Volume 21 Number 67
                       Produced: Tue Oct 17 23:24:11 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Aleinu Tune
         [Alan Cooper]
         [Samuel Becker]
Avoiding Customs/Duties and Halacha
         [David Charlap]
Boneh   and Hechsher on Schach
         [Jan David Meisler]
Definition of Orthodoxy (3)
         [Chaim Twerski, Moshe Freedenberg, Jonathan Baker]
Pulsa D'Nura
         [Harry Weiss]
Sefer HaToda'ah Search
         [Yehudah Prero]
Solar eclips bracha
         [Tara Cazaubon]


From: Alan Cooper <Alan.Cooper@...>
Date: Fri, 13 Oct 1995 09:06:41 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Aleinu Tune

While there are well-known reports of medieval martyrs singing Aleinu as
they went to their deaths, I believe that there is no notation of the
tune prior to the 18th century.  The original poster actually asked
about the awful tune that is sung to "Shehu noteh..." in many North
American congregations.  It has nothing to do with Aleinu at all, but is
adapted from a children's song.  Although the name of the source escapes
me, I'm pretty sure that in Hebrew it's "He-chatul ve ha something or
other."  What I am more certain of is that it has nothing whatsoever to
do with the censorship of any anti-Christian elements of the prayer.
Rather, it's just another case of the tasteless adaptation of a secular
tune for liturgical use.  If one is looking for an explanation for the
practice in this particular case, I would surmise that it has to do with
the fact that in many (most?) North American shuls, children are
permitted to lead the congregation in the post-Musaf concluding hymns
(Ein Kelokeinu, etc.).  As a result, simple, memorable tunes are the
order of the day.  The participation of children is charming, but it may
also disturb the solemnity of the Aleinu and the following mourners'
qaddish.  For that reason, a number of congregations now put Aleinu and
qaddish immediately after the Full Qaddish of Musaf, and before Ein
Kelokeinu.  This seems like a reasonable practice under the
circumstances.  But in any case, it would be nice to get rid of that
dreadful version of shehu noteh, not to mention ba-yom ha-hu sung to the
tune of "Farmer in the Dell" (more or less).

Alan Cooper


From: Samuel Becker <givot-olam@...>
Date: Sat, 14 Oct 1995 23:31:24 GMT
Subject: Aleynu

In your No 63 edition Yeshaya Halevi writes:-

>            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.>

This comment from Yeshaya Halevi brings to mind the interpretation I heard 
of this additional phrase (which, incidentally, appears in ALL siddurim in 
The word "velarik" in the phrae "she'hem mitpalelim le hevel velarik" is in 
fact gematria. Change the Resh and the Kuf (200 and 100 respectively) for 
the single letter Shin (300) and you have - Yeshu.

Now it becomes more understandable and easier to realize why the goyim 

Moadim LeSimcha

Shmuel Becker


From: <david@...> (David Charlap)
Date: Fri, 13 Oct 95 11:25:41 EDT
Subject: Re: Avoiding Customs/Duties and Halacha

Michael Shimshoni <MASH@...> writes:
>In MJ Volume 21 Number 62 Dani Wassner <dwassner@...> asked:
>>A question to all those who have made Aliya:
>>Is there a halachic problem with bringing things into Israel without
>>declaring them? ie not using up your rights. For example, bringing
>>in a lap top computer in your hand luggage and not declaring it.
>Has Lo Tignov (You should not steal) lost its application when one
>steals from the State of Israel or am I missing something here?

While I agree that it is wrong to lie to customs agents, and there may
even be a halachic problem, I don't think this falls under the category
of "stealing".

Theft is when you take something from someone else.  Failure (or
refusal) to pay taxes is not the same thing.

You might be able to make this claim (that not paying taxes is stealing)
for a person who sends his child to public school without paying any
property taxes.  (Wherever I've lived in the USA, the public schools are
supported by the local communities, which get their money from property
taxes.)  In that case, you're receiving services that you have not payed
for.  But even then, it would be a weak case, since you're required to
pay those taxes whether you have no children in the public schools or a

I don't think there is a halachic requirement to pay taxes, except
within the context of "dina d'malchuta dina".

