Volume 24 Number 38
                       Produced: Mon Jun 10  1:06:19 1996

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Answering Davar SheBikdusha on Radio or TV
         [David Mescheloff]
Converts/Baalei Teshuva & Parents
         [Shari Hillman]
Duchaning on Shabbat
         [Geoffrey Shisler]
Forced Chalitza
         [Jay Cohen]
G-d is my ghostwriter
         [Yehoshua Kahan]
Yichus of King David
         [Susan Hornstein]


From: David Mescheloff <meschd@...>
Date: Fri, 7 Jun 1996 16:22:57 +0200 (WET)
Subject: Answering Davar SheBikdusha on Radio or TV

In m-Jewish Volume 24 Number 33, Carl Sherer asked about answering the
Kaddish he hears on the radio (on Remembrance Day, for example).

In Shabbat BeShabbato Number 531 (18 February 1995) it was reported that
the view of Rabbi Mordechai Eliahu Shlita on this question is that one
should not answer Amen (and one does not fulfil any obligation that may
be fulfilled through hearing someone else) upon hearing a bracha or the
megilla reading over the radio, the tv or the telephone.  His reasoning
is this: When a minyan has formed in one room, those who hear them from
another room when they say kaddish, kedusha and barchu may answer,
unless something foreign to tefilla separates them, such as a non-Jew,
who does not share our mitzva to pray, or (lehavdil!) some filth in the
presence of which one is not allowed to pray.  In the case of brachot
said over the radio, etc., it is reasonably certain that some such
person or material may be found between the live minyan and the

On the other hand, this issue was addressed earliear by Rabbi Avraham
Yitzhak Hakohen Kook, o.b.m, in Responsa Orach Mishpat Orach Hayim 48,
in a responsum from before Purim in 1934.  Rabbi Kook's response was
that lechatchila one should not try to fulfil ones obligation to hear
the meggilla this way, because of assorted doubts involved, however if
it happens that he hears some davar shebikedusha this way, he may
answer.  Among the reasons: One can rely on the view which reject the
Yerushalmi's view, that one cannot answer when something as indicated
separates between the speaker and the hearer; furthermore, even
according to the machmirim one need not suspect that there is such a
separation between them, for, in the case of the telephone the sound
comes over the wire uninterrupted, and in the case of radio, no sound is
heard at all in the space inbetween the speaker and the listener, in the
absence of a receiver.

Which of the two views above should one follow?  I will not "place my
head between the mountains" on a public forum.  To decide such questions
for an individual, G-d invented LORs.  Asseh lecha rav ve-histalek min

David Mescheloff


From: Shari Hillman <73512.2351@...>
Date: 05 Jun 96 14:32:21 EDT
Subject: Converts/Baalei Teshuva & Parents

As one who is both a convert and a baalas teshuva (it's a long story),
I've read the recent postings on converts and their parents with
 One poster quoted someone as saying that the reason not to have contact
with non-Jewish parents is that is makes it more difficult to raise good
Jewish children when those children have contact with goyishe family
 From my own experience and many long talks with other "returnees", I
would say that if that is the case, then what about all those baalei
teshuva trying to raise frum kids but whose families are against their
"religious fundamentalism"?  And sometimes I really don't know which is
worse, having parents who tear your kids' kippas off their heads and
tell them not to wear those "stupid things hanging out of your shirt"
[tzitzit] or those like my parents who are very accomodating and truly
respectful, but whose personal example is quite problematic. There are
many more complicated issues of kibud av v'em which are not answered by
saying, just visit your parents twice a year.
 Baalei teshuva also often face another situation which I hope happens
with much, much less frequency in "frum from birth" families: what to do
when a sibling intermarries? How do you explain to your five-year old
why their (halachically Jewish) cousins have an Xmas tree and you don't?
Or why his grandparents make seder with everyone else in the family
(including non-Jewish grandchildren) but we don't go? Intermarriage
seems to be a lot easier for some parents to handle than a child
becoming frum. Being the "religious fanatics" in a very close family is
a challenge. (One reason my favorite parsha is Lech Lecha - m'bait
aveecha - [go out]from your father's house - indeed!)
 Individuals' experiences vary so much, and one's LOR is the only one
who can advise on specifics, but it seems to me that all converts and
all baalei teshuva face a difficult balancing act when it comes to
raising their children and honoring their parents. We and our friends
who are in the same situation counsel and comfort each other when these
questions hit home, so to speak. But I wish that there was more
published and public discussion on this kind of thing. If anyone can
suggest resources it would be appreciated.
 Shari Hillman   73512,<2351@...>


From: Geoffrey Shisler <geoffrey@...>
Date: Wed, 5 Jun 1996 11:56:46 +0000
Subject: Re: Duchaning on Shabbat

Whilst many interesting points have been raised concerning this issue,
none of them has addressed the original poster's query which concerned
changing the Minhag of a congregation where they have not had Duchaning
on Shabbat before.

