Volume 45 Number 85
                    Produced: Tue Nov 23 23:49:15 EST 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Effective Megillah reading?
         [David and Toby Curwin]
"Happy Holiday Season"---Bah, Humbug!
         [Janice Gelb]
Lateness to Shul
         [Janice Gelb]
"Please say tehillim for" (2)
         [Akiva Miller, Jonathan Sperling]
Shema out Loud
         [Martin Stern]
Tal Umatar
         [Michael Mirsky]
Translating Tanakh
Two pairs of Tefillin (3)
         [Carl Singer, Ira L. Jacobson, Shmuel Himelstein]
Tzaddikim and Tumat Met
         [Mark Steiner]
Where to Stand/What to Face
         [Martin Stern]


From: David and Toby Curwin <tobyndave@...>
Date: Tue, 23 Nov 2004 13:37:19 +0200
Subject: Effective Megillah reading?

It's a bit early, but all the talk of proper behavior in shul has got me
thinking about Purim.

I'm on the board of a shul in its first year, so while we have declared
that there's no "precedent" in regards to many things, I know that the
success (or failure) of our first time will have impact in the future.

I would like to know if any of you have seen effective, family megilla
readings. In the other shul in our neighborhood, there are two separate
readings at night- one "quiet" and one "loud/ for children". I'm
uncomfortable with that for two reasons (even though I was one of the
people who initiated it): a) having a "quiet" reading indicates that
it's somehow "better" than the other reading, and casts a shadow on
those who attend the loud one, and b) the loud one ends up way to loud
for many people to be yotzei.

In our new shul, we only have one room, so it's not really an option to
have two separate readings in any case.

I'd like to find a way to have one reading, which will be enjoyable for
the whole family, yet allow everyone to be "yotzei" and not get out of

Anyone have any success stories or tips?


David Curwin


From: Janice Gelb <j_gelb@...>
Date: Mon, 22 Nov 2004 22:40:50 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re: "Happy Holiday Season"---Bah, Humbug!

Art Werschulz <agw@...> wrote:
> Beg pardon?  *My* holiday season started on 16 September, and has been
> over for a long time now.  Moreover, even for those who would like to
> include Chanukah in the general "holiday season" of the USA majority
> culture, that won't work this year, since Chanukah ends on 15 December.

Ah, an opportunity to tell one of my favorite (if depressing) stories:

Like many communities, we have "Super Sunday" twice a year, during which
phone banks are set up for a concentrated day of fundraising for the
local Jewish federations. A few years ago, the winter session was
scheduled for December 22 or so. Chanukah began that year early in
December. As I was driving to my volunteer shift, I heard on my car
radio an interview on the local news station with the chair of Super
Sunday that year.  The cheery reporter asked "Aren't you a little
worried about finding people at home on a Sunday during the holidays?"
There was a moment of stunned silence and then the chair said haltingly,
"Well, not really. Our holiday ended a couple of weeks ago."

-- Janice


From: Janice Gelb <j_gelb@...>
Date: Mon, 22 Nov 2004 22:34:41 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re: Lateness to Shul

Harry Weiss <hjweiss@...> wrote:
> People coming late is very frustrating, esepcially in small shul.  We
> have had to skip the early Kadishes because we still did not have a
> minyan.

There is another aspect to this that I'm not sure anyone has mentioned
so far (believe it or not :-> ), and that is that at my suburban shul at
least, where the daily evening minyan is precarious, we have a set of
people who live near the shul and who generously agree to be put on a
phone list so we can call them even if for some reason they were not
planning to come to minyan that evening. If someone is saying kaddish
and we don't appear to be getting a minyan after 10 minutes or so, we
start calling around, sometimes interrupting people's
dinners. Sometimes, between the time we make the phone call and the time
the people we called arrive, latecomers have shown up, which is
inconsiderate of them and embarrassing for those who have made the phone
call, although people are usually very gracious about it.

-- Janice


From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Mon, 22 Nov 2004 21:28:57 -0500
Subject: Re: "Please say tehillim for"

In MJ 45:81, Anonymous asked <<< However, I respectfully take exception
to Leah's attempt to justify the need with respect to the parental
status of the victims.  Would her plea that we should say tehillim be
equally urgent if the victims were middle-aged, single people, or even
married people, without children? Is it less tragic when nonparental,
and especially nonmarried, adults are struck down? >>>

No, such situations are not less tragic. But the Torah does tell us to
have more compassion for widows and orphans than for others. I don't
think it's too much of a stretch to extend this to people who are in
serious danger of *becoming* widows and orphans.

Akiva Miller

From: Jonathan Sperling <jsperling@...>
Date: Mon, 22 Nov 2004 19:50:19 -0500
Subject: "Please say tehillim for"

Anonymous questions the propriety of Leah Perl Shollar's mention that a
stabbing victim is the father of five young children, and asks, "Is it
less tragic when nonparental, and especially nonmarried, adults are
struck down?"

The answer to the first part of the question (I'm not at all sure where
the "nonmarried" component comes from) is an unequivocal "yes", although
in a way that Anonymous presumably neither meant nor, regrettably,
apprehended.  Few would disagree with the apparent predicate of
Anonymous's question, which is that when an individual dies, the
intrinsic loss does not vary with the individual's parental status.  But
when a young parent dies, their children are orphaned.  I would hope
that no one really needs sources to explain to them why, all other
things being equal, the loss of a single life would be less tragic than
the loss of a life _and_, rch'l, the orphaning of five young children.


