Volume 46 Number 28
                    Produced: Fri Dec 24 13:32:20 EST 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Geshem vs Gawshem
Lateness to Shul/Dan l'chaf zechus (3)
         [Chana Luntz, Martin Stern, Stan Tenen]
Lateness to shule
         [Carl Singer]
Length of Davening
         [Tony Fiorino]
Men displacing women in the women's section of the shule
         [Ben Katz]
Shabbat davening times
         [Martin Stern]


From: <Shuanoach@...>
Date: Wed, 22 Dec 2004 22:21:02 -0500
Subject: Geshem vs Gawshem

hi. i was wondering if anyone knew where (in which journal/books) i
could find the articles written on the topic by Yehoshua
Mondshine. (Aside from what Chaim Krauss writes in his numerous volumes
-where was Mondshine originally published.) Also where is the article on
Rav Dovid Lida and his Sabbatean origins found?



From: Chana Luntz <chana@...>
Date: Sun, 19 Dec 2004 15:38:04 +0000
Subject: Re: Lateness to Shul/Dan l'chaf zechus

In message <BDE84F03.667%<md.stern@...>, Martin Stern
<md.stern@...> writes

>I must admire Chana's erudition in quoting so many stories in favour of
>being dan l'khaf zekhut. However they are not really relevant since
>they all refer to one-off situations.

I am not sure that the first story I brought is strictly a one-off
situation, as the employee gave the employer several chances to find a
way to pay him, so it was actually several times he has to be melamed
zchus.  The point however that I was trying to bring out by use of the
stories is the lengths one is expected to go to be melamed zchus, even
though that is by no means the logical conclusion (Occum's razor being a
part of logical analysis rather than halachic analysis).

>Of course I would agree with her that one
>should always try to be dan l'khaf zekhut by assuming extenuating
>Thus if someone comes late occasionally to weekday shacharit, one might
>assume that his alarm malfunctioned or his car would not start. If this went
>on for several days one might suppose that one of the children was not well
>and required his attention.
>It is only those who are persistently late, in the absence of specific
>crises, at every tefillah -shacharit, minchah, ma'ariv - weekday, shabbat,
>yom tov - that make it difficult to find some limmud zekhut (justification)
>other than lack of interest in davenning.

But again you are using logic here, and what I am trying to show you is
that halachically that is probably not the correct approach to use.

For the individual in question, they have to do their own heshbon, and
have their own relationship with HKBH.  But that is not what we are
focussing on here.  Rather we are focussing on the correct way for
another Jew to respond.  And there is a mitzvah, it would seem a mitzvah
d'orisa (Sefer Hachinuch lists it as mitzvah 235) to be dan l'chaf

What does dan l'chaf zechus mean?  The Torah Temima (on Vayikra 19:15,
si'if katan 100) links it to the concept that every Jew has a chezkas
kashrus [a legal term that means a presumption that they are kosher and
presumed otherwise].  Oversimplistically, the nature of chazaka is that
one is required to assume the given alternative unless proved otherwise.
I do not have easy access to the teshuvos of the Rivash, but the
Encyclopedia Talmudit (under the entry Chezkas Kashrus) cites him as
saying one is required to assume a situation of heter even if the
situation is far off and strange.  See there for a general discussion of
the concept of a Chezkas Kashrus.

In my previous post, I gave you an example of a limud zechus - perhaps
the person in question is involved in kosher meals on wheels and the
requirements of delivery end up requiring them to be late morning and
evening.  Its possible (it may not be that likely) and I am sure if we
thought about it we could come up with lots of "its possible"s like
these.  And the literature would rather seem to suggest that you are
halachically required, vis a vis another individual to assume this type
of limud zchus, rather than applying logic.

>Unfortunately this attitude is all too widespread and its general
>acceptance only makes matters worse. In an off-line communication,
>someone wrote to me "I was trying to figure out what you meant by
>Bircat HaShachar, then I remembered that the chazan says those brachos
>way at the beginning of davening.  I think the last time I heard that
>was Shavuos. I think most people would say that if you get there before
>Yishtabach and you have enough time to catch up by Borchu, you are on
>time." I hope he was being slightly facetious but, if not, such an
>statement implies that he didn't really think anyone except a few
>'meshugge frum' individuals ever came at the beginning and nobody else
>would seriously consider trying to do so.

