Volume 47 Number 60
                    Produced: Tue Apr 12  6:25:39 EDT 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Artscroll and "truth"
         [Perry Zamek]
Changing Halacha
         [Bernard Raab]
grammar and SA
         [Eli Turkel]
The Great Divide is finally upon the National Religious
         [Mark Symons]
Kaddish (was Tircha d'Tzibbur)
         [Yisrael Medad]
Megilla reading for women/women's education
         [Abbi Adest]
one last thing about women's megilal
         [Shlomit Stern]


From: Perry Zamek <perryza@...>
Date: Sat,  9 Apr 2005 23:55:12 +0300
Subject: Re: Artscroll and "truth"

Quoting Jeremy Rose:
> For example, if I tell you that Reuven is prison, it may be completely
> true, but it is probably "sheker" because it is Rechilus.  

Respectfully, this may be rechilus (talebearing), but it is not "sheker"
(falsehood). One of the common defenses of rechilus is "but it's
true". That may be the case, but it doesn't lessen the transgression.

However, the fact that something is rechilus does not change its truth
or otherwise.

Shavua Tov, Chodesh Tov
Perry Zamek


From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Sat, 09 Apr 2005 23:31:18 -0400
Subject: Re: Changing Halacha

>From: Alex Heppenheimer
>In MJ 47:45, Bernard Raab wrote:
> > I would start by saying that the Gemara itself frequently inquires
> > into the common practice in ancient Israel or the galut before
> > deriving the halacha which supports this practice. 
> >Eventually, the Gemara derives textual justification
> > for the sequence of sounds that are familiar to us, but only *after*
> > establishing by extensive testimony exactly what the most common
> > practice was in years gone by.
>I'm not sure what "extensive testimony" is being invoked in the Gemara
>there (Rosh HaShanah 33b-34a). The structure of the sugya is:
<...proceeds to summarize this sugya...>
>So there may well be examples where the Gemara first establishes what
>the common practice was and only then seeks its justification in the
>sources, but this sugya is not at all an example of this.

Sorry for trying to do this from (a very faulty) memory. The gemara in
this case is trying to determine what is the actual sound which we call
"teruah", and cites as one item of evidence the practice of R' Abahu in
Caesarea (34a). The "extensive testimony" I was thinking about is found
in connection with another sugya regarding blowing the shofar on
Shabbat, where the gemara describes the practice in Yerushalayim and in
Yavne in great detail (30a).


> > Here is another [change in halacha], driven by public pressure and
> > practice:
> > Some 30-40 years ago it was well-established halacha that visitors to
> > Eretz Yisrael from chutz l'aretz must observe 2 days of yomtov. We
> > know that this has been in the process of change over the last 20
> > years or so, precisely following the scenario I described above.
>But was it so well-established? There is at least one classic halachic
>opinion - the Baal HaTanya, in his Shulchan Aruch (Mahadura Basra 1:8) -
>that residents and visitors alike always follow the local rules. This
>opinion is not only theoretical, but is followed in practice by Chabad
>chassidim and perhaps others as well.

There are many chasidic practices which non-chasidim would never
consider adopting, and I do not think that one can claim the "early
adopters" were following the opinion of the Baal HaTanya.

Alex might have mentioned the Chacham Tsvi as the precedent opinion, and
this would be more relevant to both Ashkenazic and Sephardic
communities.  The problem there, of course, is that the Chacham Tsvi's
position was rejected by his son, R. Yaakov Emden, and the rest of the
orthodox rabbinate for some 200 years. However, when "casual" travel to
Israel became possible in the jet airplane era some 50 years ago, and
this practice came into increasing question, I suppose the existence of
that earlier opinion of the Chacham Tsvi gave impetus and validation to
the desire for change (although it took about 30-40 years of
frequent-flyer miles to percolate). And yes, the observance of 2 days of
yomtov for chutzniks was very well-established, and still is, I believe,
in many quarters, although I believe that the pace of change in this
practice in the last 10 years has been nothing less than astonishing.

