Volume 45 Number 05
                    Produced: Wed Sep 29  0:04:33 EDT 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Birkat Rosh Hodesh
         [Art Werschulz]
High Holiday Services
         [Eitan Fiorino]
Karaites and Tefillin
         [Robert Israel]
The Kohen Gadol's Prayer
         [Gershon Dubin]
Masechet Kinim -- shameless self-promotion
         [Moshe Koppel]
Names - Shneor
         [Matthew Pearlman]
New Chumrah
         [Akiva Miller]
Partial Following of P'sak
         [Gershon Dubin]
Query:  Gemar tov
         [Yehonatan Chipman]
Selective Pesak
         [Yehonatan Chipman]
Separate Seating at Weddings (Reprise)
         [Ben Katz]
T'filos Ha-Shachar
         [Alan Friedenberg]


From: Art Werschulz <agw@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Sep 2004 09:39:01 -0400
Subject: Birkat Rosh Hodesh

<graetz@...> (Naomi Graetz) asked:

> While on the topic of birkat rosh hodesh...It is customary in many
> synagogues for the shaliach tzibbur to introduce a melody pertaining to
> the holiday which will take place the following month. Thus for example,
> when we announce rosh hodesh adar, we introduce "shoshanat yakov" or
> Iyar, "hatikvah" etc. What is the custom for introducing Elul? Do we
> bring in high holiday melodies or simply stick to the normal melody? 

If you're collecting data points: We use Yamim Noraim tunes.
BTW, does anybody have any special tune they use for Heshvan?

Art Werschulz
GCS/M (GAT): d? -p+ c++ l u+(-) e--- m* s n+ h f g+ w+ t++ r- y? 
Internet: <agw@...><a href="http://www.cs.columbia.edu/~agw/">WWW</a>
ATTnet:   Columbia U. (212) 939-7060, Fordham U. (212) 636-6325


From: Eitan Fiorino <Fiorino@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Sep 2004 10:32:04 -0400
Subject: RE: High Holiday Services

>From Ben Katz:

> Sadia Gaon probably couldn't sit through shabat morning davening at
> most shuls today!

Saadya may not be the best example - though I have not personally
checked this in Saadya's siddur, I heard in a drasha over Yom Kippur
that the Avodah was said at every service when he was the Gaon in Sura.
Maybe the Rambam or his son would make a better example, or maybe the

I have the sense that in geonic times Shabbat services were longer than
they are now owing to the incorporation of a large number of the
piyutim, a practice that has largely fallen by the wayside.  See Shlomo
Goiten's "A Mediterranean Society" for some fascinating insights into
tefilah at the time of the Geonim based on findings in the Cairo geniza.



From: Robert Israel <israel@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Sep 2004 09:29:15 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: Karaites and Tefillin

Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...> wrote:

| The "Karaite Anthology," printed as part of the Yale Judaica Series,
| published in 1952 and edited by Leonard Nemoy, with Associate Editor

That should be Leon Nemoy.  AFAIK Leonard Nimoy (Mr Spock to Star
Trek fans) is not an expert on Karaites.

Robert Israel                                <israel@...>
Department of Mathematics        http://www.math.ubc.ca/~israel
University of British Columbia            Vancouver, BC, Canada


From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Sep 2004 18:42:13 GMT
Subject: The Kohen Gadol's Prayer

From: Shlomo & Syma Spiro <spiro@...>

<<When the kohen gadol was about the leave the kodesh hakodoshim after
offering the incense he intoned a "short prayer."  All of his petitions
are in Lashon Hakodesh except one-- lo y'adi avid shilton me bet
yehudah. which is the Targum for "lo yasur shevet me yehudah.  Does
anyone have some sources for this deviation?>>

If we assume that his tefila was in Hebrew, and only the recorded
version was in Aramaic, it would fit that only during Greek or Roman
times (i.e. second Beis Hamikdash) could it have been written down
(there was no written Mishna during the time of the rule of the
Babylonians, who would have understood Aramaic anyway).

Then it was written (presumably not said) in Aramaic to prevent charges
of treason.



