Volume 29 Number 78
                 Produced: Mon Sep  6  9:31:57 US/Eastern 1999

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Ba'asher hu sham & Ben sorer umoreh
         [Dov Teichman]
Different Customs in the Same Shul (A Proposal)
         [Carl M. Sherer]
Disabled children
         [Freda B Birnbaum]
EMLA for Brit
         [Josh Backon]
Finding book: Baby who tricked Angel & remembers Torah
         [David Ferleger]
Mikveh and unmarrieds
         [Gitelle Rapoport]
Pshat vs Teitch (translation)
         [Ellen Krischer]
Slavery and a Higher Moral Authority
         [Joel Rich]


From: Dov Teichman <DTnLA@...>
Date: Thu, 2 Sep 1999 23:32:18 EDT
Subject: Ba'asher hu sham & Ben sorer umoreh

<<A question occured to me and I haven't seen an answer:
  The ben sorer u-moreh is executed because "better he should die
 innocent than guilty" or similar language.  Yet, about Yishmoel Hashem
 says "I have seen him ba'asher hu sham," meaning that He can only judge
 him based on the way he is right now.  Has anyone seen an answer to this

 The Sifsei Chachomim asks that exact question in Parshas Ki Seitzei
(Devorim 21:18) where the Torah discusses the Ben Sorer Umoreh. He gives
two answers:
 1. Yishmael was judged based on his present actions because he had not
yet begun to do any wrong. This is different from a Ben Sorer Umoreh who
has begun to do evil by stealing meat and wine from his father,
therefore he is judged with regard to his future actions which will
incur a death penalty and is punished with death immediately.
 2. The Heavenly Court has no right to judge a person on his future
actions, hence Yishmael was spared. However, an earthly court must judge
a person on his future actions and therefore a Ben Sorer Umore must be

Ksiva VaChasima Tova,
Dov Teichman


From: Carl M. Sherer <csherer@...>
Date: Tue, 31 Aug 1999 12:01:01 +0300
Subject: Different Customs in the Same Shul (A Proposal) 

Sherri and Seth Kadish write:

> All siddurim published in Israel today and labeled "Ashkenaz" are
> arranged according to the customs of the Vilna Gaon ("Nosah ha-Gra").

Not quite. Just to give a few examples:

Most siddurim labeled "Ashkenaz" have v'Shomroo before the 
Kaddish before Shmoneh Esrei at Maariv on Friday night. Minhag 
haGra omits it.
Most siddurim labeled "Ashkenaz" do not have, or at best have 
only a list, of the Pirkei Tehillim that Minhag haGra says for each 
Chag. Most Machzorim labeled Ashkenaz have neither a list nor 
the Tehillim.
Most siddurim labeled "Ashkenaz" have Hoshanos after Musaf on 
Succos; Minhag haGra says them after Shachris.


>  The Order of Public Prayer.
> 	We must set one common standard for the *order* the prayers to
> be said in, so that the community will not be confused.  In our
> "minyan", the *order* will be according to the nosah of the hasidim, and
> specifically as printed in "Siddur Rinat Yisrael Nosah Sefarad".  We
> chose this siddur because the majority of the community is familiar with
> it and the its order of prayers is well-known.
> 	Example: Saying "Hodu" and the mizmorim for Shabbat before
> "Barukh She-Amar" and not afterwards (as opposed to Nosah Ashkenaz).
> 	Example: Lifting the Sefer Torah ("hagba") after reading it, not
> beforehand (as opposed to the Eastern custom).
> 	Example: "Alenu" at the very end of Shaharit (as opposed to
> Nosah Ashkenaz).
> 	During the Yamim Noraim - a time when the hazzanut customs in
> Ashkenazic communities are very complicated, and there are significant
> variations among the different communities - each hazzan may pray
> according to his custom even regarding the *order* of the prayers
> (mainly: the selection and order of piyyutim).  But this is on condition
> that the hazzan write a list of changes before the holiday, and explain
> them to the gabbai, who will in turn guide the community through them.

