Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The Prisoner's Hagaddah: Minimum and Maximum in Hagaddah

The Prisoner's Hagaddah: Minimum and Maximum in Hagaddah
See Shulchan Aruch Harav 473:53. He cites the Maharshal's "maase" (quoted in the Bach) of prisoner without access to a hagadda, but he had chumash and read on Leil Haseder the parshiyos on yetzias mitzrayim.
Just Masse. No instructional statement "if in that situation, do this workaround". My Har Nof uncle sees several possibilities. 1. Perhaps the standardized form of hagadda is so deeply rooted as The Way to do sippur, that the poskim can not say when you're in prison do it differently. They lacked the power to make such a statement (even if technically he may have been yotze with that). 2. The prisoner was in fact not yotze. Reading from the chumash without the droshos is not enough. But it was a nice thing to do like a person who only has half a kzayis matza, eating it without a brocho. 3. It is a psak. Calling something Maase is not diminuitive. The Maase of a man in the real word can be an even stronger form of psak than the instructions issued by the Rabbis in the beis medrish laboratory.
My reaction: 
Hagaddah Shleima and Sefer Hatodaah bring down opinions how old the Hagaddah is, some of the shitos seem farfetched. Some point out the Anshe Knesses Hagedolah made some of the text, and that does make sense. Re Rambam koseres, Rav Yoshe Ber said the text shelo bizman galus is different. One of the questions was on every night we eat meat cooked however, but tonight only roasted. Rambam holds there were 5 questions then; Gra holds we can only have 4 questions, so one of the current 4 was omitted.So there is not 1 correct text.
Rav Zevin brings a tshuvos hageonim that if you read the pesukim without the drashos Ghazal you are suspected of being a min. I think lashon harambam is vedoresh m'arami oveid avi. SO the drashos are part of the hagaddah, My feeling is that to only say torah shebiksav isn't a kiyum of hagaddah, there must be torah shebal peh also, and that's why we read the drashos and say things ourselves; that's why Rabi Akiva, Rabi Yehoshua, Rabi Elazar ben Azarya etc spoke, they were learnig Torah shebal peh (even some have girsa hilchos hapesach kol halayla - those halachos are from drashos).
So the prisoner did a good thing with what he had, but it wasn't complete.
If you think of the Hagaddah and don't verbalize it, are you yotzei? Can one do a pantomime Seder? No. Chinuch says so: Rambam 7:5 (Rabban Gamliel) You must say Pesach Matza and Maror; 7:3 if you are alone you have to ask the 4 questions to yourself. Thinking of the question isn't enough; you myst verbalize it. Why? One reason is Hagaddah is Torah Shebal Peh, so it must be verbalized. (Machlokes Gra/Beis Yosef on thinkning in learning, if it requires Birkas Hatorah.)
This TSBP isn't limited to being oral. Using props is mentioned: Rambam — for a she'eino yodeia lishol, point to maid and say we were slaves like her. Pantomime can be used to enhance the Hagaddah if someone will learn more from pantomime, but verbal sayings are also required. The mitzvah of Haggadah is V'higadta lebincha — not v'amarta lebincha. - Onkelos v'chavi (experience)? Otzar meforshei hagada - including maaseh (like Malbim v'higadti in Ki Savo - demonstrate). The Chinuch gives a different reason why we must verbalize the Hagaddah: Hearing those words will cause us to feel free and understand it, get it„ more. We thereby see that on Pesach night we must have a feeling of freedom. This is part of other mitzvos as well — like mourning or being happy on Yom Toy. Ray Ahron and Grid argued about it, though. Ray Ahron held the feeling was internal, and the actions are external manifestations fo the Inner feeling. The feelings gush out and cause the action. Grid hel the opposite; the actions are performed in order to cause a certain feeling in the heart. These two approaches are also offered with respect to Hagaddah. The Chinuch certainly holds like Grid, that the verbal Haggadah makes us feel free. However, I feel the Rambam holds that the feelings of freedom cause us to do certain actions. Rambam's Hagaddah in Avadim hayimnu says Maarich - because of your emotions you gush and are maarich. We must act free - drink 4 cups, recline. (See Griz if derech Cheirus - is it part of seder or separate.)
In the Gulag, Mendelevitz did lots of preparations for the seder — saving potatoes, making raisin wine, and saying as much of the Haggadah as he remembered. See Was he yotzei? As long as he verbalized it and mentioned Torah Shebal Peh. Yes. A prisoner in the punishment cell is able to — not everyone can, but some can — have the feeling of being free.
(And this answers why Moshe isn't in the Hagaddah — he isn't mentioned by name, but because it is TSBP everything includes Moshe because all TSBP came through Moshe.)
So the minimum is Pesukim, TSBP and feelings of freedom. The maximum is up to you. There is no maximum. (And see commentators why Rabbi Akiva and everyone spoke all night)

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Tzitz- related: Mtznefes of Kohen Gadol

There is much discussion if Mitznefes of Kohen Gadol and Migba'as of Kohen hedyot were the same, similar or different.

See Tosfos Eruvin 95b, Tosfors Sukkah 5a, Rishonim on Yoma 12 and 25, and Tos Yeshanim Yoma 86.  (BTW this is the mekor to smething I posted on long ago, that there is place for 2 Tefillin on th ehead, if it's next to each other or one in front of each other; most of these sources hold in front of each other.)  (Ritva Yoma 25 cites Shimusha Rabbah there is no minimum shiur for tefillin but most hold it is 2 fingers).

Rashi, Ibn Ezra and Ramban all say Mibaas has more Pe'er.  My first reaction to that si that Tefillin are called Pe'er and that's why an avel doesn't wear them the first day (whether that is yom misa ukevirah only or also yom kevura is a different discussion).  Both kohen gadol and hedyot needed to wear tefillin (pe'er) with their head-covering, so perhaps because the Kohen Gadol had tzitz and tefillin in the tefilin area, but the kohen hedyot only had tefillin, part of the migbaas was on the tefillin-area (which was empty on the head) so the migbaas part on that area is called pe'er.

from Torahmusings
Ramman on Vayakhel-Pikudei 
Verses 27-29 tell us about the garments common to Aharon (and all later High Priests) and the ordinary priests. Verse 27 speaks of kutanot, tunics, for Aharon and his sons; Ramban thinks those were exactly the same.
The next verse mentions the mitznefet, Aharon’s head covering, and the migba’ot, the ordinary priests’ head covering. Ramban thinks they were made the same way, but worn differently—as he said in 28;31, a comment we did not see at the time. The High Priest would wrap the material around and around his head, to create a sort of hat, one that has an opening in the middle. Other priests would take that same material but wrap it in such a way that it fully covered the head.
Then, in our third verse of this section, Ramban points out that Chazal in Yoma 12a debated whether the avnet, the belt, of the High Priest differed significantly (he does not elaborate further, but Rashi to Yoma 12a tells us that the issue was whether a regular kohen wore a belt of linen or of mixed materials; the High Priest wore one of mixed materials throughout the year, and of linen on Yom Kippur).

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