Volume 39 Number 83
                 Produced: Wed Jun 18  5:39:55 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Blessings for Shma (2)
         [Joshua Hosseinof, Michael Kahn]
Boruch Hu uvoruch Shemo
         [Yisroel Alexander Kerdman]
Chasash Mechallel Shabbos and Shilach Tzibur (2)
         [<chips@...>, Ari Trachtenberg]
Ethical Behavior and Halakha
         [Bill Bernstein]
         [Eli Turkel]
Shalosh Megilot with a berakha? (2)
         [William Friedman, Avi Feldblum]
Speed of Prayer
         [Joel Rich]
Standing for blessings
Weekday vs Sabbath Blessings for shma
         [Leah Aharoni]


From: Joshua Hosseinof <jh@...>
Date: Tue, 17 Jun 2003 22:20:37 -0400
Subject: Blessings for Shma

The changes to the berachot for Shma on Shabbat (Hakol Yoducha, El Adon,
etc) are indeed a later addition to the blessings for Shma.  In fact,
there are those who objected to their insertion for the reasons you
mentioned - that they were not made part of the text of the blessings by
the great assembly.  They had the same objections to all of the Yotzrot
for the various Yom Tov and Shabbat occasions where other Piyuttim were
added into the berachot of Shma.  For some reason, the additions for a
regular shabbat were the only changes that are universally accepted by
all Jewish communities (Ashkenaz, Sephardi, Yemenite).

I heard a shiur once from Rabbi Michael Chernick here in Teaneck
discussing the arguments pro and con regarding the insertion of Piyuttim
into the berachot of Shma (and even in Shmoneh Esreh).  Essentially what
he said it boils down to is that those who are against adding the
piyuttim can point to many statements in the Talmud Bavli supporting the
position against adding the piyuttim.  Those who are in favor of adding
the piyuttim point instead to their mesorah that these piyuttim were
written by various Tannaim from before the time of the Talmud, and that
these same Tannaim did insert the piyuttim into their own tefillot when
they davened.

My quick search of the Bar Ilan shows a responsa of the Sefer Haittim
(late 11th Century) where he complains against people who have the
minhag to add the changes to the Shabbat berachot of Shma (Hakol
Yoducha, El Adon, etc).  And El Adon is cited in the Zohar (Shemot 132a)

Nishmat Kol Chai however is somewhat different because we see already
snippets of the text of Nishmat in the Talmud in Pesachim 118a, Berachot
59b, and the Yerushalmi Berachot 1:8.  Keter Shem Tov (vol 1 p.216)
gives various possibilities as to the author of Nishmat including Shimon
ben Shatach, Shimon ben Kipa, or R. Yakov bar Shimshon.

Interestingly, while both everyone adds Hakol Yoducha and El Adon on
Shabbat, only sephardim add it on Yom Tov as well (leaving out a very
small portion that is specific to Shabbat) while Ashkenazim say the
weekday blessing of Yotzer Ohr.  Many Ashkenazim however have the custom
to add instead Yotzrot and Kerovot piyuttim on special shabbatot
(somewhat rare to find these days) and on Yom Tov (much more common).
At the other extreme, Sefardim reject adding Yotzrot (Piyyut additions
to the blessings of Shema) or Kerovot (piyyutim inserted in the Shemoneh
Esreh) on any occasion.  Yom Kippur is the sole exception where piyuttim
are inserted between Mechayeh Hametim and the Kedushah - but the Chazan
does not say them, rather a person standing next to the chazan says

So the real question in this case is why did the Sefardim make this sole
exception to the rule of not adding piyuttim into the blessings of
Shema, while rejecting all other insertions of piyuttim.

Josh Hosseinof

From: Michael Kahn <mi_kahn@...>
Date: Thu, 12 Jun 2003 00:26:13 -0400
Subject: Re: Blessings for Shma

>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

Perhaps this is akin to the piyutim added to the davening on the Yomin
Naharoim and, in many communities, on all holidays.


From: <alexander.kerdman@...> (Yisroel Alexander Kerdman)
Date: Tue, 17 Jun 2003 11:43:23 -0400
Subject: Boruch Hu uvoruch Shemo

I have a question regarding the practice of not saying "Boruch Hu
uvoruch Shemo" in the beginning of Birkas Me'ein Sheva right after
Tefilah on Friday night.

