Volume 21 Number 76
                       Produced: Tue Oct 31 23:40:56 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Alaynu and the Bismarck
         [Yeshaya Halevi]
Answering Machines on Shabat
         [Dave Curwin]
Black hats & garments
         [Erwin Katz]
Davening Tunes
         [Shimon Lebowitz ]
Music borrowed from other religions
         [Mike Gerver]
Origins of Tunes
         [Joe Goldstein]
Query on a Siyum
         [Michael Muschel]
Sources for Black Hat
         [Carl Sherer]
Thanksgiving (3)
         [Matthew Levitt, Yeshaya Halevi, M E Lando]
Thanksgiving at an Israeli yeshiva
         [Kenneth Posy]


From: <CHIHAL@...> (Yeshaya Halevi)
Date: Tue, 31 Oct 1995 12:12:37 -0500
Subject: Re: Alaynu and the Bismarck

Shalom, All:
      <z-suldan@...> (Zal Suldan) write, regarding Alaynu:
>As for she'hu noteh shamayim, according to "Zmirot Anthology" by Neil
>Levin and Vevel Pasternak, the melody we use for it comes from the song,
>"He Said He'd Sink the Bismarck." (I've never heard this song,
>myself. Is this possibly a civil war vintage song maybe??)
          The song "Sink the Bismarck" was written by the late Johnny Horton,
lyrics by one T. Franks, as a spinoff of the 20th Century Fox movie, Sink the
Bismarck.  The Bismarck was a Nazi supership that devastated Allied naval
forces until sunk by the HMS Hood.  The song was a big hit ca. 1960.
    <Chihal@...>  [Yeshaya Halevi]


From: Dave Curwin <6524dcurw@...>
Date: Tue, 31 Oct 1995 19:25:30 EST
Subject: Answering Machines on Shabat

For those that have a halachic problems with leaving phones or answering
machines on during Shabat, do you have a similar problem leaving
doorbells plugged in? It is possible that non-Jews or non-observant Jews
could ring the doorbell.

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: <erwin.katz@...> (Erwin Katz)
Date: Tue, 24 Oct 1995 12:29:38 GMT
Subject: Black hats & garments

I wonder what the black hatters have to say about the comments of the
Maharsha in Gemara Sotah on the Braisah of Sivah Pirushim, Daf 22b. The
Gemarah speaks about false piety and the Maharsha includes in that group
those who wear black clothing.


From: Shimon Lebowitz  <LEBOWITZ@...>
Date: Tue,  31 Oct 95 23:41 +0200
Subject: Davening Tunes

<z-suldan@...> (Zal Suldan) wrote:

> (I can vividly remember the excitement in the air as the whole
> kahal sang ViChol Maminim in unison at my parents shul!! Now that was
> Rav Am Hadras Melech!).

This reminds me of the years I was in Kerem be'Yavne, and Rav Rafi Posen
was the Shatz on Yomim Noraim (btw, *today* I saw a poster that his
father was niftar, baruch Dayan haemes). I still feel a shiver every year,
when, quietly to myself, I sing the line 'hamamlich melachim' to the tune
of 'od lo avda... '. i always found it a very wonderfully apt choice,
showing that we see haShem's hand in the existence of the state.

> That having been said, I find annoying the use of music in the liturgy
> in an inappropriate manner such as when the music becomes more important
> than the underlying tefilla/piyut.

How true! On a trip to the USA years ago, I happened upon a copy of
the Jewish Observer, with an article by Rav Yehuda Henkin, titled,
if I am not mistaken: 'Who Shall Live, and Who Shall Die, Tra-lala-lala'

It was on just this topic of inappropriate tunes, and I also remember
mention of other chazzanus problems, such as repetition of words and

Shimon Lebowitz                   Bitnet:   LEBOWITZ@HUJIVMS
VM System Programmer              internet: <lebowitz@...>
Israel Police National HQ.        IBMMAIL:  I1060211
Jerusalem, Israel                 phone:    +972 2 309-877  fax: 309-888


From: <GERVER@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Tue, 31 Oct 1995 1:44:25 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Music borrowed from other religions

In v21n70, Steve White says

> Finally, though I'd like to look this up, and I can't now, much
> Ashkenazi shul music borrows from (and is borrowed from by) Western and
> Christian musical traditions.  (Take a look at a hymnal some time.)
> Similarly, Sefardic traditions tend to resemble Muslim ones.  It's real,
> and you can't turn the clock back and change it.  But on the whole, that
> ought to be more offensive than a children's tune, shouldn't it?

