Volume 40 Number 93
                 Produced: Sun Oct 26  7:12:03 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Aleinu backwards (3)
         [Art Werschulz, Yehonatan Chipman, Perets Mett]
bowing to floor at "Korim"
         [Aliza Berger]
Damo Berosho
         [Gilad J. Gevaryahu]
largest (regular) gathering in Jewish world today ?
Not Walking Around During "Hoshanos"
         [Steven Pudell]
Semachot (2)
         [Alan Cooper, Gilad J. Gevaryahu]
t'filla for the State of Israel
         [Alan Friedenberg]
Unsupervised bars
         [Meir Shinnar]
Wine handled by a non-shomer-shabbos Jew in his own glass
         [Robert J. Tolchin]
WTC Site and Kohanim
         [Michael Lipkin]


From: Art Werschulz <agw@...>
Date: Fri, 17 Oct 2003 12:11:40 -0400
Subject: Re: Aleinu backwards


> In some versions of T'filat Ha-derech that I have seen, one works
> through various permutations of the phrase "Qiviti li-y'shuatcha
> ha-shem".

I've only seen that in q'riyat sh'ma al ha-mita.

Art Werschulz
GCS/M (GAT): d? -p+ c++ l u+(-) e--- m* s n+ h f g+ w+ t++ r- y? 
Internet: <agw@...><a href="http://www.cs.columbia.edu/~agw/">WWW</a>
ATTnet:   Columbia U. (212) 939-7060, Fordham U. (212) 636-6325

From: Yehonatan Chipman <yonarand@...>
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2003 23:01:56 +0200
Subject: Re: Aleinu backwards

Irwin Weiss <irwin@...> asked in v40n87 about:

<<Chassidic neighbors, who told me that they have a minhag that on
Hoshanna Rabba, after Shacharit, they come home and eat a meat meal in
the sukkah.  Then, they say Alenu in the Sukkah 7 times forwards and 7
times backwards, alternating. (that is, they say the words backwards,
they don't stand in any particular direction).

This perhaps the strangest minhag of which I have ever heard. He was
serious. ... >>

All I know about this is that at Bobov they have a special pamphlet of
prayers to be recited during Hakafot on Simhat Torah, including Aleinu,
recited alternatively forwards and backwards: forwards at hakafot ## 1,
3, 5 amd 7, and bacwards at ## 2, 4, and 6.

A somewhat similar minhag is one I observed at the home of the late "New
York" Bostoner Rebbe, after Hanukkah candle lighting, where among other
things those assembled recited: "Ana bekoah" word by word, seven tiems,
thus: i.e, "Ana ana ana ana ana ana ana, bekoah bekoah bekoah...." etc.

A funeral conducted by the "Adat Hasidim" in Jerusalem included, at one
point, shouting out the names of the twelve tribes while walking around
the coffin, "Reuven Shimon Levi Yehudah...", and the seven Canananite
nations, also several times, "he-hiti he-kenizi he-perizi..." etc.

If you live long enough, and travel around the Jewish world enough, you
can observe all sorts of off and interesting things.... But, seriously,
if it interests you enough there are books of "ta'amei minhagim" that
explain many of these.

Jonathan Chipman 

From: Perets Mett <p.mett@...>
Date: Tue, 21 Oct 2003 00:30:56 +0100
Subject: Re: Aleinu backwards

On Thursday, October 16, 2003, at 10:33  am, Irwin Weiss wrote:

>We had dinner tonight next door with our Chassidic neighbors. He told me
>that they have a minhag that on Hoshanna Rabba, after Shacharit, they
>come home and eat a meat meal in the sukkah.  Then, they say Alenu in
>the Sukkah 7 times forwards and 7 times backwards, alternating. (that
>is, they say the words backwards, they don't stand in any particular
>This perhaps the strangest minhag of which I have ever heard. He was

And why shouldn't he be serious? Just because a custom sounds strange to
us when we have not heard of it previously should not invalidate it.

The Oleinu prayer dates back to Yehoshua (Joshua) and his seven circuits
of Yericho (Jericho). So seven recitations of Oleinu are not
inappropriate. I do not recall at present the rationale for the
backwards recitation, but you can find it in the Tsanzer edition of the
hakofos for Simchas Toiroh. This edition continues to be used by the
chasidim of Tsanz-Klouzenburg and Bobov, and by affiliated communities.

2. The custom of having a meat meal on Hoshano Rabo after returning from
shul is widespread (when else do you get to eat the kreplakh?) and, from
my experience in recent years in spending Succos in Yerusholayim, pretty
much universal there.

