Volume 45 Number 90
                    Produced: Thu Nov 25  9:35:13 EST 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

         [Avi Feldblum]
Effective Megillah reading? (3)
         [Mark Symons, Art Werschulz, Alan Rubin]
The Kabbalah of Kosher and Treif
         [Michael Poppers]
Late for meals
         [Carl Singer]
A pleasant (and kosher) megillah reading for all
         [Caela Kaplowitz]
Tefilin and Mirrors
         [Simon Wanderer]
Tzadkim and Tumat Met
         [Gershon Rothstein]


From: Avi Feldblum <mljewish@...>
Date: Wed, 24 Nov 2004 20:28:13 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Administrivia

Hello all, and my thanks to those who have been responding to my earlier
Administrivia poll / question. A few clarifications, based on some of
the email being sent in.

All responses to the poll are being kept private. Only the overall
voting summary will be reported to the list.

The new list being proposed will be owned and managed by Stan. I will
not be editing or moderating it. I will pass on to Stan any requests
from people who wish to join.

The new list being proposed will NOT be using the mail-jewish subscriber
list. I will publish the information on how to join that list when I
report on the overall voting summary.

There is what I would call a "pre-release" version of that list that
Stan has started. If anyone was put on that list without their
permission, and has requested to be removed and is still on that list,
please contact me.

I will update the list periodically, but at this point, the sense of the
membership appears to be in support of the seperate list.



From: Mark Symons <msymons@...>
Date: Wed, 24 Nov 2004 23:12:39 +1100
Subject: Re: Effective Megillah reading?

From: Shimon Lebowitz <shimonl@...>
> 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.

I have been reading the megilla for many years (in Mizrachi, Melbourne)
by using different accents/voices for the different characters, together
with corresponding hats or wigs. Judging from the feedback I receive,
this method seems to give an "effective, family reading" that's
entertaining and meaningful, and tends to make people want to listen,
both adults and children. The drama of the story really lends itself to
this approach (as well as allowing the actor in me to express itself!).

For example, I've used a sort of high-pitched cockney accent for the
eunuchs, a bass operatic style for the king, a raucous witch-like voice
for zeresh (with a yellow Harpo Marx-like wig I've managed to acquire).
Some years I've done Haman with a red dishcloth on my head and a
guttural Arabic sounding accent, other years I've done him as Darth
Vader (complete with mask). Mordechai's one line I've usually done with
an East European ashkenazic pronunciation and a shtreimel (my basic
"narrator" pronunciation is sfaradit). I line up all the hats on the
bima, and have an assistant who has to quickly do the hat changes. Perek
Vav (chapter 6) is probably the most challenging because of the many
rapid changes back and forth between the king, his servants, and Haman.

I must acknowledge that I originally got the idea of the voices from
Rabbi Michael Fredman from Efrat - originally USA - when he was teaching
at Yavneh College in Melbourne, and told me of someone who read this way
in Gush Etzion; and the idea of the hats from Oren Shashar, ba'al koreh
(Torah reader) extraordinaire, from whom I learnt many finer points of
laining, who also taught at Yavneh, and read the megilla that way

I think I have referred to this once before in a MJ post, when
discussing putting expression into laining. I tried to do this when I
read Vayetze last week, departing temporarily from the official trop in
the phrase "[v'hiney mal'achey e-lohim] olim v'yor'dim [bo]" ([behold
messengers/angels of God were] ascending and descending [the ladder]). I
sang Olim as an ascending scale - Oli-i-i-i-im - (do-re-mi-fa-so) and
back down again for V'Yor'dim and reverting to a "normal" sof-pasuk for

Mark Symons
Melbourne, Australia

[Just as a note, I listened to a very similar magila reading in Highland
Park, NJ, where the Baal Koreh did bot the hats and voices. Avi]

From: Art Werschulz <agw@...>
Date: Wed, 24 Nov 2004 12:13:34 -0500
Subject: Re: Effective Megillah reading?

