Volume 45 Number 59
                    Produced: Fri Nov 12  5:44:09 EST 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Aliyot origins
         [Yehonatan Chipman]
Black hats, Kipot, etc.
         [Joseph Ginzberg]
Dress and Movements
         [Tzvi Stein]
Halacha and Change
         [Elazar M Teitz]
Hebrew fonts in Word
         [Ira L. Jacobson]
A Jewish custom?
         [Ira L. Jacobson]
Saying thank you
         [Carl Singer]
Shas swap?
         [Art Werschulz]
The sociology of mail-jewish (2)
         [Ed Greenberg, Freda B Birnbaum]
Talmud torah and reading aloud
         [Elazar M Teitz]
Tefilin & Mirrors
         [Carl Singer]
Tfillin and Mirrors
         [Joel Rich]


From: Yehonatan Chipman <yonarand@...>
Date: Thu, 11 Nov 2004 10:27:21 +0200
Subject: Re: Aliyot origins

      Rav Mordechai Breuer of Jerusalem, perhaps one of the foremost
experts in the nusah of the Bible, and editor of one of the most exact
editions of the Tanakh text, writes that "the division into those called
up for the reading (keruim, i.e., aliyot), widely accepted in most Jewsh
communities, has no basis in either tradition or halakhah.  There are
great rabbis who have deviated from it, and some who have specifically
advocated going against it " (here he refers to Maaseh Rav of the Vilner
Gaon).  -- Breuer ed., Hamisha Humshei Torah (Jerusalem: Horev, 5756),
p.  [8].

    What the Masorah, or Masoretic text, does is to fill in those things
lacking in the Torah scroll; namely, the nikkud (vocalization) and
te'amim (cantillation) of the Bible, serving as an authoritative oral
tradition of reading to accompany the text, both of the Torah and of the
other books.

    Of course, today these divisions into aliyot have the force of
communal minhag, and there is no reason not to follow them unless there
are strong extenuating circumstances. But it's also easy to understand
how minor variations between different groups came about.  It's also
usually possible to figure out, at least approximately, the logic behind
the divisons: where possible, to present an entire subject in one aliyah
without breaking it up (thus, in most of the laws in Vayikra), and if
possibel at a parsha break (i.e., white space) in the Sefer Torah; not
to end with something negative, and if possible with a note of blessing;
when in the middle of, say, a story, to end the aliyah at a point which
is not smack in the middle of, say, a back-and-forth conversation, but
at a point where listeners people can pick up the thread easily in the
next aliyah; to have the aliyot roughly even in length -- i.e., not
extremely short or extremely long (but there are notable exceptions to
this; e.g., Ki Tisa, where each of the first two aliyot is as long as
the last five together); not to end with only two verses left to the
next parshah setumah or petuhah, or only two verses after its beginning
(this explains the doubling over of one verse in shlishi on Rosh
Hodesh); etc.  These same rules are the ones that guide gabbaim when
they have to add hosafot (additional aliyot), as for a simhah.

     Incidentally, even in Beit Knesset ha-Gra in Sha'arei Hesed, which
is generally considered the closest thing to a living community that
maintains the Gaon's traditions (real old-time Jerusalemites), the
reading on Mondays and Thuirsdays and at Shabbat Minhah follows the same
custom as the rest of Jewry.  It would be interesting to know whether
any community actually followed the Gaon's ruling of three - three -
four verses at any time.

    Jonathan Chipman


From: Joseph Ginzberg <jgbiz120@...>
Date: Thu, 11 Nov 2004 09:32:11 -0500
Subject: Black hats, Kipot, etc.

>Black hats, streimals, kipot srugot etc have nothing in themselves to do
>with Judaism - what we cover our heads with is irrelevant, the main
>point is that we cover our heads. As for Moshe Rabbeinu and Shmonei
>Esrei, Tefilla was instituted to replace the korbonos now that we have
>no Beis Hamikdosh.  Judaism may adapt to the times in accordance with
>immutable Halacha, change it cannot. And orthodoxy simply means
>conforming with this immutable Halacha.

Can anyone tell me exactly when the covering of the head became mandatory?

