Volume 41 Number 48
                 Produced: Sat Dec 20 21:57:53 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Chanuka Question (2)
         [Aliza Fischman, Aharon Fischman]
R Friedmans Book
         [Bernard Raab]
Saying Tachnun on Yud Tes and Kof Kislev (7)
         [Martin Stern, Boruch Merzel, Douglas Gershuny, Gershon Dubin,
R Davidovich, Larry Israel, Smwise3@aol.com]
Tal U Mattar (2)
         [Michael Savitz, Gershon Dubin]
Tal U'Matar (2)
         [Ben Katz, Nathan Lamm]
When a Body is a Body
         [Gil Student]


From: Aliza Fischman <fisch.chips@...>
Date: Wed, 17 Dec 2003 20:04:35 -0500
Subject: RE: Chanuka Question

From: Michael Kahn <mi_kahn@...>

>How do you fullfill lighting the menorah in a motel room? I'm thinking
>about going on vacation but wondering how to deal with this?

What we have done is asked specifically for a room facing the parking
lot.  When we requested such a room and didn't get one, we lit in the
hallway and sat with our licht until they burned out.

When we were on a trip to Disney World (sponsored by my husband's then
employer), as it happened, we stayed across the street from a kosher
restaurant, and they had a lot of menorot available for diners who could
not light in their hotels.  That made the pirsumei nisa automatic, as
there were other diners there and it was in a strip mall, and helped us
light before dinner, as is the preferred custom, which would have been a
lot more difficult with a 2 year old.  ("Sorry honey, you have to wait
until after bedtime for dinner."  Can you imagine!)  I was really
impressed with this restaurant.  (The food was good too!)  So if you are
going to the Orlando area during Chanukah, check it out.  It is called
The Lower East Side Diner IIRC.  (I have no other relationship with them
other than being a satisfied customer.)

From: Aharon Fischman <afischman@...>
Date: Wed, 17 Dec 2003 09:16:43 -0500
Subject: Re: Chanuka Question

When I drove from NJ to Michigan, my wife and I spent one night in a
hotel in western PA.  We asked at the front desk if we could light
candles for our menorah in the lobby (since the rooms were smoke free).
They had no problem and were actually quite curious.  While we sat there
with the candles, someone who hadn't lit a menorah in many years stopped
by just to 'participate'.

Aharon (and Aliza) Fischman


From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Tue, 16 Dec 2003 20:31:20 -0500
Subject: R Friedmans Book

From: Russell Jay Hendel
>Rabbi Friedmans point is that this is the first generation in human
>history where people have "gender" confusion. They dont know who they
>are or what their roles are. Therefore there is so much anxiety. And of
>course, the natural solution is to return to Jewish law.

Please enlighten me. What exactly does Jewish law have to say regarding
who initiates a relationship? I am not asking here about biblical or
social history, but as a matter of halacha.

b'shalom--Bernie R.


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Wed, 17 Dec 2003 14:33:24 +0000
Subject: Re: Saying Tachnun on Yud Tes and Kof Kislev

> I attend an Azkenaz minyan. On Kof Kislev, as we were about to say
> Tachnun, one of our members, who is a follower of Chabad, stated that it
> is a custom in most Azkenazi shuls not to say Tachnun on Yud Tes and Kof
> Kislef. I had not heard of this custom, nor did I find it referenced in
> our luach. I would appreciate hearing from list members who were in
> Azkenazi Shuls on Sunday and Monday this past week as to whether or not
> Tachnun was said. Thanks.

    This is incorrect. Ashkenazim say tachanun except on days specified
in the Shulchan Arukh (i.e. even on Pesach Sheni, though some do omit in
deference to the Pri Chadash). Some even say it on Lag BeOmer and 15 Av
and 15 Shevat in the afternoon and on the preceding afternoon (Minhag
Frankfort). Finding excuses to miss tachanun is a chassidic custom
deriving from the Ba'al shem Tov and was one of the objections raised
against Chassidism when it first appeared. The days in Kislev he
mentions are purely Chabad festivals related to the release of their
founder from prison.

