Volume 20 Number 85
                       Produced: Mon Aug  7 23:57:20 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Chazak Chazak Halachah
         [Arthur Roth]
Direction to Face While Praying
         [Mike Gerver]
Ma'arit 'Ayin. Chillul Hashem and cha-shad
         [Eli Turkel]
Psak shopping
         [Kenneth Posy]
Reading in Kriat Hatorah
         [Manny Lehman]
Surrender to Evil
         [Chaim Stern]
Turnpike Rest Stops
         [Ellen Krischer]


From: <rotha@...> (Arthur Roth)
Date: Tue, 1 Aug 1995 10:08:20 -0500
Subject: Chazak Chazak Halachah

>From Gedaliah Friedenberg:
> This past shabbos I heard from Rav Shlomo Cohen (of Monsey) an
> interesting halacha which is not well known.
>    [a few lines omitted]
> According to Rabbi Cohen, the person who received the aliyah which
> concludes with "Chazak" does NOT say these three words.  These words are
> directed to the oleh [the person who received the aliyah] as a bracha.
> Since a person does not give himself berachos, the oleh should remain
> silent.

    In a recent (MJ 20:67) posting on correcting leining errors, I
referred to an article by Rav Herschel Schachter on little known laws
regarding leining (and still owe the MJ readership the exact reference).
Rav Schachter brings down the same halachah that Gedaliah quotes from
Rabbi Cohen, but for a different reason.  Specifically, Rav Schachter
says (with a supporting source) that "Chazak" for the oleh would be a
prohibited hefsek (interruption) in the brachot.  That is, the brachot
before and after an aliyah are made specifically on the portion of Torah
that is read during that aliyah.  Between these two brachot, no words
may be spoken by the oleh other than the actual words leined from the
Torah, and "Chazak" occurs before the final bracha.  However, if that is
the case, I have wondered since reading Rav Schachter's article why it
is OK for the ba'al korei to repeat "Chazak" after the kahal (which is
universally the custom).  After all, the ba'al korei is the shaliach of
the oleh and is also enjoined from interruptions during an aliyah.  Do
we argue that his shlichut ends when the actual mitzvah of the leining
has been completed, even though the final bracha has not been made?  I
was told long ago (and have always practiced) not to talk as the ba'al
korei until AFTER the oleh's final bracha, but maybe that's not really
necessary once the actual leining has been completed.
    Incidentally, certain talking that pertains to the mitzvah at hand
is not considered an interruption.  For example, it is OK for the ba'al
korei to discuss a suspected psul in the sefer Torah with the rav or
other posek who needs to rule on whether a new sefer is needed, as this
is considered a necessary part of the activity of leining rather than a
hefsek.  Thus, I could easily accept as plausible either ruling on
whether or not "Chazak" constitutes a hefsek.  Nevertheless, it seems
contradictory to call it a hefsek for the oleh but not for the ba'al
korei, so this sort of reasoning fails to adequately explain the
halachah, which both Rabbis Cohen and Schachter seem to agree upon in


From: <GERVER@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Tue, 1 Aug 1995 2:12:46 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Direction to Face While Praying

Lon Eisenberg, in v20n69, asks why, when davening at the kotel, we face
east, towards the kotel, instead of northeast, toward the Kodesh
Hakodeshim.  Akiva Miller, in his reply in v20n71, quotes the Mishneh
Brura as saying that outside the Beit Hamikdash, one should face the
Beit Hamikdash, and turn his heart toward the Kodesh Hakodeshim if it is
impossible to face it.  Akiva wonders about the reason for this, since
it would seem that it should always be possible to face both the Beit
Hamikdash and the Kodesh Hakodeshim if you are outside the Beit

Perhaps the point is that the Beit Hamikdash has so much more kedusha
than anything outside it, that it is better to face the closest point on
the Beit Hamikdash, than the Kodesh Hakodeshim, when outside the Beit
Hamikdash.  Inside the Beit Hamikdash, any direction is equally close to
the Beit Hamikdash, so it is best to face the Kodesh Hakodeshim. The
situation is analogous to an electric charge enclosed in a hollow
conductor. No matter where the charge is located inside the conductor,
the electric field just outside the surface of the conductor will be
perpendicular to the surface.  Presumably the same rule would apply to
Jerusalem and Israel, whose boundaries act like a series of nested
conducting shells.

