Volume 29 Number 27
                 Produced: Fri Jul 30  5:59:21 US/Eastern 1999

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

3 year torah reading cycle (2)
         [Gershon Klavan, Avi Feldblum]
Ashkenazic custom
         [Richard Wolpoe]
Brocho 'shelo Asani Isha'
         [David Kaufmann]
Earliest References to Yom Tov Names/Associations
         [Elie Rosenfeld]
Hakafot on Simchat Torah
         [Elie Rosenfeld]
Regarding Hilchot Shabbos
         [Carl M. Sherer]
Sensor Alarms and Shabbos
         [Akiva Miller]
Tallit Katan
         [Michael and Abby Pitkowsky]
Vihi Noam on Saturday Nite
         [Boruch Merzel]
Yizkor and Chag
         [Yisrael Medad]


From: Gershon Klavan <klavan@...>
Date: Mon, 26 Jul 1999 13:10:50 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 3 year torah reading cycle

 I have long assumed without any evidence on either side that the Eretz
Yisrael custom of a 3 year torah reading cycle died out / ended sometime
around the Gaonic era.
 Can this be narrowed down to a slightly smaller time frame and do we
have any sources for the end of this minhag?

Gershon Klavan

From: Avi Feldblum <mljewish@...>
Date: Tue, 27 Jul 1999 05:55:49 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: 3 year torah reading cycle

Yaari brings down a few paragraphs on this, but I'm sure there other on
the list with more detailed sources. The Minhag extended in Eretz
Yisrael till the late Geonic period, and in some places significantly
longer. In the "Eretz Yisrael" shul in Egypt, the three year cycle was
still active as late as 1170 CE.

Avi Feldblum
mail-jewish Moderator


From: Richard Wolpoe <richard_wolpoe@...>
Date: Tue, 27 Jul 1999 13:31:08 -0400
Subject: Ashkenazic custom

From: Eli Clark <clarke@...> 
> It is true that Jewish historians have been able to identify certain
> antecedents for specific Ashkenazic customs, but that does not mean
> that any of them adopt a blanket assumption that all Ashkenazic
> customs are pre-Rishonic until proven otherwise...

I NEVER said they were or were not pre-Rishonic.  What I DID say was
they offer were completely indpendent of the Bavli.  I'll stick to that

As far as antecedents, I think the nature of oral mesorah is that they
wer unpblished so how can anyone possibly document the undocumented?
Analogy: Since there are no documented references to the Zohar or a
Medrash of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, therefore the Zohar as published
must have sprung forth from the inventive mind of R. M. De Leone.

As far as age goes, I would refer you to the Ashkenaz liturgy which has
dozens if not hundreds of piyyutim authored by R. Eliezer Hakalir,
Piyytim largely ignored by the Sefardic tradition.  So in terms of
documentary evidence, may I suggest that Minhag Ashkenaz stems from
Kalir's time forward.  I'll let you choose when to date Kalir, and also
to realize that he was probably recording what was largely accepted
tradition as opposed to innovating anything.

Rich Wolpoe


From: David Kaufmann <kaufmann@...>
Date: Wed, 28 Jul 1999 09:15:46 -0500
Subject: Re: Brocho 'shelo Asani Isha'

In regard to the brocho 'shelo asani isha' I recommend the short article
written by Rabbi Manis Friedman. It can be found at:


(By the way, if one goes higher up, i.e., to: www.rabbifriedman.org
there are a lot of good resources. Rabbi Friedman is a very well known
lecturer on relationships and author of many audio tapes and the book
Doesn't Anyone Blush Any More?)


From: Elie Rosenfeld <erosenfe@...>
Date: Mon, 26 Jul 1999 10:53:33 -0400
Subject: Earliest References to Yom Tov Names/Associations

Apropos of the discussion of the origin of Hakafos, I've always wondered
about the earliest sources for each of the following names/associations
for Yom Tovim, since none of them appear in the Torah:

1) Shavous as Z'man Matan Toraseynu - the anniversary of the giving of
the Torah.  In the Torah it is only associated with the harvest and/or
with the count of weeks from Pesach.

2) Rosh Hashanah as the New Year - it the Torah it is always "Yom
Ha'Zikaron" - day of remembrance, with no connection with the start of
new year.

3) The name "Pesach" used for the whole seven-day holiday.  In the
Torah, Pesach always refers to the time of bringing/eating of the Korban
Pesach on the afternoon/night of the 14th-15th.  The full seven-day
holiday is always "Chag Ha'Matzos" in the Torah.

Are there any sources later in the Tanach for these usages?  If not,
anything prior to the Mishnah? (by which time all three
names/associations were clearly in common usage.)




