Volume 35 Number 75
                 Produced: Tue Dec 25 23:19:42 US/Eastern 2001

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Birkat Kohanim
         [Halberstadt, Joseph]
Hosting marriageable boy/girlfriends
         [Barak Greenfield, MD]
         [Carl Singer]
Intermarriage and Shiva
         [Yeshaya (Charles) Halevi]
Kaddish (2)
         [Carl Singer, Shmuel Norin]
Pesach and Spring
         [W. Baker]
Yaakov Avinu & Rachel Imeinu
         [Joel Rich]
Yaakov kissing Rochel (2)
         [Meir Shinnar, Shlomo B Abeles]


From: Halberstadt, Joseph <HalberJ@...>
Date: Mon, 24 Dec 2001 10:01:28 -0000
Subject: Re: Birkat Kohanim

Janine Weinstock asked...
<< Recently, while reading a short story by S. Y. Agnon, I came upon a
description of special tunes sung by the Kohanim during Birkat Kohanim
(the priestly blessing). Agnon describes one called (in Yiddish) "Shlaf
Kratzel," apparently sung on the first day of Shevuos (possibly in a
grating manner?) to keep awake those who had been up learning throughout
the night. He also discusses a second tune, the "Meisim Tanzel" (Dance of
the Dead?) used by the Kohanim on a day of Yom Tov upon which Yizkor is
said. Does anyone know of a community in which these tunes were used or
are being used? Or was Agnon writing tongue-in-cheek?>>

At the GGBH (Munk's) in Golders Green, London, UK, we have a separate
tune for each of the Yomim Tovim (Pesach, Shovuous, Rosh Hashono and
Succos) as well as a Meisim Tune for those days on which Yizkor is said.

Yossi Halberstadt
Logica PLC,  Payments Products Unit
51-53 Great Marlborough Street, London W1F 7JT
Tel:        +44 (0) 20 7637 9111 Ext 65299
e-mail:    <halberj@...>


From: Barak Greenfield, MD <DocBJG@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Dec 2001 21:40:04 -0500
Subject: RE: Hosting marriageable boy/girlfriends

Carl Singer (<CARLSINGER@...>) wrote:

> >  From: The Benjamins <benjams@...>
> >  I'm curious regarding guidlines you may have heard/experienced regarding
> >  limitations regarding hosting a marriageable aged child's (opposite sex)
> >  boy/girlfriend over night (with the child present).  Would there be a
> >  distinction between pre-engaged vs. engaged couple?  This regards the
> >  home being occupied by other family members, as well.
> I know that friends and neighbors have asked us to house a young adult
> in our home lest they sleep in the same home as their boy/girlfriend,
> fiance/ee, etc.  Usually, all meals, etc., have been had with the
> boy/girlfriend's family -- but NO sleeping together in the same home
> prior to marriage.

What would the specific issur be in this case? Would the same rule (of
"no sleeping in the same house") apply to two strangers, as well as
boy/girlfriend? If not, do you mean to imply that halacha recognizes a
"boy/girlfriend" status?



From: <CARLSINGER@...> (Carl Singer)
Date: Sun, 23 Dec 2001 12:21:06 EST
Subject: Intermarriage

Hey, don't you want to be politically correct.

Addressing the issue of inter-marriage at the Chupa (Wedding Canopy) --
so to speak is pointless.

If children are raised in an environment (home, school and community)
where inter-marriage is a viable, socially and perhaps religiously
acceptable option then what's to talk about.

For fear of being misquoted, I'm want to say that inter-marriage is not
a problem, it's all the social precursors to marriage (dating,
socializing, etc.)

Explicit or tacit social acceptance is of concern -- would you (silently
or otherwise) boycott an inter-faith wedding?

Kol Tov
Carl Singer


From: Yeshaya (Charles) Halevi <chihal@...>
Date: Sun, 23 Dec 2001 15:17:23 -0600
Subject: Intermarriage and Shiva

Shalom, All:

	Moshe Nugiel raises the old but always timely question of how we
should react to intermarriages. He notes that there are two conflicting
ways: <<In the old days, if someone chas v'shalom married out of the
faith, their parents would sit shivah for them, and the family would
have nothing to do with them again.  Nowadays, we treat this family
member with "love," and we continue to accept him/her as part of the
family. >>

	Which, then, is the better reaction?  Does the method of
inclusion lead, as Moshe asks, to sending <<the message to the siblings
that intermarriage is really not such a terrible transgression>>?