This is true, but it works the other way around too. A. Z. Idelsohn, in
"Jewish Music in its Historical Development" (Holt, Rinehart and
Winston, 1929; reprinted by Schocken Books, 1967) shows the close
affinity between Gregorian chants and the Eicha trop, and argues
convincingly that the Gregorian chants came from the Eicha trop. The
Boston Camerata, a medieval and Renaissance music ensemble directed by
Joel Cohen, performs a 12th century (I think) version of "Betseit
Yisrael mi-Mitzraim", from France, followed by the same psalm in Latin,
used in church services in the same time and place, with almost the
identical tune. Idelsohn seems to think that, especially in the early
centuries, it was mostly Christians borrowing from Jews.

And for as long as Jews and Christians have been borrowing each other's
music this way, people have been arguing over whether it is proper, and
prohibiting or trying to discourage it. Idelsohn (p. 132) gives several
examples, from the medieval period onward, including the following:

	"Joseph Hahn, a rabbi and cantor in Frankfort in the seventeeth
	century, complained that Jews adopt Christian tunes for their
	Sabbath home songs and justify their act with the excuse that
	the Christians had borrowed these tunes from the Temple of

Mike Gerver, <gerver@...>


From: Joe Goldstein <vip0280@...>
Date: Tue, 31 Oct 95 10:12:06 
Subject: Origins of Tunes

Ian Kellman writes: "Where does the melody for Hatikva come from? In
fact, musicologists say the origin of the gregorian chant is sephardic
religious music from medieval Spain."

Those that are more familiar with classical music may correct me,
However The is a piece of classical music by Smetana, Sorry I do not
remember the name of the piece, that has the Hatikva music in it. As a
point of interest, There was a short lived syndicated Jewish talk show
that used that piece of classical music for it's "bumper". The reason
was to play the hatikva for those who enjoy it and are strong supporters
of the state. However, for those who do not like the Hatikva and are
open or closet "Neturei kartanikas" the theme song was not REALLY
hatikva and therefore would not be offended. Truly a "Dovor hashoveh
lechol nefesh", or something everyone can handle.



From: <LMuschel@...> (Michael Muschel)
Date: Tue, 31 Oct 1995 23:24:51 -0500
Subject: Query on a Siyum

The Yam Shel Shlomo (Bava Kamma, Chapter 7, #37) discusses the concept
of seudas mitzvah and includes a siyuum as one of the designated
occasions that qualify for this title. I wonder if there is a halachic
literature governing the siyum observance. Specifically:
 1. If one attends a siyum (given by others) on a masechta he completed,
but does not recite the Hadran, may he make his own subsequent siyum?
Does it depend on whether he partook of the seudas mitzvah; i.e. What
constitutes participation that renders his own later siyum meaningless?
 2. If one finished an entire masechta, but never made a siyum, can he
make it any time he chooses later? Is leaving over a small portion of
gemara-- to be completed at the time of the siyum-- critical or even
necessary? Is there any time limit? If one has long completed the
mesechta and is now learning other things may he still make the siyum?


From: <adina@...> (Carl Sherer)
Date: Thu, 26 Oct 95 0:32:24 IDT
Subject: Sources for Black Hat

Gerald Sutovsky asks:
>  Can anyone out there help me with finding the reason , halachic or
> otherwise as to why a boy after he is Bar Mitzvah must wear a black hat?
> Is it custom? Halacha? Can a source be cited for it? Many Thanks!

Well I don't know of a source that says that the hat must be *black* but
the Shulchan Aruch in OH 91 discusses the prohibition against davening
with one's head uncovered (for men) and the Mishna Brura in SK 12 states
that in our times one should wear a hat to daven.

-- Carl Sherer
	Adina and Carl Sherer
		You can reach us both at:


From: Matthew Levitt <mlevitt@...>
Date: Tue, 31 Oct 1995 10:52:55 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Thanksgiving

When I was a student at Yeshivat Hakotel this issue came up.  An ardent
Kachnik declared that to celebrate Thanksgiving was Avodah Zara, and
wanted the Rabeim to do something about this Christian influenced trend
that was disgracing the yehsiva.  The issue was brought before HaRav
Neventzal (shlita) of the Old City.  His response was very clear: Just
because the Pilgrims were Christians, and they clebrated the original
Thanksgiving, doesn't mean that it is a Christian holiday in any
theological sense.  Moreover, it has a very different meaning nowadays
anyway, expressing gratitude for G-d's gifts to us.  That, he said, is
something we would all do well to do a bit more often in whatever form.
Besides, he added, Israel has enjoyed significant benefits from
America's success: America is Israel's greatest friend in the
international community, it gives Israel alot of money, and Jewish
Americans have prospered there as well.  We should be grateful as
Israelis, Zionists, and fellow Jews.  It might not be appropriate for
non-Americans to celebrate Thanksgiving, but it's certainly OK for

I guess whoever he spoke to forgot to mention football, because the Rav
left that out of his explanation.  Hmmm.

