Volume 26 Number 62
                      Produced: Thu May 22  0:26:00 1997

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Immersing Friday Afternoon before Sunset
         [Rachel Shamah]
Man lighting Shabbos candles
         [S.H. Schwartz]
Mikvah on Motzei Shabbos
         [Susan Shapiro]
Musical Apologies (And Questions)
         [Russell Hendel]
Sucah on Shemeni Atzeres
         [Eli Pollock]
What is a Rabbi?
         [Akiva Miller]


From: <Mywhey@...> (Rachel Shamah)
Subject: Immersing Friday Afternoon before Sunset

 This was sent to me by one of the Rabbis involved in the new Mikveh who
has been following the discussion recently about the daytime mikveh.

Rachel: This is a statement from one of the rabbis (Rabbi M. Shamah)
involved in the new mikveh.  You may submit it to M-J.


The longstanding policy of the Magen David Mikveh on 67th Street which
served our community for decades under the stewardship of Chief Rabbi
Jacob S. Kassin a"h with the cooperation of other community rabbis, was
that women were permitted to immerse Friday afternoon during the hour
before sunset. It was understood that when a woman arrived home her
husband was to already be out of the house or promptly leave and that
they were not to be in privacy until night. When our community moved to
Ocean Parkway, Rabbi Kassin arranged for the Mikveh Taharat Israel in
the Ave. J area to allow our community women to immerse Friday before
sunset. In more recent years, the Ave. S Sephardic Mikvah allowed
immersing Friday before sunset under certain circumstances

The reasoning of Rabbi Jacob Kassin and the other rabbis undoubtedly
included the considerations that:

1. Immersion on the 7th day before sunset is valid (bedi`abad), the
problem being rabbinical and focused on the fear of the husband and wife
having marital relations before night which in rare circumstances - when
a woman had been a zabah - may possibly lead to a Torah violation.

2. A woman being in a pure state for Shabbat adds to Kabod Shabbat, Oneg
Shabbat, Shalom Bayit, often prevents major transgressions and generally
contributes to a healthier family environment.  This is a multi-faceted
sorekh misva gedola' that needs no elaboration.

3. On late Friday afternoon, it is a man's routine to be in the
synagogue before candle-lighting time. If he is not out of the home by
the time his wife returns he normally will be prepared to leave, the
proper procedure in such cases. (If he did not yet leave by the time she
returned, a shomer is required or she should delay entering until he
leaves. It may be that they didn't make a major issue of this point as
the wife's routine is to be busy with last minute preparations and
candle-lighting and there often are children or guests around which
render marital relations at that time improbable.)

4. Unfortunately, there are some not-fully-committed women who, if they
cannot return home before Shabbat, will nonetheless go to the mikveh and
drive home after Shabbat begins.

The literature indicates that many great communities allowed women to
immerse on Friday before sunset with appropriate conditions. Rabbi
Yishaq Abadi (a distinguished poseq and head of a bet midrash l'dayanim
in Jerusalem, with many disciples in our community) permits immersing
Friday before sunset lekhatehila when the husband will be out of the
house until after seit hakokhavim upon his wife's return or when there
is proper shemira'. This was the p'saq of Rabbi Aharon Kotler a"h of
Lakewood, who said only bene yeshivot should mahmir (related by Rabbi
Abadi.) It should be noted that Hakham Obadiah Yosef generally permits
immersing on the seventh day shortly before sunset in sha`at hadehaq
cases when there will be no yihud before night (but not in cases of mere
o'nes, when she would be required to go the following night - Taharat
Habayit v. 2, 14:5 and notes, also see 14:4 in notes; Taharat Habayit
Haqaser 14:11.) As missing Friday night is often a very major matter
many rabbis consider it sha`at hadehaq.

