Volume 48 Number 05
                    Produced: Tue May 24  5:36:53 EDT 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Can you live 7 days w/o potato chips (2)
         [Robert A. Book, Boruch Merzel]
         [Perets Mett]
         [Martin Stern]
Kaddish and women (2)
         [Dov Teichman, Avi Feldblum]
Kaddish Pronunciation
         [David Roth]
Pronunciation of Kaddish
         [Orrin Tilevitz]
Windows in Shul (3)
         [Batya Medad, Nathan Lamm, Chaim Tabasky]


From: Robert A. Book <rbook@...>
Date: Fri, 20 May 2005 19:04:29 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Can you live 7 days w/o potato chips

Carl Singer <casinger@...> writes:
> I've heard tell (without statistical proof) that in the not-yet
> observant Jewish community that Passover is the most emphasized /
> "observed" Holiday.

The 1990 National Jewish Population Study included survey questions
about various observances (of Jews in the United States).  If I recall
correctly, the ritual observed by the highest percentage of Jews was the
Passover Seder, attended by 82% of respondants.  I believe fasting on
Yom Kippur was second at 65%.

--Robert Book    

From: <BoJoM@...> (Boruch Merzel)
Date: Fri, 20 May 2005 14:58:41 EDT
Subject: Re: Can you live 7 days w/o potato chips

Hillel Markowitz wrote:
> A cute story involves a rov in the 1800's who arrived in America from
> Europe and had never seen bananas. He was asked if bananas were kosher
> for Pesach or not (of course a certain amount of cluelessness has to be
> assumed).  Since he had no idea what they were, he asked "So you can't
> do without for eight days?"  Of course it was then reported that bananas
> were indeed forbidden for Pesach just as kitniyot are and that became
> the custom in that community.
> Since this is probably a joke, I will refrain from naming any community.
> The name of the community probably changes to fit the story.

Not so funny: It was not at all unusual, just 50-60 years ago, for
rabbonim to be asked by European born Jews, especially from Lita, Poland
and Russia whether or not bananas and tomatoes were permissible on
Pesach.  This was simply because they had never seen these items eaten
in their parents' homes on Pesach.  (Even if they had seen these items
during the rest of the year, they surely were not available to them out
of season) Hence, if they were not eaten on Pesach "in der alter heim"
(in the old country) then there was good reason to question their

Boruch Merzel


From: Perets Mett <p.mett@...>
Date: Sat, 21 May 2005 23:39:04 +0100
Subject: DST

Ben Katz wrote:
>          There was an article in Scientific American many years ago
> discussing DST at great length.  While one cannot change the number of
> hours of daylight, it does not make sense to have daylight at 4 AM when
> very few people use it.  DST is logical and economical for most areas
> where it is used.  Other areas, which want to be in synch with major
> population centers, sometimes pay a price.

But that was not the issue. We were not discussing DST when daylight is
at 4am.

The issue under discussion was the extension of DST into March, when
daylight is after 7am. The result of extending summer time is that
sunrise is after 8am, or even 9am.  It is neither logical nor economical
to force such an extension on the public.

Perets Mett
writing late on Motsoei Shabbos, which ended after 10pm as a result of 
Summer Time


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, 23 May 2005 11:28:36 +0100
Subject: Kaddish

on 23/5/05 11:00 am, Jack Gross <jbgross@...> wrote:
> One does not say Kaddish as an individual -- one recites it in the role
> of Shliach Tzibbur.
> The reason some instances of Kaddish are "reserved" for aveilim
> ("kaddish yasom") is to accommodate those who cannot lead the full
> service, or to satisfy the desire of the aveilim to lead part of the
> service when there are multiple candidates among the aveilim.  Instances
> of Kaddish that may have been added to accommodate mourners (when the
> practice was to have only one person say each Kaddish) thereby became
> part of the service.
> Thus:
> - Kaddish should not be omitted when there happen to be no aveilim
> present; the responsibility reverts to the sha"tz whether or not he
> still has his parents.

