Volume 26 Number 52
                      Produced: Thu May 15  7:01:53 1997

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

"Rupture and Reconstruction:  Transformation of Modern Orthodoxy"
         [Idelle Rudman]
Calendar Configurations
         [Marga Hirsch]
Helplessness, Prayer, and Music
         [Russell Hendel]
Megan's Law
         [Ben Rothke]
music during S'fira
         [Steven M Oppenheimer]
         [Arthur J Einhorn]


From: Idelle Rudman <rudmani@...>
Date: Wed, 14 May 1997 13:16:32 -0400
Subject: "Rupture and Reconstruction:  Transformation of Modern Orthodoxy"

The current edition of Tradition has two responses to the original
article by R. Haym Soloveitchik.  R. Hillel Goldberg posits his
rejoinder within the area of his expertise, the Mussar movement.
However, his thesis reinforces R. Soloveitchik's position, and even
reinforces the major article by R.  Soloveitchik on chasidei Ashkenaz
and the ba-alay ha-tosafot.  Both the mussar movement and chasidei
Ashkenaz infused their religiosity with the drive to reach G-d by
discerning "ratzon ha-shem (the will of G-d)."  Chasidei Ashkenaz and
ba-alay ha-tosafot merged in thought when the strictures of the latter
reinforced the behavior patterns of the former to form a unified culture
of strict observance of the former based on the textual citations of the
latter.  The mussar movement based its religiosity on the inner
strivings of individuals to achieve a higher level of religious
perfection.  These inner strivings are then played out with appropriate
(for them) behavior.  They are two sides of the same coin.

Modernity and the concommitant rise of urbanism have changed the face of
the world.  Much has been written about the Jew and modernity (see works
by authors such as Jacob Katz, Michael A. Meyer, and Robert Alter among
many others).  Modern man is not faced with religion in the day to day
routine of life.  The secular world is precisely that, there is the
absence of G-d and spirituality. In our daily life, we too (the Torah
observant Jew) are secular, and it is usually the pull of the practical
that leads to our contact with religion: the need to daven at a
particular time, blessings over food and the recital of "asher yatzar"
at appropriate times.  So the religion of orthodoxy has come full circle
and returned to the "na-ase ve-nishma" said by B'nai Yisroel at matan
Torah, we will do and then we will listen.  If Judaism was always a
religion of "praxis" (practice) it is now so much more so as the
expression of its religiosity.  The quality of "deveikus" (oneness with
G-d) is qualitative, and so we will have to take the word, as that of
R. Goldberg, that it pervades and prevails in todays Orthodoxy.

I would like to cite two personal experiences with religiosity.  My
(non-observant) Russian Jewish household help, recently arrived from a
small city in Moldavia, was raised with a religious grandmother. Erev
Pesach she was helping me in the kitchen.  I moved the (non-mevushal)
bottle of wine from her reach, and asked her not to touch it; she smiled
shyly and said "dus is fun G-o-t (that is from G-d)."  Taken aback, I
realized that she associated all the dos and don'ts of Judaism directly
to G-d.

This also brings to mind a disagreement over the recitation
of the bracha "she'hechiyanuh" for a new garment.  My father, European
born and raised and medakdek over every word of the Shulchan Arukh, said
that in America it could not be said over a new piece of clothing.  He
said that it would be a "bracha le-vatalah (an invalid blessing)," since
the essence of the bracha, which celebrates the uniqueness of an event,
is not applicable.  He then told us of the simcha (joy) of receiving a
new garment in pre-World War I Europe, when the bracha could be recited
with its original intent, and an appropriate and heartfelt "amen" would
be returned.

The above examples can be contrasted with the behavior of the present,
yeshiva-trained generation and the experience of the celebration of
Pesach and all the attendant "chumros." This push and pull of religious
practice and spirituality has been a dialectic within Judaism from the
beginning.  One can only hope that it will continue, leading its
practitioners to a higher level of deveikus, and shmiros ha-mitzvos bein
adam la-makom u-ben adam le-chaveiro.

Idelle Rudman,
Librarian, Touro College 


From: Marga Hirsch <marga@...>
Date: Wed, 14 May 1997 17:40:28 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Calendar Configurations

I forwarded to my 80-year-old father excerpts from the recent
discussions of rare haftarot and the configurations of the calendar.
Here is his response:

Regarding the calendar, I have a question: Based on the actual record of
the 332 year period from 1784 to 2116, which I examined - almost one
third of a milennium! -it is correct, as your sources assert, that there
are only seven (7) configurations for leap years.  In theory, however,
there ought to be an eighth configuration with Rosh Hashana falling on a
Tuesday, with that year having 385 days, i.e. Cheshvan and Kislev both
having 30 days, the first day of Pesach falling on a Sunday and the
subsequent Rosh Hashanah again on a Tuesday.  Why does that never

Can anyone answer my father's question?

