Volume 40 Number 95
                 Produced: Sun Oct 26  7:37:06 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Alenu Backwards
         [Dov Teichman]
Artscroll Siddur w/ prayer for the Medina
         [Carl Singer]
Children in Shul
         [Akiva Miller]
Children in Shul & Kissing Kids (long)
         [Michael Rogovin]
Consistency in Pesak
         [Yehonatan Chipman]
The OTHER head-coverers (2)
         [c.halevi, <MDSternM7@...>]
Rabbinical yahrzeits
         [Rabbi Ed Goldstein]
"Yarden" a place name or geographic term?
         [David Charlap]


From: <DTnLA@...> (Dov Teichman)
Date: Wed, 22 Oct 2003 12:26:09 -0400
Subject: Re: Alenu Backwards

I don't have the sefer near me but the custom is brought in "Halichos
V'Halachos L'Chag HaSukkos." I have seen it done in Jerusalem on Hoshana
Rabba. The explanation I was told is that we circle the bima on Sukkos
once everyday until Hoshana Rabba when we circle 7 times. This
corresponds to what Yehoshua did when capturing Yericho. As such, since
Yehoshua composed Aleinu at that time it is appropriately said on
Hoshana Rabba. I haven't checked but i was told that Aleinu has the same
meaning when read backwards and forwards.

Dov Teichman


From: Carl Singer <csngr@...>
Date: Fri, 17 Oct 2003 11:00:56 -0400
Subject: Artscroll Siddur w/ prayer for the Medina

>BTW, they do have a version of their Siddur with the Prayer for the
>State of Israel and for the IDF, put out by the Rabbinical Council of

Unfortunately, in some communities the choice between these two
Artscroll siddurs -- essentially identical except for the above has
apparently become a litmus test for "frumkite" --

Carl Singer


From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Mon, 20 Oct 2003 00:04:26 -0400
Subject: Re: Children in Shul

Aharon Fischman wrote <<< Have you ever had that sweet face smiling at
you and tried to ignore it because you are trying to have kavana? >>>

Rachel Swirsky responded <<< Now people who are too cute can not come to
shul?  What sort of nonsense is that? >>>

I can't swear to know what sort of experiences Mr. Fischman has had, but
I'll tell you some experiences which *I* have had, which seem to fit his

Namely, I am either sitting in my seat or standing there, and an
incredibly cute little toddler climbs up onto the seat in front of me,
and starts smiling at me. Yes, he is cute, and I would love to take him
in my lap and start playing with him, but this is not the time for that.
I'm trying to talk to G-d! So I try harder to keep my eyes in my siddur,
and the kid tries harder to get my attention, perhaps giggling or making
other sounds, or even reaching out to me with his arms. I can't avoid
seeing him, so I pick up my siddur and bring it closer to my face. So
the kid thinks I'm playing "peek-a-boo" and he moves to this side or
that side, desperate for my attention, forcing me to bring the siddur
still closer.

PLEEEEZE! Why should I have to put up with this?

I have seen other people in shul, so-called "adults", who interrupt
their own davening to give that cute kid the attention that he is
looking for.  The result is that the kid thinks he can go up to others
and play the same antics. And then when the kid grows up, people will
ask him to be quiet, and he will sincerely not know what he is doing

Where are the kid's parents? I don't know. Sometimes I don't know who
the kid is, so I have no one to complain to. And if I *do* know who the
kid's parents are, I now have to choose between continuing my davening,
or interrupting my davening to pick the kid up and bring him to his
parents, who probably won't understand what the kid did wrong. (If
they're they type who *would* understand, then they probably would have
been watching him better.) Why should I be forced into such a choice?

I suspect that this is what Aharon Fischman might have meant when he
wrote <<< Have you ever had that sweet face smiling at you and tried to
ignore it because you are trying to have kavana? >>>


I'm also not a grumpy old man who can't appreciate a cute toddler. If I
was, then it probably wouldn't bother me so much. On the contrary, I see
this little kid who wants to play, and I feel bad for him, because this
is neither the time nor the place for it, and that just makes me feel
worse. If I was a kid-hater, the I could probably ignore him with
impunity. But I do want to play with him! But not now, and that's what's
killing my kavana.

