Responsum #3 from the famous collection Pinah Colada (5758)

I submitted the following she'elah to my rabbi and teacher the Esteemed and Venerable Rov Kos, Shlita, Tzadik of Howard County, Maryland. I thought I would share it. Regards, Kenneth L. Cohen, Columbia, MD

She'elah: There are many practices among Jews with regard to Yom Ha'atzmaut. Many Jews say half Hallel, many say whole Hallel, some say a berachah and some do not. There are those who do not say Hallel at all. And there are others who not only do not recite Hallel, but express their opposition to Zionism by fasting and saying selichot. Esteemed Rabbi, what is the proper practice?

Teshuvah: With the permission of the Court on High and with permission of the Court Below and with the permission of the court over there and the one next to that one, I hereby and hereon, solemnly declare the following: I have consulted with the Maneschevitzer and the Magen David (and I always keep a bottle of Magen David or Maneshevitz and some Schmaltz herring in my talis bag, so I know what I am talking about.) Also, I am familiar with Israeli authorities, especially the "Chadesh Yameynu ke-Kedem" (I also keep a bottle of Kedem with me, in case of emergency) and Rav Carmel, Rishon LeTzion, very popular among the Shikurei Sepahard. The Shlivovitzer, basing himself on the Chochmei Vischniak and the Mayim Hayyim, Rav Mashkeh and oriental authorities from Bavel and Arak. I have also consulted with my Goy shel Shabbat (Hilkhot Oneg Shabbat) and the Gideon Bible. The universal practice is similar among extraterrestrial authorities, especially the Hilkhot Kiddush Levana and Kiddush Hachodesh (emphasis on the kiddush). This is, of course, based on the Gemarrah, Mesechet Shikurim, daf aleph, amud gimmel (and the Bartenura). The Russians used to say Vodya, but the ba'aei teshuvah say Vod-ka, which is our practice (but I digress). In any event, you should say BOTH Hallel AND selichot. Say Hallel for the Medinah and Selichot for the Memshalah. This is my humble opinion.

A berucha oif dein kepplele,

The small, insignificant, unlearned, humble,

Rov Kos, Tzadik of Howard County and provinces thereof

Responsum #4 from the famous collection Pinah Colada (5759)

The Dignity of Labor

As Purim approaches, it is time to start thinking about Pesach. Now what is the peshat of Pesach? Once upon a time, long, long ago, Jews actually had to do some work, AND IT WAS TERRIBLE. Luckily, Jews never had to work again until the 19th century when, in Eastern Europe, the teachers in Eastern European Cheders used to hit the kids with rulers on the knuckles when they made reading mistakes. This, of course, gave rise to Jewish Socialism and Zionism, and an odd hybrid for those who couldn't make up their minds, called Socialist-Zionism (or Zionist-Socialism.) The leading writer of this period was A.D. Gordon who wrote about the DIGNITY OF LABOUR. This eventually gave rise to the the Histadrut (which has a nice building on Rechov Jabotinsky.) Every May 1 they fly red flags and try to remember the words to the INTERNATIONAL and hire cheap arab workers to clean up after them.

Truth be told, the Israeli Labour Movement were not exactly farbrente socialists, until, in recent years, their numbers were augmented by the mass exodus of Jews from the FSU resurrected interest in leftist politics, which they all adore. They fit right in, uncomplaining. Of course some of them have proposed changing the liturgy for the shalosh regalim to read: mepenei chataeynu ge'aleynu LE-artzeynu. (This according to my sources, Mr. Chaim Po-lo-tov, recently from Moscow and Georgian immigrant Yisrael Lo-beshvili).

Classical Music

After Pesach the Moroccan Jews traditionally celebrate the Maimuna, during which they honor the memory of Moses Maimonides with barbecues and belly dancing (which is all done reverently and modestly in character with the spirit of the sage of Fustat). Not to be undone, Israel's Yekkes have their own sort of Maimuna which they call the Festival Yisrael, which features Classical Music performances.

This year the Festival Yisrael will feature performances by a rap artist who also plays the cello, named Yo Ma Ma.

Touring Israel will be Placido Domingo, who is Hebreizing his name for the occasion to Shabbat Shalom.

The Impeachment

Our correspondents in Washington are all suffering from PMS (post-Monica Syndrome). Anyway, there was no news worth reporting between the OJ trial and when the Monica story broke. Just wake us up in time for the next scandal.

In the meanwhile it is rumored that Ms. Lewisnsky will be moving to Isarel. She will be the first person to have made yoridah before making aliyah.