We acquired a no-longer-used traffic light from our town.  When the
light is red, no noise should be made.  When it's green, people can make
noise.  When it's yellow, people know they should wind down the noise.

Art Werschulz
GCS/M (GAT): d? -p+ c++ l u+(-) e--- m* s n+ h f g+ w+ t++ r- y?
Internet: <agw@...><a href="http://www.cs.columbia.edu/~agw/">WWW</a>
ATTnet:   Columbia U. (212) 939-7060, Fordham U. (212) 636-6325

From: Alan Rubin <alan@...>
Date: Wed, 24 Nov 2004 18:20:48 +0000
Subject: Re: Effective Megillah reading?

Shimon Lebowitz wrote

> The second trick to having a good kosher reading is for the congregation
> to LISTEN to the entire word "haman", BEFORE starting the noise! There
> will be people who 'jump the gun', but it should be STRONGLY
> discouraged, and people should know ahead of time that "we do not want
> ANY noise till the word is completely heard".
> Which brings us to the last point - any time there was doubt that the
> people were able to hear the entire word - it should be reread after the
> noise. At this reading, it is *forbidden* to make ANY noise, everyone
> was "yotze" (fulfilled their obligation) of noisemaking the first time
> it was read, this one is "for the protocol".

Does it really matter?

At the shul where I was brought up the Rabbi was very particular about
this and the word Haman might be repeated several times before he was
satisied that the reading could go on.

Where I daven now the word Haman is never repeated and the Rabbi joins
in drowning it out.

The Mishnak Berurah does not appear that particular to me. He suggests
that people read a few pesukim from their own chumash in case they miss

Perhaps one can argue the contrary. We should blot out the name of Haman
and not be obsessed by being able to hear it clearly.

Alan Rubin


From: <MPoppers@...> (Michael Poppers)
Date: Tue, 23 Nov 2004 16:53:45 -0500
Subject: Re: The Kabbalah of Kosher and Treif

In M-J V45#78, STenen posted "sources for the idea that halacha derives
from kabbalah, or more accurately, from Sod, the proper province of
Kabbalah."  (For the record, he didn't respond to any of the other worthy
points of the moderator.)  For further thoughts on the matter, see an
article from Rabbi PWinston on the topic

Stan quoted DGil:
>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.

The first section of Mishneh Torah l'haRaMBaM is Saifer HaMada, and its
first section is Hilchos Ysodai HaTorah, not Hilchos Daios...and this
work of RaMBaM first mentions PaRDaiS in Hilchos Ysodai HaTorah 4 (DGil
noted it as Halachah 13; in other numbering schemes, it's Halachah 20),
and RaMBaM immediately thereafter (through the end of Chapter 4) notes
the importance of the prerequisites for dealing with PaRDaiS.  Anyone
who delves into PaRDaiS-related matters without those prerequisites is,
IMHO, endangering themselves [unless he thinks himself greater in wisdom
than the Sages of Rabbi Aqiva's generation -- see BT Chagiga 14b] and
inevitably reaching conclusions such as those that the moderator rightly
questioned, and anyone who sources such a pursuit via Maimonidean words
with the rationale that "esoteric knowledge" is the basis for "halakhic
knowledge" does not, to say the least, understand his sources.

On that last note, I think it's worth mentioning (and I have no doubt
that Rabbi Winston, whose thoughts I quoted earlier in Stan's defense,
would agree) that our Sages recommended an order of learning [see
Tractate Avos 5:22], such that a follower of their recommendation should
not delve into certain "wisdom" without having a proper foundation [see
SA YD 246:4, a reiteration of the above RaMBaM].  For more on how Jewish
adults should properly divide their time in learning, I recommend an
article from my friend Micha Berger
(http://www.aishdas.org/asp/korach.shtml) or encourage the study and
contemplation (with study leading to action!) of the material he quotes
and works with (BT Kidushin 30a; RaMBaM Hilchos Talmud Torah 1:11-12
[alternate numbering: 1:13 {latter half}-14]).  Thanks.

