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Aug
23
comment If you're really thirsty (e.g. breaking a fast), do you make a bracha first on the water or solids?
There's a Chayei Adam that says if you're really thirsty, you can make shehakol and drink a cup of water a few minutes before making hamotzee; the initial water is considered part of the meal because you'll have a better appetite if you're not parched. I wonder if that plays in here? I vaguely recall a Frand tape that for dieters who insist on water before a meal, that kedima is good enough?
Aug
22
comment Sherlock Holmes & the Maharal of Prague
c.) It's possible Chazal's category of banned books was closed and can't subsequently be expanded; i.e. it may be worse than what Chazal assered, but we're not chazal so all we can do is excoriate. Regardless: you read Maharal's statement as unambiguously banning, therefore any proof based on a later talmid or other rabbi reading Meor Einayim is irrelevant, the Maharal said assur. I'd read Maharal's statement as ambiguous (whether there's a bona-fide literal actual ban), hence the fact of Achronim citing Meor Einayim should shed light on that question. Again, we're at a stalemate.
Aug
22
comment Sherlock Holmes & the Maharal of Prague
Reb Yahu; the gaol of m.y is questions that can be answered, not merely discussed or debated ad infinitum. You won't find this convincing, I realize; nonetheless: a.) have to understand exactly what chazal banned and how (e.g. plenty of anti-missionary rabbis have read the New Testament) b.) have to understand rabbinic writing, how literally did Maharal mean "deserve to be burned and worse than chazal" [really, actually, literally? Better to read Galatians than Meor Einayim?].
Aug
20
comment Sherlock Holmes & the Maharal of Prague
I'll admit that this answer was somewhat controversial and "chappy." (And intended as such.) Notice how much more interest it's gotten than the astronomy answer. I don't think debating this further will help; I hereby vote to delete it.
Aug
20
comment Sherlock Holmes & the Maharal of Prague
He said "I consider this work [or portions thereof] worthy of burning"; IMHO, it's unclear whether that means "I therefore proclaim it assur for anyone to read it", or "I disagree very strongly with it and believe most people would not be well-served reading it." The fact that his students then quote it would indicate the latter; again I consider Maharal's words ambiguous.
Aug
20
comment Me'or Einayim-The Maharal
Chalutzhanal, it makes for a simple illustrative example of outdated science, as I've heard it. I don't know the specific Gemaras one way or the other on that one. Probably in Rosh HaShanah.
Aug
20
comment Sherlock Holmes & the Maharal of Prague
He very strongly attacks Meor Einayim's approach, no doubt about it! But did he actually ever declare a ban?
Aug
20
comment Sherlock Holmes & the Maharal of Prague
Exactly. And any claim that Maharal banned Meor Einayim is likewise fiction.
Aug
19
comment How certain do I need to be that my Yom Kippur shoes are leather-free?
Certainly the logic of "trust in economics and regulation" would apply here; R' Moshe's heter for milk goes beyond that, that "knowing" counts as "seeing" with regards to the enactment on milk. For general kashrus, "knowing" is enough. So if we can apply a kal vachomer from food kashrus (and I'm correct on the metzius), should be fine.
Aug
19
comment Cities of Refuge when Moshiach comes?
If I understand correctly, that's the non-physical existence that comes AFTER Yemos HaMoshiach. (Someone please correct me if I'm getting the Rambam wrong.)
Aug
19
comment Sherlock Holmes & the Maharal of Prague
The original: www.horrormasters.com/Text/a1973.pdf was written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the author of the Sherlock Holmes stories; but this story doesn't contain Holmes. Like the Holmes stories, it did appear in The Strand magazine, which was immediately translated into Russian; Rabbi Yudel Rosenberg, the Maharal-story author, could read Russian (job requirement for being a "crown rabbi"). Rabbi Rosenberg later described the story as "folk literature", never intended as true history! This and more from Leiman's article/lecture.
Aug
18
comment Kiddush cup handoff
"So the simple reason is because the Ari and the Ben Ish Hai says so." For those of us in a Sephardic/Kabbalistic school of thought, that works. For the rest of us, "the simple reason is the Torah says so" works as a reason, but for something like this we'd like more explanation -- as has been given here.
Aug
18
comment Pronunciation of משנה הלכות
Or if I'd heard someone else call it "Meshaneh" in passing, it helps to know that it was intended in a derogatory way, so I don't use it as such!
Aug
17
comment Pronunciation of משנה הלכות
Not related to "kol haShoneh halachos b'chol yom"? Is Mishna a noun or verb [gerund]?
Aug
16
comment Washing and Bentching
hadassahsabo.wordpress.com/2010/07/14/…
Aug
16
comment Washing and Bentching
Though actually, women are advised to eat something shortly afterwards. Though that's wash-bensch-eat ....
Aug
11
comment How does shechita (kosher slaughter) actually work?
So in order to get to the trachea and esophagus, he'd always have to go through the carotid and jugular?
Aug
11
comment Elul's acronyms
Curmudegeony nitpick: I'd say "What are some backronyms for Elul", or "What phrases form the acronym Elul"? Technically, the acronym for Elul is just Aleph.
Aug
11
comment Chamisha Veshiv'im - mi yodeya?
Sadly, we don't see much interaction between them after the Akeida Some say that becoming an Olah Temimah had a cost.
Aug
10
comment Kashrut in the Talmud
Great point! Back when Gatorade didn't have a hechsher, someone asked a rabbi about it; rather than just say "it's prohibited"; he said "it's not recommended, but Powerade is okay; the Talmud says everything prohibited has a permitted analogue." Turns it into a profound teaching experience!