Sunday, April 6, 2014

It's Krazy Kezayis Time!

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With just over a week to go until Pesach, the kezayis stringency season has started! This year, we have something new to add to the increasingly huge size of a kezayis. Rabbi Yair Hoffman argues that ideally, one should adopt Rav Dovid Feinstein's view that a kezayis is two-thirds of a machine matzah (itself based on the non-reality-based strictest view in the Rishonim that a kezayis is half an egg, coupled with the non-reality-based stringency of the Noda B'Yehudah that an egg today is only half the size of the eggs of antiquity). To this, Rabbi Hoffman adds the Shulchan Aruch's view that, to accommodate the views of different Rishonim regarding which of the matzot to eat from, one should ideally eat a kezayis of matzah from each of the top two matzot (which results in a total of one and one-third of a matzah, by adding this to the previous stringencies), at the same time. This is in turn interpreted by Rabbi Hoffman to mean as follows:
Place both kezeisim in the mouth together. Both kezeisim are then chewed well and split, within the mouth, in half—one kezayis on each side. Then one is swallowed, followed by the other.
Oh, and he adds that ideally, this should all be done within two minutes. And to add insult to injury (possibly quite literally), he refers to this as "The Forgotten Method of Eating Matzah." (At least to his credit, Rabbi Hoffman also notes Rav Chaim Volozhin's view that a kezayis is the size of an ordinary olive.)

Rabbi Hoffman is aware that to most people, this appears, to be frank, utterly ridiculous. He attempts to preempt this criticism as follows:
Let us remember that for centuries, Jews have tried to fulfill mitzvos in the most ideal manner possible. Often what this means is to fulfill the mitzvah in a manner that is consistent with the views of as many of the Rishonim as possible. Some people who are not accustomed to this notion will find such dedication extreme. Others, however, will realize that dedication to mitzvos and Torah observance is a manifestation of ahavas Hashem, the love we have toward G-d.
I have lots to say about the questionable notion of "following the views of as many Rishonim as possible," and how this relates to the difference between rationalist and mystical approaches to Judaism, but I'll leave that for another time. For now, let it suffice to quote Rabbi Aryeh Klapper:
Let us concede that sometimes “the most ideal manner possible” to fulfill a mitzvah is to engage in rishon-position-maximization...  Surely there are other values as well, though, both general and matzah-specific, and relating to both the letter and spirit of the law, such as hiddur mitzvah (making commandments aesthetically pleasing), simchat mitzvah (joy in fulfilling commandments), oneg yom tov (making the holiday pleasurable), akhilah b’teiavon (eating matzah with appetite), avoiding akhilah gasah (gross consumption), and last but not least, avoiding potentially fatal behaviors.
The all-time most popular monograph of mine is on the subject of the evolution of the kezayis. It demonstrates that the kezayis was originally - wait for the shocker - the size of an olive. It then explains how this quantity continually rose over the centuries. This year, I updated the monograph with some minor corrections and the following new postscript:
The reaction of many people to my conclusions about the kezayis is one of shock, followed by the question: “So do you yourself really eat such a small portion of matzah and maror?” Yet this is a very strange question. It sheds light on the problems caused by the evolution of the large kezayis measurement.

Why on earth would anyone only eat an olive-sized portion of matzah? The mitzvah comes late at night, after a really long day, when people haven’t eaten for hours. Any normal person will eat much more than an olive-sized portion! The kezayis is a minimum. The halachah says that eating anything less than a kezayis is simply not called an act of eating. But any ordinary act of eating is obviously more than the bare minimum! Does anyone build a sukkah ten tefachim high?!

So why do so many wonder if people like me will be eating an olive-sized portion? This is probably because the evolution of the large kezayis, along with the change from traditional maror (wild lettuce, sowthistle, etc.) to horseradish, has made eating a kezayis such a tricky and stomach-challenging ordeal that this is all that people aim for. The Mishnah Berurah states that ideally, one should swallow the kezayis in a single gulp (after chewing it), which is extraordinarily difficult with enlarged sizes. Many are lenient to chew and swallow it toch k’dei achilas pras, “within the amount of time required to eat half a loaf of bread,” which is the maximum time permitted for it to still be defined as a proper act of eating; yet even this presents a challenge with a jumbo-sized kezayis. Thus, people struggle to eat the minimum amount of food within the maximum time allowance!