	Let's deal with the first point and question whether it is
halachicly proper to sit Shiva for one who married out of the faith or
actually became an apostate. The following is taken from the Jewish Book
Of Why, Vol. 2, by Rabbi Alfred J. Kolatch:

<<This custom [of sitting Shiva] is based on a misunderstanding that
dates back to the publication in the twelfth century of Or Zarua, by
Rabbi Isaac of Vienna.  In this book, Rabbi Isaac reported that the
great eleventh-century scholar Rabbenu Gershom ben Yehuda, known as the
Luminary of the Diaspora (Meor Hagola), sat Shiva for his son who had
converted to Christianity.  Upon publication of the book, it became
widespread practice to sit Shiva for one's child who converts, despite
the fact that outstanding scholars, including Joseph Caro, author of the
Code of Jewish Law, insisted that doing so is not the law and hence is
not appropriate conduct.

<<Why, then, did Rabbenu Gershom sit Shiva for his son? Further delving
by scholars revealed that Rabbenu Gershom did not sit Shiva for his son
at the time of the young man's conversion.  He sat Shiva for him at a
later date, at the time of the son's death.  And the misunderstanding
grew out of the misreading of one word in Isaac of Vienna's work. Isaac
wrote that Rabbenu Gershom sat Shiva for his son and he used the Hebrew
word shenishtamed, meaning 'who had converted.' Some of the texts
erroneously added one letter to the word and spelled it k'shenishtamed,
meaning 'when he had converted.'  Because of the error, it was believed
that Rabbenu Gershom sat Shiva at the time of his son's conversion.

<<Sitting Shiva for a child who joins another faith has never been a legal
requirement for Jews, and authorities do not favor following the practice.
Mourning a member of the family who has abandoned Judaism runs counter to
the basic talmudic principle that one never loses his Jewish identity and
that he may return to the fold, unceremoniously, when he decides to do so.
To sit Shiva for a family member who converts is, in a sense, consigning him
to death, thus precluding the possibility of his ever returning to the faith
of his ancestors.>>

	If it is wrong to sit Shiva for one who formally converts out of
Judaism, I think I'm on safe grounds in saying that it's wrong to sit
Shiva over an intermarriage.

	As for "outreach" to one who has intermarried, my personal
opinion is that it is preferable to alienating that person and his or
her spouse and children. As long as there is communication and no
ostracism, we have a chance of influencing people in a positive manner.

	I do NOT say we should grant approval in any way. I do say that
expressing disapproval does not equal cutting ties.

Yeshaya (Charles) Halevi


From: <CARLSINGER@...> (Carl Singer)
Date: Sun, 23 Dec 2001 12:14:25 EST
Subject: Kaddish

Kaddish is recited in many different ways in many different "Orthodox"
institutions --

In many, only mourners recite -- and quasi-unison.

In some, all mourners come together in front of shule to help maintain
uniform speed.

In some (I believe Spanish Portugese) one mourner recites kaddish on
behalf of all mourners in the shule.

In some, one person by virtue of position (gabbai, Rabbi, loud voice,
whatever) "leads" -- sometimes with positive result, sometimes to great
annoyance as they may be too fast, too slow, to early to start, etc.

Many people have a minhag of not saying Kaddish (for others) if either
of their parents is living.  For example, if a relative dies without
someone to say Kaddish for them, somene may well undertake the
responsibility of saying Kaddish -- however, it's unlikely that someone
both of whose parents are alive (thus never having said Kaddish) would
be the designee.

Kol Tov
Carl Singer

From: <EngineerEd@...> (Shmuel Norin)
Date: Sun, 23 Dec 2001 14:14:27 EST
Subject: Re: Kaddish

      Does anyone know the source for a Hazzan (or any other shul
      officer) not wanting to lead the saying of the mourner's kaddish
      if both his parents are still alive?

I don't know the source but the Rabbi of our Chabad Center would not
lead Kaddish or be part of Yiskor until reccently when his Father pasted
away.  I myself, do not stand while other people are saying Kadish since
it makes my Polish born Mother uncomforable.  Most likely a

Shmuel Norin


From: W. Baker <wbaker@...>
Date: Sun, 23 Dec 2001 11:59:40 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Pesach and Spring

> From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
> In mail-jewish Vol. 35 #69 Digest, Zev Sero first quoted Hillel Markowitz:
> > > The church made this the rule for their holiday of easter, with a
> > > modification so that their holiday would never fall on the same day
> > > as Pesach.
> And then commented:
> >Not true.  In the 20th century, Easter was on the first day of Pesach in
> >1903, 1923, 1927, 1954 and 1981.  It probably would have happened more
> >often if we weren't working with a calculated tekufa of 26-Mar, while
> >they use one of 21-Mar.
> I think the original (Markowitz) statement should be modified to
> indicate that at a certain church conference (at Nicea ?), a change was
> instituted so that the date of Easter was independent of the date of
> Pesah, so that they need not fall in the same week, but may do so.

