Volume 39 Number 81
                 Produced: Tue Jun 17  5:46:19 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Book Of Ruth
         [Shimon Lebowitz]
Development of tefilah
         [Eitan Fiorino]
How does a one armed man put on tefillin shel YAD?
         [Zev Sero]
Observance in the past
         [David Maslow]
RCA Resolution
         [Chaim Wasserman]
         [Ben Katz]
Ruth, La/BaOmer
         [Nathan Lamm]
Ruth's conversion
         [Akiva Miller]
Standing During Lechah Dodi--another approach
         [Russell Jay Hendel]


From: Shimon Lebowitz <shimonl@...>
Date: Wed, 11 Jun 2003 18:12:11 +0200
Subject: Re: Book Of Ruth

> On the second day of Shavuos the Book of Ruth is read before lehening
> (Reading from the Torah).

On Shavuot. Only in hutz la'aretz is the custom moved to the second day.

> Given the principle of tadir ve'shaino tadir tadir kodem (roughly
> translated as a frequent event takes precedence over a less frequent
> event), why isn't the Book of Ruth read after lehening?

IMHO that is not the meaning of "tadir ve'she-eino tadir". If it was,
why not have Torah reading (more frequent, and from the written Torah)
before Hallel (less frequent, and from Tehillim)?

I believe the rule was not meant to set the order of distinct parts of
the service, but rather to determine, when at *one* point there are
multiple elements, based on different criteria.  In that case, the more
frequent element usually precedes the less frequent. (I may be mistaken,
but I think there is a situation where pirsumei nisa 'trumps' tadir).



From: Eitan Fiorino <tony.fiorino@...>
Date: Thu, 12 Jun 2003 08:09:18 -0400
Subject: Development of tefilah

> From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
> My concern? Well there is a known regulation that we cannot change any
> Blessing introduced by the sages of the great assembly. Now the Amidah
> blessings were made by the great assembly sages in a different
> formulation.
> But BOTH the weekday and Shabbath shma blessings seem to be the same. It
> "appears" as if someone added the "kayl adon" poem (the same way many
> poems have been added). This would be a change in the blessings
> Does anyone have any historical evidence on when these changes were
> first introduced (or some talmudic reference that the great assembly
> sages instituted the different form).

The historical development of the seder hatefilah is quite a bit more
complex than is implied by the statement "there is a known regulation
that we cannot change any blessing introduced by the sages of the great
assembly."  It is obvious that by simply comparing the various nusachot
that the text both of birkat kriat shema and of the amidah have
developed differently in different communities. The reason for this is
probably that being yotzei these brachot involves reciting the correct
begining and ending brachot, while reciting the incorrect intervening
text does not render the brachot invalid.  Thus the practical
consequences of altering the text are fairly minimal. Distinct tefila
traditions developed in eretz yisrael and in bavel after the chorban
bayit sheni (distinctions in tefilah can clearly be seen between the
yerushalmi and bavli). The Palestinian and Babylonian traditions are
reflected in part in differences between contemporary nusachot, although
numerous alterations and innovations were brought to the siddur by the
chasidei ashkenaz, the kabbalists, and the Sephardic exile from Spain
and Portugal.

As for "keil adon" - according to Macy Nulman's Encyclopedia of Jewish
Prayer - it appears in the Zohar and is attributed to 8th century
mystics known as the yorday merchavah; it was introduced into the
shabbat liturgy by the geonim.  The alphabetical acrostic "keil baruch
gadol" found in the weekday birkat kriat shema is a parallel but less
lengthy acrostic.



From: <zsero@...> (Zev Sero)
Date: Thu, 12 Jun 2003 12:04:22 -0400
Subject: Re: How does a one armed man put on tefillin shel YAD?

Prof. Aryeh A. Frimer <frimea@...> wrote:

> The responsa literature is replete with rulings permitting a woman
> to help a disabled or ill man to put on tefillin: [long list of
> references omitted]
> The following poskim explicitly permit menstruants to do so:
> [another list of references omitted]

What has either issue got to do with the subject?  The subject is about
a one-armed man, not `a disabled or ill man', and nobody so far has
raised the issue of women or menstruants, if such an issue even exists
(and I don't see why it should).  It's nice to know that *if* someone
needs help putting on tefilin he doesn't have to search for a man, and
not even for a tehora woman, but can accept help from whoever is
offering (I would assume even from a goy, no?).

