Volume 45 Number 82
                    Produced: Tue Nov 23  5:19:20 EST 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Behaviour in Shul
         [Martin Stern]
Minhag for Women to not work on Motzaei Shabbos
         [Meir Possenheimer]
Relationship between Halachic development and Kabalah
         [Avi Feldblum]
Tal U'Matar
         [Bernard Katz]
Two Pair Tefillin (3)
         [Martin Stern, Perry Zamek, Yehonatan & Randy Chipman]


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, 22 Nov 2004 09:14:15 +0000
Subject: Re: Behaviour in Shul

on 21/11/04 12:52 pm,  Eitan Fiorino <Fiorino@...> wrote:

> 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."

While some shushers make more disturbance than the people they are
trying to silence, the latter are certainly not behaving in a manner
suitable for a beit haknesset. Perhaps they would do well to look at the
Shulchan Arukh, Orach Chaim siman 151 to find out how one should conduct
oneself in it. This siman begins "One is not allowed to accustom oneself
to behave light heartedly in batei knesset and batei midrash such as by
joking, walking about and idle chatter".

All this applies to behaviour in a shul at times other than those of
tefillah. At those times the rules are much stricter but depend on the
specific point in davenning and apply even when davenning elsewhere. As
the Shulchan Arukh, Orach Chaim siman 124.7 writes that "One may not
engage in mundane talk during chazarat hashats and anyone who does so is
a sinner whose sin is so great that it cannot be forgiven (the phrase is
borrowed from the punichment of Kayin!), those around him should silence
him." The Mishnah Berurah (ad loc. s.k. 176) even remarks "therefore one
should be careful not to say private petitions or learn during chazarat
hashats, even if he is careful to answer amen to each berakhah, because
ignorant people will learn from this that it is not important to pay

All this is quite apart from the bein adam lechveiro aspect that those
who wish to pay attention to the shats and answer amein may be prevented
from doing so because of the noise generated by the idle chatterers.

Finally the Arukh HaShulchan writes (124.12) that such behaviour creates
a chillul HaShem since it lends support to the widely held perception
that non-Jews are more careful than us to honour their places of

Martin Stern


From: Meir Possenheimer <meir@...>
Date: Mon, 22 Nov 2004 11:54:49 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: Minhag for Women to not work on Motzaei Shabbos

There is a fairly widespread custom for women not to work on Motzaei
Shabbos, or at least to refrain from certain kinds of work, e.g. sewing,
knitting, etc. The custom is brought down in the Magen Avraham (O Ch
299) in the name of the Abudraham, though it is not upheld by R' Yaakov
Emden whose wording on the subject is similar to that of the Kolbo,
albeit without mentioning him by name. Is anyone aware of a reason for
this minhag, as opposed to a similar minhag observed on Rosh Chodesh for
which a reason is given?


From: Avi Feldblum <feldblum@...>
Date: Mon, 22 Nov 2004 08:40:23 -0500
Subject: Relationship between Halachic development and Kabalah

Daniel Gil had responded as part of a reply to my criticism of one of
Stan's posting the following:

>The Rambam in his first four chapters of the Mishneh Torah chooses as
>his topic the mystical concepts of Pardes (Perek four of Hilchos Daos,
>Halakhah 13, also see the "Kesef Mishnah" on these four Prakim). Why
>would the Rambam, the real and true master of the Halakhic process,
>start his Magnum Opus with four chapters dedicated to the most esoteric
>aspects of Torah? Because every building has a foundation, and the
>foundation of halakhic knowledge is in esoteric knowledge.

There are two fundimental problems I have with Daniels reply, but I
would like to use this as a possible springboard for a more general
discussion.  As a side note, it has been pointed out that while Daniel
says Hilchos Daos, what he appears to be referring to is Hilchos Yesodei
HaTorah. If indeed Daniel means Hilchos Daos, then I am totally lost in
how to respond to what the Rambam writes in Daos 4:13.

First to clarify what my understanding of Stan's posting and what my
criticism of that was.

Here is the first part of Stan's statement that I objected to:

> My point in submitting this discussion for posting on mail-jewish is
> also related to the discussion of whether, and how, halacha might
> change. Of course, halacha doesn't change -- just our understanding of
> it. And while I'm certain (from sad past experience) that some readers
> of mail-jewish do not accept the principle, and in fact find it
> heretical, the fact is that halacha descends from kabbalah.

