Volume 34 Number 73
                 Produced: Thu Jun  7  7:19:55 US/Eastern 2001

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Hilchos Kiruv Rechokim
         [Andrew Klafter]
Making a Roof fence vs Not standing by blood of your neighbor
         [Russell Hendel]
Placing the talis over one's head
         [Ben Z. Katz]
Placing the Talis over one's head
         [Jeff Fischer]
Placing the Talis over one's head & Repeating Words
         [Dov Teichman]
Repetition of Words in Prayer
         [Ira L. Jacobson]
A Yellow Cloth - Calling for the Denmark Response (3)
         [Jeanette Friedman, Leona Kroll, Edward Ehrlich]


From: Andrew Klafter <andrew.klafter@...>
Date: Mon, 4 Jun 2001 15:54:53 -0400
Subject: Re: Hilchos Kiruv Rechokim

> From: A. Seinfeld <aseinfeld@...>
> Another member of the list and I have been communicating off-line about
> the halachos of kiruv.

The Lubbavitcher Rebbe, zt"l, once heard someone use the expression
"kiruv rechokim" ("drawing near those who are distant") and he
instructed that one can never call a Jew "Rachok" ("distant").  1)The
Holy One is totally unified and incorporeal, and is thus not bound by
time or space.  It is therefore impossible to be "distant" from Him in
any physical, temporal, psychological, or spiritual sense.  2)G-d and
his Torah are one, and therefore a Jew cannot be defined as "distant"
even from the Torah.

>For the sake of opening up an important discussion,
> here are some basics:
> The Chafetz Chaim (in the sefer Chizuk haDat) mentions three categories
> of Torah mitzvos that compel us to try to bring other Jews back to
> Torah:
>     1. ahavat Hashem - love of the Almighty - which requires us to make a
>         kiddush Hashem and to prevent a hilul Hashem.
>     2. tochacha (rebuke)
>     3. misc. mitzvos bein adam l'chaveiro (obligations to other

The most important mitzva which motivates us to do kiruv and allows us
to be successful is Ahavas Yisroel (To love fellow Jews).  I have been
involved (albeit informally) in kiruv for many years now.  The kiruv
"professionals" who are successful are not necessarily the most learned,
eloquent, or inspiring.  They are, on the other hand, those who forge
sincere friendships with Jews.  By "sincere friendship" I mean becoming
friends with an unobservant Jew not because you are interested only in
his neshoma in order to Mekarev him, but because you wish to spend time
with him and enjoy being his friend, regardless of whether or not he
will become observant.

> Now, in which of the above categories are Jews who eat shrimp or drive on
> Shabbat (for example)?

Without getting into the nitty gritty details of each of the following
halakhic categories of sinning Jews (and I think that there are some
places where I have some minor differences in understanding of the
halachos than you), I submit that such categories of sin are not helpful
in kiruv discussions.

Furthermore, I wonder if poskim would even consider many of these
categories as applicable in secular society.  They logic behid this
question is the following: In traditional Jewish societies, to violate
the sabbath publicly would imply that an individual has undertaken a
public, hostile denigratation the values of Kahal HaShem.  (An analogy,
lehavdil, would be flag burning in America).  Nowadays, however,
particularly in the wantonly materialistic United States, there a good
basis to extend an lenient view toward public transgression evey by Jews
who were given an Orthodox Jewish education.  To break Shabbos publicly
in American has different sociological implications than to break
Shabbos publicly in Mea Shearim.

Of course, the vast majority (>90%) of Jews in America have little or no
Jewish education.  If anything, it's amazing and admirable that these
Jewish souls wish to maintain any Jewish identiity or connection to G-d,
the Torah, Israel, the Jewish People, etc.  The Rambam's famous p'sak
halacha about the Karaites is of obvious relevance to Jews raised
according to the Reform and Conservative movements:

(Hilchos Mamrim 3:3).  "...The children of those who have erred (and
strayed from the Oral Torah) and their children's children whose parents
isolated them [from the community of Orthhodox Jews] and where born
among the Karaites, and the Karaites raised them according to their
[heretical] ideas--such a person is like an infant who was kidnapped
among them [i.e.  Gentiles] and raised by them [Gentiles] and
[subsequently] has no motivation to perform the commandments.  After
all, he is like an Oaness [one forced against his will to violate
commandments].  And afterward, even though he may have discovered that
he is a Jew and sees [i.e. becomes aware of] the Jews and their
religion, he is nevertheless like an Oaness because he was raised
according to their [i.e. the Gentiles'] erroneous beliefs.  In the same
manner as we have just explained [shall we consider] those who cling to
the ways of their erroneous Karaite parents.  Therefore it is proper to
direct them [the Karaites] to return in repentance [to Orthodox Rabbinic
Judaism] and to draw them with peaceful words until they return to
complete strength of the Torah."


