Volume 33 Number 96
                 Produced: Sun Dec 31  9:57:20 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Aron Kodesh NOT Facing East
         [Andrew Klafter]
Automatic Light
         [Carl Singer]
Compass (2)
         [Carl Singer, A. Seinfeld]
Compass in the Tefillin Bag
         [David Charlap]
Matzpen (Compass)
         [A. Seinfeld]
Mirror for Tefillin
         [Shlomo Pick]
Reference to Tefillin in the Aseret Hadibrot?
         [Norm Broner]
Shabbat Hagadol
         [Mark Symns]
Tefillin & Mirror
         [Eli Turkel]
Tefillin Mirror and Compass
         [Y. Askotzky]
Women in Ha'sala
         [Menashe Elyashiv]
Wrong Way
         [Menashe Elyashiv]


From: Andrew Klafter <andrew.klafter@...>
Date: Wed, 27 Dec 2000 16:49:45 -0500
Subject: Aron Kodesh NOT Facing East

> >Gilad J. Gevaryahu <Gevaryahu@...> wrote:
> > Compass will be justified in an unknown place (desert?), but in
> > an established shul, one should daven with the tzibur, even if it
> > is not directed in the perfect azimuth.

> Zev Sero <Zev@...>
> While this certainly seems to be the universal practise, I wonder what
> authority it has.  From the Shulchan Aruch and the commentaries on the
> page it would seem that the opposite is true; shuls are advised to put
> the ark in the correct direction so that the people will be davening
> towards the front and not in some other direction, which implies that if
> - as is the case in many shuls - this advice has been ignored, people
> should ignore the ark and daven in the correct direction.  I have never
> seen anybody doing this, especially when the ark is not even close to
> the correct direction, but I have long wondered why.

The "authority" of this "universal practise" is actually quite solid.

Orach Chaim 94;  Be'er Hetev, Sa'if Katan 3:
        "A synagoguge in which they set up the holy ark on the wall in
the southern direction and everyone prayers toward the ark which is to
the south--one can pray toward the east even though the whole
congregation is praying toward the south.  [By doing so] there is no
issue of "Yehura" (public display of arrogance) or "Eiva" (arousing
hatred) (Yad Eliyahu 1), but a great scholar disagreed with him [and
held that] one may only pray toward the direction which the congregation
is praying."

    It appears to me that from the way this is phrased that the Be'er
Hetev sees the latter opinion, requiring one to CONFORM to the
congregation as less problematic.

        The Mishna Berura (Sa'if Katan 10) sort of compromises, but
mainly sides with the opinion that one must pray the same direction as
the congregation: "If everyone is praying toward the the aron kodesh
which is on the south side, even though this is improper as mentioned
above in Sa'if Katon #9, nevertheless one who comes there to pray should
pray toward the direction in which the congregation is praying...."  But
at the end of this comment he recommends that one can "turn his face
toward the east" even though he is standing facing toward the south.

        As with many other topics in halacha when you haven't had a
chance to look up the sources, sticking to what the congregation and
rabbi are doing is generally a safer bet than assuming that the entire
synagogue and rabbi are wrong and relying on one's own logic.

Andrew B. Klafter, MD
Department of Psychiatry-University of Cincinnati
Medical Arts Building 8500, M.L. 665L
222 Piedmont Ave. Cincinnati OH  45219
(513)475-8710    FAX(513)475-8023


From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
Date: Wed, 27 Dec 2000 12:44:17 EST
Subject: Automatic Light

<<  From: S&M Rosen <mrosen@...>
 I am very interested in the current discussion on the automatic sensor
 light issue as it is impacting us directly.  Our (Jewish) neighbor has
 installed such a light and since our walkways are next to each other, it
 is impossible to enter our house without triggering the floodlight.
 There is no other means to enter/exit our house.  We have tried speaking
 to this neighbor, appealing to city hall, and so forth, but the light
 remains.  Either we are homebound Friday night or we will set off the
 light.  Does anyone have a psak in a similar situation?  >>

This may not be the type of solution you are looking for (an
engineering, not halachik one) -- verify that this light is a motion
sensor (not a heat sensor) and determine what it takes to set it off --
perhaps a strategically placed flag, or metalic baloon or spinning wheel
whirling in the wind, or an electric fan or some such item -- perhaps a
slow display motor with a paddle -- so the light will be constantly on.

There may be legal solutions, but that's not my turf.

