Monday, August 27, 2007

Daf Yomi and the Titanic

I'm back in Modi'in now and there are a million things that I want to write about - Shabbat in Buchman Darom, the choice of minyanim here, my new neighbours, kids and jetlag, the new school year - and hopefully, when I have time I'll talk about all of the above.

Right now I'm frantically trying to catch up on work, so all I'll add is a quick link related to yesterday's daf.
Yesterday we covered the status of a woman who's husband was lost at sea. One of the most famous cases was of course the Psak of Rav Yaakov Misken who ruled for the wife of Shminon Meizner who was on the Titanic.

I searched the Web for a copy of the Psak, and finally found it using the way back machine and looking at the archives of

You can view a copy of the Psak here.

Stay tuned for Modi'in-related stuff

Friday, August 17, 2007


Well, we just had a lovely three days in Ottawa with three of the kids (Yael stayed back with her Saba and Savta).

A few highlights:

On Sunday we visited Upper Canada Village, a recreation of a Canadian Village from the 1860s. The kids had a great time visiting the various buildings and speaking to people from that period.
If you have a chance to go, allow extra time in the Schoolhouse, which this kids enjoyed the most.

Monday morning we took the kids to the Museum of Civilization which not only has an IMAX (we saw an amazing movie about the Alps), and a very well done history of Canada, but they have an excellent and educational kids museum which kept the kids entertained for hours.

In the afternoon we took them on a river ride which was, well, a boat ride on a river (go figure) .

Sunday night I took Yehoshua to the Sound and Light Show outside Parliament which I'd also recommend if you find yourself in Ottawa on a Summer evening.

On the way back to Toronto on Tuesday we stopped at Sanders farm which has 10 mazes, all with an educational theme, as well as a wagon ride and other activities - again I'd highly recommend it if you're looking for a full day's entertainment for your kids in the Ottawa region.

While in Ottawa I davened at the Young Israel of Ottawa. Interesting to see that the minyan is being taken over by Chabad - at least half the minyan were chabadnikim, and you can see that they are slowly trying to insert Chabad minhagim into the shul - but I guess that's a topic for another Post - or maybe not (don't get me started on Chabad, I may say something that I'll regret later)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Eyes down, heart up

Last night I went with my wife to see Kooza, a circus-production currently playing in toronto (we head home to Modi'in next week)

One of the acts was a group of three performers who managed to position their bodies in very unnatural shapes - I now realize that they were just a day ahead ini Daf Yomi and were trying to follow Rabbi Yeshmael's advice in today's daf:

Yevamot 105B

Rebbi Yishmael b'Rebbi Yosi explains .... when one
prays, he should direct his eyes downward, in the direction of the dwelling
place of the Shechinah in Eretz Yisrael, and he should direct his heart upward
towards heaven.

Well, here are some pictures of the performers last night trying to keep their eyes facing down and heart facing up.....

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Blast From The Past

Well, I'm still in Totonto - we head back home to Modi'in in just over a week.

Friday night I was in my Father-in-law's shul, and at the back of the shul I saw a familiar face that I hadn't seen for 20 years. Rabbi Moshe Berlove who was the Rabbi in Wellington while I was a teenager there was in town for a family Wedding.

I had a wonderful opportuniy to catch up with him after davening, and also spoke for a while with his son Melech who was all of five years old last time a I saw him.

I was very close to Rabbi Berlove 20 years ago and spent many many Shabbatot at their home, but I haven't been in contact with them since he left New Zealand in 1989. It was lovely to catch up and share memories. He shared with me a story about my Grandmother that I didn't know before and we talked about various things that he remembered from his time in Wellington.

Tomorrow I'm off to Ottawa with my family, and probably wont have acgnace to Blog until I get back on Ruesday night.

Maybe when I get back I'll write some reactions to the article that was in Friday's In Jerusalem about Modi'in.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Parshat Raeh

I am really busy at work right now, and don't have time to write a proper post, but there is a Rashi at the end of Shlishi of this week's Parsha that is bothering me, and I wanted to write it down.