Obviously before the Shulchan Aruch, but presumably post-biblical.
Since many Sfardim do so only for eating and tfila, i would think the
divergence indicates a post-churban start to the ruling.  It's a little
hard to imagine the Bet Hamikdash with everyone bareheaded, though,
except the Cohanim of course.

Yossi Ginzberg


From: Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...>
Date: Thu, 11 Nov 2004 03:09:53 -0500
Subject: Re: Dress and Movements

> The issue of wearing stockings I have addressed previously It is
> not productive to define a movement in terms of behaviors that
> some of us will sometimes need---if a Modern Orthodox couple having
> troubles with their marriage adopts (for awhile) a more stringent
> dress code they are not behaving charedi. Similarly if a charedi couple
> on the verge of divorce gets permission to engage (at least in their
> own house) with more exposed dress than they should not be classified
> as modern orthodox.

Please help me understand this.

I don't understand how adopting a "more stringent dress code" would help
a "couple having troubles with their marriage".  I just don't see the
logic or connection... please clarify.

In addition, does anyone really hold that a couple must be "on the verge
of divorce" in order to wear more exposed dress in their own home?


From: Elazar M Teitz <remt@...>
Date: Wed, 10 Nov 2004 23:00:45 -0500
Subject: Re: Halacha and Change

        The statement was made that "Tefilla was instituted to replace
the korbonos now that we have no Beis Hamikdosh."

         This is a common misconception.  See, for example, the first
Mishna of the final chapter of Ta'anis, which states that at the
Ma'amados [prayers said for the korbanos to be accepted, obviously
referring to an existing Beis Hamikdash], kohanim said Birchas Kohanim
four times in one day: at Shacharis, Musaf, Mincha and N'ilah.  Also,
saying Tal Umatar in the amidah begins in Israel on 7 Marcheshvan in
order not to pray for rain during the two weeks it took for those living
farthest from Yerushalayim to return home after fulfilling aliyah
l'regel; obviously, then, the amidah was said though the Beis Hamikdash
was standing.

        The amidah was composed at the time of the Jews' return from the
Babylonian exile. The times to say them were geared to the times the
korbanos were offered, but the prayer itself was not instituted as a
replacement for the korbanos.


From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Thu, 11 Nov 2004 10:03:45 +0200
Subject: Re: Hebrew fonts in Word

> I now have Word XP, and this seems to very cleverly reverse all my
> Hebrew text so it reads backwards.
> ...
> Does anyone have any idea how I might get back to my original text as I
> typed it in the correct font, reading in the correct direction?

Open the files in a program like Word Perfect, which does not recognize
RTL.  Save it in that program and then open the new file in Word.



From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Thu, 11 Nov 2004 15:40:01 +0200
Subject: Re: A Jewish custom?

      Issachar Ben-Ami wrote extensively about this practice in his
      (English translation published 1998.)

I admit that I never read this book, but am I the only one who is
horrified by the choice of titles?  To think that we Jews have SAINTS?



From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Thu, 11 Nov 2004 07:46:10 -0500
Subject: Saying thank you

I've been told that if one thanks someone for doing a mitzvah that it
lessens the merit of the mitzvah.  In part I see this as a form of
modesty on the part of the good-deed-doer -- but then it strikes me that
actions of the recipient of the good deed (or anyone else for that
matter) shouldn't have any impact on the merit of the doer.

Any thoughts?  Sources?

Carl Singer


From: Art Werschulz <agw@...>
Date: Thu, 11 Nov 2004 09:28:02 -0500
Subject: Shas swap?


When I first started purchasing the ArtScroll Schottenstein Talmud, they
only had the large-size volumes.  Later on, they produced the smaller
"Daf Yomi" size volumes.  When the latter became available, I began
acquring those, instead of full-size volumes.

Anyway, I now have a goodly number of large-size volumes, that I would
like to swap for the analogous smaller volumes.

If anybody in the Metro NY area (preferably, New Jersey, where I live)
is interested in such a swap, please contact me directly via email.



From: Ed Greenberg <edg@...>
Date: Thu, 11 Nov 2004 04:58:24 -0800
Subject: Re: The sociology of mail-jewish

> (1) The nature of the people reading the list has changed, and people
> with a less solid grasp of Hebrew no longer read the list.

