Volume 41 Number 64
                 Produced: Wed Dec 31  5:24:09 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Ben Katz]
Chanukah Torah reading (5)
         [Shimon Lebowitz, Robert Rubinoff, Abie Zayit,
chips@eskimo.com, Perets Mett]
Helping blind person preferable to Minyan
         [Russell J Hendel]
Kavod & titles
         [Carl Singer]
nusach of the Kehilla
         [Tzvi Stein]
question about Hanukkah miracle
         [Bernard J. Sussman]
Rav She'Machol
         [Joel Rich]
Test of Faith
         [Ben Katz]
Third Person for Rosh Yeshiva
         [Carl Singer]


From: <bkatz@...> (Ben Katz)
Date: Mon, 29 Dec 2003 10:01:43 -0600
Subject: Re: Chanukah

>From: Kibi Hofmann <kibi@...>
>I can't offer a full rebuttal, but I was under the impression that the
>Zionist "founding fathers" somewhat hijacked the story of Chanukah to
>show it as a story of the "new Jew" (strong, upstanding, fighting man,
>as opposed to the "old Jew" of the ghetto) so it was celebrated with
>great emphasis on the military aspects of the story as opposed to the
>miracles (and hardly at all about the oil miracle).

There is a lot of truth to the above.  In fact, the song "mi yemalel
gevurot yisrael" which everyone enjoys singing on chanukah (and it does
have a great "wave") was actually written as a counter to the common
expression from tehillim "mi yemalel gevurot adon' ..."


From: Shimon Lebowitz <shimonl@...>
Date: Mon, 29 Dec 2003 15:11:40 +0200
Subject: Re: Chanukah Torah reading

> In Chutz La'aretz, the Chanukah daily Torah reading includes the first
> half of that day's Nasi, the second part of that day's Nasi, and
> finally, for Shlishi, the Nasi of the next day.
> In Israel, on the other hand, the Shlishi reading is the Nasi of that
> day - i.e., a repeat.
> Does anyone know what the reason is for this difference?

I believe this parallels the reading setup of Sukkot. On Sukkot we (in
Eretz Yisrael) read the sacrifice of each day on that day.  Similarly,
on Chanuka we read each day the Nasi of that day.

But in chutz la'aretz, IIRC, the custom on Sukkot is to read the 'sfeika
d-yoma', the day as it would be if 2nd day Yomtov was the true yomtov
(day X), followed by the day as it would be if 1st day Yomtov was the
true yomtov. (day X+1) Keeping the same pattern, even though the reason
behind it is not really applicable, on Chanuka each day the following
day is also read.


From: Robert Rubinoff <rubinoff@...>
Date: Mon, 29 Dec 2003 12:19:29 -0500
Subject: Chanukah Torah reading

Maybe it's based on the pattern for Hol Hamoed Sukkot.  In Israel, the
description of the korban (sacrifice) for that day is repeated for each
aliyah.  Outside of Israel, we are uncertain (in theory) which day it
is, e.g. the first day we observe as hol hamoed might be either the
second or third day of the holiday.  So we read the korban for the
second day for the first aliyah, and the korban for the third day for
the second aliyah.  For the third aliyah, we continue on and read the
korban for the fourth day.  For the fourth (and final) aliyah, we recap
and read the second and third day.

The Hannukkah pattern is similar to this, although since the
descriptions of the presents brought by the Nasi'im are long enough to
make up two aliyahs, we split that day's Nasi across the first two
aliyahs and then continue on with the next day.  In Israel, they repeat
that day's Nasi, just as they repeat each day's korban on sukkot.


From: <oliveoil@...> (Abie Zayit)
Date: Mon, 29 Dec 2003 21:40:43 +0000
Subject: Chanukah Torah reading

I always assumed that the difference between Torah reading on Chanuka in
Israel and the Diaspora was a vestige of the "Yom Tov Sheini shel
Galuyot" issue, as evidenced by the Torah reading on Sukkot. On Chol
HaMoed Sukkot Israel reads the same day four times (they know what day
it really is), while the Diaspora reads both the actual day, the Safek
day and the next day.

If this is true (and this is just my guess) it would be just one of many
connections between Chanuka and Sukkot, beginning with the statement in
Megillat Antiochus that Chanuka was a "make-up" for the preceeding
Sukkot taht had been missed.