Kezayis becomes not the minimum, less than which is simply not an act of eating, but rather the challenge, the goal. And people become so focused on eating the right quantity that this becomes the main thing that they think about – the quantity, rather than the mitzvah itself. But when you eat traditional matzah, and traditional maror (which was the normal hors d’oeuvre in antiquity), and a kezayis is a kezayis, nobody would only eat a kezayis. And instead of focusing on the quantity of what they are eating, they focus on its significance
You can download my monograph "The Evolution of the Olive" at this link. And you can download the popular rationalist matzah/maror sizing chart at this link. Share and enjoy!

50 comments:

  1. The picture of the olive you posted... should I measure my matzah to the size of the full olive, or should I subtract out the volume of the pitted part?
    (smirk)

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  2. R. Moshe Harari's Mikraei Kodesh on Leil Haseder includes letters the author received from a number of distinguished poskim.
    In one of these letters, R. Chaim Kanievski confirms that the Chazon Ish followed the opinion of R. Chaim Volozhiner that a kezayis is literally a kezayis.
    In another letter, R. Avraham Kahana Shapira defends the minhag Yerushalayim, which is to use the Rambam's small shiur based on the mass of the dram. He concludes that, unlike Middle Eastern Jews, European Jews had no mesorah for the mass of the dram, so we should follow those with the mesorah and use the smaller shiur.

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  3. I think the best rejoinder to Rabbi Hoffman et al is from R' Shlomo Zalman, who points out the obvious (though sometimes forgotten) fact that, in any event, the act of eating matza is supposed to be normal eating.

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  4. In addition to everything else you mentioned, these absurdly large kezayism create a major smack in the face to those, usually the women, who work so hard to prepare a beautiful and sumptuous Seduah. Just another case of Chumraization overriding basic human decency.

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  5. This article has raised a matter that has been troubling me for some time. Is the ultimate spiritual goal of Judaism, as understood by what we call the Lita'i-Halacha community, really to try to accomodate all possible opinions as to what the halacha is? Or is the goal, as I understand it in the Hasidic school of thought (which I am not so familiar with) to approach the mitzvah with a view that the important thing in order to reach spiritual heights was to do the mitzvah with the greatest emotional devotion to G-d (please correct me if I am wrong).
    More recently I have come into contact with teachers (in this case Rav Yoel Bin-Nun) who emphasize understanding the message of the mitzvah....in the case of matzah that would be being aware of the character of it being both "Lehem oni" (bread of our oppression) and, at the same time "the bread we had to make without giving it enough to to bake fully because we had to leave Egypt with 'hipazon'-great haste" which is a message about how the geulah came about and what it really means to us.

    Rav Slifkin's piece here seems to me to validate the last approach as the most spiritually meaningfull, without ignoring the technical halachic requirements, which while important are not an end in themselves.

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  6. Rav S.Z. Ohrbach was concerned about achila gassa and would instruct people to be sure to eat the matza as they eat normally. It's amazing that the machmirim are not concerned about this. As I wrote to you, R' Natan in a slightly different context, this is another example of how a kilkul can easily come out of a chumra. Unfortunate.

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  7. I read an article recently that was written by Rav Chaim Beinish regarding the size of a kezayis. The point of his article is that the Chazon Ish held like Rav Chaim of Volozhyn. I cannot, for the life of me, find the article now and I would like to have it and pass it on to others who need to see this in Hebrew. I first saw a link to it in the comments of one of these blog posts. If anyone knows where I can find this article please post the link. Thank you.

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  8. Pliny: No, you include the stone. Hence if you eat an olive you do not have to say a bracha afterwards, unless it is a big olive. (Somewhere in Bavli B'rahoth, fifth perek, I imagine).

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  9. This interview is refreshingly normal regarding the size of a k'zayit:

    http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLaID9llq3Qgv1PEOdm-go4gpPEuO6GnAi

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  10. Even the Chazon Ish didn't hold of such a large shiur of matzah - His brother-in-law said that it is basically the size of the palm of a hand (no fingers). In the US most people are more machmir because of Reb Moshe's position that any air bubbles don't count, so you need to eat an amount made from a c'zayis of flour.

