Volume 44 Number 47
                    Produced: Fri Aug 27  6:01:20 EDT 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Brit - kvatter/in (2)
         [Batya Medad, Joseph Tabory]
Change of surname
         [Perets Mett]
Changing Names
         [Eli Turkel]
Gaps in Halacha Observance (2)
         [Joel Rich, Akiva Miller]
Ger and Seven-thirty AM Minyan
         [Perets Mett]
R. Chaim Naeh - shiurim (3)
         [Emmanuel Ifrah, I.H Fuchs, Eli Turkel]
Vegetarianism (2)
         [David Riceman, Martin Stern]
         [Joel Rich]


From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Tue, 24 Aug 2004 19:23:10 +0200
Subject: Re:  Brit - kvatter/in 

      on time) cannot hand anything to him directly.  So a couple
      (engaged, or otherwide able to serve) is designated -- she (die
      Kvatterin) takes the child from the mother, hands the child to her
      partner (der Kvatter), who hands the baby to the father.

Engaged couples aren't permitted.  Only a married couple.  Sometimes
good friends, the grandparents, or a couple with fertility problems.
Sometimes a widowed grandmother starts the process, then the baby's
passed on to other women and finally the last woman's husband.


From: Joseph Tabory <taborj@...>
Date: Tue, 24 Aug 2004 17:23:02 +0200
Subject: RE: Brit - kvatter/in

German dictionaries give the word "gevater" as meaning Godfather. Since
"vater" by itself means father, I would assume that the "ge" at the
beginning of the word has something to do with God. However, this is
conjecture as I do not have a German etymological dictionary. Obviously,
the Germans got this from the Jewish custom.  Kol tuv

Joseph Tabory
13 Zerach Barnet St.
Tel: 02-6519575


From: Perets Mett <p.mett@...>
Date: Tue, 24 Aug 2004 15:02:34 +0100
Subject: Change of surname

Yeshaya (Charles Chi) Halevi wrote:

> I wrote that >>... the family of the Kotzker Rebbe told me he changed
> his name from "Halpern" to "Morgenstern" because he was wanted by the
> anti-Semitic Russian authorities under the "Halpern" name.<<
> Perets Mett replied >>Now this one ***IS*** an urban legend. It has
> been published in books and gets repeated from time to time, but there
> is absolutely no hard evidence for it. The Kotsker Rebbe's father and
> his brothers all used the name MORGENSTERN - so why do people think
> that the Kotsker Rebbe himself originally used a different surname?<<
> I got my information straight from the Morgenstern family of Chicago,
> direct descendents of the Kotzker Rebbe.

I don't doubt for one minute that the Morgensztern family tell this
story, and they believe it to be true.

I have myself repeated the fact that this story is told.

Now, while I agree that, in general, oral family history is based on the
truth, I have a serious difficulty with this story.

As I understand it, the story is that the Kotsker Rebbe and his family
adopted the surname HALPERN/HEILPERN (the name used by his
great-grandfather, Rabbi Dovid HEILPERN of Ostraha) in about 1810 when
surnames became compulsory in Poland. In about 1831, when the Russians
put down the Polish rebellion, the Kotsker switched names to
MORGENSZTERN because the Russians were after him as a supporter of the

[Likewise, it is said that Chidushei Horim initially used the name
ROTENBERG and switched to ALTER in the 1830s, for the same reason.]

There are a number of major flaws with this story.

1 There does not appear to be a single recorded use by the Kotsker Rebbe
of the name HALPERN. (If anyone has such evidence, I would be extremely
pleased to see it.)

2 To date, the only surname I can find in use by any sibling of the
Kotsker Rebbe and their sons is MORGENSZTERN.

3 The Kotsker Rebbe's eldest son R' Dovid (who subsequently succeeded
him as Kotsker Rebbe) married in Opotshno (Opoczno) in 1827. The
marriage record shows his name to be Dawid MORGENSZTERN. This event was
several years before the alleged change of name.

I can only conclude that two or more stories have become jumbled
together. At any rate, the most likely explanation is that the Kotsker
Rebbe's family all adopted the name MORGENSZTERN as their official
surname when they were required to do so. This was in any event only for
use by the authorities, as Polish chasidim (maybe most Polish Jews) did
not use surnames amongst themselves until much later.

