Volume 35 Number 51
                 Produced: Wed Sep 26  6:39:44 US/Eastern 2001


Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Administrivia
         [Avi Feldblum]
Prozbul
         [Michael Frankel]
Selichos at night
         [I Kasdan]
Shabbat Mevorchim for Tishrei
         [Rachel Swirsky]
Shma Koleinu and Piyutim (2)
         [Ben Katz, Zev Sero]
Slichos at Night
         [Michael Appel]
Symbolic Foods
         [Bill Bernstein]
Tishrei and Shabbos Mevarchim (2)
         [Zev Sero, Gershon Dubin]


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From: Avi Feldblum <mljewish@...>
Date: Wed, 26 Sep 2001 06:23:54 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Administrivia

A good erev Yom Kippur to all. I would like to take this opportunity to
wish all the members of mail-jewish a Ketiva VeChatima Le'Tova, may this
be a good year for you and for all of Klal Yisrael.

I would also like to ask for forgiveness from any list member for any
wrongs that I may have done during the year.

We are slowly settling in here in Allentown, I still do not have as much
time to fully clear out the backlog and respond to all of you that I would
likr to, but am hoping that once the chagim are over, and I have a few
full weeks, we will be in better shape.

For those that asked about our new address, I will hopefully get to making
the changes on the web page shortly, but here it is:

Avi Feldblum
919 N 24th Street
Allentown, PA 18104

A G'mar Chatima Tova to all!

Avi Feldblum
mail-jewish Moderator
<mljewish@...>

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From: Michael Frankel <mechyfrankel@...>
Date: Fri, 21 Sep 2001 11:55:15 -0700
Subject: Prozbul

I sent the following inquiry to another list and thought to address the
same question to the larger mail jewish population in hope of obtaining
a sociological snapshot with better statistics:

I have been struck this year by the "sudden" appearance of prozbul
forms, along with rabbinical exhortations to avail oneself of the
opportunity they offer during the current sh'mittoh cycle. I am well
aware of the halachic history here and do not wish to get into a
discussion of the necessity, or not, biz'man hazzeh for ashkenazim who
rely on the remoh.

I am also well aware that many pos'qim rejected remoh and adopted a
position more akin to the levush (BTW -- another data point for a
completely different discussion on he "permissability" of being choleiq
on the SA).  For those interested I would commend R. Moshe's t'shuvoh
(Choshen Mishpot(2)-15) on the applicability of prozbul biz'man hazzeh
-- he was asked whether a low-life loveh could avoid repaying his (poor)
malveh because the malveh had neglected to prozbul. He concludes in the
negative but along the way provides, as usual, a halachic retrospective
rich in relevant mareh m'qomos.

But I wish to ask a sociological question. Whatever one thinks of the
necessity of a prozbul, I believe that it is a factoid that it simply
was not a very widespread phenomenon here in the US. I don't recall any
of my terminally litvish (all of them rather distinguished eastern
europeans) roshei yeshivoh ever mentioning it as a practical matter when
I grew up, the rabbonim of the various shuls wouldn't mention it
etc. But yet this year the rav of the shul in which I daven in silver
spring handed out prozbul forms, family members tell me they have heard
d'roshos on the importance of the matter from rabbonim in NY and one
gets the impression there is some kind of widespread sh'mittas k'sofim
his'or'rus at least in NY. Indeed the exhortations to use a prozbul
apparently extend to those who in fact have no loans outstanding at all
-- apparently interacting with banks or whatever can be construed as
loans for something -- and "its better to be careful". Now -- where does
all this come from -- in a sociological not halachic perspective? If I
am correct that people have not been doing this (outside of, let's call
them elite, minorities) and all of a sudden they are, inquiring minds
want to know what has catalyzed this just now. There are numerous other
examples of minhogim that were followed only within very restricted
groups which for some reason got lucky and became general community wide
minhogim, for good or ill (the relatively recent -- and to my own
perspective unfortunate - -- shul minhog of repeating zeicher-zecher is
another fine example -- probably attributed to the spread of the
MB). But what set this off?  Also - -- how widespread is this? Do
chasidish communities commonly practice prozbuls these days as well?

I thought, for a few microseconds, that I had part of an answer when a
neighbor handed me an internet download which talked of the very recent
discovery of a manuscript which reveals the gra's promotion of prozbul
as a matter of course. But this report contained various statements all
lacking any internal credibility. I then noticed the originators of the
article for the first time -- it was the "De'ah Vidibur" (sic-- not my
own transliterational scheme) site which I could not credit with
reporting the correct time. So I'm still left wondering. Why prozbul
now? Or am I just imagining all this.?