From: Moshe Koppel <moishk@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Sep 2004 17:06:24 +0200
Subject: Masechet Kinim -- shameless self-promotion

Daf Yomi will be reaching masechet kinim in about two months. (It's only
three peraqim of mishnayos but is included in daf yomi -- one pereq a
day.) Anybody who's interested in a copy of my commentary to kinim need
only ask and I'll send out a copy. It's in Hebrew and will appeal mainly
to people with a bit of a taste for math. No charge but kindly give $10
or 40NIS to a tzedaka of your choice.



From: Matthew Pearlman <Matthew.Pearlman@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Sep 2004 19:37:10 +0100
Subject: Re: Names - Shneor

Leah Perl wrote "I was under the impression that Shneor was a Hebrew
name.  As I heard it, a couple each wanted to name after his or her
father -- Meir and Yair respectively.  They compromised, and called the
child "Shneor" -- two lights..."

I also heard this but I can't remember who it is told about.  I actually
heard it in the context of a shiur about double names, the point being
that in centuries past, people simply did not name their children with
double names - otherwise why not call him Meir Yair (or Yair Meir I can
already hear you asking).  The Rav's advice was to call him Shneur.

The name Shneur is actually mentioned in the Ramban's drasha on Rosh
Hashana, so has a very old vintage.  I therefore took the story to mean
that it was simply a suggestion of a name to use, rather than coining a
new name.



From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Sep 2004 16:08:45 GMT
Subject: Re: New Chumrah

In MJ 45:02, Carl Singer wrote about tissues: <<< Perhaps they are
packaged in such a way that there is no possibility of tearing as you
pull one out for use -- i.e. there is no perferation connecting
consecutive sheets. We need more chumras, so I'm looking forward to
Shabbos tissues. >>>

Why do you consider this a chumrah? My understanding is that when one
tears a perforated paper along the perforations, that constitutes the
melacha (basic category of forbidden activity) of "mechatech", which is
defined as cutting something to a specific size or shape.

Akiva Miller


From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Sep 2004 18:45:08 GMT
Subject: Partial Following of P'sak

<<2: It is not clear that Rav Moshe would hold that using Shabos timers
would still be a problem as most people understand what is going
on. There are a few places in halacha where the action of the masses can
indeed override psak halacha.

[My reading of R. Moshe's psak does not indicate that there was any
problem with people understanding what is going on, and I see no reason
to believe that R. Moshe's opinion would have changed. Ideally, R. Moshe
would have prefered to not allow shabbat clocks on lights either. Avi]>>

In the Yeshiva of Staten Island where Rav Moshe was Rosh Yeshiva and his
son is currently RY, the air conditioners run all Shabbos.  I am not
aware of any place else that does so.



From: Yehonatan Chipman <yonarand@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Sep 2004 11:45:47 +0200
Subject: Query:  Gemar tov

    Does anybody know the origin of saying "gemar tov" rather than
"Gemar hatimah tovah" between Yom Kippur and Hoshana Rabba?  The rabbi
of my local shul pointed out, to my mind quite correctly, that "Gemar
tov" means "a good end,", which can be understood as referring to a
person's death!  He commented ironically, "I'd be afraid of a gemar

      The alternative blessing for this period is the Yiddish "a gutten
kvitt'l" or the Aramaic "pitka tava" -- both of which refer to the
"page" on which our final destiny for the coming year is recorded.

    Any thoughts on this?
    Yehonatan Chipman


From: Yehonatan Chipman <yonarand@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Sep 2004 12:15:40 +0200
Subject: Re: Selective Pesak

In v44n96, Yossi Ginzberg asks 

> How can one "hold" of someone selectively, isn't that prcisely what
> Chazal forbid when they said "Mikulei Bais Shammai and U'michumrei bais
> Hillel" (or words to that effect)?
> I know of an analogous case, where "most" black-hat orthodox "hold" like
> Reb Moshe Feinstein re everything including controversial positions like
> eiruv., but eat veal and use Shabbat timers on their a/c, both of which
> he forbid.  I've been looking for an explanation of that for a long
> time, too.

The answer, in brief, is that the obligation to follow one posek across
the board is a myth, at least in terms of written halakhah. See Yoreh
Deah 242, which explain the whole institution of the Rav, of semikha, of
respect for a rav, and the meaning of pesak.

