Volume 41 Number 51
                 Produced: Tue Dec 23  5:15:52 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Funerals and car head lights (was Funerals)
         [David Ziants]
parents not working
         [Tzvi Stein]
Reasons why one SHOULD demand RESPECT
         [Leah Aharoni]
Requirements for Shaliach Tzibur
         [Boruch Merzel]
Shabbat Elevators
         [Chana Luntz]
Standing at Vayivarech/Tzedaka
         [Yehonatan & Randy Chipman]
Studying Kabbalah
         [Michael Kahn]
Test of Faith
         [Ben Z. Katz]


From: David Ziants <dziants@...>
Date: Thu, 18 Dec 2003 14:55:08 +0200
Subject: Funerals and car head lights (was Funerals)

From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>

> Most Israeli funerals are not in "funeral halls."  The act of
> accompanying the dead is more kinesthetic than a chair would allow.
> Unfortunately I've been to lots of Israeli funerals, and they involve
> standing and walking for the most part. ...

Unfortunately, I have had to go to a couple of l'vayot in Har
Hamenuchot, Givat Sha'ul, Jerusalem over the last year.

Because of the size of the burial grounds, it was expected that people
would follow the pall from the hesped hall in their cars.  An
announcement was made that the car head lights should be put on.

Is this for logistic reasons, so that people should be able to follow
each other, or is there a religious significance of having a light,
similar to lighting candles for the dead?

I think I remember that there was a similar instruction, when my father
z"l was brought to rest in Leeds, UK. In this case the coffin started
from the shul court yard, where the mourners did k'ria (tearing), and
because the burial grounds and hesped hall are a good few miles from the
city edge, this stretch of the levaya was done by car.

May we should just have semachot...

David Ziants
Ma'aleh Adumim, Israel


From: Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...>
Subject: Re: parents not working

 From my experience the "hashkofa" of the schools who "don't admit
children of fathers who work" is really more of a "continuum" than a
black and white categorization.  It goes something like this.  Most
desirable is a father who learns full time in kollel and does not work
at all.  (It does not seem to matter where he gets his income
from... even if it's from a relative who works.)  Next in line, but
quite close behind, is someone who works, but in a "kodesh" field, such
as a teacher or administrator in a frum school, a rabbi, a sofer, etc.
After all, the people making these categorizations and decisions are
mostly members of this group.  Next after that, is someone who is an
entrepeneur of some sort of a business that caters to the Jewish
community, such as a kosher caterer or Jewish bookstore owner.  Next
after that is an entrepeneur (i.e. business owner) in a field that is
not oriented toward the Jewish community, but is somwhat "kovadick",
such as the owner of an insurance company.  And last on the list is the
guy who works as an employee for a company.


From: Leah Aharoni <leah25@...>
Date: Thu, 18 Dec 2003 13:26:28 +0200
Subject: Reasons why one SHOULD demand RESPECT

Russell J Hendel wrote in Vol. 41 #44: 	

  	But there is one counter-concern we should be aware of. Suppose
        a person who learns Torah day and night does NOT seek special
        respect. Suppose further that a 2nd person less knowledgeable
        than him do command respect but are giving people poor advice.

	Doesnt it become the first person's OBLIGATION to seek respect
        so as to overrule the 2nd person.

	Rambam hints at a similar formulation in the laws of SANHEDRIN
	(COURTS). >A person should not take Judgeship office unless he
	knows that others are inferior to him<

While I hear Russell's concern, I feel that:

a. One can not DEMAND respect.  Respect must be EARNED through
scholarship and midot. The best example I can think of is that of Rav
Shlomo Zalman Auerbach. He was a true Halachic giant, universally
respected by Jews of all stripes and colors. However, his whole life he
shunned kavod. There are dozens of stories to this effect in Hatorah
Hamesamakhat (Rav Auerbach's biography).

b. Chazal state very clearly, that when a person seeks respect, it
eludes him, while a person who shuns kavod will earn it in the end.

c. The case in point would be the story of Korach. When Moshe's
leadership was challenged, he put the matter into Hashem's
hands. Furthermore, in addressing Korach, he did not defend his own
rights, but only those of Aharon.

d. I don't see how the halacha in Rambam proves your point. On the
opposite, I think that it reinforces the obligation not to pursue
kavod. A person may accept office only if he knows that there are no
other scholars of his erudition.