I have so far received only a single reply to my post on the avodah list
to the effect that I am indeed imagining this since the responder
recalls being handed a mimeographed (how charmingly antiquarian) prozbul
form over twenty five years ago as a student at boston^s maimonides.
But that is not my own experience in new york.

Mechy Frankel 			W: (703) 588-7424 
<michaeljfrankel@...>     H: (301) 593-3949 
<michael.frankel@...> 

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From: I Kasdan <Ikasdan@...>
Date: Mon, 24 Sep 2001 08:17:06 -0400
Subject: Re: Selichos at night

Regarding Selichos at Night - see Noraos Harav vol. 6 prepared and
edited by B. David Schreiber where (at page 240, et seq) the Rav zt'l
explains why, although night is normally reserved for learning Torah and
not davening, selichos is an exception and is specifically defined as a
"tefilah baleilah." [Essentially, the explanation is that Selichos is
based upon the worthlessness of man (vrs normal davening which is based
on the confidence of man) and thus is reserved for the night when man
loses his self-confidence. Ayain sham.]

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From: <SwirskyR@...> (Rachel Swirsky)
Date: Fri, 21 Sep 2001 10:58:59 EDT
Subject: Shabbat Mevorchim for Tishrei

I was just reading in "The Minhagim" that another reason we do not
announce that it is comming is so that the Satan will not know when
exactly it is.  This continues the theme that we blow shofar through
Elul to confuse the Satan so that he does not know which day is really
Rosh Hashanah.  He can not stand as an accuser if he does not know when
he is supposed to accuse!

Rachel Swirsky

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From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Fri, 21 Sep 2001 12:06:45 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Re: Shma Koleinu and Piyutim

>From: Mechael Kanovsky <kanovsky@...>
>I was always wondering what is the reason that the verse "yehiyu
>leratzon" in the "shmah Koleinu" that we say in "slichot" is skipped and
>what is the reason that we say two half sentences on most of the
>"piyutim" that we say on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. For example
>"l'kel orech din le'bochen levavot b'yom din" is one sentence but we say
>l'kel orech din and then we say "le'bochen levavot b'yom din le'goleh
>amukot badin" which is the last half of one sentence and the first half
>of the next sentence. Any thoughts?

       I am not sure of the answer to the first question, but why the
piyutim are "reversed" is discussed by Goldscmidt in the introduction to
his machzor.  (Birnbaum and later ArtScroll generally "straighten out"
the piyutim the way they are commonly said, but you can tell that they
were not suppossed to be that way in most cases because of isolated
first and last verses, and some shuls, perhaps in an effort to do it
"right" have now gone back to the way they were originally intended, at
least in some cases).  He says it arose from confusion between people
and chazanim repeating verses in anticipation and/or after each other.
(As an aside, it is not clear to me why in some prayers we seem to
precede the chazan and in others we follow him.)  There is also at least
one piyut for RH (I can't rememebr which offhand) where, according to
Goldshcmidt, the initial line seems to lead into the beginning of the
piyut; perhaps in that case the rest pf the verses got confused.

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

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From: Zev Sero <Zev@...>
Date: Fri, 21 Sep 2001 16:00:33 -0400
Subject: RE: Shma Koleinu and Piyutim

Mechael Kanovsky <kanovsky@...> wrote:

> I was always wondering what is the reason that the verse "yehiyu
> leratzon" in the "shmah Koleinu" that we say in "slichot" is 
> skipped

Eh?  When is it skipped?

> and what is the reason that we say two half sentences on most of the
> "piyutim" that we say on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. For example
> "l'kel orech din le'bochen levavot b'yom din" is one sentence 
> but we say l'kel orech din and then we say "le'bochen levavot b'yom
> din le'goleh amukot badin" which is the last half of one sentence
> and the first half of the next sentence. Any thoughts?

This one's easy: the piyyutim are meant to be read responsively, like
Hodu Lahshem in Hallel.  The chazan says aloud `lekel orech din', and
the people respond `lebochen levavot beyom din', and the chazan repeats
it in an undertone, as in Hallel.  Then the chazan says `legoleh amukot
badin', and the people respond `ledover mesharim beyom din', and the
chazan repeats it, etc.

This is more obvious with such piyyutim as `Imru Lelokim', where the
chazan invites the people to `Praise Hashem', and they say a verse of
praise, then the chazan invites them to do so again, and they reply
again, etc.  Ditto for `Vechol Maaminim', where the idea is that the
chazan says something alphabetical about Hashem, and the people respond,
`yes, we all believe that very thing, paraphrased but beginning with the
same letter'.