Mikveh Siporah's policy is to teach that on Friday it is preferable to
immerse after sunset (lekhatehila before seit, not to immerse the whole
body in hot water on vaday Shabbat), but to suggest to a woman who feels
significant hardship to ask her rabbi if in her circumstances she may
immerse before sunset with the understanding that when she returns home
her husband will be out of the house or immediately leave not to return
until after seit or there will be proper shemira. Proper shemira means
someone present knows husband and wife are not to be in private before

Rachel Shamah


From: S.H. Schwartz <schwartz@...>
Date: Wed, 21 May 1997 00:00:43 -0400
Subject: Re: Man lighting Shabbos candles

From: <jjr@...> (Jack Reiner)
I learned from my LOR that Shabbos is not "incumbent" (can't think of a
better word) on a man until actual sunset.  Thus a man can light Shabbos
candles and then drive to shule without any special intentions.

I recall a Torah she b'al peh [grin] that a man is m'kabel Shabbat when
he recites "Mizmor shir l'yom haShabbat" after L'cha Dodi.  I don't know
whether a woman who did not light candles is m'kabelet by this.
Clearly, *any* Jew accepts Shabbat at sunset, if s/he did not light
candles or recite Kabbalat Shabbat.

There is a minor opinion that saying "Shabbat Shalom" or "Gut Shabbes"
after Plag haMincha might constitute acceptance of Shabbat.  I don't
believe that it is widely (or at all) accepted.

Steven (Shimon) Schwartz
With Rebecca, Forest Hills, NY: <schwartz@...>
Computer Associates, Islandia, NY: <schwartz@...>


From: <SShap23859@...> (Susan Shapiro)
Date: Tue, 20 May 1997 15:41:47 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Mikvah on Motzei Shabbos

Being a Motzei Shabbos Mikvah Lady, I have an interesting question.  If a
Mikvah is heated by an automatic filter (like swimming pool filter) which
goes on the same hours every single day, as it is on a timer, would there be
a need to wait for using the Mikvah on a Motzei Shabbos?  I usually make my
first appointments an hour after Shabbos so no-one would be forced to prepare
on Shabbos (not entirely frum community here.)

Susan Shapiro


From: <rhendel@...> (Russell Hendel)
Date: Tue, 20 May 1997 19:10:11 -0400
Subject: Musical Apologies (And Questions)

Fellow mathematician, former Chavrutah, MJer and fellow music lover, Dr.
Eli Passo pointed out to me that my statement in a recent Mail Jewish
that Bloch wrote Kol Nidre was incorrect.

The composer who wrote Kol Nidre was of course Max Bruch.

My apologies to the composers and any devotees of their music.

In discussion with Eli several other examples of Jewish inspired music
were noted (by both of us).

--The second movement of the Italian Symphony (Symphony #4 in A) by
Felix Mendelsohn clearly was influenced by the Teamim of Eychah (this
was first pointed out to me by the grandson of Elchonon Wasserman who
was named after him (may he rest in peace).

--The Kaddish and several other symphonic works of Leonard Bernstein

--Kol Nidre (as noted above).

This raises an interesting question:         

How many other serious symphonic musical works derive themes from Jewish
sources---Teamim, chazanuth, Biblical themes? Are there any books on
these? Perhaps other people out there are interested in compiling a list
of these.

Russell Jay Hendel, Ph.d; ASA, rhendel @ mcs . drexel . edu


From: <elip@...> (Eli Pollock)
Date: Tue, 20 May 1997 10:21:01 EDT
Subject: Sucah on Shemeni Atzeres

 The following is what i heard from one of my rebbiem in yeshiva.
 First we must ask why we do not wear tifilin on yom reshon of yom tov
due to sefeka deyoma? (sokef that it is eruv yom tov).
 the answer is that we never do a mitzvoh on yom tov that indicates that
it might be a weekday.  this is due to zilzul yom tov.
 with that concept in mind it would appear that one should not sit in
the succah on shemeni atzeres since it would be a indication that we
consider the day to be sofek chol(hamoed).
 the question is now on the gemarah (previously stated ) that says we do
sit.  the teretz is that in bavel and eretz yisroel it was hot so one
could say that the person was in the succah for fresh cool air and not
to perform a mitzvah.
 therefore when the jews were in eastern europe it was now a cold
climate and one could no longer say that they needed cool air. therefore
if one was in the succah it must be due to mitzvah performance.
therefore the chasidish minhag was not to sit there.  the basis for this
was that the gemarah is only referring to a hot climate.
 Eli Pollock


From: <kennethgmiller@...> (Akiva Miller)
Date: Wed, 21 May 1997 01:32:35 EDT
Subject: What is a Rabbi?