But that doesn't address the issue here, which is whether a one- armed
man should put on tefilin shel yad at all, with or without help.  As far
as I can tell, if the arm is amputated above the biceps there is no
question that he should *not* put on tefilin shel yad (on the other
arm), and if the it was amputated below the biceps he should put it on
without a beracha.  (Shulchan Aruch Harav OC27:3)

Zev Sero


From: David Maslow <maslowd@...>
Date: Thu, 12 Jun 2003 14:57:16 -0400
Subject: Observance in the past

A number of issues ago, Yehuda Landy, in a response to a comment on the
Goals of Judaism wrote:

>A few hundred years ago when all Jews were Torah observant each mitzvah...

What is the support for the idea of (almost?) universal Torah observance
among Jews a few hundred years ago or at any period in post-biblical

David Maslow


From: <Chaimwass@...> (Chaim Wasserman)
Date: Thu, 12 Jun 2003 23:55:59 EDT
Subject: Re: RCA Resolution

I Kasdan states with regard to the RCA resolution concerning mesirah and
reporting abuse that "no one consulted the community at large and no
vote was taken by the tzibbur before its issuance.  And, certainly, the
community had no *direct* involvement in choosing the RCA leadership
that wrote and decided to issue the Resolution."

Just who would constitute "the community at large" and was sort of form
would direct involvement take?

Chaim Wasserman


From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Wed, 11 Jun 2003 10:59:27 -0500
Subject: Re: Ruth

>Incidentally, even if Ruth wasn't in the picture at all - suppose that
>she had stayed in Moav with Orpah - Tov or Boaz would have still been
>Elimelech's goel insofar as they would be responsible for repurchasing
>his estates, because they were his closest blood relatives. So that
>particular detail is irrelevant to the question of Ruth's status.

         I am going to be a bit of a kanoi here.  Assumming that pleoni 
almoni's name was Tov is a symptom of a rampant problem in Orthodox Judaism 
today, which is confusing midrash with the Biblical text.  Nowhere in the 
text is he specifically named, and, in fact, since he is the only character 
in the book NOT named there is obviously some significance the author 
wishes to convey (prob. that since he didn't redeem the field that he is 
insignificant).  I know the verse at the end of chapter 3 could be 
understood that his name is ploni and that some rishonim read it that way, 
but again, this is not universal (see Ibn Ezra for example) and is not 


From: Nathan Lamm <nelamm18@...>
Date: Wed, 11 Jun 2003 09:58:59 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Ruth, La/BaOmer

My Rav spoke on Shavuos about why Ruth is read first in light of the
principle of tadir vesheano tadir. I forget all the sources, but to put
it simply, tadir applies only to mitzvos. Therefore, we read Esther, a
mitzvah, after layning. The megillos read on the regalim, though (Shir
HaShirim and Koheles too), are minhagim. They don't compare with krias
hatorah, and therefore the fact that they come before doesn't matter
(the same as hallel comes before, I guess- it's a mitzvah, but not the
same mitzvah of "keriah" as Esther is). We put them before to show
chaviva for the minhag.

I believe Eicha is read by some on Tisha B'Av morning as well. Is it
done before or after layning?

Moving on (or, rather, backward) to sefira: R.  Schachter explains in
one of his books on the Rav that "LaOmer" refers to the korban (i.e., "5
days *of* [after] the Omer [korban]"), while "BaOmer" refers to the
count itself (i.e., "30 days *within* the Omer [count]"). Therefore,
although really either is OK, since we haven't brought the korban on day
one, we should say "BaOmer." The Rav actually said the entire formula
twice ("Hayom chamisha yamim baomer. Hayom chamisha yamim laomer."),
"BaOmer" first because it follows the Beracha and is the one that
"counts," "LaOmer" second as a zecher and because it's followed by the
Harachamon that explicitly refers to binyan hamikdash- in other words,
we say "LaOmer" and immediately give a tefillah that we should soon
bring the actual Omer.

