Sunday, February 4, 2018


Liebers changed suppliers, so there is an update to their yoshon statuses.  See below.

   Cert Liebers Yoshon by shasdaf on Scribd

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Beshalach - Takana to read Torah on Monday & Thursday

Bava Kama mentions from this week's parsha the Takana or Gzeirah to read Torah on Monday & Thursday (in addition to Shabbos) so we don't go 3 days without hearing Torah.  (Rav Yoshe Ber has a yahrzeit shiur about this in Shiurim L'zecher Abba Mari).

Rav Baruch Halevi Epstein, the Torah Temima in his other sefer, Tosefes Bracha, says this is a minimum, to not go 3 days without Torah, but you can increase it and read Torah more often.

This was surprising to hear, since in practice we've never seen this.

Maybe his logic isn't so good.  First of all,t his uncle the Netziv paskened you can't lain, even without a bracha, for a special ceremony in Baltimore when they were dedicating a new shul on a Sunday.  Meishiv Davar I 16.  According to Tosefes Bracha you can add to the number of times a week you lain.  Unless he's agree you'd have be consistent about it and not do a one time thing.

The Tosefes Bracha's logic isn't as good as it first seems.  From Netziv we see there are brachas that are not required.  Then, we have a mitzvah vehagisa bo yomam valayla (see Menachos 99b), so personally you can't go 1 day without Torah, so the public Kriyah is independent of this.  Thinking more about this, see my post about having to learn Torah every day, that form Rashi and Rambam in Moreh Nevuchim, as long as we have Torah once a week it is considered in our consciousness; therefore this takana/gzeira is a special gzeira to be stricter for public Torah reading (not 3 days without it) than other things (once a week is considered constant).  Since it's a special reason, there is no logic to say it is a minimum as Tosefes Bracha says.

(These are first impressions; I did not look at any of these sources in great detail)

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

In Memory: Rabbi Yaakov (Jack) Morgulis z"l, Drummettes

Rabbi Morgulis was from Detroit.  He served in the US Army in Panama.  He married his wife Nizria.  Her parents lived in the same building as the Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, Hagaon Harav Zvi Pesach Frank zt"l.  While his wife and son stayed there, he traveled to Bnei Brak every week (by rickety bus on terrible roads) where he was in a group of 10 or 11 young men who learned with Rav Shach before he became Rosh Yeshiva of Ponovezh, but after the time described by Naphtali Lau-Lavie, older brother of former Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau Shlit"a when Rav Shach was at the Lomza Yeshiva in Petach Tikva.  Rabbi Morgulis returned to his family in Jerusalem for Shabbos.

In Chicago Rabbi Morgulis taught Torah.  That is what he loved to do.  He was a people-person, very friendly and welcoming.  While he taught at Arie Crown and Ida Crown, the most only things I heard about him as a teacher was from his students (and parents) from Skokie Valley Hebrew School, where he made tremendous impressions on the children and inspired many of them to observe Shabbos and Mitzvos, having many of them as guests in his home for Shabbos where his sons served as friends and role models for the students.  Several of his sons studied at Yeshivas Brisk of Chicago under Hagaon Harav Ahron Halevi Soloveichik zt"l.

He was fascinated with Targum.  One day he was so happy because the previous day he had an almost 2 hour block of time, so he went through eight pesukim in Daniel.  He recommended Nefesh Hager over Adler's Nesinah L'Ger.  I don't think he ever saw R. Pozen's  Parshegen which only came out within the last 5 years or so.   Once, very early in my studies of Tarhum, I found that vayikach has at least 3 different workds in Targum.  I (thought I) found the pattern of when Inkelos uses which word and told Rabbi Morgulis.  He laughed when I told him and I didn't get any other feedback.  I later realized that this is one of the most discussed words in all of Tarum Onkelos, and he knew the yam about it, and I tried to explain it all in 3 minutes.

Remarkably but not unexpectedly, none of this is his legacy.  He is most well known as the owner of Kosher Karry on Devon and Mozart in Chicago, which made the best Drumettes in the world, and to this day other stores in Chicago try to market their "Kosher-Karry-Style Drumettes" but all fall short.  Rabbi and Mrs. Morgulis retired in June 2001 and Kosher Karry closed.

I really got to know him after his retirement when he would learn in Rav Moshe Soloveichik Shlita's Gemara shiur.  His warmth, menschlichkeit and love of people were extraordinary.  He also had stories of many gedolim or VIPs whom he had encountered or heard specific stories from people close to them.  He was always full of support and lent us seforim (like on Targum).  He was our resource in Targum and Dikduk, though I think his wife was his resource on Didduk.

This brief tribute does not to justice to Rabbi Morgulis, who was a wonderful man.  An ish Chesed, who loved Torah and brought others close to Torah.  But I feel required to pass along my impressions of him so those who didn't know him, or only knew him as the guy who made the best drumettes,  so they know he was so much more than that.

