Volume 21 Number 32
                       Produced: Sun Aug 27  0:22:00 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

A Defintion of Orthodoxy
         [Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer]
Articles of Faith
         [Micha Berger]
Aveirah Lishmah
         [Moishe Kimelman]
Custom not to have Tied Knots at Wedding
         [Joe Goldstein]
Fundimental principles
         [Kenneth Posy]
Kohen Gadol and experts
         [Kenneth Posy]
re-Definition of Orthodoxy
         [Jeff Stier]
Speed davening
Speed of Prayers
         [Joe Goldstein]
Untied Ties at the Chuppah
         [Philip Ledereich]


From: <sbechhof@...> (Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer)
Date: Thu, 24 Aug 1995 23:52:59 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Re: A Defintion of Orthodoxy

Ari Belenkiy notes that since his agenda in securing a definition of
Orthodoxy is winning the next Israeli election, and that this requires a
quick "surface check" of Orthodox identification. Therefore, what I
propose, which is the doctrinal acceptance of the Rambam's principles,
is not workable for his purposes. Well, that may be a problem, but is
not an argument against the validity of my defintion!

As for his other complaint, similar to Chaim Wasserman's, that the
Principles are subject to dispute, this IMHO, is a major red
herring. Our learned fellow MJer Marc Shapiro wrote an exhaustive
article in the last Tora u'Madda Journal about all the arguments about
the 13 Principles that left me more impressed than before with their
universitality! The Ra'avad does not argue on the veracity of the
Principles, just on the "Min" (Heretic) status of one who mistakenly
errs concerning one of them. The Rambam does accept resurrection -
happily or not is not relevant. And, although the Ibn Ezra and others
might take issue with a pasuk here and there, the Revelation of the bulk
of Torah shebiKtav and the tenets of Torah shebi'alPeh at Sinai are not
disputed. The arguments are in the details.

So, I continue to maintain the accuracy - if not, for Ari, the
practicality - of my definition.

Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer


From: Micha Berger <aishdas@...>
Date: Fri, 25 Aug 1995 08:47:01 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Articles of Faith

My understanding was that the Rambam and R. Crescas had different design
goals for their articles of faith.

According to a tape I heard of the Rav, the Rambam's articles define
what makes us Jewish and not something else. So, there are articles that
refer particularly to heresies and other religions. To exclude the
Moslems, the Rambam's presents the idea that Moshe Rabbeinu was the
ultimate prophet, etc...

Rabbeinu Crescas, OTOH, was trying to find the fewest number of
postulates required from which we can deduce the rest of Judaism.

Micha Berger 201 916-0287        Help free Ron Arad, held by Syria 3217 days!
<aishdas@...>                     (16-Oct-86 - 25-Aug-95)
<a href=news:alt.religion.aishdas>Orthodox Judaism:Torah, Worship, Kindness</a>
<a href=http://haven.ios.com/~aishdas>AishDas Society's Home Page</a>


From: <kimel@...> (Moishe Kimelman)
Date: Sat, 26 Aug 1995 20:01:50 +1000
Subject: Aveirah Lishmah

I apologize for not recalling the name of the poster, but in a recent
post Rabbi Lichtenstein was quoted as saying (actually shouting, I
presume, as the quote was in capitals... but that's another thread) that
there is no room for doing anything outside the framework of Halachah.

Although I would not argue that people may today disregard Halachah if
their intention is solely for the sake of Heaven, I would like to point
out that the gemara in Nazir 23b quotes R Nachman bar Yitzchak as saying
that an aveirah done for the sake of Heaven is as great as a mitzvah
done not for the sake of Heaven.

It seems to me that the fact that this opinion is not quoted by any of
the poskim is of no consequence, as were it quoted it would be within
the bounds of Halachah, and no longer an aveirah.