Of course, he may be Sephardi, where they do not say Birchas HaShachar
in shul at all (they do say lots of korbanos at the beginning though,
that go on for a considerable period of time .  On the other hand, there
isn't the same level of expectation that everybody will be there for all
of them.)

Chana Luntz

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, 20 Dec 2004 06:55:45 +0000
Subject: Re: Lateness to Shul/Dan l'chaf zechus

on 19/12/04 3:38 pm, Chana Luntz at <chana@...> wrote:

> But again you are using logic here, and what I am trying to show you is
> that halachically that is probably not the correct approach to use.
> For the individual in question, they have to do their own heshbon, and
> have their own relationship with HKBH.   But that is not what we are
> focussing on here.  Rather we are focussing on the correct way for
> another Jew to respond.  And there is a mitzvah, it would seem a mitzvah
> d'orisa (Sefer Hachinuch lists it as mitzvah 235) to be dan l'chaf
> zechus.

I think Chana has missed the point I have been making throughout this
thread. At no point was I suggesting criticism of any specific person,
let alone publicly upbraiding him for his lateness, any anonymous
examples only being quoted as illustrations. The whole discussion should
be restricted to the underlying prevalent attitude that coming on time
to shul is not particularly important. If this apparent social consensus
were changed, many such latecomers, who are in essence being misled by
it and therefore almost under the category of ones, would realise that
it is not an ideal practice, many of them would make a greater effort to
come on time.

Martin Stern

From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Dec 2004 08:36:41 -0500
Subject: Re: Lateness to Shul/Dan l'chaf zechus

First, I'd like to say I really appreciate Chana Luntz's posting.

I have a quibble, and a point.

Chana Luntz quotes Martin Stern as writing "This comes from the well
known principle of Occam's razor that the most likely correct
explanation is the one that explains the largest number of phenomena."

I don't think what Martin Stern wrote is complete and correct with
regard to Occam's razor.  Occam's razor says nothing about explaining
the largest number of phenomena per se, but rather, that it's likely
that the simplest (most compact, most elegant) and otherwise accurate
statement that subsumes the most details which is likely to be correct.
The idea is that _gratuitous_ details detract from the elegance and
clarity of an idea, and add nothing that is necessary.

One can think of Occam's razor as a "black box", demanding that we
presume only the simplest possible "Rube Goldberg device" inside.  A
"Rube Goldberg device" is a complicated contraption of mostly gratuitous
elements that leads to a simple result.  So, an example would be to drop
a ping pong ball in one end, and have it fall on a model train track, be
carried around the curve, dropped into a dumpster, rolled down a hill,
etc, etc., etc. -- only eventually to _merely_ fall out at the bottom of
the "black box".

To assume that there is this hyper-complicated "Rube Goldberg device" in
the box is gratuitous, because the box might merely be empty, and simply
allow the ping pong ball to drop into the top opening and fall directly
out of the bottom.  If there's a time-delay involved, then one -- by
simple extension of this model -- merely assumes that there is some sort
of delaying-track (perhaps a spiral tube of some sort) in the box.
Occam's Razor tells us to make only the minimal and simplest assumption
that accounts for the phenomenon.  As long as the only thing that
happens is that the ping pong ball goes in one hole and comes out
another, it's the principle of Occam's Razor that tells us (in the lack
of any other evidence) that we are _not_ to presume that there is a
complicated "Rube Goldberg mechanism" inside.

The above is just a quibble.

Chana Luntz goes on to tell us several stories, which end with the
observation (my paraphrase) "Just as you judged me favourably, so Hashem
judges you favourably".

While stated positively, this is the golden rule. It's Torah to presume
the best of others, because the golden rule perspective offers the
simplest explanation, and it's also, BTW, usually correct.

