Volume 38 Number 78
                 Produced: Sun Mar 16 18:00:59 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Boruch Hashem L'Olam in Chul
         [Samson Bechhofer]
Falling on left side for tahanun
         [Emmanuel Ifrah]
Kaddeishim before pesukei dezimra
         [Seth Mandel]
         [Carl Singer]
         [Yisrael and Batya Medad]
Maot Hittim
         [Mark Steiner]
Tachanun Falling
         [Yisrael and Batya Medad]
Tefillin on chol haMoed / Minhag Eretz Yisrael
         [David E Cohen]
Waiting for a Minyan
         [Menashe Elyashiv]


From: Samson Bechhofer <SBechhof@...>
Date: Wed, 12 Mar 2003 10:58:40 -0500
Subject: Boruch Hashem L'Olam in Chul

There seems to be a custom - prevalent mainly with graduates of Yeshivas
Rabbeinu Yitzchak Elchanan (YU) - that if they personally do not say
Boruch Hashem L'Olam ("BHL") for Ma'ariv, they adhere to this minhag
even when they are the Baalei Tefillah at a minyan which does say it.
Setting aside for a moment how they came to adopt this minhag - since
the minhag Ashkenaz in Chutz La'aretz is to recite BHL - I have often
said to these fellows that it is not correct to remain silent at the
Omud for an estimated 30 seconds or so in lieu of saying BHL while the
rest of the tzibbur says it.  This seems to be a Dovor Poshut but I was
always rebuffed by the response that they've always done it this way and
nobody else (including the rabbis of the Shul in which they did this)
criticized them.

This led me to consult Rav Herschel Schachter who, one might think,
would be the final word on this matter for Yotzei YU.  He informed me
that this minhag is indeed prevalent in the RIETS Beis Medrash but that
as the majority of the tzibbur there apparently no longer says BHL (he
speculated that this was a result of bochrim having learned in Eretz
Yisroel and having inexplicably decided to transplant Minhag EY to
Chul), the minhag of the Shatz to stand silently is not improper.
However, he indicated emphatically that to do so in a minyan where the
majority does say BHL is absolutely wrong and he cited a Teshuva of Rav
Moshe Feinstein zt"l to this effect.  See Igros Moshe Yoreh De'ah Chelek
3, Siman 96, Os 8 (part of a Teshuva to R' Moshe's son Reuven).

Kol Tuv.
Samson R. Bechhofer


From: Emmanuel Ifrah <emmanuel_ifrah@...>
Date: Tue, 4 Mar 2003 02:23:47 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Falling on left side for tahanun

In mail-Jewish vol. 38 #75 Rach Elms wrote:
> [Falling on left side for tahanun in shaharit] is
> the ruling of the Mechaber OC 131:1.  I assume
> Sefaradim follow this practice.

To the extent of my knowledge, Sefaradim do not follow this minhag.

Please refer to the Ben Ish Chai (Part I, Ki Tissa, #13) who explains
that the minhag in Bagdad was not to fall on one's arm based on a text
in Zohar ha-Kadosh(Bamidbar 102).

The Ben Ish Chai received confirmation from R. Avraham Mani of Yeshivat
Beth-El (the kabbalists' yeshiva) that they were behaving in the same
way in Jerusalem (along with a second rationale for not "falling on
one's arm").

NB: The din is the same for Shacharit and Mincha.

Emmanuel Ifrah (Paris, France)


From: Seth Mandel <sethm37@...>
Date: Mon, 03 Mar 2003 19:06:27 +0000
Subject: Re: Kaddeishim before pesukei dezimra

The thrust of R. Mordechai's post is correct according to halokho, but I
wish to make a couple of points.

First, the source of the kaddishes said before davening is not the Ari.
Indeed, in places where followers of qabbolo daven, and, also, among
chasidim, the qaddish after mizmor shir hanukkas habayis is not said.
It is true that that chapter of T'hillim was first introduced into
davening by the Ari and his talmidim, but none of them claims that
anyone said qaddish after it.  Similarly, there is no record by the
Ari's talmidim that he or anyone else said qaddish after qorbonos.

Rather, in both cases, it appears that this was one of the many cases
where some avelim, thinking that the more qaddishes, the better, jumped
up and started saying qaddish.  Their justification was that the
rishonim say you say qaddish after reciting parts of the Torah
ShebiKhsav, so why not after a chapter of t'hillim that was added before
the brokho of Borukh SheOmar.  The Rambam also says you say qaddish
after 10 people learning, so why not after qorbonos?

