Volume 44 Number 82
                    Produced: Wed Sep 15  5:32:48 EDT 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Avi Feldblum]
Cholah or Cholanis
         [Andy Goldfinger]
Grammatical distictions
Looking for source R. Avraham Ben HaRambam tshuva 63
         [Neil Normand]
Non-Denominational Prayer Rooms
         [Samuel P Groner]
         [Orrin Tilevitz]
Rabbeinu Tam Tefillin -- chumras
         [Yaacov Gross]
Tal/Geshem (6)
         [Martin Stern, Menashe Elyashiv, Richard Schultz, Perets Mett,
Shimon Lebowitz, David Ziants]
T'fillin shel Rabbeinu Tam
         [Yaacov Gross]
Unetane Tokef
         [Ira L. Jacobson]


From: Avi Feldblum <mljewish@...>
Date: Wed, 15 Sep 2004 05:23:32 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Administrivia

Hello All,

Just a quick note wishing a very happy, healthy New Year to all the
members of the list. L'Shana Tova Tekatavu V'Techatemu.

Looking forward to another year of good discussions with you all!

Avi Feldblum


From: Andy Goldfinger <Andy.Goldfinger@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Sep 2004 07:55:33 -0400
Subject: Cholah or Cholanis

When inserting the "yehi ratzon" [special supplication] for a sick woman
in the shmoneh esray [silent prayer], I have seen two nuschaos [texts]:

In the Artscroll Siddur, the woman is called a "Cholah."  In the
Bostoner Siddur, she is called a "Cholanis."

I have asked people about this difference, and have gotten two answers:

(1)     Cholanis means a "sickly" woman, and hence "Cholah" is more
(2)     Cholanis is a yiddishism, and hence is also correct.

I would appreciate insights or comments from mail.jewish readers on this

-- Andy Goldfinger


From: Yakir <yakirhd@...>
Date: Tue, 14 Sep 2004 13:27:19 +0200
Subject: Grammatical distictions

Further to the discussion on "Yamin Tovim" etc, here is one that is not
immediately obvious.

"Talmid Chacham" is often taken to mean "a wise scholar" (noun +
adjective), and thus when referring to a female the feminine form
"talmidah chachamah" is used.

This, at least in my understanding, is incorrect. The meaning of "Talmid
Chacham" is actually "pupil of a Wise Person" (semichut, Eng=?, of noun

Proof: the plural is "Talmidei Chachamim", not "Talmidim Chachamim",
thus the feminine should be "Talmidat Chacham" or, if you want,
"Talmidat Chachama" (?)

Note that this distinction has a significance similar to the traditional
approach to someone who "can learn" / "yodea lilmod" / "ken learnen" (as
opposed to "knows a lot" or "is smart").

Shana Tova
-- Yakir.


From: Neil Normand <nachmanyak@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Sep 2004 10:33:52 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Looking for source R. Avraham Ben HaRambam tshuva 63

The Rambam counts mitzvat aseh 8, V'halachta b'Drachav, following the
charachter traits of G-d.  His primary source for this mitzvah, the
formulation of V'halachta B'drachav is found in Devarim 28:9, in the
context of describing the berachot that will occur to Am Yisrael if they
follow the Torah.  One could ask, why is this the source of a mitzvah,
perhaps it is only a condition for receiving G-D's blessings.  In the
Frankel edition of the Rambam he notes that this question was posed to
R. Avraham ben HaRambam and he answered it in Teshuva number 63.  The
edition of Teshuvot of R. Avraham ben HaRambam that I have only goes to
48.  Is anyone aware of this tshuva?  



From: Samuel P Groner <spg28@...>
Date: Tue, 14 Sep 2004 09:03:49 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Non-Denominational Prayer Rooms

> As a student, I heard a well-accepted rumor that Rabbi Soloveitchik z"l
> personally sanctioned MIT's multi-denominational chapel, which has an
> interchangeable Aron Hakodesh and crucifix, when it was built.

Rav Soloveitchik z'l reportedly issued a similar psak with regard to
rooms set aside for prayer in Anabel Taylor Hall, the interfaith
building at Cornell University, which was built between 1948 and 1952.
Reportedly, when they were building the building, Rav Soloveitchik
advised as to how to do it so that Religious Jews would be able to use
the rooms for davening.  An upcoming book of some of Rav Soloveitchik's
letters (which will be published by the Torah HaRav Foundation and is
being edited by Nathaniel Helfgot), I am told, will have included in it
the letter to Cornell.