For a very long time, I have wondered exactly what is meant by the word
"rabbi". Or more precisely, what is the distinction between a person who
has "semicha" (ordination), and a person who has not been so ordained?

In The Handbook of Jewish Thought, Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan explains that
there are two kinds of ordination. The first entitles one to be a member
of the Sanhedrin, but he writes (10:39) <<< The traditional ordination
was thus abolished in the year 4118 (358 c.e.). The Sanhedrin and other
duly constituted courts cannot be established until this ordination is
reinstituted. >>>

My question concerns the second kind of ordination. Rabbi Kaplan
continues (10:40) <<< What is called "ordination" today is not true
ordination, but rather a certification that the individual is expert in
certain areas of Torah law. Moreover, it implies that he has the
permission of his teachers to render public decisions; without such
permission it is forbidden. Such ordination, however, in no way implies
competence to serve on the Sanhedrin. >>>

If other modern authorities hold slightly different views than Rabbi
Kaplan, please don't nitpick, as my question will probably still apply.
Also, let me point out my guess that when Rabbi Kaplan wrote "certain
areas", he was alluding to the idea that even today's "ordination" can
be of several types; "Yoreh Yoreh", for example, certifies an individual
to rule on ritual law only, while "Yadin Yadin" covers halachic civil
law as well. The distinctions do not affect my basic questions.

My first question is this: What sorts of decisions can a person render
even is he is not ordained? Obviously, semicha is not required for very
basic questions, for if it were, all Torah discussion (such as is common
on Mail-Jewish) would have to cease. So does anyone explain exactly
where the fine line lies?

Question two: I have heard from many sources that the Chofetz Chaim was
in fact *not* a rabbi, and did *not* have semicha, until very late in
his life, well after he had written the Mishna Brurah and most (all?) of
his other famous works. (Stories about when and why he finally got that
semicha can be posted to another thread.) How can this be? In countless
places, the Mishnah Brurah cites a hotly debated question, and then
takes it upon himself to render a decision for the public. How does this
fit with Question One, above?

Some might resolve that contradiction by pointing to the letters which
are printed at the beginning of the Mishna Brurah, from Rav Yitzchak
Elchanan Spector and other famous sages of the generation, which certify
the Mishna Brurah as worthy of being disseminated to the public. Perhaps
this is an implicit sort of semicha, as it certifies the author's
writings to be a fit source of halachic decisions. But if the Chofetz
Chaim felt that way, he would have said so, and not bothered to get an
"official" ordination. Or maybe I don't have that story straight.

In any case, the people whom I've discussed these questions with are not
very bothered by them. I have detected a very blase attitude from many
people towards the whole subject of semicha, like it is only for shul
rabbis or something. Many years ago, I suffered an almost terminal
disillusionment on discovering that my gemara teacher, who I revered and
respected, who was referred to as Rabbi So-and-so, whose word I relied
upon for major decisions as if he spoke the very Word Of G-d [Why not,
that's what rabbis do, isn't it?]  --- was actually not a rabbi, had not
ever gotten semicha.

So Question Three is: Are the sayings and writings of an educated layman
different than those of an ordained rabbi? I have always thought (but
I've never been able to confirm) that the distinction is when I ask a
question, and the person I asked is wrong. If I act on the word of a
rabbi who was wrong, then I have done my job, and I have either not
sinned at all, or at worst it is considered an "oness", for I was not at
all responsible for the sin. But if I am relying on a layman, then I
must take responsibility for my actions and bear my sin. Is this

Finally, Question Four: Under extreme circumstances, a man can marry a
second wife if he has a "Heter Meah Rabanim" - literally, "Permission
from a hundred rabbis". If a "rabbi" does not have semicha, can he be
one of those hundred?

Thank you all for your time and consideration.
Akiva Miller
(the former <Keeves@...>)


End of Volume 26 Issue 62