Volume 47 Number 55
                    Produced: Fri Apr  8  8:12:51 EDT 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

The Charedi World and the Death of the Pope (2)
         [Shoshana Ziskind, Martin Stern]
Developing Halacha
         [Avi Feldblum]
God's Bookkeepers
         [Akiva Miller]
Interesting talmuduc passage - correction
         [Elozor Reich]
         [Mark Steiner]
Lubavitch and shtreimel
         [Alex Heppenheimer]
Maintaining Local Nussach
R. Schwab
         [Joseph Ginzberg]
Slow Shatz
         [Nathan Lamm]
Tircha d'Tzibbur
         [Carl Singer]


From: Shoshana Ziskind <shosh@...>
Date: Thu, 7 Apr 2005 10:53:41 -0400
Subject: Re: The Charedi World and the Death of the Pope

On Apr 7, 2005, at 6:33 AM, Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...> wrote:

> Would anyone know how/if the Charedi press dealt with the death of the
> Pope? And so too the Charedi Yeshivot.

I don't know about Charedi Yeshivos (by the way I always get confused
what exactly chareidi means as in Artzot HaBrit I think Chareidi is a
much more broad term than it is in Israrel.)

The English American version of Hamodia (I imagine this counts as
"chareidi"?) mentioned him twice, once in their daily edition and once
in their weekly edition.  It wasn't so interesting; it mentioned
incidents in his life and how he travelled extensively and was the first
Pope to go to Israel.  It also had information connected to him and
anti-semitism and a famous story which may or may not be true where he
told a family after the churban not to have the Jewish child who had
lived with them but to let him return to his family.

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, 07 Apr 2005 17:52:19 +0100
Subject: The Charedi World and the Death of the Pope

on 7/4/05 11:33 am, Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...> wrote:
> Would anyone know how/if the Charedi press dealt with the death of the
> Pope? 

I only can give information on English language publications.

The weekly Hamodia of the Agudah has a report on the front page entitled
"John Paul II Dies at 84" which gave a short, and on the whole
favourable, biography, mentioning that he advised one of his
parishioners during the war not to baptise a Jewish child she was
hiding, his frequent condemnation of anti-semitism and establishing
diplomatic ties with Israel.

The Jewish Tribune, organ of the Agudah in the UK, had two articles of
comment on its inner pages. One was the story about the child not
baptised as a result of his advice, entitled "Late payment". The second
was on his relations with Jews and Israel, similar in tone to the one in
Hamodia, entitled "Reconciliation".

The European/Israeli edition of the Yated Ne'eman, organ of Degel
HaTorah, does not mention the Pope's demise. However it should be noted
that, unlike Hamodia, it does not usually contain items of news from the
wider world.

> And so too the Charedi Yeshivot.

I can't imagine that they would have had any official reaction. Why
should they?

Martin Stern


From: Avi Feldblum <feldblum@...>
Date: Fri, 8 Apr 2005 07:38:39 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Developing Halacha

> From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
> In fact, I wonder why anyone would take exception to my thesis. The
> advent of new technology alone is insufficient to trigger a halachic
> response unless and until it starts to impact our lives.

The question is what exactly is your thesis. The points you put forward
in the original submission that started this thread, had a thesis that I
and I think many others take strong exception to. Let me try and state
what I heard as your thesis:

	A common / dominent element of halachic development is based on
	individual members of the community acting without the use of a
	psak from a halachic decisor for some period of time. As this
	behaviour becomes more common in the community, the rabbinic
	leadership views this activity and validates it with halachic

If that is your thesis, then indeed, I take great exception to it. The
following is I think a more realistic thesis:

	A common / dominent element of halachic development is based on
	a new situation rising which creates social pressure for a
	halachic response. Based on requests from individual members of
	the community, local halachic decisors issue initial rulings. As
	the situation becomes more prevelant, and is dealt with by more
	local halachic decisors, the issue issue is discussed by the
	recognized major poskim, and one or more common approaches are
	taken by the major poskim, and following those responsa, the
	majority of local halachic decisors follow that approach or one
	of those common approaches.

If you can clarify what I misunderstood in your initial postings and
better define your thesis, then I think we can have a more fruitful
discussion. Once we understand the thesis, then we can see how we would
want to understand cases where we see major halachic decisors deal with
substantiating an existing minhag that is in disagreement with thier
view of how they would decide an issue. This is a topic that is
discussed by Sperber, among others, and I do not believe it in any way
drives one to choose the thesis I have ascribed to you over the one I
propose. The same is true for the talmudic statement of "go out and see
what the populance is doing"



From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Thu, 7 Apr 2005 12:44:32 GMT
Subject: Re: God's Bookkeepers

Shmuel Himelstein wrote: <<< there is NO ONE in our generation or in the
preceding generations who has or has had enough of a direct link to God
to be able to point to any causal relationship between any specific act
- no matter how heinous it might be - and a specific punishment. >>>

Dov Teichman responded: <<< ... the Satmarer Rebbe ... writes that being
that we have just experienced a Holocaust, and as with every other
tragedy in history, its causes and how to do teshuva must be
investigated. This is how the Jewish people have always approached
tragedies and disasters. ... He then goes on to state the reason he
believes the holocaust happened: Zionism... >>>

My opinion is that these two views can be reconciled very easily, by
saying that always look for POSSIBLE reasons for the disaster, but to
leave the answers as mere guessing and conjecture, and to never claim
that we're SURE that this is G-d's reason.

