Volume 42 Number 03
                 Produced: Sat Jan 31 21:35:24 US/Eastern 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Davening in a Multi-Faith Space
         [Tzvi Stein]
Divine Names in the zemiros (3)
         [Akiva Miller, Bernard Raab, Mark Steiner]
JOFA conference coming soon -- don't miss it!
         [Freda B Birnbaum]
New Book
         [Marc B. Shapiro]
         [Elozor Reich]
Praying Loudly
Saying / Singing Pesukim
         [Michael Kahn]
Sifra -- Missing Pages
         [Emmanuel Ifrah]
Tzur Mishelo - is this bentching?
         [Alan Friedenberg]
Why the Codes are popular. What we should do
         [Russell J Hendel]


From: Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...>
Subject: Re: Davening in a Multi-Faith Space

I believe I read in sefer on the topic of "halachic problems in travel"
that it's forbidden to daven in an airport's "interfaith chapel", so I
guess that would also to apply to the Naval Academy chapel with its
clever rotating religious symbols.  I think the rule is that if the
space is used at all for "idol worship", you can't daven there.
Apparently, this ruling takes a strict approach with respect to
Christianity, whose status as "idol worship" is subject to dispute (with
some poskim making a distinction among the various Christian

However, if the space is used for Moslem worship, it seems most poskim
allow you to daven there, as is the case in the "Tomb of the Patriarchs"
in Hebron, which is used as both a mosque and synagogue.

I used to think that it was universally accepted that Islam is not "idol
worship", thus the allowance to daven there, but I recently heard a
shiur by a prominent rabbi, who quoted a posek (which I don't remember)
as holding that Islam *is* in fact idol worship.  Interstingly, I also
recently learned that some Christians consider Islam to be "idol
worship" and Allah to not be eqivalent to G-d, but the successor of some
pre-Islamic "moon god", which was co-opted by Mohommed to win converts
to his new religion.


From: <kennethgmiller@...> (Akiva Miller)
Date: Tue, 27 Jan 2004 18:22:47 GMT
Subject: Re: Divine Names in the zemiros

Mark Steiner wrote <<< I am having a hard time with the logic of
avoiding reading the Divine Names in the zemiros. ... There is no
difference between reading these poems at the table, and reading the
other piyyutim they wrote during the synagogue service. ... >>>

In my opinion, you've hit the problem right on the head. **IF** there is
no difference between the poems in the synagogue and the poems at home
-- that is to say, that they are said as a prayer -- then indeed the
names should be pronounced properly.

But during the Shabbos meals, are they really being said as a prayer?

Or are they being sung primarily for their entertainment value?

In many cases, I believe that the people singing have absolutely nothing
in mind beyond the fun of the singsong atmosphere. I believe this
distinction has very little to do with people's comprehension of Hebrew:
Those who understand very little would still intend it as a prayer when
they're in shul, and those who understand very much often sing at home
with little or no attention paid to the meaning.

I admit that the distinction is extremely subjective. I often find that
the very same song can be very sincere in the stanzas, but the
repetitiveness of the refrain induces a singsongy lack of kavana. I also
suspect that in some cases - Dror Yikra and others - the zemer was
originally written with no refrain at all, but later songwriters
artificially created one. In other cases, phrases and sentences are
repeated where the original author never intended. These are all clear
cases where I would argue against reciting the Name properly.

Depending on the changing atmosphere at the table, it is not unusual for
me to sing some Names properly, and others not, all in the same zemer.

Akiva Miller

From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Wed, 28 Jan 2004 18:14:52 -0500
Subject: RE: Divine Names in the zemiros

>From: Mark Steiner:
>I am having a hard time with the logic of avoiding reading the
>Divine Names in the zemiros.  After all, the authors of these poems
>included some of the greatest of the rishonim--and they saw fit to write
>these Names.  (In the song "tzur mishelo" if you don't read the name
>a-d-n-y in every verse, you spoil the rhyme, put there by the author
>z"l.)  ....

Thank you for expressing my feelings so much better that I could. Some
years ago we had Shabbos dinner with some friends and their newly-minted
YU-musmach son used "hashem" in z'miros. Some other guests
good-naturedly asked him if we weren't really singing G-d's praises or
just fooling around, and when do we get to sing these songs "for
real". He responded that his mentor Roshei Yeshiva had ruled as he
practiced. I was disturbed to hear this but felt hardly qualified to
argue the point.

b'shalom--Bernie R.

