Volume 36 Number 08
                 Produced: Tue Mar 19  5:40:46 US/Eastern 2002

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

1492 and Tisha b'Av
         [A. Seinfeld]
2nd day Chag In Isroel for Visitors
         [Perritz (Alan) Davidson]
Birkat ha-Ilanot
         [Hannah and Daniel Katsman]
Birkath Kohanim
         [Jonathan & Randy Chipman]
Cohain Marrying a Women Divorced from Non-Jew
         [Avram Sacks]
         [Chaim Mateh]
Making A Minyan With Nine
         [Noach [Neville] Stern]
Unmarried Men not Wearing a Talit Gadol
         [Binyomin Segal]


From: A. Seinfeld <aseinfeld@...>
Date: Mon, 18 Mar 2002 04:09:35 -0800
Subject: 1492 and Tisha b'Av

Tradition and history tell us several facts:

1. The Expulsion from Spain was on 9 Av 5252 (1492)
2. Columbus had to delay his voyage by 2 days bcs the port was clogged with
Jews leaving 
3. Columbus set sail on Aug 3, 1492.
3. Our perpetual calendar repeats itself every 19 years. Therefore, the
lunar-solar calendar of 5252/1492 should have repeated itself in 19x26 years
later, in 5746/1986.
5. However, in that year, 9 Av corresponded to July 25. The closest we came
in recent years was 5750/1990, When 9 Av was on July 31.

Any ideas how to reconcile these facts?


From: Perritz (Alan) Davidson <perzvi@...>
Date: Sun, 17 Mar 2002 20:52:27 -0500
Subject: 2nd day Chag In Isroel for Visitors

The way I was taught the minhag in the yeshive velt is to follow the
custom from where you are from which means if you are visiting from
chutz la'aretz you observe only 2 days yomtov and there are minyanim to
support this in Eretz Yisroel -- and if a visitor from Eretz Yisroel is
spending yomtov in Chutz la'aretz they do non-yomtov activities (such as
putting on tefillin) in private.

Those opinions which hold otherwise (Eg, the Baal HaTanya) hold that 1
day yomtov in Eretz Yisroel has nothing to do with lack of sefekus but
has to do with the kedusha of the land -- therefore, regardless of where
one is from they should follow the minhag for days of yomtov where they
are for yomtov.


From: Hannah and Daniel Katsman <hannahpt@...>
Date: Sat, 16 Mar 2002 22:41:04 +0200
Subject: Birkat ha-Ilanot

Last week's issue of Shabbat be-Shabbato (a parasha sheet in Israel)
contained a discussion of Birkat ha-Ilanot, which among other things
stated that the blessing should not be recited on Shabbat.  Does anyone
know of a source for this?  From my days in Washington Heights, I
remember being told that the Breuer's community goes to the park en
masse on Shabbat to say the berakha, although I don't believe I ever saw

Daniel Katsman
Petah Tikva


From: Jonathan & Randy Chipman <yonarand@...>
Date: Thu, 14 Mar 2002 08:47:12 +0200
Subject: Re:  Birkath Kohanim

In v36n05, Akiva Miller comments on Mark Symons question about the
phrase "Am K'doshecha Ka'amur" said before Birkat Kohanim, and
especially the meaning of the wurd "ka'amur," and Ben Katz' suggested
solution based on Rabbenu saadya Gaon.  He comments <<I don't see how
this text solves anything.  The word "ka-amur" is always followed by a
quote which supports the idea which had preceded...  But when you pluck
these words out of context, it loses all meaning. "The Kohanim [of] Your
holy people, as it is said!" I don't get it.>>

It is anonalous.  It seems clear to me that the minhag as it stands, of
saying "am kedoshekha ka'amur," is as such a shibush (confused text).
Perhaps it became accepted, snce outside of Eretz Yisrael the general
minhag is to recite the whole tefillah before dukhaning, and then say
"Kohanim" out loud, so as to call them to recite the blessing.  It
should be noted that the calling of the kohanim by the hazan or whomever
is an obligation mentioned by the gemara in Sotah 38a, inferred from the
phrase "amor lahem" in Num 6:23.  The saying of the remaining words, "am
kedoshekha ka'amur," is I assume simply to finish off the standard text.
The point that in this context it doesn't make a whole lot of sense is
well taken.