Martin Stern

From: <BoJoM@...> (Boruch Merzel)
Date: Thu, 18 Dec 2003 11:46:33 EST
Subject: Re: Saying Tachnun on Yud Tes and Kof Kislev

In many European communities (and in American transplants ) Kof Kislev,
the 20th day of Kislev, was observed as a Yom Tov for the members of the
Chevra Kadisha. In many communities the members of the Chevra Kadisha,
on Kof Kislev were accorded special recognition for their sevices and
elaborate banquets were held in their honor.  I can personally recall
such observances being held in kehilos here in America and Tachanun
omitted on the 20th of Kislev and at Mincha the day before (19th of
Kislev). (see, too, J. D. Eisenstein's Otzar Dinim Uminhagim,
ref. Chevra Kadisha)

Boruch Merzel

From: Douglas Gershuny <dgershuny@...>
Date: Wed, 17 Dec 2003 07:00:35 -0500
Subject: Saying Tachnun on Yud Tes and Kof Kislev

The minhag of not saying Tachanun on Yud Tet Kislev is a Chabad minhag,
not a general Ashkenaz minhag.  It is practiced because Yud Tet Kislev
is considered a Chabad Yom Tov as it was on that date that the first
Lubavitch rebbe was released from a Czarist prison and is considered to
be the birth of Chabad Chasidism.  However, it is not observed outside
of Chabad circles.

Doug Gershuny

From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Wed, 17 Dec 2003 14:44:53 GMT
Subject: Saying Tachnun on Yud Tes and Kof Kislev

Chabad does not say on 19 Kislev because it's a holiday of theirs,
celebrating the release of the first Lubavitcher Rebbe from jail.  It is
also the yahrtzeit of one of the great Chassidic Rebbes, I believe the
Mezricher Maggid, so some nonChabad chasidim don't say because of that.

I see no reason for ANYONE not to say on 20 Kislev, even Chabad.

It is far from the fact that "it is a custom in most Azkenazi shuls not
to say Tachnun on Yud Tes and Kof Kislef."


From: R Davidovich <rdavidovich@...>
Date: Wed, 17 Dec 2003 16:54:25 -0500
Subject: Re: Saying Tachnun on Yud Tes and Kof Kislev

What he meant to say (or should have said) that is is a custom in all
Chabad shuls not to say Tachanun on those two days.  The only Ashkenaz
shuls that would not say tachanun on those days are those that have a
Lubavitcher Rabbi or perhaps if the shul in question is easy-going
enough a Lubavitcher Baal Tefilla.  This Lubavitcher was probably hoping
to have it eliminated on his behalf.

Ironically, Chabad is far more scrupulous with the Tachanun prayer than
the vast majority of Chassidic groups, many of which have abandoned
Mincha Tachanun wholesale and find ways to eliminate it at shacharis
much of the year as well.  Chabad's got only a few select days in the
year when they eliminate it.  19-20 Kislev is a big Yom-Tov in
Lubavitchers' calendar, as it is when the founder of the movement,
R'Shneur Zalman, was released from Czarist imprisonment and allowed to
promote Chassidus without fear of reprisal.

From: Larry Israel <VSLARRY@...>
Date: Fri, 19 Dec 03 14:14:05 +0200
Subject: Re: Saying Tachnun on Yud Tes and Kof Kislev

In our Ashkenazic shule in the Holy Land we surely did say Tahanun on
both those days.

From: <Smwise3@...>
Date: Wed, 17 Dec 2003 07:12:05 EST
Subject: Re: Saying Tachnun on Yud Tes and Kof Kislev

I never heard that custom either, nor did I experience it this week.
However, several years ago, the weekday minchah assembled at work had
three aveilim.  One was Lubavitch and when it was his turn for the amud,
he davened nusach ari even though he was the only one in the minyan to
do so.  I questioned him and he said his Lubavitch dayan told him that
he is permitted to do so even if he is the only one davening that
nusach.  I would be somewhat suspicious of both of these
incidents--yours and mine.