The answer would be that Hazal didn't institute it, it was not the
minhag of old generations, and it was considered improper to add
qaddishes by the rishonim and aharonim.  But those arguments
historically have held little weight for the the drive of avelim to find
more excuses to say qaddish.  Most rabbonim did not want to embarrass a
mourner by silencing him, so they ignored it.  Pretty soon, it became
standard.  The same thing happened to the original practice that only
one person said qaddish at a time; now AFAIK only German communities and
some Chazon Ish shuls do that.

But in the case being discussed, the whole justification of the avelim
in introducing the qaddish was that 10 people were learning together
(saying the mishna of Eizehu M'qoman) or saying a chapter of t'hillim
together.  If there is not a minyan doing it, there is no excuse
according to halokho for saying qaddish.  This is fairly common by
Qorbonos in the morning, where there is not a minyon when people are
saying them and as soon as a 10th person enters, the ovel starts saying
qaddish.  According to halokho, there is no hetter for saying qaddish in
such a situation.

Seth Mandel


From: <CARLSINGER@...> (Carl Singer)
Date: Wed, 5 Mar 2003 19:51:34 EST
Subject: Re: Kaddish

      There is a problem of too many kadeishim (as well as tefillos)
      being recited with less and less kavonnoh, as time goes by. It
      seems that often (if not always) the amount of of kavonnoh is
      inversely proportional to the amount of prayers - in other words,
      if people are made to say too many prayers, they are more likely
      to rush through them with lesser kavonnoh.

I believe this is an unfounded generalization -- to many people,
especially on a Yartzeit, saying kaddish has a strong emotional "tug" --
and missing a kaddish because people are late to shule is quite
upsetting to them.

Carl Singer


From: Yisrael and Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Tue, 04 Mar 2003 20:57:07 +0200
Subject: Kaddishim

in a spin-off from the recent discussion on Kaddishim before P'sukei
D'zimra, I had need to confer with the Rav of Shiloh on a situation in
which someone who was a first-year mourner due to his employment had to
leave the minyan by a certain time (and often missed the beginning by a
minute or two).  It just so happened that another first-year mourner was
more often than not the person to daven for the tzibbur and his davening
was longer enough in time to cause the other mourner to leave prior to a
Mourner's Kaddish being said (the minyan nusach is Sfard and 99% of the
time started at Hodu so that the first Kaddish D'Yatom on a normal day
is at the end).

Rav Bin-Nun told me that the first mourner then should take over the
davening from Yishtabach until end of Chazarat HaShatz and therefore the
"Yehai Shmai Raba..." of the Kaddish before Barchu would be counted as a
Mourner's Kaddish.

Yisrael Medad


From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Sat, 8 Mar 2003 04:58:36 +0200
Subject: Maot Hittim

I hope it is not too early to mention our maot hittim campaign this
year. As many of our readers know, I have been involved with the Kupat
Ezer fund, founded by one of the great Jerusalem poskim, Hagaon R. Dov
Eliezerov, of blessed memory, ever since he personally requested me to
help raise funds in the US. The fund gives outright grants to the poor
of Jerusalem, particularly for the hagim [holidays such as
Pesach]. Needless to say, all the gabbaim (trustees) are volunteers, so
that 100% of your contribution goes to tzedakah. The readers of
mail-jewish have been very generous with their responses, fulfilling the
mitzvah to its highest degree (which, according to the Rambam is where
the donor and recepient do not know each other).

This year, as Israel once again faces a possible attack by Iraq (has
veshalom) in the event of a war with the U. S., to say nothing of our
efforts to defend ourselves against Palestinian terrorism for the last
couple of years, our economic situation is extremely grave. The kupat
ezer has begun helping unemployed people formerly of the middle class,
families of terror victims, and other victims of this situation. I doubt
that I have to explain to mail-jewish readers what kind of need there is
this year, and the significance of Jewish solidarity in the face of

The midrash says that the mitzvah of shkalim, intercepts, as it were,
the shkalim that Haman the wicked was willing to shell out to rid
himself of the Jews. We have our own Hamans today who are funding the
families of the mass murderers, such as the one the other day in
Haifa. (I understand that this includes Iraq.) I feel it is appropriate
for us to help the families of the victims, both the actual ones and the
potential ones, Heaven forbid. On behalf of the Kupat Ezer, I wish all
our readers a joyous Purim and Pesach.