Just one slight quibble with Jack's last point in an otherwise excellent
exposition. This responsibility only applies to the Aleinu kaddish (for
Ashkenazim) or the one after the mizmor preceding it (for
Sephardim). Where there are no aveilim, for whom extra opportunities
were introduced in the case of multiple aveilim, as he writes, the shats
should not say the others because of tirkha detsibbura.

> - Where kaddish is recited by several aveilim, they should take care to
> recite it in unison.  That is more easily accomplished if those reciting
> kaddish stand together is a designated place.

The failure to do this is my main objection to the adoption by
Ashkenazim of this Sephardi practice. Sephardim are accustomed to say
all the tephillot aloud in unison, and so kaddish presented no problem,
whereas Ashkenazim did not, leading to the cacophony which characterises
kaddish in most Ashkenazi shuls today. Rav Ya'akov Emden, who strongly
advocated this to avoid squabbles over precedence in large shuls with
more aveilim than available kaddeishim, had obviously not considered
this problem. The result is that the orphan's kaddish has itself become
an orphan whom no one can hear to answer.

Martin Stern


From: <DTnLA@...> (Dov Teichman)
Date: Fri, 20 May 2005 15:10:56 EDT
Subject: Re: Kaddish and women

Leah Sarah Reingold Gordon writes:

> I take offense at the above comments by Mr. Teichman.  First of all, he
> was originally posting about saying kaddish, which he acknowledges is
> permitted for women and men alike.  In the context of halakhic decisions
> like this, why would his anti-feminist bias be a reason not to allow
> pious women to do a permitted act?
> Also, what does "I think there is a problem when..." mean?  To me, it
> sounds as though Mr. Teichman has a personal political agenda that is
> informing his opinion on legitimate halakhic rulings.  Certainly, I have
> been accused of this very thing, but it is no more correct when it is an
> anti-feminist bias than when a feminist bias.

Have there been no pious women until our generation? In my opinion, the
only reason their piety is expressing itself by taking on more
traditionally male roles is Feminism. Period. (Granted there have been
individual women in history that wore tefilin, tsitsis, etc. but they
were one in a million, and I'm sure it was without all the hoopla that
is created today by Jewish feminists.)

The feminist movement, in most of its forms, strives for complete
equality between the sexes. To transfer those feelings of sexism and
patriarchy to Judaism, is to have the gall to say that our greatest
leaders and poskim had an anti-female bias. The undercurrent is that
Judaism as has been practiced for thousands of years is flawed. That is
absurd to say, and I think at the least, borders on heresy. This idea is
expressed by Reb Moshe Feinstein in his famous teshuva on women wearing
tefilin and tsitsis. Furthermore, there are certain things that halacha
allows, yet there is a principle known as "Ain ruach chachamim noche
heimenu." Meaning, not everything falls under two categories of muttar
and assur (permitted and prohibited). There is a third category of
things that, while technically permitted, our rabbis are not happy with
their practice. Women's increased role in the synagogue, saying kaddish,
and performing traditionally male mitzvos fall into that third category.

There is no shortage of avenues of expression for women trying to be
"strong jews," within the framework of orthodox judaism, without having
to resort to shaking up our customs the way they have been practiced for

Dov Teichman

From: Avi Feldblum <feldblum@...>
Date: Tues, 24 May 2005
Subject: Re: Kaddish and women

I think that any statement like "The only reason that X is doing
something is because of [Y]ism" is a very dangerous and hard to defend
statement. In my view, it shows a lack of willingness to examine
situations with intellectual honesty. I also believe that the wholesale
use of different varients of "Chadash asur min haTorah", that if
something is different from what has been done in the past it is
automatically a statement that "Judaism as has been practiced for
thousands of years is flawed" is often wrong. I'll go further and state
that in my opinion, this position is likely one of the most damaging and
dangerous positions for Orthodox Judaism today. I am fully aware that
position is likely a very minority position, but one I feel fairly
strongly on.

I believe it to be true that the Feminist movement has made a number of
changes that have become part of todays modern culture. These changes
have occured over a period of probably close to 75 years, with clearly a
stronger change over the last 30-35 years. While there are parts of the
movement that "strives for complete equality between the sexes", there
is a larger part that I think recognizes that there are differences. At
the same time, while it is clearly true that Halacha dictates that there
are differences between the sexes, the question that needs to be
addressed (in my opinion) is what portion of the practical differences
that we see are fundimental to Halacha and what portion are a result of
the social environment during the last 500 years or more.

