Volume 45 Number 77
                    Produced: Sun Nov 21  7:52:08 EST 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Giving out aliyot in advance (was: Lateness to shul)
         [Andrew Marks]
Introduction to Birkhat Hamazon
         [Eli Turkel]
Lateness to shul
Lateness to Shul (2)
         [Eitan Fiorino, Leah S. Gordon]
Query re Shmuel Shraga Feigenzohn and _Sha`arei Homat
         [Dan Rabinowitz]
The Rambam' Tomb
         [David E Cohen]
Shul Tefilah and Vehu Rachum Prayer
         [Michael J. Savitz]
Whatever happened to Bilhah and Zilpah?
         [A Simple Jew]


From: Andrew Marks <machmir@...>
Date: Thu, 18 Nov 2004 09:03:15 -0500
Subject: Re: Giving out aliyot in advance (was: Lateness to shul)

Our shul has a simple solution to this problem: it's the Gabbai Sheni's
job to collect the cards back, usually before a person steps down from
the bima.  This way we don't lose our cards and nobody's carrying them.


From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
Date: Thu, 18 Nov 2004 15:38:54 +0200
Subject: Introduction to Birkhat Hamazon

<There's a delightful gentlemen who graces our shule when visiting his
son.  If he leads the benching at Shalosh Seudos he begins, in Yiddish,
"Rabboysi, hair tza tsu" -- essentially, "gentlemen, listen up."  -- I
can translate but I can't convey the warmth of this message. >

On the other hand I am disturbed by those that intoduce the bentschen in
yiddish esoecially when they know nothing of yiddish. To use a phrase
that lacks meaning to most of us to invite people to bentch seems
strange.  I always use "rabotai nevarech" (sefard or ashkenaz
pronunciation) which is certainly known by more people.

Eli Turkel


From: <D26JJ@...>
Date: Thu, 18 Nov 2004 15:18:56 EST
Subject: Re: Lateness to shul

David Charlap <shamino@...> wrote
> It is rude and obnoxious to muscle your way past someone in the middle
> of saying the Shema or the Amida."

Might I add that it is also contrary to Halacha. (see story about Rav
Moshe below)

Chana Luntz <chana@...> wrote
>So, at least according to Rav Moshe it would not seem better for the
>person running late to stay at home. And the fact that he might
>disturb other people's kavana is presumably of less concern, since
>because they are halachically deemed not to have proper kavana anyway.

Chas VeShalom to think that Rav Moshe would condone someone disturbing
someone else's Kavanah - regardless of the reason. I may not fulfill my
"Ben Adam LeMakom" at the expense of my "Ben Adam LeChavaro"

(There is a well known story that Rav Moshe was called out of the Beis
Medresh for an important phone call that he needed to take, but refused
to pass in front of someone who was davening Shemone Esrei.)

When someone comes late to shul, he need not disturb anybody. If he
stays in the back and davens softly, it is not my business at all. The
fact that a shul is a public place does not give me the right to look
down upon and judge unfavorably my Brother Jew. I do not check his
kitchen to see if he follows the Hasgachas that are to my liking, nor do
I quiz him about his learning schedules, or whether he is careful in
Loshon Harah, or which Rav he asks his questions to. It is just not my
business.  If it disturbs me that someone comes late than I should
strengthen my resolve to come on time and try to lead by example. It
might just catch on.

I used to be critical and had little tolerance for what I considered
inappropriate behavior in shul and I agonized over it a long time.
Finally I realized that if someone were to observe me all day long with
comments and criticism I would melt away. I have many weak areas that
those "shul misbehaviors" might be strong in. We all have to improve
somewhere.  Davening in shul had suddenly become much more rewarding for

From: Eitan Fiorino <Fiorino@...>
Date: Thu, 18 Nov 2004 14:27:40 -0500
Subject: RE: Lateness to Shul

> From: David Charlap <shamino@...>
> Similarly, it is rude to be praying out loud when the rest of
> the congregation is at a different point in the service.  It
> doesn't matter if you came late or if you're just davening at
> a different speed.