    In Israel, where birkat kohanim is recited everyday or, in some
parts of the Gallilee and Tiberias, only on Shabbat and Yom Tov (the
Chief Rabbi of Haifa recently issued a pesak bringing that city, and
whatever other regions of the North will accept his view, into line with
the rest of the country), the practice is for one of the congregation to
say "kohanim" and for the kohanim to immedately begin with the Birkat
Hamitzvah preceding the Dukhaning; if there is only one kohen, he begins
by himself immediately after "ulekha na'eh lehodot... Amen" -- i.e., the
end of the previous blessing of the Amidah.

   Yehonatan Chipman


From: <Avram_Sacks@...> (Avram Sacks)
Date: Fri, 15 Mar 2002 12:34:14 -0600
Subject: Cohain Marrying a Women Divorced from Non-Jew

The following question recently came to us from a friend who is not
within the Orthodox community:

What is the status of a cohain in the following situation:

Jewish woman marries non-Jew. Jewish woman later divorces
non-Jew. Jewish woman falls in love with cohain and decide to get
married.  Cohain tells Jewish woman, who is not observant, but who knows
that a cohain shouldn't marry a divorced woman, that her prior marriage
to non-Jew is irrelevant because Jewish law wouldn't recognize the
marriage anyway. Relative of Jewish woman now wants to know what would
be the status of any children they might have should they proceed with
marriage.  Orthodox parents of Jewish woman are happy that daughter is
marrying a Jew.  Marriage is slated to take place in a reform synagogue.

My understanding is that although a cohain may not marry a divorced
woman, in this case, the woman is not divorced from a Jew, so, from a
halachic perspective her marriage and subsequent divorce from a non-Jew
is not relevant vis a vis the prohibition against a cohain marrying a
divorced woman.  However, I have also heard that a cohain may not marry
a woman who has had intercourse with a non-Jew.  Correct?  If so, would
the marriage cause him to lose the k'huna?  And then, what would be the
status of the children?

Avram Sacks


From: Chaim Mateh <chaim-m@...>
Date: Thu, 14 Mar 2002 23:09:35 +0200
Subject: Re: Gomel

In vol 36 #04, Hillel Markowitz wrote:

<< In our shul, sometimes a minyon (exactly) will gather near the ezras
nashim and answer the bracha.  It does not have to be during the aliyos but
could be after minyan.  That way the woman is not embarassed and it is
easier on the rest of the congregation.>>

To which, in vol 36 #06, Jeanette Friedman replied:

<<what is there to be embarrassed about, ...>>

Perhaps it refers to the woman's embarrassment making the bracha in
front of a group of men.  This would jive with the Ba'er Heiteiv 219:3:1
who says that the reason why women were not accustomed to make the gomel
bracha was "kol kvoda bas melech pnima" which refers to the tzniut of a
woman not to be too "public", including making a bracha in front of a
group of men.

This brings to my mind the famous verse in Micha 6:8, "and what does
Hashem demand of you if only to do justice and love chessed and go
modestly (hatznei'a lechet) with your G-d".  The Metzudas David and
Tzion say that this refers to tzniut (modesty): "and to go modestly with
your G-d in the ways of His Mitzvot, not with great publicity and to be

BTW, Rav Shlomo Zalman ZT"L (in Halichot Shlomo 23:4) says that "a new
mother (yoledet) makes the Gomel bracha when her relatives (including
men presumably) gather in her house".  I guess there is less of a tzniut
issue making the Gomel in front of men relatives than in front of
"strange" men.

Kol Tuv,


From: Noach [Neville] Stern <noacheyn@...>
Date: Sat, 16 Mar 2002 21:52:05 +1000
Subject: Making A Minyan With Nine

 In recent years the demographics of my city-based shul have made it
difficult to get a minyan for Shabbes Shacharis - let alone a minyan
whose majority is composed of Shomrei Shabbat [observant], or (sad to
relate) whose Sha'Tz [leader of service] and Ba'al Kor'ei [reader from
the Torah] are themselves shomer [observant].

When first I came there, about three years ago, I was taken aback by a
local custom as follows below.

On several occasions, Shabbat Shacharis would be one person short of a
minyan. When the service reached a point where a minyan was required in
order to recite (e.g.) Kaddish, Barechu, repetition of Amidah etc, the
Rabbi (!) would signal someone to open the Aron ha-Kodesh. The service
would thereupon continue as if it had a minyan.

