Volume 46 Number 01
                    Produced: Mon Nov 29  6:36:55 EST 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

"Echo effect"
         [Perry Zamek]
Kashrus of Old Tefillin and new Sefer Torahs (2)
         [Carl Singer, Michael Mirsky]
         [Joel Rich]
Men in the Women's Section
         [Batya Medad]
Men in Women's Section
         [Michael Mirsky]
         [Richard Schultz]
Seating in Shul
         [Martin Stern]
Seating Problems
         [Bill Bernstein]
         [Carl Singer]
Two Pairs of Tfillin
Where to Stand/What to Face
         [Yisrael Medad]
Why single out the Emoree?


From: Perry Zamek <perryza@...>
Date: Sun, 28 Nov 2004 10:46:13 +0200
Subject: Re: "Echo effect"

Carl Singer  wrote:
>I think that this is a problem in many noisy shules at many times /
>places in the davening -- that is am I saying "amen" or responding
>"borchu ...." to the brocha or am I repeating the "amen" or "borchu"
>response of persons nearer to the chazen who actually heard the brocha.

I find the same problem at times, particularly when the congregation
drowns out the end of the Chazan's bracha with their too-early "amen"
(usually in the last bracha of shemoneh esreh, before Hallel). I don't
think you can answer amen under those circumstances.

As for Yehe Shemeh Rabba in Kaddish, IIRC the Mishnah Berurah rules that
you can respond Amen only if you hear "Ba'agala Uvizman Kariv Ve'Imru
Amen". "Yehe Shemeh Rabba", on the other hand, can be said even if it's
echoing what everyone else is saying. (I don't have the text here at the
office, but I think he writes this when he deals with the kaddish before
Barchu in the morning davenning). I suspect that Baruch Hashem
Hamevorach may also be echoed.

Perry Zamek


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Sat, 27 Nov 2004 20:15:08 -0500
Subject: Kashrus of Old Tefillin and new Sefer Torahs

> I recently received a pair of 50 year old tefillin that had not been
> used for 35 years. The batim were small in the style in use 50 years ago
> and definitely much smaller than the majority of tefillin made
> today. After opening the Tefillin and examining the Klaf it appeared to
> be clearer and crisper than new Klafs I have seen recently. I decided to
> take the Tefillin in to a Sofer to be checked but as soon as I opened
> the bag he immediately commented that he was 99% sure they were not
> kosher before even looking at the Klaf.

Let me first say that my Sofer is an erlach yid and I trust his honesty
as well as his professional skills.  That said, I once bought a pair of
allegedly new tephillin from a sofer on (New York's) lower east side and
a few years later when I had them checked it turned out that the klafs
were used and in one case held together with scotch tape.  So it is
imperative that you deal with someone that you know and trust.

We once thought of giving one of our sons the tephillin that his
great-grandfather had worn -- the sentimental link is obvious, but when
we spoke to a sopher we learned that it would be unlikely that a pair
that old (and used daily for decades) would still be kosher.

That said -- I'd like to hear from those knowledgeable sofers whether
"standards" have changed in the past 50 years such that tephillin made
to the "old" standards would no longer be kosher today - I'm talk
talking about deterioration or aging.

Carl Singer

From: Michael Mirsky <mirskym@...>
Date: Sat, 27 Nov 2004 22:08:31 -0500
Subject: Kashrus of Old Tefillin and new Sefer Torahs

HB noted that a Sofer suggested that *most* tephilin written 30 - 50
years ago were never kosher to start.  And that one should be suspicious
of purchasing any old sefer torah because the otiyot (letters) could
have been repaired improperly.

On the first matter, I also find this distressing.  It seemed to be the
case that when I had my bar mitzva (36 years ago) most tephillin were a
lot smaller than today.  This would require careful attention to the
writing in the klaf, but wouldn't automatically make them posul.  In
fact a sofer in our shul wears a pair of tephillin which are tiny
compared to what most people wear today - I'm sure he checked them out!