I don't see why this is any different than the "Nusach Achid." You are
essentially telling people, "we're davening Nusach Sfard" (as opposed to
Ashkenaz or Edot Mizrach). People who daven Nusach Ashkenaz or Edot
HaMizrach will find this order of prayer unfamiliar, will feel
uncomfortable and will daven elsewhere (except for the occasional minyan
here and there). I know I would not daven in that minyan on a regular
basis (unless the only alternative is Eidot HaMizrach, with which I
would be even more uncomfortable), because I would not be comfortable,
and because I would want my children to learn the tradition with which I
grew up, which is Ashkenaz.

> B.  The "Nusach" (Melody) of Prayer
> 	In accordance with the custom of most members, the regular
> "nusach" in our minyan will be the variety of melodies common in
> Ashkenazic communities.

I think you're placing too much importance on melody. Maybe that's
because I daven in a very Litvish place in which there is no singing
except on the Yamim Noraim (we even recite Keil Adon responsively on
Shabbos morning), but I think that most Israelis place a lot less
importance on melody than you are placing on it.

> 	Anyone reading the Torah may sing the te`amim according to his
> own custom, and should try to read accurately according to that custom.

Doesn't that contradict the whole idea of having a uniform mode of 

> C.  The Nosah (Text) of Prayer
> 	Although the *order* of community prayer will be according to
> the nosah of the hasidim, the sheliah tzibbur may recite individual
> blessings and prayers according to his own nosah, no matter what his
> custom is.

What about the things one Nosach says which the other doesn't?  For
example, suppose a Chazan wants to skip Ha'Aderes v'ha'Emuna on Shabbos
(Nosach Ashkenaz doesn't say it). Do you allow him to skip it?

> 	We want our children to be familiar with and respect all of the
> different nosahim, knowing that all customs are acceptable to God.  We
> also want our children, when they are older, to be able to (and want to)
> pray with together comfortably within any community, regardless of what
> their custom is.

That's a noble goal, but I don't think you're going to accomplish it by
trying to fit all the square pegs of the current nosachim into a round
hole which is essentially the same as Rav Goren zt"l's Nosach Achid
(which, as I understand it, was really developed only for the army in an
attempt to allow all of the soldiers to daven together where otherwise
there might not have been enough for a minyan). I would suggest that you
might be better off by doing what many of the shtiblach in Yerushalayim
do, which is that whatever Nosach the shliach tzibur (leader) davens is
the Nosach for that minyan. Alternatively, you may want to set aside
three rooms and have three separate minyanim. In our neighborhood, there
is one shul (at least) that is Nosach Sfard (Chasidi) upstairs and
Nosach Ashkenaz downstairs, and the Rav davens with the Nosach Ashkenaz
and (usually) says a drasha every Shabbos m'vorchim (the Shabbos before
Rosh Chodesh). I think your current proposal will leave your children
with a Nosach that is not a Nosach and which probably won't be
applicable anyplace else they might go.

-- Carl

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: Freda B Birnbaum <fbb6@...>
Date: Thu, 2 Sep 1999 16:29:30 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Disabled children

Someone just sent me this quotation which they said was from an article
in this week's _Lancet_ (a medical journal).

"Traditional beliefs about disability are not always negative.  For
example, studies from northern Mexico and Botswana report that the birth
of a disabled child is viewed as evidence of God's trust in specific
parents' ability to care well for a delicate child."

I have a feeling that I've seen similar sentiments expressed
occasionally in frum circles, but have no sources for this.  Does anyone
have any idea where this could be pursued?  Sadly, I've also seen in
frum circles a hesitation to deal with this situation openly, I suspect
partly because of the anxiety about how the disabled person will affect
siblings' "shidduch prospects".  I'd welcome any information anyone has
on this.

Freda Birnbaum, <fbb6@...>
"Call on God, but row away from the rocks"


From: Josh Backon <BACKON@...>
Date: Thu,  2 Sep 1999 23:07 +0200
Subject: Re: EMLA for Brit

There are two aspects: medical and halachic. There was a paper in ASSIA
(the Medical Halacha journal from Shaare Zedek Hospital) about 2-3 years
ago on using anesthetics for a BRIT.

Medically: it's not needed. Place some drops of sweet red wine on the
infant's tongue *before* the Brit and make sure the infant is kept in
what's called the right lateral decubitus position (Peyrush Rashi: on
his right side) for at least 10 minutes prior to and during the brit. He
won't feel any pain at all.

Josh Backon


From: David Ferleger <david@...>
Date: Wed, 1 Sep 1999 22:52:29 -0400
Subject: Finding book: Baby who tricked Angel & remembers Torah

I am looking for a book - don't know the title and hope someone knows it.