I'm not saying the kids can't come to shul. All I'm asking is that they
be taught not to bother others. Is that too much to ask?

Akiva Miller


From: Michael Rogovin <rogovin@...>
Date: Sun, 26 Oct 2003 00:13:14 -0400
Subject: Re: Children in Shul & Kissing Kids (long)

Much has already been said (including a contribution by my wife) so I
will limit myself to a few observations.

(1) While I know that many poskim hold that kissing children in shul is
inappropriate, I think that the idea that a child would understand the
rationale (that love of God is so intense in shul that love of child is
not on the radar scope) is wishful thinking. More likely, the child will
get a message that she is not loved. Not a message I ever intend to
convey to my children, under any circumstance. Furthermore, while I
understand that a beit hakneset is a mikdash ma'at and should be a place
of greater kedusha, is our love of God really more intense there than
elsewhere? I don't think that is a good message either. Frankly, love of
one's child and love of God are very different manifestations of love,
are not in competition, and I don't think God is jealous of my affection
for my child, wherever and whenever that is displayed (if anything, I
would think that God would be pleased that my relationship with them is
usually characterized by affection rather than the way I see some frum
parents treating their kids--ignoring, insulting and even, chas
v'shalom, hitting). Having said that, there is a time a place for
everything, and a child demanding affection in the middle of the amidah
can wreck havoc on my own as well as my neighbor's one's kavana. Which
leads to...

(2) All synagogues make choices. I do not mean to assert that there is a
single right or wrong choice for every situation, but I am tired of
hearing that "we have no choice but to do x." In the main synagogue in
my neighborhood on the high holidays, all classrooms (normally used for
youth groups) are taken over by other minyanim (which on shabbat are
normally early minyanim and finished by the times groups start). There
are no youth services or any activities for children, leaving them to
wander and play unsupervised, sit with their parents and be bored (and
annoy others) or stay at home with a parent or babysitter (for those who
can afford it).  This is a choice that the congregation made though they
told me (when I pointed out that my wife can't come to shul because of
our kids) that "they have no choice, there are no rooms and the youth
leaders are davening."  This is nonsense. They could have fewer minyanim
and sell fewer seats, rent space elsewhere for overflow (as some shuls
do) or find another accomidation for kids. Youth leaders and/or some
adults could daven earlier in a minyan with less singing and piyutim so
that it finishes early enough to run groups. They chose to run more
minyans and not bother with the kids. This fits nicely with their
philosophy of groups in general (which is essentially babysitting--and
not good babysitting at that--and running boring youth services and
giving kids lots of candy and soda; but judging by the talking in the
main shul the adults are bored too). I don't daven there as much as I
used to, despite the fact that I prefer the Rabbi there, but there are
no better places in my neighborhood for kids. The youth groups in all
shuls are run by the main shul. I hope to change some of this, but
entrenched interests make this difficult. The attitude seems to be, the
kids get enough Jewish stuff in school, why bother them on Shabbat? We
could learn alot from the youth programs run by non-orthodox movements.

I can be frustrated by inappropriate behavior of kids and their parents
as much as anyone, and I try to keep my daughters (3 and 6) as well
behaved as possible in the sanctuary, but there is a need for a
commitment by the shul powers-that-be to provide programs that meet the
needs of families with young children. A modern synagogue should not
just be a men's club. While davening is taught at school, children need
to daven with their parents and in synagogue too. And that means a
commitment to accommodating families: family and/or youth services, well
run youth groups, dedicated space, adult volunteers, and synagogue
architecture that is kids friendly (some shuls are downright dangerous).

Now, if we could only get the adults to behave...

Michael Rogovin


From: Yehonatan Chipman <yonarand@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Oct 2003 16:15:21 +0200
Subject: Re: Consistency in Pesak

 Frank Silbermann <fs@...>, in v40n87, asked several
questions about consistecy in pesak: 

<<1.  Suppose one rabbi  has answered my halachic questions over the
years, but now he has movedon, say, to a shul in another city and my shul
now has a new rabbi toanswer my halachic questions.

