Volume 47 Number 37
                    Produced: Wed Mar 23 22:08:47 EST 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Baseball Games
         [Frank Silbermann]
Cardamom as Kitniyot
         [Martin Stern]
Grape juice change
         [Mimi Markofsky]
Minhag ha-makom
         [Martin Stern]
Rav Mendlowitz and Torah V'Daas
         [Josh Backon]
The Schiavo case (2)
         [Martin Stern, Leah S. Gordon]
Shelo asani nochri (5)
         [D. Rabinowitz, Mark Steiner, Reuben Rudman, Orrin Tilevitz,
Immanuel Burton]


From: Frank Silbermann <fs@...>
Date: Wed, 23 Mar 2005 08:49:10 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Re: Baseball Games

From: <DTnLA@...> (Dov Teichman) V47 N33
> The problem is that we have had at least 2 major poskim in the last 100
> years who HAVE applied that gemara to present day sports and theatrical
> performances; the Chofetz Chaim and R. Moshe Feinstein zt"l. (Again, see
> Mishna Brura in Siman 307:59 and Igros Moshe Yoreh Deah 4:11.)

Someone earlier copied a quote from the Choffetz Chaim which despaired
that many of the best people of his (very frum) community acted as
though such behavior were completely permitted. To me, the Choffetz
Chaim's quote suggests that we _are_ permitted (given the principle that
a gezera that is widely rejected by the people is withdrawn).

> My question is simply are there any poskim that DO allow attendance at
> these type of functions, or is the segment of orthodox jewry that
> attends ball games, movies, etc. just acting without halachic basis?

I have had at least two previous LORs (local orthodox rabbis) who allow
such attendence, so we can conclude that at least some of this segment
of Orthodox Jewry is not acting without halachic basis.  As for the
poskim you quote, these were probably not the rabbis they asked.

Frank Silbermann	New Orleans, Louisiana		<fs@...>


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Wed, 23 Mar 2005 09:42:01 +0000
Subject: Cardamom as Kitniyot

on 23/3/05 2:45 am, Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...> wrote:
> Is cardamom included in the gezeira of kitniyot, or is there otherwise a
> general minhag for ashkenazim not to use it on Pesach?

Cardamom is a plant related to ginger so its seeds would come under the
category of kitniot according to the opinion that any seeds of any
plant, as opposed to a tree, are kitniot.

According to the opinion that the only seeds which are kitniot are those
which can be ground to make a flour which may be confused with that from
the five species of grain, cardamom probably is not.

There is a further opinion that only those plants whose seeds were used
at the time the minhag to avoid kitniot was adopted count for these
purposes, for example some communities ate peanuts on Pesach for this
reason, in which case cardamom would almost certainly not be kitniot.

> The question is whether an ashkenazi may buy whole cardamom pods
> before Pesach, check them for extraneous matter, and use them on
> Pesach.

For this, ask your LOR, and don't rely on what I have written above.

Martin Stern


From: <AUNTIEFIFI@...> (Mimi Markofsky)
Date: Wed, 23 Mar 2005 10:47:23 EST
Subject: Re: Grape juice change

As far as I know, the large bottles of Kedem grape juice have been
non-mevushal for over a year.

Mimi Markofsky


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Wed, 23 Mar 2005 09:26:01 +0000
Subject: Minhag ha-makom

on 23/3/05 3:00 am, Carl Singer <casinger@...> wrote:
> Does minhag ha-makom extend to the shiva minyan attended only by
> members of a single congregation.

Carl has raised an interesting point which has more general

While every shul is entitled to follow its own minhagim, there is a
problem when ad hoc minyanim are set up, especially for minchah or
ma'ariv, for example before or after a shiur, when the nusach used is
usually determined by whoever is appointed sheliach tsibbur which may
differ from that of some, or even most, of the mitpallelim.

This has given rise to terrible cases of religious coercion when the
shats follows the chassidic custom of omitting tachanun on days other
than those specified in the Shulchan Arukh. I once was present when the
shats did just that, against the wishes of the majority present, because
"he never said tachanun at minchah!"

While I would not wish to be force anyone to violate their deeply held
religious convictions, surely the correct approach is to wait for those
who wish to say tachanun before starting kaddish titkabal. As Chazal say
"nahara venahara uphashtei" which might be paraphrased as "minor
differences in custom should be tolerated".

Any comments?
Martin Stern


From: <BACKON@...> (Josh Backon)
Date: Wed,  23 Mar 2005 14:44 +0200
Subject: Re: Rav Mendlowitz and Torah V'Daas

For starters: Torah Vodaas was started by the Dershowitz family in
Willimsburg way before Rav Mendlowitz came along. The reason was quite
prosaic: they didn't want the boys shlepping to the Lower East Side by
train every day. And one of the Dershowitz boys studying at TVD (my
mother's cousin) was one of the first members of the MALACHIM (he moved
to Bnei Brak in Israel decades ago).

