Volume 45 Number 72
                    Produced: Tue Nov 16  6:47:07 EST 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Kiddush (by/for women)
         [Shimon Lebowitz]
Monday and Thursday
         [Perry Zamek]
Prenupital Agreements
         [Aliza Berger]
Saint veneration in Judaism
         [Pinchas Roth]
Saying Tachanun Bein ha-Shmashot
         [Martin Stern]
Shul Tefilah and Vehu Rachum Prayer
         [Mark Steiner]


From: Shimon Lebowitz <shimonl@...>
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 2004 08:50:43 +0200
Subject: Re: Kiddush (by/for women)

Minden <phminden@...> wrote:

> (Concerning the discussion about obligation on the same level)
> This is why I add "Sovro itesi!" before kiddesh. I think this should be so
> even in case you hold there is an issue of tznies when a woman actually
> does make kiddesh.

I am sorry, but the leading statement "Concerning the discussion ..."
did not make this posting, or its context, understandable to me.
I also am not familiar with those words added before kiddush.
(what language are they, and what do they mean???)

Shimon Lebowitz                           mailto:<shimonl@...>
Jerusalem, Israel            PGP: http://www.poboxes.com/shimonpgp

[Just my understanding, and there were a few people who did not
understand as well.  I think the first word is what I would
transliterate as Savri or Savrei, in the term before starting Kiddush of
Savrei Rabosi (Hear or pay attention, rabbis). iteisi is Eishti, I
think, - my wife. Minden, please feel free to correct. As to the
context, it has been the discussion that on friday evening, the women in
the house may have a Biblical level of requirement for making Kiddush,
while the men have only a rabbinic level requirement. One of the other
posters, along with asking for explination of the term, asks how this
improves the situation. Mod.]


From: Perry Zamek <perryza@...>
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 2004 09:44:16 +0200
Subject: Monday and Thursday

Here's a question off the top of my head:

Monday and Thursday are days that we read the Torah, based on a practice
instituted by Moshe Rabbenu, that three days should not pass without
public learning (reading) of the Torah. In addition, we say a longer
Tachanun [penitential prayers], as these days are days of "Rachamim"
[mercy], on which such prayers are especially accepted.

Question: Is the special nature of Monday and Thursday due to the fact
that Moshe established them as days for public learning [and,
subsequently, they became the days for the Beit-Din to hold sessions]?
Or, can one argue that Moshe established these days for public Torah
learning/reading because these were already "Yemei Rachamim" [Days of
Mercy], as opposed to instituing Kriat HaTorah on Tuesday and Wednesday,
which would also answer the three-day requirement?

[I know, it's like a "chicken and the egg" question!]

Perry Zamek


From: Aliza Berger <alizadov@...>
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 2004 09:45:18 +0200
Subject: Prenupital Agreements

For an Israeli one proposed by Kolech, the Religious Women's Forum:

I hope you can see the Hebrew.

Aliza Berger-Cooper, PhD
English Editing: editing-proofreading.com
Statistics Consulting: statistics-help.com


From: Pinchas Roth <pinchas2@...>
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 2004 14:53:44 +0800
Subject: Saint veneration in Judaism

The late Prof Ta Shma published a short article on the idea that
Tzaddikim do not contaminate "tumat met" in death. It was published
online in Jewish Studies Internet Journal 1 (2002), at the following


I have been reading a new article on this issue in the Middle Ages,
mostly from the perspective of interreligious debate:

Efraim Shoham-Steiner, "Because prayer at this place will be more
readily accepted": Jews, tombs of holy men and seeking  healing, between
East and West in the Middle Ages", Peamim 98-99 (2005), pp. 39-66. He
describes differing approaches within Judaism, even with regard to the
efficacy of Christian saints.



From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 2004 09:42:01 +0000
Subject: Re: Saying Tachanun Bein ha-Shmashot

on 16/11/04 3:58 am, Samuel P Groner <spg28@...> wrote:

> In many, many shuls I've encountered, if mincha shemone esrei runs until
> a few minutes after sunset, tachanun will be omitted, and the chazan
> will go straight into kaddish after his repitition of shemone esrei.

This seems to be a chassidic custom and one of the points on which the
movement was criticised by its opponents. It would appear that the Baal
Shem Tov encouraged the omission of tachanun for a wide range of
reasons. Some even omit it at minchah altogether 'mishum lo plug - in
order not to say it on a day when it might be omitted'. The Sefer Minhag
Yisrael Torah (vol. 1 p. 224) has a long discussion on the matter and,
despite the author's chassidic background is quite scathing about this,
saying that if Chazal had instituted tachanun, it is not for us to
abolish it.