It is a humorous/serious book - Eastern Europe setting - and begins with
an angel transporting a new Neshama/baby to a poor couple. The baby has
tricked the angel: by putting some clay on his nose area, he (the baby)
has avoided the angel's touch which normally makes the baby forget all
the Torah the baby has learned in Gan Eden. So the baby is born to the
couple with great Torah and practical knowledge. He tricked the angel by
getting the angel drunk.

Someone help me find the book?

David Ferleger
10 Presidential Blvd, Suite 115, Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004
610 668 2221   610 668 3889 fax
http://www.ferleger.com, Web Site for Disability, Jewish and Legal Links


From: Gitelle Rapoport <giteller@...>
Date: Wed, 1 Sep 1999 15:07:02 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Mikveh and unmarrieds

>We see that in the Mishne Brura's time single women were tovel on erev
>Yom Hakiporim (see M.B. Orach Chayim 606:4 siman katan 17 ).
>When and why was this discontinued? Reuven

It was not discontinued. At least not for some women in some
communities, particularly among certain chasidim. Various acharonim
objected to the practice for fear it would lead to promiscuity, but
others did not. Indeed, the minhag is still maintained today by some
women. See my article "Mikvah on Erev Yom Kippur: Not for Women Only" in
September, 1998 issue of Le'ela, which discusses the question in
detail. (A somewhat more extensive version is scheduled to be included
in Vol. 2 of "Jewish Legal Writings by Women," scheduled to be
published, IY"H, by Urim Publications during the next year.)

Gitelle Rapoport


From: Ellen Krischer <krischer@...>
Date: Wed, 1 Sep 1999 14:37:29 -0400 
Subject: RE: Pshat vs Teitch (translation)

> Yossi Geretz writes:
> How about if your 6th grader came home before Pesach, with Shir HaShirim
> translated as a lewd love song (Chas V'Shalom)? Would you be just as
> happy with your son's Rebbi? 

The problem I would have is not with the Rebbi but with the school for
considering this 6th grade material.  (I freely admit no experience with
Jewish Studies curricula, so educators out there are free to tell me I'm
crazy on this point.)  I don't think you can honestly teach Shir
HaShirim and ignore the fact that the whole thing is written as a love
song.  (And since when is mature love always "lewd"?)

> I'm not familiar with your reference to 'what many schools are
> teaching now' but perhaps what you term 'mish-mash of Torah, halacha and
> drash' I call 'Torah SheBichsav & Torah SheB'Al Peh'.

I don't mind schools teaching Bichsav (what is written) and B'Al Peh
(what is oral) but I think it is crucial for the children to be taught
that there is a DIFFERENCE between the two.

The text does not tell us why God did not let Moshe into the land of
Israel.  The commentators fill that gap and explain.  However, I find
tremendous significance in the fact that the reason is not stated
outright.  We can't even have a discussion about the significance unless
we both agree that the simple Pshat doesn't tell us the reason.  If you
insist that the commentators give us the Pshat, then we can't even agree
on the statement "the text doesn't tell us why Moshe can't go in."

In your 'eye for an eye' case - I think part of the process of
discovering (what I would call) Pshat (and you would call translation)
is understanding the Biblical Hebrew nuances of "Tachat".  Should it be
"eye *for* an eye"?  Should it be "underneath?" - what does that mean?
"Instead of an eye?"  We can't have that discussion either if you insist
the translation is "monetary compensation in place of an eye."

Ellen Krischer


From: Joel Rich <Joelirich@...>
Date: Thu, 2 Sep 1999 11:51:17 EDT
Subject: Re: Slavery and a Higher Moral Authority

<< Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>, writing about slavery, expresses the heart
 of the matter about whether Halacha should take notice of external moral
 standards that, on the face of it at least, are higher than the Torah's
 moral standards:  >>

For anyone really interested in this crucial question I suggest reading
R' A.  Lichtenstein's paper - Does Jewish Tradition Recognize an Ethic
Independent of Halacha (found in Modern Jewish Ethics edited by Marvin
Fox) and/or the Yeshivat Har Etzion Virtual Bet Medrash series on
developing a tora personality.

Joel Rich


End of Volume 29 Issue 78