Volume 35 Number 77
                 Produced: Thu Dec 27  7:10:16 US/Eastern 2001

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Different Tunes for Birchat Kohanim
         [Morty Gafni]
"Foreign" music influences
         [Shmuel Himelstein]
Kaddish (2)
         [Mike Gerver, Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz]
Non-Jewish melodies
         [Barry S. Bank]
Sources for "Rock of Ages" and Milton question
         [Sarah E. Beck]
Tune of Ma'oz Tzur (2)
         [Jonathan & Randy Chipman, Ira L. Jacobson]
Yabia Omer Index
         [Joseph Mosseri]


From: <MOSNF@...> (Morty Gafni)
Date: Mon, 24 Dec 2001 11:08:03 EST
Subject: Different Tunes for Birchat Kohanim

"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?"

      This query could not have come at a better time.  I was poised to
ask if anyone knew the source of the minhag to sing a different tune
each time during the "Birkat Kohanim" when I came across this entry.

 Apparently, my shul is not the originator of this custom as I had
originally thought.  Thank you for promoting my awarness of this fact.

 My shul president also thanks you as I now must take the time to
apologize to him for our altercation over this issue last sukkot
resulting from my ignorance.

Morty Gafni


From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
Date: Mon, 24 Dec 2001 11:36:14 +0200
Subject: "Foreign" music influences

In a Shiur I attend, we recently dealt with foreign musical
influences. Two radically different views were brought (although there
is a gamut of views between the two extremes).

Kerach shel Romi (mid 19th-Century rabbi in Italy and Turkey) notes
approvingly that in his time Chazanim went into the vestibules of
churches to hear the church music and then to incorporate it into their
Tefillot. The author fells that the music is so elevating that this is
conduct is admirable. As to the content, he says there is no problem,
because the Chazanim don't understand Latin anyway.

As opposed to this, Rav Waldenberg (Tzitz Eliezer 13, Siman 12) is
aghast (to put it mildly!) at this view, and totally forbids any such
use of church music.

Shmuel Himelstein


From: <MJGerver@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Wed, 26 Dec 2001 16:15:39 EST
Subject: Kaddish

Carl Singer writes, in v35n75,

>  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.

I don't think it's a minhag so much as a superstition-- parents may
worry that if their child says Kaddish for someone else, it means they
themselves will die soon.  My understanding of the halacha is that it is
fine for someone with living parents to say Kaddish for someone else, if
the parents give permission.  When my maternal grandmother died, my
mother asked me to say Kaddish, since there was no one else to say it,
and my father said it was fine with him, so I did it.  Another option
often used in cases like this is to hire someone to say kaddish, often
someone associated with a yeshiva or kollel who does it to raise money
for the yeshiva. I tried doing that when my grandmother died, but wasn't
able to find anyone, at least not from a yeshiva that I thought my
grandmother would have wanted me to donate money to.

Carl also says

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

I believe that's a Yecke custom, though for all I know it may be a
Spanish Portuguese custom as well.

In the same issue, Shmuel Norin says:

> I myself, do not stand while other people are saying Kadish since
> it makes my Polish born Mother uncomforable.  Most likely a
> superstition.

My impression is that it is almost a universal custom in the United
States for everyone to stand when mourners are saying kaddish, but that
it is more common in Israel (especially in shuls that do not have a lot
of Americans) for only the mourners to stand.

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel

From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahem@...>
Date: Wed, 26 Dec 2001 16:28:24 -0500
Subject: RE: Kaddish

>From: <EngineerEd@...> (Shmuel Norin)
>      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

There is a difference between standing and saying kaddish.  I do not
remember the source (please forgive my bad memory) but I learned that
one cannot say kaddish for others if ones parents are alive unless they
explicitly give permission.  Kaddish is said for one's parents and if
they are still alive, it is as if one is directing the attention of the
Mal'ach Hamaves (Angel of Death) to ones parents.