I also agree in part with Dov that there is a catagory of things that
may be permitted by Halacha, but are not encouraged by the poskim. Part
of that is that we do not want Halacha and Jewish practice to change
with every fad that occurs. The time frame for permitted change within
the halachic system is relatively long, to allow the system to see what
changes are likely "permanent", i.e. long term changes and what are just
passing fads. Once it is clear that we are looking at a long term
change, then I think it is obligatory on the decisors of halacha and
jewish practice to see how to include the positive effects of that
change into Jewish practice. Here is where I clearly disagree with Dov,
and look toward innovative poskim and Jewish leaders to bring the
increased public role of women in the general society within the realm
of Jewish practice as well.

Avi Feldblum


From: David Roth <davidyonah@...>
Date: Fri, 20 May 2005 13:49:47 -0400
Subject: Re: Kaddish Pronunciation

> From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
> Even Artscroll, which is generally much more carefully edited, has
> several errors, some having been accepted by the general public because
> previous editions have carelessly printed them.
> Just because something has been printed does not make it correct, or
> even acceptable!

What is an example of a mistake in Artscroll?

David Roth
Newtonville, MA 02460-2241


From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Fri, 20 May 2005 08:40:03 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Pronunciation of Kaddish

In response to by pointing out that one widely-used siddur contains the
variant "yitbareich", Martin Stern writes

>Unfortunately most printers were not great scholars and did not check
>that every letter was correct.  . .  . Only those produced by recognised
>scholars can therefore really be used as evidence."

First, I claimed only that this siddur showed that the variant existed,
in popular circulation, not that it was correct.  In fact, this siddur
has many amusing errors, perpetuated in the pirated edition.  Second,
scholars may edit siddurim--for all I know, this Rabbi Charlap may have
been a great scholar--, but ultimately printers produce them, so there
is no guarantee that the two versions are the same.


From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Fri, 20 May 2005 13:14:48 +0200
Subject: Windows in Shul

What Hebrew word is used?  Is it a word that means opening for light? or
air? or to see through?  There are various Hebrew words, all translated
as "window" and their meanings are different.

It reminds me of the "work" problem on Shabbat.  One can do "avoda" on
Shabat if that's his job and he doesn't do any "melachot."


From: Nathan Lamm <nelamm18@...>
Date: Fri, 20 May 2005 06:11:41 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Windows in Shul

I wanted to add a fascinating detail I just learned to this discussion:

This past Sunday, I took a wonderful walking tour of the Lower East Side
sponsored by Yeshiva University and led by Dr. Jeffrey Gurock, professor
of American Jewish history there. At the end, we came to the historic
Eldridge Street Synagogue, which is in the process of being restored.

To either side of the Aron Kodesh are trompe l'oleil frescoes depicting
windows (matching the actual ones on the wall) with (in the painting)
curtains drawn across them. When one of the tour participants inquired
about this, a member of the restoration staff stated that it was a
traditional belief that when Mashiach will come, a great, blinding light
will shine from Yerushalayim. Therefore, curtains were placed across
windows on the wall facing Israel, even when such windows (and curtains)
were only paintings.

Perhaps this tradition led to the belief that windows in shul must be
closed. Of course, no reasoning (seeing outside, seeing a reflection, a
light from Jerusalem) would explain a need for closed windows in, say,
the back wall of the shul.

Nachum Lamm

From: Chaim Tabasky <tabafkc@...>
Date: Fri, 20 May 2005 16:17:37 +0200
Subject: Windows in Shul

Rav Kook in Olat Re'eya (his commentary on siddur) explains that windows
in shul are to make us aware of all the ills of the world, so that we
will not pray from an "ivory tower" but out of real concerns for the
well being of the community and the individuals therein.

The windows should face Jerusalem to remind us that we should look for
the solutions of these problems in the image of the holy city as the
source of Torah instruction and Torah living.



End of Volume 48 Issue 5