From: Michael Savitz <michael.savitz@...>
Date: Tue, 16 Dec 2003 11:44:55 -0500
Subject: Tal U Mattar

> The Gregorian system, upon which the secular calendar is now based,
> changed things. The Gregorian calendar recalibrated its September 23rd
> to fall on the true equinox. 

Which raises the question, why should the equinox be davka on September
23 (or the solstice on December 21, etc.)?  If you are going to have a
solar calendar with 12 months in the year, why not calibrate it so that
the months correspond to solar events?  I.e., solstices on January 1 and
July 1, equinoxes on April 1 and October 1.

I realize this is veering a bit off-topic, but I am curious if anyone
knows why it was done this way.

From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Tue, 16 Dec 2003 18:21:39 GMT
Subject: Tal U Mattar

From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>

<<However, there is one fundamental problem, which is that it is not
that "For the purpose of Tal Umatar, halachah considers the year to be
exactly 365.25 days long", but that Shmuel thought this was exactly how
long a year was, as did all of his contemporaries.  It is illogical to
assume that if he knew the calculation was in error, as is the Julian
calendar, roughly 1 day in 400 years, that he wouldn't have tied the
date to a more exact calendar such as the Gregorian.  The ultimate proof
of course is that in about 22,000 years we will be saying "vetayn tal
umatar" after pesach!>>

It is quite irrelevant actually what Shmuel knew, as he was setting
forth a halacha to be followed by plain vanilla Jews, not astronomers.
As such, one day in 400 years is an acceptable error in order to make
the calendar accessible to all.

There were no printed calendars then, and everyone had to do their own
calculations.  Making it simple was a major consideration.

We do in fact start saying Tal umatar on or about November 21.  If you
follow the Julian calendar, then your practice is correct.

Otherwise, you need to use the Gregorian equivalent of the November
date, which is the December date the rest of us use.

Those Russian Jews you cite came from a country that adopted the
Gregorian calendar hundreds of years after the rest of the world, hence
their practice.



From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Tue, 16 Dec 2003 12:53:48 -0600
Subject: Re: Tal U'Matar

The other issue that has not yet been addressed in this discussion is
that we are praying for rain in Iraq (OK, Babylonia), for 11/21 is when
the rainy season should start there.  The only reason I have ever heard
that makes any sense of why we should still do this (from Rabbi Riskin)
is that in Babylonia in the times of the Talmud the Jews had an
autonomous community with their own courts, etc. and it is a reminder to
us in galut as to what kind of a galut community we should strive for.
(I would much rather pray for rain in Israel.)

From: Nathan Lamm <nelamm18@...>
Date: Tue, 16 Dec 2003 08:26:09 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Tal U'Matar

On December 4, Ben Katz wrote:

"...Nov. 21.  When I found out that Russian Jews did so (see my previous
post), I immediately began following that custom"

Except Russian Jews did *not* say it on November 21.  They said it on
November 21 in the Julian calendar, which Russia followed until 1917. In
other words, in the rest of the world (that is, non-Eastern Orthodox
countries) it was December 3 or so. You can't base a change in your
minhag on them unless you follow the Julian calendar for all
purposes. Of course, if Chazal had used a perfectly in sync calendar,
we'd be saying it on November 21 or so now, and would even have been
more accurate than the Christian world for about 1000 years. Better
reasons to change could be:

-Follow the Israel minhag.

-Follow astronomic fact (November 21, but still for Iraq).

-Follow the idea of asking when needed in your place(or not at all).

I imagine an eventual Sanhedrin, or its equivalent, will go one of these


From: Gil Student <gil_student@...>
Date: Wed, 17 Dec 2003 15:17:45 -0500
Subject: Re: When a Body is a Body

Marilyn Tomsky wrote:

>God is atomic. A concentration of power. He has the ability to change
>shape.  The ability to project a visual form. His 'body' is constantly
>renewing itself so that He doesn't age as we do.

This does not seem to me to be consistent with traditional Jewish
teachings, to understate the issue.

Gil Student


End of Volume 41 Issue 48