Kol Tov



From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
Date: Wed, 27 Dec 2000 12:49:43 EST
Subject: Compass

<<  I noticed that some people lately are not only carrying a mirror in
 their tefilin bag but also a compass. This was not the case years ago
 and I would classify it as an additional chumra for some, or maybe an
 obsessive compulsive behavior for others. >>

I carry a compass in my vochedik tallis bag -- I wouldn't think of using
it in a shule -- I normally face the same direction as the tzibor which
is towards the Aron Kodesh.

But since I used to travel alot, my dear Wife bought we one -- when you
arrive into a hotel late at night and can't use the sun or the
prevailing westerly winds as a guide, it makes sense -- although I
imagine the Rebono Shel Oylam hears us even if we're not facing directly
towards his Temple -- may it soon be rebuilt.

Kol Tov
Carl Singer

From: A. Seinfeld <aseinfeld@...>
Date: Wed, 27 Dec 2000 12:25:34 -0800
Subject: Re: Compass

> There was a shul I used to daven in, where the ark was on a wall facing
> northeast. Everyone would daven facing that wall, except for one guy,
> who always davened facing due east, 45 degrees away from the direction
> everyone else was facing. No one, including me, wanted to say anything
> to him, but I think everyone thought it was a little odd.  I'm glad to
> hear that there was a halachic basis for what he was doing.
> Of course, since this was in the northeastern US, northeast was probably
> more closely aligned with a great circle route to Jerusalem than due
> east was, but that's another issue.  Many years ago I asked a shayla
> about great circle routes, and was told that one should face the
> direction one would actually travel in while going to Jerusalem, rather
> than a great circle route.

Based on that psak, you should have faced Northeast, as that is indeed
the direction planes fly to Israel (even if it's via London or
Frankfurt). All the more so from the NW (Seattle, Vancouver). So, the
ark was in the right place and the man was wrong.

Incidentally, who gave you the psak on the direction?


From: David Charlap <shamino@...>
Date: Thu, 28 Dec 2000 11:43:21 -0500
Subject: Re: Compass in the Tefillin Bag

Mike Gerver wrote:
> Of course, since this was in the northeastern US, northeast was
> probably more closely aligned with a great circle route to Jerusalem
> than due east was, but that's another issue.  Many years ago I asked a
> shayla about great circle routes, and was told that one should face
> the direction one would actually travel in while going to Jerusalem,
> rather than a great circle route.

But anyone travelling from the US to Israel by air does follow a great
circle route.  One of the most heavilly trafficked air routes runs north
up the east coast of the Americas and then south over Europe.  The
planes fly this way precisely because it is the shortest path between
the continents.

[Similar response from Danny Skaist <danny@...>. Mod.]

When travelling by sea or by land, this often isn't possible due to
weather or terrain, of course, but most international travel today is by
air, so the air routes are "the direction one would actually travel".

-- David


From: A. Seinfeld <aseinfeld@...>
Date: Wed, 27 Dec 2000 12:25:09 -0800
Subject: Re: Matzpen (Compass)

Halacha lamaaseh - if the tzibur is not facing Yerushalayim, then any
recognized Talmid Chacham or rav may himself turn accordingly in order
that others might imitate him; And if one does not have such a visual
cue to follow, we should "slightly turn our gaze" in the correct
direction (forgive me for not citing the sources - my sefarim are
currently in boxes - email me if you need them).

By the way, I missed your earlier posting - what is the source that the
orientation should be according to the azimuth? It seems the prevailing
practice in NA to build the shul toward the East, even if one is in,
say, Seattle, where the shortest distance to Yerushalayim would be NNE.

A. Seinfld


From: Shlomo Pick <picksh@...>
Date: Wed, 27 Dec 2000 14:47:03 +0200
Subject: Mirror for Tefillin


Years ago, people who wore tefillin may have been talmidei chachamim and
knew the teshuva found in the 2nd chelek (part) of the Divrei Chayim by
R. Chayim Zanzer (Halberstam), no. 6 in which he states that looking
into a mirror to align the tefillin is "borut" - I guess the act of an
ignaramous - and goes on to demonstrate that the accepted law is that
there is room on the top of the head for two pairs of tefillin and
therefore they need be precisely centered.

A illuminating chanuka (a lustige chanuka) (I wonder if one would say
chag sameiach on yom kippur - no chagigah, it's not called chag like
rosh hashana (Ps. 81,4) but it is Biblically mandated).

shlomo pick


From: Norm Broner <broner@...>
Date: Sun, 31 Dec 2000 00:10:12 +1100
Subject: Reference to Tefillin in the Aseret Hadibrot?