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  11. See R. Hadar Margolin's excellent shiur and kuntres on the topic - he covers much of the ground that R. Slifkin, albeit from a slightly more Charedi perspective:

    http://www.dafyomi.co.il/lectures/marei-yoma080.htm

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  12. Rav Ovadiah said it best:

    "It is known that people who forced themselves to eat two kezeisim of matza and korech in one go nearly mortally endangered themselves and ended up in hospital on seder night - and these are the results of this chumra".

    See here:
    http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=906&st=&pgnum=380

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  13. R. Slifkin: Ironically, you concede too much to R. Hoffman.
    As one commentator to R. Hoffman's post noted, the majority of aharonim do NOT agree that the S. A.'s view is that one must swallow two kezeisim at once.

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  14. Wouldn't eating such a humongous quantity of matzah so quickly violate Ramban's admonition against gluttony in his commentary to parshat Kedoshim?

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  15. What this ridiculous article highlights to me is another example of extreme positions that were once the domain of a fringe group, being pushed into the mainstream as the "Torah True" way to be a Jew.

    Back when I was an impressionable lad in yeshiva, my rabbeim told me about this approach, and not knowing any better (after all, if my rabbeim told me to do it, could it possible be wrong?), I insisted to my family that this is "the right way" we should all be doing it. Most of them, obviously, didn't take my exhortations very seriously, and I in turn didn't take very kindly to their callous approach to the very serious matter of performing a mitzva d'oraysa.

    Like seeing mainstream publications promoting crazy chumras of tznius, it's so troubling seeing moderate mainstream media outlets like the 5 Towns Jewish Times (where this originally appeared) giving a platform to an extremist voice promoting a totally dysfunctional and fringe approach as the ideal way to be a frum Jew.

    Whatever happened to normal?

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  16. Honestly, no Halachist could give credence to Rabbi Hoffman's words. Rabbi Hoffman states:

    "... Both kezeisim are then chewed well and split, within the mouth,... However, both the Magen Avraham and the Mishnah Berurah (475:9) write that it is only necessary to have them in the mouth together, chew them, and separate them in the mouth,..."

    Unfortunately, neither states anything about this requirement of separating anything in your mouth. Rabbi Hoffman simply made up this requirement - there is no source for it.

    Even his introductory question is wrong. He writes:

    "Did you ever wonder why we need two kezeisim of matzah for the first portion at the Seder, but the other times we eat it (Korech and Afikoman) you technically only need one?"

    Well, no - because technically you only need one kezayis for Motzi/Matza as well - He virtually admits this later in his guideline for someone who cannot eat two kezaysim - he writes:

    "If a person is sick or elderly and cannot at all eat the two kezeisim, he should just consume one kezayis, as the Gemara does not mention anything about two kezeisim—it is merely the manner in which the Shulchan Aruch recommends fulfilling the mitzvah according to all interpretations."

    The heads up to his misinformation is the mocking attitude he portrays. I did not know that the derech of Torah was to belittle your audience. He starts with the following:

    "“What? I never heard of that!”

    “I’m sorry, but I do not know anyone who eats matzah like that. It can’t be true.”

    “My parents would have told me if this were true. I don’t care if you say it is in the Shulchan Aruch. This is just not done. It can’t be that tens of thousands of people are doing it wrong.”"

    Conclusion: Rabbi Hoffman is neither an Halachic authority nor a Mentch

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  17. Cracks me up every time.
    Hilarious.

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  18. Interesting enough, both the author of this blog and most commentators here seem to be under impression that Judaism allows everyone decide Halacha by himself. How about Dvarim 17 about listening to judges of your (i.e. our) time and not to divert either right or left? How about just ask one's Rav (of course if a person has one) of what opinion we follow rather than picking an opinion we find convenient?

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    Replies
    1. Lazer,
      Interesting seeing how now when somebody's family minhag is in opposition to the latest status quo minhagim the "establishment" deems the adopting of the "new minhagim"!

