Volume 28 Number 12
                      Produced: Thu Nov  5  6:03:09 1998

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Avi Feldblum]
         [David Schiffmann]
Greetings after Birkat Kohanim
         [David and Toby Curwin]
Kavana (2)
         [Arie Weiss, Binyomin Segal]
Kavanah Issues
         [Ezriel Krumbein]
More on Birchas Kohanim
         [Ezriel Krumbein]
Nature of Chesed
         [Ari Kahn]
Singing Magen Avot
         [Herschel Ainspan]
Wedding Invitations
         [Y. Prero]
Yesher Koach
         [Alexander Heppenheimer]


From: Avi Feldblum <feldblum@...>
Date: Thu, 5 Nov 1998 06:00:17 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Administrivia

Hello All,

Sorry for the misdirected email to all of you which was supposed to be a
private email to one poster, trying to clarify a submission that was
received (the message had a header of re: Judeo-Christian). I've
properly reminded myself of the (sometimes not obvious) Reply-to: header
that supperceeds the From: header and will take that into account
correctly in the future (I hope).



From: David Schiffmann <das1002@...>
Subject: Davening/Kavanah

In response to the question about choosing between davening less but
with kavanah, or more but without kavanah, I would just like to add my
2c worth:

I discussed this with an orthodox rabbi, and was told that it is
considered better to daven less but with kavanah, than more but without
kavanah; no mention was made of this concept being limited to tachanun.
If you like, I can ask for sources for this, etc.



From: David and Toby Curwin <curwin@...>
Subject: Greetings after Birkat Kohanim

A side note on the "Yishar Koch'cha" discussion:

A number of years ago I read a responsa, I believe by Rav Tzvi Pesach
Frank, which said that a kohen should not reply "baruch ti'hiye" to a
person greeting with him with "yishar koach" after birkat kohanim. The
reason stated was the prohibition of "bal tosif", not to add to a
biblical commandment.  Since the mitzva is for the kohen to bless a
specific number of times, the use of an addtional "baruch" by the kohen
is a problem.

So for a long time I have been trying to come up with an alternative
response to "baruch ti'hiye". ("Thanks" just doesn't seem to cut it.)

Recently, I recieved a brilliant suggestion from Prof. Dov Rappel (a
member of our kibbutz). So now, as a response to "yishar koch'cha" after
birkat kohanim, I reply: "koch'cha yishar".

David Curwin
Kvutzat Yavne, Israel


From: Arie Weiss <aliw@...>
Date: Sun, 1 Nov 1998 22:27:19 +0000
Subject: Kavana

I think you can add to the list of well intentioned people with
instances of Kavana taken to such an extreme that it disturbs others (
Bernard F. Kozlovsky, Vol. 28 #09) those whose kri'at shema is recited
so as to be audible to the mitpalel (halacha), but is so loud as to
disturb other mitpalelim for several seats in every direction; to a much
smaller degree, but even more disturbing, this happens during amidah as

Arie Weiss

From: Binyomin Segal <bsegal@...>
Date: Mon, 2 Nov 1998 16:05:04 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Kavana

Moshe Nugiel wrote:
* A friend of mine with whom I discussed the problem says that
* option 2), the one which I favor, would not fall within the bounds of
* Orthodox Judaism.  However, I feel that I have a support from the
* Shulchan Oruch, Orach Chiam 1:4 which states that it is better to say
* less "Tachanunim" with Kavanah than more without Kavanah.  Although
* 'tachanunim' is usually translated as supplications, I believe that it
* could also refer to davening in general. In any event, the Shulchan
* Oruch recognizes the principle that less with kavanah is better, the
* principle upon which option 2) is based.

the principle that "echad hamarbeh vechad hamamit..." (loosely - one who
does more, or one who does less are equal, as long as they are doing it
for the "right" reasons) is explicitly mentioned in the aruch hashulchan
in regard to psukai dzimrah (the first part of the shacharit service -
lit. verses of praise). further, the obligation to say that part of the
service is not nearly of the same degree as the obligation to say the
shma, its blessings, or the amidah.

therefore i would assume that to say a token minimum of that section
would certainly fall within "orthodox" judaism - if the motivation is
appropriate. i think that same logic could fairly easily also be applied
to the parts of tfilah that are after the amida - tachanun, ashrei, yom,

As there is a specific and clear obligation to say the shma, its
blessings, and the amidah, i would think that in those specific cases
option #1 (saying it without kavana) would indeed be the only "orthodox"
option. however i might add that even here, i believe that some poskim
might allow a person to daven smaller sections if they were first
learning to daven and found davening the whole thing difficult.

on the other hand, there is option 3 which i noticed wasn't even on your
list. you could just take the time you need to daven properly ie daven
for 2 hours each day. and even if you can't do that every day due to job
issues you _may_ be obligated to do that on days when work is not an
issue, sundays for example.