What I did hear was that many tephillin purchased around that time from
Israel, even with a Rabbanut certificate, were not kosher.  This was
confirmed by some of my friends.  I bought a new pair in 1974 in Mea
Shearim, and I was pretty worried until I got home and got them checked.
My friend who bought his with me also got his checked and the sofer
found a word repeated so he had to replace it. Also, people who were
unlearned bought tephillim from Judaica gift shops whose owners were
ignorant or unscrupulous.  This is still a concern today with regard to
tephillin and mezuzot.  But to say that *MOST* were not kosher must only
relate to his experience with the ones of that vintage brought to him in
his town.

I think the general idea holds now as it did then - you need to be
careful who you buy it from and find a yirai shomayim sofer to get it

On previously owned sifrai torah, wouldn't the concept of "rov"
(majority) hold since it is very unlikely for a gabbai to be so ignorant
that he would try a "do it yourself" repair of the letters.  So if the
letters check out OK, it's OK?

Any soferim on the list are to comment?



From: <Joelirich@...> (Joel Rich)
Date: Sat, 27 Nov 2004 22:11:22 EST
Subject: Re: Locusts

> Locust have arrived in south Israel. They are Kosher le-tamanim & some
> Moroccans. I have heard that a few outsiders also ate them. Like fish,
> they are not meat, and can be eaten fried, cooked or fresh. that their
> coming is because of the governments welfare cuts, sort of a
> punishment for starving the poor.

I've always wondered about such pronouncements.When "Some Rabbis say "
does it mean they have received a prophetic vision or are they saying
that they think negatively about "because of the governments welfare
cuts, sort of a punishment for starving the poor" and thus "know" there
is cause and effect or do they state it in terms of "perhaps this is the

Joel Rich


From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Sat, 27 Nov 2004 21:07:23 +0200
Subject: Re: Men in the Women's Section

I can't quote from where, but I was told by a few people, more learned
than myself that there's no problem for the woman.  She can doven.  The
men have the problem, and as soon as she makes herself known, they
should leave.

Another aspect is the "mokon kavuah," regular place for dovening.  It's
considered preferable to always doven in the same place, so it's
peculiar for men to want to doven in the ezrat nashim.



From: Michael Mirsky <mirskym@...>
Date: Sat, 27 Nov 2004 22:08:15 -0500
Subject: Men in Women's Section

Martin Stern said that a reason for a man to daven in the women's section is:

 >There may be times when a man may have to daven
 >there, for example if he has a slight gastro-intestinal infection and
 >fears that he may have to go to the toilet (bathroom in US) at frequent
 >intervals, which might disturb others.

If one has stomach problems as bad as that, I believe he is Patur (not
obligated) to wear tephillin.


From: Richard Schultz <schultr@...>
Date: Sun, 28 Nov 2004 09:28:59 +0200
Subject: Rashi

In mail-jewish 45:94, Leah Perl Shollar <leahperl@...> writes:

: Rashi's "I don't know what this means" is proof of his greatness, not a
: means of proving he was fallible.

What conclusion(s) should we come to when Rashbam [Rashi's grandson] opines
that Rashi doesn't know what a passage means?

Richard Schultz


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, 28 Nov 2004 08:49:33 +0000
Subject: Re: Seating in Shul

on 28/11/04 12:21 am, Avi Feldblum at <feldblum@...> wrote:

> Having grown up in Washington heights, NY, not in the German community
> there, but more aware of their community, and having been in several
> jewish communities, I think that a major part of this discussion is a
> difference in community norms.
> If one went as a visitor to the main Broyers shul in Washington Heights,
> you had a situation where everyone who was a regular had a well defined
> makom kavuh - fixed seat, and it would be viewed as extremely offensive
> for a visitor to sit in that seat. Your safest mode was to stand behind
> the seats, until one of the regulars would point you to an "open seat".
> On the other hand, in my main minyan growing up, the YU minyan, with the
> exception of the the Rabbaim who sat in the front, and a handful of
> regulars who sat in the section directly in front of that and on the
> left side of the sheliach tzibur, there really was little concept of
> "fixed" vs "open" seat. Part of that is driven by the fact that we had a
> significant turn-over in people every year, since it was mainly a school
> minyan.  There were quite a number of "regulars" from the community, but
> with a very few exceptions, if a visitor came and took their seat, it
> would be no big deal, they would simply move to a nearby seat. Even if
> the visitor would ask an average person where to sit, they would likely
> be told to just take an empty seat at that point.