All the best from
Michael Poppers * Elizabeth, NJ


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Wed, 24 Nov 2004 07:00:05 -0500
Subject: Late for meals

As Chana Lutz points out there are certainly there are people whose time
is not their own -- whether they work for others or are the "owners."
And there are social ways to communicate this and work it out.

One can inform one's host that circumstance may force them to be late --
"If I'm not there by 7:00 PM, please start without me, I will
understand, and I don't want to inconvenience anyone."  OR, "Can we make
it lunch, instead." And with telephones one can call with an update
before Shabbos -- "I'm leaving the office and should arrive by 7:15"

None of this is an earth shaking chiddush.  It's simple courtesy.  To
simply show up an hour late without any prior communication is simply

Several months ago we had four of my son's friends scheduled for Shabbos
-- they got caught in a traffic jam (road flooded out) and called us a
few minutes before Shabbos that they were stuck about 6 miles from our
house.  They arrived at our house at around midnight, wet and tired --
but most welcome -- fortunately we have a few lights that aren't on

Carl Singer


From: Caela Kaplowitz <caelak@...>
Date: Wed, 24 Nov 2004 07:19:30 -0500
Subject: A pleasant (and kosher) megillah reading for all

Decorum on a regular basis is what produces a megillah reading enjoyable
for everyone. Children (and adults!) who are accustomed to being in shul
and sitting without talking will also sit and listen to the megillah
quietly, except at the proper noise-making time. I am always amazed when
I go to the megllah reading at our shul here in Baltimore. I usually
come a bit early and sit up front so I'm not aware of who is coming in
behind me. When I leave the shul I am astounded at how many children
there were of all ages sitting behind me. I am astounded because there
was no commotion or noise at the wrong time during the reading. Our
davening on Shabbos is just as quiet because the women don't talk or
socialize and if a child can't sit quietly most of the mothers take
him/her out. That's how children learn to sit quietly.


Caela Kaplowitz
Baltimore, MD


From: Simon Wanderer <simon.wanderer@...>
Date: Wed, 24 Nov 2004 14:41:39 -0000
Subject: Tefilin and Mirrors

I'm a little behind reading these emails, so excuse me if this has been
raised.  Regarding some comments to the effect that using mirrors to
position Tefilin is a recent innovation, see below an interesting
'Ma'aseh Rav' that I saw in an email from www.chabad.org (sent in
another connection).

Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi once received a silver snuffbox as gift.
But the Rebbe did not want to put it to its intended use, and remarked:
"There is one part of the body which is not constantly seeking
gratification - the nose.  Should I train it, too, to be a

Instead, Rabbi Schneur Zalman found a more lofty use for the gift: he
detached the snuffbox's cover and used it as a mirror to help him center
the teffilin on his head.


From: Gershon Rothstein <mocdeg@...>
Date: Wed, 24 Nov 2004 10:19:09 -0500
Subject: Tzadkim and Tumat Met

Mark Steiner wrote:

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

Mark and others have submitted on this topic but none have mentioned
Rabbi Mordechi Speilman's book.

In 1978, Rabbi Mordechi Speilman published a 400-page large format book
called Tzion L'Nefesh Tvi. The book has approbations from Rabbis Yaakov
Kaminetzky, Yaakov Yitzchok Ruderman, Yitzchok Yaakov Weiss, Yitzchok
Hutnet, Moshe Feinstein, Shlomo Zalman Auerbach and Shmuel Wosner
(listed in alphabetical order). They all laud the erudition and
scholarship of the author while at the same time making it clear that no
one should rely on the permissive opinions that the author brings.

The author brings all the sources from Chazal (Talmudic Rabbis) and
brings all the arguments on this topic from the Rishonim (early
scholars) to the late Achronim (later scholars). He too writes in his
introduction that normative Halacha forbids a Kohen from visiting the
graves of Tzadikim and his book should not be viewed as a Heter
(permission) for violating this rule.

The book has been out of print for many years but I believe it can be
easily found.

I have just looked through it again and find it illuminating.

Gershon Rothstein


End of Volume 45 Issue 90