Volume 21 Number 63
                       Produced: Thu Oct 12 22:56:07 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Aleinu tunes
         [Kenneth Posy]
Aleynu Censorship
         [Yeshaya Halevi]
Aleynu Melodies
         [Dave Curwin]
Carlebach Music for the Pope?
         [Justin M. Hornstein]
Kosher Electric Shavers
         [Issie Scarowsky]
Latticework succah
         [Micha Berger]
MIT Sukkah (mail-jewish Vol. 21 #62 Digest)
         [Andrew Marc Greene]
The blessing of "Chacham Harazim"
         [Shmuel Himelstein]
Women and Zimmun
         [Israel Botnick]


From: Kenneth Posy <kenneth.posy@...>
Date: Fri, 6 Oct 1995 01:22:38 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Aleinu tunes

> 1. Does anyone know the origin and age of the melody that is so commonly
>    sung in the U.S. synagogues for "alaynu"? 
	Although I have no specific answer for this question, I would
like to add one point about a personal pet peeve. In a dwindling number
of US shuls, the kahal sings a special tune for the last line of Aleinu.
This tune ends with the word "u'shmo" repeated three times. Thus, the
phrase says: On that day, Hashem will be one and his name, and his name,
and his name will be one."
	I think this is a classic, "Modim, Modim" problem. The mishna
says that someone who repeats the word "Modim" in Shmoneh Esrei must be
silence, because it appears as if he has two masters. I think the
problem here is even worse; although I don't know any cristian theology,
the unification of the three names of god into one is the popular
conception of the second coming, and we are not allowed to beleive in
	I would be interested in the source of this "tune", and a
justification of its halachik acceptability.
Betzalel Posy


From: <CHIHAL@...> (Yeshaya Halevi)
Date: Fri, 6 Oct 1995 16:40:00 -0400
Subject: Aleynu Censorship

   Regarding Aleynu, <jfinger@...> (Jeff/Yitzhak Finger) asked
<< At "she'hu note shamayim" after "va'anakhnu kor'im", people switch to
another melody that fits very poorly with the words, making me think
that it goes with some other words.>>

            Perhaps the answer is that somebody wanted to call attention
to the missing verse which was censored from Aleynu, right before
"va'anahnu koreem."
            Aleynu is an ancient t'fila -- indeed, it is said that
Yehoshua ben Noon himself is the author.  The missing verse declares
"Sheh'haym mishtahaveem lahevel varaik, oomeetpalileem li'El lo
yoshee'a."  This translates to "For they bow to vanity and emptiness,
and pray to a god who does not/can not save (them)."
             As you can imagine, this did not sit well with Christian
officials; perhaps it was compounded by the fact that the last
word,"yoshee'a", has a linguistic tie to "Yeshu" (Jesus).  Natch, they
banned it wherever they could.
            Some seedooreem today have reinstated the original verse,
while others are content to maintain the status quo because they fall
back on the teaching that Christianity is not idol worship, and
certainly Islam isn't idolatry, so let sleeping theologians lie.
    Chihalaol.com (Yeshaya Halevi)


From: Dave Curwin <6524dcurw@...>
Date: Fri, 06 Oct 1995 11:45:42 EST
Subject: Aleynu Melodies

Jeff Finger (<jfinger@...>) wrote:
>1. Does anyone know the origin and age of the melody that is so commonly
>   sung in the U.S. synagogues for "alaynu"? 
>2. At "she'hu note shamayim" after "va'anakhnu kor'im", people switch to
>   another melody that fits very poorly with the words, making me think 
>   that it goes with some other words. Any info here on the origin and 
>   age of this second melody?

According to the scholar Avraham Berliner, the prayer Aleynu was
composed by the Amora Rav in Babylon, originally as a prelude to the
Malchiyot service on Rosh HaShana. It was later introduced into the
daily prayers.  It included a verse "For they bow to vanity and
emptiness and pray to a god which helps not". This is from Yishayhu
45:20. Although Yishayahu lived years before Christianity and Rav never
met a single Christian, in the 1400, a baptized Jew convinced the
Christian authorities that the verse was slanderous to Christianity. He
claimed that the numerical value of "varik" ("and emptiness) was
equivalent to that of Yeshu, the Hebrew name of Jesus. This lead to
accusations and persecutions against the Jews, and in 1703 in Prussia an
edict was made that that verse be excluded and the prayer read out loud,
where government commisioners would make sure that the verse was not

Many congregations today do not say that verse, but others, particularly
in Israel, have reinstated it. I have read or heard (but do not remember
the source) that the common tune for Aleynu was also composed by the
non-Jewish government, and written so that it would be obvious if any
additional verse was inserted. That is why in congregations where it is
said, it sounds so awkward. Personally, I have thought for a while that
if this is true, perhaps someone could come up with a new tune for
Aleynu, to erase the non-Jewish content of the prayer.

