Volume 28 Number 67
                 Produced: Wed Jun  9  6:44:41 US/Eastern 1999

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Direction during Prayer in  Australia
         [Dr. I. Balbin]
Direction during Prayer in  New York
         [Joseph Geretz]
Direction to Face
         [David Ziants]
         [Shmuel Himelstein]
Mechitza Question
         [Carl M. Sherer]
Shomer Shabbat residency programs
         [M. Singer]
Time-bound commandments (5)
         [Jay Rovner, Sheldon Z. Meth, Ari Y. Weintraub, Joel Rich,
Yisrael Medad]


From: Dr. I. Balbin <isaac@...>
Date: Wed, 09 Jun 1999 07:48:40 +1000
Subject: Re: Direction during Prayer in  Australia

> From: Zev Sero <zsero@...>
> All shuls that I have seen in Australia have the aron kodesh facing
> either North or West (Israel is WNW), so the second question doesn't
> arise.

In point of fact, one shule, Beis Aron, affiliated with Mount Scopus
College, and also noted for allowing the Sefer Torah to be passed
to the womens gallery during Hotzo-oh (taking out the Sefer Torah)
faces South! and there are a number of people who appear not
to daven there for this reason.


From: Joseph Geretz <jgeretz@...>
Date: Tue, 8 Jun 1999 20:03:53 -0400
Subject: Direction during Prayer in  New York

While we're on the subject of facing Yerushalayim during davening, may I
raise the question of why the North Pole and lines of lattitude play a
role in determining the relative direction of Yerushalayim vis a vis New
York.  The most direct route to Yerushalayim is closer to North than it
is to East when starting out from New York. I believe that this route is
known as 'great circle' and all of the airlines flying from the
Northeast to Eretz Yisrael use this route. From looking at a globe I
suspect that even a sea voyage would use this route.

If we disregard the North (or Magnetic) Pole and the corresponding lines of
lattitude (none of which have any Halachic status as far as I know) why do
we face East along lines of lattitude, when the shortes route to
Yerushalayim is to the North?

Kol Tuv,

Yossi Geretz


From: David Ziants <davidz@...>
Date: Mon, 07 Jun 1999 23:03:32 +0300
Subject: Re: Direction to Face

Susan Shapiro <SShap23859@...> said:
> I seem to remember that quite often the Shuls in South Africa had the
> Aron Kodesh in the "wrong" direction, because of the fact that when the
> immigrants came from Europe, maybe there was a lack of knowledge at the
> time and they just built the Aron Kodesh the same as it was in Europe.
> So, some are facing South and those in the "know" do turn when davening
> the Amida.

My local Rav also once told me that one should face Yerushalayim for the
Amida, even if the Aron HaKodesh is at the wrong side of the Shul, (I am
afraid I don't have his source).

I did not ask him what would happen if no one else in the congregation
knew the law and *everyone* faced the wrong direction. Would one
individual, especially if he/she is a guest in the Shul, be allowed to
face the correct direction? Is this a case of "lo tifrosh min hatzibur"
("do not separate oneself from the community")?  It seems that this is
really the question that needs to be answered.

> Also, a previous poster mentioned about the shuls in New
> Zealand having seats facing the Aron Kodesh and some facing inwards
> towards the Bimah. I think that is a British custom, which went to South
> Africa as well.

A number of customs and nuances in Ashkenazi shuls in Britain,
especially in the United Synagogue (Orthodox), were taken from the
Sephardi (Spanish and Portuguese) community that was there before
them. The general layout of the Shul with the seats around the bima, as
mentioned by Susan and Michael Popper, is one of them.

[Please excuse moving onto a different topic]
The shaliach tzibur always on the bima - and not at the amud - is another.

The traditional Ashkenazi practice was to sit for "mizmor shir l'yom
haShabbat, whereas Sephardim stand (so do Chasidim) - and also in the
United Synagogue it is the custom to stand. Yigdal (and not Adon Olam)
is sang, at the end of the tephila on Friday evening, as is the Sephardi
minhag (custom).

There are a number of other practices taken from the Sephardim, which might
come to mind, with a memory jog. If you can think of any of the others,
please let me know.