Sammy Groner


From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Sep 2004 10:31:55 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Nusach

Four observations and a related question:

1.  The apparent and increasing ignorance of nusach is not limited or
attributable to so-called Carlebach davening.  Several years ago, a
friend of mine, a rav who learned his nusach from his grandfather, a
rosh yeshiva in Poland before WWII (where he learned his nusach),
offered to address this problem by teaching a class in nusach at MTJ on
the Lower East Side (in Manhattan).  Nobody was interested.

2.  In the Young Israel in which I davened as a kid in the 1960s,
singable tunes (as in the kedusha and hallel) were interspersed in the
nusach.  So-called Carlebach davening, as I understand it, is marked by
a total absence of nusach--it's all tunes.  I say "so-called" because
Reb Shlomo himself davened nusach along with interspersed tunes.

3.  There are legitimate variations in nusach, even standard Polish
nusach, particularly on the high holidays.  One poster quoted Cantor
Sherwood Goffin as saying that the beginning of Yom Kippur mincha should
use the weekday nusach. Although I've never heard it done that way,
that's what I was told many years ago by the (much older) baal tefilah
of the shul in which I grew up, who learned his nusach from his
grandfather, also a pre-war Eastern European musmach.  The pre-war Rosh
Yeshiva (item 1) told me that Yom Kippur mincha was a "baby musaf",
including the musaf kaddish.

4.  One poster appeared to ask why change in nusach isn't ok.  The
reason is that the various nushaot have evolved as auditory clues to the
mood of a particular holy day.  You walk into any shul on Rosh Hashana
night and the nusach alone tells you it's Rosh Hashana.  Change tends to
cheapen.  The author of a fairly recent article in Conservative Judaism
on, I think, Jewish responses to 9/11 describes how in her Manhattan
synagogue, on the shabbat following 9/11 they sang Lecha Dodi to Eli
Tzion, which mourns the destruction of the beit hamikdash.  (There
exists a practice, perhaps a legitimate custom, to do that on shabbat

5. An article several years ago by Cantor Goffin bemoaning the decline
in nusach and the use of "secular" tunes in davening, asserted that the
only non-nusach tune that one may use in davening was one that was
"mekudash" including, I recall, any of the tunes of Reb Shlomo. A few
years ago I heard for the first time the song "Fie on Goodness, Fie"
from Camelot.  The beginning is identical to Reb Shlomo's "Am Yisrael
Chai", and I think the two songs came out about the same time. Does
anyone know which came out first?

Orrin Tilevitz


From: Yaacov Gross <ibijbgross@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Sep 2004 21:38:17 -0400
Subject: Re: Rabbeinu Tam Tefillin -- chumras

>From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
> ... no one seemed to mind exactly what order the parshiyout were in.  

Menachos 34b-35a:  "Hechelif parshiyoseha pesulos"


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Sep 2004 12:39:41 +0100
Subject: Re: Tal/Geshem

on 13/9/04 12:02 pm, Nathan Lamm <nelamm18@...> wrote:
> I've never heard of bentching Tal or Geshem *before* Chazara Hashatz or
> the silent Musaf. Can you elaborate how this is done?

It is the custom in Israel according to the so-called Minhag Ashkenaz
current there (really Minhag haGra) to do precisely that. They just
recite the final section of the piyut (the pizmon with the refrain
ending in mayim or tal respectively) after the Sifrei Torah have been
returned but before the chatsi kaddish before mussaf. Probably this is
based on the opposition of the Vilna Gaon, whose followers established
the Ashkenazi community some two hundred years ago, to inserting piyutim
in chazarat hashats because of hefsek; perhaps some Israeli contributors
will be able confirm this.

I remember being there many years ago on Succot and finding it rather
odd.  This was compounded by having Shemini Atseret and Simchat Torah
which really seemed a contradiction in terms of their different moods:
Hakafot followed by Yizkor and Geshem.

Of course, Simchat Torah is really a purely Diaspora festival which was
not observed at all in Israel in the Middle Ages since they used a three
year cycle. It was only later that it was imported and took over from
the original Shemini Atseret which was celebrated much as we do. There
is a book by A. Ya'ari, Toldat Chag Simchat Torah, on all aspects of the
history and celebration of Simchat Torah if anyone wants to follow this

Bevirkhat ketivah vechatimah tovah

Martin Stern

From: Menashe Elyashiv <elyashm@...>
Date: Tue, 14 Sep 2004 08:57:11 +0300 (IDT)
Subject: Tal/Geshem

In answer to how they are said before Mussaf:

Minhag Sefarad says them before Ashrei with the Tora scrolls on the
Bima, the Hechal (ark) is not open.