One primary statement being made here is that it is a "FACT" that
Halacha "descends" from kabbalah. I object to the statement that it is a
"FACT" that Halacha descends from Kabbalah (where Kabbalah is being
defined as the Sod aspect of Torah s'baal peh by Stan). I would not
object to a statement that there are traditional sources that may be of
that opinion, but I do strongly object to a statement that basically
says to me that no one disagrees with that statement. It is my opinion,
that the overwhelming majority of reshonim would disagree. It can then
be a reasonable discussion of what reshonim would support Stan's
statement and which would support my statement. This is the more general
discussion I would like to see us engage in.

Let's now continue to the next part of my objection. Stan writes:

> Kabbalah, in turn, descends from our priestly tradition (sans the
> Temple). This is the primary reason why IN OUR TIME it is not possible
> to change our understanding of halacha. Unless and until we regain the
> Kabbalistic roots of Torah (the priestly understanding, which itself
> forms the Temple that we seek to rebuild), there can be no significant
> change -- because we don't have the authority, and do not understand
> the principles that would be required to do so responsibly and in a
> Torah-true way.

Now Stan is making an even stronger statement than he makes above. Not
only is Halacha derived from Kabbalah, but the authority to make changes
in halacha is intrisincally tied to a Kabbalistic understanding of the
roots of Torah. If we have this understanding we can make changes in
Halacha, if we do not have this understanding, then we cannot make
changes in Halacha.

It is this idea in particular that I completely challenge to find a
significant number of early or late sources to support this idea. In
particular, I continue to hold that the Rambam would vigorously deny the
above to be true. Here is where I disagree with Daniel's response. The
proper sources to view, in my opinion, on this question are his
introduction to Perush HaMishnayot and the section in the Yad discussing
Beit Din HaGadol. My understanding of the Rambam is that he has defined
the nature of the halachic process and the requirements for change in
Halacha very clearly, and it has nothing to do with a priestly
understanding of the Kabbalistic roots of Torah.

In particular, the Kesef Mishneh on the beginning of Hilchos Yesodei
HaTorah explains that the reason that the Rambam starts the Yad with
these laws, is because they lay the foundation for the requirement "to
know that there is a God", and without this foundation, it is
meaningless to expound on the details of the various laws. Proper
attention to this mitzvah leads to a proper observance of the two
related mitzvot of loving and fearing Hashem. It is important to
understand that the Rambam does not view the first mitzvah as simply to
believe that there is a God, that would not take 4 plus chapters. It is
to reach a deep intellectual knowledge that there is a God.

It is correct that in 4:13, the Rambam addresses the famous Gemarah of
Arbah Nichnas L'Pardes - the four Torah greats who entered the "Pardes"
/ "Orchard". However, I remained unconvinced that this Rambam has
anything to do with the requirements of being able to change Halacha and
the overall development of Halacha.

On the other hand, the Rambam is not the only Torah scholar to deal with
this issue. I am much less famialer with the other sources that Daniel
has quoted, so am unable to determine whether they deal with the
specific point of disagreement I have with Stan. However, for me, the
more interesting discussion for the list would be to try and determine
what are the various approaches we see on the relationship and
interaction between Halachic development and Kabalah. I throw this
question out to the list in general.

Avi Feldblum


From: Bernard Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Mon, 22 Nov 2004 08:32:35 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Tal U'Matar

  Abie Zayit wrote:
> For an excellent analysis of the entire issue (including the Southern
> Hemisphere and why we pray for rain in Bavel) see Dr. Moshe Sokolow's
> article at http://www.lookstein.org/articles/veten_tal.htm

Sokolow cites the ruling of Rabbi Chaim Shabbetai of Salonica and says
that "South American Sephardic Jews do not say Tal U-Matar in Birkhat
HaSHanim at all". I have no reason to doubt this, but I wonder if anyone
who has first-hand knowledge of the current practices of South American
Sephardic Jews can confirm this. And what about Ashkenazic Jews living
in South America or elsewhere in the Southern Hemisphere? Do they insert
VeTen Tal U'Matar in Birkhat HaShanim?