Matt Levitt 

From: <CHIHAL@...> (Yeshaya Halevi)
Date: Tue, 31 Oct 1995 12:12:31 -0500
Subject: Thanksgiving

Shalom, All:
      I would like to simultaneously agree with those who say
Thanksgiving is a religious holiday, and those who say it isn't.  And to
declare that Thanksgiving is not so much a Christian holiday as a Jewish
      OK, convolutions aside, there's no doubt that Thanksgiving is
rooted in religion. The first recorded American Thanksgiving was offered
in prayer alone -- no feast, no Indians -- by members of the Berkeley
plantation near present-day Charles City, Va., on Dec. 4, 1619.  It's
more famous cousin consisted of three days of prayer and feasting
celebrated by the Puritan Plymouth colonists in 1621.
       However, Thanksgiving as a _national_ holiday was first
proclaimed by George Washington, and celebrated on Nov. 26,
1789. Abraham Lincoln later annualized Thanksgiving on the last Thursday
in November.
       This nationalization established Thanksgiving as an American
holiday, one in which people of all religions could give thanks as their
consciences dictated -- or just ignore it.
        Many Jewish families down the past two centuries have used the
occasion to thank God for giving us a country in which freedom of
religion is practiced.  In that respect, one could argue that
Thanksgiving is truly a _Jewish_ holiday.
         If you want to pass on the holiday, that's your freedom.  Me?
I'll be passing the turkey and gravy down the table.
         Bi'tayavon. (Bon apettit.)
   <Chihal@...>  [Yeshaya Halevi]

From: M E Lando <landom1@...>
Date: Tue, 31 Oct 1995 11:47:30 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Thanksgiving

Traditionally, both Agudas Yisroel and the Orthodox Union hold their
conventions on Thanksgiving weekend.  Over a decade ago, at the Orthodox
Union's convention in Baltimore, Rabbi Yudin of Fairlawn, NJ spoke at a
Thursday afternoon session.  He delivered a very erudite, albeit witty,
disertation on the topic of celebrating Thanksgiving.  His conclusion
was that it was permitted.

As a footnote to the posting about moving the celebration to the
previous shabbos, my mother obm, didn't make a traditional thanksgiving
feast, but on the shabbos of Thanksgiving weekend would have a special
seudah.  As I recall, she served goose rather than turkey.  I don't
believe that either my sister nor I felt deprived.

Mordechai E. Lando ha'm'chu'na Yukum


From: Kenneth Posy <kenneth.posy@...>
Date: Tue, 31 Oct 1995 10:05:18 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Thanksgiving at an Israeli yeshiva

I was in Yeshivat Har Etzion last year for thanksgiving. The American 
students at the Yeshiva (about sixty of them) have a minhag that dates 
back twenty years to play football on thanksgiving, in between morning 
and afternoon sessions. Last year, the Rosh HaYeshiva  (who himself is an 
American oleh, and used to give shiur early in the morning on 
thanksgiving so that his students could get home for dinner) heard about 
this custom for the first time. He called in all the american and 
explicity forbade this practice, for ideological reasons. He said that 
though many poskim held that Thanksgiving had no specefic christian 
overtones (unlike Xmas) and was not forbidden on the basis of "chukas 
hagoyim" (a gentile custom) and aside from the significant bitul torah 
issues for a yeshiva student; nevertheless; its celebration in Israel 
was ideologically inexcusable. "It reminds us of home" shows that people 
consider golus their home, not just their birthplace. While it is 
important to make a positive contribution to a society while there, a Jew 
should always remember that they are *away from home* when in galus, and 
when they return to Eretz Yisrael, they don't need to be reminded of "home".
	In view of the recent discussion regarding following the 
opinions/practices of Rav Soloveitchic, zatzal, the Rosh Yeshiva did say 
that he ususally spent thanksgiving with his wife's family (The Rav) but 
did not say if they had turkey or not.
	An interesting postcript -- the hanhala of the Yeshiva, who
really love football, were very disappointed with the Rosh Yeshiva's
statement. The game was rescheduled and played the next week during the
Chanukah vacation. The yeshiva kitchen, I assume completely unaware,
served turkey for lunch on Thanksgiving. A lot of the American students
missed it because a visiting parent had invited them to Jerusalem for a
restraunt dinner, at an Italian restraunt.

Betzalel Posy


End of Volume 21 Issue 76