Volume 45 Number 38
                    Produced: Tue Oct 26  5:44:36 EDT 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Arba minim
         [Immanuel Burton]
Brich Shemay
         [Yehonatan & Randy Chipman]
         [Menashe Elyashiv]
         [Menashe Elyashiv]
Electricity on Shabbat (2)
         [Michael Mirsky, Ari Trachtenberg]
Funeral Customs
         [Batya Medad]
Help with a minyan
         [Gershon Dubin]
Holding lulav
         [Nathan Lamm]
Kabbalistic influences in davening
         [Nathan Lamm]
         [Nathan Lamm]
Minhag Jerusalem for funeral
         [Ira L. Jacobson]


From: Immanuel Burton <IBURTON@...>
Date: Mon, 25 Oct 2004 11:38:50 +0100
Subject: RE: Arba minim

In Mail.Jewish v45n37, Perets Mett wrote:

> The mechaber says that the Ethrog should be held in the left hand.,
> and a number of poskim say that one cannot be yotse if both are held
> in one hand.
> Why should there be a difference between the way one holds the 4 minim
> for the brocho and Halel and Hoshanos?

I would imagine that the practice of holding the Arba Minim in one hand
during Hoshanos at any rate has arisen because of the practicality of
holding the Arba Minim and a Machzor.  This does not necessarily mean
that there is a Halachic justification for doing so.

My practice is to hold the Arba Minim in both hands for the whole of
Hallel and the Hoshanos, and to that end I bought a Siddur that is small
enough to hold in my left hand at the same time as the esrog.

Immanuel Burton.


From: Yehonatan & Randy Chipman <yonarand@...>
Date: Tue, 26 Oct 2004 10:16:39 +0200
Subject: Re: Brich Shemay

In v45n36, in connection with my comment about R. Hayyim of Brisk not
saying Brikh Shmeih, Natahn lamm comemnst, <<some object to anything 
from the Zohar, and omit it entirely (and try to omit other Kabbalistic
influences from teffilah as well).>>
Avi adds: <<Do those people skip Kabbalat Shabbat and do not do Hakafot
on Simchat Torah? >> 

1.  As a matter of fact, the Briskers in Jerusalem don't say Kabbalat
    Shabbat.  I was rather shocked one Friday night, many years ago,
    when I went to daven at the minyan of the Brisker rabbanim in the
    former home of Reb Velvel of Brisk, on a side street near the Edison
    Theater.  I came several minutes after sundown and found only two
    people there;  only gradually did others start to drift in.  When
    Rav Berl Soloveitchik (now z"l) arrived, nearly an hour after
    shekiah, they began directly with Barkhu. 

However, I don't know whether their objection to Kabbalat Shabbat is due
to its Kabbalistic context, or because it's not rooted in sources in the
Talmud or rishonim. I suspect the latter.  

I don't know  about hakafot.  But in terms of your question about
Kabbalah, any such objection would apply equally to the hakkafot with
lulav and etrog on Sukkot (Hoshanot), reciting Ushpizin, Tikkun Leil
Shavuot, and many other practices we think of as universal. 

2. About Brikh Shmeih:  the so-called Rodelheim Siddur (Baer's Avodat
   Yisrael), prints it in small letters, with the comment that it's a
   late addition and not part of the original or ancient Nusah Ashkenaz,
   and that, since most Ashkenazim don't say it, he will not offer any
   commentary on the text. On the other hand, there are Sephardic (North
   African or Nusah Baghdad) Siddurim which have Brikh Shmei but do not
   have "Vayehi Binso'a," at least not in the order or contents we know.  

3.  One figure who did object to Kabbalistic contents was the Hatam
    Sofer, who objected to saying "Leshem Yihud" before mitzvot. 

Jonathan Chipman 


From: Menashe Elyashiv <elyashm@...>
Date: Mon, 25 Oct 2004 19:43:14 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Burials

All civil burials in Israel are without coffins. Only military burials
use coffins. The burial mitah (bed?) is used for Kabalistic reason. The
army uses coffins for humanitary reason, because some times there is
only ashes or parts of the deceased soldier. Outside of Jerusalem, the
sons usually attend the burial, and women stay behind the men.