Forget about fancy doctoral dissertations. If you want to know how the
MALACHIM got started (and for that matter how TVD was founded) you can
contact me and I'll put you in touch with my cousin Rav Zecharya D. who
lives in Jerusalem (and may even be a reader of Mail Jewish).

Josh Backon


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Wed, 23 Mar 2005 09:49:44 +0000
Subject: The Schiavo case

on 23/3/05 2:45 am, <Dagoobster@...> (Chaim Shapiro) wrote:
> I wanted to get thoughts from the list on the Terry Schiavo case.

As far as I have understood the halachic literature, there is no hetter
to discontinue the provision of food or fluid from any patient and to do
so is at the very least gram retsichah (indirect murder) similar to
locking someone in a room where they will starve to death. If the
feeding tube had never been inserted, it is possible that the halachah
might be different but this sort of decision needs a gadol hador not
just a LOR.

May none of us ever find ourselves in the position of having to face
such a problem in practice.

Martin Stern

From: Leah S. Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Wed, 23 Mar 2005 08:01:56 -0800
Subject: The Schiavo case

Although I hate the idea of the government messing in people's personal
and medical lives, I must confess that the withdrawal of food/water from
Terry S makes me upset/uncomfortable.  My understanding is [for a Jewish
person?] that halakhically you must always provide food/water, even if
you don't do other "living will" interventions.



From: D. Rabinowitz <rwdnick@...>
Date: Wed, 23 Mar 2005 05:24:56 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Shelo asani nochri

As some have pointed out this alteration is due the ambiguity of "Goy".
This word means both "nation" and has been utlized to mean non-Jew.  In
that particular blessing we are trying to say, "thank you for making us
a Jew and not a non-Jew".  As with all blessing we are required to do
this in the clearest manner possible.  Thus, there were some, Zeglman
Baer in his siddur Avodat Yisrael and R. Shlomo Kluger that advocated
saying Nokri to avoid the above ambiguity.  However, in truth, Nokri,
does not necessarly solve the problem as Nokri just mean foreigner and
not necessarly non-Jew. 

Furthermore, the source for this blessing is itself open to doubt.  The
source is the Talmud in Menhot.  However, there is a question as to what
is the earliest and correct reading.  Some editions and some Rishonim
have instead of the negative- shel lo asani- the postive, sani Yisrael.
The Jerusalem Talmud also has this reading.  Of course, this may have
been altered due to censorship.  However, the Vilna Goan, R. Elijah
Kramer advocates reciting the postive version -sansi Yisrael in his Biur

For all interested I can provide sources for all the above and more.
Please just let me know.

D. Rabinowitz

From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Wed, 23 Mar 2005 15:01:47 +0200
Subject: RE: Shelo asani nochri

The nusach of the bracha as specified by Hazal is "shelo asani goy"
(Tosefta Berakhot 6:14), and it appears in this form in every instance
where this blessing is mentioned in the writings of the geonim,
rishonim, etc..  The siddur is primarily written in Rabbinic Hebrew and
Rabbinic goy = Biblical nokhri (cf. the form goya, fem. of goy, which
does not exist in BH).

The change to nokhri is part of a "Biblicizing" trend in the German
communities, based on the mistaken notion that "correct grammar" for the
siddur is "Biblical grammar."  These changes were made in the German
siddurim in around the 18th century with no real authority.  I am
looking right now at a siddur from Frankfurt, 1691, which has the
traditional text "shelo asani goy".  (No, I'm not a millionaire--you can
see ancient books at the website of the National Library of Hebrew U
niversity: www.jnul.huji.ac.il)

Another possibility (not in conflict with the first one) is that the
word "nokhrI" was thought less offensive than "goy" which is known to
have a negative connotation.  (Compare the word "Hebrew", or
"Israelite", used instead of "Jew" since "Jew" acquired negative

R. Shlomo Kluger has an interesting teshuva where he condemns the use of
"akum" (Idol worshipper) instead of "goy", but condones "nokhri".

Mark Steiner

From: Reuben Rudman <rudman@...>
Date: Wed, 23 Mar 2005 19:03:54 +0300
Subject: Shelo asani nochri

The question of the correct word to use in this bracha has been
discussed in the poskim (Halachik decisors) and the various commentaries
on the siddur.  The two best to look into are the siddur Otzar
Hatefillos and the siddur Tzelusa d'Avrohom.  In both cases, the
recommended text is "goy" and not "nochri."  However, the commentary in
both siddurim discuss alternate textual variations.  In both siddurim,
we are told that the exact text (girsa) we have was affected by the
censors.  As a result even major poskim, who did not have the original
girsa, made Halachik decisions based on the girsa they had.  For
example, in footnote aleph to the commentary Tikkun Tefilla in Otzar
Hatefillos, we find the following: It appears that the Gr"a (R.
Eliyahu, the Vilna Gaon) did not see the earliest editions of the Rosh
and the Tur which were not affected by the Censors.  The Tzelusa
d'Avrohom makes a similar comment.