From: Ezriel Krumbein <ezsurf@...>
Date: Mon, 02 Nov 1998 11:17:50 -0800
Subject: Kavanah Issues

>From: Moshe Nugiel <friars@...>
>I seem to be left with the following two choices: 1) Say all the stuff
>that one is halachically mandated to say, but do it more quickly than I
>feel is proper, i.e., say most of it without Kavanah.  2) Omit certain
>portions of the accepted daily service, and say a significantly shorter
>service, but with kavanah.

I do not have an answer but I would highly recommend a sefer called
"Priority in Prayer".  The author seems to haved asked gedolim about
many questions related to davening that are difficult to find the answer
to.  I would look up this question but I think my copy is on loan at the

>From: Bernard F. Kozlovsky <bfk@...>

> For example, I
> recently was sitting next to someone who clearly was concentrating on
> his T'fillah. At one point, during a 10 second span he banged his fist
> with significant force into the empty space of wooden bench between
> us. To say the least, this startled me and destroyed any concentration
> I had at the time. Should I assume that he was not aware of his
> actions? If not, should he have been aware that his dramatic action was
> disturbing to others? Essentially, my question is whether this is an
> appropriate expression of Kavonoh, despite the fact that it is
> potentially disturbing to others.

I would tend to think that you are correct and the person should not be
banging during davening.  However there might be some mitigating
circumstances. What the commom practise is at the minyan?  If other
people regularly bang on the table to improve their tifilah at this
minyan it would seem to be okay.  If this person was the only one, then,
it might depend on whether the precedent was established before you were
davening in that shul.  He might have gotten implicite permission from
his neighbors in shul to bang and now that privilege may not be taken
away.  It would probably be appropriate to discuss the situation with
the Rav of the shul who may be familiar with the particular indiviual's

Best wishes for better kavanah
Kol Tov


From: Ezriel Krumbein <ezsurf@...>
Date: Mon, 02 Nov 1998 09:58:06 -0800
Subject: More on Birchas Kohanim

When I mentioned the problem of kohanim entering after Retzay to Rabbi
Yisroel Reisman he mentioned that Rav Pam shlit"a solution to the
problem is to tell the kohanim aleh. In that way they can duchan even
though they were late.


From: Ari Kahn <kahnar@...>
Date: Sun, 01 Nov 1998 21:15:18 +0200
Subject: Re: Nature of Chesed

Modern man often confuses pacifism with chesed. Avraham was as the
kabbalists point out a man of chesed who personified chesed. This does
not mean that Avraham was a pacifist. To get rid of evil may be an act
of chesed for the world. My suspicion regarding the defense of Sodom,
was that the existence of a few good people could potentially
revolutionize the city. [This would be indicated in certain passages in
the Zohar] Therefore Avraham prayed to save the city, though the pshat
would indicate that Avraham only felt that the city should not be
destroyed lest the righteous would perish with the wicked.

The names of G-d utilized in the Akaida story are certainly of
significance, the test is given by Elokim which is judgement, this
supports the mystical approach which sees Avraham as identified with
Chesed, his final teat is the performance of din. Once he is willing to
follow din, the test has been passed and the angel of YHVH can stop
him. I would also suggest a connection with the episode with Avimelch
(Chapter 20) where Avraham defends himself by saying that there was No
'yirat Elokim' in this place. How ironic that 2 chapters later G-d tests
Avraham to see if his Yirat Elokim is up to par.

Ari D. Kahn


From: Herschel Ainspan <ainspan@...>
Date: Mon, 2 Nov 1998 12:02:01 -0500
Subject: Re: Singing Magen Avot

	On Thu, 29 Oct 1998 14:51:21 -0800, AJ Gilboa
<bfgilboa@...> wrote:
>This is consistent with the equally "illogical" practice of many
>congregations where the tsibbur sings an occasional selection from
>hazarat hasha"tz of shaharit, musaf or minha of Shabbat either before
>the hazzan or with him.