Of course, the halachicly-mandated taxes, like machazit ha'shekel (the
obligatory half-shekel Temple donation used in Temple times as a
fund-raiser and as a means of taking a census), truma and ma'aser.  (an
annual income-tax-like payment that would go to the Kohanim and Levi'im
in Temple times.)


From: Jan David Meisler <jm8o+@andrew.cmu.edu>
Date: Fri, 13 Oct 1995 13:46:26 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Boneh   and Hechsher on Schach

As long as the melachos of Shabbos have recently been discussed, could
someone please post what the issur of boneh is.  I know it is building,
but what is the "shir" (amount) required to be over on boneh?

On a seperate issue, the issue of a hechsher on schach, it was pointed
out that the reason for having a hechsher is because the mat could be
considered a kli (vessel) because it is tied together.  Perhaps it could
be more than that.  It is not permitted to have the schach on top of the
sukkah tied together.  The concern orginating from having a pile of wood
just dropped on top of the sukkah.  A second concern regarding tying the
schach together could be a concern about what is permitted as schach.
Since it needs to grow from the ground, what if the "string" is not
natural string.  Can it be used to hold the schach together?



From: <chaimt@...> (Chaim Twerski)
Date: Thu, 05 Oct 1995 14:46:06 -0500
Subject: Definition of Orthodoxy

The discussion between Rabbi Bechoffer Rabbi Shapiro and others
regarding a definition of Orthodoxy has called to mind an illustrative
story I heard of a number of years ago.

At the time of the beginning of the Haskala, there was a Maskil from
Berlin who had heard that there was a famous and erudite Apikores in
Vilna.  He was intrigued by this, and wrote him a letter asking
permission to come to Vilna to meet and discuss Apikursus.  Permission
was granted.

Our Berliner arrived at his house Erev Shabbos.  The Vilna Apikores
received him cordially, but told him that the discussion would have to
wait, he was on the way to the Mikva to prepare for Shabbos.  He came
back from the Mikva, just in time to go to Shul for Kabballas Shabbos,
and again, he put off the discussion.  Upon returning from Shul, he
promply said Kiddush, began the regular Shabbos meal, including zmiros,
and a d'var Torah on the Parsha.  After the meal, he studied Medrash
with a chabura until late in the evening.  The morning proceded as
expected, the Vilna Apikores put off the discussion to make time for
Shacharis, returned after davening for the Shabbos meal, and after a
short nap, learned gemorra with his chavrusa, until Mincha and S'uadas

After Havdalah, he sat down at the table and asked the Berliner, "Well,
what would you like to discuss"?

The Berlin guest said to him, "I must confess that I am rather astounded
at what I saw this Shabbos.  I must ask you again, are you the famed
Vilna apikores?"

"Indeed, I am"

"Then explain, why you keep Shabbos like a pious Jew?

"What's there to explain, I enjoy this life style."

"Well, then, I must tell you that I was very disappointed in you.  I had
expected to see quite different behaviour."

"Like what?"

"Well, I had thought that I would see you at least light up a cigarette, or
do something else l'hachis (to spite)."

"L' hachis?" asked the Vilna apikoires in bewilderment. " L'hachis whom?"

Chaim Twerski

From: Moshe Freedenberg <mark@...>
Date: Mon, 21 Aug 1995 21:50:01 +0300 (WET)
Subject: Re: Definition of Orthodoxy

In the Mail-Jewish vol.21 #18, there was some discussion of the 
definition of the term Orthodox.  Actually, the term Orthodox is 
frequently used by non-Orthodox (and also Orthodox) Jews to describe 
Authentic Judaism.  Moshe Rabbeinu recieved the Torah written by Hashem on 
Har Sinai and all of Bnai Yisroel was witness to Hashem's "saying" the aseros 
dibros (christians call them the ten commandments, l'havdil) to all of 
the children of Israel.  Those people who know that all of halacha is 
binding (not only when it is convenient), who follow the laws of family 
purity, kashrus, are shomer shabbos, and who know that all of the words 
of our sages are true, etc. are practicing Judaism.  There 
have been, unfortunately, some movements of uninformed or misinformed 
Jews that have formed religions that are, in fact, not Judaism, but based on 
it.  One example is found in the issue referenced above written by Ari 
Benkiy, where he says (in part):

> reaction to so-called Modernity).  Like many (maybe all) ideologies it
> ("All Orthodox Jews have always believed that the words of the Torah as
> we have them were written by Moshe (except for the last few psukim
> written by Yehoshua)"), and so on. These are not true claims but the
> Orthodox community has devised a history for itself which incorporates
> them. If you go back a few centuries you can find Rishonim who reject
> these claims, but of course _their_ statements also get reworked in
> Orthodox history.