      Delete
  19. Dlz 206pm -- you are 100% correct. The volume of a baked prodyct can never exceed the original (pre baked) volume (less an allowance for "air" loss.)

    I was once at a hotel for pesach, at a table next to the mashgiach and anither table of the rab hamachshir. The mashgiach actually brought a digital scaled to the seder both nites to weigh his portions, much to the consternation of his wife (and many of us guests.) (Though technically, the SA may permit such a measure, it smacks of excessive chumra, let alone "yuhara.")

    MiMedinat HaYam

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  20. These are the same machmirim who will make you bentch after eating a minimal amount of cake.

    Also, this is a yeshivish / litvish practice, that they are forcing on non litvish, non yeshividh crowd. Our hungarian non chasdidic custom, for example, is much much more reasonable.

    MiMedinat HaYam

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  21. Although I agree with much of what Rabbi Slifkin has written, I cringe at the disrespectful way he writes about Rav Dovid Feinstein and the Noda B'yehuda: Rav Dovid Feinstein's... (itself based on the non-reality-based... coupled with the non-reality-based stringency of the Noda B'Yehudah.
    Is that kovod to refer to the opinion of a Talmid Chochom like Rav Dovid Feinstein with the description "non-reality based", and all the more so to an acharon of the stature of the Noda B'yehudah?

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  22. They gaayvah that you show is overwhelming. You really believe that you are the greatest halachik authority since moshe rabbeinu. I know you prob wont post this but its true.

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  23. " How about Dvarim 17 about listening to judges of your (i.e. our) time and not to divert either right or left?"

    You're right, those poskim who ignore the gemara are in some way functioning as a zaken mamre because according to Rambam the rulings of gemara (at least up to Abaye and Rava) have the authority of a Sanhedrin (or a type of replacement sanhedrin). So it's wise to point to that verse when we're thinking about poskim who claim you need two kezaytim instead of one, which does not come from our Jewish Gemara.

    Is Rabbi Hoffman a posek btw?

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  24. GN Spero:

    I am sure that Rabbi Slifkin was not trying to denigrate either Rav Moshe or the Nodah B''Yehuda.

    If you follow his writings you will realize that he is simply distinguishing between various methodologies.

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  25. The chatam sofer, by the way would eat a kzayit of each matzah separately in his mouth and swallow each separately. (Per his haggadah.) Obvioisly not two times 2/3 of a square matzah.

    MiMedinat HaYam

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  26. " would eat a kzayit of each matzah separately in his mouth and swallow each separately. "

    I don't understand, how is it accomplished to eat two things in one's mouth at the same time but keep them separate from each other while they are chewed and mashed, and then swallow each one separately? Where did they learn these kind of surgical skills?

    Please tell me that you mean, he took a bite of one, chewed and swallowed first kezayit, then took a bite of the other, chewed and swallowed second kezayit. Please tell me that's what you mean.

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  27. @Student V You're right, those poskim who ignore the gemara are in some way functioning as a zaken mamre because according to Rambam the rulings of gemara (at least up to Abaye and Rava) have the authority of a Sanhedrin (or a type of replacement sanhedrin).

    Nobody ignores Gemarah, but we don't derive Halachah from Gemarah (and from Rambam neither). We do follow opinions of later poskim who did know the opinions of previous generation chachomim. Of course, different communities may follow different poskim and may have different minhagim, that's why we asking our rav's rather than deciding Halachah for ourselves. With regard to kezayte, I would say half egg is today's world minhag.

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  28. Rabbi Tzvi wrote:
    I am sure that Rabbi Slifkin was not trying to denigrate either Rav Moshe or the Nodah B''Yehuda.

    If you follow his writings you will realize that he is simply distinguishing between various methodologies.

    So referring to the opinions of a respected Posek,and one of the Gedolei Acharonim as "non-reality based" is not denigrating?

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  29. All I meant is that instead of being based on empirical studies, these calculations are based on non-empirical methodologies and do not concur with the actual size of olives and eggs.

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  30. "Nobody ignores Gemarah"

    If you say it is required to eat 2 kezaytim, you are ignoring the gemara which says 1 kezayit is the required *MINIMUM amount.