From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Tue, 22 May 2001 22:14:18 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: RE: Making a Roof fence vs Not standing by blood of your neighbor

Just a minor correction to Nachum Klafters posting v34n53.

Nachum states that in his opinion the prohibition against standing by
the blood of your neighbor applies AFTER damage has happened while the
obligation to build a railing to ones roof applies PRIOR to damage

This attempted distinction is however directly contradicted by the
Rambam Murder 1:14 < Whoever sees bandits or wild animals ABOUT to harm
his friend and can save him but does not save him, violates the
prohibition of not standing by the blood of ones neighbor >

It would appear to me that the correct distinction is that making a
railing prevents POSSIBLE EVENTUAL damage while the prohibition of
standing by the blood of ones neighbor applies to any IMMINENT damage
(though the prohibition occurs even if it hasnt happened yet)

Russell Hendel; http://www.RashiYomi.Com


From: Ben Z. Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Wed, 06 Jun 2001 07:19:08 -0500
Subject: Re: Placing the talis over one's head

>Today's daf yomi describes Rav Hamnuna as not having put on a "sudar"
>(turban?) over his head, and he gave the reason as not being married.

I assume Gershon is bothered by the fact that from the gemara it would
seem that Rav Hamnuna didn't cover his head all the time. [Actually, I
understood Gershon's post as in reply to Chaim's post in issue 68 as to
a source for unmarried people who wear a Talis to not cover their head
with the Talis. Mod] However, head covering, EVEN DURING PRAYER, did not
become universal in Judaism till at least after the 8th century (when
masechet Soferim was written/edited).  There is a gemara I remember
learning once about oaths made on a condition, and a woman's oath "on
the condition that I cover my head" is automatically valid, while a
man's isn't (implying that not all men covered their heads).  Sorry, I
don't remember the reference and the details may be a bit off.  However,
the masechet Soferim reference I do have, and it argues whether one has
to have his head covered when saying shema for the congregation (Soferim
14:15).  Apparantly in Babylonia it was more common for Gentiles to
cover their heads, and the custom became prevalent in Jews as well (this
is also relevant re my previous posting re Jews never learning anything
from non-Jews).  In Israel there was no such custom, and even Jews had
their heads uncovered until the Babylonian Talmud and thereby the
Babylonian custom took hold; See: Hachilukim shebayn anshe mizrach
uvenay eretz yisrael, 42, for a reference that in Israel, kohanim could
duchan with their heads uncovered.  [The book itself, which was
reprinted by Ideal Bookstore in NY, and edited by Mordechai Margulies,
offers a fascinating look at different customs between the 2

Ben Z. Katz, M.D.  
Children's Memorial Hospital Division of Infectious Diseases 
2300 Children's Plaza, Box # 20 Chicago, IL 60614
Ph 773-880-4187 Fax 773-880-8226

From: Jeff Fischer <NJGabbai@...>
Date: Tue, 05 Jun 2001 07:41:06 EDT
Subject: Re: Placing the Talis over one's head

I do not know why other people wear a tallis over their head, but I wear
it over my head during Shemoneh Esray, because I know that without it, I
tend to turn and look at things and other people during Shemoneh Esray,
while if I have the Tallis on my head, I can concentrate better since it
is harder to see everyone else.

Jeff Fischer


From: Dov Teichman <DTnLA@...>
Date: Tue, 5 Jun 2001 10:05:51 EDT
Subject: Re: Placing the Talis over one's head & Repeating Words

The Mishna Brura in the Laws of Tsitsis writes that for an unmarried
person to put a tallis over his head falls under the category of
"Mechezi K'Yuhara" - appears religiously haughty. Although others SHOULD
cover their head with a Tallis, certainly from "Barchu" onward during

Also, I know Reb Moshe mentions in a tshuva that it is not proper for a
chazzan to repeat words. I dont have an Igros Moshe with me so if
someone could help me with the source i'd appreciate it.

Dov Teichman


From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Tue, 05 Jun 2001 18:27:15 +0300
Subject: Re: Repetition of Words in Prayer

Ben Katz <bkatz@...> wrote in mail-jewish Vol. 34 #67 Digest:
>FWhile I agree that one
>could make a halachic argument for not repeating words in the kedusha, what
>possible harm is there in repeating "bei ana rachitz"?

