Volume 30 Number 22
                 Produced: Sun Nov 28  9:21:55 US/Eastern 1999

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

About Matching Charity Donations
         [Deborah Stepelman]
         [Percy Mett]
L'cha Dodii during festival (was "Ashkenaz Nusach on Chag/Shabbat")
Modim D'Rabbanan
         [Steven Oppenheimer]
Near Death experiences
         [Sherman Family]
Previous Generations
         [Meir Shinnar]
Where would you like to live?
         [Rena Freedenberg]


From: Deborah Stepelman <stepelma@...>
Date: Thu, 25 Nov 1999 12:30:55 -0500 (EST)
Subject: About Matching Charity Donations

Carl Singer suggests that many large companies have programs for
matching charity donations and we should try to get "Jewish" charities
on the list.

I recently bought a laptop online from ValueAmerica.  Their policy is to
donate 1 % of each purchase to charity. I was surprised and delighted to
see the UJA on their list. This has become an effortless way to increase
donations to the UJA, even though I personally am not giving the

Debby Stepelman


From: Percy Mett <p.mett@...>
Date: Thu, 25 Nov 1999 16:37:18 +0000
Subject: Ashkefard

Rick Turkel writes:

>	With all due respect to Elie Rosenfeld, the goal of
>transliteration is to give the reader an idea of the proper
>pronunciation of the words in question (within one system or the other),

No this is incorrect. Transliteration is a system of representing one
orthography in terms of another. So a system of transliteration would be
used to represent Hebrew words in the Roman alphabet. A consistent
system of transliteration allows the reader to convert back to the
original. This can be very useful for email which is usally available in
the limited ASCII character set and has no Hebrew symbols. A differen
tform of transliteration would be required for Yiddish, which has a
different alphabet from Hebrew.

What the writer presumably means is a transcription system, which
represents the sounds of a given piece of text. of course this
presupposes that writer and reader are both agreed on the pronunction of
the original.

>posted the original examples above in m.j 29#94) that the use of "a" to
>represent two sounds as different phonetically as an Ashqenazi patach
>and qamatz (I use a Sefardi transliteration) is unacceptable.  While
No reasonable person could disagree with this.

>it's true that an Ashqenazi qamatz and cholem also represent slightly
>different sounds, they're a lot closer to one another than the qamatz

Eh?  for many (most?) Ashkenazim the choylem and qomats sound nothing
like each other. the use of one symbol to represent both is an eternal
source of confusion.

Perets Mett


From: <TUTTLE@...>
Date: Fri Nov 12 18:37:38 1999
Subject: L'cha Dodii during festival (was "Ashkenaz Nusach on Chag/Shabbat")

>From: Yisrael Medad <isrmedia@...>
>As I was just asked to daven Arvit for the Chag, I was reminded of a
>problem of the nusach.
>What is the Ashkenaz custom - L'cha Dodi (4 out of 9) or not at all?

Seen a couple of the responses, but just to add my own two cents:

I have seen three different main minhagim (I regret that I do not know what
true Sefardic or Yemenite shuls do):
A) "Ashkenaz"/ Lithuanian (especially as practiced in many Yeshivos):  start
with Mizmor Shir (no L'chu N'ran'na or anything up to that point).
B) Ashkenaz/German (no quotes since Ashkenaz means Germany):  say regular
Kabolos Shabos (L'chu N'ran'na & all verses of L'cha Dodi).
C) Chassidic/"Sefard":  say regular Kabolos Shabos starting from L'chu
N'ran'na but omit many of the verses of L'cha Dodi.

Many times shuls observing custom "A" will say "Mizmor Shir" & "Hashem
Moloch" immediately after Mincha even if there is a delay before Maariv, so
as to be M'Kabel Shabos before Sh'kia (dusk).
In these shuls, the Mishnayos for Shabbos are usually not said on Yom Tov or
Chol Hamoed.
In (B), where the Mishnayos are usually said after Shemoneh Esreh, there is
apparently no reason to omit them (as another poster also mentioned that it
is said in those Minhagim).
In Chassidic ("Nusach Sefard") congregations, there are many different
customs of which verses of L'cha Dodi are said or skipped.  The Mishnayos in
the Ashkenazic rite are usually replaced by "K'Gav'na"
(a Kabbalistic section in Aramaic) which in most synagogues is not skipped
because of Yom Tov or Chol Hamoed.