    Nice try.

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  31. To this, Rabbi Hoffman adds the Shulchan Aruch's view that, to accommodate the views of different Rishonim regarding which of the matzot to eat from, one should ideally eat a kezayis of matzah from each of the top two matzot (which results in a total of one and one-third of a matzah, by adding this to the previous stringencies), at the same time.

    R. Hoffman's piece is either misleading or mistaken in this regard. In his Sefer “Kol Dodi” in 14:11, Rav Dovid Feinstein says explicitly that 1.5 fluid ounces is sufficient to cover the chumra of “two kezeisim”. Since “two kezeisim” is merely a chumra, the smaller shiur of .7 fluid ounces is sufficient. Thus one large kezayis of 1.5 fluid ounces is sufficient lechatchila to cover both the basic mitzvah and the chumra according to Rav Dovid.

    FWIW, he also says that the "Olam's" custom is not to chew the two kezeisim together in the mouth at once, but just to eat the two kezeisim from matzas over the achilas pras time period. He seems to imply that he thinks that this is a valid minhag lechatchila.

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  32. Is this any different from forcing down most of a glass of wine, also within a certain time frame?
    I even remember learning in yeshiva of a rabbi who would do this even though it made him sick until shavous

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  33. "Nobody ignores Gemarah, but we don't derive Halachah from Gemarah (and from Rambam neither)."

    Why? Because you say so? Because someone else says so?

    By the by, the Rambam does NOT suggest that the hachamim of Bavel acted as a substitute Sanhedrin. Rather he asserts, as a historical claim, that the era of the Talmud Bavli was the last era in which Torah learning was both (a) great enough and (b) centralised enough in one place for any group of hachamim to impose their rulings on the rest of the Jewish people. This is an entirely reasonable and rational claim that has nothing to do with fantasies people have about the whole Jewish people accepting the Bavli as a complete text thus rendering all its statements incontrovertibly true in some mystical/methodological sense and obviating the insights made from critical scholarship.

    With all due respect to the Rambam, his claim, however, is not true. The historical record shows that communities of EY did not accept the rulings of the Bavel, not then and not for a long time afterwards. The Bavlisation of world Jewry was a drawn out process. The key turning point came with the Islamic conquests and the establishment of Abbasid empire. Other key points were the return of Reabbeinu Gershom from Bavel and the spread of the Spanish-Portugese refugees to lands where the pre-existing customs were EYite. The process is still ongoing even today, see, for example, the campaign for "Glatt" kosher standards.

    Once we recognise the reality, then we have a choice as to whether we choose to acquiesce in this process or not.

    But this is to go off topic.

    A brief whimisical remark: there are some amusing adverts for sheitels above and below the R. Hoffman article, which neatly complement his suggestion that we should go out of our way to perform mitvot in the best way possible. Perhaps the new tagline of 21st century Orthodox Judaism should be this "We should perform mitzvot in the most mehudar way possible, even (especially) if this involves doing inane and preposterous actions that would be beneath a barbarian, unless the mitzvah is covering your hair in which case we should do it in the most outlandishly b'dieved way possible, or the mitzvah is tekhelet in which case you just don't bother at all.

    Pesach: don't eat garlic and fish, wrap your burnt cracker in a plastic bag and try as hard as you darn well can to forget that "makrivin af al pi sheain bayit".

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  34. This is what happens when people
    1) Have too much time on their hands
    2) Spend more than two thousand years talking to themselves with little or no outside influence
    3) Have a fully engaged ratchet mentality
    4) Get status and idolatrous worship by coming up with new and novel stringencies

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  35. So how is this different from being required to gulp down a fairly significant amount of wine and preferably all at once!. These acts seem to turn a mitzvah into a rather crude contest.

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  36. Lazar:

    R' H Shachter was asked about a particular practice in the OU Passover guide which differed from his family practice.

    The response was that he should do what his family have always done, guides are for Baalei Teshuva.

    Vehigadeta LeVincha, that is the point of the seder. You do what your father does/did.

