mail-jewish Vol.65 #68 Digest

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Aug 10, 2022, 3:21:59 PM8/10/22
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Volume 65 Number 68
Produced: Wed, 10 Aug 22 15:21:56 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Ma'amarei Chazal
[Joel Rich]
Normative Law?
[Joel Rich]
Psalm 145:7 zaycher or zecher (2)
[Joseph Kaplan Haim Snyder]
Rambam and Yam HaMelach
[Sammy Finkelman]
Sefer Bound Upside-Down
[Chana Luntz]
Shabbat Candles and the Blessing.
[Immanuel Burton]
Three Oaths Midrash
[Sammy Finkelman]
Whiskey matured in sherry casks
[Alan Rubin]


From: Joel Rich <>
Date: Tue, Aug 2,2022 at 06:17 PM
Subject: Ma'amarei Chazal

Looking for ma'amarei chazal making these points:

O, wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as others see us

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, Or what's a heaven for?


Joel Rich


From: Joel Rich <>
Date: Tue, Aug 9,2022 at 05:17 PM
Subject: Normative Law?

Sometimes it seems to me that there may have been original reasons for a
practice but that practice then becomes something more like normative law
detached from the reasons. An example might be turning around for lcha dodi.
Originally the practice may have been to face the west or to face the doors etc.
but in many communities, it just became to turn around.



joel rich


From: Joseph Kaplan <>
Date: Sun, Jul 31,2022 at 08:17 AM
Subject: Psalm 145:7 zaycher or zecher

Shlomo Di Veroli wrote (MJ 65#67):

> I noticed in different siddurim the word ZCR is pointed with tzere and others
> as seghol. My Biblia Hebraica (based on the Leningrad Codex) has tzere. I
> asked the chabad rabbi about these various readings and he said to me that the
> late R.MMS read it with both spellings. Did anyone hear about this?

I passed this question on to my brother-in-law, Prof Jordan Penkower of Bar
Ilan, one of the leading experts in the world on this issue, and he sent me the
following response:

Please read my article:

Minhag and Massorah: On the Recent Ashkenazi Custom of Double Vocalization
of Zeikher Amaleq (Deut. 25:19), Studies in Bible and Exegesis, vol. 4,
Ramat-Gan: Bar-Ilan University Press 1997, pp. 71-128 (Heb.).

Therein, I discuss the issue of Zeikher-Zekher also with respect to the
"Ashrei" prayer (PS. 145:7). I do not cite any information about the Lubavitcher
Rebbe's double vocalization there; however, I did cite information of the
Lubavitcher Rebbe's "maximum" position about "zeikher-zekher" amaleq (he doubled
it on all occasions), so it is possible that he did the same for
"zeikher-zekher" in Ashrei.

However, as I concluded in the article, the correct pronunciation according
to the accurate Tiberian manuscripts and the masorah is "zeikher", with tzere,
in all cases; one should never double the pronunciation of zcr (my article
explains the origin of that late Ashkenazi custom).

I add that if you Google Jordan's name, within the first few hits are more
detailed discussions by him on this issue.



From: Haim Snyder <>
Date: Wed, Aug 3,2022 at 02:17 PM
Subject: Psalm 145:7 zaycher or zecher

Shlomo Di Veroli asked about the vowels for the word ZCR (MJ 65#67):

I have 2 prayer books which refer to this. The first, the siddur Azor Eliyahu
(printed in Israel), which is nusach of the Vilna Gaon, shows a segol under both
the Zayin and the Chaf and attributes this to Ma'aseh Rav 28. The Mesorat Harav
Machzorim for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur (based on Rav J. B. Soloveitchik's
practices) says that the Rav's practice was to recite the verse twice, each time
changing the vowel under the Zayin.