The answer to that is that the gemara specifically says that is a prayer
leader say Modim, modim, we silence him, lest it be understood that
there are two reshuyot.  Repetition of Bei ana rahetz could R"L lead to
the same sort of conclusion (in him and in him).

>I was pleased, a few
>years ago, when our shul (a "non-repeater") brought in -- as a shabat treat
>-- two chazanim from the Jerusalem Great Synagogue, and the repetitions
>abounded.  I also defy any one to find a shul that can sing "vayhe be-nesoah
>ha-aron" without a repetition.

My synagogue (which elsewhere does not *always* avoid repetitions) makes
no repetitions in this particular passage.  Nor does any synagogue I can
think of outside the United States.  If you are referring to "Barukkh
shenatan Tora Tora," I shudder to think of that.  The only
justification, by a stretch, would be to claim that the refernce is
tothe Written Tora and the Oral Tora.  But not if you're going to repeat
the whole "Barukkh shenatan Tora Tora" once more.  That is very

Note that we do not pray "oseh shalom uvorei et hara," for this reason.

>   Traditional melodies have inspired centuries
>of shul goers, and it seems to me, should not be easily dismissed, esp.
>since there are still some of us who enjoy a bit of chazanut.

Some others are more interested in the meaning of the prayer, and
therefore advocate adapting the tune to the words, and not the other way
around.  I agree that there *may* be diffferent consideartions for a

                 IRA L. JACOBSON


From: Jeanette Friedman <FriedmanJ@...>
Date: Sun, 3 Jun 2001 22:43:57 EDT
Subject: Re: A Yellow Cloth - Calling for the Denmark Response

I think the Micha Berger is exactly on the mark. He is absolutely
correct. Is there anyone here who can bring this to the attention of the
yeshiva world, such unifed action might cast a nice light on the
community as a whole--and do some hakaras hatov at the same time.

Does anyone want to offer a reaction?

Jeanette Friedman

From: Leona Kroll <leona_kroll@...>
Date: Sun, 3 Jun 2001 23:38:09 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: A Yellow Cloth - Calling for the Denmark Response

I think the suggestion to show solidarity with the Hindus and other
minorities is a beautiful one, but I would really like to know, why did
you have to wait until the Taliban threatened non-Muslims?

You- every single Jew in the Diaspora- should have been wearing yellow
since Rosh Hashanna. Jews are being murdered here every day- not because
of the settlements, not because Sharon went up on the Temple Mount, not
because of the PA economy, and not for any of the reasons you read in
the press. We are being murdered because we ae Jews. Period. What will
you do for us? WE'RE YOUR FAMILY! Where are the protests for us?

A few gatherings outside the UN headquarters is not enough- you must
raise your voices, make it impossible for the goyim to ignore the fact
OUT FOR TORTURE AND MURDER. If everyone of you wrote a letter to the Ny
Times and CNN to protest their biased coverage, if you canceled your
subscriptions to the Times, if you banded together to take out newspaper
ads, protested outside the White House, etc.- maybe, maybe you could
save a Jewish life. Perhaps you could also help save the Jewish state.

I'm not suggesting that you shouldn't be worried about what the Taliban
are doing-by all means protest. But please- remember us, too.

From: Edward Ehrlich <eehrlich@...>
Date: Sun, 3 Jun 2001 16:56:18 +0300
Subject: A Yellow Cloth - Calling for the Denmark Response

Micha Berger <micha@...> wrote:

> As I hope you all heard by now, the Taliban are requiring that Afgani
> non-Moslems (a population that is primarily Hindu) must wear a symbol on
> their shirt pockets. Allegedly this is to aid Islamic police in applying
> those religious laws specific to Moslems.

> Each of us ought to wear a yellow piece of cloth on our shirts. No one
> will miss the comparison when they see Jews wearing a bit of yellow
> cloth on their shirts.

Micha titled his message the "Denmark Response".  The museum in
Copenhagen that is dedicated to the Danish resistance during World War
II has a small corner about their efforts to rescue Jews (an wonderful
example of real tsniut).  According to the exhibit, the King Of Denmark
expressed his williness to wear a yellow cloth but did not actually do
so.  Apparently the Danish Jews were rescued before this order was
enforced.  Of course, the Danish action which saved almost its entire
Jewish population was much greater than simply wearing a yellow piece of

I share Micha's anger over the Taliban's reprehensible decree, but as a
non-Holocaust survivor I would not feel comfortable wearing such a
symbol myself.

Ed Ehrlich <eehrlich@...>
Jerusalem, Israel


End of Volume 34 Issue 73