Sunday, April 27, 2008

Pesach recap

1) Interesting case of a chumra ha-ba'ah liydei kula - someone buying clothing on Chol haMoed due to the onset of sefirah. AIUI, the former is more problematic than the latter, as engaging in commerce on Chol haMoed is assur (with the exception of cases of davar ha-aveid or tzorech ha-moed), while the issur of saying she-hechiyahu on a new garment or the like is characteristic of the period of bein ha-metzarim, not of sefirah (which only has prohibitions against weddings and haircuts {and perhaps melacha at certain times)).

2) An old gripe: Shehakol kiddushim, most commonly found on Pesach. Being that "ein kiddush ela b'makom seudah" renders a kiddush said without a subsequent seudah void[1], and that the Shulchan Aruch says that one can only be yotzei this requirement of a meal[2] using bread or wine[3] (or, according to many poskim[4], mezonos), if one eats potato starch cake following kiddush, not only is one's kiddush invalid (and perhaps a bracha l'vatalah?), but the food that he ate would l'mafrei'a be assur because of his not having made kiddush beforehand.

However, the Mishnah Berurah[5] b'shem the Chayei Adam and Eliyah Rabbah notes that the Shiltei Gibborim holds that Shabbos itself is kove'ia any food into a meal (as seen by hilchos ma'aser), so that if one is feeling weak, he can be someich on this da'as yachid (although only in the morning) and fulfill his requirement of kiddush b'makom seudah even with fruit or minei targima, so I suppose that yesh al mi lismoch, but it still sounds a bit iffy.

[1] S.A. O.Ch. 273:2
[2] Although not the requirement of the evening or morning meal as two of the shalosh seudos, which specifically require bread.
[3] S.A. O.Ch. 273:5
[4] Including the Mishnah Brurah b'shem the Magen Avraham, although IIRC, R' Akiva Eiger argues.
[5] 273:26

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Dagesh question

Miriam at The Floating Bear asks whether the proper pronunciation of a term is "Darchei Shalom" or "Darkei Shalom"

I'm not a dikduk nerd, but I occasionally pretend to be one, and I've wondered about similar questions, myself, so decided to look into the issue.

Usually, a letter is degusha when it appears at the start of a word or the start of a syllable following a closed syllable. This is one of the exceptions, though.

When most masculine plural words are nism'chim, a sh'va is put under the penultimate letter of the root and the last letter of the root is given a tzeireh. Hence, d'rachim would become d'r'chei. Due to the awkwardness of two consecutive sh'va'in, the first sh'va is changed into a tenuah ketana and the second sh'va is known as a sh'va merachefes, which is unsounded like a sh'va nach, but does not make the letter immediately following degusha, like a shva na does. Hence, the proper pronunciation would, indeed, be darchei (as the word appears in Mishlei 3:17).

There are probably some errors in this analysis, but I think it covers the gist of the issue accurately.

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B'rich Sh'mei

Someone on a discussion list inquired about the line near the end of B'rich Sh'mei which states "Lo al enash rachitzna v'lo al bar elohin samichna ela b'Elaka dishmaya", the middle clause of which appears to imply the existence of a son of God, in whom we merely do not rely.

I noted that the Rambam[1] (Y"hT 2:7) states that one of the levels of angels (immediately below Elohim and above Keruvim) was called B'nei Elohim. The "Pirush" on the side of my Choreiv Rambam (anyone know who this is?) notes that Elohim is the level of angel that rules over the world. Hence, perhaps the author of this line used the term Bar Elohin to refer to an angel in this general range rather than the more equivocal "Elohim" to express that not only do we not trust in man, but we do not even rely on more powerful spiritual beings, but rather only on HaShem.

However, according to MiPninei HaRav cited in Hanhagos HaRav in the beginning of the Machzor Masores HaRav, R' Joseph Soloveitchik stated that his grandfather R' Chaim was makpid not to say this line precisely because of the implication of "bar" mamash. (I recall reading that eventually RYBS stopped saying B'rich Sh'mei altogether, but can't find the source for this - maybe it's in the RH edition which I don't have handy.)

[1] who, in Moreh Nevuchim 2:6, states that interaction between angels and man only occurs in prophetic visions, not in the physical world, but that they still definitely exist, to oppose the words of the counterclaimant.


Saturday, April 05, 2008

Bava Kamma 95 - Shinui koneh

Very exciting sugya.

A beraissa on 95a states:
"If one stole a ewe and sheared it or it gave birth, he pays the value of it and its shearings or offspring, according to Rabbi Meir.
Rabbi Yehudah says the stolen animal is returned 'b'eineih', as it is.
Rabbi Shim'on says we view it as if it were monetarily evaluated."

On 95b, there is a machlokes amora'im regarding the difference between the two latter shittos:

According to Rav Zevid, they argue over appreciation in the value of the animal that is still attached to the animal.
Rabbi Yehudah holds that attached appreciation belongs to the robbed, as the animal as it is *right now* is returned to the robbed, while Rabbi Shim'on holds that the attached appreciation belongs to the robber, as the robber need only return the value of the animal when it was originally stolen.
Both opinions argue with Rabbi Meir, who says that even detached appreciation is returned to the robbed.

According to Rav Papa, they argue over the deduction to the compensation that the robber keeps.
Rabbi Yehudah holds that attached appreciation belongs to the robber, as the animal as it was *at the time of the robbery* returns to the robbed, while Rabbi Shim'on holds that the attached appreciation belongs to the robbed, with the exception of a fraction (dependent on local custom, e.g., a third) that reverts to the robber as compensation for his expenditures on the animal. According to Tosefos DH Mani, Rabbi Shim'on's opinion is more akin to that of Rabbi Meir than to that of Rabbi Yehudah, in that the robber also keeps only this fraction of the detached appreciation.

To provide an example that shows all of the various shittos in action - if one stole a recently shorn animal, allowed it to grow a full coat of wool, sheared it, and allowed it to grow a second coat of wool, at which case he confessed his crime before the court (to avoid the convoluting issue of keifel penalties that apply only to the principle and not to the appreciation):

Rabbi Meir would say that the robber returns the loaded animal plus the first shearings.
Rav Pappa's Rabbi Shimon would say that the robber returns the value of the loaded animal plus the first shearings, less one-third of each.
Rav Zevid's Rabbi Yehudah would say that the robber returns the loaded animal in its entirety and keeps all of the first shearings.
Rav Pappa's Rabbi Yehudah would say that the robber returns the loaded animal in its entirety, but the robbed must then reimburse the robber for the appreciation of the animal in his custody, and the robber keeps the first shearings.
Rav Zevid's Rabbi Shimon would says that the robber returns the value of the unloaded animal that he originally stole to the robbed, while keeping both the now-loaded animal and the first shearings.

Despite the title of this post, there does not seem to be any dispute over whether or not the changes that the animal undergoes as a result of its wool growth (and subsequent shearing) constitute a shinui that allows the robber to legally acquire the animal (and hence have his legal obligation to the robbed frozen in place at the time of the robbery), as even R' Meir was proven to hold that a shinui effects this change of legal status, only that he holds that Chazal imposed a penalty on the robber to prevent him from profiting from his crime (although admittedly, the gemara doesn't discuss the views of Rabbi Yehudah and Rabbi Shim'on on this theoretical concept).

I haven't had this much fun since the seven-way battle royale regarding the order of kiddush and havdalah on Yom Tov that falls out on Motza'ei Shabbos, found in Arvei Pesachim.

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