It states there quite clearly, in subsection 31 (Ram"a) that each
question, each act of hora'ah, is taken as an independent entity.  It
doesn't even say that one can't go "shopping" from rabbi to rabbi for a
suitabel pesak, but merely that, if one asks one rav a specific sheilah,
particularly if it pertains to a specifuc object or case (a piece of
meat, a pending matter of mamonot, a concrete situation in dinei
nidah,etc.) one must inform any rav whom one subsequently asks that a
hora'ah has already been issued by another rav (and the details of what,
whom, etc.), but he is then free to pasken as he sees fit, and one may
follow this latter hora'ah. The relevant categiry is "halut hahora'ah,"
more than "kevod rabo."

The idea of "holding by" a certain posek may be a praiseworthy thing,
but strictly speaking is not obligatory.  "Aseh lekha rav" means that
one should have a fixed teacher in Torah, with whom there is an ongoing
talmid-rebbe relationship, from whom one learns an approach in laerning,
an example of yirat shamayim, someone who is the first address to ask
questions-- but not that one is obligated to follow him blind in all
things as long as he lives -- and apparently thereafter as well (e.g.,
Rav Moshe).  I know that, for example, Rav Soloveitchik ztz"l had humrut
in certain areas which many of his talmidim do not follow (for example,
regarding eruv).  In particular, as a person matures in his own
understanding, both of Torah and of the world, he quite naturally
develops his own approach to things. This is the meaning of "talmid
shehigia lehora'ah."

Especially, piskei halakhah published in the newspaper or on
broadsheets, and not in response to a question one has asked, do not
bind one.  Particularly if they deal with public policy matters or
politics, and not halakhah in the narrow sense; all the more so if they
call upon poeple to defy the orders of a democratically elected

BTW, the quotation is "One who follows the lenient rulings of both Beit
Shammai and Beut Hillel is a wicked person;  one who follows the
strictures of Beit Shamami and Beit Hillel is 'a fool who walks in
darkenss'; rather, one who does as Beit Shammai, follows both their
kolut and humrot;  one who follows Beit Hillel, both their kolut and
humrot"  (Eruvin 6b).  To our issue:  one can say, quite simply, that
today's gedolim don't have the same standing as Hillel and Shammai.

    Yehonatan Chipman


From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Sep 2004 12:09:58 -0500
Subject: Re: Separate Seating at Weddings (Reprise)

>From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
>ALL THAT ASIDE -- what are the facts re: who had family (aka "mixed" - a
>term I don't really think reflects the purpose / tone) seating at their
>OWN wedding and who had separate seating.
>I have heard that, for example, the Chofetz Chaim had family seating at
>his own wedding.  Any pro / con "facts" re: that statement.

         Definitely TRUE.  As has been pointed out in past MJ postings,
the CC's wife's maiden name was Poupko.  I am zocheh to know several
members of the distinguished Pouko rabbinical clan, who reside in the
Chicago area, who have told me that there was family seating at the
weddings of the CC's children.  In addition, I heard a wonderful story
about the CC from Harav Gedaliah Schwartz, av beis din of the Chicago
Rabbinical Council and a relative to the Poupko family by marriage.  He
told me that a Chassidish rav (whose name I unfortuately forgot) was
going to visit the CC for shabat and hinted that he would like the women
to sit separately.  The CC, who always sat with his rebitzin at the
shabat table, replied "I do not think the din of hachnosat orchim
obliges me to go that far."  The Chasidisha rebbi understood and the CC
sat as usual at his shabat table.

Ben Z. Katz, M.D.
Children's Memorial Hospital, Division of Infectious Diseases
2300 Children's Plaza, Box # 20, Chicago, IL 60614
e-mail: <bkatz@...>


From: Alan Friedenberg <elshpen@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Sep 2004 05:48:47 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: T'filos Ha-Shachar

I was reflecting this past Rosh Hashana about a minhag at the shule I
attended regularly through my late twenties.  The shule's minhag on Rosh
Hashana and Yom Kippur was to recite the entire t'filos ha-shachar, not
just the relatively small part that we say normally.  I began to wonder
- are there any minhagim that reflect saying all of t'filos ha-shachar
on a regular (daily or weekly) basis?  I assume that everyone said all
of it at some point - when did people start saying the shorter version?

Alan Friedenberg
Baltimore MD


End of Volume 45 Issue 5