David Curwin		With wife Toby, Shaliach to Boston, MA
904 Centre St.          List Owner of B-AKIVA on Jerusalem One
Newton, MA 02159                   <6524dcurw@...>
617 527 0977          Why are we here? "L'hafitz Tora V'Avoda"


From: Justin M. Hornstein <jmh@...>
Date: Fri, 6 Oct 95 10:26:34 EDT
Subject: Carlebach Music for the Pope?

My wife was channel surfing (for news) and found the NJ gathering of the
apiphior (pope) on most of the channels. She stopped in disbelief when
she heard some kind of version, maybe even the standard version of
"L'maan achai viReyai" (For the sake of my brethren and friends) by
R. Carlebach z'l being sung (English) by somebody as the music of that
moment.  We're pretty positive that that was the song.

Was this tune composed by R. Carlebach? I always thought it was. If so,
I strongly feel that it has been lifted/usurped/embezzeled in this case.

I know that there is a Rov named Yechiel Eckstein that is part of some
Jewish/Christian fellowship (non-religous/non-conversionary etc.) who
has published some of our music to be heard by non-Jews. Could that be a
source for others knowing our tunes? When I saw this being offered by
Pat Boone in a mailing of Christian supporters of Israel, I wasn't too
taken aback.  I think now that I am.

						Justin Hornstein


From: Issie Scarowsky <Issie_Scarowsky@...>
Date: 6 Oct 95 13:55:37 EDT
Subject: Kosher Electric Shavers

I was under the impression that electric shavers are permitted because
there is a mesh screen which keeps the blades from directly coming in
contact with your skin. However, I was told by a student of Ner Yisroel
of Baltimore, who returned for the Succot break, that Rav Heinemann
ruled that the Phillishave, "Lift and Cut" models should not be used
unless the blades are first made dull.

I am seeking clarification on this matter. What is the rationale behind
the use of electric shavers? Can anyone confirm the ruling and provide
the explanation for it? How does one determine if the blades are dull
enough? Are only specific models of Phillishave models involved and what
are these?



From: Micha Berger <aishdas@...>
Date: Fri, 6 Oct 1995 06:35:04 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Latticework succah

The Gemara cites a lot of cases where the walls are missing pieces,
as long as the holes are small enough. What "small enough" means
is a subject of debate -- I don't know the practical conclusion.
If the MIT succah walls are lattice-word, with holes to the order
of 1 or 2 inches I don't think there is a problem. Except when the
wind blows. :-)

Even further, the Gemara talks about situations where the walls
aren't even there, but only implied (gud asik). For example, if
sechach was placed on an empty frame, and in the middle of the
frame is a podium, the area over the podium would be a valid succah.
The sides of the podium indicate planes which can be imaginarily
extended to make the walls.

Perhaps the reason why we are so lenient about the walls is because
they are not directly part of the mitzvah. The mitzvah is to sit
under sechach. Note the same root sechach, succah. The area over
which the sechach covers must have 2 and a fraction walls around
it, but this is a pre-condition, not part of the mitzvah itself.

So, if one puts up the Succah frame, puts down the sechach and then
puts up the walls, it is not kosher. The reason is "ta'aseh" --
vilo min ha'asui (the torah said "make", actively, not that it
should be made on its own). Putting up the walls is not really
making the succah, and therefor the sechach, the real succah, became
kosher passively.

A home has two purposes: tznius (privacy), and protection from the
elements.  The walls give us a sense of privacy, but it's the roof
that keeps us out of the rain. The Succah, with its focus on the
sechach, protection from the elements, is focusing on this second
idea. Reminding us that it is Hashem who protects us, not the tar
and tiles of my home.

Micha Berger 201 916-0287        Help free Ron Arad, held by Syria 3256 days!
<AishDas@...>                     (16-Oct-86 -  6-Oct-95)
<a href=news:alt.religion.aishdas>Orthodox Judaism: Torah, Avodah, Chessed</a>
<a href=http://haven.ios.com/~aishdas>AishDas Society's Home Page</a>


From: Andrew Marc Greene <amgreene@...>
Date: Fri, 6 Oct 1995 13:42:19 -0400
Subject: Re: MIT Sukkah (mail-jewish Vol. 21 #62 Digest)

* After leaving MIT, Rabbi Shevitz took a pulpit in Oklahoma City. He
  was still there in April, so if you wanted to track him down there,
  you probably could.