I think this is very dependent upon what "out loud" means - I think all
would agree that whether one is in synch or out of synch with the
tzibbur, "at the top of one's lungs" is probably wrong.  But merely
vocalizing one's reading in a way that might be overheard by another who
is sitting nearby - I think there is a judgement call there.  I
frequently find myself out-of-synch with the tzibbur owing to
differences in speed and nusach, and I often find it very difficult to
maintain any focus whatsoever unless I vocalize tefilot to the extent
that the sound of my voice at least partially blocks out the ambient
noise of the people around me.  I suppose someone sitting right next to
me might find this disturbing, though I think one would be hard pressed
to call this behavior rude.

> From: Chana Luntz <chana@...>
> Martin Stern writes:
> >I can't see coming to shul has much value if we do not daven properly.
> >As I see things, people seem to consider davenning as some sort of
> >mantra recitation which has to be done but should not interfere too
> >much with more important things. If we saw it as a chance to
> >communicate with HKBH we might take it a little more seriously. The
> >main point is to daven and, if going to shul prevents doing so in any
> >meaningful manner, it is better to stay at home if one will be less
> >disturbed there.  In the concept of tefillah betsibbur -public prayer -
> >the ikkar (primary point) is tefillah (prayer) and the betsibbur (in
> >public) is secondary. A shul is not meant to be a social gathering but
> >a place where we can gather as a congregation to communicate with HKBH.
> - snip -
> So, at least according to Rav Moshe it would not seem better
> for the person running late to stay at home - that way he
> probably gets no mitzvos, while coming to shul he gets two
> mitzvos, that of tefila and that of minyan, even if it is not
> the best quality mitzvah.  And the fact that he might disturb
> other people's kavana is presumably of less concern, since
> because they are halachically deemed not to have proper
> kavana anyway, and because they get the mitzvah by being
> present and davening with the minyan, all he is doing is
> preventing them from having a better fulfilment.

With regard to Martin's comment "A shul is not meant to be a social
gathering but a place where we can gather as a congregation to
communicate with HKBH," my father-in-law is quite fond of quipping to
shhhers "it's not called a beis hatefila, it's called a beis haknesses."

With regard to Chana's logic, her position is highly dependent upon the
assumption that the late-comer is actually praying b'tzibbur.  If one
comes late enough to miss the silent amida (or if one chooses, probably
incorrectly, to recite all of pesukei dezimra instead of skipping enough
to allow one to catch up), then one is actually missing tefila
b'tzibbur.  As others have pointed out, there is still some kind of
halachic preference to pray in a shul, so there is still plenty of
reason to come but if one is too late, Chana's "heter" to disturb others
probably doesn't hold.


From: Leah S. Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Thu, 18 Nov 2004 11:30:49 -0800
Subject: Lateness to Shul

I read with interest people's comparisons of going to shul late and
going to meet a boss/ruler late.  I have heard this idea before, but it
does not resonate well with me, nor, I suspect, with most shul-goers.

In my own experience, people go to shul on time for lots of reasons:
*They are founders/leaders and set up minyan stuff
*They feel culturally/habitually accustomed to being punctual to things
*They want enough time to do all their davening
*They enjoy every part of the davening (or the beginning parts)
*They feel religiously obligated to say every word and to do so with the group

And they go late for many reasons:
*They are unhappy with portions of the davening and want to minimize irritation
*They are otherwise occupied (family, work, traffic, etc.)
*They are exhausted physically and need the additional sleep
*They do not have the consitution to withstand a long period of davenning
*They see the primary purpose of shul-going (esp. on shabbat) as shmoozing

But none of the timely reasons are to make a date with Gd, particularly.
If any individual made a promise to go see/talk-to Gd at a given
time/place, I am confident that s/he would be sure to be there and not
miss it (analogous, truly, to the boss/ruler example).  However,
davening in a particular shul at the time designated by that shul's
Board, is not exactly an appointment with Gd.

Many people may not feel compelled to do every word of every prayer that
was canonized.  Personally, I am much more of the mindset that going to
shul is a communal Jewish activity, where you greet/thank Gd, and fulfil
certain obligations, and, if you're fortunate, enjoy the company of your
friends/family and maybe some kiddush.  I don't think that 'certain
obligations' always means going for every word of davening, for every

I do think that there is room for a variety of shuls and approaches, but
I also think that it enriches communities for there to be 'both' kinds
of people in any given minyan.  I have been, at times, in each role.  I
have been an organizer of minyanim, and been on time (early to set up),
and organized daveners etc.  I have also been a congregant with
significant family obligations who comes much later and benefits from
the ongoing davening.  I think that there is room for either approach
over one's life.

