mail-jewish Vol.66 #69 Digest

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Jan 2, 2024, 4:26:48 PMJan 2
Mail.Jewish Mailing List
Volume 66 Number 69
Produced: Tue, 02 Jan 24 16:26:45 -0500

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Agudah Convention 2023
[Joel Rich]
Amazing App
[Alexander Seinfeld]
[Joel Rich]
Kiddush in Shule on Friday night - bracha l'vatalla?
[Joseph Kaplan]
Talmud Torah is pushed off by another mitzva
[Micha Berger]
Torah Health & Fitness
[Alexander Seinfeld]
Tzedakah collectors
[Martin Stern]


From: Joel Rich <>
Date: Wed, Dec 20,2023 at 11:17 PM
Subject: Agudah Convention 2023

All videos can be found here:

I wonder if public self reflection for communities and organizations would be a
positive thing? Focusing on accomplishments is OK but what about shortfalls? Do
we represent all klal yisrael? Do our neighbors have any legitimate concerns
about us? The current matzav created so many kiruv opportunities but did we
force such a matzav by not drawing people in by who we are?

Side issue - If the gedolim are against internet/social media, why is the
convention online?

Bsorot tovot

Joel Rich


From: Alexander Seinfeld <>
Date: Sun, Dec 24,2023 at 10:17 PM
Subject: Amazing App

My 2nd project being rolled out presently is an educational app for iPhone/iPad
called The Amazing Jewish Fact-a-Day Calendar.

The idea is to put a nugget of Jewish wisdom on your screen every day - about 60
seconds max, plus links to extended online content.

What does the Talmud say about airplanes and telescopes? What did Louis
Armstrong say about the Jewish influence on his music? What's the Jewish
definition of love? Etc.

And ... it's the only iPhone app that is Shomer Shabbat! If you try to open it
on Shabbat, it says, "Shabbat Shalom, see you Saturday night!"

We're in Beta - it's out now but still being bug-tested.

Question for you - if you were going to share 1 amazing Jewish fact with a
less-educated Jew, what would it be? If your suggestion is used, you will get
all due credit and the zechut of helping educate the Jewish People.

If you want to see screen shots or download the current beta version, look on
App Store for "Amazing Jewish" or use this link:

Finally, would love your feedback on any aspect of this project - design,
content, anything. Thanks!

Alexander Seinfeld


From: Joel Rich <>
Date: Tue, Jan 2,2024 at 12:17 AM
Subject: Judging?

R E Goldberg wrote:

> If you needed to leave Israel or your child needed to come home, nobody should
> judge you, but talk about your experience sensitively, thoughtfully, and
> intelligently.

And why should nobody judge actions either way? And if not for an individual's
actions, should not a community be judged on its actions?


Bsorot tovot

Joel Rich


From: Joseph Kaplan <>
Date: Wed, Dec 20,2023 at 04:17 PM
Subject: Kiddush in Shule on Friday night - bracha l'vatalla?

Re kiddush in shul on Friday night (MJ 66#64 ff.):

I recall that when I was in the high school Gemara shiur of Rav Moshe Tendler
almost 60 years ago, he told us that when he first became a congregational rabbi
in Monsey he carefully looked into the halachic issue of kiddush being recited
in shul on Friday night and came to the conclusion that it should not be done.
He went to the Rav, R. Joseph B. Soloveitchik, and went through his halachic
analysis. He told us that the Rav, after listening to it, told him that his
analysis and conclusion were absolutely correct. However, the Rav added, since
that was the minhag of the shul, R. Tendler should not change it.



From: Micha Berger <>
Date: Wed, Dec 27,2023 at 12:17 PM
Subject: Talmud Torah is pushed off by another mitzva

Joel Rich wrote (MJ 66#68):

> The Rambam (Talmud Torah 3:4) states that mitzvat Talmud Torah is pushed
> off by another mitzva if the other mitzvah can't be done by someone else.