This probably postdates the Council of Nicea, as the Eastern Orthodox
churches do not celebrate Easter until after Pesach, partially
accounting for the differences in their Easter from the Roman or western
churches.  The rest of the difference is accounted for by the decision
to not change the calander in the 18th century.

Wendy Baker


From: <Joelirich@...> (Joel Rich)
Date: Tue, 25 Dec 2001 08:47:24 EST
Subject: Re: Yaakov Avinu & Rachel Imeinu

<< From: <Joelirich@...> (Joel Rich)
 > A more basic question can be found in Bereishit 29:11 Where Yaakov Avinu
 > KISSES Rachel Imeinu well before any dating or marriage plans.  As with
 > the prior thread there are midrashic explanations as to why this was
 > acceptable.  The issue that I think a lot about in Bereishit is why
 > present the "stories", which according to chazal were meant to transmit
 > the ethical attributes of our forefathers in a way that simple halachik
 > rules could not, in a way that one must often turn away from the simple
 > understanding of the text.  Somehow the answer "those who want to
 > misunderstand will do so anyway" is not entirely satisfying to me.  Any
 > thoughts?

Responses so far have dealt with the specific case, which, as I noted, have 
medrashic responses.  I'd be interested in responses to the more general 

Kol Tuv,
Joel Rich


From: <Chidekel@...> (Meir Shinnar)
Date: Sun, 25 Nov 2001 10:42:59 EST
Subject: Re: Yaakov kissing Rochel

In the sichot of Rav Amital shlita to parshat vayetze:

     When I was in kindergarten, my melamed explained this verse to me
as follows: when Yaakov saw Rachel, overcome with emotion, he kissed
her.  His crying, however, stemmed from his repentance for this lapse.

      What have we come to, that we must react negatively to the display
of emotion, passion, and even romance!?  Romance has a positive
connotation in our worldview.  The Holy One, Blessed Be He, created
angels, and he created people.  He created people to feel emotions and
use them for His service - both fear and trepidation, as well as joy and
happiness.  Part of divine service is to enjoy God's world, and pursue
normal human activities within the framework of holiness and worship.
One who loves people can also come through it to love of God and His
commandments.  If the Kadosh Baruch Hu had wanted to create only angels,
He would have done so, and who are we to question His creation?

      The approach that I am opposing comes from some people's
overestimation of their own worth and their place in the world.  Some
feel that their observance and knowledge gives them the right to say
that, "My place is above everyone else; humanity is not for me."  But
when one does not care for others, when he cannot sympathize with their
feelings and perspectives, one also cannot feel for the perspective of
HaKadosh Baruch Hu.  "There is no room in this world for both Me and the
ba'al ga'ava (haughty person)," says God, according to the midrash.

Meir Shinnar

From: Shlomo B Abeles <sba@...>
Date: Wed, 26 Dec 2001 14:12:24 +1100
Subject: Yaakov kissing Rochel

Here is something I posted last year on the Areivim list about the same

  -  4 Questions -

Q 1. How could Yaakov Ovinu kiss his female cousin?

Q 2. When discussing the marriage deal, Yaakov decribed Rochel to Lovon
as - "Bit'cho HAKTANO", whilst later when Lovon was trying to explain
his behaviour, he said - "Lo'seis HATZE'IRO lifnei hab'chiro".  Why the
different description?

Q 3. Why did Yaakov - no youngster by any means - agree to wait 7 years
before marrying Rochel?  Why not marry first and then work off his 7

Q 4. 7 years later, after Lovon had cheated him with Leah, he made a
second deal and immediately married Rochel - only a week later. Now,
when he already had a wife, he was not prepared to wait at all.  Why the
different arrangement?

However, now that we know that Rochel was a still a young child at the
time of their meeting at the well - everything falls into place

1) A man in his 70's kissing his 5-6 year old cousin is really no big deal.
2) As at that time she was under the age of 12 she was indeed a 'ketana'.
However 7 years later she was no longer a 'ketana' but Lovon's younger
daughter - ''hatzeiro'. 
3) At the age of 5 she was simply too young to get married - and that is why
Yaakov agreed to wait 7 years, however
4) 7 years later - she was of a marriagable age and there was no reason to
wait any longer.

Shlomo B Abeles


End of Volume 35 Issue 75