Abie Zayit

From: <chips@...>
Date: Mon, 29 Dec 2003 21:08:23 -0800
Subject: Re: Chanukah Torah reading

Mechaver and the RaMoh disagree on the readings. It is based on the
disagreement of did the fighting end on the 24th of Kislev or not.


From: Perets Mett <p.mett@...>
Date: Tue, 30 Dec 2003 17:55:08 +0000
Subject: Chanukah Torah reading

I guess that this difference applies to Ashkenazim only.

No doubt Oriental ("Sephardi") communities - even in chuts lo-orets -
follow the psak of the Mechaber (O Ch 684:1) that Shlishi repeats the
the reading of the previous two aliyos.

Ashkenazim outside Erets Yisroel read the Nosi of the next day for
Shlishi, following the R'MO (loc cit).

So the question boils down to: why do Ashkenazim in Erets Yisroel 
follow the Mechaber?
I can guess at two possible answers:

1 The Mechaber (R. Yosef Karo) being the Moron D'Aro D'Yisroel,
ASkenazim follow his psak. [Another instance of this is making the
brokho Shehecheyonu at a Bris]

2 By analogy with Sukkos (where the difference has to doi with s'feiko
d'yoimo) although the reason does not apply to Chanuko.

Now here is a question in case (unlike this year) the 8th day of Chanuko
is a weekday.

According to the psak of the R'MO, Shelishi certainly starts from
"Bayoim Hateshii". However, according to the Mechaber, should Shelishi
repeat "Bayoim Hashemini" (by analogy with the previous days of Chanuko)
or, since there is no need to repeat, should Shelishi start from "Bayoim

If your kehilo follows the Mechaber on the first seven days, which does
it do on the 8th day?

I have heard of both practices.

Perets Mett


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 28 Dec 2003 23:14:47 -0500
Subject: Helping blind person preferable to Minyan

The issue has been raised as to whether helping a blind person and
thereby avoiding minyan is an issue of man-man vs God-man commandments.

First of all even if that were the issue we all know that one of
Abrahams tests was whether he would give hospitality to guests and leave
the Divine presence. Certainly if Abraham can leave God to give
hospitality we can leave a minyan to help the blind.

But I would like to cite an interpretation of Agaddah by the Rav, Rabbi
Joseph Baer Soloveitchick.  Recall that in olden times and today it was
dangerous to walk home from synagogue after the evening prayer. The
Talmud in beracoth relates that a person who leaves synagogue early and
does not walk his friends home does not have his prayers answered.

Why?, said the Rav. What is the relation between sin and punishment.
The Rav explains that in the daily prayer we pray for peace. But this
person who prayed for peace, leaves early and places his friend in
danger. So there is a contradiction between his prayers and his actions!
Hence because of his hypocrosy his prayers are not answered.

I would infer from this Talmudic passage that prayer is not a God-man
commandment! Rather prayer has man-man aspects.

In other words, if you help a blind person before minyan then God has
answered your prayers for peace before you pray.

Too often we categorize commandments as either man-man vs God-man.  It
is well to remember the Ravs point that there are elements of both in

Russell Jay Hendel; http://www.Rashiyomi.com/


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Mon, 29 Dec 2003 08:15:45 -0500
Subject: Kavod & titles

> From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
> I'm certain that if the rabbi had wanted the kavod, he would have had
> introduced himself in a way that you would have had no doubt.  In Perkei
> Avot, we're admonished not to seek kavod.  You were both simple guests
> at the wedding.  Did you want him to call you doctor?

Batya, Good question.

Having been called "Doctor" for over 25 years now, it doesn't phase me
either way.  In terms of conversation, however, it doesn't impact how I
describe my profession and the things I do.  I rarely, if ever, make
mention of my title.  Being a Rosh Yeshiva, however, does has a duality
of both title and "occupation" (if I can use that term.)  I guess it may
have led to more conversation re: his Yeshiva.  (Which isn't on point
re: Kovod.)  Nonetheless, in a way it deprived me of showing him due

Carl (please don't call me late for dinner) Singer


From: Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...>
Date: Mon, 29 Dec 2003 09:05:22 -0500
Subject: Re: nusach of the Kehilla

I think it's definitely best to use the nusach of the Kehilla.  And if
the nusach is unfamiliar, that can be taken as a blessing... it's a
unique oppurtunity to renew your kavana and pay attention to every word
of the tefilla.