Well I'm still here. I'll bet that most of us who are less literate in
Hebrew are also not going to be the most prolific posters.

> (2) The people whose Hebrew skills are not so advanced still read the
> list, but skip those submissions that have too much untranslated
> Hebrew in them.

Sometimes I query the person in question, or forward the message to my
LOR for clarification, but if it's not a discussion I'm carefully
following, I may just write it off.

To my mind, by the way, the nature of the M-J postings, as compared with
years past, is a valuable indicator of the rightward movement of all of
our Orthodox communities. Nonetheless, I hope you will remember to post
English translations of some of the less common terms.

Ed Greenberg

From: Freda B Birnbaum <fbb6@...>
Date: Thu, 11 Nov 2004 07:23:20 -0500 (EST)
Subject: re: The sociology of mail-jewish

Richard Schultz asks about the translating rule, and why it seems to
have fallen by the wayside.

> (1) The nature of the people reading the list has changed, and people
> with a less solid grasp of Hebrew no longer read the list.

I'm still reading it....

> (2) The people whose Hebrew skills are not so advanced still read the
> list, but skip those submissions that have too much untranslated Hebrew
> in them.

Yup.... sometimes I ask someone, sometimes I pick it up from the context
or later replies, and sometimes I just skip it.  I don't expect the list
to be perfectly suited to every single reader.

> My suspicion is that it's #1, which raises the question of whether
> that's a good thing, and why such a shift occurred.  I'm curious what
> other people think, and whether people think that the original
> requirement that Hebrew terms be translated be reinstated.

This person has certainly gone from being less-informed to being
more-informed from reading the list, so I was pleased to see Avi's
"confession" and statement.

With thanks for all the good stuff that comes from this list!

Freda Birnbaum, <fbb6@...>
"Call on God, but row away from the rocks"


From: Elazar M Teitz <remt@...>
Date: Wed, 10 Nov 2004 22:04:36 -0500
Subject: Re: Talmud torah and reading aloud

> <<Could anyone confirm, with a reference if possible, whether there is
> any respected halachic opinion that to fulfill the Mitzvah of Talmud
> Torah one has to actually say the words aloud?>>
> The Rambam does not say that it is a requirement to fulfil the mitzvah
> of Talmud Torah, but in Hilkhot Talmud Torah 3.6 he does say that:
>   "... whoever makes his voice heard in the study house at the time of
> his study, his learning lasts.  But one who reads silently, quickly
> forgets"
> It is thus " a good thing to do," rather than a hard and fast
> halakhah.

        Actually, the Talmud (Eruvin 54a) strongly indicates that one
should learn Torah aloud.  It is also mentioned in the "sixth perek" of
Avos as one of the 48 means through which Torah knowledge is obtained.



From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Thu, 11 Nov 2004 07:21:36 -0500
Subject: Tefilin & Mirrors

Mention has been made of how some people patchke-ing (playing with /
adjusting)with their tefillin during davening -- especially now with the
advent of mirrors -- is disturbing.  Maybe it's the layout of the
shules, etc. -- but I recall in many shules the custom was to "get
dressed" (don Tallis & Tefillin) in an anteroom or the vestibule where,
btw, light conversation was acceptable -- and to come into the
"sanctuary" ready (and quiet.)  Partly this depends on people coming on
time -- because if there are 8 people waiting for davening to start or
for a kaddish and three in the vestibule we have a problem.

Just wondering -- how many shules (still) have this arrangement with an
anteroom for putting on Tallis & Tefillin vice people coming in and
unpacking / getting dressed in the sanctuary.

Carl Singer


From: <Joelirich@...> (Joel Rich)
Date: Wed, 10 Nov 2004 22:31:28 EST
Subject: Re: Tfillin and Mirrors

<< From: <BERNIEAVI@...> (Ed Goldstein)
> In the siddur of the Bostoner, shlita, it unequivocally states in the
> minhagei kodesh, that it is NOT permitted to use a mirror to check the
> shel rosh.

And the reason is a function of tfillin or a function of using mirrors?

Joel Rich


End of Volume 45 Issue 59