Volume 46 Number 31
                    Produced: Tue Dec 28  7:21:27 EST 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Apollo Magazine (U.K.) - the Blickling Haggadah
         [Joseph I. Lauer]
Cost of Simchas
         [Tzvi Stein]
Late to Shul
         [Ari Trachtenberg]
Lateness to Shul/Dan l'chaf zechus (2)
         [Chana Luntz, Ira Bauman]
Talking in Shul
         [Samuel P Groner]
Turning down an Aliyah
         [Joel Rich]
Withholding aliyot


From: Joseph I. Lauer <josephlauer@...>
Date: Fri, 24 Dec 2004 11:35:48 -0500
Subject: Apollo Magazine (U.K.) - the Blickling Haggadah

    The November 2004 edition of "Apollo - The International Magazine of
the Arts" contains a very interesting and beautifully illustrated
article about the Blickling Haggadah.

    The article is entitled "'Next year in Jerusalem!': a Haggadah at
Blickling Hall".

    The article's subhead states: "A spectacular Haggadah, written and
illuminated by Joseph ben David of Leipnik in 1739-40, is one of the
most remarkable treasures in the library at Blickling Hall,
Norfolk. Emile Schrijver discusses the importance of this manuscript,
previously unknown to scholarship."

    The writer, "Dr Emile G.L. Schrijver is curator of the Bibliotheca
Rosenthaliana, the Jewish special collection at Amsterdam University
Library (www.uba.uva.nl/rosenthaliana). He is currently preparing a
'Repertory of decorated Hebrew manuscripts of the eighteenth century'
and has published extensively on Jewish manuscripts and printed books."

    Clicking on the illustrations in the article at the Apollo site will
enlarge them (or at least most of them) for better viewing (and it may
be possible to print and save the larger versions).

    The article's URL is

    Please note that access to the online Apollo articles requires
registration (and cookies).

    A Hebrew-language article concerning the Apollo article may be read
at http://www.haaretz.co.il/hasite/pages/ShArtPE.jhtml?itemNo=514362

    In case you are interested (or don't have Internet access), I've
copied the Apollo article as a Word document and can forward it to
anyone requesting it.

    However, I have rearranged the article in the Word document to have
its text run for the first four pages, followed by the illustrations.
Thus, the first four pages can be selected to be printed in black and
white and the two pages of (non-enlargeable) illustrations can be
printed in color (if so advised).

    Be well!

    Good Shabbos-Shabbat Shalom!
    Joseph I. Lauer
    Brooklyn, New York


From: Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...>
Date: Fri, 24 Dec 2004 11:06:09 -0500
Subject: Re: Cost of Simchas

Does it ever bother the conscience of the *kids themselves* who get
married that their father has to take on a second job for the next 10
years to pay for their 1 night of "simcha"?  I never hear the
possibility even reaised of the couple themselves taking some
responsibility for all this.  It seems to be assumed that the couple
themselves are blissfully ignorant.


From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Dec 2004 11:04:00 -0500
Subject: Late to Shul

 >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.

The difficulty of finding a justification is not an excuse for not doing
so ... and, for that matter, why is it your responsibility to judge such
a person?  (the familiar phrase from Pirkei Avot "don't judge your
friend until you have reached his place" comes to mind)

In my experience, it is a strong fear of being judged in this way
(apparently justified) that keeps less observant Jews from shul and from

Ari Trachtenberg,                                      Boston University
http://people.bu.edu/trachten                    mailto:<trachten@...>


From: Chana Luntz <chana@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Dec 2004 22:11:51 +0000
Subject: Re: Lateness to Shul/Dan l'chaf zechus