Haim Shalom Snyder

Petah Tikva


From: Sammy Finkelman <>
Date: Fri, Aug 5,2022 at 04:17 PM
Subject: Rambam and Yam HaMelach

In the Sefer HaChinuch, Mitzvah 386 - Tztzis – in Parshas Shelach, it says that
the Chilazon, used for making tekheles was something in the Yam HaMelach. This
is apparently based on the Rambam's Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Tzitzis ii.2. Saying
that it came from the Dead Sea is clearly wrong, and you could tell it then,
because in the Gemara Shabbos 26a, names of places along the coast are given
which mean (if you know where those places are) that it's the Mediterranean Sea
(or Yam HaGadol or Yam HaPilishtim). So the commentators say that Maimonides
sometimes calls the Mediterranean Sea "Yam HaMelach" [or Salt Sea] a name
usually used for the Dead Sea)

I think this does not make sense, Although maybe you could say he called the
Mediterranean Sea the Salt Sea to distinguish it from a freshwater lake, like
Lake Tiberias (also known as Yam Kinneret or the Sea of Galilee). But that
sounds strained. Especially since they say he only called the Mediterranean Sea
the "Yam HaMelach" some of the time.

Maybe the Rambam just had the location wrong? After all, techeiles was last
made some 500 years before him.

What are the different usages by the Rambam of Yam HaMelach?


From: Chana Luntz <>
Date: Thu, Aug 4,2022 at 10:17 AM
Subject: Sefer Bound Upside-Down

Immanuel Burton wrote [MJ 65#67)

> After given further thought to the matter, I have decided to place these items
> on my shelf the right way up for the content, having taken into account the
> advice of Rabbi Meir quoted in Pirkei Avot 4:27, "Do not look at the flask but
> at what is inside it".

Ah, you are following the position of Rabbi Elazar ben Azariya, the successor to
Rabban Gamliel (after Rabban Gamliel was deposed as Nasi see Brachot 28a) who
took away the security guard from the Beit Midrash [study hall], Whereas Rabban
Gamliel had previously decreed during his period as sole Nasi that "any student
whose inside is not like his outside (tocho k'baro) should not enter the Beit
Hamidrash". Here we have precisely a sefer whose tocho [inside] is not k'baro
[its outside] but instead of banishing it, you are happy to let it in to your
Beit Midrash.




From: Immanuel Burton <>
Date: Sun, Jul 31,2022 at 04:17 PM
Subject: Shabbat Candles and the Blessing.

When a woman lights Shabbat candles, she first lights the candles and then says
the blessing, even though a blessing on a mitzvah is usually said before the
mitzvah is performed. The reason for this is that she accepts Shabbat when she
says the blessing, and so can't light the candles after she has accepted
Shabbat. See, for example, Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 263:5.

How does saying the blessing constitute acceptance of Shabbat? The blessing ends
with the words, " light the Sabbath light". Surely this indicates an
intention to light the lights, which, as it's something that's forbidden to do
on Shabbat, would mean that Shabbat is not being accepted at that point?

Secondly, if a man can say the blessing, then light the lights, and then accept
Shabbat later on, e.g. during the evening service, why can't a woman do this?

Immanuel Burton.


From: Sammy Finkelman <>
Date: Fri, Aug 5,2022 at 06:17 PM
Subject: Three Oaths Midrash

This could have been an actual deal reached between the House of Hillel and the
Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius after the Bar Kochba revolt and later ratified
several times over with different Roman Emperors. For a while, every Roman
Emperor was also called Antoninus, just like they were all called Caesar and
Augustus. The one Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi was close to was Septimius Severus, (ruled
193-211) who came from the Carthage area, and thus spoke a language similar to

There's a whole story as to how a more tolerant Roman Emperor succeeded after
Hadrian. Hadrian saw Marcus Aurelius and wanted to make him his successor. Since
Marcus Aurelius was much younger than Hadrian, he arranged for Marcus Aurelius's
uncle Antoninus Pius to adopt him, and himself adopted Antoninus Pius and
then died.

In those days many high born Romans did not have any children.


From: Alan Rubin <>
Date: Mon, Aug 1,2022 at 02:17 PM
Subject: Whiskey matured in sherry casks

As a Scotch drinker I prefer whisky to whiskey.

My answer to the suggestion that there is much more non-Kosher wine in whisky
than was previously thought is similar to the one that I have heard attributed
to Dayan Ehrentreu when this subject came up some years ago. Those who are
concerned about the kashrus of their whisky are welcome to send it to me.

On a more serious point I do not understand the figures. My rough calculation
of the volume of the wood in a barrel puts it at well under 15 litres. How can
this volume of wood hold 12 litres of wine?

Alan Rubin


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