Letter Written by Rabbi Eliezer Silver in 1956 to Rabbi Yudel Grodner on Certain Halachos of Korban

By the grace of G-d, Sunday of the Torah portion of Shemos 5716 (1956)
To my soul-friend and son-in-law the scholarly genius Rabbi Yudel Grodner, may he live and be well. Shalom.
My beloved son (?), having perused all of the various editions of Rambam (Maimonides) that are in my possession and also a number of his super-commentaries, [I have found] the wording [to be the same] in all of them: “on this altar [one may offer up] all sacrifices, even though the temple is not extant”. The meaning of ‘This altar’ is [notwithstanding] that the place (measurement?) of the altar varied from sanctuary to sanctuary. For in the Temple of Solomon they expanded the area of the pyre from 1 cubit x 1 cubit (as it had been in the tabernacle) to 20 x 20. The [returning] exiles further expanded it to 24 x 24, for we are permitted to expand it under Rabbinic instruction…

  1. According to the opinion he (i.e. you) quote that the evening services were established in place of the burning of the animal limbs (on the altar. The fats and limbs of the daily sacrifices that had not been burned by day were allowed to be burned at night.) and not by our forefathers, it follows then that since the fats of weekday sacrifices may not be offered up on Shabbat eve – nor on Yom Tov or Yom Kippur – evening services should not be held on those nights!
Nor should one preface his prayers [at those times] with the verse “G-d, open my lips and my mouth shall declare your praise” for, according to the opinion he quotes, this preface was established only for this reason (i.e. on account of prayer in place of sacrifices).
It has been quoted in the name of the Chasam Sofer that for this reason one should not place salt on the table on Shabbat and Yom Tov eves – if man’s table is compared to an altar (see Ethics of our fathers 3:3) and there is no offering of [weekday fats] on the eves of Shabbat [and Yom Tov]. If, however, he will also eat meat [at that meal] (?)– all sacrifices required salting [prior to being placed upon the altar] – then all of the above is negated, and this is the point of debate.
  1. In his discussion of whether a blessing is to be made over the performance of a Minhag (custom) he ought to have mentioned the debate over whether one makes a blessing on lighting the Yom Kippur candle as discussed in Ros”h (R. Asher b. Jacob), Radva”z (R. David b. Zimra), Machzik Beracha, and others. Also, whether one is to make a blessing over immersion during the “days of pure blood” (biblically, any blood that a woman encounters from 8 to 40 days after having given birth to a boy and 15 to 80 days after having given birth to a girl, is rendered pure. Nowadays however, all blood is rendered impure, requiring the woman to immerse in the Mikvah even for blood encountered during the “days of pure blood”) which [is a matter of contention among] many Halachic authorities.
  1. In his list of questions regarding Hallel I think he should have included why is it that the word "היתה" – “was (or perhaps “became” – in the context of the verse   "אבן מאסו וגו'  " – “the stone etc.”) is in the feminine – a difficulty which is well resolved in the context of his exposition. “There is grace in the words of the wise man’s mouth”.
Also, in my opinion he should enumerate the questions right after the introduction instead of at the end [of the discussion]. For these are not review questions for children to be tested on upon review of the material. Rather, he should introduce the questions and queries at the outset.
There is room for comment on some of the other Halachic points of inquiry, but the page is too short. I request his forgiveness for my unsolicited advice.

בס"ד א' לסדר שמות התשט"ז
לידי"נ [לידיד נפשי] חתני הרב הגאון מהרי"ג [מורנו הרב יודל גראדנער] שליט"א שלו'
א"ב? [אהובי בני?] עיינתי בכל ספרי הר"מ[בם] אשר בידי מדפוסים שונים ובכמה מנו"כ [מנושא כליו] ובכלם הגי' [הגירסא] על המזבח הזה כה"ק [כל הקבנות] אף שאין בית, והפי' [והפירוש] של המזבח הזה שכלם שינו מקום המזבח מבתחילה, בבנין שלמה הוסיפו עד עשרים על עשרים מקום המערכה תחת אמה על אמה ובני הגולה עשו כ"ד על כ"ד מקום המערכה, ויכולים להוסיף מד"ס [מדברי סופרים]
א' שלפי מה שהביא הדעה שגם מעריב נגד הקטר איברים נתקן ולא אבות. א"כ [אם כן] בלילי שבת שחלבי חול אין קרבין בשבת וכן בלילי יו"ט [יום טוב] ויו"כ [ויום כפור] שאחר יום חול אין מעריב כלל.
כן אין לומר ד' שפתי תפתח שרק מטעם זה נתקן לפי טעמו. ובשם חת"ס [חתם סופר] אמרו שלכן אין מעמידין מלח על השלחן בלילי שבת ויו"ט כי אם שלחן כמזבח אין הקטרה בלילי שבת אך אם גם בשר יהי? אכל שלקדשים בעי'? מלח אז נדחה כל זה ובזה מחלוקת
ב' לכאורה הי' לו להזכיר בענין ברכה על מנהג, המחלוקת אם מברכין על נר יו"כ כברא"ש [כברבינו אשר], רדב"ז [ר' דוד בן זמרא] מחזיק ברכה ועוד. גם אם מברכין על טבילת דם טוהר שמנהג. שרבו הפוסקים בזה
ג' בשאלות על הלל כמדומני שהי' לו להזכיר מה שבפנים מדוע "היתה" לשון נקבה שבפנים פי' היטב, ודפח"ח [ודברי פי חכם חן].
כן לדעתי אחר המבוא ידפיס השאלות, לא באחרונה כי לא בעד ילדים החודרים על למודם שיש אחר לכן? לשאל אותם. רק בתחילה יקבע השאלות והקושיות. ויש עוד להעיר פה ושם בחקרי הלכה אך קצר הגליון מהשתרע ויסלחני אם באתי ליעצו ללא נשאלתי.


  • Letter Written by Rabbi Eliezer Silver in 1956 to Rabbi Yudel Grodner on Certain Halachos of Korban
  • Letter Written by Rabbi Eliezer Silver in 1956 to Rabbi Yudel Grodner on Certain Halachos of Korban
  • Letter Written by Rabbi Eliezer Silver in 1956 to Rabbi Yudel Grodner on Certain Halachos of Korban

Identifer: CJF.2012.002.1650


Questions in Halacha (Jewish Law)

Kneseth Israel Congregation Collection , Rabbi Jacob Lustig Collection

Related person
Rabbi Eliezer Silver

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