	I've experienced Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur davenings where the
chazaras hashatz literally cannot be heard, not only during the piyutim,
but during core sections such as kedusha and the extended bracha of
hamelech hakadosh ("u'vchein," etc.), because of the loud "na,na,na,
b'doom, doom, doom" of the tzibbur trying to sing along with the shatz
without ch'v uttering any extraneous words during the chazara.  Does
anyone know of any sources permitting this?  How much of a chiyuv is it
for the tzibbur to hear the ENTIRE chazara?  Is just the chasima of
every bracha good enough?  The same holds for kaddish, where one simply
cannot hear what the shatz is saying thanks to all the "na,na,na,
b'doom, doom, doom".  By relative timing since the start of the kaddish
one can guess fairly well to what one is answering amen, but it would
still be better to actually hear the praises of Hashem rather than the
"na,na,na" of the tzibbur.

>(I might add that the almost universal practice
>among Ashkenazim is for the congregation to say the prelude to kedusha
>(n'kadesh, na'aritz'cha) before or with the hazzan even though it is
>clear that this is meant to be an invitation (zimun) to the tzibbur

In fact the German custom (minhag Frankfurt) is not to say this prelude,
but rather to stand silently while the shatz says it.  This is the way
the halacha is brought in Shulchan Aruch (O.C. 125:1) and the Rema does
not argue on this.  The Mishna Brura (125:1, s.k. 2) says "There are
those who are lenient to say it with the shatz, and the correct custom
is as the Shulchan Aruch wrote....and in any case, the custom in our
days is that the congregation also says "n'kadesh"."
	-Herschel Ainspan (<ainspan@...>)


From: <DaPr@...> (Y. Prero)
Date: Mon, 2 Nov 1998 20:09:29 EST
Subject: Wedding Invitations

My father posed the following to me recently, and I was wondering if any of
the M-J readers could add some insight:

He saw a wedding invitation which, in the Hebrew section, used the terms
"Im b'chiras libo, im b'chir libah" between the names of the Chasan and
Kallah. He was under the impression that "b'chiras" is a word that could
be used in both masculine and feminine conjugations, and therefore the
"im _b'chir_ libah" is not in accordance with proper Dikduk.

Any grammarians out there who want to comment? or any one who has seen
differently (besides the "im bas gilo" which I am familiar with)?

Kol Tuv, 
Y. Prero


From: <Alexander_Heppenheimer@...> (Alexander Heppenheimer)
Date: Sun, 1 Nov 1998 13:27:58 -0500
Subject: Re: Yesher Koach

H. Zabari wrote (MJ 28:9):

>It should be noted that the original custom as the Mishnah states in
>Masechet Megillah was for one indevidual to read the entire Torah
>portion with one Beracha prior and one post. Or perhaps with no
>Berachot originally? Hazak may have been a comment people made
>regarding his power to stand and recite the entire Portion? Also note
>that a translation was said so that the time he was required to stand
>was even lengthier? If no Beracha was said originally perhaps the
>reader could answer immediately (after prompted with a Hazak) Baruch

It might be possible to get that impression from the Mishnah in
Megillah, since the expression is, "The one who begins and ends the
reading recites the blessings before and after the Torah," which sounds
as though the _same person_ does both. But actually, the previous stanza
of that Mishnah lays down the rule that there are always 3 olim, no more
and no less, on weekdays (and, as the next few mishnayos detail, there
are 4 on Rosh Chodesh, 5 on Yom Tov, etc.) - so "the one who begins" and
"the one who ends" must clearly be two different people; and, in fact,
the Gemara there says so explicitly, and adds that eventually the Sages
made a takkanah that each oleh should say both berachos, "because of
those who come in and those who leave (in the middle)," who might not
realize that the reading has to be bracketed with berachos.

Actually, the Gemara (Bava Kamma 82a) points out that Ezra was the one
who instituted the rule that there must always be at least 3 olim, and
that from Moshe's times to his own there could be just one oleh. But
that same Gemara also states that Ezra instituted the 10-verse minimum,
and that until his times you could have that one oleh reading just three
pesukim - which would not occasion a comment about his stamina either.

Well, anyway, Yasher Koach for the comments...
Alex Heppenheimer (<alexhe@...>)


End of Volume 28 Issue 12