Perets Mett


From: Aliza Berger <alizadov@...>
Date: Mon, 20 Oct 2003 10:42:42 +0200
Subject: bowing to floor at "Korim"

This question came to my mind as it does every year on the High Holidays. 

I am accustomed NOT to bow on the floor at "korim," since I recall my
mother telling me this was not the custom in Lithuania. Only the prayer
leader would do it. However since I moved to Israel I find that I am a
small minority in my modern Orthodox synagogue. Almost everyone bows to
the floor.  In my modern Orthodox synagogue in New York, hardly anyone
did it. Does anyone have more information on what the custom of bowing
on the floor was in various communities?


Aliza Berger, PhD
English Editing: www.editing-proofreading.com
Statistics Consulting: www.statistics-help.com


From: <Gevaryahu@...> (Gilad J. Gevaryahu)
Date: Fri, 17 Oct 2003 10:19:03 EDT
Subject: Damo Berosho

    Martin D Stern (MJv40n90) asks: <<Could he let us know the
(secondary) source from which he has culled his long list.>>

Bar Ilan CD/ROM (ver. 11). Search "Damo Berosho." A similar list can be
culled from other ref. books.

Gilad J. Gevaryahu


From: <Phyllostac@...> (Mordechai)
Date: Fri, 17 Oct 2003 07:12:22 EDT
Subject: largest (regular) gathering in Jewish world today ?

Just a few (probably around six) weeks ago, shortly before Rosh
Hashonoh, I was taken aback to see advertisements on a few successive
weeks for the Breslover Hassidic pilgrimage to Uman (in the Brooklyn
based 'Jewish Press', for one place), claiming that it was the largest
gathering of Jews in the world today. I thought to myself, what about
the gathering of Birkas Kohanim at the Kosel Maarovi in Yerusholayim on
chol haMoed for one thing (leaving aside other, much larger gatherings,
which are not regular or annual) ? How could such a gathering be
promoted with such a blatantly false claim ?

Earlier this week, I saw the following in the Arutz Sheva news report


An estimated 40,000 people arrived at the Western Wall (Kotel) this
morning for the semi-annual Birkat Cohanim (Priestly Blessing) prayer.
Hundreds of Jews who trace their ancestry directly back to Aaron the
High Priest, Moses' brother, blessed the assembled congregation - which
reached almost as far back as the steps leading down to the Western Wall
plaza. >>

The same report proceeded to report that " For the second day in a row,
tens of thousands of Jews are in Hevron, celebrating the renewed Jewish
presence there with Hassidic music performances and tours of the various
sites. >>

Now I see that I was definitely correct. Even with a large increase in
the crowd at Uman in recent years (according to a report I read, perhaps
reaching circa 15,000 attendees this year), that gathering is still far
behind the ones at the Kosel ma'arovi numerically, as above.

I am wondering if there are any other large (presumably regular
gatherings, as if one takes into account irregular gatherings, there are
many other much larger ones, e.g. massive levayas [funerals] of gedolim,
protest of religious Jews against Israeli supreme court a few years ago,
etc.) gatherings which can be cited to rebut the ridiculous claim that
the Uman pilgrimage is 'the largest gathering of Jews in the world
today'. I don't think the Breslover Rebbe who lays there would be happy
to see the pilgrimage to his resting place be promoted with such a blant



From: Steven Pudell <SPudell@...>
Date: Fri, 17 Oct 2003 13:01:40 -0400
Subject: Not Walking Around During "Hoshanos"

I noticed that certain people were not walking around during the
"circuits" while everyone else was?  Assuming they had a halachic basis,
and not a "bum" leg (or other similar excuse) -- does anyone know why
they would not walk around?  I could always ask them--but I didnt.


From: Alan Cooper <amcooper@...>
Date: Fri, 17 Oct 2003 10:01:00 -0400
Subject: Re: Semachot

>Elie Rosenfeld <erosenfe@...> asks:
>- How ancient is the usage of "inyanei semachot" to refer to funerals,
>etc?  Does this date back to the Gemara as does Sagei Nahar?

It is not found in the Talmud or in Geonic literature.  Since Rashi uses
it, Dov Zlotnick concludes that "it was already well known to
Franco-German scholars in the eleventh century," but he cites no prior
attestation.  (See his English translation of the tractate "Semachot" in
the Yale Judaica Series, p. 1, n. 2.)