The rav in my old shul in a non-jewish part of Brooklyn always used to
say it. Then one time, when I was davening in a certain Chasidus in
Monsey, I said it (alone) and I got a hundred evil looks, still don't
know why. I don't see why not say Boruch Hu uvoruch Shemo there, and the
funny thing is that *everybody* says it at the end of the brocho!
Mishnah Brurah is silent on the subject, as far as I could tell. Any


Yisroel Alexander Kerdman


From: <chips@...>
Date: Tue, 17 Jun 2003 23:05:06 -0700
Subject: Re: Chasash Mechallel Shabbos and Shilach Tzibur

If no one sees him driving and everyone is just assuming, I don't see
much of a case here. I suppose if it is raining and he comes on in
pretty dry that would prove the point.

Couple of things as they relate to the here and now.  Where in halacha
does it say that a person must be Shomer Shabos to be Shiliach Tzibur?

Would these people object if it was not Shabos minyan?

There is a difference in halacha as to whether a person is Mechallel
Shabos in a public or non-public manner. As people do not see him
driving, it would seem that if he is , he is doing so in a matter that
is non-public.


From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Tue, 17 Jun 2003 10:44:41 -0400
Subject: Re: Chasash Mechallel Shabbos and Shilach Tzibur

 >One of those is a person who although has never been seen driving to
 >shul (is known to live 14 miles away from the shul). He has been asked
 >by the gabbi, with the permission of the Rav, to be a shliach Tzibur as
 >he has a very plesant voice and his davening is quite enjoyable. He is
 >also a person who has supported the shul for many years.
 >As of late an objection has been raised by some members who are very
 >upset with the fact that someone who most likely drives to shul leads
 >them in prayer. Some walk out when he is called up to daven. It has
 >gotten to the point where people are not talking to each other.

My understanding is that you are required to give the gabbai the benefit
of the doubt (kaf zchut) unless there is clear evidence to the contrary.
In this case, you are doubly required to give the shul rabbi kaf zchut
as well, unless you *know* he is unaware of the problem.  It is entirely
possible that this person spends Shabbat with friends/relatives in the
area, or that he has some other halachicly acceptable method of getting
to shul (of which, maybe, he is embarrased ...  understandbly given the
climate you describe in shul)!

If you are really concerned, ask the rabbi to have a gentle discussion
with this person, determine what is going on, and then make a psak for
the minyan regarding the appropriate course of action.

Communal objections of the kind you describe are often based on improper
speech or slander and bread baseless hatred (sinat hinam) in the
community.  They must be put down as soon as they emerge, preferrably by
the spiritual leader of the minyan.

Kol tuv,
Ari Trachtenberg,                                      Boston University
http://people.bu.edu/trachten                    mailto:<trachten@...>


From: Bill Bernstein <bbernst@...>
Date: Thu, 12 Jun 2003 08:40:17 -0500
Subject: Re: Ethical Behavior and Halakha

I saw the following in a recent post:

<<I am actually taking this point from a shiur I was privileged to
hearfrom Rav Shlomo Brevda and the point he made after saying this was
what is important to you- you keep PRIVATE, what is not you talk about!
WAIT- did I type that right?  YES!  What people wanted to keep quiet
about was about the most important things to them.  And what they made
conversation about was about topics that were not so meaningful to
them. Rav Brevda said this a Jewish mida.>>

On reflection this seems absurd.  It is counter-intuitive and
contradicted by many stories as well as experience.  People talk about
what *is* important to them.  Thus many people can discuss endlessly
their hobbies or sports.  Older people can delight in talking about
their grandchildren.  And there are many stories of gedolim visiting
each other and spending perhaps the whole night "talking in lerning."

I would identify the phenomenon of people not talking about their
various practices as a result of anivus (humility).  One who adopts some
such practice (e.g tikkun chatzos) generally also realizes how far he
has to go and how deficient he is.  It is axiomatic that the higher
one's spiritual level the higher the level of anivus.  This is why Moshe
Rabbeinu was the humblest of men, because he was also the closest to

Bill Bernstein
Nashville TN


From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
Date: Tue, 17 Jun 2003 14:45:19 GMT
Subject: Kavannah

> Bearing in mind how difficult it can be to maintain concentration on
> something for a prolonged period (I speak for myself here), is it
> better to pray quickly and maintain concentration throughout, or pray
> slowly and have one's attention wander?  Can prayer be something
> where quality is better than quantity?