The Meshekh Chokhmah on Devarim 28:61 makes the case that there is a difference
between the text that is called Torah, and that which is called Sefer Torah. The
sefer must have an appendix of text after the Torah itself. And this is the
whole reason why there can be a machloqes about whether Moshe wrote the last
pesuqim. But the final pesuqim has to be there like the space between the
columns does, or the atzei chayim.

What is so important that we need an appendix to Toras Moshe?

From my study of this MC at

Rav Meir Simchah haKohein zt"l prioritizes mitzvos as follows:

Among mitzvos, learning has the lowest inherent priority in life, since we could
do that even without being born. ... with all the advantages of an angelic
rebbe. ... Learning derives its value from its being necessary in order to be
able to do anything else.

That last idea is from a Yerushalmi, don't blame the MC or me for that one.

Then come other mitzvos.

Then comes teaching. And not just the teaching of facts, but the internalization
of modes of thought that can come only through shimush, apprenticeship. This is
the spiritual development of the next generation, our entire purpose in having
been born.

This was the great truth Yehoshua needed to record in the last eight verses of
the Seifer Torah. Just as Rav left behind his seifer, his academy and students.
Moshe Rabbeinu was just that -- rabbeinu, our mentor. He contributed to the
spiritual development of the species, and in that way endures beyond his
lifetime and his transmission of the Torah itself.

> What are the halachic considerations taken into account (by an individual
> or community leadership) to determine the application to mitzvot that
> require group effort? (eg protests, home front support efforts...)

Since R Yisrael Meir haKohein get his prioritization from the concept
of lilmod al menas laasos (or ... lelameid) as being the true point
of learning Torah (while alive), I would favor action -- as long as it
contributes to the betterment of the universe. Like one more person
at the protest.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger


From: Alexander Seinfeld <>
Date: Sun, Dec 24,2023 at 10:17 PM
Subject: Torah Health & Fitness

Shalom all... some of you know me because I've been a member of this list for
many years. I've been relatively quiet for a while for a couple reasons, one
because something got messed up on my email and I am not able to get these with
my outlook, only by logging on to gmail, which I deeply dislike ...

The second reason is because I've been working on a couple major projects for
the Clal which I'm happy to announce. These are not-for-profit educational programs.

The first was officially launched in the summer, called Torah Health and Fitness
- it consists of a free resource website -, a
TorahAnytime series, a book and more (all info is right there on the homepage of
that new website).

Anyway, it has taken me 10 years of R+D to get to this point and I anticipate
double that or more to get to the point where I feel that the Jewish People have
become true role models for health and fitness as it seems to me we have the
potential to be.

Please give me any feedback you have (and of course share these resources with
anyone you care for).


Sei gezunt,

Alexander Seinfeld


From: Martin Stern <>
Date: Tue, Jan 2,2024 at 08:17 AM
Subject: Tzedakah collectors

Ari Trachtenberg wrote (MJ 66#68):

> Martin Stern wrote (MJ 66#67):
>> Joel Rich wrote (MJ 66#66):
>>> What is the best practice if you've started the amida and a tzedakah
>>> collector comes in front of you to collect?
>> He should be completely ignored unless it is a clear case of pikuach nefesh,
> Much as I appreciate the sentiment, I'm not sure that it is halachically
> correct. The precedent was set with Abraham, who left his davening in his tent
> in order to greet three strangers.

I am not sure that this precedent applies to those collecting in shul. Avraham
probably assessed that the three strangers were in a state of (at least
possible) pikuach nefesh since the incident occurred in the "in the hot part of
the day" in Elonei Mamre where there was probably nobody else available. This is
hardly the case in shul, certainly at shacharit which takes place in the early
morning. In any case, the delay in looking after their needs would not exceed 20
minutes which would be unlikely to be seriously life-threatening in most cases.
If it were, then a monetary donation would probably too late to save their life
but I have never seen such a case. In fact the reaction of collectors to my shul
neighbour's proffering a granola bar reinforces my perception.

Martin Stern


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