From: Menashe Elyashiv <elyashm@...>
Date: Mon, 25 Oct 2004 19:50:23 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Electricity

If it passes the courts, Kiryat Sefer will be the first place with
Kosher for Shabbat electricity. A local electric plant will be built,
but I don't know how it will work.


From: Michael Mirsky <mirskym@...>
Date: Mon, 25 Oct 2004 00:28:56 -0400
Subject: Electricity on Shabbat

I'm an electrical engineer and I work for the Ontario provincial
electrical utility.  Let me explain how an electric power system works.
Then we can discuss the Shabbat issues.

The power system consists of the generators which feed into a high
voltage network ("the grid").  At various points in the network, there
are transformer stations which convert the high voltage to a medium
voltage (distribution voltage).  Those lines run outside your house.  In
the neighbourhood, there are other transformers (mounted on poles, or
underground) which further reduce the voltage to the level that the
final customer uses (eg. 120 V in North America and 220 V in most of the
rest of the world).

A very important fact is that the power system is always in constant
balance.  Any increase in the demand for power (eg. turn on a motor)
requires an equal increase in the amount of power generated by the
generating stations (actually a bit more because of losses in the grid).
So, if all other electric demand is constant, and you turn on a light, a
generator has to immediately increase power, which means more coal or
oil is burned at that moment.

Another issue that must be considered is that turning on a switch in
your home creates a complete electrical circuit.  What does that mean?
In order for electric current to flow and deliver energy it must have a
route from the grid, through the appliance (light bulb, TV etc) and back
to the grid through another wire, or through the ground.  Without this
loop being created, no current can flow.  The switch on your appliance
completes that loop.

It has been stated on this list that when a switch is turned on and more
power is delivered, the power workers have to work harder.  That is not
true.  The increase is handled automatically by the generating units
which sense the increase.  The workers are involved only if the demand
increases or drops to the point where the generating unit needs to be
shut down or a new one started up.  Most of the time the grid also
doesn't need any human help.  Once and while circuits have to switched
in and out, but generally not due to power changes. There are also power
workers who are in the control center 24 hours a day.  They monitor the
system and take actions in case of transmission line faults or other
unusual events.  So, yes, there are people needed to work on Shabbat as
long as electricity needs to be delivered - even if noone were to touch
a switch and leave everything constant and running all Shabbat.

So what are some of the issues of turning on an appliance on Shabbat?
Here are the ones I have heard about, although there are differences of
opinions on each.

Boneh - Building - completing the circuit by turning on a switch Makeh
B' Patish - The increase in demand you create causing the generator to
produce more.  Also increasing the fuel consumption is another issue.
Lighting a Fire - turning on an incandescent bulb - I believe most
halachic authorities consider filament heating up to a glowing
temperature as definite "aish"

Now, on the other hand, I have heard that fluorescent lamps are not in
the same category of "aish" as incandescent bulbs since they don't heat
up to glowing.  They actually operate at a much lower temperature.  So
that issue is not a problem for them.

I've also heard others dispute the concept of boneh for making the

I have always thought that the increase in power from the generating
plants (with additional fuel burnt) is something which is "psik raisha",
an inevitable consequence of turning on an appliance, so that this is
the issue which trumps all others and makes turning on things on Shabbat
assur "l'chol hadai'os".  BUT, at an interesting lecture by someone from
the Institute of Science & Halacha (I forgot his name), he refuted that
argument.  On a very large power system, people are always turning
things on an off at all times.  It is very likely that at the exact same
time when you turn something on, someone turns something off.  The net
effect is no change to the output of the generators for switching on
small loads.  So it isn't a "psik raisha".

OK, that's as far as I go - now that you know more about how the system
works, others can look more into the halachos involved.

But, this is a topic that has been discussed so much, I'm sure that
there must be some books or articles that cover it.  I tried to find the
Inst.  for Science & Halacha on the web, but their site
http://www.machon-science-halacha.org.il/ seems to be down.  Anyone know
their new web site or any other sources?


