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.