From: Joe Goldstein <vip0280@...>
Date: Fri, 25 Aug 95 09:16:11 
Subject: Custom not to have Tied Knots at Wedding

My understanding is add to the solemnity of the occasion, (The day of a
wedding is a day when the sins of the Chosson and Kallah are forgiven),
by adding a reminder to the Chosson of "the day of death", that is one
of the reasons to wear a Kittel. (When preparing a body for burial there
are no knots used in the shroud or in any other way)

   Not wearing ANY jewelry also adds to the seriousness of the occasion.
(There are MANY people who wear no jewelry at all on Yom Kippur)



From: Kenneth Posy <kpposy@...>
Date: Fri, 25 Aug 1995 10:41:58 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Fundimental principles

>We need to find principles under which all of us
>are ready to subscribe. I believe that such principles are two: Shabbat
>and Eretz Israel. The rest is a derivative.

What about "Talmud Torah c'neged culam" (Torah study is equivilant (in
reward) to all. Pe'ah, 1.1)?


From: Kenneth Posy <kpposy@...>
Date: Wed, 23 Aug 1995 10:30:13 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Kohen Gadol and experts

>     Dr. Gershon Mamlak cites both Rabbis Soloveitchik and Moshe
>Feinstein for the proposition that the issue of the cession of
>territories for peace is up to the opinion of military experts.
>Dr. Mamlak also quotes Maimonides:
>     "And it is known that the war [for the land] and the
>     conquesting of cities will not be [binding] except in
>     the presence of a king, consent of the Sanhedrin, and
>     the high-priest."  (_Shoresh_ 14, _Sefer HaMitzvoth_,
>     p. 165.)

This quote of the Rambam appears to be contrary to the point that
Dr. Mamlak wants to make. He wants to say that a tactical decision
involving war and peace is outside of the realm of halacha and in the
hands of the military experts. Even assuming that the Rambam means
military experts when he says "king", what about the consent of the
Sanhedrin and Kohen Gadol? Are they "military Experts"? My impression
was that the Sanherin was the supreme *halachik* body, made up of the
greatest *scholars*. I don't think being a general or "expert" qualifies
one to sit on the sanhedrin. Now, there was a cohen "mashuach milchama"
(annointed for war) who was responsible for the spiritual needs of the
soldiers. But was he an expert general? And the Kohen Gadol? Remeber,
Kohanim were not even allowed to go to battle!
     I think it is clear that the sanhedrin advises the King as to the
halachic aspects of strategic policy, and the Kohen Gadol (through the
urim v'tumim) advises based on theological concerns. Today, where we
have no such people, we must turn to our Torah leaders to provide this
     I must also comment that I was offended by the language of the
article.  To refer to the ideas of such people as Rav Rabinovitch, whose
intellectual and academic credential are as impeccable as his religious
ones, not to mention the other marbitzei torah and gedolei hador who
agree with him, as "Meglomanic assurances" is as close to motzei shem
rah and zilzul talmedei chachmim as I can imagine. I think that we say
that a person who is m'zalzel talmidei chachamim b'pharhesia (insults
scholars in public) loses his share in the world to come. I don't have
an exact reference for this, B"H.

Betzalel Posy


From: Jeff Stier <jstier@...>
Date: Fri, 25 Aug 1995 07:26:25 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: re-Definition of Orthodoxy

> >From: <belenkiy@...> (Ari Belenkiy)
> I like how Micha Berger answered and I am ready to accept it:
> "Orthodox Jew is the one who freely chose to follow Halakha".
> The problem arises from the next simple question: Which Halakha?
> Moshe Feinstein or Rav Soloveitchik? Thus Micha's definition might
> be respelled this way: "Orthodox Jew is the one who, knowing 
> different opinions of different poskim, pasken Halakha for himself." 

	I think Micha Berger's definition is a proper one when
interpreted by saying that One is Orthodox if he or she freely choses to
follow halacha, be it based on Rav Feinstein or Rav Soloveitchick- so
long as the Rav being followed is using normative interpretative
approches.  I guess now you are going to want to know what is normative!



From: Anonymous
Date: Fri, 25 Aug 1995 00:56:55 -0400
Subject: Re: Speed davening

In a message dated 95-08-24 02:07:02 EDT, Tara Cauzabon writes:
>I have a question about the speed of davening.  In my shul, the prayer
>leader does the usual bit, starting out loud on the first part of a
>prayer then fading out, then loud again on the next prayer, etc.  My
>problem is that I cannot possibly keep up and find it hard to believe
>that he is actually pronouncing all of the words of the prayer, because
>of the speed with which he is going from one to the next.

