Volume 27 Number 38
                      Produced: Tue Dec 23  9:01:37 1997

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

An Aron "Compass"
         [Yeshaya Halevi]
Aron placement in the Midbar
         [Ezriel Krumbein]
Brachos on Megillah...Why/ Why not
         [Russell Hendel]
Brocho on a Megillo
         [Michael Hoffman]
Kolel and Kesuba
         [R. Shaya Karlinsky]
Megillot with a Bracha
         [Shimon Lebowitz]
Tiqqun - Simanim
         [Al Silberman]


From: Yeshaya Halevi <CHIHAL@...>
Date: Sun, 7 Dec 1997 21:39:19 EST
Subject: An Aron "Compass"

Shalom, All:
        << <zaidy@...> (Moishe Friederwitzer) asks "Would anyone be able to
tell us which direction the Aron faced while in the Midbar and at Shiloh?"
          I feel comfortable guessing -- repeat, guessing -- that the Aron
faced the Pillar of Fire/Smoke while in the Midbar (wilderness -- NOT
"dessert").  After all, that was the indisputable manifestation of God.  
          As for Shiloh, it's guesses for grabs.  A traditionalist, though,
could say it faced Yerushalyeem (Jerusalem).  After all, if you've got God
talking to you, it would be logical to assume He'd tell you where the Bayt
HaMeekdash (Temple) would be in the future.
      Yeshaya Halevi (<Chihal@...>)


From: Ezriel Krumbein <ezsurf@...>
Date: Sun, 21 Dec 1997 19:59:27 -0800
Subject: Re: Aron placement in the Midbar

> From: <zaidy@...> (Moishe Friederwitzer)
> Would anyone be able to tell us which direction the Aron faced while in
> the Midbar and at Shiloh? This came up in our Kollel Ba'al Habatim.

In the Bereisa dMeseches Midos ( otherwise know as the Bereisa dMem"Teis
Midos) paragraph 19 it states that Moshe and Aharon and his sons in the
camped in the east and their childern and all that belonged to them were
on the entire east of the Ohel Moed.  The Beair was at the entrance of
the Chatzer near the Tent of Moshe...

Thus if Moshe was camped in the east and the entrance to the Chaser was
in the east the Aron was in the west.

I found this quoted in the Torah Seleima on Bamidbar. Rav Chaim
Kenievsky has published this work as part of his sefer on the Beriesa
dMeleches Hamishkan and Tama Dkra.

As far as Shilo goes I do not have a source, but it would seem that
since the Mishkan in the Midbar had the Aron in the west and in the Beit
Hamikdash the Aron was in the west it would probably be in the west in
Shilo.  However a friend told me that he remembered seing somewhere that
in Shilo the Aron faced south toward Yerushalayim but he could not
remember the source.

Kol Tov


From: <rhendel@...> (Russell Hendel)
Date: Tue, 9 Dec 1997 19:36:27 -0500
Subject: Brachos on Megillah...Why/ Why not

Harvey Poch raises the fascinating Halachik question on whether to say
brachos on "the other megillos". He correctly cites the shulchan aruch
and its commentaries as classifying such a bracha as "bracha levatalah"
and therefore correctly wonders how anyone else can have a custom to say
a brachah.

While I ordinarily do not give explanations of halachah, because of the
complexity of this issue I thought I should add a few points.  For the
issue is not only one of SOURCES...it is also one of REASONS.

1st) It is the Vilna Gaon who championed saying Brachos on the other 4
megilloth. As Harvey notes this is a minority opinion and ordinarily
should be ignored.

2nd) We must discuss reasons: Why for example do we say a bracha on
Megillath esther. See the Rambam (or shulchan aruch)--they point out
that it was a specific rabbinic commandment to read the megillah---there
are a variety of "other reasons " given such as the idea the reading of
megillah=recitation of hallel

3rd) Let us now return to the other 4 megilloth: No one can e.g. claim
that the Rabbis made Passover as a holiday and instituted the reading of
Shir Hashirim on it!!

In fact Passover is a Biblical hodiday.

In fact unlike Megillath Esther, Shir hashirim is only indirectly
connected with the holiday (e.g.  Shir hashirim does not discuss the
exodus from egypt).

Similarly we say Hallel anyway on Pesach!!

Thus there is no REASON to say a brachah on Shir Hashirim...the two
possible reasons for saying a brachah on Megillath Esther
	- it relates the miracle and is a rabbinic enactment
	- it fulfills Hallel requirements
do NOT apply to Shir Hashirim. 

Similar comments can be made on Ruth and Koheleth.