A number of Mephorshim state that all the Mitzvot are contained in the
Aseret Hadibrot in some way or form.  I am looking for a reference to
the Mitzva of Tefillin in the Aseret Hadibrot.  I was wondering if
anyone can point me to some sources?

Menachem  Broner
tel:  + 613 9525 9043
fax: + 613 9525 9227
Email: <broner@...>


From: Mark Symns <msymons@...>
Date: Thu, 28 Dec 2000 00:36:41 +1100
Subject: Shabbat Hagadol

Shabbat Nachamu and Shabbat Shuva are named after the first word of the
Haftara, but in both cases these are really the key words of the
Haftara.  Wearva is hardly the key word of the Haftara that starts with
that word, whereas a good case could be made that Hagadol is the key
word, even though it is at the end, in fact that Pasuk is really the
climax of the Haftara, and the word Hagadol encapsulates that Pasuk, so
it could well be the source of the name.

Mark Symons
Melbourne Australia 


From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
Date: Wed, 27 Dec 2000 15:03:50 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Tefillin & Mirror

> << From: Bob Werman <RWERMAN@...>
>  I wonder if someone could enlighten me about the use of mirrors to
>  center tephillin shel rosh?  When did this become a custom?  Everyone
>  carrying a small mirror in his tephillin/tallit bag?  I don't remember
>  it 25-30 years ago.  When did it begin?  Where?
>  And where is the mitzva to center the head tephillin to the millimeter
>  written first? >>
> I recall as a kid (over 40 years ago) that we were taught to line up our
> tephellin by "feel" -- our nose being somewhat in the center of our face
> and thus serving as a reasonable guide -- you'll still see some folks
> who move their open hand up their nose towards their shel rosh to align
> it.

Tzitz Eliezer has a responsa objecteing to the use of mirrors to adjust
the tefiilin. He points out that there is a prohibition to use mirrors
based on the prohibition of "lo tilbash gever simlat isha". He admits
that today when mirrors are in common use that it is only a minhag
chassidut for a man not to use a mirror. On the hand for tefillin it is
perfectly okay to locate the tefiilin by lining it up as described
above. Hence, using a mirror would only be a minhag chassidut which is
cancelled by the minhag chassidut not to use a mirror. Hence, he claims
that the best solution is to line it up by hand without using a mirror,
which is what people did for thousands of years.

Eli Turkel


From: Y. Askotzky <sofer@...>
Date: Wed, 27 Dec 2000 10:31:09 +0200
Subject: Tefillin Mirror and Compass

If a shul does not daven towards Jerusalem/har habayis then you still
daven in the direction that the shul davens unless it is opposite
Jerusalem so a compass is certainly not needed. It is often difficult or
not practical to build or set up a shul in order to daven in the exact
direction. If one is davening outdoors and does not know in which
direction is Mizrach then a compass would come in handy. The mirror is
just a quick and easy way to verify the tefillin are in their proper
place. To measure with ones nose (which is in the exact center of the
face)/fingers or asking someone next to you is fine too. The reason why
the mirror option is newer is possibly because some poskim frown upon
the use of a mirror (including the Satmar Rebbi and Rav Moshe) and
perhaps the mini cosmetic mirror was popularized by the advertising
businesses suggesting them to sofrim to give out/sell. Others allow the
use of a mirror but it should be small and should not be used to check
out ones hair, pimple on the nose, etc. while checking the placement of
the tefillin. Many people do not use a mirror. The mirror. etc should
not be kept in the velvet bag with the tefillin but rather in the
plastic bag protecting the velvet bag.

kol tuv,

Rabbi Yerachmiel Askotzky, certified sofer and examiner
<sofer@...>   www.stam.net   1-888-404-STAM(7826)


From: Menashe Elyashiv <elyashm@...>
Date: Wed, 27 Dec 2000 15:10:54 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Women in Ha'sala

In Immanuel, Israel, there are 2 women in ha'sala. Not as drivers but as
1st aid.


From: Menashe Elyashiv <elyashm@...>
Date: Wed, 27 Dec 2000 15:16:44 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Wrong Way

Where I pray Arvit, the place faces south, but the prayers think it is
east because they are use to other places that face east. They turn
north for Kabbalat Shabbat even though they see the sun setting in the
west. Of course they lit the Hanukiya on the west wall which they think
is south...  a compass won't hurt here....


End of Volume 33 Issue 96