This is an example of a sadly misinformed individual.  NEVER, NEVER, 

The requirements of Judaism are listed in the Torah, as given by Hashem,
and those requirements are forever; they do not change by societal
preference, as much as that seems to disappoint some Jews.  Those Jews
who follow the laws set down for us (Jews) by Hashem are termed
"Orthodox" or "Torah-true" in modern English and all other Jews are not
practicing Judaism, much as their misinformed or unlearned
congregational leaders may try to deny this or to twist the words of the
Rishonim to suit their purposes..

From: <baker@...> (Jonathan Baker)
Date: Fri, 13 Oct 95 06:31:05 EDT
Subject: Re: Definition of Orthodoxy

Ari Belenkiy writes:
> Orthodoxy = Shabbat (+Kashrut +Kipah). For married also a regular
> Mikva.

Avi Feldblum writes:
> my definition of "Orthodox" ... is "Accepting Halakha as a binding
> requirement, with Halakha being defined through the responsa
> literature".

I think I understand you, but I differ with your definition.  After all,
Conservative and Traditional Judaism also follow halacha as defined in
the responsa, but they have additional responsa which permit certain
differences from Orthodox practices.

Ari Belenkiy gave a "pragmatic" definition, a litmus test.  Some who
pass the test do not call themselves Orthodox.  Some Orthodox do not yet
do all the practices.  You gave a "legal" definition which does not
exclude the other "legalistic" branches.

Rabbi Broyde pointed out that kippah cannot be part of an Orthodoxy
litmus test.  Micha Berger made some good points, particularly the
self-referential nature of Orthodox self-definition.  Two criticisms: a)
a recursive function needs a zero case (see my definition below for the
zero case), and b) the historical approach is part of the halachic
process, not an alternate view that overrides halachah.  The
Conservatives hold that halacha (including historicism) is binding.

I propose a "philosophical" definition: "Accepting the divine origin,
and thus the authority, of the Oral Torah".  The divinity of the Oral
Law is a strong conservative force which does not restrain the
Conservatives.  However, one who recognizes the divinity of the Oral Law
may not feel himself able to comply fully with that law.

How's that for 80 characters or less?  (8-)

        Jonathan Baker


From: <harry.weiss@...> (Harry Weiss)
Date: Fri, 13 Oct 95 12:29:34 -0700
Subject: Pulsa D'Nura

In a recent edition of Maariv (international edition) there was a little
snippet about a service called Pulsa D'nura - arrow of fire.  Apparent
prior to Yom Kippur a group of 10 Mkubalim (Kabbalistic Rabbis) gathered
in front of Yitzchak Rabin's home and conducted this service which calls
for his death within a year.  Apparently this is a very severe service
and as punishment therefore one of the Rabbis involved is also supposed
to die within the year.

I do not want a political discussion regarding this.  I am interested in
finding out if anyone heard about this type of service and has more
details about it.

Chag Sameach



From: <DaPr@...> (Yehudah Prero)
Date: Fri, 13 Oct 1995 12:09:23 -0400
Subject: Sefer HaToda'ah Search

Someone recently told me that the first (or older) edition(s) of the
Sefer HaToda'ah by R' Eliyahu Ki Tov were printed with the sources for
the material footnoted, something which does not appear in any edition I
have seen. Would anybody know if this is true, and where, if anywhere, I
would be able to get a copy of this Sefer HaToda'ah?

Mo'adim L'Simcha, 

Yehudah Prero


From: <tarac@...> (Tara Cazaubon)
Date: Fri, 13 Oct 1995 09:09:45 -0700
Subject: Solar eclips bracha

I have heard that there will be a total solar eclipse on 10/24/95.  Is
there a special bracha for this?



End of Volume 21 Issue 67