Nachum Lamm


From: <kennethgmiller@...> (Akiva Miller)
Date: Wed, 11 Jun 2003 09:28:18 -0400
Subject: Re: Ruth's conversion

I asked a question regarding Ruth's conversion to Judaism. Specifically,
I asked how or what kind of Beis Din might have been formed in Moav. I
admit that this question presumes that one of the requirements of
conversion is that a Beis Din participates in it.

Several people have responded that Moav was not totally devoid of Jews
as I had been led to believe. Pending further research, this seems to be
the simplest answer.

I'd also be willing to consider answers which suggest that Beis Din was
not a requirement at that time in history. This idea seems to have
rubbed our moderator the wrong way, and in MJ 39:34, he (Moderator Avi
Feldblum) described an important dispute about the development of
halacha through the ages.

At the risk of oversimplifying it, he explained that according to the
Rambam, G-d originally gave us the Torah and a set of rules on how to
interpret it, and it took a very long time for the sages to discuss
those laws and rules until they were finally settled and agreed upon. On
the other side, Avi explains that the Raavad held that all the details
had been given at the very outset.

To me, this dispute is not a very interesting or relevant one. The fact
is that these laws are still being debated today. There are many things
which are the subject of debate whether the prohibition or requirement
is from the Torah or the Rabbis. There are many things which are debated
whether the are the subject of Rabbinic laws, or no laws at all. For
example, suppose I want to open a certain container on Shabbos; some of
today's greatest authorities will say that it is a Torah violation, and
others will say that it is totally permissible. (This example was given
to me by my Rav, Rabbi Elazar Meir Teitz.)

Disputed views among the sages continue to go back and forth over the
centuries. Once upon a time, there were communities which had been
following Beis Shammai for generations, but eventually the tide turned
and now we all follow Beis Hillel. Once upon a time, it was normal to
continue doing melacha on Friday well past sunset until it started to
get dark, but nowadays such a view is considered beyond the
pale. Similarly, there was a time when everyone accepted the urban
legend without questioning it: "Everyone knows" that it is forbidden to
marry a convert from Moav! But then Boaz showed otherwise.

Each of us must follow the accepted halacha of his community and of his
era. Other views may not be followed in practice, but they must
certainly be learned and understood like any other piece of Torah.

I had asked about the Beis Din which converted Ruth. This is not to be
taken as an unfair attack from one era to another era. Rather, it is a
simple question, inquiring about the details of the story. Such
questions are frequently asked about stories all over Tanach, and the
answer usually tells us about details of the story which had not been
immediately apparent, and/or about details of the halacha which had not
been properly understood.

For example, it has been asked how Naomi could tell Ruth to enter Boaz's
bedroom secretly. Does this not violate the prohibition of Yichud, an
unmarried couple secluded alone together? But Artscroll's introduction
to Ruth Chapter 3 (pg 107) explains that this particular situation is
not a Torah prohibition, but was a Rabbinic law and had not yet been
enacted yet. In fact, it was Ruth's great-grandson -- David HaMelech --
who had enacted it.

So, if it would turn out that the requirement for a Beis Din in
conversion is only rabbinic, and had not yet been enacted in Ruth's
time, that would answer my question fine. Or even if *we* hold it to be
a Torah requirement, but there are other opinions which hold that the
Torah does *not* require it, that too would be fine. I'm just trying to
understand which it is. Of course, if Moav was not totally devoid of
Jews, that would solve the question quite neatly as well.

Akiva Miller


From: <rjhendel@...> (Russell Jay Hendel)
Date: Fri, 13 Jun 2003 03:01:08 GMT
Subject: RE: Standing During Lechah Dodi--another approach

With regard to reciting Lechah Dodi standing let me add just one other
minor point which has not been brought up yet.

The Rav (Soloveitchick) once mentioned that all commandment blessings
should be done standing (eg the blessings on Shofar Megillah Omer etc).

Similarly the positive commandments should be done standing (eg Shofar,
Sefirah etc).

Recall that Biblically a person can fulfill the commandment of
REMEMBERING THE SHABBATH by simply mentioning the Shabbath.  In that
vein, Lechah Dodi is the Biblical way of fulfilling REMEMBERING THE
SHABBATH (which eg women who have not prayed fulfill by saying/hearning

Therefore, Lechah Dodi should be said standing since it is a fulfillment
of a Biblical commandment.

Russell Jay Hendel; http://www.RashiYomi.com/


End of Volume 39 Issue 81