What surprises me is that tachanun is omitted even when shemonei esrei
is begun before sunset and only finished later. In reality tachanun is a
completion of it and, having started behetter (at the correct time) it
should be said even according to their opinion.

I once heard a rav say that tachanun is, in reality, the culmination of
our attempt to connect to HKBH. We, so to speak, communicate with him in
many postures: we sit for shema, we stand for shemonei esrei and even
prostrate ourselves for tachanun. Only after completing all of them, do
we stand up and say "And as for us, we do not know what to do but our
eyes are (focussed) on You!"

Martin Stern


From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 2004 11:08:35 +0200
Subject: RE: Shul Tefilah and Vehu Rachum Prayer

Recent discussion of the synagogue service (coming late, length of the
service) in mail-jewish, and the behavior of the participants,
underlines for me a sad fact--the service in many shuls today is not a
very uplifting experience (particularly on weekdays), which could
motivate people to come early and not complain about its (alleged)
length.  Rabbi J. B. Soloveitchik regarded this as a fundamental
criticism of Modern Orthodoxy (of which he himself was a prominent
leader, cf. the many attempts on mail-jewish to define this concept).  I
am always amazed at the glee, for example, which meets the realization
that the congregation is exempt from saying the long vehu rachum
prayer--instituted to ask Hashem to intervene and save us from
destruction by our enemies, and Lord knows we have plenty of enemies
today (the Israeli secret service regularly notifies us that up to fifty
suicide bombers are ready for action at any given time).  As a rosh
yeshiva once put it to me--it used to be that vehu rachum is not said at
a simcha, now the simcha is when we don't say vehu rachum.  It is
undoubtedly true that the Mishnah Berurah went overboard (as the Hazon
Ish said) when he wrote that a hatan (groom) should be asked to leave
the shul to allow the congregation to say vehu rachem and tahanun, but
the sentiment of the Chofetz Chaim is nevertheless noteworthy.  The
heartrending cry of our anonymous brother or sister is totally relevant:
I had enough emunah to lose a job for shabbos, yet even (I put in the
word "even" out of respect) rabbis don't have enough emunah to come on
time to pray.

        In our neighborhood, we had a mohel who was in the mourning
period for a parent, and therefore led the prayers every day, and every
day he performed a circumcision, which technically is enough to cancel
vehu rahum.  People came from all over traveling miles to daven in a
shul where they knew tahanun would never be said.

        If I said that our generation has descended to a lower level in
religious feeling, I might be criticized for idealizing the past.  So
let me cite in extenso the words of Johannes Buxtorf, a 17th century
professor of Hebrew at the University of Basle, in his extremely
interesting (if anti-semitic) book, Synagoga Judaica, available at

        Regarding the prayers, they add another one [on Monday and
Thursday] to their morning-prayers which they call Vehu rachum ["And He,
being merciful, pardons iniquity"] because it starts with those
words. They rely on it very much, and think it has great power and
effect, although it did not show any effect in sixteen hundred years.
history of this prayer is as follows: [here Buxtorf relates a miracle
story about vehu rahum told in the sefer Kolbo] it was ordered that this
prayer be said always on Mondays and Thursdays in their synagogues. This
is still held and observed today, and they put high hopes on it that
they may be saved by this from their lengthy captivity and misery - it
has not happened yet though, and it will not happen in the future as
long as they despise Christ and insist on their terrible disbelief. This
story or fable I have brought in more detail than in Antonius Margarita,
out of the book Colbo.

The prayer begins this way: Vehu rachum, etc. And he is merciful,
forgives the sin, does not destroy the sinner. He turns away his anger,
and does not arouse all his fury. O God, do not leave me without your
mercy, your grace and truth should always protect me. Help us, God our
God, and assemble us from the heathens. The sum of the whole prayer is
that God should forgive their sins, show mercy concerning the
destruction of the city of Jerusalem and the devastation of the temple,
should gather them again from all four corners of the earth, and fulfil
the promise of their inheritance. They do not forget the Christians
here, and pray: Oh how long will your power be imprisoned, and your
beauty (the following words are omitted in many books by order of the
authorities, they usually have a Spatium [gap] so they can insert it, or
be reminded to ask their elders) in the hands of the harmful? O Lord
God, raise your power and your zealous vengeance over our enemies, then
their power will be destroyed and disgraced. Here they mean the
Christians over whom they call down vengeance.

I don't think any further comment is necessary.

Mark Steiner


End of Volume 45 Issue 72