There is a book "Kavannah" by Seth Kadish that discusses this is great

Prof. Eli Turkel,  <turkel@...> on 06/17/2003
Department of Mathematics, Tel Aviv University

[Just a short note that Seth has been a long time member of the list,
and has participated in many discussions on Kavannah over the
years. Mod.] 


From: William Friedman <williamf@...>
Date: Tue, 17 Jun 2003 12:33:03 -0400
Subject: Shalosh Megilot with a berakha?

The Korein Shalosh R'galim machzor says that if one is reading the
megilot (Ruth, Kohelet, and Shir HaShirim) from a k'laf, one should
recite the b'rakha "asher kideshanu b'mitzvotav v'tzivvanu al mikra
megillah".  Any ideas where the justification for this comes from?  (As
far I as knew, reading these megillot is minhag, so how can we say
"asher kideshanu" and why over a k'laf?  Is there a parallel to Hallel
on Rosh Chodesh, which is a minhag but we say "asher kideshanu"?)


From: Avi Feldblum <mljewish@...>
Date: Wed, 18 Jun 2003 05:04:26 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Shalosh Megilot with a berakha?

The source for both reading the magillot and saying a bracha on the
magillot is mesechet sofrim. The bigger question is probably why do we
NOT say a beracha. The earlier sources strongly indicate that a bracha
should be said. The followers of the GRA in general do say a bracha. If
I properly understood the gloss of the GRA, a bracha should be said
whether or not it is from a k'laf. However it is clear that among the
followers of the GRA, there are those who distinguish between having a
k'laf or not.

Avi Feldblum


From: <Joelirich@...> (Joel Rich)
Date: Thu, 12 Jun 2003 07:17:48 EDT
Subject: Speed of Prayer

IIRC R' Schachter brings down in Nefesh Harav that R' Chaim(the
grandfather of the Rav-R'YD Soloveitchik) was asked why he davened so
quickly if we're told to daven at the same pace we count our money.  He
responded that he counted his money quickly too.(I'm guessing his
quickly was judged by different standards than ours and he did it to
increase his time in learning)

As one who often doesn't finish in time, I once asked a talmid chochom
what to do. His response was to find a minyan that davened at my
pace. If you think about it, what percentage of people in a minyan that
the Rabbi davens significantly longer have increased their cavanah
vs. those that shmooze,read or daydream.  This is part of a bigger issue
and one can't legislate kavanah - the longer time might help if part of
a broader campaign but is viewed by many as punitive if not.  My T"C's
advice was very deep when considering the relationship of a tzibbur to
an individual and vica versa. One shul shortened karbanot to accomodate
the mora datra's longer shmoneh esrai - I haven't noticed the kahal
taking any longer in S"E, theshul decided to skip parts of karbanot to
make up the extra time!(which according to R' H Schachter allow us to
keep hashem to his promise of his keeping his commitment to Avraham in
the zchut of the Karbanot.)

Joel Rich


From: <chips@...>
Date: Tue, 17 Jun 2003 23:05:06 -0700
Subject: Standing for blessings

> From: <rjhendel@...> (Russell Jay Hendel)
> 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).

Did the Rav offer any explaination for Sefardim sitting down for
`lehaneach teffilin` ?



From: Leah Aharoni <leah25@...>
Date: Tue, 17 Jun 2003 22:13:02 +0200
Subject: Weekday vs Sabbath Blessings for shma

Ben Katz wrote:

> There are at least 2 berachot which are almost universally said with
> shem and malchut that are post-Talmudic: lehadlik ner shel shabat
> (geonic) and sheasani kirtzono (according to abudraham [14th cent.]
> "recently introduced").

"Almost universally" excludes the overwhelming majority of Sephardi
women who say "sheasani kertzono" WITHOUT shem umalchut.

I am aware of the fact that many Ashkenazim and Sefardim have only a
scant idea regarding the other side's minhagim. As someone born
Ashkenazi and married to a Sephardi I understand the position of both.

Please, before using terms such as "universal", "majority", etc make
sure you've checked the other eida's minhag.

Leah Aharoni
English/Hebrew/Russian Translator
Telefax 972-2-9971146, Mobile 972-56-852571
Email <leah25@...>


End of Volume 39 Issue 83