Nusah Ashkenaz(Eretz Israel) and some non hasidic Sefard (that confine
to the local minhag) says them after returning the Tora scrolls before
Kaddish, the Hechal remains open.

From: Richard Schultz <schultr@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Sep 2004 14:21:32 +0300
Subject: Tal/Geshem

In our shul, it's pretty straightforward: the Torah is put away, the
aron hakodesh [ark] is left open, and the piyyut is read starting with
"Tal ten" (Tal) or "Z'chor" (Geshem), in both cases, after the
introductory phrase "Eloheinu v'elohei avoteinu".  The chazan wears a
kittel for the recitation of the piyyut and for mussaf.  The parts of
the piyyut that are interpolated between the blessings of the amidah
when the piyyut is said during the repetition of the amidah are not said
at all.  In fact, in the Rinat Yisrael siddur, there's not even any
indication that those sections even exist.  After the conclusion of the
piyyut, the aron is closed, and the half-kaddish is recited with the
traditional Tal/Geshem melody.  The repetition of the amidah is done
like any standard holiday amidah, with the standard holiday tune from
the first brachah.

Richard Schultz

From: Perets Mett <p.mett@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Sep 2004 12:47:28 +0100
Subject: Tal/Geshem

According the minhog of the GRO, after the sifrey Torah are returned,
before kadish, the shat"s says the piyut Tal tein/ Zchor...  followed by
Sho-ato hu... lerozoin". He then says half kadish before the quiet
Shmone Esrei.

I think you can find this in most sidurim published in Israel.

This avoids saying piyutim during the repetition of musaf.

Does anyone how Chabad bentsh Tal/Geshem?

Perets Mett

From: Shimon Lebowitz <shimonl@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Sep 2004 16:21:49 +0200
Subject: Re: Tal/Geshem

Sure. :-)

After returning the Sefer Torah to its place, and before saying Kaddish, 
the chazzan (in a kittel, at least in my shul) simply starts the piyut
for tal/geshem.

We repeat each verse ("....... b-tal" - I dont remember the words
and have no siddur/machzor handy) after him.

After the piyut and Kaddish we start silent Musaf with the *new*
season's text - mashiv haruach or morid hatal.

Ketiva veChatima Tova, 
Shimon Lebowitz                     mailto:<shimonl@...>
Jerusalem, Israel                   mailto:<shimonl@...>

From: <dziants@...> (David Ziants)
Date: Mon, 13 Sep 2004 20:31:40 +0300
Subject: Re: Tal/Geshem

As was already posted by someone, this is the standard Nusach Ashkenaz
in Israel.

As far as I remember:
a) The scrolls are returned to the aron hakodesh (=ark) and "Uvenuchu
Yomar" is finished said/sang. 
b) The piyut (=poem) for Tal or Geshem is chanted by the chazzan, whilst
the aron is still open. 
c) The aron is closed, chatzi kaddish is said and then continue with
silent amida. 

David Ziants
Ma'aleh Adumim, Israel


From: Yaacov Gross <ibijbgross@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Sep 2004 21:20:37 -0400
Subject: Re: T'fillin shel Rabbeinu Tam

> From: Israel Caspi <icaspi@...>
>  ... one would have to put on 56 [I think that's the number...] pair of
> t'fillin in order to be yotzei l'chol ha-de'ot.

It's 256.  I understand that's based on there being eight independent
two-sided issues (two-to-the-eighth =256).  I know of four:

    Rashi vs. R.T on the relative order of the last 2 parshiyos

    everyone else vs. the Raavad who has everything in mirror-image

    whether or not to wrap the parshiyos in blank klaf

    Rambam vs. Rosh on how to make a parsha S'tumah starting on a new line
(p. VeHaya Im Shamo'a)

Can anyone supply the other four?

-- Yaakov Gross


From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Tue, 14 Sep 2004 14:29:15 +0300
Subject: Re: Unetane Tokef

Pinchas Roth <pinchas2@...> stated the following on Sun, 12 Sep
2004 14:44:44 +0800:

      The story of R Amnon reflects the transition of the Ashkenazi
      tradition from Italy to Germany (Amnon is an Italian name), and
      Unetane Tokef was a piyut that was popular in Italy but unknown in
      Germany and France, until someone introduced it and the story came
      to explain that.

I hope that the argument doesn't stand or fall on the fact of Amnon of
Mayence's name being an Italian name, since King David's firstborn son
was named Amnon.

IRA L. JACOBSON         


End of Volume 44 Issue 82