From: Mark Steiner <ms151@...>
Date: Thu, 29 Jan 2004 23:00:49 +0200
Subject: RE: Divine Names in the zemiros

	Thanks to Gil Student for his reply.

	However, the opinion or custom to avoid reciting the Divine
Names in the zemiros, is to the best of my knowledge found nowhere in
halakhic literature, rishonim or aharonim.  (I will be grateful to be
corrected on this.)  Unattested minhagim have no real status.  My
father-in-law, z"l, whose father was the Rov of Holeschau, an ancient
kehillah which was also the kehillah of the Schach, z"l, transmitted the
ancient minhogim of his birthplace, which extended all the way back to
the Maharil, including ancient niggunim for singing the zemiros, recited
all the Names as a matter of course.  The Mahzor Vitry, written by a
talmid of Rashi, records the zemiros, not only as a matter of law, but
as universal custom.  (He also gives the texts of the zemiros and in
many cases says who wrote them.)  Thus, the minhag to recite the zemiros
a written is well attested; and of course violates no halakha (even a
minhag which violates halakha is sometimes accepted by the poskim as
everyone knows).

	Of course, it is quite legitimate to follow a humra
(stringency), yet in this case, the humra may lead to making light of
the holy zemiros and the holy rishonim who wrote them.  I feel that the
zemiros cannot accomplish the purpose for which they were written unless
they are recited verbatim as are the tefillos which the same authors
composed.  (These tefillos, for example the yotzros, were recited by all
Ashkenazic kehillos despite opposition from some very respected
quarters.  The baalei tosfos quote from the yotzros many times and use
them to derive halakha. The objections to the yotzros do not apply to
the zemiros.)

Mark Steiner	


From: Freda B Birnbaum <fbb6@...>
Date: Thu, 29 Jan 2004 07:59:06 -0500 (EST)
Subject: JOFA conference coming soon -- don't miss it!

I've been asked to forward this, and am happy to do so.

From: <Batyal@...>

YOU are all invited to attend:
Feb. 15-16
JOFA Fifth International Conference on Feminism and Orthodoxy "Women and
Men in Partnership,"
Grand Hyatt Hotel, NYC
To register call 212-569-8500
or on line www.JOFA.org.  The impressive program can be downloaded.
After Feb.1, late fee $25.
Email: <Conference@...>


From: Marc B. Shapiro <shapirom2@...>
Date: Wed, 28 Jan 2004 08:01:18 -0500
Subject: New Book

I would like to announce the publication of my new book, "The Limits of
Orthodox Theology: Maimonides' Thirteen Principles Reappraised" 
It can be purchased by calling the distributor at 800-944-6190 or
through Amazon and BN.com. For a limited time, BN.com is selling it for
20% off. 

     Marc Shapiro


From: Elozor Reich <lreich@...>
Date: Thu, 29 Jan 2004 12:02:23 -0000
Subject: Pardes/Paradise

 <Gevaryahu@...> (Gilad J. Gevaryahu) wrote:
>Ibn Ezra to Shir ha-Shirim (4:13) reduces the meaning of the word, based
>on Arabic, to an orchard of one kind of a plant ("gan [sh-]yesh bo min
>echad"). I have asked an Arabic scholar to confirm this meaning in
>Arabic ........"

See Bava Metzia 104a  'Pardess ani mocher loch, af al pi she'ayn boi
from which it is evident that a stam pardess is a pomegranate orchard.

Elozor Reich


From: <chips@...>
Date: Tue, 27 Jan 2004 21:50:55 -0800
Subject: Re: Praying Loudly

> > How about putting up a sign?	
> Putting up signs in shule not only disturbs the decor but also demeans
> the sanctity of the sanctuary.  "Post no Bills" doesn't apply only to
> construction sites.  I can see it now, a plethora of signs -- "No
> davening loudly" "No talking" "Please sit in your own seat." "Children
> are to be supervised at all times" ....  Would you put up signs on your
> living room wall?  Signs tend to have little or no effect except,
> perhaps, for the cathartic impact on the sign "putter" who thinks they he
> or she has actually accomplished something towards resolving an issue.
> Carl Singer