Chanuka Sameach,

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


From: <BoJoM@...> (Boruch Merzel)
Date: Thu, 18 Dec 2003 11:06:58 EST
Subject: Re: Requirements for Shaliach Tzibur

Mordechai Horowitz inquires:

<< I seem to remember learning a halacha once, where someone is not allowed
to daven for the community if an individual objects to them davening.
Is my memory playng tricks on me or is their a source?  >>

Your memory is not "playing tricks"
See Shulchan Aruch 53: 19 and relevant commentaries

Boruch Merzel


From: Chana Luntz <chana@...>
Date: Mon, 22 Dec 2003 22:11:49 +0000
Subject: Shabbat Elevators

>Having read some of the material on the subject, I think it is fair to
>say that there are many varied problems with using an elevator on
>Shabbos, and there are a comparably wide variety of approaches used in
>developing a "Shabbos elevator". This means that whatever one might say
>about *this* Shabbos elevator would quite likely not apply to *that*
>Shabbos elevator, and each must be judged on its own merits. Some might
>be acceptable even for the healthiest of people, and others might be
>unacceptable even for the ill. Gotta ask on each one.

On this subject, does anybody on this list know where one might go to
start researching this issue - I mean in a practical sense.

We have put in for planning permission for a lift in our house for our
(very special needs) son (currently 2 1/2, but not expected ever to
walk).  We are anticipating that obtaining planning permission may take
some time, but if and when we receive it - we will need to start looking
at this question.

In order to draw up the planning permission application, the
Occupational Therapist from our local council (Barnet in the UK), who
gives us advice on such things, referred us to two websites (in the UK)
of manufacturers of lifts for such situations, and we used their
dimensions to draw up the planning permission application.

However, not surprisingly, she does not know the first thing about
shabbas, and while she says that these manufacturers are more than
willing to come out and measure your property and tell you what you need
to do - and that is what she recommends we get them to do when we are
ready to build, they are highly unlikely to know the first thing about
shabbas either.  And while, initially at least, we could no doubt carry
our son up and down the stairs on shabbas, and only use the lift the
rest of the week, as he grows up, that is likely to become impossible.

And it is not exactly the sort of thing we would expect our LOR to know
about (in fact we don't know of anybody in this country who has
consulted anybody here about anything remotely similar - or for that
matter, except having heard of Machon Lev, do we know of much more
outside the UK, although my husband has a cousin who consulted somebody
at Machon Lev about a wheelchair).

The lifts that the OT has pointed us to are the kind that only take one
person, ie our son (the idea being that we put him in, press the button,
he goes up to the top we run up the stairs and get him out again).
There are, we gather, lifts that take both a carer and our son (somebody
at a support group I went to has one) - but they may take more space
than we have available (granted to us), and we do not have access, at
this stage, to the manufacturers and specifications (the OT's job is to
recommend the minimum necessary, which is why, when I raised a lift that
took both of us, she said it was not necessary).

It may be that we will often be able to have a non Jew operate the lift,
but I am very reluctant to have something on which my son depends being
dependant on there being a non Jew around.  My son himself is (I would
guess) likely to always be patur from mitzvos, in that he is extremely
unlikely to ever reach the age of chinnuch (he is not expected to
develop intellectually beyond the level of a baby).  In such
circumstances, while I know that in general, one of the concerns of a
shabbas lift is the weight exerted by the person, I am not sure if that
would apply to somebody, like my son, who is patur from mitzvos.  On the
other hand, he is almost certainly unlikely to ever be able to operate
the lift himself, which means, in the absence of a non Jew, my husband
or myself.

Clearly the whole matter needs quite sophisticated and specialised
halachic (and technical) knowledge - and presumably would involve
working quite closely with lift manufacturers.  But, unlike a wheelchair
(which is by definition portable), a lift is somewhat difficult to
transport, and it might be difficult for us to install a lift
manufactured outside of the UK.

Does anybody have any clue as to how we should go about contacting the
right sort of people to kick this process off.