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  37. "So how is this different from being required to gulp down a fairly significant amount of wine and preferably all at once."
    Um, the shiur for a cup of wine is about three ounces, of which one must drink only a majority. I don't think 1.6 ounces of wine is "a fairly significant amount."

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  38. Life imitates art! This is eerily similar to the Shiurim Haggadah that i "reviewed" in my blog a couple of years ago.
    Yonason
    http://mdstprpsl.blogspot.co.il/2012/03/haggadah-roundup-with-pesach-upon-us.html

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  39. R' H Shachter was asked about a particular practice in the OU Passover guide which differed from his family practice.

    The response was that he should do what his family have always done, guides are for Baalei Teshuva.


    On a similar note, Rav S.Z. Ohrbach said regarding the M.B. who writes that we must stand for Kaddish, that there were different minhagim in different communities and people should do according to their minhag, implying that the M.B. (in this case, at least) is for people who do not have a minhag.

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  40. "Vehigadeta LeVincha, that is the point of the seder. You do what your father does/did."

    No it isn't and that is not what "Vehigadeta LeVincha" means. The point of the Seder is to a) recount yessiath missrayim and b) provide an appropriate setting for the consumption of massah and the Pesach. It is neither about adopting inane humroth, nor about mindlessly doing what your alter tatty did in Cracow even when it is plainly wrong, meaningless, or anachronistic.

    If you are a traditionalist, then great, if you are not a traditionalist then that's also great. In either case, having a Seder that you find personally meaningful should not be confused with making normative statements about what a Seder *is* or "should" be "all about". The Seder is about yessiath missrayim.

    ****
    A reviit is 86ml (lehumra 89, lekulah 75, or possibly even less). A normal person gulps that much down fairly regularly.

    There is an amusing phenomenon where people sill try and justify/contextualise a bizarre practice with no basis by comparing it to another practice apparently blissfully unaware that this also has no basis.

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  41. "By the by, the Rambam does NOT suggest that the hachamim of Bavel acted as a substitute Sanhedrin."

    He says the Beit Din Hagadol had status of Sanhedrin and that Beit din Hagadol continued until Abaye and Rava. Simple math.

    Keep in mind that Abaye and Rava were well before the sealing of the Talmud, and even significantly earlier than Ravina and Rav Ashi.

    I don't make any claims about people following a single text, (in fact I know there were different customs in Eretz Yisrael), but what Rambam wrote is pretty clear, no?

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  42. Re: So how is this different from being required to gulp down a fairly significant amount of wine and preferably all at once."
    Um, the shiur for a cup of wine is about three ounces, of which one must drink only a majority. I don't think 1.6 ounces of wine is "a fairly significant amount."

    That's not quite right,mostposkim hold anywhere from the entire cup(no matter if larger) or at least the full revi'is. With the smaller amounts for those who have trouble with wine.

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  43. Student V, there was a beth din hagadol at the time of Abaye and Rava, indeed for a hundred years afterwards .... but it wasn't in Bavel!

    This seems to me the key passage, with regard to the Rambam's explanation of the authority of the Bavli:

    לְפִיכָּךְ אֵין כּוֹפִין אַנְשֵׁי מְדִינָה זוֹ לִנְהֹג בְּמִנְהַג מְדִינָה אַחֶרֶת, וְאֵין אוֹמְרִין לְבֵית דִּין זֶה לִגְזֹר גְּזֵרָה שֶׁגְּזָרָהּ בֵּית דִּין אַחֵר בִּמְדִינָתוֹ. וְכֵן אִם לִמַּד אֶחָד מִן הַגְּאוֹנִים שֶׁדֶּרֶךְ הַמִּשְׁפָּט כָּךְ הוּא, וְנִתְבָּאַר לְבֵית דִּין אַחֵר שֶׁעָמַד אַחֲרָיו שְׁאֵין זֶה דֶּרֶךְ הַמִּשְׁפָּט הַכָּתוּב בַּתַּלְמוּד--אֵין שׁוֹמְעִין לָרִאשׁוֹן, אֵלָא לְמִי שֶׁהַדַּעַת נוֹטָה לִדְבָרָיו, בֵּין רִאשׁוֹן, בֵּין אַחֲרוֹן.