Mark Steiner

Contributions can be sent to me directly. Make out checks to Kupat Ezer
and send them to:

Mark Steiner
23 Kovshei Katamon Street
Jerusalem, ISRAEL


From: Yisrael and Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Tue, 04 Mar 2003 23:10:00 +0200
Subject: Tachanun Falling

      Dani Wassner <dani@...> wrote:

      Can I ask a broader question?  Where does the whole custom of
      "falling" come from? Why don't sefardim do it? Why change sides
      for mincha? Why use a tallit or tefilin strap between the forehead
      and the arm?

in partial response, Moshe Chalamish summarizes thus: earliest source
seems to be Baba Metzia 59B where Rebbi Eliezer is prevented from
"falling" in prayer and supplication.

Rav Amram Gaon mentions "falling" in his siddur as does Rav Saadiah Gaon
regarding whether "falling" is applicable at night.  The Shiblei
Haleket, 13th cent.  terms it "a simple minhag in Israel".  The Rambam
mentions it (Hilchot Tefilla, 5:15).  As for which side, it seems to
have started off on the left (Rabi Avraham ben HaRambam) but the reasons
are either because "it is more comfortable" or because it is due to pain
and the left is proper for pain as the evil angel stands to the left or
because according to Pesachim 108A, one always leans to the left.  But
varieties exist in all directions.

Yisrael Medad


From: David E Cohen <ddcohen@...>
Date: Tue, 04 Mar 2003 15:51:18 -0500
Subject: Tefillin on chol haMoed / Minhag Eretz Yisrael

Mordechai wrote:
> Also, being that the standard (as cited by Ram"a, etc.) Ashkenazic
> custom is to wear tefillin on chol haMoed, that might have bearing here
> too, as I believe that scholars say that certain Ashkenazic customs are
> derived from ancient Palestinian (Eretz Yisroel) ones (as opposed to
> some Sepharadic ones being from Babylonia). So perhaps that could
> indicate what possible ancient Palestinian custom was.

In support of Mordechai's idea, see Beit Yosef on Orach Chayim 31, which
has a nice summary of the Rosh's discussion of the subject.  It seems
while it remains unclear what the position of the Talmud Bavli is on the
issue, the Talmud Yerushalmi clearly comes out in favor of wearing
tefilin on Chol haMoed.

However, I will point out that Prof. Talya Fishman, in her seminar on
minhagim this semester, has told us that she sees many holes in this
Bavel->Sefarad and E"Y->Ashkenaz theory, and that while it is stil
espoused by some, in particular Prof. Yisrael Ta-Shema (author of
"Minhag Ashkenaz haKadmon"), many scholars today don't think as much of
it as they used to.

 > Since when is the determination of indigenous minhag (in this case of
 > Eretz Yisroel) made on the basis of opinions of non-natives, rather than
 > historic proofs or indigenous traditions ?

Are you suggesting that practice in Israel today should be based on the
Minhag Eretz Yisrael of old?!  Should Israeli congregations be
"reclaiming their true minhag" by instituting a 3-year Torah reading
cycle?  This sounds like a pretty radical suggestion, considering that
Minhag Eretz Yisrael pretty much died out around the time of the
Crusades (at least in terms of liturgy), and pretty much all of the Jews
now living in Israel now are descended from communities that considered
the Talmud Bavli to be authoritative.

As historical precedent for indigenous minhag being decided on the basis
of the opinions of non-natives, I believe that some of the customs of
middle Eastern Jewish communities were influenced by the great numbers
of refugees who came from Spain after the expulsion in 1492.  This is so
much so that today, all Jews from these countries are commonly called
"sefaradim."  I have heard, for example, that the original custom in
Syria was to follow Minhag Bavel -- that the berakhot of malkhuyot,
zikhronot and shofarot were recited only in the chazarat hashatz, but
not in the Musaf prayer of Rosh haShanah recited by individuals.  This
changed once the Spanish Jews came in such great numbers that they took
over the Syrian communities and imported their own minhag.



From: Menashe Elyashiv <elyashm@...>
Date: Sun, 9 Mar 2003 14:34:32 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Waiting for a Minyan

The old custome was to say 1 Kaddish at the end of Shaharit, and the
Halacha is full of rules to who receives that Kaddish. But by the
Kabbala, each passage to a different world needs a Kaddish, except to
the Olam Atsilut = Shmonei Esrei, that does not need a Kaddish. So now
you have 1 at the beginning & 2 at the end (shir shel yom and ein
kealokainu).  However, as customes mergers etc, it seems that there are
more Kaddishim in Shaharit.  In my Beit Keneset, we do say the early
Kaddish, but as we are always running on time - sunrise vatikin - if
there is not a minyan, we don't wait, but instead we say Kaddish before
Baruch Sheamar, i.e. it gives 2- 3 minutes on weekdays & 12- 13 minutes
on Shabbat.


End of Volume 38 Issue 78