Arguments for Aychah can also be advanced since EVEN though it deals
with WHAT HAPPENED ON Tisha Bav it nevertheless is not an intrinsic part
of the holiday:

For Purim INTRINSICALLY commerorates a miracle Tisha Bav does not
commerorate the destruction--there is no commandment to read what
happened...it rather commerorates the fast day..and is a day of

4th) If we have no reason to say a blessing or are in doubt then we
SHOULD not say it.  There are some opinions that saying a blessing when
you shouldn't is a violation of the 3rd commandment. This is the real
reason why women don't say blessings on many commandments (because we
are in doubt whether they should say it).


 Although two specific reasons exist for saying a blessing on Megillath
Esther neither of these reasons apply to the other 4 megilloth.
Furthermore one should avoid saying brachoth unless one is absolutely

I think this clearly explains the Psak that one should not say the

But wait...why then or how did the Vilna Gaon suggest saying the
blessing. Surely he knew all the above.

I believe a partial answer can be found using an analogy from the laws
of Shma...The blessings over Shma serve a dual purpose...as
	- blessings for the specific mitzvah of shma
	- blessings for Learning (=reading shma) 
Thus e.g. if you didn't say shma and woke up at 11 am you could still
say shma and blessings except that it would count as Learning not as

Therefore my opinion is that the Vilna Gaon held that the blessings on
the Megillah are NOT INFERIOR to the blessings on Shma and would count
as Talmud Torah.

In fact these blessings would resemble blessings people say when laining
from a Sayfer Torah.

Therefore in practice I have never said blessings on the other 4
megilloth. But if I was in a shule which did I would not make a fuss on
saying such a brachah if I lained from parchment

I hope the above clarifies this matter. I believe a true halachik
discussion should cite not only sources but should also
	- give reasons
	- explain why people differ in spite of the reasons.

I close with a statement I heard from the Rabbi of a synagogue:

>>The hardest time in my life in learning was when the Rebbe said to
>>me...'look, I want to know what Rashi and Tosafoth say and I want to
>>know their reasons for so saying AND I want to know what each of them
>>does with the others reasons.

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


From: Michael Hoffman <hoffmanm@...>
Date: Mon, 8 Dec 1997 22:20:47 +0200
Subject: Re: Brocho on a Megillo

>In Shulchan Aruch Orech Chaim 490:9, the Rama is VERY emphatic that any
>brocho on any megillo, other than Esther, even if read from a klaf, is a
>brocho levatolo. All of the commentaries agree. Some of them say that
>there are later poskim which differ, but they are not be relied on.
>Now I'd be interested in the source used by Young Israel of Stamford to
>say the brochos.
>I. Harvey Poch  (:-)>

 The rama is not "VERY emphatic" - he says that the prevalent custom is
not to say a brocho.
 See however in the Mishnah Berurah who states that the Ta"z agrees with
the Rama, but that the Mogen Avrohom rules that the brocho is to be said
for all megilos except for Koheles. The Gr"a paskens to say the bracha
for all megilos. Therefore the ruling of the MB is that those who say
the brocho, at least when reading from a klaf, "b'vadai ein limchos
b'yado".  (See also in the Mogen Avrohom that the Rama himself in Darkei
Moshe is of the opinion that one says a b'racha. See also Shaar
 In most Ashkenazi shuls in Jerusalem the opinion of the Gr"a is the
accepted one, and we read all the megilos from a klaf and with a brocho.



From: R. Shaya Karlinsky <isaiah@...>
Date: Tue, 23 Dec 1997 10:25:08 +0200 (GMT+0200)
Subject: Kolel and Kesuba

 From: Tzadik and Sheva Vanderhoof <stvhoof@...>
> [As an aside, I heard one rabbi refute the idea that a husband is
> obligated by the kesuba to work to support his wife.  This rabbi argued
> that learning in kollel fulfills this obligation because the husband is
> doing a "spiitual hishtadlus".  That is, by learning Torah, the husband
> is doing G-d's will so G-d in return will provide support.]

	And if, for His own reasons, G-d doesn't provide support? :-)
	I prefer not to enter into the discussion of "kollel as the
ideal," since there are different approaches in the sources.  And I will
leave it to the historians to argue about whether "kollel for the
masses" was the standard practice in Klal Yisrael for generations, or it
is a modern invention.  But the above statement cannot not go without a
proper response.
	The rabbi didn't "REFUTE" the "IDEA that a husband obligated by
the kesuba to support his wife."  What sources did he provide for his
	The husband signed a legal document obligating him to support
his wife.  There are even opinions that the Torah obligated him to
support her (Shemoth 21:10, Ketuboth 47b).  The obligation wasn't to do
hishtadlus -- spiritual or otherwise.  The obligation was to support
her, to feed her, to clothe her.  A financial obligation isn't
discharged by praying or by learning Torah.  The negative consequences
of such thinking should be obvious.  One who signs a promissory note
isn't exempted from paying the debt by saying "I davened for the money
to come."
	If a person's wife feels as he does about the value of kollel
learning, and she is willing to lower her standard of living to enable
him to learn Torah, she is certainly entitled to do so, and she will
certainly receive heavenly reward.  But this is not HIS decision, and it
should be clarified BEFORE they are married, in the context of the
obligations he is undertaking.
	It seems that the argument made by this Rabbi is another example
of the mistaken notion that has gained a foothold in recent times: The
ends justify the means.  Since kollel is a valuable and necessary thing,
the thinking goes, we justify attaining those ends by means that may be
questionable.  Failure to fulfill obligations is improper.  "Higher
motives" doesn't make it less so.