 Assuming that I now put my halachic questions to the new rabbi, does
consistency require me to revisit all the questions that I asked of the
first rabbi?

2.  Also, suppose I am attending a shir from a visiting rabbi who is world
reknown in a particular field of expertise, and a practical question on
the topic occurs to me, which he ansers.  Am I allowed to rely on his
opinion, or am I obligated to rely on my regular posek for _all_ my
practical questions (and let him decide whether he feels the need to
consult someone with more expertise)?>>

1.  The source of the quote mentioned in the original posting is Eruvin
6b, which reads as follows: 
"The halakha is always like Beit Hillel.  But one who wishes to do as
Beit Shamami may do so, and one who wishes to do as Beit Hillel may do
so. One who follows the leniencies of Beit Shammai and of Beit Hillel,
is an evil doer.  But one who follows the stringencies of Beit Shammai
and of Beit Hillel, concerning him it is said, "the fool walks in the
dark" [Kohelet 2:14]. Rather, if like Beit Shammai, then according to
their leniencies and their stringencies;  and if like Beit Hillel, then
according to their leniencies and their stringencies...."  

2.  I cannot imagine that consistency would go to the extent that you
would have to, in effect, reconstruct every detail of your religious
observance. Shulhan Arukh, Yoreh Deah 242, states only that, if you ask
a specific question of a given rabbi, you must inform any other rabbi of
whom you ask the same quyestion, of this fact.  (Implying even a certain
latitude for "rabbi shopping"!)

3.  About the world expert in a particular area, certainly one should
listen to one who knows more than your local rabbi in his particular
specialty.  I know that in such complex and practical areas, which
impinge upon the public as whole, such as eruvin or mikvaot, not to
mention kashrut questions (on the level of supervising factories or
slaughter houses), expert opinion prevails, even if these experts are
not "gedolim" in the overall sense.

I know that Rav Aharon Lichtenstein, one of the outstanding rashei
yeshivah in Eretz Yisrael, generally defers to others in specialized
areas.  For example, when I asked him a questioa about sifrei torah, he
referred me to a certain sofer stam, who was learned in the area but
certainly infinitely less learned than he in general terms.

Jonathan Chipman


From: c.halevi <c.halevi@...>
Date: Fri, 17 Oct 2003 13:07:43 -0500
Subject: The OTHER head-coverers

Shalom, All:

With all our talk about modesty in clothing, and head-covering in
particular, am I the only one who finds it ironic that the average
American associates a woman's head-covering with fundamentalist Orthodox

Yeshaya (Charles Chi) Halevi

From: <MDSternM7@...>
Date: Sun, 19 Oct 2003 15:13:15 EDT
Subject: Re: The OTHER head-coverers

Where do you think they got it from? Many Moslem practices are derived
from ours.

    Martin D Stern


From: <BERNIEAVI@...> (Rabbi Ed Goldstein)
Date: Tue, 21 Oct 2003 22:23:54 EDT
Subject: Rabbinical yahrzeits

Does anyone know of where I can find a calendar of yahrzeits of Rabbis
so that you don't have to say Tahanun that day.  I'm not asking for
comments on the custom, thanks.

Rabbi Ed Goldstein


From: David Charlap <shamino@...>
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2003 15:03:00 -0400
Subject: Re: "Yarden" a place name or geographic term?

Simon Wanderer wrote:
> Is it not the case that all rivers flow from a high place to a low
> place?

Of course, this is true.

But it is not true that it is obvious for all rivers.

If there's a spring or lake on top of a mountain, you can clearly see
that rivers flowing from it always flow downhill.

But if the mountain is not near you, you may only be able to see a part
of the river that is flowing over level ground.

Of course, you will never see it flowing uphill.  (Although there may be
some places where the countryside produces the illusion of of uphill
flow, it's still just an illusion.)

-- David


End of Volume 40 Issue 95