A very interesting article on the Minhagim of Birkat Kohanim, by Avram
Shapir, appeared in Le'elah some years ago. I have a copy of the article
in front of me but it is not dated.

Just to summarise Shapir's final remarks:

He says that the Halacha is clearly positively in favour of Duchaning
when Shabbat and Yom Tov coincide, so what is the basis of the Minhag of
NOT Duchaning on those occasions?

Rav E.Z.Margolieth, the author of the Bet Ephraim was asked if it's
permissible to institute a change and responded decisively, 'Even if we
did not know the reason for this Minhag (ie not to Duchan), which has
existed for more than 700 years, we do not have the power to change a

In support of his view, Rav Margolieth quotes a Gemarah in Taanit 28b
where Rav did not try to change a Minhag concerning Hallel with which he
did not agree.

R. Yitzchak Yaakov Weiss was confronted with a similar problem in recent
times where the Ashkenazim in Haifa and the Galil had the Minhag to
Duchan only on Shabbat and Yom Tov (ie not every day) and they wanted to
change their practice.  Rav Weiss in his Teshuvot, Minchat Yitzchak,
strongly objected to them changing their established practice.

Shapir concludes with a fascinating anecdote about the Vilna Gaon who
was very keen that the Cohanim should Duchan every day. He tried to
change the practice of the Diaspora but could not. He also tried to
change the Minhag in Tsefat (where they didn't Duchan daily) but could
not. When he tried to change the Minhag in his own Beit Hamidrash, the
very next day he was arrested by the local authorities on some
trumped-up charges. He was released very soon after but he then decided
NOT to change the Minhag of his own Shul!

Apparently the day after his pupil, the Gaon of Volozhyn changed the
Minhag in the Beit Hamidrash in Tsefat, the Beit Hamidrash burned
down. He likewise gave up trying to change it!

The answer to the original poster seems to be that a change of Minhag is
not something to be lightly imposed on a community and should never be
undertaken without the greatest deliberation and consultation.

Geoffrey Shisler


From: <jlcohen@...> (Jay Cohen)
Date: Wed, 5 Jun 1996 12:24:49 -0400
Subject: Forced Chalitza

In a message carried in mj 24 #33 Chana Luntz wrote:

>On the subject of forced gitten, does anybody know whether the same
>rules apply to chalitza? (a friend of mine's husband died in tragic
>circumstances, and her (sole) ex-brother-in-law apparently wants some of
>the compensation that everybody expects to come through sometime in the
>next decade when the case finishes winding its way through the courts,
>but since she doesn't *have* the money yet, he is refusing to do

Your friend may not be able to *force* her brother-in-law to perform
chalitza, but she does have some leverage.

At least in Israel -- and to Jews who accept the authority (or
reasoning) of the Israel's Chief Rabbinate -- where a brother-in-law
refuses or delays chalitza, he becomes obligated to *support* his
late-brother's wife.

This ruling was unanimously enacted in 1944 by the Chief Rabbinate, and
thereafter formally added to Israeli Law which now provides for the
possibility of imprisonment should the brother-in-law refuse both
chalitza and support. See: Schereschewsky's Family Law Treatise Law and
Friemann's article in Sinai (volume 14) for more information.

Of course in communities outside of Israel, your friend's leverage might
be diminished.  Perhaps a sympathetic Rabbi could bring some community

Another approach would be to try to solve the problem by appealing to
the brother-in-law's greed (ala Jacob & Esau).  Perhaps your friend
could agree to include him as a *plaintiff* in her lawsuit in exchange
for chalitzah.  While simply being included as a plaintiff is perhaps
even less valuable than a bowl of soup, I think the trade would be

On the other hand, if your friend's brother-in-law is more
sophisticated, he would not be satisfied with such a trade.  At least in
the United States, your friend could enter into an enforceable contract
to pay her brother-in-law some money whenever the lawsuit is finally
concluded.  Before doing so, however, she should give some serious
thought as to whether to offer him a fixed sum, a percentage, or (my
choice) a fixed sum not to exceed a particular percentage of the net

Sadly, there is historical precedent for such bargaining.  You may wish
to explore the controversies surrounding the takkaha of David
b. Kalonymus (of Minzburg, 12th century).