In message <BDE856B5.66B%<md.stern@...>, Martin Stern
<md.stern@...> writes

>Perhaps I did not make myself clear in my definition of a meizid. Someone
>who is driving a seriously ill person to hospital on shabbat is not a meizid
>since he is doing the correct thing. The case, as I thought I had described
>it, would have been of a person who regularly drives a car on shabbat and,
>when his incorrect behaviour is drawn to his attention, says that he knows
>that driving on shabbat is forbidden but he does not care and will continue
>to do so.
>> So too in the case of these Rabbis.  Getting to minyan
>> early/on time is a mitzvah, and we might even be able to
>> deduce from the mishna in peah that we say every morning and
>> from the gemorra above a mitzvah in ben adam l'chavero.
>> BUT, other mitzvahs may take precedence - eg, as the mishna
>> in peah says at the end talmid torah k'neged kulam [talmid
>> torah outweighs them all].  If the Rabbi in question was
>> giving shiur and that is why he was repeatedly late for
>> minyan, is he a meizid?  I would say not, rather, like the
>> pikuach nefesh/shabbas case, he is exercising his halachic
>> judgement as to which mitzvah is required to take
>> precedence.
>Even if the mishnah in Peah states talmud torah k'neged kulam [talmud torah
>outweighs them all], the halachah is that one stops learning to perform a
>mitsvah that requires immediate attention such as accompanying a dead person
>or rejoicing newlyweds. Why is attending shul on time so that there should
>be minyan at the beginning of davenning any different?

The issue about minyan versus private learning is a complicated one and
there are various opinions on the issue.  However, to give you a sense
of at least one of the positions that is available, I quote the Aruch
HaShulchan, Orech Chaim, siman 90:21: "And the reason for this [all the
things he lists before] is that tefila b'tzibur even though it is a
d'rabanan is a great mitzvah and even besides tephila b'tzibur there is
kedusha and kaddish and barachu and it is permitted to free a slave in
order to pray with ten as is made clear in Yoreh Deah siman 267, but
this is for a person who is not busy in the fixed learning of Torah
[osek b'torah b'kvius] but only sets aside times to learn Torah [kovea
eitim l'torah] but for a talmid chacham who learns always, talmid torah
is greater than all mitzvos and if there is by this a great bittel
[nullification] from torah he should pray privately and be osek b'torah,
but in any event he should not regularise himself to act in this way
because of the ignorant [amei ha'aretz] so it should not be light in
their eyes the matter of tefila b'tzibur and thus the talmid chacham
should not be osek b'torah at the time the tzibur says slichos and
tachnunim and a talmid chacham who is able to gather ten to his house to
pray b'tzibur it is better that he does this than go to the beis
haknesses because there is by this way a little bittel torah but in the
city he should not pray privately even if there is a little bittel torah
by this because if he does so he will cause a weakening of the mitzvah
in the eyes of the creation".

But I gather what is actually being discussed here is not a
nullification of tephila b'zibur, or absence of kaddish, kedusha and
barachu, but that they happen later because nine (or eight or seven)
others have to wait around until these rabbis show up because the rabbis
are engaged in the alternative mitzvah of talmid torah.

And while (at least according to those who follow the Rema) there is a
halacha (Orech Chaim siman 55, si'if 24) that in a place in which there
is not always a minyan in a shul they can force one another by way of
fines that there comes always a minyan to the shul this is derived from
the same source (see choshen mishpat siman 163 si'if 1) as the
requirements to build a shul so it is not clear to me that talmidei
chachamim are necessarily amongst those that can be forced (see eg si'if
4 and 5 of that siman).

>As I remember the original posting the rabbi in question was not giving a
>shiur, only learning on his own. In any case, even if the former were the
>case, why could he not finish the shiur, and possibly start it, slightly
>earlier to be able to be in shul for the beginning of davenning. Of course,
>on occasion he might overrun but this should not be the norm.

Of course you could ask the same question in reverse, why could the
minyan not be scheduled to start a bit later to accommodate the shiur?
Especially as this would seem not to have been a well established minyan
of the town, but one that had relatively few members

And while I would agree that it is not derech eretz to keep people
waiting (and maybe that is partly what the Shulchan Aruch means in Orech
Chaim siman 90 si'if 11 when it says that if there is a shul in the city
and a person does not come to it he is called a bad neighbour), if you
tell people that you are not going to be coming at the time specified on
a regular basis, because of your talmid torah, you are only keeping them
waiting because they have chosen to show up at a certain time, and not
at the later time when they know you will be there.  And if the reason
they do not want to start later is because of their work commitments,
then what we have is a conflict between talmid torah of a talmid chacham
and the work commitments of a regular participant.  And while if such a
person is an avel .[mourner] - maybe you can argue that the way we are
menachem avel [comfort mourners] is by providing a minyan in which he
can say kaddish, and hence you can add the mitzvah of being menachem
avel - even so, the conflict is still not really between tefila
b'tzibbur or no tefila b'zibbur but between one's talmid torah and
another' work.