May his wife, sons and entire mishpacha be consoled among the mourners of Jerusalem (which he and his wife loved so dearly, especially her being a Yerushalmis) and may the smile and shining face of Rabbi Morgulis inspire us to bring the love of Torah to many others.

Chdosh Guide 2017-18 Final

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Sanhedrin He'aros 20-22

20 b bottom - lands conquered by king can be given to Kohanim and Leviim.  See Rambam  4:10, Dvar Moshe 191. Abarbanel Shoftim.

21a - taama d;kra or not.  Why not say like Tos Sukkah 6 that the same tana sometimes holds yesh eim l'mikra and sometimes yesh eim l'masors?

Rashi sv mi hava.  Implies had she converted before the borth there would be korva.  But conception was as a non-Jew so why would there have been korva?  Ot's horasa shelo bikdusha!

Lo s'ar beis hashechi.  Navi said it was punishment.  But how did these genetic changes happen?  Kuzari - part of our dna that we can change, adapt looks / physical characteristics of the nations among who we live.  2) from converts introducing other genes into the gene pool

21b Rashi sv lo nisgalu.  Why does he only mention Chukim?  And see Margolios hayam.

Rash isv al hayichud.  Clearly gemara later changes it to al hayu=ichud d'pnuya.  But how can Rashi say yichud Eishes ish was decreed then?  It was earlier! And Tosfos later, 37a, clearly says that!

Rashi Aspania.  This is leshitaso earlier on 18b that king paid soldiers by the year.  But Aruch (see margin there) says it is paid month by month.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Sanhedrin - Introduction

I want to post some quick thoughts as I try to review Sanhedrin with Daf Yomi. First is from Tosefes Bracha on the origin and meaning of Sanhedrin. His own explanation and then a Tashbatz at the end.

Then, The Great Sanhedrin;: A study of the origin, development, composition, and functions of the Bet Din ha-Gadol during the Second Jewish Commonwealth1953 by Sidney B Hoenig this book from the 1950s says something like: "Dr. Hoenig, going one step further, believes that there were actually three courts: the great court of rabbis, which dealt with the Law, its development and decisions; the court of priests, which dealt with Temple ritual; and a governing council, which dealt with general administrative and civil matters." I am not supporting or agreeing with any of his arguments, but they are worth noting.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Chodosh Season is OVER!!!

Chodosh Season is OVER!!! Only have to worry about Chametz she'aval alav hapesach now.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Chodosh Update, sent out on the list

URGENT CHODOSH BULLETIN FROM THE GUIDE TO CHODOSH Yoseph Herman, 28 Jan 17 CHODOSH PROBLEMS WITH WINTER WHEAT PRODUCTS, Update #4 REVISED UPDATED SUMMARY OF THE WINTER WHEAT PROBLEM AGRICULTURAL FACTS The US produces 2 wheat crops. Winter wheat is planted before pesach and harvested after pesach. After the harvest winter wheat is always Yoshon. Spring wheat is mostly planted after pesach. It is Chodosh from its harvest in the July-September time frame until the following pesach. Spring wheat is higher in protein, winter wheat is lower in protein. The protein is the “glue” that hold the dough together. Spring wheat is used for chewy products such as breads, rolls, challahs, bagels and pizza. Spring wheat is also used for noodles and pasta. Winter wheat has been used when we do not need a chewy product, such as matzos, crackers, many cakes and cookies. It is also used where protein is not important, since it is cheaper. Until recently we took advantage of the rules of thumb developed over many decades of which products are always made from winter wheat and therefore have no problems of Chodosh. Apparently over the recent years the protein level of winter wheat has been steadily dropping due to agricultural conditions, until foods that used to be produced from pure winter wheat can no longer be produced unless some spring wheat is added to fortify its protein level. The Guide to Chodosh was not aware of this change until a very short time ago. The problem we face is that many old rules in this area are no longer necessarily valid. We have no idea yet of how broad is the problem of spring wheat being added to the winter wheat. Some mashgichim have also not known about this. Therefore we face the formidable and time consuming task of exploring which food categories are at issue and if they are, which brands of packages may be using some spring wheat. ITEMS NOT AFFECTED BY THIS PROBLEM All foods that have always used spring wheat are not affected. Therefore, all Yoshon bakeries and pizza shops will continue to produce Yoshon using the arrangements in place from before. This includes breads, rolls, challahs, bagels, pita, pizza, etc. All noodles and pastas also have not changed. For all these items, the Guide to Chodosh should still be valid. FOODS AFFECTED BY THIS PROBLEM We still do not have an idea of broad are the categories of products affected by this problem. However, the known scope continues to expand. At this point each item has to be examined individually. This is such a formidable task that it can take a long time, perhaps beyond pesach, until we start to have handle on what to recommend. Even items with a Yoshon hashgocho need to be checked to make sure that the mashgiach has been aware of this change. Here is a partial initial list which needs to be investigated: matzos, matzo meal, items using matzo meal such as gefilte fish, breaded items, meat loaf and other applications where flour or matzo meal is used as a filling and binding agent. Baking flour, both flour produced for home baking and for baking cakes, cookies, crackers and pretzels professionally. Candies that contain flour. MEANWHILE: DO NOT ask or write us for halachic guidance. Do not ask us at this point whether a specific item in your house or store has this problem. Even if your posek is machmir, do not throw out any foods. As mashgichim respond to this appeal for information, we will add to the list of items known to have or not have this problem. PRELIMINARY LIST OF ITEMS USING ONLY YOSHON WHEAT: All items made in Israel under any reliable kashrus hashgocho GEFILTE FISH: A&B, Ungar, Freunds, Dagim, Mrs. Adlers, Manischewitz, Mothers, Rokeach. MATZOS AND MATZO MEAL: Streits, Manischewitz, Horowitz Margahrettin, Rokeach, Mishpacha, Kemach. MATZOS FOR PESACH: Several hand matzo bakeries that we have contacted say that they are adding spring wheat to their winter wheat flour. However they make sure that the spring wheat is Yoshon from last year. We hope to have a list of such bakeries compiled before pesach. BAKING FLOUR: Gold Medal flour from factory KC (KC next to the date), All Kemach flours, all purpose and high gluten. (For other flours, including Heckers, we do not have any information yet.) BAKING FLOUR WITH ADDED SPRING WHEAT: Bob’s Red Mill “100% hard red winter wheat” flour contains some spring wheat.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Stats on Shas - words, letters per masechta