In a related post, someone mentioned "L'david Hashem Ori" which is said by
many shuls from Elul until Shmini Atzeres.  I have noticed in Telz Chicago
they do not say this Psalm - any other shuls or Yeshivos have similar


From: Steven Oppenheimer <oppy@...>
Date: Thu, 25 Nov 1999 13:51:17 -0500
Subject: Modim D'Rabbanan

Dear Carl,

You wrote
>"Regarding saying the entire Modim aloud, see the Mishnah Berurah (150?)
>where he says that the Shaliach Tzibur should say the words "modim
>anachnu lach" with the Tzibur and then wait for them to finish before
>continuing so that the Tzibur hears the entire Modim."

In fact the Mishnah Berurah writes the opposite.  Please see MB 127:3
where he writes that the Shatz does not have to wait but davens as he
normally would.

Nonetheless, it is still desirable for the Shatz to wait for the Kahal
(congregation) to finish saying Modim D'Rabbanan.  The Shatz should also
not say Modim silently but must say all the words out loud (see MB
124:41).  Mishnah Berurah writes that he does not know from where the
custom of some chazanim arose to say Modim silently since the Takanah of
Chazarat HaShatz requires that it all be said out loud.

Unlike the Mishnah Berurah who writes that the Shatz need not wait for
the congregants to finish saying Modim D'Rabbanan, Rav Ephraim
Greenblatt, shlita (vol.5 siman 76 of Rivevot Ephraim) writes in the
name of Rav Elyashiv, shlita that the Shatz should say Modim Anachnu
Lach out loud, then wait for the Tzibbur (congregation) to finish Modim
D'Rabbanan, then continue saying the rest of Modim out loud.  This is
the Shita of the Rosh ( See Tur 57 and M.A. 57:3 ).  This is also the
direction given by the Rav ( Rav Soloveitchik, zt"l ).  See Nefesh

For a detailed discussion of this topic, see Bishveelai HaMinhag, by R.
Elyakum Dvorkus (Vol. 2 pp. 47-51).

I enjoy your comments.  Please keep writing.

With Torah blessings,
Steven Oppenheimer


From: Sherman Family <sherman@...>
Date: Tue, 23 Nov 1999 21:34:03 -0500
Subject: Re: Near Death experiences

THE VIEW FROM ABOVE by Rachel Noam is a book about a young Israeli woman
who experienced an out of body, near death experience and then returns
to life.  Her soul could actually "see" the inert body from its view
from above.  Raised on a socialist kibbutz, the near death experience
motivated her to seek out answers. She becomes observant.


From: Meir Shinnar <meir_shinnar@...>
Date: Tue Nov 16 17:55:34 1999
Subject: Previous Generations

>Something that a Gadol did in the past that rasies questions as to its
>validity, without that Gadol ever having explained the Hallachic
>background for what he did, is NOT Torah she'be'alpeh.  It is an
>inexplicable action by a Gadol.  

Then you believe the gadol violated halacha.  There is a concept of
ma'aseh rav.

>If there were a known previous
>Hallachic view that jives with what the Gadol did, then we could say
>that he did as that Hallachic view.  But if the gadol's actions _appear_
>to contradict Hallacha, then how can we put words in that Gadol's mouth
>trying to explain exactly what was done and why they were done and what
>Hallachic justification there was for it.?

(sigh) This is getting repetitious, but, let's try once more.

As there may be multiple halachic reasons why the gadol paskened that
way, it is true that we do not know which one he accepted.  However, by
acting that way, we can accept that he accepted this as being muttar.

Let me ask: I ask rav A whether mixed swimming is allowed, and he says
yes.  I don't ask rav B, but I go to the beach with him.  Why doesn't
either one of these constitute a public statement that this is muttar?
Do I need a detailed analysis of why this does not violate hilchot erva
to know that this rav does not think that it violates hilchot erva?

Much of the gemara and rishonim is filled with stories about rabbanim
who acted in ways that seemed against the standard halacha.  Even though
we don't always rule in accordance with those actions, those actions are
accorded respect, and the rav is assumed to have his reasons.  Ma'ase
rav does have halachic status.

There is a well known story about rav Soloveichik being asked about
brewing tea on shabbat (which was forbidden by the hazon ish), and he
said that his grandfather (rav haim) brewed tea on shabat, and he was an
ehrliche yid.  He did not go into an exposition of the laws of bishul.