    לד וּדְבָרִים הַלָּלוּ, בְּדִינִים וּגְזֵרוֹת וְתַקָּנוֹת וּמִנְהָגוֹת שֶׁנִּתְחַדְּשׁוּ אַחַר חִבּוּר הַתַּלְמוּד. אֲבָל כָּל הַדְּבָרִים שֶׁבַּתַּלְמוּד הַבַּבְלִי, חַיָּבִין כָּל בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל לָלֶכֶת בָּהֶם; וְכוֹפִין כָּל עִיר וְעִיר וְכָל מְדִינָה וּמְדִינָה לִנְהֹג בְּכָל הַמִּנְהָגוֹת שֶׁנָּהֲגוּ חֲכָמִים שֶׁבַּתַּלְמוּד, וְלִגְזֹר גְּזֵרוֹתָם וְלָלֶכֶת בְּתַקָּנוֹתָם.

    לה הוֹאִיל וְכָל אוֹתָן הַדְּבָרִים שֶׁבַּתַּלְמוּד הִסְכִּימוּ עֲלֵיהֶם כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל, וְאוֹתָן הַחֲכָמִים שֶׁהִתְקִינוּ אוֹ שֶׁגָּזְרוּ אוֹ שֶׁהִנְהִיגוּ אוֹ שֶׁדָּנוּ דִּין וְלִמְּדוּ שֶׁהַמִּשְׁפָּט כָּךְ הוּא הֶם כָּל חַכְמֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אוֹ רֻבָּן, וְהֶם שֶׁשָּׁמְעוּ הַקַּבָּלָה בְּעִיקְרֵי הַתּוֹרָה כֻּלָּהּ, אִישׁ מִפִּי אִישׁ עַד מֹשֶׁה רַבֵּנוּ.

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    Replies
    1. But I honestly don't care if it was in Bavel or not because I said nothing about Bavel. My original point had nothing to do with supposed bavli supremacy. And my subsequent clarification likewise did not invoke the authority of any particular place or its sages above any other.

      My original point was half in jest saying he ironically picked the right pasuk referring to zaken mamre since claiming 2 kezaytim are *required MINIMUM ignores explicit renderings of BOTH talmudim. The talmudim have authority some of which was an extension of the Sanhedrin's authority according to rambam.

      The claim was made that Rambam didn't give that level of authority to the talmudic statements of the sages of bavel but that is simply false, as my clarification pointed out. The sages prior to abaye and rava lived in 2 general locations and all of them "count."

      Delete
  44. I am so so happy to have found this post.

    After my father died at a relatively young age I led the Seder. One year I discovered a popular american sheet for sizes of kezayis for matzah, mirror and korech (orange/red squares drawn to scale) and used that. I remember thinking howmy father's shiurim were never that big, and also how hard it was to eat so much matzah. The mitzvah almost became an ordeal.

    I was sure there were other shitos out there, now glad to have found your post.

    There is a lamentable tendency among some Chareidim to always choose the biggest Chumroh even at the expense of common sense.

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    Replies
    1. Two kzaisim and eating them together is brought in shulchan aruch. And not argued on by the noseh kalim. (the Mishna Brurah does question it but nonetheless assumes it in other places.) The chumrah shiurim for mitzvat maztah are also recommended by the mishna Brurah.
      It's true that these two chumros doen't work together and that could have been a good point made as opposed to an arrogant and obnoxious attack. But I guess that's the chidush of Rational Judaism

      Delete
  45. A suggestion to avoid shiurim conflicts at the seder would be to give the participants their own seder plate with 3 matzot, lettuce and grated horseraddish, etc. That is also a more dignified way of treating participants which many of us have practiced over the years. It also helps to avoid noticing how much or how little people are eating from their matzot, etc.

    Y. Aharon

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  46. i still can't quite believe the article wasn;t a parody.
    i keep re-reading it, and it keeps screaming "parody".
    ....oy.

    ReplyDelete
  47. For a beautifully carved, 3.4 cm long olive pit, carved in 1737, check out this picture:
    http://twistedsifter.com/2014/04/carved-olive-pit-boat-by-chen-tsu-chang/

    ReplyDelete

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