  Bernard Katz


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, 22 Nov 2004 13:55:51 +0000
Subject: Re: Two Pair Tefillin

on 22/11/04 11:17 am, Andrew Marks <machmir@...> wrote:

As I recall, the two tefillin shel rosh are positioned one above the other.
There should be no difficulty with the two shel yads if, as is the Teimani
custom, they are small. The wrapping of the straps is not a halachic
imperative, being of kabbalistic origin, and so should not be a problem.

As for yuhara, this would not apply in communities where there is a custom
to do so, any more than putting on Rabbeinu Tam tefillin is among Chassidim.
For those who belong to communities who only put on Rashi tefillin, those
who wish to be machmir should put any others on in private for this reason.

Martin Stern

From: Perry Zamek <perryza@...>
Date: Mon, 22 Nov 2004 13:49:33 +0200
Subject: Re: Two Pair Tefillin

The two tefillin shel rosh are, in fact, placed one above the other. The
knots at the back too, and the two straps are parallel around the head.
The two shel yad are one above the other on the muscle, and the straps
are (as far as I have seen), wrapped with one over the other (so there
are still seven turns around the forearm, and the usual wrappings around
the middle finger and the hand).

The best example of this that I have seen (one that avoids the
possibility of yuhara) is that the wearer covers the batim (boxes) of
the shel yad with his sleeve, and wears a loose woollen cap that covers
the upper of the two shel rosh (including the straps). Unless you looked
closely, you wouldn't know that he had two pairs of tefillin on.

But why would it be yuhara - many hold that there is a minhag of wearing
both Rashi and Rabbenu Tam tefillin - who says that it is better to
change them over in the middle of davenning, as opposed to wearing both
at the same time?

Perry Zamek

From: Yehonatan & Randy Chipman <yonarand@...>
Date: Tue, 23 Nov 2004 10:16:19 +0200
Subject: Re: Two Pair Tefillin

In v45n79,Andrew Marks asked about the practice of those who wear two
sets of tefillin simultaneosuly (based on the saying in Menahot that
"there is room on the head for two tefillin."  He asked:

>[See quote earlier]

First, why is this question phrased in the past tense?  There are
those who observe this practice today.

There was an old Egyptian Jew, no longer alive, who davened at the same
weekday minyan with myself in Jerusalem.  His tefillin were rather
small; one was placed in front of the other, in a straight line in the
center of his head. I believe that the tefillin of Rabbenu Tam were
slightly below the crown of the head.

The two shel yad were both on the mdidle of the biceps; because the
tefillin were small, there was adequate room.  The straps of the Rabbenu
Tam went on the skin, in between those of Rashi, but where necessary
crossed on top of those of Rashi.

As for yuhara: since in certain communities this is a widespread custom,
and possibly even the dominant one, that was not a problem -- no more
than Hasidim who take off one set of tefillin and lay a second set
publicly, towards the end of the davening.  (On the other hand, I knew
of at least one person who took care to lay tefillin Rabbenu Tam in the
privacy of their home, for this reason).

If you read closely in Shulhan Arukh, Orah Hayyim 34.2-3, you will see
that, on the one hand, it is considered proper to lay two sets of
tefillin, because of the doubt as to which is the proper way, but that
on the other hand this is only appropriate for really pious people
(mefursam u-muhzak be-hasidut).  As I recall it, the Tur brings it as
the proper practice, but mentions that it's better to lay them
sequentially rather than simultaneosuly (the custom of all Ashkenazim
who do so)-- in which case it should be done immediately after removing
tefillin Rabbenu Tam, so that the blessing applies to both.  But if not,
one still doesn't recite a brakha for the second set.

The practice, as is known, is common among many Sephardim (as mentioned
in another post, re Iraqi Jewry) and among Hasidim.  Among Mitnaggedim,
even the most learned and pious, by and large wear only one set of
tefillin, following the Gra's approach that if one were to worry about
all the sefekot in tefillin there would be no end to it, but here and
there one encounters exceptions.  Most Polish/Galician Hasidim only
begin wearing the second set of tefillin after marriage.  Interestingly,
when I first encountered Habad, in 1965 or '66, their minhag was to
begin wearing Rabbenu Tam at age 18;  but in 1980, I noticed that bar
mitzvah boys were also doing so. I wonder whether this has to do with
their "Mashiah" campaign, because shitat Rabbenu Tam is explained in the
Zohar and elsewhere as a kind of messianic halakhah (see Arukh
ha-Shulhan ad loc).

Jonathan Chipman


End of Volume 45 Issue 82