Rabbi Shaya Karlinsky              Darche Noam Institutions
Yeshivat Darche Noam/ Shapell's    PO Box 35209
Midreshet Rachel for Women         Jerusalem, ISRAEL
Tel: 972-2-651-1178                Fax: 972-2-652-0801


From: Shimon Lebowitz <shimonl@...>
Date: Mon, 15 Dec 1997 10:55:54 +0200
Subject: Megillot with a Bracha

I. Harvey Poch <af945@...> writes:
> In Shulchan Aruch Orech Chaim 490:9, the Rama is VERY emphatic that any
> brocho on any megillo, other than Esther, even if read from a klaf, is a
> brocho levatolo. All of the commentaries agree. Some of them say that
> there are later poskim which differ, but they are not be relied on.
> Now I'd be interested in the source used by Young Israel of Stamford to
> say the brochos.

The common custom which is followed in many shuls in Israel is to make
two brachot (Al mikra megilla, and Shehecheyanu) on each of the megilla
readings of the yomtovim.

This follows the custom of the Gr"a (Vilna Gaon) as quoted in Ma`ase Rav
(printed in the Siddur haGr"a) section 'Hilchot Yom Tov' paragraph 175:
 "On Shabbat Chol haMo`ed Pesach and Sukkot and on the second day of
Shavo`ot after the yotzrot before saying Ein Kamocha, the Megilla is
read in the tune and ta`amim, from a megilla written on a scroll like a
Sefer Torah with columns, one reads and all listen, and the reader says
two brachot: al mikra megilla and shehecheyanu." (my free translation).

Please pray for my cousin:
  Aharon Yitzchak ben Devorah Leah, 
May G-d grant him a refuah shlema (full recovery)!


From: <alfred.silberman@...> (Al Silberman)
Date: Mon, 8 Dec 97 08:23:35 EST
Subject: Tiqqun - Simanim

Ezriel Krumbein <ezsurf@...> writes in MJ  V27n26:
" I recently purchased a new Tikun ... It is called Tikun Korim
"Simanim". It has many nice features including the sheva na & nachs."

This tiqqun also tries to differentiate between the qametz gadol /
qametz qatan.

Unfortunately, the determination of what is a sheva na / nach is not
simple and is the subject of many disputes among the Ba'alei Diqduq
(Jewish Grammarians - rishonim and achronim). The same holds true (to a
lesser extent) for a qametz gadol / qametz qatan.

In his introduction, the author of Simanim says about the sheva "Even
though until now we have refrained from marking them - and we were
apprehensive about getting involved in disputes and deciding among them
- we saw a necessity to help the masses and respond to their request and
mark them" (my very free translation). He goes on to say that in general
he followed the Minchas Shai with regard to the handling of the meseg.
With regard to the qametz he does not indicate whom he followed.

A very different ruling on what is a sheva na / nach is found in the
writings of the Rezah - author of Binyan Shlomo, Tzohar Hateiva and
other seforim on grammar. His system is the most "scientific" of all
systems in that very few words in Tanach remain unexplained in terms of
the use / absence of the dagesh. The unexplained ones are explicitly
listed by the masora as exceptional. The biggest problem with his system
is that very few communities seem to have a pronunciation tradition
which agrees with his system.

Yet, the Minchas Shai in his decision on the meseg facing a similar
problem says that the tradition in pronunciation is not a very reliable
guide. He says that confusion in pronunciations came about from the
exile we were forced into as a result of our sins.

In listening to various pronunciations in my circles I am certain that
many do not agree with the system of the Minchas Shai either.

With regard to the qametz one only needs to look at this tiqqun's
treatment of the word "Kol" in "Kol habechor" (Devarim 15:19) where he
calls it a qametz gadol but on the side of the page he brings the
Minchas Shai who says it is a qametz qatan. The issue here is the
handling of the meseg, a point about which he says he followed the
Minchas Shai.

That is not to say that he is mistaken!! I certainly would not call his
judgement calls a mistake. He has had the difficult task of making a
decision on points subject to dispute. One can only hope that for each
category of dispute (and there are many) he has been consistent in his

For the rest of us caution is in order. It is important to realize that
his selection of an approach on a particular point may or may not be the
way for us.


End of Volume 27 Issue 38