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Jan
6
comment Am I allowed to count people?
I don't have a Kitzur handy at the moment, but I believe the same section (15:3) also starts off by first saying that it is forbidden to numerically count Jews (for a minyan) and then proceeds to offer the advice of "Hoshiah..."
Dec
31
comment What's with Kiddush Levana?
RE Paragraph 3: Let's say we were in Israel- Just as I can not leap off the ground and touch you so too my enemies [ie Ahmadinejad] should not be able to [leap off the ground] and touch me [Israel]. I'm sure that's very comforting... Ahmadinejad or his army are likely to never set foot in Israel [literal touch]. However he has/will have a missile that can "touch" Israel. Given similar determination that missile can "touch" the moon. I think in Ramban's time he would have considered it a physical impossibility by natural law. What would you say if you could book a flight to the moon?
Dec
31
comment What's with Kiddush Levana?
RE Paragraph 2: Very interesting. So Scholars much greater than me, found the Tefillah as composed problematic enough to suggest ways to avert thoughts from it appearing as Avodat Kochavim). It would seem that like the comparisons you made to rainbows and mountains it would have sufficed to say the main bracha and that's all. If you close the siddur after the main Bracha - have you fullfilled the ikkur (main point) of the Mitzvah?
Dec
31
comment What's with Kiddush Levana?
RE: Paragraph 1: Yes, the actual blessing that ends "Michadesh Chadashim" clearly addresses Hashem. However, in the following lines we say "just as I can not touch YOU" - There seems to be a consensus that "YOU" refers tot he moon, so it would appear that we are addressing the moon at that point with out supplication. It would make more sense if we're talking to Hashem that we say "HaLevana" (the moon). How do we see that line as talking to Hashem? Why would Chazal phrase the Tefillah so that there even appears to be an element of talking to the moon?
Dec
30
comment Mezzuzahs- putting them up, and saying brachot
I think the circumstances under which the second person is hanging them should be clarified. If it's 2-3 people sharing an apartment?? In a situation where they all share the responsibility for the performance of the performance of the Mitzvah equally then we might not let the Bracha of the first person be carried over to the others as they are not acting as a Shaliach for the first, but acting in their own right. While it seems that the have "rishut" to be included in someone else saying the Bracha, it would also seem that they can exclude themselves and recite their own.
Dec
17
comment December greeting responses
I suppose that would depend on whether Christianity is Avodah Zara (now asked by myself as a new question) If it's not, then there should be no problem. If it is, then I would suggest not wishing them anything related. If it's in the middle... like I suspect, then we have other mitigating factors like are they actually engaging in Avodah Zara in their Christmas observance (how many actually go to Mass) and is our wising them a Merry one really about the gift giving and a nice family meal?
Dec
16
comment Naming after bad people
Just curious if you can explain why "Nimrod" has become a common Israeli name? He was not a savory Biblical character and I can't identify a positive name translation either.
Dec
10
comment What's with Kiddush Levana?
The "It's poetry" remark can't be argued with but at the same time seems like a cop out. However, I do appreciate the addition from R. Shlomo Goren, and the other answer regarding timing that follows. There is still the unanswered element of the question as to why we are directly addressing the moon with the phrasing of "you" instead of just referring to it as "the moon" as we would if we talking to someone other than the moon. It's interesting that 2b seems to have been readily addressed while I don't think 2a has been touched on.
Dec
10
comment What's with Kiddush Levana?
The Nefesh HaRav answer's I have heard before and always seemed weak. Given sufficient resources and determination we can touch the moon. Do we want the same for our enemies? For a thousand years people saying the Tefillah believed it was an impossibility. It was widely believed for a long time that the <i>Rakiya</i> (firmament) was a solid surface. Now that we know these concepts are wrong, the Nefesh HaRav arrives at the weak answer that we can't just reach out and touch at <b><i>that moment</i></b> so we still say it. -- I might as well be talking to my shoe lace since I can't touch that wh