I found this interesting table at They sorted it by words per daf letters per daf, I don't know why.
mesechta daf letters words letters/daf words/daf
Brachos 63 273260 70254 4337.46 1115.14
Krisos 27 102234 26328 3786.44 975.11
Horayos 13 49035 12632 3771.92 971.69
Megilla 31 115271 28939 3718.42 933.52
Sanhedrin 112 406013 104357 3625.12 931.76
Taanis 30 106087 26691 3536.23 889.7
Moed Katan 28 89722 22554 3204.36 805.5
Sotah 48 152615 39149 3179.48 815.6
Erachin 33 98096 24815 2972.61 751.97
Makos 23 67782 17608 2947.04 765.57
Shabbos 156 447232 113820 2866.87 729.62
Kiddushin 81 231631 59256 2859.64 731.56
Chagiga 26 73506 18533 2827.15 712.81
Bava Metzia 118 330417 84375 2800.14 715.04
Bava Kama 118 328313 83973 2782.31 711.64
Bava Basra 175 346249 89044 1978.57 508.82
Avoda Zara 75 207188 51851 2762.51 691.35
Temura 33 91112 23065 2760.97 698.94
Nida 72 197171 50118 2738.49 696.08
Yevamos 121 330319 84486 2729.91 698.23
Rosh Hashana 34 92621 23376 2724.15 687.53
Pesachim 120 324521 82335 2704.34 686.13
Gittin 89 238946 60832 2684.79 683.51
Bechoros 60 160117 40587 2668.62 676.45
Shavuos 48 127686 32717 2660.13 681.6
Menachos 109 288694 73203 2648.57 671.59
Kesuvos 111 288903 73398 2602.73 661.24
Yoma 87 225512 57180 2592.09 657.24
Eiruvin 104 264202 67238 2540.4 646.52
Beitza 39 97777 24918 2507.1 638.92
Chullin 141 351691 89555 2494.26 635.14
Sukka 55 127774 32302 2323.16 587.31
Zevachim 119 273681 69345 2299.84 582.73
Tamid 9 18449 4610 2049.89 512.22
Nazir 65 108571 27984 1670.32 430.52
Meila 21 32255 8064 1535.95 384
Nedarim 90 134935 34475 1499.28 383.06

Monday, October 31, 2016

A Real Aguna Whose Husband Disappeared

Halacha is very strict on needing evidence that a man who disappears, even for many years, is dead, otherwise we do not allow his wife to remarry.  Here is a recent story of a man who suddenly disappeared and assumed someone else's identity for over 20 years, leaving his first family.

23 Years After Vanishing, This Woman's Husband Turned Up Alive — With a Whole New Family
23 Years After He Vanished, This Woman's Husband Turned Up Alive — With a Whole New Family

On February 10, 1993, Richard Hoagland called his wife, Linda Iseler, and told her he was feeling sick. He said he was heading to the emergency room, but insisted Iseler didn't need to come with him. He was never seen again - until 23 years later, when he emerged alive, safe, and with a completely new family, according to ABC News.