Is it possible that the major determinant is whether the shul has pews
with desks, where members can keep their tallit and sefarim, and the
more 'open plan' ones which have tables. In the former, taking someone's
makom kavuh - fixed seat, is not so much 'extremely offensive' as a
cause of inconvenience when the owner comes and needs to take things
out. In shuls with pews it might, therefore, be sensible always to ask
where there is a spare place to avoid disturbance later, a consideration
similar to not taking an aisle seat when others are available.

Martin Stern


From: Bill Bernstein <billbernstein@...>
Date: Sat, 27 Nov 2004 18:44:20 -0600
Subject: Re: Seating Problems

Martin's and Avi's posts on this topic hit a raw spot with me.  When I
first moved to Philadelphia from N.C. it was on a Thursday.  I ended up
davvening Friday night at one shul (to remain nameless), my very first
experience in the city as a newcomer.  I arrived early/on time and chose
a seat that I thought would be about as inconspicuous as possible.
Along comes an older gentleman and I thought he was coming over to greet
a newcomer, maybe invite him for something, etc.  No, his first words
were "you're in someone else's seat and you should move."

I can still feel the hurt and embarassment 20 years later.  Since then,
even though I generally have had a makom kavua in any shul I have been
in, when a visitor takes my seat I prefer to be maavir al midosai and
not say anything.  Somehow I feel the bein odom l'chaveiro aspect
outweighs any benefit of making someone else move.

Bill Bernstein
Nashville TN


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Sat, 27 Nov 2004 19:59:05 -0500
Subject: Software

We have Rakefet -- it's extremely capable -- but I have questions re:
organizational fit.  That is -- do you have a full-time secretary who
will have time to run it, or do you have (as we do) several volunteers,
each with different functions?  (Yahzeits, Aliyahs, financials,
announcements / mailings, etc.)  Especially at issue is who has access
to "financials."

Again, I don't know about other packages, but my "professional" opinion
is to make sure that your organization "fits" the software.

Carl Singer


From: .cp. <chips@...>
Date: Fri, 26 Nov 2004 12:09:14 -0800
Subject: Re: Two Pairs of Tfillin

> If one learns through the Gemara (Menachot 34b) with Tosaphot, Rabbeinu
> Tam's reasoning does seem very compelling.

Isn't that circular reasoning? or a tautology?

[Why? I would assume that this just directs you to the main source in
the Gemarah and where you can find Rabbeinu Tam's reasoning. It would be
up to you to determine if you find that reasoning compelling. Avi]


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Sat, 27 Nov 2004 22:50:24 +0200
Subject: Where to Stand/What to Face

As I have just returned from a visit abroad, I might have missed
something in this train of discussion but I just want to mention that as
regards taking care of children, for example, our Rav at Shiloh,
Elchanan Bin-Nun, has made it quite clear that a parent in the middle of
Amidah has no reason not to remove his noisy, disruptive child due to
his in-the-midst-of-saying-Amidah position.  The real problem is
talking, not moving one's feet and it is preferrable that if there is a
need, such as removing the child or getting out of the way, to simply
stand aside.

Yisrael Medad


From: c.halevi <c.halevi@...>
Date: Sat, 27 Nov 2004 20:57:02 -0600
Subject: Why single out the Emoree?

Shalom, All:

Whenever we are forbidden to emulate non-Jewish conduct, the prohibition
is called "darchay haEmoree (the ways of the Emorites.)"

However, the Emoree were only one of several indigenous tribes/nations
in pre-Israel Canaan and its environs. There were also the Canaanites,
the Preezites, the Yevushites, the Hittites etc., not to mention the
Moabites and the Philistines, among others.

All evidence points to these aforementioned people as being enthusiastic
idol worshippers. Worse still were the people of Ammon, who actually
sacrificed children to their heathen Molech and influenced some Jews to
do the same. Why then do we single out the Emoree as an example of ways
to shun?

Kol tuv,
Yeshaya (Charles Chi) Halevi


End of Volume 46 Issue 1