David Ziants


From: Shmuel Himelstein <shmuelh@...>
Date: Tue, 8 Jun 1999 13:25:00 +0300 
Subject: Kaddish

A few years ago, I broached the question of whether anyone has found a
source requiring one to keep his feet together while he recites
Kaddish. All I've found are sources for the Amidah and for the
Kedushah. Would anyone have any sources either way.?

Shmuel Himelstein


From: Carl M. Sherer <csherer@...>
Date: Tue, 8 Jun 1999 17:14:57 +0300
Subject: Mechitza Question

In the last issue published in March, Jonathan E. Schiff wrote:

> What I am wondering is how central (if that is an intelligible question) is
> the Mechitza to Orthodox practice and, more importantly, why?  

And you added:

> [That a mechitza is required is pretty clear. What I think would be
> valuable as a response to this posting is:
> A) Listing of early sources for Mechitza
> B) Indications of the Talmudic sources for the halacha
> Mod]

I think the earliest source for Mechitza is the Mishna in the last 
Chapter of Succa, which describes the Simchas Beis HaShoeva in 
the Beis HaMikdash. The Mishna says that on Motzei Yom Tov a 
"tikun gadol" was made in the Beis HaMikdash. The Gemara says 
that "tikun gadol" was the erection of a Mechitza. See Mishna 
Succa 5:2 and Gemara Succa 51b.

In the Daf Shiur that day, the Magid Shiur (teacher) brought a 
halachic dispute between R. Moshe Feinstein zt"l and the Satmar 
Rav zt"l regarding the reason for mechitza. I should qualify this by 
saying that I am writing this from memory, and as such, any 
mistakes are mine, and were surely not included in the shiur. R. 
Moshe zt"l held that Mechitza was to avoid the men being 
distracted by the women, and therefore R. Moshe held that the 
mechitza need only come up to the level of the women's shoulders. 
Rav Moshe's tshuva is in Igros Moshe, Orach Chaim 1:39. The 
Satmar Rav zt"l held that the mechitza was to prevent the men 
from looking at the women at all, and therefore the mechitza must 
be taller than the women's height. I do not know where the Satmar 
Rav's tshuva regarding the matter is written down. It is important to 
note that Rav Moshe zt"l did NOT dispute the question of whether 
there is an issur of histaklus (men looking at women); he also held 
that there is a prohibition. Rather, the dispute related to the 
rationale behind mechitza (pardon the pun) and the halachic 
implications for the height of the mechitza.

Carl M. Sherer

Please daven and learn for a Refuah Shleima for my son, Baruch Yosef ben
Adina Batya among the sick of Israel.  Thank you very much.


From: M. Singer <m-singer@...>
Date: Tue, 8 Jun 1999 19:57:45 -0500
Subject: Shomer Shabbat residency programs

Does anyone have advice on finding medical residencies which offer shomer
Shabbat programs?  I am planning on going into neurology.  Thanks very much!

Mike Singer


From: Jay Rovner <jarovner@...>
Date: Tue, 08 Jun 1999 14:17:46 +0000
Subject: Re: Time-bound commandments

	sticking to sources from the Hazal (the talmudic period), i have
found only one reason. i think it is the tosefta that says the exemption
is because "reshut aherim aleha," i.e., a wife must be available to
minister to her husband's needs, which precludes her having a primary
obligation to conflicting time-bound observances. a similar conflict
arises regarding filial piety in bavli kiddushin (sorry i do not have
passage references), where a wife is exempted due to a prior obligation
to her husband, but the husband is obligated to serve his parents needs.
	 this is similar to what the yerushalmi says about slaves being
exempt because of a prior obligation to their masters. i am only writing
this to provide the facts of the matter; clearly the exemption would
require a renewed justification to be meaningful for our times, and the
childcare argument is a good example.
	the questions re: the fact that unmarried and childless women
are also exempt highlights the difficulty with the rationales
given. this leads one to understand that the essential difference
between women and men re: positive time-bound commandments lies in the
construction of idealized gender roles: man is expected to be active in
public life; woman is expected to lead an essentially private life,
restricted to the home and family. this helps one understand why women
are obligated to the seder but exempt from dwelling in the sukkah. the
seder is seen as a family-centered rite; sukkah with both sexes sleeping
in it leads to problems of modesty and morality (note that helini
ha-malkah dwelt in a sukkah with many rooms).
	saul berman has good review article where he delineates the PTBC
to which women are obligated and those from which they are exempt.

re: hebrew verb tables, the following is more english oriented than
	Halkin, Abraham S.,  1903-
	201 Hebrew verbs fully conjugated in all the tenses, alphabetically 
arranged. Woodbury, N.Y. :  Barron's Educational Series, [1970]

From: Sheldon Z. Meth <SHELDON.Z.METH@...>
Date: Mon, 7 Jun 1999 09:06:04 -0400 
Subject: RE: Time-bound commandments

Wendy Baker writes:

"In addition, they are not exempt from all time bound mitzvot.  After
all, what is more timebound than lighting Shabbat canbles from which
they are surely not exempt!"