In this manner, the tragedy will lead to our improving of the problems
which *might* have been the cause, and that is certainly a good thing,
whether our guess was correct or not.

Akiva Miller


From: Elozor Reich <lreich@...>
Date: Thu, 7 Apr 2005 14:54:49 +0100
Subject: Interesting talmuduc passage - correction

A reader has pointed out a slip I made in a recent posting about a
Gemoro in Ketubot 23a and Isur Giyuro.

Isur was not and could not have been the Grandson of the Amora, Shmuel.

He became a son-in-law of Shmuel.It was Isur's son who was Shmuel's

Elozor Reich


From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Thu, 7 Apr 2005 20:56:32 +0300
Subject: RE: Kedusha/Kedosha

In my original posting on kedusha/kedosha, I had no intention to show
which one is "right", but only to show that the ancient minhag Ashkenaz
as attested by Rashi and Tosafot.  I now found this in the Rokeach, a
12th century rishon, R. Elazar of Worms in his (often mystical)
commentary on the siddur: "besafa berurah, begematria leshon hakodesh;
ben`ima, n`im zemirot; kedusha kulam ke`ahat `onim."  Now that Dr. Katz
has argued that these rishonim are "incorrect," I think it is worthwhile
to see on what basis this is argued; he says:

"The phrase "neimah kedosha" means "sacred melody".  Those who use
"kedusha" have to put a comma before it and translate "neimah" as
"sweetness", which is incorrect."

This is itself entirely erroneous--not only does the word "ne`ima" by
itself often mean "melody" (meaning a vocal niggun), as in mekhilta
derabbi shimon ben yohai 19,19; shir hashirim rabba 3,6; pesikta zutreta
bamidbar 85b; otzar hamidrashim hekhalot p. 123, etc. etc.  But on the
contrary, I have not found a single case of anything like the adjective
kedosha attached to ne`ima.  Cf. also responsa of R. Natrunai Gaon OH
17: besafa berura beneima UVIKDUSHA kulam k'ehad l'kel habarukh neimot
yitenu. (this of course is a different place in the shaharit prayer).

I have to thank Dr. Katz for getting me to think of this, because on
consideration, I find the expression "ne`ima kedosha" meaningless--the
angels are described as singing vocally (rather than with instruments).
I don't think Hazal regard any neima as intrisically "holy", but in any
case I have not been able to document any such idea in Hazal.  After
all, it is the midrashic literature which is relevant to understanding
the siddur--this is exactly what Rashi is saying in Isaiah 6:3..  If
there are any chassidim reading this, I don't expect them to agree with
me that "ne`imah kedosha" is not only unattested, but philosophically
preposterous, but Dr. Katz, who has described himself as a
"Maimonidean," should join me in returning to the original Ashkenaz
minhag, based on midrashic sources.

Dr. Katz continues:

"Also, as Tal pointed out in his accompanying volume to Rinat Yisrael,
anyone with an ear for poetry can hear the cadence in the following:
nachat ruach/safah berurah/neimah kedosha; the comma ruins that as

This argument rests on the unargued assumptions, (a) that the siddur is
written in poetry; (b) that we have here a poem; (c) that there is such
a thing as "ear for poetry" which is invariant over 2,000 years.

As a matter of fact, Tal's argument works the other way--one should
always be suspicious when the text looks "too good."  I offer the
following counter-hypothesis: Tosafot Hagiga 13b gives the following
version of the prayer in question, which seems to me to be the actual
text they recited daily (though this has to be checked further):
venotenim resut zeh lazeh, kedusha kulam ke-ehad `onim..." making
perfect sense, but "ruining" the poetry.  I offer the hypothesis that
the words "besafa berurah uvene`ima..."  were added later, perhaps on
the basis of R Natrunai Gaon (cf. above), then to make things "nicer"
uvene`ima; kedusha... was revocalized by the Sefardim to get the
"prettier" version Dr. Katz prefers.  Is this true?  Well, as they say
in Yiddish, "True it should be yet?"