In any event, despite being a great mitzvah, tephila b'zibbur is, as
pointed out by the Aruch HaShulchan, a d'rabbanan, and being
disrespectful to talmidei chachamim is a d'orisa.  So I think we do need
to be a little careful in bandying around terms like mezid in respect of
people who may well be talmidei chachamim (I agree that having the title
rabbi these days is not always an indication that we are dealing with a
talmid chacham, but it makes it that bit more likely, and would seem to
mean that we need to be that bit more careful in terms of respect and
honour).  Now I agree that the fact that these rabbis are anonymous
operates to make these issues less of concern, but even so, should we
not be looking, for the honour of Torah, to understand what their limud
is, rather than accusing them of committing an averah.

Chana Luntz

From: <Yisyis@...> (Ira Bauman)
Date: Fri, 24 Dec 2004 14:42:29 EST
Subject: Re: Lateness to Shul/Dan l'chaf zechus

I must express my admiration for Chana and her obvious generosity of
spirit.  Yes, it is true, as I also pointed out in my posting last
month, that one should go out of our way to judge L'chaf Z'chut.
However there may be limits to even that wonderful trait.  How would a
person ever be able to observe the mitzvah of "admonishing your friend"
if he was always willing to explain away his friend's consistent
malfeasances?  Can a Rabbi of a congregation ever try to elevate his
flock's level of mitzvah observance, if out of the goodness of his heart
he always condones their lack of diligence?  At one point, I think we
are allowed to become suspicious and be judgemental.  Where that point
is can be a point of discussion.

Ira Bauman


From: Samuel P Groner <spg28@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Dec 2004 15:06:44 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Talking in Shul

Does anyone know if there is a source in halakhah or aggadah for the
chorus in a popular Miami Boy's Choir song, "Don't talk, just daven, so
your tefillot can reach Hashem"?

If so, that might be a useful source to bring into this discussion; if
the prayers of people who talk in shul do not reach G-d, that might be
an important mussar message to give to the "talkers."  If not, is there
a halakhic problem (ie. don't lie) in writing or disseminating a song
that says something which is not true, if the motives are obviously

Sammy Groner


From: <Joelirich@...> (Joel Rich)
Date: Fri, 24 Dec 2004 11:19:37 EST
Subject: Re: Turning down an Aliyah

<< On a related issue, I'm also sometimes very uncomfortable being given
 an aliyah (sometimes, because I'm a visitor; sometimes, because I'm the
 Levi in the room) in a more or less forced way.  >>

AIUI once one is offered an aliya, you can not turn it down-in
contradistinction to being asked to daven for the amud where you should
turn it down twice (unfortunately it seems that many gabbaim and baalei
batim are unaware of the latter)

Joel Rich


From: Anonymous
Date: Fri, 24 Dec 2004 10:35:48
Subject: Withholding aliyot

> A congregant doesn't pay his dues.  The board wants to prohibit him from
> receiving aliyot.
> What do you do?  What has happened in specific cases?  Has anyone
> actually received a psak in this matter from the schule Rav?  Etc.

When I took over as treasurer of our synagogue I found a members who,
although they clearly had the means to pay, owed the shule considerable
sums (several years of dues, seats, pledges, etc.) -- Since financial
standing was considered a private issue, (even) the gabbaim were unaware
and certain of these people were given several kibbudim -- aliyot,
davening for the amud, etc.  I found this incongruous and voiced my

The Rabbi approved our not giving EXTRA kibbudim to such individuals.
I.e., they would get an aliyah only when they were halachically cheyuv
(as in a yahrzeit.)  Results were (a) little improvement in collections
and (b) lots of bad blood.

Sorry -- it was worth a try.

private discussions with debtors worked better.


End of Volume 46 Issue 31