Perets Mett


From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
Date: Tue, 24 Aug 2004 19:19:22 +0300
Subject: Changing Names

> 1000% not true. In the 1920's in Kletsk he was using the name Kotler.
> According to the family, the name comes from the passport he managed
> to obtain (his siblings were not called Kotler)

One other case where this happened was the Chofetz Chaim. He went by the
name Kagan but it seems that some of the descendants used other names.
There was several years ago an article in Hatzofe about some descendants
in Brussels with different names who vaguely knew of their connection to

Eli Turkel


From: <Joelirich@...> (Joel Rich)
Date: Tue, 24 Aug 2004 08:43:09 EDT
Subject: Re: Gaps in Halacha Observance

         Tosfos on Shabbos 49a discusses the reason for laxity in
      wearing of tefilin (in general). The details there need not
      concern us, but it is apparent from that Tosfos that there were
      periods in Jewish history when most Jews did not wear tefilin
      daily. Therefore there may have been extended periods during which
      tefilin were not worn widely, resulting in confusion as to whether
      tefilin should be worn on chol hamoieid

I think the details do concern us.  Tfillin IIRC is an os(sign) and thus
one would have thought it would have been strongly kept yet the gemara
says it wasn't. Why?  Perhaps(my theory only) it revolves around the
essential nature of tfillin requiring a clean body and concentration
(that's why women are discouraged and even men only wear them during
kriat shma and shmoneh esra). IIRC the Rambam doesn't say it's a mitzvah
to wear tfillin daily (as he does by other mitzvot whpse frequency is
not defined in the torah).  Put this all together and it may be the
reason that during persecutions the Jews didn't wear tfillin was because
of a realization that they couldn't maintain the standards necessary for
their wearing (not because they were less religious) Thoughts welcome.

Joe Rich

From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Tue, 24 Aug 2004 21:07:25 GMT
Subject: Re: Gaps in Halacha Observance

Ira Bauman asked <<< for example the discussion I am learning right now
in the last chapter of Pesachim about the the text of Havdalah, seem as
if they are being tackled for the first time.  I'm sure this was not so
but what was the mechanism here? >>>

It is important to distinguish between Torah mitzvos and rabbinic
ones. The text of our prayers, such as havdala, is a great example of
the latter. While the idea of saying such a prayer *may* have been
around for a long time, the exact wording and other details might not
have been established until later.

It's quite possible that those rabbis in that chapter *were* tackling
this for the first time. That is, they and their parents and
grandparents would always have said havdala, but it could be that it was
a "free-form" sort of thing, made up "on the fly" (similar to how
non-Jews say grace, perhaps), and only now did they get together to
discuss their ideas and establish a standard text.

I'm hoping some history buffs will fill in the details; I'm sure there
are many.

Akiva Miller


From: Perets Mett <p.mett@...>
Date: Tue, 24 Aug 2004 23:34:58 +0100
Subject: Re: Ger and Seven-thirty AM Minyan

Yisroel Medad wrote:

> I have found a reference to the forcing by the Gerrer Rebbe, Avraham
> Mordecahi, upon his chassiddim and others, the institution of a
> seven-thirty AM minyan.  This was an example used by Rabbi Shimon
> Hubberband, grandson of the Chentzin Rebbe, to highlight the power held
> by such leaders of Polish Jewry in his complaint that more could have
> been done by them in terms of Eretz-Yisrael.
> Does anyone have a source for this incident - when it took place, what
> was the previous norm, who opposed, etc.?

A serious misquotation.

The norm in Ger during the period of the Sfas Emes was for the chasidim
to learn for three hours or more before davening shacharis. This meant
that they frequently davened shacharis at 10 or 11 am. [ I don't want to
start a thread on late davening - this was however the custom that they
had developed in Kotsk.]

When the Admor R' Avrohom Mordechai zy"o became the Rebbe, he instituted
early davening - 7 or 7.30 am, including Shabbos in his beis medresh in
Ger. He requested (NOT forced) his chasidim to follow suit.  Many did,
but others felt unable to change their custom and their shtiblekh
continued to daven late.

Maybe the Rebbe could have 'forced' his chasidim to change, but that was
not his nature.