From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Mon, 25 Oct 2004 10:59:33 -0400
Subject: Re: Electricity on Shabbat

 >From: Frank Silbermann <fs@...>
 >I think one might also ask whether _change_in_demand_ is what causes
 >extra work, i.e., whether fewer adjustments to the system are needed
 >when demand for electricity remains steady.

If this were an issue, then one could be forbidden from opening an
outside door on Shabbat in the winter because of the extra burden on the
heating system caused by the incoming cold air.

Ari Trachtenberg,                                      Boston University
http://people.bu.edu/trachten                    mailto:<trachten@...>


From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Tue, 26 Oct 2004 00:05:25 +0200
Subject: Funeral Customs

It seems so unfair, and halachikly questionable, that people arranging
the burial of close relatives rarely seem to be able to choose a chevra
kadisha to suit their own hashkafa.  It ends up making things even more
traumatic.  Baruch Hashem, we've discovered that our local chevra
kadisha (Mateh Binyamin) insists only on halacha, so the families aren't
forced to follow customs that aren't their own.

Being shut away from a parent's funeral is much more traumatic than
shoveling the earth.  The kinestetic act burial helps a person heal.
Many of the cemetaries have well-placed spots for Kohanim and pregant
women to watch, but not be in the cemetary itself.  Unfortunately I've
been to many funerals at our local Shiloh cemetary, and everything is
done to allow the family the maximum participation.



From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Mon, 25 Oct 2004 18:20:44 GMT
Subject: Help with a minyan

From: Nathan Lamm <nelamm18@...>

<<In addition, of course, a minyan needs a certain minimum of people
actually davening with it.>>

You need 6 minimum to say devarim shebikedusha, but it is not tefila
betzibur if you have less than 10 actually davening.

What if there are already 5 davening and therefore they need you to
daven so they can say devarim shebikedusha, but you'll lose out on
tefila betzibur with a later minyan (if you don't they lose out

IIRC Rav Shelomo Zalman Auerbach addresses this and says to daven with
them.  IIRC.



From: Nathan Lamm <nelamm18@...>
Date: Mon, 25 Oct 2004 06:09:07 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Holding lulav

In answer to why Hallel and Hoshanos should be different (holding lulav
and esrog in one hand during the latter), I've always thought of it in
practical terms: It's hard to juggle a siddur (or hoshanos card), a
lulav, and an esrog. During Hallel, the siddur can rest in front of you,
not an option during hoshanos. Additionally, the mitzva of holding and
shaking the lulav holds especially during Hallel, not, I believe, during


From: Nathan Lamm <nelamm18@...>
Date: Mon, 25 Oct 2004 05:42:16 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Kabbalistic influences in davening

Avi asks:
> Question: Do those people skip Kabbalat Shabbat and do not do Hakafot
> on Simchat Torah?

I know some who do not, for this reason, or accept them grudgingly. I
suppose when there are other issues, such as those mentioned
specifically for Brich Shemay, there's an added reason to omit them.


From: Nathan Lamm <nelamm18@...>
Date: Mon, 25 Oct 2004 05:47:08 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Lulav

Eliezer Wenger mentions that minhag Chabad is to pick up the esrog
later. I recently read that this developed because the sixth rebbe was
too ill in his later years to hold both lulav and esrog for too long,
and so only picked them both up for the actual waving.


From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Mon, 25 Oct 2004 12:53:49 +0200
Subject: Re: Minhag Jerusalem for funeral

      Remember that burials in Jerusalem don't have coffins or elevators
      for lowering the body , and the dirt is shoveled in without
      anything between, making it a very vivid experience.  It is easy
      to imagine children becoming overwrought at the sight.

Burials throughout Israel (with a very few exceptions) are done without
coffins and with dirt shoveled by the participants.  So that would not
explain the particular Jerusalem customs, which differ from those in
most other parts of Israel.

Since Petah Tiqwa was founded by Jerusalemites, Petah Tiqwa follows
Jerusalem minhagim.  However, when it comes to funerals, it seems that
NO Jerusalem minhagim are followed.  Any ideas why not?

IRA L. JACOBSON         


End of Volume 45 Issue 38