Hoagland had left everything at home in Indiana, from his coat to his toothbrush to even his passport. He left behind a wife and two sons, only 9 and 6 years old. Police found his car at the airport, but there was no record of a man named Richard Hoagland taking any flight. The last anyone heard from him is when he sent his sons a birthday card, with a message to "mind your mother."

"He devastated us. He left us with nothing, absolutely nothing. I was very broken," Iseler said. They had to give up their house and cars and rely on help from family. Hoagland was pronounced dead after 10 years, and Iseler ended up getting remarried.

But this year, Hoagland was found. It turns out that he went to Florida and stole the identity of a man named Terry Symansky, who was killed in 1991. He even got married to another woman and had a child, with his new wife, Mary, none the wiser. But here's the craziest part: Hoagland (now Symansky) ended up getting caught when the actual Terry Symansky's nephew looked up the family tree and realized that the man he knew had died had gotten married several years later, and even had a pilot's license.

Hoagland was arrested in July for fraudulent use of personal identification, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Police think that he pulled off the scheme because when he fled to Florida, he briefly lived with the real Symansky's father in Florida. He then found Terry's death certificate, used it to get a birth certificate, and used that to get a driver's license.

His new family was shocked. "Obviously their 20 years of marriage [was] shattered," detective Anthony Cardillo said. "The son came down. He was shocked. It was still his father. It's his blood, but that Symansky name is not his. The emotions they were feeling [were] between anger and sadness and the wonder of why."

So why did he pull off the identity theft? According to the Indianapolis Star, Iseler had told police that he embezzled from his boss and was likely on the run from the law. But Hoagland said the reason was more personal: Iseler, who was his second wife, wanted a divorce, and he didn't think he could go through with a divorce again. He is now in jail awaiting trial, and has pleaded not guilty. Authorities were looking into various other accusations against him, too, so more charges may be ahead.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Chodosh update 13 Sept 2016

Several weeks ago we were warned by sources in the flour milling industry that a recent major recall of Gold Medal home baking flour may result in significant shifts in the use of winter wheat vs. spring wheat in such flours. As a result of this, we issued a warning to the Yoshon-observant public for assurance of Yoshon to use all home baking flour if it either has an hashgocho for Yoshon, or it can be determined from the dating code that the flour was packed before Jul 29 ’16. In fact, it has now been determined that the situation has not changed from previous years. Therefore, those flours which have been from winter wheat in the past, should continue to be so this year as well. This includes Gold Medal Flour from factory KC and the Heckers and Ceresota brands.

The Guide to Chodosh is published in two editions. The Preliminary Guide is due to be released soon, the full Guide for the season after sukkos. The SECOND draft of the Preliminary Guide is ready. It is still incomplete and has some errors, mostly typographical. I hope to send all of you this preliminary draft later today. You should be able to use it to get the Chodosh code for most packaged products. You will note that most information that depends on mashgichim is missing. Their information has not yet been forwarded to us. If you find any errors or confusing entries, please drop me a note to I will not be able to answer each email, but will appreciate your feedback.

The Chodosh season has begun this year somewhat earlier than usual due to the agricultural conditions in the growing areas. Our estimates of the start of Chodosh for each crop are based on the reports from the US Department of Agriculture. This year, this information is enhanced by reports sent to me by several mashgichim, for which I thank these mashgichim.
1)       Freshly baked items using spring wheat, including breads, challahs, bagels, rolls, pizza and some cakes and cookies may be Chodosh in the Midwest after the PURCHASE DATE of Jul 29. Elsewhere in the US, this date would be Aug 12.
2)       Packaged foods from spring wheat may be Chodosh after the PACKING date of Jul 29, or the PURCHASE date of Aug 12.
3)       Noodles and pasta may be Chodosh after the PACKING date of Aug 13 and the PURCHASE date of Aug 27.
4)       Barley, such as pearled barley, may be Chodosh after the PACKING date of Aug 9 and PURCHASE date of Aug 23.
5)       Oats: Oats in all products, including cereals, may be Chodosh starting with a PACKING date of Jul 20, PURCHASE date of Aug 3. (The known exception is for General Mills cereals including all Cheerios, for which the Chodosh packing date is July 31 or later.)
6)       Barley malt (also listed in the ingredients as “malt”) may be Chodosh as of the packing date of Dec 15. Package codes should be checked after the purchase date of Dec 15 for beer made from barley malt and Mar 15 for malt in other products.
Even though pesach was late on the solar calendar this year, still almost all of the 3 crops of interest were planted after pesach and are Chodosh. The early harvest this year is due to weather conditions in the growing areas.


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Thursday, September 1, 2016