--Leah S. R. Gordon


From: Dan Rabinowitz <rwdnick@...>
Date: Thu, 18 Nov 2004 05:14:45 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Query re Shmuel Shraga Feigenzohn and _Sha`arei Homat

Shafan HaSofer was a "maskil" as were many others that worked at the
Vilna Romm press.  There was an article in HaMayyan aournd 10 years ago
(don't have the exact cite now) that discussed various alterations that
this group effected on the Vilna Shas. Specifically, they self censored
things that they viewed as possibly objectionable to non-Jews (obviously
they could not remove everything in that catagory but they did do what
they could). Fiegenzohn also wrote another book titled Alvonoh shel
Torah against Christianity.  Furthmore he also editited the Otzar
haTeffilot, in which, although they are few and far between makes some
very interesting comments.

Dan Rabinowitz


From: David E Cohen <ddcohen@...>
Date: Thu, 18 Nov 2004 09:36:50 -0500
Subject: Re: The Rambam' Tomb

Jeanette Friedman wrote:
> Went to the kever of the Rambam today in Tipheria.  What a modern flame
> over a medieval kever!  I think Aish Hatorah built it I wonder what the
> Rambam would think!!!!  Rambam. The tourist attraction.

When I was there last year, there was somebody selling special "Rambam
segulah wine" with the Rambam's picture on it.  Imagine what he would
have thought of that!



From: Michael J. Savitz <michael.savitz@...>
Date: Thu, 18 Nov 2004 11:02:14 -0500
Subject: RE: Shul Tefilah and Vehu Rachum Prayer

Mark Steiner <marksa@...> wrote:

>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

It seems to me that a good measure of the "importance" with which a part
of the davening is regarded is the time alloted to it, divided (as it
were) by the length of the text.  By this measure, "Vehu Rachum" must
rank very low indeed.  At most shuls I have been to, reciting Vehu
Rachum on-pace with the sheliach tzibur is, for me at least, a near
physical impossibility, even though I have been saying it for years.
It's as if the kahal is collectively pretending to recite the whole
thing, with most people (I suspect) skimming or skipping.  (Other
examples of "low-ranking" tefillot where this phenomenon seems to apply:
Brich Shmei, Pitum Haketoret, Eizehu Mekoman, Shir Shel Yom, Slichot,
Asher Heini [after megilla reading].)


From: A Simple Jew <asimplejew@...>
Date: Wed, 17 Nov 2004 04:50:57 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Whatever happened to Bilhah and Zilpah?

Maybe I am missing something.

In this week's parsha, Parshas Vayeitzei the Torah tells us that 4 of
the 12 children of Yaakov Avinu come from Bilhah and Zilpah. In the
Midrash it is related that Bilhah and Zilpah were also daughters of
Lavan, but daughters who were born from Lavan's concubine. Thus, Rachel,
Leah, Bilhah, and Zilpah are all step-sisters. Bilhah and Zilpah were
given to Rachel and Leah by Lavan as maidservants. Later, both Bilhah
and Zilpah become wives of Yaakov Avinu along with Rachel and Leah.

The Torah tells us that Bilhah gave birth to Dan and Naphtali and Zilpah
gave birth to Gad and Asher. Four of the Twelve Tribes thus descend from
Bilhah and Zilpah. Interestingly, later in Parshas Zos HaBeracha, when
the 12 tribes receive their brochos, these 4 tribes who come from Bilhah
and Zilpah, are mentioned last.

Given the fact that these two women were wives of Yaakov Avinu and gave
birth to tzaddikim, why are they not mentioned later in the Torah?

Why doesn't the Torah relate were they were buried (obviously not in the
Machpela in Hevron)?

Why don't you ever meet a Jewish girl with the name Bilhah or Zilpah?
Whatever happened to Bilhah and Zilpah?
Where can the missing details be found?

A Simple Jew


End of Volume 45 Issue 77