Makos 4a (2) Shiur (6/24/14)

Makos 4a (2) 6/24/2014

  1. We spoke about the Gemore that seems to say that if a few gallons of water are dumped into an ocean, as opposed to water of a river, the water does not mix in immediately. Last week we posted the Chasam Soifer where he writes that is perplexed about this as the water in an ocean is constantly moving etc.  He suggests that perhaps the salty ocean water does not quickly mix with fresh water.
  2. In connection to the above we mentioned a rare gem in the writings on the Rogatchover highlighting his regard to the Alter Rebbe and his Torah.

Some background first.

The common custom is that when writing a get in addition to writing the name of the city where the get is being written the city is identified with its nearest body of water. Such as an ocean, spring, river or a well.

In Yerushalayim they write “Yerusholayim that is adjacent to the water of the (river) Shelach (that is the Silwan stream) and waters of wells”.

In Brooklyn the custom is to write “City of Brooklyn that sits on the East River”.

[if it turns out that the river stated is not near the city and/or spelled incorrectly the Get may be invalid and a hoard of problems arise……

In 2011 some Rabbis raised the issue about all the Gitten written in Lakewood that perhaps are ALL invalid…… See here:

Oy Vey….]

See here a list of cities and the spelling of their rivers from the ‘Tiv Gittin’- an authoritative manual on Get writing.

What about a city that is located on a  lake? The common custom is to write “river” or “the wells near the city”.

The question is whether a lake is like an ocean (size, shape and water not flowing) or  a river. A lake that has waves is also a factor in the discussion.


In 1925, the famed Chossid and Rav, Reb Avrohom Eliyohu Plotkin wrote to the Ragatchover about an interesting ‘Pinkus’ or Community Historical Book of the City of Asvia  that was situated on lake Seliger. (?)


[I’m not sure about the exact city and/or name of the lake. Need help locating this city and lake on a map. See below comment from Alex Hepfenheimer]


The book contained an entry stating that the Alter Rebbe instructed that when writing a get there that one should write “City of Asvia, situated on a ‘small ocean’ “Yama Zuta” called Lake Seliger (or Suzia?) and some wells…”


Reb Avrohom Eliyohu Plotkin realized that using the term ‘small ocean’ for a lake is a novel idea not mentioned in earlier sources. He thus wrote to the Ragatchover if one can rely on the Pinkus.


The response on the Rogatchover is typical with loads of cryptic footnotes etc.


What is rare about the response is that as it is well known in the Yeshiva world, the Ragatchover never quotes any source other than a select few from the Rishonim. He ignored even the Shulchan Aruch! His ‘respect’ to anyone, save Rambam and Rashi, was very limited indeed.


Yet in this letter he refers to the Alter Rebbe as “the true genius”. “ha’Goan ho’Amitee”.


The Ragatchever cites numerous places in Sha”s that discuss the waves in the ocean as well as lakes.


He also refers to our Gemore about the water in an ocean not moving etc. therefore, in a sense, a lake is more similar to an ocean than to a river.


His solution to the question (how can you say that ocean water doesn’t move when there are waves?) is that in comparison to rivers, ocean water is stationary.


He then brings proof to the Alter Rebbe’s idea that the term “ocean” is used even when not referring to a large ocean such as the Atlantic.


Even a man-made large pool is called an ocean! He writes that in the Beis Hamikdosh there was a large copper basin placed on 12 copper oxen (for the Kohanim to wash their hands and feet) and that is indeed called in Tanach the “Sea of Solomon ”!

Despite all this and much much more, the Ragatchover instructs (in the second letter) not to use the term ‘small ocean’ for a lake since it is a term not mentioned in Gemore. He suggest writing ‘lake’ so and so.

  1. We mentioned the notes the Rebbe wrote on the letters he received from his father, Reb Levi’k, if one can be ‘makdish’ a korban in his heart without verbalizing. In Likutei Torah the A”R writes that one can etc.


The general response from Reb Levik to the Rebbe is that the Likutei Torah is a book of ‘Ma’amorin’ not a book of ‘halocho’…..


Please see the attached links.


Ragtshover regarding The AR Pesak to write a small river (2)

From Alex:


  1. “Asvia” is probably Osveya, located on the lake of the same name. (The expression quoted from the pinkas is באסוויע מתא דיתבא על ימא זוטא המכונה אזירא דמתקריא סוויע.) It has another claim to fame – it was the birthplace of R. Aharon Strasheler.

    Here’s Lake Seliger. A look at it in Google Maps shows that R. Plotkin’s town of Ostashkov is located on it.


Makos 4a – Shiur (6/17/14)

Makos 4a. 

1. We spoke about the big chiddush of the A”R in Hilchos Shabbos. In short, the A”R states that there are two ‘melochos’  pertaining to cutting/tearing/ripping on Shabbos:

A-  Chotech-, which only applies when cutting an object something to measure and/or in an exact line. Such as a perforated sheet or tissue.

B-  Ko’rea-  which only applies in a case where cutting, ungluing or taking apart any composite material. Meaning  that is put together from a bunch of parts. Such as a piece of cloth that is woven from many strands.

Therefore, cutting a paper, which is not a composite,  there is no issue to do so on Shabbos unless one forms something new by cutting it.

​ The Mishna Brurah mentions this chiddush of the A”R but does not mention the A”R’s name! See the attached PDF.

We mentioned that an Israeli Yemenite Rov, a  true talmid chochom, Reb Pinchos Zevichi,  writes that due to the change in the method of producing paper nowadays (it is a composite of many materials)   A”R would agree that even today you would not be allowed to tear a paper on Shabbos.

It is in his book  עטרת פז. ח”א.

Others who mention it:


2- We spoke about ‘tevilas nida’ in a ‘Mayon’ – meaning a well or spring and NOT a conventional Mikvah.  Machlokes.

Interesting that in Likutei Torah  the A”R says that one needs Mayim Chaim!

Rebbe’s note on this:


3- Discussed the common universal practice of warming a Mikva- something we  (correctly) take for granted that it is OK!

See here that the Shulchan Oruch/Mechaber has a big problem with it.

4- Issue with pouring water into an ocean or river and the water not mixing.

Chasam Sofer ​ notes that this Gemore is beyond him.  See here​.

We will continue this topic IY”H next week.


MIshna Berurah, referring to the שיטה  of the AR