Volume 28 Number 78
                 Produced: Wed Jun 16  6:14:12 US/Eastern 1999

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Direction during Prayer (Amidah)
         [Gilad J. Gevaryahu]
Eicha Trop
         [Joshua Hoffman]
Erev Shabbos Dilemma
         [Ezriel Krumbein]
Mitzvah Obligations of Women
Mumbling in Prayer--Alpha waves--relaxation
         [Russell Hendel]
Rationale of Exemption from Certain Mitzvos
         [Eliyahu Teitz]
Tzitzis on Tish'ah B'Av
         [Akiva Miller]
Vayichulu on Friday Night
         [Chaim Shapiro]


From: Gilad J. Gevaryahu <Gevaryahu@...>
Date: Mon, 14 Jun 1999 10:33:18 EDT
Subject: Direction during Prayer (Amidah)

This is a follow up to the recent discussion of the issue of direction
during Prayer (Amidah).

I made a survey of five Orthodox synagogues within walking distance of
my house in Main Line Philadelphia (US). I list below the degrees of the
direction of Aron Hakodesh in the shul in relation to the
congregants. Please allow 10 degrees error for my campus.

Raim Ahuvim - 255 degrees (~W)
Talmudical Yeshiva of Philadelphia - 155 degrees (~S)
Beth Hamidrash (Overbrook Park)  - 320 degrees (~NW)
Lower Merion Synagogue - 50 degrees (~NE)
Young Israel of the Main Line - 80 degrees (~E)


1. Not a single synagogue's Aron Kodesh is directed exactly 90 degrees (East).
2. All the above congregation pray in the direction of Aron Hakodesh, and my 
understanding is that this is the practice also elsewhere.
3. At least 3 out of the 5 above were built to be a synagogue, not merely 
moved into an existing building and refitted it to become a synagogue.
4. Direction of the synagogues which were built de novo was determined more 
by the land plot orientation than by any other consideration.

In conclusion. The halacha of prayer in the direction of east has been
delegated a low priority as compared to other consideration. That is, if
this halacha was of such an utmost importance, then congregations would
have bought land plots which would have allowed the synagogues to be
build in the exact orientation of the East, but they did not.

Gilad J. Gevaryahu


From: Joshua Hoffman <JoshHoff@...>
Date: Mon, 14 Jun 1999 08:31:14 EDT
Subject: Re: Eicha Trop

Rav Y.D.Soloveitchek one sumer in Boston said that he had not heard the
change in trop at the third perek of Eicha until he came to Berlin. He
also said that the minhag made a lot of sense, because the mood of Eicha
changes in that perek from one of a questioning and even accusatory
attitude to the churban, to one of acceptance of guilt, as well as a
turn to teshuvah. One sumer in YU, the person leining Eicha made the
change at the third perek,and R.Dovid Lifshitz zt'l, who had never heard
that minhag, told him to revert to the regular trop.


From: Ezriel Krumbein <ezsurf@...>
Date: Sun, 13 Jun 1999 12:38:00 -0700
Subject: Erev Shabbos Dilemma

Something occured a couple of erev Shabbos's ago which I would like to
post for comment.

I was invited to diner Friday night some distance from my home in
Brooklyn.  I was waiting for a bus so I could daven with my host.  While
I was waiting a young woman had car trouble and asked if I could help.
She could not start her car nor could she get the key out of the lock in
the steering wheel.  I do not know much about cars, but thinking that it
might be someting simple (like the car not being in park) I offered to
try. I was able to get the key out of the lock but could not see
anything wrong nor could I start the car.  She went to call for roadside
assitance.  I realized that the car was parked in a bus stop.  She made
some comment about giving up on getting to her destination for Shabbos
and leaving the car.  I told her the car might be towed if left there
since it was in a bus stop.  Just then a bus was coming.  She asked me
to help.  I said OK if it is not my bus.

Now the questions:  

To what extent is a person required to help another.  
Did I have to forego the comfort of the bus ride and help her move the
If it would mean missing davening with a minyan would I still have to
help instead of leaving?  
Does the fact that the car was voluntarily parked in a no parking spot
play any role reguarding my obilgations?
Even though she did not seem concerned about a place to be for Shabbos
was I obligated to question her and try to help?
Does the fact that my host might be put because I will be delayed,  play
any role in the decision to stay and help or not?