From: Elie Rosenfeld <erosenfe@...>
Date: Mon, 26 Jul 1999 10:33:11 -0400
Subject: Hakafot on Simchat Torah

This discussion reminds me of a question my father asked long ago.  Why
is there a marking for Shevi'i [the 7th Aliyah] in V'zos Haberacha,
given that it is read on Simchas Torah which never falls on Shabbos?  A
simple answer might be that it is needed in Israel when Shmini Atzeres
(== Simchas Torah) could fall on Shabbos, but even in that case Chasan
B'reishis should count as Shevi'i.  Is the existence of a regular
Shevi'i evidence that when the yearly parsha cycle was first set up,
V'zos Haberacha was read on a regular Shabbos, and that the current
custom of reading it on Simchas Torah and adding Chasan B'reishis (or
perhaps just the latter) came later?

(This is all ignoring, of course, the historically recent custom of
making infinite hosaphos in V'zos Haberacha.)

If you've seen anything interesting on this, please pass along!



From: Carl M. Sherer <csherer@...>
Date: Mon, 26 Jul 1999 21:22:19 +0300
Subject: Regarding Hilchot Shabbos

David Zilberberg writes:

> Second, you should not feel at all uncomfortable about relying on an
> eruv on shabbos.  Eruv is a time-honored institution firmly based in
> halakha.  The rishonim endorsef their contruction duroing the medieval
> times, and would even put into charem those that would doubt the
> legitmacy of eruvim.  

While I personally generally do use Eruvin on Shabbos, I think it's
important to point out that the matter is not as clear cut as what is
quoted above might lead you to believe. In fact there is a tremendous
machlokes rishonim (argument among the early scholars) as to whether an
eruv *around a city* may be used on Shabbos (see the Biur Halacha in
Siman 306 who brings some twelve opinions in both directions, and
concludes that a "yirei Shamayim" (one who fears Heaven) should not rely
on an eruv around a city). I understand that "Briskers" generally do not
rely on eruvin around the city.

If the original poster is interested in learning more about eruvin, I
would commend him to a sefer on the subject written by Rabbi Yosef
Gavriel Bechhoffer, who often contributes to this list. The book is
called "The Contemporary Eruv," and is published by Feldheim.

-- 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: Akiva Miller <kgmiller@...>
Date: Mon, 26 Jul 1999 17:41:07 -0400
Subject: Sensor Alarms and Shabbos

Occasionally, especially on these long summer Shabbosim/tot, I or my
kids feel a desire to spend some time in the local public library. The
problem that I see is the sensors located at both exits. They appear to
be very similar to the ones in stores. On each side as you leave the
building is a flat panel, about a foot wide and 3-4 feet tall, which
tries to determine if you have taken any books without officially
checking them out; in stores, they are trying to determine if you have
taken any merchandise without paying for it. Each book in the library
contains some kind of small device, which is neutralized (for lack of a
better guess) when the book is checked out. In stores, there is either a
small cheap device which is similarly neutralized, or (especially in
clothing stores) a more expensive device which is removed when you pay
for the merchandise.

My question is if anyone knows how these things work. Can anyone supply
any factual information, so that others can determine how these things
fit into the Shabbos laws. For example, is the detector a passive device
which sounds an alarm only when an active trigger goes by it, which
would suggest that one could go through it on Shabbos, just like one can
walk past an open microphone, as long as he does so silently? Or perhaps
the detector is an active device, always measuring whatever it is that
it's looking for; if so, perhaps a person and/or his clothing is noticed
by the machine, but the level of whatever-its-looking-for is lower than
the level which would set off the burglar alarm. This would suggest that
one could *not* go through it on Shabbos, since it is a psik reisha that
the electric current will change while walking through.

(Lest anyone compare this situation to walking though an area which has
a video surveillance camera looking at it, let me point out that
situation has many mitigating circumstances, such as a possible lack of
awareness that the camera is operating, and the importance of being able
to go through that area. My question concerns going to the library for
purely recreational purposes, to read the books that are there, without
checking them out or returning them, and the sensor alarms are quite
visible and obvious.)

Akiva Miller


From: Michael and Abby Pitkowsky <pitab@...>
Date: Wed, 28 Jul 99 15:43:32 PDT
Subject: Tallit Katan

The earliest sourcs that I am aware of which speak of a tallit katan
is from the Mordechai (13-14th cent. Ashkenaz) in his Laws of Tzizit
Par. 943 (usually at the end of the Gemara with Messechet Zevahim
and Menahot).  There he talks about a garment which is worn underneath
people's clothing and how one can make sure that it is properly made
for the mitzvah of tzizit.

Name: Michael Menahem and Abby Pitkowsky
E-mail: <pitab@...> 


From: Boruch Merzel <BoJoM@...>
Date: Mon, 26 Jul 1999 17:44:47 EDT
Subject: Vihi Noam on Saturday Nite

Dr,Russell Jay Handell writes in Vol.29 #19
>  would appear to me that we say VIHI NOAM and ATAH KADOSH on
>  Saturday night for the same reason that we say Magen Avoth on Friday night
>  I infer this from the fact that the Rambam (prayer 9:10-14) combines
>  in the same set of paragraphs both (a) the requirement to say Magen Avoth
>  on Friday night as well as (b) the requirement to say "the order of the
>  day (Vihi Noam and Attach Kadosh) on Saturday night.
>  So I assume the reason for Magen Avoth extends to VIHI NOAM.