What has happened over the years, is that the chazzanim started to
repeat the people's part aloud.  Then, instead of stopping after
repeating the people's part, and then starting their own part, they
began to run them together, often with tunes that made them sound as if
the chazan's next part was actually a continuation of the people's
response to the previous part.  Once the chazzanim started doing this,
the people thought they were meant to do the same.  And the last straw
was when some machzor printers decided to follow suit, and print the
piyyutim in this disjointed fashion.

Thus we end up with such nonsensical pronouncements as `vehi tehilatecha
asher ematecha'.  This is exactly like those chazzanim who daily end
each chapter of pesukei dezimra with `halelukah halelukah'.

Zev Sero
<zsero@...>

----------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Michael Appel <mjappel@...>
Date: Fri, 21 Sep 2001 11:18:08 -0500
Subject: Re: Slichos at Night

> From: <Harry459@...> (Harry Schick)
> When did people begin saying Slichos at night and was there any
> discussion about the potential problem of changing the time. I add this
> in light of the fact that according to Kabbalah it is not an opportune
> time to be doing this since Din is strong. In the morning Hesed is
> strong.

I have seen some places say slichot at night ~10PM, and I would share
your question about that practice. But with regard to the common custom
of saying the first slichot service at night, I am familiar with shuls
waiting until after halachic mid-night to say them. This is presumably
because the aspect of din is stronger in the first part of the night. Of
course that still doesn't answer the question of why not say even the
first slichot closer to dawn or during the day. 
G'mar Chatimah Tovah,
Michael Appel

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From: Bill Bernstein <bbernst@...>
Date: Thu, 06 Sep 2001 11:03:08 -0500
Subject: Re: Symbolic Foods

Regarding symbolic foods for Rosh HaShana, the last couple of years I've
made it a point to make "Hoppin' John" for the first meal.  I wonder if
anyone would see that as a problem.

For people who don't know what Hoppin' John is or why I would make it
then it's not an issue.

Bill Bernstein
Nashville TN.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Zev Sero <Zev@...>
Date: Fri, 21 Sep 2001 15:33:47 -0400
Subject: Re: Tishrei and Shabbos Mevarchim

Yossie Abramson <yossie@...> wrote:
> The reason why no Rosh Chodesh bentching takes place is because in
> the time of the Beis Hamikdash, there was no Chodesh "bentching" 
> for Tishrei.

Er, what `chodesh "bentching"' was there in those days?  If you're
referring to Kiddush Hachodesh, which took place *on* Rosh Chodesh, of
course it took place in Tishri, just as in any other month.  In fact, it
was one of the two most important kidushei hachodesh of the year, since
all the festivals depended on it!

> Since the first day of the month is Rosh Hashonah, Bais Din would be
> closed

On the contrary, just as on any Rosh Chodesh the Bet Din was open at
least until noon, and according to the Gemara (Betza 6a) the last time
in recorded history when witnesses failed to show up on the first day of
Rosh Hashana, and it was necessary to have a second day, was the year of
Ezra's revival rally.  (There was one occasion when the witnesses
arrived after noon, but back then the Bet Din was open all day, so they
were heard and there was only one day of RH.  It was after this incident
that the BD started closing at noon, so that if the witnesses were ever
late again there would be two days of RH, but in fact it never happened
again.)

> people wouldn't be able to travel to give testimony on the new
> moon

Witnesses of the new moon are allowed to travel even on Shabbat, let
alone on Yom Tov.

> so people wouldn't know about it until later.

People outside Jerusalem never knew when Rosh Hashana had really been
until later.  This is exactly the same as on any Rosh Chodesh, except
for those within a day's ride of Jerusalem.  But they had a very good
idea when RH was anyway, since the theoretical possibility of Elul
having 30 days never actually happened in the 600 years or so between
Ezra and Hillel 2.

> Plus, people won't know when to celebrate Ros Hashona.

I have no idea what this means.

Zev Sero
<zsero@...>

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From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Sat, 22 Sep 2001 21:59:43 -0400
Subject: Tishrei and Shabbos Mevarchim

From: Yossie Abramson <yossie@...>
<<Since the first day of the month is Rosh Hashonah, Bais Din would be
closed>>

        You've got the cart before the horse.  It isn't Rosh Hashona
until Bais Din so proclaims, so ipso facto they are not "closed for the
holidays"

Gershon
<gershon.dubin@...>

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End of Volume 35 Issue 51