Unfortunately I had anly a minute to decide because it was close to
candle lighting time and the bus was there.  Now that I have more time I
am interested in your input so that I will be better prepared next time.

Kol Tov


From: <Phyllostac@...>
Date: Mon, 14 Jun 1999 07:23:31 EDT
Subject: Mitzvah Obligations of Women

 Alexander Heppenheimer <Alexander.Heppenheimer@...> wrote in
Mail-Jewish vol.28#64 "Now in fact, there is at least one other reason
I've heard for the exemption of women from certain mitzvos, namely that
women are on a higher spiritual level than men, and therefore need fewer
mitzvos to bring themselves closer to G-d. Based on this reason alone,
then, it would follow that even in the cases that Stuart described, the
man would still be obligated to keep all the mitzvos in which he was
obligated before. But again, I'm sure that there must be some area of
halachah in which this reason breaks down too, leaving us with the
bottom line: that our human reasons are totally inadequate to explain
any part of Hashem's Will."

The above 'reason' mentioned,which some people nowadays are
promulgating,is very questionable. According to that logic, one might
conclude that non-Jews are on a higher spiritual level than Jews because
they have less mitzvos. Perhaps, with such thinking, they are on such a
high level that Hashem felt they needed only 7 mitzvos to perfect
themselves and not 613.  I would like to know- from where do the
originators of this line of thinking get the assurance to make a such a
sweeping statement that women are on a higher spiritual level than men?
I suspect that certain religious people, after being accused of being
anti-female for a long time, due to things like the blessing 'shelo
asani isha', have creatively developed a whole new theology that claims
that women, in general, are on a higher spiritual level than men, just
by virtue of their gender, figuring that it will deal a body blow to
accusations that orthodoxy/Judaism discriminates against women, turning
such attacks on their heads.
 There are many problems with this though. Firstly, the sources, upon
examination, don't support this sweeping generalization (for an
excellent, detailed rebuttal of this line of thinking see 'Male and
Female He Created Them-A Guide to Classical Torah Commentary on the
Roles and Natures of Men and Women' by Yisrael ben Reuven [Targum
Press-distributed by Feldheim]). Secondly, this theology essentially
puts men down (If you say that women are on a higher level, implied is
that men are on a lower level). Why is it considered okay to put down
men in such a manner by labelling them as inferior? Is it just women
that one cannot say anything negative about? These statements are not
that far, if you think about it, from those emanating from certain
feminists who consider women superior beings and men inferior beings who
lack social skills and sufficient self-control.
 Men are not perfect - but neither are women. Women are human beings -
not angels (malachim) - they have a yetzer hara too - not just
men. Although women perhaps - from a distance - may seem to be less
prone to certain aveiros (such as those involving fighting and
violence), they are more vulnerable to certain other aveiros
perhaps. Let us be wary of sweeping generalizations that portray all
females as saints and angels, just by virtue of their gender.....
 Even if it seems politically correct and useful to counter attacks, one
is not permitted to distort the Torah viewpoint. Let us remember-'the
road to gehennom is paved with good intentions'.
 Thanks for letting me comment on this important matter.  Your's truly,


From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 13 Jun 1999 20:58:55 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Mumbling in Prayer--Alpha waves--relaxation

Yeshaya Halevi brings a delightful study in Volume 28 Number 68 that
people who mumble prayer have increased alpha waves denoting calmness
and relaxation and hence the practice (of mumbling) should not be
denigrated as much as it is.

But that would only be true if the PURPOSE of prayer was to achieve
calmness and relaxation. Indeed!!!! No one disputes that mumbling prayer
can cause calmness and relaxation--but is that the goal of prayer?

Rambam, Prayer Chapters 1 and 5 clearly states that the required emotion
in prayer is not calmness but helplessness. One must stand before God
like a slave or servant before a king. One must be submissive. The King
of Prayer, King David spoke about crying during prayer (because of his
awareness of helplessness). Thus I really think that mumbling in prayer
should be opposed.