Tara makes an excellent point.  I have noticed that all too many
shaliach tzibburs (prayer leaders) do not actually say the words - they
stand with their mouths closed until it is time to chant the next
end-verse out loud.  Now you know how they do it!


From: Joe Goldstein <vip0280@...>
Date: Fri, 25 Aug 95 15:43:11 
Subject: Speed of Prayers

Tara Cazaubon writes:                                                          

>I have a question about the speed of davening...  .... my problem is
>that I cannot possibly keep up and find it hard to believe that he is
>actually pronouncing all of the words of the prayer, because of the
>speed with which he is going from one to the next. As a result my
>davening at shul is much less satisfying than my davening at home, when
>I can savor every word and really reflect on the meaning of the words.
>I don't expect them to go that slow in shul, but I would like to have
>the time to get the words out before going on to the next prayer.  To
>race through the prayers like they do seems to indicate a lack of
>kavanah and not very respectful to Hashem.  Does anyone else have this
>problem, and can anyone explain why this is done?  The service is long,
>I agree, and people get tired, but this should not make us cut corners.

   As a Gabbai in a shul I have gotten several complaints about the
speed, or lack thereof in shul.  Every individual case is different, so
please do not be insulted by what I write, I am just talking of my own
experiance.  We have many people in my shul who, when leading services
go at varying speeds.  We invaribly get complaints, The chazzan is going
too fast!" My response has been, "Unless you are in shul with your
tefillen on and ready to start with the chazzan on time, you can not
complain! If you Are davening with the chazzan and still can not keep up
then you may complain." I have found that NO ONE has repeated a
complaint again after that, at least not about daily davening.  When
there are people who complain.

 As to how can he daven so quickly????  I point out that people read
english novels at different speeds, people talk at different speeds, why
not daven at different speeds? (Without skipping or mis-pronouncing the
words!) This is due to many things, not the least of which are, fluency
in davening. (Those that have been davening since childhood CAN daven
quicker.) the other factor may be, those that have davened in shuls
where the pace was fast learn to daven fast!  (I grew up in N.Y. and my
father complained about how fast the davening went during the week, and
yes he was ready 10 minutes BEFORE davening started. My father has since
moved to Baltimore, where the davening is slower, and people remark as
to how quickly my father davens!) Bottom line is everything is relative.

   Is this respectful to devening? My question often is, do you speak
extra slowly when you speak to someone important? OR on a job intervieW?
Davening is supposed to resemble speaking to a king! True, one may ask
does one speak very quickly in front of a king? And the answer/excuse
may be, YES! When one gets excited some people tend to talk quicker than
other times.  And people may get excited during davening.

   Should one Daven at home to have more Kavanah?  There is a school of
tought among orthodox that that is a valid path to follow!  Should you?
Go ask YLOR.  There are many views that davening with a Minyan IS the
over riding factor.

    As an aside, and in defense of "Quick" Davening. (and this relates
to talking in shul) I was talking to my Rov about talking during
davening and how, thank G-D, our shul is pretty quiet.  He told me he
feels the reason there is talking by davening is due to a long streched
out davening.  He said he was talking to a rov and when the other rov
complained about davening in HIS shul, my Rov asked him how long does
davening last? he said shul ends 12:00. To that My rov told him, do not
strech out the davening and see the difference!  (Note: We are not known
for "Flying" thru davening. We ARE known for NOT streching out the

Joe Goldstein (EXT 444)


From: Philip Ledereich <ledereic@...>
Date: Thu, 24 Aug 1995 22:59:51 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Untied Ties at the Chuppah

>Last evening I was at a wedding held in Lakewood and noticed that the
>groom did not have his tie tied when he walked down to the
>Chupa. However when he returned from pictures, etc during the meal, the
>tie was properly tied. Upon asking some of the people there it was
>clarified that it was the custom to not have any knots tied at the
>Chupa, including shoelaces, cuff-links etc. However, no reason for the
>custom was offered.

It is so the choson should not have any "ties" "kesher" to any one
else except the kallah.  So all other ties are unbound, leaving him
open to "tie the knot" with his kallah.

I did this in my wedding on the advice of my Rov, Rabbi Oshry.

Pesach Ledereich


End of Volume 21 Issue 32