns out, these stores are selling mostly Arab produce.
Worse, many battei din prefer Arab produce over that produced by farmers
trying to keep the shmitta.  What they seem to miss is that the Arabs
often buy extra produce from Jewish farmers not keeping shmitta, and
then turn around and sell it to Jews who want to be "extra careful".
The result is that places like Gush Katif, who have invested a great
deal of money and effort in order to produce halachically acceptible (to
anyone) food, have a great deal of trouble finding a market for their
produce.  By not relying on the heter mechira we are supporting the Arab
farmers at the cost of not supporting those religious Jews who are
trying their best to keep shmitta.  In addition, of course, it hurts the
whole economy of Israel.
 I myself am torn as to how to act.  I am not trying to convince anyone
one way or the other.  All I am saying is that one should not dismiss
the heter mechira out of hand.  It is by no means perfect, but it does
try to solve the greater problem of Israel's economy, and indeed its
very existence.  Surely this is worth considering.

Moshe Podolak

From: Martin London <mlondon@...>
Date: Wed, 13 Oct 93 03:56:37 -0400
Subject: Re: Shmitta

Just a note regarding sh'mitta and "heter mechira" (the commandment to
leave the land of Israel fallow every seventh year and the heter
allowing the working of the land if it technically belongs to a non-Jew.

My number of 90% for the percentage of Orthodox Israelis who accept this
heter was arrived at by the following calculation since the actual
number is unknown.  About 20% of Israel's population could be called
Orthodox in that they observe Kashrut, Shabbat and Yom Tov and at least
some aspects of Taharat Mishpacha (I think I've actually seen numbers to
this effect.)  That would constitute approximately a million people.  Of
this one million, generally those who don't accept the heter are the
haredim of Jerusalem and B'nei Barak, approximately 100,000 people live
in those two areas ( thus 10%,) leaving 90% of at least nominally
Orthodox Jewish Israelis accepting the heter.

If the heter was truly invalid, I doubt that even as political a group
as the Israeli Chief Rabbinate would accept it.

Moshe London

From: Jonathan Katz <frisch1@...>
Date: Wed, 13 Oct 93 17:18:52 EDT
Subject: Shmitta

The entire question of whether or not one is permitted to sell land to a
non-Jew and then farm on it boils down to a simpler question: whether
the law of Shmitta is a cheftza (applies to the object in question) or a
gavra (applies to the person in question). If the law is a cheftza, then
the law would be something like: "If it is under your control, you
should not allow the land of Israel to be worked".  If it is a gavra,
the law would be something like: "You yourself are not permitted to work
the land in Israel".
 If it is a cheftza, then selling the land to a non-Jew would not allow
one to farm on the land. If it is a gavra, though, then this would be
 I have no idea which one it is, or even if it could be said
authoritatively to be in either category. It is clear that arguments can
be brought for either.
 Just my two cents...

Jonathan Katz
(617) 225-8252


From: <Avi_J._Hyman@...> (Avi Hyman)
Date: Wed, 13 Oct 93 10:22:35 -0400
Subject: Smoking on Yom Tov?

I was out of town for Simchat Torah, so I found out where the local
Lubavitch hang out (a small yeshiva it turns out) and walked a few miles to
get there on Erev Simchat Torah for dancing, etc.
At about 11 pm, tired and sweaty, I put on my coat to leave for the long
walk back. As I went out the door, to my suprise I saw several men of
varying ages smoking. What's the deal here? As long as the lit the cig from
existing an existing flame it's kosher and yosher? How about Maris Eyen?
How about doing things "in the spirit of the holiday and refraining?


From: <eisenbrg@...> (Lon Eisenberg)
Date: Wed, 13 Oct 93 03:56:48 -0400
Subject: Tahanun

The tradition of not saying Tahanun between Sukkoth and Rosh Hodesh is
the same as not saying it after any holiday: Since it was permitted for
an individual to bring offerings associated with the holiday for an
additional week (after the end of the holiday), we do not say Tahanun
during that week.

This applies after Pesah and Shavuoth as well as after Sukkoth.


From: David A Rier <dar6@...>
Date: Wed, 13 Oct 93 9:07:55 EDT
Subject: Three questions

I am asking these questions for a cousin of mine, a very bright,
non-obervant fellow who has asked:  1)Which is holier, Shabbos or Yom
Kippur?  2)Why do we begin a new cycle of reading the Torah on Simchas
TOrah, and not, say, on Rosh Hashana? and 3)Are there any good books or
essays that "justify" (his word) Torah to scientists?    I have some
answers for all these questions, but I'd like to give him the best
responses possible.  Private e-mail is ok.  David Rier   <dar6@...>

[But if you get private email answers, please summarize them for the
list and send it in to me, once you complete it.Mod.]


From: <fishbane@...> (Zvi Basser)
Date: Wed, 6 Oct 93 17:53:46 -0400
Subject: Re: Zakai/ Hov

good things done by the good etc.
the point of this principle it always seemed to me is that when we
have a doubt (and have no way to settle it) who did what and when etc
etc we say bad days in the past should be assigned bad events, good
days should be assigned good events etc etc. its not a guarantee good
people do good things or bad people do bad things all the time. there
are no truly good or bad people-- not us not our ancestors, kulanu hatanu.
the point is we can assign the destruction of the second temple to
the same year in the shmita cycle that the the first temple was
destroyed in. -- the principle is just a way of dealing with doubts of
a certain kind when we cant figure out somethings for which the data
is contradictory. I do not think we can predict on this basis whether
or not some political move will succeed or not.

zvi basser


End of Volume 9 Issue 47