I have noticed (or more likely someone pointed this out to me) that in
shuls where the Aron Kodesh is not on the East wall of the shul, where
one should daven facing the Aron Kodesh rather than facing east, people
do not actually face the Aron Kodesh unless they are standing directly
in front of it. Rather, they all face the wall that the Aron Kodesh is
on. (For that matter, you might think that even in a shul where the Aron
Kodesh is on the East wall, people standing in the far northeast and
southeast corners should face the Aron Kodesh rather than facing East,
but that's not what they do.)  I don't know if this is the halacha, or
is just the way people act. The analogy here, I suspect, is not
electrostatic, but magnetic. People feel they should all be facing the
same direction, since that is what they would be doing if there were no
Aron Kodesh present (unless, of course, they were standing close to the
Kodesh Hakodeshim!). So, like atoms in a ferromagnetic material, they
all orient themselves in the same direction, although it doesn't really
matter which direction. The natural direction to choose is toward the
wall that the Aron Kodesh is on.

Mike Gerver, <gerver@...>


From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
Date: Tue, 1 Aug 1995 15:59:01 -0400
Subject: Ma'arit 'Ayin. Chillul Hashem and cha-shad

David Charlap says
>> On the other hand, if you refrain from an action because non-Jews would
>> see you and criticize the Jewish people, thinking you're violating
>> halacha , that's a case of avoiding Chillul Hashem

   I always thought that the main prohibition of chillul hashem
(descreation of G-d's name) was in front of Jewish people while
descreating G-d's name in front of nonJews was a lower level

David Meisler points out that
>> So, even if no one sees you, issues of Maris Ayin are still forbidden.

There is however a famous, but controversial, Taz that maintains that
Marit Ayin is prohibited in private only for Biblical prohibitions.
Thus, for example, according to this Taz an Israeli, outside of Israel,
would be permitted to do "work" in private on the second day of Yom Tov.
Again, many poskim disagree with this.

    Rabbi Broyde distinguishes between chashad and marit ayin. I was
confused by his distinction. As an example the Shulchan Arukh (YD 150)
states that one may not bow down in front of an idol in order to remove
a splinter from one's foot. This is referred to as Marit Ayin.  This is
something intrinsically permitted but looks like a prohibited act.  IMHO
the problem is one of the person's reputation not that people would say
that bowing down to an idol is permitted.

Sorry, but I am still very confused as to the differences between
Ma'arit 'Ayin. Chillul Hashem and cha-shad and way they apply.



From: Kenneth Posy <kpposy@...>
Date: Thu, 3 Aug 1995 00:28:06 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Psak shopping

Mr. Sherer writes:
> Does this mean that if a Gadol or your own personal posek instructs you
> to vote for party X in an election that you are free to disregard this
> psak?

      Disregarding the particular subject that he is discussing, I want
to address a sidepoint.
      Mr. Sherer says " a gadol or your own personal posek". I do not
know if those are the same, even in "pure" halachik issues. I would
think that the opinion of your own posek would have more weight that the
opinion of a "gadol".
	For most issues, there are different major authorities and
published opinions [I am avoiding the subjective term "gedolim] on each
side. On the other hand, when the person you have accepted as your
personal posek rules, I think that this is more binding. (Asei l'cha
rav). The alternative is "kula [leniency] shopping", or psak shopping--
if you don't like what your posek says you can always call on the other
opinion. This is an ethically troubling concept.
      I am unfamiliar with sources on the issue, although there are many
gemaras where the amoraim ask more than one authority if they don't like
the answer. But I don't know if they would do this against their
particular "personal posek".


From: <mml@...> (Manny Lehman)
Date: Wed, 2 Aug 1995 16:55:12 +0100
Subject: Reading in Kriat Hatorah

In my recent posting on Aliyot in response to a query from Aleeza
Berger, I mentioned two ba'alei kriah (individuals acting as Readers
from the Torah at services) with whom I occasionally had lunch. I am
pleased to say that both agreed in principle with my posted response.

Today over lunch a new topic came up and none of us knew the Halachic
solution. Would be pleased to hear of any ideas or of a source
addressing the issue.

It is accepted in Halacha that to exempt those listening to a kriah
("leining from a scroll) the ba'al koreh (BK) (reader) must READ the
text rather than intone it from memory (by heart).

The question put by my friend - a most experienced BK of 20 or 30 years
experience - How is reading defined?

Must the BK see each individual letter or syllable or word (which is it)
as he intones it. Or may he be looking at the next letter or syllable or
word as he intones the former. Or may he even take in an entire phrase
or line and then intone it (perhaps looking ahead or what?)