From: Bernard J. Sussman <sussmanbern@...>
Date: Mon, 29 Dec 2003 10:09:33 -0500
Subject: question about Hanukkah miracle

   The Hanukka story about the miracle of one jar of oil lasting 8 days
does not appear in the earliest accounts of the Hasmonean victory; e.g.,
the Septuagint and Josephus; and does not appear until a Talmudic story
some 300 years removed from the event.

   It is, under those circumstances, very easy for some people (i.e.,
me) to suspect that the miracle of the jar of oil didn't happen and that
the 8 day celebration is to commemorate the eight days spent
rededicating the Temple without any such miracle (as stated in the
Septuagint and Josephus), and to suspect that either there was enough
kosher oil or that someone was willing to stretch the supply by using
nonkosher oil to keep the lamps burning.

    So my question: Is it an absolute requirement of Judaism to believe
in the story of a single day's jar of oil miraculously lasting eight
days?  Or is it permitted to believe a less miraculous story of the
Hasmonean victory and rededication of the Temple??

Sincerely,  Bernard J. Sussman


From: <Joelirich@...> (Joel Rich)
Date: Mon, 29 Dec 2003 07:18:15 EST
Subject: Rav She'Machol

> >Is it proper for someone who is learned to eschew respect?  >Any sources?
> >Carl Singer

> On a more philosophical note, a Rabbi might be different as it may be
> an issue of honoring God as well as honoring the person.

see Shulchan aruch yoreh deah 240:7, the Rav can waive his kavod
Joel Rich


From: <bkatz@...> (Ben Katz)
Date: Mon, 29 Dec 2003 9:37:05 -0600
Subject: Re: Test of Faith

> Wasn't Yitzhak tested no less than Avraham?  He was was a grown man, 

not according to Ibn Ezra

I would also amplify Dr. Hendel's comments (below) going further with
the rambam's approach.  if all interactions between man and an angel
described in the torah are visions as the rambam states in the guide,
then the entire akedah episode can be explained as avraham's vision as
to how far he would be willing to go, "knowing" that God would not
really allow it to happen.


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Mon, 29 Dec 2003 08:34:40 -0500
Subject: Third Person for Rosh Yeshiva

> From: Matan Shole <thinkoncemore@...>
> In regards to Carl Singer's point that had he known he was speaking to a
> Rosh Yeshiva he would have spoken in third person.  I once heard some
> people say that using the third person is a sign of respect.  However,
> later a friend explained that this is a mistaken carryover from
> German(?) where there are to ways of addressing a person in first
> person, one used for most people and another used to address honorable
> people.  This is not, though, the case in English.  In fact, when
> addressing the president of the united states, for example, while he is
> addreessed as Mr. President at first, subsequently he is addressed in
> the first person "you."  I dont think that continuing the use of the
> third person is extra respectful, unless you personally make it that
> way, in which case it is a personal thing.

> In regard to his second point, the Gemarah says that while we hold that
> a Talmid chachom can be mochel his honor, since it belongs to him
> (u'vtoraso yehege yomam valayla), a king cannot, as his respect does not
> derive from his own person, but from his position as king of Israel.
> Lehavdil, it seems that the position of an army officer more resembles
> the one of a king than of a talmid chochom, as the officer represents
> not himself but the United States Army.

Regardless of its origin, prevailing custom here in the US seems to be
to use third person when conversing with a Rosh Yeshiva -- "Does the
Rosh Yeshiva think that I should ...."  "Does the Rosh Yeshiva want a
cup of coffee?"  I find that I now comform to this mode when speaking to
nearly all Rosh Yeshiva(s).  However, there is one Rosh Yeshiva who (in
retrospect) I do not address in this manner -- although he truly is a
Gadol HaDor, etc. -- and this is because he is so authentically warm and
generous in his greeting and conversation with me that I often forget

Re: the second point -- perhaps.  Not to quibble but I would change
"United States Army" to "United States of America" The Talmid chacom can
be mochel his individual honor but cannot "wave" it for others -- i.e.,
declare, for instance that one need no longer stand up when a (any)
Rabbi enters the room.



End of Volume 41 Issue 64