* There is a new MIT Hillel rabbi, name of Rabbi Plaut. I know nothing
  else about him.

* The latticework used on the MIT sukkah is "opaque" -- that is, the
  holes in the lattice make up about one-fourth of the total area of
  the wall, and each hole is only about an inch on a side.  Because
  of this, the holes are halachically insignificant, and what appears
  aesthetically as latticework is halachically considered solid wall.
  (That's how it was explained to me when I asked, anyway. :-)

Chag Sameach,
  (who also is no longer at MIT, works nearby, but has an MIT e-address :-)


From: Shmuel Himelstein <himelstein@...>
Date: Sat, 7 Oct 1995 17:02:14 GMT
Subject: The blessing of "Chacham Harazim"

As mentioned, this blessing is recited when one sees 600,000 Jews
together. The choice of this number is obviously the number of Jews who
left Egypt. As the 600,000 Jews who left Egypt were only the adult males
(the total was probably about 3,000,000 people), wouldn't the
requirement for this blessing be the same - i.e., 600,000 adult male
Jews in one place?

While thinking about the issue, I went into the Mishnah (Berachot 7:3),
which makes the distinction of how many people are reciting the Grace
after Meals together (the "zimun"). That Mishnah (which is not the
normative Halachah) describes different texts for 3 together, 10
together (a differentiation which we do make), but also 100 together,
1,000 together, and 10,000 together - and in that case, indeed, the
number refers to the number of adult males (although, logically, the
"zimun" would apply equally to adult females reciting the Grace after
Meals together).

This led me to the Siddur Otzar Hatefilot, in which I found something
very unusual: after giving the text for the "zimun" for 3 people, 10
people, and at a wedding, it has a special text for a "zimun" in a
mourner's home, the text being: "Nevareich menachem aveilim she'achalnu
mishelo" ("Let us bless the Comforter of the Mourners, of whose [bounty]
we have eaten"). This is a text which I had never heard of.
Furthermore, at the "se'udah mafseket" - the last meal before Tisha
B'Av, where we are all in the state of mourning, we specifically sit in
separate places, so as not to have a "zimun" at that time.

           Shmuel Himelstein
22 Shear Yashuv Street, Jerusalem 97280, Israel
    Phone: 972-2-864712: Fax: 972-2-862041
   EMail address: <himelstein@...>


From: <icb@...> (Israel Botnick)
Date: Thu, 5 Oct 95 15:02:11 EDT
Subject: Women and Zimmun

Rabbi Aryeh Frimer wrote (parts deleted):
< Regarding the question of a zimmun where 3 women ate with less than 3 men:
< I have already noted that Rav Shlomoh Zalman Auerbach zatsal ruled that
< women can have a zimmun and the men should answer normally.

< My Brother Rabbi Dov Frimer recently discussed the matter with Rav Aharon
< Lichtenstien Shlita who also said the men should answer. By "answer" I
< mean: "Barukh she-akhalnu mishelo..."  In a previous posting on this
< issue I indicated that the "Rov" zatsal in his Shiurim on Sukkah seems
< to suggest that men cannot answer.  Rav Aharon, however, disagreed with
< this understanding of Rav Soloveitchiks words - arguing that the Rov
< held that the men are not PART of the zimmun in order for the leader to
< be "motzi" them. However, they can answer as "outsiders" and since they
< ate can answer: "barukh she-akhalnu mi-shelo..."

< On the other hand, Rav Dovid Cohen Shlita (of Gvul Ya'avetz
< Brookly) and Rav Dovid Feinstein Shlita (MTJ) both indicate that the men
< can answer as outsiders "Barukh u-mevorach shmo tamid le-olam va'ed",
< which is what one answers to a zimmun if he didn't eat bread or cake,

The difference between the opinion of Rav Dovid Cohen and Rav
Lichtenstien seems to be very minor. Both agree that the men are not
included in the zimun, they just disagree as to what they should answer
in this unique situation of outsiders to the zimun, who have eaten.

I am curious as to what Rav Shlomoh Zalman Auerbach zatsal (quoted
above) held. Is his opinion the same as Rav Lichtenstien (that the men
are not included in the zimun), or does he hold that the men can answer
normally, because they are part of the zimmun. The difference would be,
whether the woman leading the zimun can motzi the men in the birkat
hamazon (bentching - if it is all said outloud). This is only possible
if the men are considered part of the zimun.

Israel Botnick


End of Volume 21 Issue 63