With regard to the halachic justification, most of the halachot that we
are talking about (kol isha (women's voice), mixed swimming, mixed
dancing), the major issue seems to be the definition of erva (lewdness).
It is clear that there are halachically at least two separate categories
of erva - those that are objectively determined, and those that reflect
current social norms (which determines what is unacceptably stimulating)
.  Thus, the famous aruch hashulchan who says that today, because women
no longer covered their hair, uncovered hair is no longer erva for the
sake of tefilla (even though he still requires hair covering).  Much of
the machloket in the literature is that to the extent to which these
actions are described as erva in classical sources, the erva is meant to
be taken objectively versus to be one governed by social norms.  It
seems that those who permitted and even did those actions felt that
these were subjective ervas, and social norms changed.

>The classic example is the (in)famous non-hair-covering by the wives of
>some Gedolim of the previous generations.  I know of no Tshuva that
>Hallachically allows such a thing (the Boyde article notwithstanding,
>since I've never seen that article and would appreciate if someone could
>send me a copy of it; it is supposedly in Judaism magazine volume 40,
>issue 1, Winter 1991, which I don't have and don't know where to begin
>to look for). So, let's assume that some Gedolim's wives went hair
>uncovered.  Can we infer a _Hallacha_ that this is permitted?!  Can we
>infer that that Gadol ruled that it's permitted, contrary to all known
>Hallachic views?!

You can infer one of two things. i) The gadol ruled that it was
permitted. 2) The gadol thought it was assur, and allowed his wife to
transgress an issur d'oraita.  Somehow, the second opinion seems to be
motzi la'az.  Given how common not covering the hair was in Lithuania (
I am told that Artscroll, in republishing family photographs, had to
airbrush sheitels into the pictures not to scandalize today's crowd..),
this seems especially egregious.

Furthermore, the statement that it is contrary to all known halachic
views shows a fairly narrow knowledge of what are known halachic views.

Hair covering is more problematic than the general issue of erva, as in
addition to the issue of erva, there may be a separate issur on the
women.  I do not recall all the tshuvot that permit it, nor do I have
access here to Rav Broyde's article, but I remember there is a Yad
Halevy (perush on rambam's sefer hamitzvot) which explicitly says it, as
well as a tshuva by one of the Mashash family from Morocco.  Therefore,
there are clear opinions to the contrary.  You may not like them, nor
think the authors authoritative enough, and wish to rule otherwise.
However, there are sources.

 This attitude of being willing to judge others, even gdolim, as being
wrong because we do not understand them is I think contrary to halacha.
Being motzi la'az (slandering and imputing evil actions to them),
especially against the dead, and especially against talmide hachamim, is
a major sin.  The casual description of the normal, everyday actions of
the wives of some of our gdolim as "infamous" is, unfortunately, only
too common, and no longer shocks us as it should. It is sad that those
who claim to be the guardians of tradition can so cavalierly dismiss it.

Meir Shinnar


From: Rena Freedenberg <free@...>
Date: Thu, 25 Nov 1999 17:54:30 +0200
Subject: Where would you like to live?

> I had an interesting conversation with a long time (20 year) friend re:
> if you didn't live here, where would you move to?  <SNIP>
> With the clear premise that everyone to my right is a reactionary and
> everyone to my left is a radical, it's always been difficult to find
> people just like me to populate my "ideal" town -- but I am most curious
> re: what others think are important (plus or minus) in choosing a
> community to live in, to raise a family, etc.

Your address was from aol, so I assume you live in the States. Since I
live in Israel, I have a few suggestions that maybe you never thought of
(or at least you didn't mention them...)

1. How physically safe are my children there? Can they play out at the park
after dark or even just play outside unsupervised anytime?
2. Can we send the kids on the buses alone and can we leave our kids home
for awhile without fear that a stranger might knock on the door to do some
unspeakable damage?

I can already tell you that every community in America fails those two
and every community I know of in Israel passes with flying colors.

3. How many shiurim are there for the balei batim? Every night, every other
night? For the women?

4. Can I afford the schooling there that I want for my children? Do the
schools offer real tuition assistance, or must I declare bankruptcy to
afford them and their mandatory annual dinner fees?

5. If I work, how far will I have to commute to work? Will it leave me
enough time to do all of the learning in shiurim and b'chavrusa that I
really want to accomplish?

6. If I am in kollel, is the community supportive of kollelniks? Will we be
able to afford education, medical care, etc. there?

7. Are there batei medrash sufficiently close to where I want to live?

8. Are there enough mikvaot and are they convenient to get to (not in the
worst area in town)?

Actually, I can think of a few more, but this post is already pretty long.



End of Volume 30 Issue 22