When the Rambam states that one says the "the order of the day" on
Saturday nite, he is not referring to Vihi Noam, but to the K'dusha that
is said in the V'atah Kodosh.  Note his use of the same phrase in the
immediately preceding Halacha concerning Shabbos Mincha, where we are
told that "Seder Hayom" is preceded by Ashrei and followed by "Divrei
Tachanunim".  Elsewhere the Rambam refers to these passages as "Seder

On Friday nite is was necessary to extend Maariv because late comers,
delayed by last minute preparations for Shabbos, should not be allowed
the possibly dangerous lone walk at nite back to town.  This was not
true on Saturday nite, since it was assumed everybody came to shul early
enough before or during Shabbos Mincha, no week day pressure or business
to delay them. Thus, all left shule together after Havdallah.

The reason for Vihi Noam , as cited by the Tur in 295, is that it is the
Bracha with which Moshe blessed Israel upon the completion of the
tabernacle and is now extended to Jews as they resume their daily
labours .  This is followed by the 91st psalm which is recited as
protection against evil forces that may threaten Jews as they go back
out into their every day world.  This Psalm is referred to as the "Shir
shel pga'im" or more euphemistically "shir shel bracha".  The Zohar is
quoted often as suggesting the recitation of this psalm as protection
against evil forces.

If a Yom Tov occurs during the following week, Vihi Noam, etc. is not
recited because there wil not be a full week of work days and the
k'dusha that the Yom Tov will bring with it obviates the need for the
special protection that Psalm 91 is meant invoke.

Abudaraham, tells us the reason for saying V'ata Kodosh ("Seder
K'dusha") following Vihi Noam is that it is "not proper for the disciple
to seek blessings for himself without also blessing the master (G-d)."
Therefore when Vihi Noam is not said there is no need to say V'atah
Kodosh. (See, too, RaMah on O.Ch. 295 for reason why V'atah Kodosh is
said in full and slowly, rather than just the Kdusha alone).

 Hence: Vihi Noam is said as a blessing for the success of our labours
during the coming week; ""Yoshev Beseser, Psalm 91 as a prayer for G-d's
protection against evils with which we might be confronted during the
week;"V'atah Kodosh" as apraise of G*d whom we look to for blessing and

Boruch Merzel


From: Yisrael Medad <isrmedia@...>
Date: Wed, 28 Jul 1999 21:21:58 +0300
Subject: Yizkor and Chag

In response to Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>, 20 Jul 1999, who wrote: "I
think that it is deliberate to "mix" the solemnity of Yizkor with the
celebration of Hakafot..."

Shmuel Glick just published an article in Sinai on Yizkor and raises the
question of "mixing", especially on the Chaggim of such a prayer.  To
 a) there are no Biblical or Talmudic sources for the minhag.
 b) the first mention of any sort of memorial is in 9th cent. Bavel in a
Responsa of Rav Natronai Gaon (Shaarei Tzedek, III, Gate 4, Par. 12) but
is limited to the Nassi.
 c) an extention of this minhag was in the 11th cent in Eretz Yisrael
and Egypt but reserved for wealthy contributors but this was frowned
upon by North African and Spanish sages.
 d) the first Yizkor as we now it was following the First Crusade in
1096 in Ashkenaz but the prayer was recited on but two Shabbatot: before
Shavu'ot and Tisha B'av.
 e) From the 12th cent., Yizkor was said on more Shabbatot but only for
Rabbis and community leaders.
 f) to accomodate all, Yom Kippur was set as the day for general Yizkor
and the first mention of this is in the Vitri Siddur.
 g) the first mention of Yom Tov and Yizkor is by the Rokeach (13th
cent) in the Laws for Yom Kippur 29, 30 when he writes about permitting
the announcing of collecting alms on Yom Kippur but not Yom Tov.
 h) the first full mention of the custom is by Moshe Mollin in his Sefer
Minhagei HaMaharil in the Laws for Hoshanna Raba (14th cent): "the
principle is that on every Yom Tov when we recite "each person according
to the gift of his hand" (Devarim 16:17), we recall souls and say Av

Glick establishes that here is the "chiddush", the new custom, as on
Chag, Tachanun is prohibited, no fasting and all Tishrei and Nissan
there are no eulogies yet we refer to the dead and pray for them through
Yizkor.  He links it to the giving of Tzedekah (recalling the duty to
come to Yerushalayim with a gift) and since one donates Tzedekah as an
aid for the dead, the prayer was added (see Yom Tov Lipmann of
Yalhouizen (?), Sefer Nitzachon, noted by Ta-Shma, Ancient Ashkenza
Customs, p. 309-310)

Yisrael Medad


End of Volume 29 Issue 27