You can find more details in the biography of the Rebbe, "Rosh Gulas

On the issue of Erets Yisroel the Rebbe did encourage his chasidim to
settle there, provided they made appropriate arrangements. He was well
aware that many Jews who left Europe for Erets Yisroel in the early
1900s left their yiddishkeit behind.

Perets Mett


From: Emmanuel Ifrah <emmanuel_ifrah@...>
Date: Tue, 24 Aug 2004 04:16:10 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: R. Chaim Naeh - shiurim

R. Avraham Chayim Na'eh (ob. 1954) was a prominent Chabad posek.  The
book where he develops his shi'urim is called "Shi'urey Tora".  His
magnum opus is called "Ketzot ha-Shulchan". He also authored
commentaries on the psakim in the Baal ha-Tanya's siddur, etc.

Emmanuel Ifrah

From: I.H Fuchs <ilan_25@...>
Date: Tue, 24 Aug 2004 13:02:52 +0000
Subject: RE: R. Chaim Naeh - shiurim

He was ashkenazi actually a chabad hassid although he was a rav in

From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
Date: Tue, 24 Aug 2004 19:16:21 +0300
Subject: R. Chaim Naeh - shiurim

>>the Sephardim have no real source for holding anything other than R'
>>Chaim Na'eh (the larger shiurim tend to be an Ashkenazi thing).
>Somehow, I think that Rav Naeh was himself Ashkenazi.  I am fairly sure
>that his son (or grnadson?) was our neighbor in Bayit Vegan.  Can any
>listmate correct me or confirm?

Yes, R. Chaim Naeh was ashkenazi and part of the old yishuv.  However, i
don't understand the point of Chana. While RCN presents many proofs for
the "smaller" shiur one of the main points is that is the shiur that
sefardim have always used contuniusly in israel since the days of
Rambam.  Thus, RCN bases himslef on sefardi minhag and not vice versa.

It turns out that RCN was not completely right and that there were
changes to the Draham since the Ramabam. However, taking that into
account makes the ke-zayit even smaller than his shiur.

Eli Turkel


From: David Riceman <driceman@...>
Date: Tue, 24 Aug 2004 09:58:28 -0400
Subject: Re: Vegetarianism

> From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>

> "Is Vegetarianism compatible with
> a Torah lifestyle?"
>   <snip>
>  4. The person believes that killing animals for human consumption is wrong
> <snip>
> However the fourth one strikes me as
> being basically a form of neo-paganism and is prohibited to us since the
> Torah has expressly permitted the eating of meat (and commanded it in
> the case of sacrifices); we have no right to be frummer than the Torah
> itself. What do others think about this matter?

Why is this humra [stricture] different from all other humros? Or do you
suggest that avoiding anything expressly permitted by the Torah is
neo-paganism? Are those of us who fast on the four minor fasts
neo-pagans (cf. Zechariah 7:5-6, Radak ad. loc.)?

David Riceman

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, 24 Aug 2004 17:04:40 +0100
Subject: Re: Vegetarianism

David has cut out the crucial point I was making:

4. The person believes that killing animals for human consumption is
wrong i. e. we have no right to put our diet above the right to life of
other sentient beings

It is the placing of animals on the same level of importance as human
beings that suggests a form of neo-paganism. In the view of the Torah,
though we must avoid causing suffering to animals, if there is a
conflict between human and animal needs then the former takes
precedence. Thus to suggest that an animal's right to life is on the
same level of importance as a human's need for sustenance is a denial of
the Torah's having made them subservient to us. Whether we are obliged
to eat meat is a quite different matter but, if it is necessary for our
well-being, then there can be no room for super-piety.

Martin Stern


From: <Joelirich@...> (Joel Rich)
Date: Tue, 24 Aug 2004 08:37:09 EDT
Subject: Yuhara

      I agree with Meir that PUBLICLY refusing to use the eruv might be
      yuhara, in a place where the eruv is (close to) universally
      accepted. Today however there are few places where that
      applies. If many people choose to not use the eruv, then it is no
      longer yuhara to practice that chumra.

So the first people who do it constitutes yuhara but when enough people
join them it's not? Is it possible that yuhara might also apply to
groups of people?

Joel Rich


End of Volume 44 Issue 47