One Shabbat the service arrived in this manner at Kriat ha-Torah
[Reading of the Torah]. An impasse ensued, accompanied by intense
discussion whose Chelm-like logic was as follows. In order to do peticha
[open the Ark] to take out the Torah, the Ark had first to be closed. If
it were closed, there would no longer be a minyan and therefore peticha
could not be done. I felt impelled to shrug my shoulders and say, 'So,
nu, no peticha, no kriat haTorah. Everyone take chumashim and read for
themselves, and let's move on.'

In the absurdity of the moment, it struck me that if we got ourselves
around the peticha problem, and there were perhaps only one sefer Torah
in the Ark, the act of removing it would itself nullify the putative
minyan. The temptation to spin more PurimToyres was almost irresistible.
I chipped into the argument with suggestions e.g. that the President or
Rabbi might wish to 'keep the sefer's place' in the Aron by sitting in
it.  However this might mean that at some stage they too would have to
be carried around and kissed.  I developed a position that we should
continue IFF (if and ONLY if) the Torah *itself* were to help us out
with peticha and by reading from itself upon the bimah. We could then
consider whether to mechavved it also with Musaf. No one besides myself
was at all amused. Fortunately the problem on the occasion I described
was resolved by the arrival of a tenth.

On discussing the issue with friends and teachers elsewhere, another
'minyan of nine' practice came up which I had also never experienced. A
Chumash is placed in the hands (or in some accounts next to the heart)
of a boy near to bar-mitzvah, provided he could recognise and read words
from it.

I had been brought up to understand that the purpose of a minyan was to
be a minyan. No subterfuges or devices were permitted, necessary or
effective to make it, other than of course the familiar strategies of
persuading someone human to join it. I also had a vague idea, acquired
from times of being chiyyuv to say kaddish, that if one tried sincerely
but could not achieve a minyan, HaShem could choose to look with
kindness on one's difficulties and accord it 'as if' one had in fact
said kaddish in a minyan - ma'aseh k'machsheva (or is it the other way
round?) To my mind, this 'as if' was as much as one could hope for.

Although the issue has its absurd and funny side (once or twice with
nine in shul, and at the Rabbi's signal, I would call out 'Nein!  Nein!'
to no avail and no one's comprehension or amusement, as before. What
could I do? Should I have walked out, leaving my kehilla to search in
vain now for *two* Arks to open?) it is in fact quite poignant. As one
older congregant said to me, it was a sad fact to be reduced to such
practices in order to keep the shul going in its present location. There
is much to reflect upon in this statement, including the question
whether the shul should close or relocate, something which the present
membership and Board of Management do not want to do.

One related aspect is the question of how many kaddishim one *really*
needs to recite in any given service or on any given day. One elderly
congregant - who continues to be upset at the discontinuation of the
practice I have described - feels that *every* kaddish is as important
as another. To complicate matters, he is forced to break Shabbat (for
reasons of age as well as distance from the city) in order recite all of
them, from the first kaddish d'rabbanan to the last after the shir shel
yom. Ought he to be rebuked and told to console himself with one or two
recitations later in the morning when there might be more people?

I wonder if other list-discussants have similar experiences. What is the
halachah in these circumstances, and how should it be applied?

Kol Tuv



From: Binyomin Segal <bsegal@...>
Date: Thu, 14 Mar 2002 22:05:24 -0600
Subject: Re: Unmarried Men not Wearing a Talit Gadol

> From: Louis Finkelman <louis.finkelman@...>
> 1) Does anyone on Mail Jewish have more information than I do about the
> custom of unmarried men not wearing a talit gadol?

The Be'er Haytiv quotes the Maharil, but argues stating that it is
inappropriate to sit and not perform the mitzvah from thirteen till
marriage. The Mishna Brurah quotes the Be'er Haytiv - seeming to agree
that thirteen year olds should war a tallit.

I dont know enough history to know if this is fair, but a friend once
speculated that the Be'er Haytiv's objection is no longer applicable. He
suggested that the the universal custom of a "tallit katan" is fairly
recent, many people only performed the mitzva of tzizit with a "talit
gadol" and so if they did not wear one, they were not performing the
mitzvah at all. Today however we all wear a "tallit katan" and so the
prime significance of a talit gadol is as a "beged hamuychad l'tfilah"
(garment designated for prayer). In this vein it is interesting to note
that the only source I know that specifically discusses the custom of
tallit katan and the obligation to keep this custom is Igrot Moshe.

hope this helps,
binyomin segal
Contact me via my NEW address


End of Volume 36 Issue 8