Marga Hirsch 


From: <rhendel@...> (Russell Hendel)
Date: Wed, 14 May 1997 15:34:19 -0400
Subject: RE: Helplessness, Prayer, and Music

A few issues back I quoted the Rav, Rabbi Soloveitchick, as stating that
Jewish Music is basically petionary in mood while Christian music
focuses on the emotion of grandeur.

In V26,n49, Jordan Wagner (correctly) notes that their are examples of
petionary Christian music and examples of grandeur in Jewish music.

Allow me therefore to clarify what the Rav said.

* In the first place the Ravs remarks were confined to music used during

* Furthermore "prayer" is identified with the Shmoneh Esray...while
Piyutim like Ayn Calokaynu etc have a place in the service, the main
concept of "prayer" are the petitions we make there.

* Finally there is a subtle but clear difference between saying
something is a >>trend>> and saying something as a >>blanket
concept>>(Mr Wagners own term).

With the above principles in mind I think the meaning of the Rav's
remarks are clear. The majority of melodies used in Shmoneh Esray
(Chazarath Hashatz) throughout the year and on the high holy days
reflect a petionary nature consistent with the petionary content of the
prayer. The music is 'usually' delivered by a soloist(the Chazan).

Christian liturgical music emphasizes grandeur.  The words of the masses
focus a great deal on G-ds greatness The masses are delivered by choral
groups (which help the atmosphere of grandeur).

I believe this is an accurate statement of the trends of the music. The
existence of some counterexamples here and there doesn't prohibit one
from making a general statement.

Finally I should point out that not all masses and Requiemsare made for
Church use anymore than all Jewish instrumental music emanates from the
synagogue (though some do...compare Bloch's Kol Nidre).

To illustrate m1y point I would ask Mr Wagner to review the Piyutim used
in Shmoneh Esray during the High holy day services. True, one can have a
Choir sing VECHOL MAMINIM in a very grand manner but I think it valid to
assert that works like UNETHATA TOKEF and LEKAYL ORAYCH DIN or even
AVINU MALCAYNU are more characteristic of the day in the sense that we
stand helpless and ask God for mercy--it is inevitable that the music
should reflect this.

I hope this clarifies the Ravs Remark.

Russell Jay Hendel, Ph.d;ASA; <rhendel@...>


From: Ben Rothke <BRothke@...>
Date: Wed, 14 May 1997 23:05:07 -0400
Subject: Megan's Law

Is there any reason to think that there is a halachik issur of loshon hora
in reference to Megan's Law? (I personally think definately not).

Megan's Law (named after Megan Kanka of New Jersey, who was killed in
1995 by a twice convicted child molester) refers to informing members of
a community that a convicted and paroled child molester lives in their
midst.  The ACLU feels that Megan's Law is unconstitutional due to
double jeopardy.

While one might think that such an act of informing the community of
this person's past might be loshon hora, the reality is that the
individual at hand is a rodef and there is a definate tachlis (purpose)
in informing the community that he is to be considered a danger.


From: <oppy2@...> (Steven M Oppenheimer)
Date: Wed, 14 May 1997 15:04:01 EDT
Subject: music during S'fira

There have been a number of questions regarding music during S'fira. 
Aside from the question of music in general ( see "Music in Halachic
Perspective" by Rabbi Aharon Kahn, Journal of Halacha and Contemporary
Society, # XIV, Fall 1987), there are lenient opinions published in Shut
Divrei Chachomim.  The question asked was, "What is the law regarding
listening to music in private in one's home during S'fira?"
It is written in Rav Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg's (shlita) name that
listening to music such as classical music, since it is not for simcha
but for relaxation is definitely permitted during S'fira.  Other types of
music that are for the purposes of simcha such as dance music would be
prohibited since it evokes a joyous response.  It is also written in the
name of Rav Henoch Leibowitz, the Rosh Yeshiva of Cofetz Chaim Yeshiva,
who said in the name of Rav Rosen that there is an opinion that  the
prohibition regarding music only applies to a group of people together
along with dancing, etc.  However, listening to music privately (not
publicly) is permitted.

I hope this information is helpful.
Steven Oppenheimer, D.D.S.


From: Arthur J Einhorn <0017801@...>
Date: 14 May 1997 15:18:15 GMT
Subject: Re: Yibum

In response to this question from Sheva and Tzadik Vanderhoof:
>I would like to know if anyone out there has any knowledge of the
>practice, if any, of the mitzvah of yibum in our times.  I seem to
>remember hearing that at least some communities continue to practice

I asked a Rav who is a Talmid of Rav Moshe ZT"L if yibum could be
performed today if chalitzah is not possible for the reasons specified
in halacha. His response was: yibum would be permitted . I am not
writing this for halacha. If a real case occurs one needs to ask a
shala.  Ahron Einhorn


End of Volume 26 Issue 52