Volume 11 Number 55
                       Produced: Tue Feb  1 22:18:30 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Authorship of the Zohar
         [Steve Erenberg]
Conservative davening
         [Joshua W. Burton]
Davening and Western Manners
         [Janice Gelb]
Kiddush Clubs
         [Shimon Schwartz]
Length of Services
         [Elie Rosenfeld]
Melacha by Chol Jews for Shabbat Jews.
         [Joel Goldberg]


From: Steve Erenberg <erenberg@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Jan 1994 21:44:02 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Authorship of the Zohar 

In response to Mr. Kaufman's request for traditional views on the Zohar 
	There is a sefer by Rav Hillel Tzeitlin ztz"l (an Orthodox rabbi
who was killed in the Shoah) called "B'pardes HaChasidut v'HaKabbala."
This is (obviously) a sefer about the general principles in Chassidic
thought and also contains a large section on the Zohar.  There is an entire
essay devoted to the authorship of the Zohar.  Rav Tzeitlin's maskana
(conclusion) is that large sections of the Zohar are from the Tekufat
HaTanaim (which includes Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai).  Rabbi Shimon bar
Yochai compiled the Tanaitic parts of the Zohar (like Rabbi Yehuda HaNassi
did with the Mishna).  All this being so, there are also parts of the Zohar
which are from the times of the Amoraim and even the Middle Ages. 
	Rav Zeitlin's major arguments for the antiquity of the Zohar are: 

a) There are passages in the Teshuvos HaGaonim which are word for word
identical with the Zohar. These teshuvos predate the rishonim -- meaning
that at least part of the Zohar dates back to the time of the Gaonim, if
not earlier. 

 b)Rav Moshe DeLeon (the Rishon credited with authoring the Zohar by
Scholem, et al) had radically different ideas about Kabbalah than those
appearing in the Zohar (regarding the order of the Sfiros, the Olamos, 

c) There is a Kabalistic sefer called Sefer HaYetzirah which the Gaonim
refer to as "an old source" -- this places its creation (no pun intended)
at least in the period of the Amoraim.  Thus, there is no reason to
believe that the Zohar could not date back this far or even farther. 

Unfortunately, I do not think that this book is available in the States (it
was rather hard to find even in Israel).  If you would like to see it/get
more info, please drop me a line. 

Steve Erenberg			


From: <burton@...> (Joshua W. Burton)
Date: Sat, 29 Jan 94 09:38:20 EST
Subject: Conservative davening

Several people have recently attempted to categorize the differences in
length between Shabat morning services in Conservative shuls and those in
`Orthodox' shuls.  I have lived in several communities with one of each
for long enough to do careful side-by-side comparisons---in particular:
Cambridge/Brookline, MA; Morningside Heights and Riverside areas, New York
City; Miami Beach, Florida; the right bank in Paris; Berkeley, CA; Rehovot
and Yerushalayim, Israel; Aurora/Naperville, IL; and Auckland, New Zealand.
My experiences in these places span twenty years or so, but in five cases
I remain close enough to members of the community, or visit often enough,
that I am confident my remarks are not out of date.

Herewith, an exhaustive list of every *difference in liturgy* between
Conservative/Mesorti/Liberal services and normative ones that I have
observed and that might have a bearing on the length of the Shabat morning
minyan, or second minyan where an early one is held:

(1) College minyanim, which are often Conservative, experiment with Sefardic
    and Mizrahi tunes more than most `settled' Ashkenazi congregations.

(2) American C. services use a long tune for En K'erkekha, which is only
    heard occasionally in normative services -- 15 seconds.

(3) The C. service is increasingly likely to bring in the four (or six)
    matriarchs, in the Amida and elsewhere -- 2 seconds.

(4) In the last five or ten years, due to lack of competent readers, many
    C. services have gone over to a triennial Torah cycle, either the true
    Babylonian or a hybrid that preserves the normative parshiot.  In most
    such cases an extra drash is given in lieu of the rest of the reading,
    and the net effect on elapsed time from l'hitatef batzitzit to pri hagafen
    is unclear -- probably the sign varies from week to week.

