Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: Wait... How Big Are Those Eggs?

Based on the results of my usual scholarly research into such matters (first or second hit on google), I have discovered that there are 4.5 medium eggs in a cup.  Which means (not higher math) that 1.5 medium eggs is ⅓ cup.  Which means, ipso facto, that a r'vi'is of wine (or anything else, for that matter) ought to be 2.7 or so ounces.  In fact, the small shiur is 2.9 ounces; easily within the error bars of my exhaustive research and analysis.

There is a machlokes Rambam and Rashi as to how many olive volumes add up to one egg.  The Rambam says three, Rashi two.  That means that a k'zayis of matzah should be roughly an ounce or a bit more... about enough so the crumbled matzah would fill a shot glass (more or less, depending on where you drink).  So why are we all eating a whole box of matzah by ourselves each seder?  (Or at least it feels like that for the next few days...)

You can thank the Tzlach, R' Yechezkel Landau (1713-1793) [aka Noda b'Yehudah], Chief Rabbi of Prague.  Chazal tell us that the volume of a r'vi'is is (2 etzba'os wide) x (2 etzba'os deep) x (2 + ½ + ⅕  etaba'os high).  The Tzlach measured a r'vi'is using both methods and come up that either our eggs are smaller or our fingers are bigger than at the time of Chazal.  The more reasonable conclusion was that eggs had gotten smaller, so... the k'zayis mentioned in the gemara becomes the equivalent volume as one of our medium eggs, not half (Rashi) nor a third (Rambam).  The poskim over the centuries have concluded that we need to be machmir like the Tz'lach for d'oraisos, but can be meikel like the pashtus for d'rabanans.

So there you have it.  The smallest shiur would put the k'zayis at ⅓ (ala Rambam) of today's eggs; which comes to approximately 0.3 oz (ala Google). The largest shiur would put the k'zayis at ½ (ala Rashi) of yesteryear's eggs (ala Tzlach); which comes to 0.9 oz (ala Google).  R' Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, z"tzl, distinguishes between the obligations on the first and second day, and also the first and second k'zayis for the mitzva matzah. Your mileage may vary; CYLOR.

I personally wonder if eggs in America, some 200+ years after the Tzlach in Europe, haven't gotten bigger; after all, the chickens are bigger and better fed. Food for thought, anyway.


Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Battling the Evil Inclination on all Fronts

Yom Kippur.  When I was growing up, there were three annual events that marked the Jewish calendar: eating matzos on Passover, lighting candles on Chanuka, and  fasting on Yom Kippur.  Major news organizations around the world report on the "surreal" and "eerie" quiet of the streets in even the most secular neighborhoods of Israel.  Yom Kippur.

As you know, I am observant of Jewish law.  Some have even called me "ultra orthodox" (not in a kind way).  Given that, I have a question.  How likely do you think that I would be tempted to eat on Yom Kippur, that most holy day of the year?  Let's make the scale zero to ten, where zero is "as likely as driving through McDonald's on Shabbos and ordering a Big Mac with extra cheese." and ten is "as likely as breathing regularly".  Take your time.  If you answered "zero"; thank you, but -- sadly and penitently -- no.  The answer is more like nine; I'd like to say lower, but i…

Thought for the Day: Coming Into This World for Torah, Avodah, and Acts of Loving Kindness

This TftD is so self-serving that I should be embarrassed.  But I am not... talking about grandchildren is always off budget.  I have, bli ayin hara, a beautiful new grandson; born at 6:11 PM CDT last Friday night.  The secular (aka -- by me, anyway -- slave) date is October 20, 2017 CE.  The Hebrew (aka Real) date is certainly Rosh Chodesh חשון/Cheshvan and certainly in the year 5778 since Creation.  The date, you ask... good question!

Sundown on Friday night was 6:01 PM CDT, which means he was born either at the end of the last day of תשרי or the beginning of the first day of Cheshvan; a period know as בין השמשות/twilight.  What's the big deal, you ask... I am so glad you asked.  We all deal quite handily with בין השמשות every week and every holiday; we're just stringent.  We start Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov before בין השמשות; that is, before sundown.  Likewise, we end Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov after בין השמשות; some 42, 50, 60, or 72 minutes after sundo…

Thought for the Day: Prayer II -- How?

Now that we know that the obligation to pray is nothing more (nor less!) than a divine decree, we are going to also need instructions from heaven on how to implement that decree.  I cannot stress enough how important it is to have instruction from heaven how to implement heavenly decrees.  One only needs to look at the shambles that one modern ism has made of the very important Torah principle of תיקון עולם/improving and fixing the world.  They have taken words out of context and used them to support their own nefarious schemes.  (To the point that Google Translate actually translates -- not transliterates -- תיקון עולם as Tikkun Olam.  Amelia Bedelia would be proud; we are not amused.

The Torah teaches us how to pray in two complementary fashions.  One is the way in which the concept is presented as an obligation, the other is by giving us examples of how to practically implement those instructions.

The obligation is introduced in the second paragraph of "sh'ma" -- וּלְ…