If anyone has any thoughts on this Rashi, Please leave me a comment.

Pasuk 12:28 says:

כח שְׁמֹר וְשָׁמַעְתָּ, אֵת כָּל-הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה, אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי, מְצַוֶּךָּ: לְמַעַן יִיטַב לְךָ וּלְבָנֶיךָ אַחֲרֶיךָ, עַד-עוֹלָם--כִּי תַעֲשֶׂה הַטּוֹב וְהַיָּשָׁר, בְּעֵינֵי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ.

Guard and listen to all these things that I command you so that it should be good for you and your children after you for ever, for you should do the good and the straight in the eyes of HaShem your G-d
(my translation).

Rashi says:
"Hatov" (good), means in the eyes of Heaven
"Hayashar" (straight) means in the eyes of people

Leaving aside questions of reward and punishment (which the pasuk relates to directly), my question is why is it important that our actions are not only Right (in the eyes of Heaven), but that they are seen to be right.

Surely there are cases where the right thing to do will be critisized or rejceted by society.
If an action is Right, but not embraced by society - does that make it any less right?

I wanted to follow this up in other sources, but I am travelling right now and don't have easy access to sforim.
If anyone has any insights, please leave me a comment.

Shabbat Shalom

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Daf Yomi - Yevamot 97B - Riddles

I had a lot of trouble getting my head around the "riddles" in today's daf.
These riddles describe a variety of seemingly impossible relationships.
Anyway, I thought that if I tried to draw them on a diagram I might get a clearer understanding.
Please let me know if you think that I got these diagrams correct. If anyone wants a printed copy, I'd be happy to send them as a PDF.

The translation I'm using comes from Kollel Iyun Hadaf. In each of the diagrams, the woman in green is speaking to the man in red.

Riddle #1:
'He is a paternal, but not a maternal, brother, and he is my mother's husband, and I am the daughter of his wife.' (How can this arise?)
Answer (Rami bar Chama):
This is unlike R.
Yehudah (who forbids a man to marry a woman his father raped. The girl speaking
was born out of wedlock; her paternal brother married her mother).

Riddle 1

Riddle #2:
'He is my brother, and my son; I am the sister of the one I carry on my shoulder'.
The case is, a Nochri had Bi'ah with his daughter. (We prefer not to say that a Yisrael did so.)


Riddle #3:
'Shalom to you, my son; I am the daughter of your sister'.
The case is, a Nochri had Bi'ah with his daughter's daughter.

Riddle 3

Riddle #4 (asked to water carriers):
'The one I carry is my son, and I am the daughter of his brother.'
The case is, a Nochri had Bi'ah with his son's daughter.

Riddle 4

Riddle #5:
'Alas, my brother is my father, my husband, the son of my husband and the husband of my mother, and I am the daughter of his wife, and he does not give bread to his brethren, the orphaned children of his daughter.
The case is, a Nochri Ploni fathered a girl Plonis through his mother, and later fathered children from Plonis, and Ploni's father Almoni fathered children through Plonis. (Ploni married Plonis, who is his daughter and sister. Almoni died, and Ploni refused to feed Almoni's children through Plonis, who are Ploni's grandchildren and also his brothers.)

Riddle 5

Riddle #6:
'I and you are brothers; I and your father are brothers; I and your mother are brothers.
The case is, a Nochri fathered two girls from his mother, and then fathered a son from one of his daughters. The son's mother's sister says the above to him.

Riddle #7:
I and you are the children of sisters, I and your father are the children of brothers, and I and your mother are the children of brothers. This indeed is possible also in the case of a permissible marriage.

Note: The translation of this Riddle from Shema Yisrael didn't seem right, the translation I'm using here is from Daf Notes.
This can arise in a permitted way! Reuven, Shimon and Levi are brothers. Reuven has two daughters; Shimon married one of them and Levi's son married the other. Shimon's son says thusly to the son of Levi's son.