(5) C. services often get by with a single Yekum Purkan -- 20 seconds.

(6) In addition to Tzur Yisrael v'Goalo, American C. services often add an
    English-language prayer for `artzenu umemshalta'.  The Kiwis do the same,
    but in Hebrew.  Not often heard in a normative service in galut -- 40 sec.

(7) On new months, C. services will say `ha-hodesh ha-ba' instead of
    `ha-hodesh ha-ze' in the prayer for Rosh Hodesh -- 0 seconds.

(8) About half of C. services leave out Anim Zmirot -- 140 seconds.

(9) C. services never in my experience omit Adon Olam, whereas many
    (Ashkenazi) normative services do -- 30-90 seconds, depending on nigun.

I've been racking my brains all evening, but I think that is it.  The point I
am making is the following.  There is obviously extreme variation in davening
time from minyan to minyan and community to community---my favorite Teimani
shul in Rehovot starts at 6:50 am and blazes through to kiddush by 8:05, while
some Hillel services (both kipot-srugot Orthodox and Conservative) don't get
under weigh until ten and drag on towards 1 pm on two-scroll weeks.  I imagine
the effect is exacerbated by the existence of a choice of minyan in most
communities where I have lived---if forced to accommodate all tastes, a minyan
will probably tend toward the norm, whatever that may be.

BUT, to attribute the variation to differences in liturgy requires some
justification, and, based on my experience, that justification is lacking.  
Certainly the claim that English readings dominate the Conservative service
is farfetched---the ONLY examples of this I have ever seen besides the prayer
for the country are a responsive reading of Ashrei in English that my shul in
Miami Beach had started in WW1 and only dropped in the 70's, and a French-
language unison reading of the Shma...and the latter was in a `Liberal' shul 
that boasted a mehitza.  To suggest otherwise, in an audience like this (where
the majority of readers will of necessity never set foot in a non-Orthodox
shul), is to go beyond idle speculation...and possibly to unintentionally
skirt the edge of lashon ha-ra.  

Zmirot hayu li hukekha |=======================================================
b'beyt m'gurai....     |  Joshua W. Burton  (401)435-6370  <burton@...>
      -- Psalm 119:54  |=======================================================


From: <Janice.Gelb@...> (Janice Gelb)
Date: Tue, 25 Jan 94 23:13:40 -0500
Subject: Re: Davening and Western Manners

In mail.jewish Vol. 11 #38 Digest, Leah S. Reingold said:
> Conservative (and especially Reform) services differ from Orthodox in
> their protocol.  These differences often come up in cases where
> religious sentiment or obligation conflicts with what is commonly
> accepted in a Christian setting.

First of all, I'd like to say that I think it's much more difficult to
generalize about Conservative synagogues than those on either side of
the spectrum. Most Conservative synagogues tend to take their tone from
the rabbi, and I have been in Conservative synagogues where you would
be hard pressed to see a difference between their davening and an
Orthodox davening, but have been in others where the differences,
mainly in the addition of English responsive readings, would be

> One example of this is that in Orthodox shuls, it is not uncommon to see
> people standing while others are sitting.  This sometimes occurs during
> kaddish, during parts of the preliminary morning service, during the
> Torah reading, and when someone has arrived late and is trying to catch
> up.  In a church (according to my Catholic friend who visited shul with
> me and commented on the subject), it would be startlingly poor manners
> for someone to stand while others were sitting (or kneeling) in a
> Catholic service.  Similarly, Reform and Conservative services often
> have instructions: "please rise," "you may be seated," etc.

Regarding this specific point, Reform and Conservative services certainly 
do have more instructions about standing and being seated than Orthodox 
ones, for those who are attending services who might not know when it 
is obligatory to stand and when one may be seated. However, those 
instructions are not orders and very often at various Conservative 
synagogues I've been to, more knowledgable people do stand or sit 
depending on where they are in their own particular davening rather 
than where the congregation is.