> > Another such example was described in the pages of M-J some time ago,
> > relating to the use of time clocks on Shabbat.  Initially this was
> > widely forbidden by most rabbis.  Nevertheless, the practice grew
> > rapidly. Finally, R. Moshe approved the practice for lights but not
> > for air conditioners. But their use for air conditioners proceeded as
> > well, until today I believe this is no longer an issue, even in the
> > haredi community.
>I didn't follow that discussion, but was this indeed "widely forbidden
>by most rabbis"? A quick glance at Shemiras Shabbos KeHilchasah 13:23
>and notes there shows that this hetter goes back to the Maharam Schick,
>and was subscribed to also by the Chazon Ish; it wasn't innovated by R'
>Besides, those who forbade using such timers did so, as I understand it,
>not because there would be any actual issur involved, but because of
>mar'is ayin. Well, with time clocks having become increasingly common,
>that reason falls away of its own (unlike cases of mar'is ayin which are
>mentioned in the Gemara, which we lack the authority to permit even when
>circumstances have changed).

I believe we really agree here, in that "circumstances have changed".
Alex prefers the passive voice: "...time clocks having become
increasingly common..." as if this is something that just happened by
itself, whereas I would say: time clocks bacame more commonly used by
the observant community. In either case it is not the situation "that
reason falls away of its own..." In fact, I have been told that R. Dovid
Feinstein continues to paskin as his father did (i.e., asur for air
conditioners). It is rather that the observant public has overwhelmingly
decided to follow the complete leniency, without in any respect thinking
that they may be doing anything controversial.

Regarding the claim that: "...we lack the authority to permit [change]
even when circumstances have changed", this implies that halacha was
frozen for all time with the closing of the Gemara, or is it only cases
of maaris ayin which were frozen? In either case I wonder how such a
claim can be supported, considering the evidence of the last 1500+

b'shalom--Bernie R.


From: Eli Turkel <eliturkel@...>
Date: Sat, 9 Apr 2005 20:41:53 +0200
Subject: grammar and SA

REMT writes

<One should protest the disrespect evinced by the tenor of this remark
 and the sheer chutzpah of the comparison of one's grandfather to the
 Shulchan Aruch.  However, as to the point made: whether or not the
 Shulchan Aruch is the arbiter of grammar, he _is_ the arbiter of
 halacha, and if he says that one should not say l'haniach but
 l'honiach, no non-posek or his grandfather may decide otherwise.
 Furthermore, see the Mishna B'rura in 25:24 who gives the grammatic
 justification for the Shulchan Aruch's ruling. >

As to their knowledge of grammar there is the letter of Maharshal where
he writes that the Ramah should spend more time learning grammar rather

As to the nusach of berachot I disagree with REMT. It is well known that
ceratin kehillot kept their nusach tefilla in spite of the psak of
SA. Especialy in the area of tefillah posekim have disagreed with
SA. While I agree that this is not to be done by any individual
nevertheless SA does not always have the last word.  (as discussed many
times however in recent generations the written word seems to win over
minhagei kehillot which are gradually disappearing)

kol tuv,
Eli Turkel


From: Mark Symons <msymons@...>
Date: Sun, 10 Apr 2005 14:12:35 +1000
Subject: Re: The Great Divide is finally upon the National Religious

Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...> wrote:

> According to today's (April 7) Jerusalem Post, Rabbi Shmuel Tal, head
> of the Torat Haim Yeshiva in Neve Dekalim in Gush Katif, has called on
> his students and followers not to recite Hallel on Yom
> Ha'atzma'ut. According to a student of his, Rabbi Tal said that due to
> the State's change in attitude toward settlers, there is no longer the
> need to recite Hallel in its honor.

Surely Hallel is recited because of the miracle of the establishment of
an independent Jewish State rather than having anything to do with the
current policies of the the government of the day.

Mark Symons
Melbourne Australia 


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Sat, 09 Apr 2005 22:53:45 +0200
Subject: Kaddish (was Tircha d'Tzibbur)

Going back to what Stephen Phillips wrote:

>If you look at a quite long Rama on Yoreh De'ah Siman 376 Seif 4 you
>will see that he refers to Kaddish as a Minhag [custom]. He also says
>that davening from the Amud during the week is better than saying
>Kaddish, because Kaddish was only instituted for children to say.