  Jay L. Cohen, Attorney At Law        Tel:  (301)  652-1153
  Chevy Chase Metro Building           Fax:  (301)  652-1154
  Two Wisconsin Circle, Suite 510    Email: <jlcohen@...>
  Chevy Chase, Maryland 20815          Web: http://www.myadvocate.com/jlcohen/


From: <orotzfat@...> (Yehoshua Kahan)
Date: Thu, 6 Jun 1996 23:21:55 +0200
Subject: Re:  G-d is my ghostwriter

David Riceman, in Vol. 24#29 speculated about the initial letters of the
four verses of Yedid Nefesh, of R. Elazar Azikri, spelling out the shem
havayah instead the customary author's name.  I believe there is another,
even deeper explanation.  Yedid Nefesh was published in R. Azikri's Sefer
Charedim, a work which is a fusion of several genres (halachik work, mussar
exhortation, teshuva manual, etc.)  In Chapter 34, after surveying the
mitzvot connected to arayot and the stringency of their prohibition, R.
Azikri introduces the four songs which constitute the chapter with the
following words:  We wrote (chapter 9:6) that one of the precious branches
[of Ahavat Hashem] is that in the flame of passion one sings love songs
before Him; therefore I shall set before you some of the love songs we
would joyously sing in the Fellowship of "Listening Fellows"  [as per the
end of Shir HaShirim].
        From here, R. Azikri goes on to publish four songs, the 2nd of
which is Yedid Nefesh, and the 3rd of which contains the words from which
Bil'vovi comes.  The acrostics are as follows:
        Song #          Acrostic
        1               Alphabet
        2               Shem Havayah
        3               El'azar
        4               Azikri

        Given the context (after speaking of Arayot) and the stated
reference to chap.9:6, where these songs are explicitly described as songs
of a love  better than "the love of women", as well as from the entire
tenor of R. Azikri's ruchaniyot - a yearning for absolute, inseperable
devekut, I see the acrostics as a "carving of one's initials" into the Tree
of Life - a love pact between the union-yearning soul and the Rock whence
it was hewed.

The purely righteous do not complain about evil,
         rather they add justice!
They do not complain about heresy,
         rather they add faith!
They do not complain about ignorance,
         rather they add wisdom!

         Rav Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook, Tallelei Orot


From: <susanh@...> (Susan Hornstein)
Date: 5 Jun 1996  10:27 EDT
Subject: Yichus of King David

This is in response to Eli Turkel's semi-recent posting on the yichus
of King David, and by extension, Mashiach.

I am going to try to reconstruct a posting that I wrote just before
Shavuot which, through the vaguaries of email, was lost.  Now, as then,
I do not have notes or sefarim available to me, but I will try to recall
the relevant points.  I learned a shiur on this topic many (maybe 10?)
years ago from Rabbi Avi Shafran, then of Providence, RI, and have
retold it in various forms since then.

The issue of unusual relationships leading up to King David's line is
related to Rashi's comment in the Parasha of the Arayot (illicit sexual
relations) in which he comments on having a relationship with one's
sister "Olam chesed yibane" "the world is built on CHESED."  Chesed is
usually translated as selfless acts of lovingkindness.  Here, it carries
the additional meaning of such an illicit relationship.  The first
reference to such a relationship affects the yichus of us all, that
Cayin and Hevel procreated with their sisters for the selfless purpose
of populating the world.  The next such relationship (although not the
sister type, but illicit anyway) is seen with Lot and his daughters.
The Midrash tells us that Lot's daughters believed that the whole world
had been destroyed, not just S'dom and Amora, and procreated with their
father in order to repopulate the world.

The act of Yibum is an interesting example of this type of relationship.
It is a sister-type relationship which, unless it is obligatory for the
purpose of Yibum, is forbidden as one of the Arayot.  Yibum itself is a
selfless act, since the offspring are attributed to the deceased
brother, not the biological father.  It is often referred to as "chesed
shel emet" -- true selflessness that is accomplished through kindness to
the dead, who cannot repay.  It is this type of relationship, of course
(or a relationship along these lines -- I have recently heard of some
discussion that Ruth and Boaz's marriage was not real Yibum -- another
topic entirely) that we read about in Megillat Rut as a direct forebear
of King David.

The other sort-of-related example is the Yehuda and Tamar episode.
Here, we can extend the priniciple that this was a relationship that
would have been expressly forbidden, except that it was permitted as a
special circumstance.

So, there are many (and more cited by others in this forum) examples of
Chesed-type relationships in King David's background.  Why should this
be so?  The answer is that Chesed is intrinsically related to Malchut --
the characteristic of Kingship related to King David and ultimately to
Mashiach.  A King of Israel is a selfless entity.  He must subsume his
own identity and act only as an instrument of the people.  His very
being must embody Chesed.  (I can't think of any explicit examples of
this while sitting here at work.  If others can, or if I remember to
look it up, please fill this in.)  Therefore it is appropriate that the
background of the line of Malchut is based on Chesed.

Again, any mistakes in transmission are purely my own.

Susan Hornstein


End of Volume 24 Issue 38