Shabbos is different: it is a positive commandment (zachor) as well as a
negative (albeit time dependent) commandment (shamor).  The Gemara says
that all who are required in zachor are required in shamor.

From: Ari Y. Weintraub <aweintra@...>
Date: Mon, 7 Jun 1999 12:58:16 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Time-bound commandments

> From: Wendy Baker <wbaker@...>
> I am no Posek, but it is my understanding that the exemtion of women
> from time bound mitzvot (those that they are exempt from) does not stem
> from child care.  If this were the case why would young, unmarried
> women, childless, or older women be so exempt?

> Heppenheimer, Alexander writes:
> In this case, the concept that women are preoccupied with children is
> perfectly true, but it's surely not the whole truth: if that were the case,
> then why would elderly, or unmarried, or (R"L) barren women be exempted from
> these mitzvos? (If halachah can differentiate between unmarried girls and
> married women as far as covering their hair, why not in other areas too?)

I heard this question addressed by one of my rabbaim in Yeshivas Ner
Yisroel (Baltimore) during a chabura (discussion) of the topic. He
suggested that halachically and "hashkafically" speaking (and he didn't
mean this in any discriminatory way, I can assure you), a woman's shleimus
(full potential) is achieved when she is the akeres habayis (mainstay of
the household) and is involved in raising the children and maintaining a
bayis neeman b'yisrael. As such, if a woman fulfilling her potential is
exempt from these obligations, it is not possible to say that she would be
obligated when she is not at this high level. I.e. (similar to what has
been posted recently), if the woman is able to achieve her potential
without these responsibilities (actually, fulfillment _precludes_ these
obligations), it is not appropriate to require her to fulfill these
mitzvot when her situation would allow her to do so. (This would be one
distinction between this class of mitzvot and that of covering the hair.)

Furthermore, a woman is not _forbidden_ to keep these mitzvot, but is
merely exepmt from the obligation. (Discussion of the difference between
Ashkenazi and Sephardi tradition regarding women's blessings on time-bound
mitzvot is a separate discussion)

> Wendy Baker wrote:
> In addition, they are not exempt from all time bound mitzvot.  After
> all, what is more timebound than lighting Shabbat canbles from which
> they are surely not exempt!

If anything, this is the exception that proves the rule. As stated above,
the woman's exemption stems from her responsiblilities in maintaining the
home. Therefore, the mitzva of Neros Shabbos (Shabbat candles), which is
for the purpose of sholom bayis (household harmony) is perfectly in line
with her prinicipal duties. (Additionally, this mitzva is of Rabbinic
origin and as such is not necessarily subject to the general rule
exempting women from time-bound mitzvot, especially in this case where the
commandment was made specifically to women).

Kol tuv, 

From: Joel Rich <Joelirich@...>
Date: Mon, 7 Jun 1999 18:53:12 EDT
Subject: Re: Time-bound commandments

<< Stuart Wise asked the above question in Vol 28#62. I think most people
 would regard it as clear that such a person is NOT exempt and the real
 point of Stuarts question is for a source.

If I'm not mistaken the Talmud itself gives a technical reason for the 
woman's exemption from time bound positive precepts - we learn it from the 
fact that woman are not required to put on Tfillin.

Kol Tuv,
Joel Rich

From: Yisrael Medad <isrmedia@...>
Date: Mon,  7 Jun 99 20:58:13 PDT
Subject: Time-bound commandments

When I was taking care of the kids when my wife was off taking care of
our fifth in the hospital, my Rabbi's explanation from my exemption was
"a'noose", that is, "forced" by circumstances from being able to fulfill
obligations such as minyan davening, etc.

Yisrael Medad
E-mail: isrmedia


End of Volume 28 Issue 67