The Halachik debate is based on what the words "goy" and "nochri" mean
and what the intention of the Bracha is.  One girsa even says:
she'a'sa'ni Yisroel [who made me an Israelite (Jew)], as is found in the
Gemara Menachos 43b].  The Tzelusa d'Avraham says this is definitely a
"kilkul" (error) caused by the censors.  He makes an interesting point -
the gemara and those seforim printed with it (such as the Rosh) were
heavily censored.  However other sources with similar texts, but were
less popular and printed less often, were not censored to that extent.
Thus, in this case, we find similar texts in the Tosefta, Yerushalmi and
several Rishonim (early commentaries on the Talmud) where the word "goy"
is used.

So, to use the phrase she'a'sa'ni Yisroel is definitely incorrect; the
preferred word is "goy" but "nochri" has also been used by a number of
accepted poskim. The decision depends on whether "goy" only means
non-Jews (we do find its use in referring to the Jewish nation as well)
and whether it refers to an individual (which would be fitting here) or
a group of people vs. whether "nochri" refers only to an individual (and
so should be used) and whether it refers to all non-Jews or only to a
select group of non-Jews.  These concepts are discussed in the sources
given here.

Finally, the point is made that by saying this Bracha we indicate that
we are thankful that our (Jewish) neshama was not put into a non-Jew.
That, we are told, is why we do not say "...who did not make us an
animal," as there is no way the human neshama can be put into an animal.
[Let's not get involved in gilgul neshamos here; I am just reported what
is brought in these commentaries on the siddur.]

Reuben Rudman                          

From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Wed, 23 Mar 2005 07:52:06 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Shelo asani nochri

This issue was previously discussed in this list, see Volume 40 Number
71 and prior discussions referenced therein.  The impression I get from
that discussion is that "shelo assani nochri" is the version imposed by

From: Immanuel Burton <iburton@...>
Date: Wed, 23 Mar 2005 12:47:19 -0000
Subject: Re: Shelo asani nochri

This topic of "goy" versus "nochri" in the daily morning blessing was
discussed in Mail.Jewish v40n59, v40n61, v40n65, v40n68, v40n71, v40n72
and v40n85.

In Mail.Jewish v47n36, Martin Stern wrote:
> Nobody should alter the fixed minhag ha-makom of a shul, if such
> should exist, since this gives rise to ill-feeling. Therefore, in such
> circumstances, visitors who wish to be shats should be given the
> shul's official siddur where all special local variants are clearly
> marked and be told to follow its nusach precisely.

The Shul which I usually go to is a United Synagogue, the official
Siddur of which is the Authorised Daily Prayer Book, popularly known as
the Singer's Siddur.  However, I have noticed that recently a large
ArtScroll Siddur has appeared on the bimah for use by the person leading
the davenning.  There are differences between the two Siddurim, for

Singer's has "sheloh osanni nochri"; ArtScroll has "goy".

In kaddish, Singer's has "tushbechoso venechemoso dee amiran", whereas
ArtScroll has "da'amiran" as two words.

The paragraph of "Velamalshinim" in the Amidah differs between the two
Siddurim, but then there are various versions of this blessing floating
around anyway.

In Hallel, Singer's has "Min hamaytsar korossi Koh onnoni bamerchavyoh"
(the last word there being a single word), whereas ArtScroll has
"bamerchav Koh" as two words.  Although this comes from Psalms 118,
there is a discussion somewhere in the tenth chapter of Pesachim about
whether the text should be one word or two.

With regards to procedure as opposed to the text itself, Singer's
instructs those who wear tephillin on Chol Ha'Moed to remove them before
Hallel on Succos and before Musaph on ALL the days of Chol Ha'Moed
Pesach, whereas ArtScroll instructs one to remove them before Hallel
regardless of which Festival it is.  (Side point: Everyone agrees that
on the first weekday day of Chol Ha'Moed the tephillin are kept on until
Musaph as the Torah reading is one of the portions written inside the

There may be other differences in text and procedure between the
Singer's and ArtScroll, but people I've spoken to seemed unaware of
this.  Given that the Singer's is the official Siddur of the United
Synagogue, should the fact that someone has decided to put a large
ArtScroll Siddur on the bimah mean that the ArtScroll should override
the official Singer's Siddur?

Immanuel Burton.


End of Volume 47 Issue 37