The Demonstrations

You probably read about the big demonstrations. There were a bus loads of secular Jews screaming about Democracy on one hill and a whole lot more black hatted Hareidim screaming about Torah on another hill. What was not widely reported were the traffic jams before and after the demonstrations at Ben Gurion airport when all the secular Jews returned to New Jersey and the Hareidim returned to Brooklyn. Contrary to some reports, there were actually a few Israelis were at the demonstrations: the forlorn cops who separated the two groups. (They were the only ones who understood the speeches.) A few of the attendees though that this was a reenactment of Woodstock. Some were looking for the Maimuna. The secular Jews wanted to know the page numbers, but they weren't announced.

A noted Oriental Mystic, Ha-Rav Abu Metziza, amazed the public by making several yeshivot appear and disappear before their very eyes. They appear in the beginning of the month when the government checks arrive and disappear soon after.

One of the Hareidim, stopped briefly at Heathrow Airport outside London. He reported that he was taunted by some British kids, who made fun of his black hat, capote, beard and payis. "Vot's da matter," he said "ain't you never seen an American before?"

Shalom to all my colleagues: Please feel free to steal my material. My only request is that you not give me any of the credit. It would be too embarrassing. Happy Purim.

Michael Grepps,
Schmulik's Bar and Disco

Purim Torah Of Sushi Purim

What is Sushi Purim, why do we observe it, and what are its laws and statutes?

In Chapter 9 of the Mackerilla, the Book of Oyster, we read in v. 18 that "the Jews who were in Sushi had assembled both on the 13th and 14th days of the month (of Adar), and rested on the 15th day, making that a day of feasting and joy."

Our sages understood this verse to mean that, just as they feasted "in Sushi", they also feasted "on Sushi". As Sushi was a walled city, those who live in a walled city must also feast on sushi on this day.

What does it mean to feast on sushi? This means only kosher sushi, which may be vegetable or fish sushi, nigiri (on bed of rice) or maki (roll), and either cooked or raw. Some poskim say that sashimi is also sushi for the purpose of the mitzvah. What is the minimum amount of sushi to constitute a feast? The majority decision renders, at least 3 orders of nigiri and 2 of maki, per person. The Rambam disagrees, stating that there must additionally be at least one portion of salmon roe, colored purple to recall the cloak of white linen and purple which Mordecai wore when he left the king's presence (Book of Oyster, Ch. 8 v. 15). A lengthy explanation of this opinion, and related hilkhot, can be studied in his famous work, Guide for the Purple Eggs.

Most authorities agree that the sushi seudah is invalid without the requisite k'zayis of wasabi (blindingly hot green horseradish). However, we are cautioned not to say a b'rachah on the wasabi, as one must not say a b'rachah when ingesting substances which place one's health in jeopardy.

Each person who participates fully in the sushi seudah, including the required amount of wasabi, should also say Birkat HaGomel at the earliest opportunity.

Oyster Ha Malka
The SushiQueen

[Author unknown]

Hilkhot Purim

The mitzvah of Adloyadah (drinking until one is unable to distinguish between Baruch Mordechai and Arur Haman) is incumbent upon all Jews, unless such drinking endangers their health, in which case poppyseed hamentashen may be substituted. To achieve the equivalent effect of 8 oz. of 100 proof Shlivovitz, it is recommended to consume 500 poppyseed hamentashen. Any less and you have not fulfilled the mitzvah. Some authorities in the Conservative Movement permit the use of prune hamentashen, but most prohibit it for fear of violating the principles of sh'lom bayit and bal tashkhit, which modern poskim interpret broadly to include all environmental issues, including air quality. Orthodox authorities do not allow any exemptions from the primary mitzvah of Adloyadah except for children under three. Nursing infants, while under the age of three, are not exempt, because they receive the benefit of their mothers' observance of the mitzvah, proving that nursing women are also not exempt. There is a makhloket amongst Orthodox authorities as to whether non-nursing women are exempt from observing this most important mitzvah. Therefore, to resolve any doubts, the Ashkenazic authorities have issued a p'sak din that all women must nurse babies on Purim. If they don't have a baby of their own to nurse, they may borrow one from a nursing mother. Since this will require all mothers with nursing infants to loan their babies to other women, nursing women are thus rendered exempt from the mitzvah. They may, however, fulfill it by eating the required minimum amount of prune hamentashen.

by Rabbi Tracy G. Klirs

To read Masechet Choggah, the heretofore unknown tractate concerning the holy day which falls on the 25th of December, click here.