Chana Luntz


From: Yehonatan & Randy Chipman <yonarand@...>
Date: Thu, 18 Dec 2003 16:52:15 +0200
Subject: Re: Standing at Vayivarech/Tzedaka

 In v41n40, Joel Rich wrote about the custom of standing, and of giving
tzdaka, at Vayevarekh David,

<< the original minhag was to give tzedakah before tfillah and it was
the ari z"l who started giving it in the middle of vayevarech(note-he
did it when the kahal was at that point).  So did they not stand until
that point in history and only in communities that adopted that
practice? ...  Both these practices can contribute to lack of kavanah if
not careful.>>

    First, I personally do not at all like this minhag, because it
distracts people from Pesukei de-Zimra, which as it is many people tend
to neglect and say in an offhand way. The whole idea of Pesukei de-Zimra
is for people to focus their intention on prayer properly -- a shortened
version of the "hour" that pious men of old used to spend in preparation
for prayer.  To my mind, anything extraneous only detracts from this

   About the custom of standing, my intuitive theory (which I've not seen
written anywhere, but which makes sense), is that it is related to the
ten sefirot, alluded to in the verse "Lekha haShem hagedulah vegevurah,"
etc. which we recite there.

   About sources:  everyone quoted the Art Scroll, or some other English
language Siddur, on standing and of giving tzedakah at that point.  The
Ram"a on Orah Hayyim 51.7 states that:    "It is customary to stand when
saying 'Barukh Sheamar,' 'Vayaverekh David,' and 'Yishtabah.'"  The
Mishnah Berurah on the spot (#19) elaborates:  "[One stands from]
'Vayevarekh David' until 'Atah hu Hashem ha-Elokim.' And the Ari z"l,
while saying 'veatah moshel bakol,' would give tzdakah standing up." 

   I find it interesting that, according to this, one does not remain
standing through Shirat Hayam and until Yishtabah, as I have seen
nowadays in most places, but only for a few verses, confirms my hunch
taht the standing has to do with the Eser Sefirot.  By the way, from
what I've seen and remember, the Sefardim (Edot ha-Mizrah, not Nusah
Sefarad) follow the Ari's practice on this point.

  Yehonatan Chipman 


From: Michael Kahn <mi_kahn@...>
Date: Wed, 17 Dec 2003 23:21:51 -0500
Subject: RE: Studying Kabbalah

>This is why we're advised not to study the Sod level of Torah or Kabbalah
>until we have had children, a steady job, have learned a bit of Gemara,
>and are near the age of 40, when we can be certain to have reached full
>maturity, and begun to face our own mortality.

A little bit of Gemara? Shulchan Aruch requires one to be "stuffed with
meat and wine," i.e, shas and poskim.


From: Ben Z. Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Wed, 17 Dec 2003 16:04:32 -0600
Subject: Re: Test of Faith

>From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
> From this perspective -- that is, from a non-literal, non-historical
>perspective -- Isaac, as Abraham's beloved son, represents everything in
>the world of Abraham's future.  Isaac, as Abraham's beloved son,
>represents Abraham's ego-investment.  Thus, the willingness to sacrifice
>one's beloved son is a metaphor for the willingness to surrender one's
>ego -- make one's self utterly bitul -- before Hashem.
>Psychologically, this is the ultimate test, and the ultimate initiation.
>Abraham proved he was willing to give _everything in this world_ that he
>loved most dearly, simply because God asked.  He never did actually
>sacrifice Isaac.  God did not want the life of Isaac to be
>sacrificed. But God did want to give Abraham the opportunity to be
>utterly bitul.  This is an extraordinarily high, if not the highest
>possible, reward for a life well-lived in the Light of God.

I fnd myself pretty much agreeing with Mr. Tenen here.  The only thing I
would add, from a Maiminidean perspective, is that the entire episode
may have been a vision, and thus we have Avraham realizing that he would
go so far as to sacrifice his own son for God.  (Remember, Rambam says
in the Guide that any time an angel is involved it is a vision.  Ramban
of course severely criticizes this position vis a vis the story in the
Torah at the beginning of Vayera.)

Ben Z. Katz, M.D.
Children's Memorial Hospital, Division of Infectious Diseases
2300 Children's Plaza, Box # 20, Chicago, IL 60614
Ph 773-880-4187, Fax 773-880-8226


End of Volume 41 Issue 51