However far be it from me to toss out a good scientific study. On Shabbath
it is required to be CALM an RELAXED. Therefore those coming home from
synagogue should mumble the kiddush (to place them in the proper mood!)(In
particular they should not delay the Kiddush with extensive Chazzanuth).

Russell Jay Hendel;
PHd ASA Dept Math & Comp Science Drexel Univ
Moderator Rashi Is Simple


From: Eliyahu Teitz <EDTeitz@...>
Date: Mon, 14 Jun 1999 22:08:52 EDT
Subject: Re: Rationale of Exemption from Certain Mitzvos

  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.)

The other, more obvious difference between positive mitzvos and hair
covering is that hair covering is a prohibition, and women are not
exempt from time-bound prohibitions.



From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Mon, 14 Jun 1999 06:03:59 EDT
Subject: Tzitzis on Tish'ah B'Av

We all pray that in a few weeks, we will all celebrate Tisha B'av from
joy rather than from sorrow. But just in case, I'd like to ask a few
questions about the current practice, as described in Artscroll's "The
Complete Tishah B'av Service" (first edition, June 91). My questions
relate to the practice that we do not wear our Tallis Gadol nor Tefillin
on Tisha B'av until mincha, but we do wear the Tallis Katan even in the
morning. (Orach Chayim 555:1)

1) What is the nature of this practice? It seems clear to me from the
Aruch Hashulchan (555:1-2) that there is no rabbinic decree of any kind
against either the tefillin or the tzitzis, but is a mere custom which
developed, based on p'sukim (Eicha 2:1 and 2:17) and the midrashim on
them, and by comparison to a mourner, who does not wear tefillin on the
first day. Thus, it appears to me that this custom applies specifically
to the Tallis Gadol and the Tefillin, but *not* to the Tallis Katan. Are
there any other views on this general topic?

2) Artscroll says not to make the bracha on the tzitzis in the morning.
The Mishna Brurah (555:2) says that some hold that the bracha *should* be
said in the morning. What is the reasoning to omit this bracha in the
morning? Even if one will be wearing his Tallis Gadol at mincha, and the
bracha can be said then, is it right to be doing the mitzvah of tzitzis
for so many long summer hours without having said a bracha on them?

3) If during the rest of the year, a person does not wear a Tallis Gadol
at all, such as a single boy or man, when should he say the bracha?
Should he delay the bracha until the afternoon? What would be gained by

4) The Mishna Brurah (51:1) says that when reciting Baruch She'amar in
Shacharis, we should hold the front two tzitzis, and then to kiss then at
the end. But the Artscroll for Tishah B'av says "The tzitzis are not held
during its recitation, and are not kissed at its conclusion." This is
obviously referring to the tzitzis of the tallis katan, which are the
only tzitzis being worn at the time. I would like to know why this usual
practice is not followed. (I suspect the answer will be similar to the
answer to the next question:)

5) In contrast to the practice for all other mornings of the year, in the
paragraph before the Shema, Artscroll says, "The tzitzis are not gathered
at this point and are not kissed during the last paragraph of the Shema."
Again, this is obviously referring to the tzitzis of the tallis katan.
But what is wrong with kissing them now? I was taught that we never kiss
the tzitzis during the Shema of Maariv, because there is no mitzvah to
wear them at that time, and we do not want to make it look like there is
indeed such a mitzvah. But there IS a mitzvah to wear them on Tish'ah
B'Av! So what is wrong with kissing the tzitzis in the morning?

Thank you,
Akiva Miller


From: Chaim Shapiro <Dagoobster@...>
Date: Sun, 13 Jun 1999 13:25:05 EDT
Subject: Vayichulu on Friday Night

	This question is low down on the importance scale, however,
Vayichulu during marriv on Friday night must be said with at least one
other individual.  Why then, in every shul I have visited, does the
Chazzan only wait for the Rabbi to take three steps back at Oseh Shalom?
By the time the Rabbi finishes Shemonai Esrai, he will not be able to
say Vayichulu with the Minyan!  Shouldn't the Chazzan wait until the
Rabbi completely finishes Davening?


End of Volume 28 Issue 78