Janice Gelb                  | (415) 336-7075     
<janiceg@...>   | "A silly message but mine own" (not Sun's!) 


From: <schwartz@...> (Shimon Schwartz)
Date: Tue, 25 Jan 94 19:45:17 -0500
Subject: Re: Kiddush Clubs

Lawrence J. Teitelman writes:

  What would be if the shul *officially* scheduled its kiddush before or
  after laining? (This is actually done in some frum camps.)

I see two immediate problems.  If you make kiddush before musaf, the
cohanim/chazzan will not be able to deliver the priestly blessing at
musaf, due to their having drunk wine.  This is certainly the case on
Simchat Torah, when the blessing is limited to shacharit.

Also, you might have a problem reconvening the minyan.  My shul,
admittedly not the typical makom tefillah, might have 20 families and
200 singles at a typical Shabbat davvening (admittedly more singles
for kabbalat Shabbat than for shacharit/musaf).  Kiddush usually goes on
for 45 minutes.  These people are -not- going to drink, bench and return
for davening in 15 minutes, so matter what directives are given.

On the other hand, when I was an undergrad, we temporarily moved Saturday
kiddush to between shacharit and keriah.  The problem was people arriving
at shul late, delaying shacharit unreasonably.  The gabbai announced that
kiddush would be held at the end of shacharit, and anyone arriving after
a certain point (Borchu?) would be forbidden to partake.

It didn't last long, but it was cute.  :-)

	--Shimon Schwartz


From: <er@...> (Elie Rosenfeld)
Date: Tue, 25 Jan 94 17:17:59 -0500
Subject: Length of Services

A couple of folks have been critical of those of us (I include myself as an
example) who feel that Shabbos services are too lengthy.  It's been implied
that such people lack kavannah [devotion] and even maturity - e.g., "children
want to rush out of shul to play; what's your excuse?"

In my experience, most people who feel the service is too long object not to
the time spent davening itself, but to all the extraneous, time-wasting
activities which greatly lengthen out the services.  Some prime examples:

1) Ba'alay Tefilah [leaders of the service] who are actual or (more often!)
self-styled Cantors, and feel the need to "drei out" their performances.

2) "Young-Israel" style congregational singing.  This is clearly a matter of
personal taste, but objectively it does take up significant time, especially
at the end of the service.

3) Long announcements or sermons.  (Aside: In homiletics class in RIETS, we
were taught that no speech given in shul should ever exceed 10 minutes!
Looks like a lot of people should have flunked!)

4) Too-long mishebayrachs, and/or habitual use of hosafos [extra aliyos beyond
the standard seven].  I know that the shul needs to earn a living, but enough
is enough!

These are the complaints I hear most often.  I have heard various other
complaints, but I don't think I've _ever_ heard complaints about the time
spent actually davening.

One more quick, half-joking comment: So many Rabbis today seem to be competing
on who can be the most machmir [stringent] on nearly every halacha.  Just once,
I'd like to meet a Rabbi who considers himself very machmir in the halacha
of tircha d'tzibburah! [wasting of the congregation's time]

Elie Rosenfeld


From: <goldberg@...> (Joel Goldberg)
Date: Mon, 31 Jan 94 03:53:03 -0500
Subject: Melacha by Chol Jews for Shabbat Jews.

Jan David Meisler <jm8o+@andrew.cmu.edu>
 Asked about: 
> what about if a person followed Rabbeinu Tam's opinion on when Shabbos
> ended, and the rest of the community followed by the Gra (which is
> earlier), could the person who followed by Rabbeinu Tam time travel in
> a car while he still held it was Shabbos, but the other person did not?
  This situation came up for my wife once, in her childhood in Kew Gardens
Hills. She is confined to a wheelchair, and as usual had gone to the early
(in summer) erev shabbat minyan with her father. At davening, it was announced
that the eruv was down. Pushing a wheelchair is the same as pushing a baby
carriage, so there was a problem. The rav paskened that a person who had not
yet accepted shabbat could drive her home. Of course, the circumstances
are not the usual ones.


End of Volume 11 Issue 55