>- When did the term "semachot" begin to be used to mean happy occasions?
>Was this the original Sephardic pronunciation of "simchas", or is it of
>modern Israeli vintage?  And if the latter, why wasn't a term chosen
>(e.g., "simchot") that would be less jarring/upsetting to those that are
>used to the established, euphemistic meaning of the term semachot?

I assume that semachot in the modern sense of "happy occasions" is a
borrowing from the Yiddish, for the simple reason that in earlier
Hebrew, the plural form generally does not have that denotation, but
functions as an abstract noun meaning "joy / joyfulness."  The plural
clearly is used as an abstract noun in the Bible, where it occurs only
twice (Psalms 16:11; 45:16).  See, for example, Rashi on Ps 16:11: he
correctly glosses the plural with the singular (semachot = simcha
she-ein lah qets, "unending joy").  Similar usage persists in medieval
Hebrew; see the excerpts from piyyutim cited in the Ben Yehuda
dictionary, p. 7584b.  There are exceptions.  One that comes readily to
mind is in the midrashic story about Aaron's wife Elisheva, who
"observed four semachot [i.e., happy occasions] in a single day"
(Qohelet Rabba 2:3).  But I doubt that such an exceptional case is the
basis for the modern usage.

Alan Cooper 

From: <Gevaryahu@...> (Gilad J. Gevaryahu)
Date: Fri, 17 Oct 2003 11:32:59 EDT
Subject: Semachot

The is a reply to Elie Rosenfeld questions (MJv40n90):

The plural form for Simcha is Semachot, see Tehilim 16:11 (nismach
plural is Simchot).

To the question: <<How ancient is the usage of "inyanei semachot" to
refer to funerals, etc?>>

Masechet Semachot of the masechtot ketanot deal with hilchot aveilut.
Rashi (1040-1105), the Rosh (1250?-1327) and other Tosafists are
referring to this masechta in this name. The earlier name was Evel
Rabbati [or maybe Avel Rabbati]. I do not know when people started to
call it by the new name and the earliest I found is the 11th
century. For an introduction see Masechet Semachot, M. Higger, NY, 1931.

Gilad J. Gevaryahu


From: Alan Friedenberg <elshpen@...>
Date: Fri, 17 Oct 2003 11:33:04 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: t'filla for the State of Israel

Does anyone know of a website that has the full t'filla for the State of


From: Meir Shinnar <Meir.Shinnar@...>
Date: Fri, 17 Oct 2003 09:43:07 -0400
Subject: Unsupervised bars

Gil Student posted a heter from Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach that if a
person who is not sabbath observant has at least one person in front of
whom he will not violate the sabbath, that person is not considered a
public sabbath violator, and the touch of that person does not make the
wine forbidden.

RSZA was even more mekil.  In vealehu lo yibol, a volume of practices of
rav shlomo zalman auerbach collected by rav Stephansky, vol 2, p. 66, he
cites that Rav Yehuda Brandes once asked RSZ Auerbach whether a hiloni
(secular Jew) touching the wine was a problem.  RSZA's answer was first
to send him to his own rav, then, when told that that rav had sent him
to ask the question, he answered.  and if that hiloni was drowning in
the sea you wouldn't save him?

Rav Brandes understood that to mean that current secular Jews have a
different status than heretics and public sabbath violators did in the
past - and just as we would save them, their touch doesn't make the wine

Meir Shinnar


From: Robert J. Tolchin <tolchin@...>
Date: Fri, 17 Oct 2003 10:50:14 -0400
Subject: Wine handled by a non-shomer-shabbos Jew in his own glass

Assuming I have wine that is not mevushal, and I am shomer Shabbat. I
pour the bottle and serve it to my guests. One of my guests is not
shomer Shabbat. Once he picks up his glass to drink, the wine--which was
perfectly kosher until he touched the glass--now becomes unfit. He
drinks it. Have I done anything wrong along the lines of causing him to
eat treif? Remember, what I gave him was perfectly kosher, and he's the
one who "traifed it up."

And anyway, if he's at my Shabbat table to be begin with participating
in Kiddush, can't he be regarded as at least trying on some level to not
be mechalel Shabbat?


From: Michael Lipkin <msl@...>
Date: Fri, 17 Oct 2003 15:14:39 -0400
Subject: WTC Site and Kohanim

The PATH station at the World Trade Center site is scheduled to re-open
in November.  Does anyone think there may be an issue of Tumas Meis and
thus would it be a problem for a Kohain to utilize this station?



End of Volume 40 Issue 93