I believe that those who understand the human reading process believe
that the "normal" reader - possibly excluding those badly taught or
suffering from dyslexia for example or with other problems - one
perceives a whole word or even a phrase at a time as a single
pattern. This for example lies behind the fact that for the
inexperienced, proof reading is a difficult operation rarely executed
perfectly. We may deduce a clue from the fact that so often sifrei tora
(torah scrolls) have been used many times, for many years, befor errors
in them were discovered. The errors found by computers in scrolls in use
for many years are quite staggering. Apparently whatever the halacha may
have to say, the BK in practice may not fully take in or perceive the
written word.

Our direct interest is, of course, whether halacha has (expressed) a
view on the matter (it would have been such a beautiful question to lay
before Reb Moishe zz'l or Rav Shloima Zalman zz'l who, I am certain,
would have treated the question with all seriousness but alas for that
it is too late). Can anyone who "understands" the reading process throw
any light on the matter?

Manny - in the name also of Ian Beider and Ariel Burton
Prof. M M (Manny) Lehman, Department of Computing,
Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, 180 Queen's Gate,
London SW7 2BZ, UK., phone: +44 (0)171 594 8214,
fax: +44 (0)171) 594 8215, alt fax.: +44 (0)171 581 8024
email: <mml@...>


From: Chaim Stern <PYPCHS%<EZMAIL@...>
Date: Tue 01 Aug 1995 13:20 ET
Subject: Surrender to Evil

 Betzalel Posy writes:
 >Mr. Zaitchick writes:
 >>"Remember back in the 60's when Rabbi Yitzchak Greenberg was
 >>castigated (and that's putting it mildly!) for suggesting that
 >>single women who were going to have sex anyway should go to the
 >>mikvah? I still don't see what was so wrong about that suggestion,
 >>although I can understand why he would be attacked for making it
 >IMHO, what is wrong with this statement, in addition to the venue it was
 >made in, was the implicit acceptence of the phenomenon "single women who
 >were going to have sex anyway". I thought that our religion had a
 >fundimentally different approach to sin. I didn't know that we change
 >the rules because "people weren't going to follow them anyway"? Why not
 >do away with the issur of electricity on shabbos? The torah does not
 >clearly prohibit this, either!
 >...(rest of posting not copied)

This reminds me of a question I've never got a clear answer to: What's
the best way to encourage someone who's partly observant of Halacha and
wants to eventually become completely observant ? If you use the "cold
turkey" approach and say that they should immediately stop doing all
aveiros and keep all mitzvos, then that's fine.  But I've heard that
this usually backfires and they end up with nothing. So the "gradual"
approach is usually used. But where do we draw the line ? Do we advise
them to go gradually on everything, including the "top 3" mitzvos which
Halacha says you are required to die rather than do ? Or do we say that
for certain things they have to go "cold turkey" but others things they
can go slowly ?  What are the criteria ? And is it considered for them
an "aveira" to do all those things while they're on the path to total
observance ?


From: Ellen Krischer <elk@...>
Date: 2 Aug 1995  9:36 EDT
Subject: Turnpike Rest Stops

> From my days in Baltimore Yeshiva, I remember having heard that Rabbi 
>David Kronglas, Zatzal, the revered Mashgiach, would every so often be 
>driven to New York and back for weddings of Talmidim. Friends of mine 
>who drove him mentioned that when he stopped by at one of the turnpike 
>restaurants to use the bathroom facilities, he would make a point of 
>having the Bachur driving him buy him a tea, in order not to just use 
>the facilities without buying anything. Whether he meant that this is 
>Halachah or that it was just one of the myriad acts of his great piety, 
>I do not know - but I think it is an act worthy of emulation.

This thread has gone on long enough.  The New Jersey turnpike rest stops
which are referred to here are not just restaurants!  They include gas
stations, gift shops, video arcades, snack machine areas, frozen yogurt
franchises, rest rooms, and, also, a restaurant.  It is not assumed that
you are there to eat in the restaurant.  Many people are there to buy
gas.  Others just use the restroom.  Others get a coke out of a vending
machine.  My husband likes to play Pac-Man (he said it was okay to
reveal his secrets.)

By the way, I suspect all of these rest areas are subsidized in part by
the toll you pay to drive on the road in the first place.

Maybe Rabbi Kronglas, Zatzal, liked tea.  I just don't want us starting
any new driving chumras.  Okay?



End of Volume 20 Issue 85