I've now had a chance to review that Rama. IMHO I do not think that is
exactly what the Rama is saying, but I invite others to comment.

First of all, the Rama provides us with an answer to the original
question that arose about the man who is saying Kaddish and insists upon
davening even though he is causing tircha d'tzibbur.  The Rama writes:
"mi sh'yodea l'hitpalel mitpalel kol hatfila" - one who knows how to
proerly daven the entire order is the one who leads and if he can't, the
order should be distributed.

But I think the Rama distinguishes between the various Kadishim and
refers to the ones at the end of the service as those that were added
for the minors but in any case, seniors chant a Kaddish Yatom at the
beginning so I am not sure whether the broad generalization that Stephen
supports in his quoting the Rama, that prayer is better than Kaddish, is

as for the preference of Tefila over a Kaddish, that, I think, is only
in the case of a Yahrtzeit, see my next comment

Carl asks:

>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."

that, I think, is only for the Yahrtzeit, not for the first 11 months.

and I think someone else (I forgot) mentioned that the Midrash actually
has Rabbi Akiva teaching the orphan to say "Barchu" rather than the
Kaddish.  But actually the version of Rabbi Yochanan Ben Zakai, found in
Tanna D'Bey Eliyahu Zuta (17), has it as Barchu.  The other version with
Rabbi Akiva in Seder HaDorot and in Tanchuma has also Kaddish as being

In any case, I refer all to the book HaKaddish - M'koro, Mashmau'to
v'Dinav by Rav David Assaf.  He links up the Barcho and Kaddish by
saying that the Kaddish Yatom (for mourners) was the Kaddish Batra and
that had the Barchu said after it, as is the custom of nusach sf'arad,
and so they went together, as both "bring merit to the many" (m'zakeh et
hatzibbur).  He goes into the problematics of the lack of a firm
halachic source for Kaddish (not being mentioned by the Rishonim Rif,
Rosh, Rambam, Ritba and the Mechaber) and basically says: minhag
avoteinu hu k'ilu davar m'divrei sofrim (it is an ancient custom and it
is as if it were included in the laws set down by the Elders of the
Great Assembly).

Yisrael Medad


From: Abbi Adest <abbi.adest@...>
Date: Sat, 9 Apr 2005 23:50:25 +0200
Subject: Megilla reading for women/women's education


I think people might have had a problem with your post for the reasons
Avi mentioned (lack of cultural context) but also because of the broad
generalizations you made and continued to make in your response.

Again, lack of equality in Jewish education may be a peculiarly English
pheonomenon. There are numerous opportunities for high level Torah
education for women in both Israel and America. Women in Israel are
taking the the rabbanut smicha exams and getting higher marks then the
men (shhh, don't tell). There are women engaged in very serious Torah
study at the high school, college and graduate levels. So your
generalization about the state of women's education simply doesn't apply
to many parts of the larger Jewish world.

In addition, your assumption sans proof that mistakes invalidate the
reading in addition to your tenuous analogy to a pasul sefer Torah also
makes your point somewhat dubious.

My suggestion for the future would be to back up your question with a
halachic source and try to frame your question as it applies to your
particular community.

Kol Tuv
Abbi Adest


From: Shlomit Stern <stern12@...>
Date: Sat, 9 Apr 2005 21:25:56 +0200
Subject: one last thing about women's megilal

Simon Wanderer pointed out that he did not refer to women's reading
groups, but to second reading that is held for women. (unlike the
editor, I am well aware of such groups.)

 I think we can learn from the several responses, that the correction
problem does not exit in "second reading" where the readers are women.
therefore, my conclusion is , that women (all over the world) who for
some reason are unable or unwilling to attend the general megilla
reading in their shul should be encouraged to attend women's reading
groups- it seems like there is a better chance that the readers will be
corrected if necessary.

Shlomit Stern


End of Volume 47 Issue 60