I have no idea where you daven in Passaic, but the places I went to had
plenty of signs about a plethora of items. As for the place I usually
attend (not in Passaic), there are signs put up - one to try to daven
with more intensity in psukei dzimra , one about Shatnes, one about the
earliest times for brochas on talllis tefiilin during the winter and one
about not being allowed to daven out loud at all with a minyan (it
quotes the halacha as stated in the SA with the MB). And as a matter of
fact, people there have piped down quite a bit since that sign was put
up.  I've heard that it was under consideration to put up a sign telling
people to either turn off or leave their phones outside the beis

In my living room i do have a sign "Along the way take the time to smell
the flowers". I have seen many,many homes with 'no loshon hora' signs
and many signs about Yerushalym.



From: Michael Kahn <mi_kahn@...>
Date: Tue, 27 Jan 2004 10:08:47 -0500
Subject: RE: Saying / Singing Pesukim

>This does not mean one should sing verses like "ana hashem hoshia na",
>since there is a severe warning in the Talmud about reducing the verses
>of the Torah to songs (zemer--the Talmud refers directly to Shir
>Hashirim, but Rashi and others assert that the same applies to any
>verse).  It follows, therefore, that a verse should not be sung at all
>unless there is a good reason to do so, and when there is a good reason
>to do so, the Name in the verse should be read (except of course for
>the Tetragrammaton) as written, to avoid the verse being mutilated.
>What a "good reason" is, I will leave to those qualified to render
>halakhic decisions.

The general practice today is to sing psukim. Listen to any popular frum
tape today and you will see this. Reb Moshe Feinstein has a tshuva on
this where he says that this is problematic because of the gemara the
poster has cited. With difficulty, Reb Moshe says that perhaps we can
justify todays practice by saying the singers due it leshem shamaim to
inspire people. (It's been years since I saw the tshuva so see it
inside.) Bearing this in mind, I was very moved by the story of the boy
who loves singing ana Hashem hoshia na. I think a child growing up
loving to sing this song shows how much he loves Simchas Torah and the
Shabbos meal at which he is singing it.


From: Emmanuel Ifrah <emmanuel_ifrah@...>
Date: Fri, 30 Jan 2004 07:17:33 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Sifra -- Missing Pages

I own a copy of R. Meir Ish Shalom's edition of the Sifra (Breslau,
5675) with his commentary "Meir 'Ayin".

However, as too often, the Israeli offset I have misses a number of
pages. As a matter of fact, it stops page 144 in the middle of a drasha
on "Temila le-'umat he-'atzeh yessirena".

If someone on the list owns a "full copy" of the same book and is ready
to send me photocopies or scans of the missing pages, please answer

Thanks in advance and have a good shabbes.

Emmanuel Ifrah


From: Alan Friedenberg <elshpen@...>
Date: Thu, 29 Jan 2004 05:18:27 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Tzur Mishelo - is this bentching?

>I won't enter the question, by the way, whether the zemer tzur mishelo,
>which is a poetic rendering of the Grace after meals, makes it impossible
>afterwards to recite the Grace itself--this is a different question
>entirely, and it is not clear to me that one can avoid that question by
>not reading the Divine Names.

I have several friends who have a minhag to sing Tzur Mishelo
immediately after bentching, just so they can avoid this potential



From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Thu, 29 Jan 2004 00:23:06 -0500
Subject: Why the Codes are popular. What we should do

Just a quick comment on the codes.

I believe that the codes satisfy an intellectual emotional need. We all
have the need to see patterns in our environment and organize it.

The codes are a cheap way of doing this (Looking at equal skip intervals
and seeing patterns).

However, when commentaries like Rashi are properly learned then they
give emotional satisfaction to this need to see patterns.

There are many examples on the Rashi website but a simple technique
(from a recent parshah) is to line up (align) the 10 plagues and search
for similarities and differences. For example why does Moses sometimes
"do" the plague while sometimes "Aaron" does the plague.  Why are
certain plagues announced while others are not etc. Many more examples
exist--all of them involving pattern seeking and many of them answered
by Rashi.

If the codes are so popular then maybe there is a call to popularize
pattern seeking methods in traditional commentaries.

Russell Jay Hendel


End of Volume 42 Issue 3