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, 22 Nov 2004 14:39:45 +0000
Subject: Re: Shema out Loud

on 22/11/04 12:01 pm, Harlan Braude <hbraude@...> wrote:

>> 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.
> I was accustomed to a relatively quiet davening at my home synagogue,
> where folks in the seats would daven, at most, in a soft mumble.
> I was seated in front of someone who I would later learn was a
> well-known talmudic scholar. Things were going along pleasantly until we
> reached the Shma. I almost fell out of my chair when he belted out the
> Shma!
> I do recall once passing a building in Yerushalyim around Ma'ariv time
> where the whole kehilla rang out the Shma at the top of their lungs. I
> was informed that this was their minhag.

One is supposed to say the first verse aloud (kol ram) so as to help
kavannah but it is not necessary to shout. When the whole congregation
say it together nobody will be disturbed so shouting may be excusable.

While one should say the whole of shema so that it is audible to
oneself, there is no reason to make it audible to others. To avoid
disturbing them, one can hold one's hand in front of one's mouth which
should muffle one's reading sufficiently.

Martin Stern


From: Michael Mirsky <mirskym@...>
Date: Mon, 22 Nov 2004 23:12:40 -0500
Subject: Tal Umatar

Abie Zayit said in response to my question whether Tal Umatar is said
for benefit of Israel and not where we live:

 >Clearly we do not pray for rain in Israel, or we would all start with
 >the Israelis after Sukkot.

 >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

Very good and informative article.  My next question was going to be
what do they do in Australia where when we have summer they have winter.
This article deals with that.

But for those interested, it seems that this website is down.  I located
a copy of Dr. Sokolow's article at

Michael Mirsky


From: <chips@...>
Date: Mon, 22 Nov 2004 21:24:56 -0800
Subject: Re: Translating Tanakh

> But I'm the one who's really astonished.  It appears that in some O.
> circles a proper translation of Tanakh can only be in the light of
> Rashi's commentary; indeed, the publisher's preface states: "In short,
> almost by definition, the study of Chumash has come to mean
> Chumash/Rashi".

I agree with the publisher's preface, but I think that they make a
mistake in "study of Chumash/Rashi" = "translating Rashi as
Chumash". Too often that would leave one with no translation or a
misleading one (as the whole Rashi is not included).

That being said, the translated Chumash I like the most at the present
time, is the one that does indeed translate Rashi as Chumash. However,
they make this clear in their introduction and set off interpretations
and amendments of the Chumash that Rashi makes with []



From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Tue, 23 Nov 2004 06:35:15 -0500
Subject: Two pairs of Tefillin

Several posters mention yuhara -- I would suggest a milder(?) issue of
yotzei mean ha'klal [I would identify this with Al Tifrosh min HaTzibbur
- Not to seperate oneself from the congregation. Mod].

One of the ballabtim in our shul, a ba'al midos (to say the least),
wears tephillin on Hol HaMoed, unlike most others in our congregation -
we are like many congregations hetrogenious in background and personal
minhagim - he makes a point of staying behind the mehitzah, separate,
while doing so.  Simply because he is following a different practice
from others in the congregation.  A poster mentioned that, perhaps, the
second shel rosh is hidden under the yarmulke -- this may, in part, be
in response to this issue.

Carl Singer

From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Tue, 23 Nov 2004 12:41:28 +0200
Subject: Re: Two pairs of Tefillin

      Among Mitnaggedim, even the most learned and pious, by and
      large wear only one set of tefillin,

The Hazon Ish in his middle age starting using two pairs of tefillin.


From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
Date: Tue, 23 Nov 2004 13:26:40 +0200
Subject: Two pairs of Tefillin

A recent posting regarding wearing two pairs of Tefillin simultaneously
refers to this as a practice in the past. I can personally vouch for the
fact that there are still people in Yerushalayim who do so. I've seen
this.  The one Shel Rosh is under the person's hat and the other is
visible and in front of it. Both Shel Yads are covered by a sleeve, and
the straps of only one are wrapped around the hand. The other strap is
wrapped around the arm, i.e., under the sleeve. Thus, unless you know
what you are looking for, you probably won't notice it. (I don't know
what they do about the straps of the Shel Rosh. Maybe both are visible.)

Shmuel Himelstein


From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Tue, 23 Nov 2004 13:03:58 +0200
Subject: RE: Tzaddikim and Tumat Met

Perhaps Gil mentions this one, in his book, but there is a tradition
that tzaddikim like R. Akiba who died `al kiddush hashem are not impure.

This tradition is reflected in the piyyut about the Ten Martyrs (said on
Yom Kippur)in which (after R. Akiba dies under torture) a Heavenly Voice
calls out "ashrekha r. akiva gufkha tahor bekhol miney taharah"
(Fortunate are you R. Akiba, your body is pure in every way.)  There are
other sources for this but I think those are well known so I won't
include them

Mark Steiner


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, 22 Nov 2004 14:50:26 +0000
Subject: Re: Where to Stand/What to Face

on 22/11/04 12:01 pm, Batya Medad <ybmedad@...> wrote:

> Not walking in front of someone dovening Amida can be very difficult if
> the person is standing in a doorway or facing the "closets"/boxes in the
> teachers' room.  It's a two way street.  It's very important to choose a
> spot that won't inconvenience others.

No one has the right to daven in a public thoroughfare and thereby
prevent people passing. In such circumstances, one can walk in front of
him and not worry about the presence of the shechinah which almost
certainly would not be in front of someone who 'steals' public property.

If he is blocking a doorway and the only way to get through is to push
past, I seem to remember that this is permissible if there is a real
need despite disturbing him. I remember a rav mentioning at a public
shiur such a case of a young man on Yom Kippur who insisted on davenning
an extremely long shemonei esrei in such a place that nobody could pass
him. He went and picked him up bodily and moved him out of the way!

Martin Stern


End of Volume 45 Issue 85