The custom of leaving the shul during Yizkor has been explained as being
a matter of Ayin Hara.  That is people will see others not taking part
in the Yizkor (because both parents are alive) and have a subconscious
resentment (why him and not me).  This extra pain on the part of the
mourner could lead to an extra measure of judgement on the person not
taking part.

As far as not standing, it is a gesture of respect to stand when kaddish
is said and one answers "yhei shmei rabah" and amein.  Thus everyone
should stand and answer during the Kaddis just as one stands for kedusha
or when the Torah is taken from the ark.

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz - <sabbahem@...>


From: Barry S. Bank <bsbank@...>
Date: Sun, 23 Dec 2001 21:42:13 -0500
Subject: Non-Jewish melodies

In his book, "Beyond Hava Nagila," Velvel Pasternak notes that many
Jewish songs are sung to tunes borrowed from non-Jewish musical sources. 
As a matter of fact, I seem to recall that he states that many chassidic
rebbaim considered it praiseworthy to co-opt these non-Jewish melodies
and that doing so elevate them for a holy purpose.

--Barry S. Bank


From: Sarah E. Beck <sbeck@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Dec 2001 15:30:17 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Sources for "Rock of Ages" and Milton question

Louise writes: "There is another popular church hymn called Rock of
Ages, but amusingly enough it is a different melody.  'Rock of Ages,
cleft for me' (Whatever THAT means!)"

There is something here also of interest to us Jews. The "cleft for me"
version (lyrics) was composed by one Augustus Toplady in England in
1776.  He very probably was reared on the KJV, not the Hebrew.

"Cleft" is used only infrequently in the KJV--once, in Devarim, when
talking about hooves, and several times in Navi, where KJV uses
"cleft(s) of the rock(s)" for, e.g., the Heb. "chagvei ha-sela" in
Jer. 49:16.  ("Tsur" also crops up...not "sela" exclusively.)

"Cleft" does not appear in KJV's trans. of the mei meribah incident in
Num. 20. That (and earlier, Ex. 17) is the obvious (Scriptural) source
for the _content_ of (Toplady's) "R. of Ages," but the Heb. just doesn't
allow for a mention of a "cleft" there.

A Christian _minister_ would (then and now) be able to come up with the
references in Navi. But a churchgoer off the road, reasonably
well-versed but not expert in Bible, might probably think first of the
(understandably more famous) "O my dove, that art in the clefts of the
rock," or to us, "yonati be-chagvei ha-sela." (This perspective improves
the rest of the hymn's "let me hide myself in Thee" immeasurably.)

Just for fun, imagine Toplady's view of (lehavdil!) Milton's "Instruct
me, for thou know'st; thou from the first/ Wast present, and, with
mighty wings outspread,/ Dove-like sat'st brooding on the vast Abyss"
from the first book of _PL_. I have tried to find Milton's source in
Tanakh for the activity of "brooding," but I can't. Not the same thing
as "merachefet." I would be glad of any help.



From: Jonathan & Randy Chipman <yonarand@...>
Date: Sun, 23 Dec 2001 23:16:58 +0200
Subject: Re: Tune of Ma'oz Tzur

    In v35n70, Freda Birnbaum continued an earlier discussion about the
tune of "Maoz Tzur," focusing especially on the issue of its possible
Christian origins.  As it happens, just last week, on the last afternoon
of Hanukka, Kol Yisrael's classical music station rebroadcast an old
(1965!!) program about just that subject. Quite fortuitously, I taped
this progarm, so I can accurately report what their expert musicologists
had to say on the subject:

     A Dr. Even-Ari, who researched this subject extensively, asserted
that the opening section of the melody was originally (perhaps in the
14th or 15th century) part of a German love song, "Lily of the Valleys."
Later, Martin Luther (who was a church composer as well as a theologian)
used the first seven notes of this song for one of his chorales.
Even-Ari suggested that Luther deliberately used a well-known, popular
folk melody for propagantistic reasons, to make the religious message
conveyed by his chorales more appealing to the people.