The simplest explanation for why I've taken the time to mention this
minor observation is that it affects me and my work.  Some of my
postings are, shall we say, challenging.  I usually get two reactions.
One reaction presumes I know what I'm talking about, and can respond
intelligently to questions.  The other assumes that I don't know what
I'm talking about, and can't respond intelligently to questions.
Naturally, I prefer the "golden rule" response. <smile>

Meru Foundation   http://www.meru.org   <meru1@...>
POB 503, Sharon, MA 02067 USA   Voice: 781-784-8902  eFax: 253-663-9273


From: <casinger@...> (Carl Singer)
Date: Wed, 22 Dec 2004 22:46:50 -0500
Subject: Lateness to shule

I've been observing that a significant variable in the discussion re:
lateness to shule is the importance (or lack) that people place on
punctuality (in general? or to shule?)   It seems that nothing will
overcome that bias of attitutude.  People who feel it's important to
come to shule plan accordingly and overcome minor obstacles to do so.
People who choose to come late also plan and act accordingly.   Where
does halacha fit in -- perhaps in establishing that initial bias.

To use a weak analogy, there are people who in bad weather leave home
earlier to get to work on time; others justify their lateness due to

Carl Singer


From: Tony Fiorino <Fiorino@...>
Date: Wed, 22 Dec 2004 10:37:32 -0500
Subject: Re: Length of Davening

> From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
> on 11/12/04 10:47 pm, Tony Fiorino
> <Fiorino@...> wrote:
> > I find it astonishing that I can get to an Askenazic minyan 15 minutes
> > late on shabbat morning to find them somewhere between nishmat and
> > kriat shma
> Surely Eitan is exaggerating. We daven fairly fast (total time for
> shabbat shacharit between two and two and a half hours) and still take
> at least half an hour to get to shokhein ad. It would be
> interesting to
> hear what happens in the shuls of other contibutors to mail-jewish.

I would not say it happens in every minyan every time, but it happens
regularly, especially in minyanim that take <2 hours.


From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Tue, 21 Dec 2004 16:00:22 -0600
Subject: Re: Men displacing women in the women's section of the shule

>From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
>on 11/12/04 11:00 pm, <DTnLA@...> (Dov Teichman) wrote:
> > Didn't men usually occupy the Ezras Nashim in the Beis Hamikdash?
>Dov is correct except that the meaning of the term 'Ezrat Nashim' in the
>Beit Hamikdash was the limit beyond which women could not go. It was not
>an area designated specifically for their use as in our shuls. It was
>also not a prayer area and, when festive gatherings took place in it as
>on Sukkot, a temporary gallery was constructed for women's use, from
>which men were excluded.

         The great takana to which Mr. Stern refers to in the previous
post on Sukot to the best of my knowledge was only for simchat beit
hashoava, a particlularly rambunctious celebration it seems.

Ben Z. Katz, M.D.
Children's Memorial Hospital, Division of Infectious Diseases
2300 Children's Plaza, Box # 20, Chicago, IL 60614
e-mail: <bkatz@...>


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Dec 2004 09:34:02 +0000
Subject: Re: Shabbat davening times

on 23/12/04 3:06 am, Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...> wrote:

> Most of the many Shabbat Minyanim I've been to in Israel (mainly the 1st
> morning Minyan, incorrectly referred to as "Hashkamah") take up to 20
> minutes to Shochein Ad, very, very rarely exceeding that time. They
> generally start from "R' Yishmael Omeir." The minyanim generally finish
> in between 1.5 to 2 hours, and they are NOT rushed. They just cut out
> the extraneous time-wasters. One time waster that they do not have is
> time wasted telling people to keep quiet, as no one speaks during
> Chazarat Hashatz or the Kriyah. Also, the first Minyan very rarely has a
> derashah, and almost never has a Simcha (although even when there is a
> Simcha that adds a few minutes at most.) Oh yes - NO hosafot, except for
> a very rare "Acharon," and no longer Misheberachs for everyone in the
> immediate universe. In other words, the davening time is "net."

When I wrote that we take between two and two and a half hours and still
take at least half an hour to get to shokhein ad, I omitted to say that
we start with singing Yigdal and Adon Olam, followed by birkhot
hashachar, parashat hatamid, "Eizehu Mekoman" and "Rabbi Yishmael omer"
so we must daven at about the same speed as Shmuel's minyan. We only
take more than two hours (give or take 5 minutes depending on the length
of the sedra) when there are extras like Hallel, mevarchin hachodesh
(when we also have a short derashah) or the arba parshiot (when we say

Martin Stern


End of Volume 46 Issue 28