I write this not to prove that the early Ashkenaz version is correct,
but only to show that the arguments against this tradition are


From: Alex Heppenheimer <aheppenh@...>
Date: Thu, 7 Apr 2005 10:16:11 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: Lubavitch and shtreimel

In MJ 47:51, Yossi Ginzberg commented on a post of mine:

>>2. There was no official headgear at the time for Lubavitcher
>>chassidim: most commonly people wore straw hats, fedoras,
>>or "kaskets" (Russian caps), and a spodik would have been a
>>rare sight indeed, probably due to the cost. So there
>>couldn't have been any edict cancelling the wearing of
>>spodiks for the chassidim.
>Nitpicking over whether it was a shtreimel or a spodik is
>disingenuous. All Rebbe's (and many chassiddim) wore some type
>of fur hat on Shabbat and Yom Tov, until the last Lubavitcher
>Rebbe decided not to.

I did say that some of my comments were minor; if that's to be called
nitpicking, so be it. My primary point was that there was no formal
edict ordering chassidim not to wear fur hats, but rather a practice
that spread by diffusion.

Why indeed did RMM not adopt the wearing of a fur hat after assuming the
leadership? I can only guess, but I think that a very reasonable
explanation is simply that he had never worn one during RYY's lifetime,
and saw no reason to start afterwards, particularly during the first
year when he was refusing to accept the position of Lubavitcher
Rebbe. (In much the same way, during that first year he declined to
deliver Chassidic discourses, since to do so would be a violation of the
status quo and would imply his acceptance of the position.) Whatever the
case, it seems to me a gross violation of dan l'kaf zechus to assume, as
some posters seem to be implying, that this was some kind of
Machiavellian maneuver on RMM's part.

Kol tuv,


From: <aliw@...> (Arie)
Date: Thu, 7 Apr 2005 20:47:53 +0200
Subject: Re: Maintaining Local Nussach

Carl Singer wrote:
> I was wondering, in general, among the Mail Jewish readership -- how
> concerned various shuls are about uniformity and keeping with their
> specific nussach and what measures they take in that direction.

In our shul, the rule is nusach ba'al hatefila, provided it is a nusach
of eidot ashkenaz. we solve most of the differences in our by-laws,
which state, for example, that no matter the nusach of the ba'al tefila,
on leil shabbat yomtov, he starts from mizmor ledavid (sfard) and not
from mizmor shir (ashkenaz); or no matter the nusach of the baal tefila
for musaf on Yom Kippur, the avoda is amitz koach (ashkenaz), not ata
konanta (sfard), etc.



From: Joseph Ginzberg <jgbiz120@...>
Date: Thu, 07 Apr 2005 10:55:22 -0400
Subject: R. Schwab

>>With the utmost respect to R. Schwab, his purported advice to
>>ArtScroll "if it brings yiras shamayim, print it even if it's not
>>true.  If it doesn't, don't print it even if it is true" seems

>Was this advice really given?  What about "mi'dvar sheker tirchok"
>["distance yourself from a false word"] (Exodus 23:7)?

When this "saying" of Rabbi Schwab was originally reported (by me) it
included the word "alleged", and If I followed this thread correctly,
somehow it got changed from a general instruction to the Lakewood
publishing crowd to having been said to Artscroll.

Personally, while I heard it from a Rav in Lakewood myself, and he
claimed to know it was true, I doubt its veracity.  Unfortunately,
though, I do know that many of the publications from there do believe it
to be true.

Yossi Ginzberg


From: Nathan Lamm <nelamm18@...>
Date: Thu, 7 Apr 2005 06:03:56 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Slow Shatz

Much as I empathize, I have to comment on what Yisrael Medad wrote:

"...explain to him that the chiyuv is Kaddish not the davening which is
a custom."

Actually, the (only?) source for an avel davening is an aggadata in
Mesechet Semachot (I think) which tells how R. Akiva taught an orphan to
daven in merit of his father's neshama. (The father, incidentally, was
quite the rasha, which leads to other questions on this matter.) The
exact term the Mesechta uses is "taught him to say Barchu." Kaddish is
not mentioned.


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Thu, 07 Apr 2005 09:52:32 -0400
Subject: Tircha d'Tzibbur

Two of the many comments caught my eye

1 - Kavannah / pace -- I've seen many a minyan get "hijacked" when
someone who is a chiuv comes in and chooses to daven at a slow(er) pace.
Usually the occasion is a Yahzreit of a loved one and ALWAYS (it seems)
the chiuv is someone who doesn't otherwise daven with this minyan.
Granted it's their sainted zayde's Yahrzeit, but the other members of
the minyan need to still need to get to work on time.  Perhaps if this
person regularly attended the minyan (and thus helped make the minyan
for others) one would be more understanding.

2 - One statement made was that the chiuv is only to say Kaddish -- I
thought there is a precedence re: davening for the amud and that one
could assert their "status."

Carl Singer


End of Volume 47 Issue 55