     But the archetype of the familiar Maoz Tzur melody was another
Bohemian folk song from the 15th century.  Even-Ari, during the course
of his research, discovered three different manuscripts for this melody,
from 1474, 1505, and slightly later. These were what he called
"Cantzionim"-- melodies set to Church texts originating in the
Cantzionist {?}movement, a pre-Reformation grass-roots
religious-nationalistic movement to introduce Czech langauge and
melodies into the Church.  The program included recordings of these
melodies, set to the text of the Latin Roman Catholic Credo, which
parallel the first two-thirds of the Maoz Tzur melody.

    The last third of the melody originated among Ashkenazic Jewry in
later centuries, using other folk motifs -- it's unclear whether this
occurred in Bohemia, in Moravia, or in Germany proper.  The fact that
the fusion of these different muscial elements was successful may be
seen from the fact that the melody has taken root deeply among Ashkenazi
Jewry, and sounds like one melody.

    Even-Ari concluded by remarking that the widespread practice of
doubling over the last section of the melody (and thus the last line of
text in each stanzza) is late, and in his view musically inferior and
unnecessary.  The program included a male chorus singing the song
without the repetition, to prove this point.

    Incidentally, Freda may be interested to know that one of the first
contemporary arrangements of Maoz Tzur, played on this program by organ,
was made in 1889 by the German hazan Edward Birnbaum.  This Birnbaum was
also one of the earliest scholars of Jewish music, and the first one to
uncover the Bohemian folk origin of the melody.

     The program also contained some illuminating information about the
text.  The poem was composed in Germany in the late 12th or early 13th
century. The author's name, "Mordecai," is alluded to in an acrostic of
the first five stanzas, and the final verse, "Hasof zero'a kodshekha,"
evidentally refers to more recent persecutions that occurred during the
period of the author.

      The scholars interviewed on this program claim that the "Admon"
(ruddy one) referred to in that stanza is Emperor Friedrich I
(Barbarossa - "the Red Beard"), who led the Third Crusade against
Jerusalem along with Richard the Lion Hearted at the end of 12th
century.  The "seven shepherds" supposedly refer to figures connected
with Salladin, who reconquered Jerusalem for the Muslims, allowing Jews
to live here.

      I would demur on this point.  While this may be true, it does not
exhaust the symbolism of that stnza.   Anyone remotely familar with
Midrash knows that Admon is also an allusion to Edom, especially given
that this verse completes the scheme of Maoz Tzur which--except for the
first two verses, which are respectively general praise of Gd and
description of the Exodus from Egypt-- follow the pattern of the four
kingdoms:  Bavel, Paras, Yavan and Edom.  No doubt Friedrich Barbarossa
may have been seen as the incarnation of Edom/Rome/Christendom/Europe by
late 12th century Jews, but only as the latest embodiment of a
well-establsihed archetype.

   As for the "seven shepherds," this is a well-known shorthand for the
seven patrirachs and other central figures of Jewish history, who among
other things are invited into the Sukkah as ushpizin;  the phrase itself
is taken from Micah 5:4.

      Jonathan Chipman

From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Mon, 24 Dec 2001 17:15:43 +0200
Subject: Re: Tune of Ma'oz Tzur

>I heard that there is a Xasidish niggun that was a Cossack tune.
>So what! Why can we not take a treif tune and make is [it] qodosh.

I have only two responses.  First, to paraphrase, why can we not take a
piece of treifeh meat and make it kosher (let alone sacred)?

Secondly, how about the prohibition of "behukoteihem lo teleikhu"?



From: Joseph Mosseri <JMosseri@...>
Date: Thu, 27 Dec 2001 00:51:42 -0500
Subject: Yabia Omer Index

To the person who asked about a comprehensive index to Rabbi Obadia Yosef's
Yabi'a Omer.
In some printings there is such an index at the end of Volume 6.
I includes everything even sub topics in all 6 volumes.
I have such an edition it is dated 1986.
Since then volumes 7 and 8 have been released and there is no updated index.
Volume 9 just came out last month.
I should have it in a couple of days. I'll keep you posted if it includes a
new all inclusive index.
Joseph Mosseri


End of Volume 35 Issue 77