Volume 48 Number 20
                    Produced: Sun May 29 10:55:05 EDT 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Gr"a's Psalms
         [Yehonatan Chipman]
Honoring One's Parents, Rejecting Their Food
Kaddish (2)
         [Carl Singer, Martin Stern]
Minyan & The Great Divide
         [Aryeh Gielchinsky]
Qualifications for Ba'al Tefilah
         [Martin Stern]
Rabbinic law conflicting with Torah law


From: Yehonatan Chipman <yonarand@...>
Date: Thu, 26 May 2005 19:03:58 +0200
Subject: Gr"a's Psalms

[Note: some of the following submission contained Hebrew text, which
unfortunately does not render correctly on everyones systems. I have
done my best to replace the hebrew with transliteration, which I placed
in []'s. Mod.]

     The following question really arose during Pesah, but I only got
around to writing it up now:

     I would be interested in knowing the sources for the custom of the
Gaon of Vilna to recite special psalms for each day of the various
holidays, presumably based upon the songs sung by the Levites in the
Temple on each of the respective days, supplanting the usual "songs for
the day" mentioned in the final mishnah of Tamid, which we recite in the
Shabbat davening..

The following is the information I was able to compile about the
sources, which is incomplete and contains both internal contradictions
and contradicts some parts of shitat ha-Gra:

      1) Sukkah 54b mentions that there is such a thing as a "shir" for
Rosh Hodesh, which is the only one of the special songs that displaces
that for Shabbat, but does not identify it.

     2) Sukkah 55a lists the psalms for Hol ha-Moed (Rashi: "of Sukkot")
as Pss 29, 50, 94 (spread over two days), 81 and 82.  It also refers to
the song for Rosh Hashanah (Psalm 82), which is identical to that for

     3) Masekhet Sofrim 18.2 states that on Hanukkah one says Psalm 30,
on Purim Ps 7 (!), and throughout Pesah one recites Ps 135 (but some say
Ps 83), except for the First Day, when one adds [Yehi Chavod] "while all
the people are standing," through the words [U'varuch shem kevodo
l'olam], after which they sit and complete "the entire matter of the
psalms" [kol inyan shel hamizmarim], whatever that means!  It goes on to
say that on the 7th Day one says Hallel Hagadol; on Shavuot Ps 29, and
on Tisha b'Av four verses from Jeremiah, followed by Pss 79 and 137.
Sofrim 19.2 covers the custom for the other half of the year: on Rosh
Hashanah, Ps 47; Yom Kippur, Pss 104 and 130; Sukkot, Ps 76; the 8th
day, Ps 6 or "if one likes" Ps 9.

      4) In later halakhic literature, the only source I could find was
a gloss of the Be'er Heitev at Sh.A., Orah Hayyim 132, [Note]vii, who
mentions that the following psalms are substituted for the regular daily
psalms: Rosh Hodesh, Ps 104; Hol Hamoed Pesah, Ps 136; Hol Hamoed
Sukkot, Ps 42; Hanukkah, Ps 30, and Purim, Ps 22.  Surprisingly, there
is no Biur ha-Gr"a there, and there is little consistency among the
different sources.

     This leaves us with several questions:

    1.  What is the source for each of the psalms according to the Gra,
and why do they differ from the other sugyit and sources?     

    2.  Where
does it explicitly state that the "shir" for Rosh Hodesh is "Barkhi
Nafshi" (Ps 104)?

    3.  What is the halahic basis for the Gra's ruling that special
psalms are also to be said on Hanukkah and Purim, which are not Torah
holidays and hence had no special korbanot in the Bet Ha-Mikdash (even
though the identification of davka of these psalms, Pss 30 and 22, with
their respective holidays, is perhaps better known that that of many of
the others)?

     4.   Since there was obviously no Second Day of Yom Tov in the
Temple, what is the source for the Gra's minhag for Simhat Torah (9th day
of Sukkot), 2nd day of Shavuot, and 8th day of Pesah?

    Many thanks in advance for your help.
    Yehonatan Chipman


From: Anonymous
Date: Thu, 26 May 2005 21:44:29 -0700
Subject: RE: Honoring One's Parents, Rejecting Their Food

David Charlap wrote:
> It would seem to me that, when parents are concerned, one should seek
> out every possible leniency.  Much more than simply relaxing ones
> personal chumrot, and much more than you would do for anybody else.

Mr. Charlap's assertions here seem to presuppose at least a "good
enough" parent-child relationship, and that parental objections to
children's observance are rooted in ignorance--i.e., a "tinoq shenishba"
(infant taken captive and raised among non-Jews) situation.  In too many
instances, neither of these is the case.

> I'm not saying you should eat treif just because your parents service
> it to you, but you know as well as I do that most people's kashrut
> practices go far beyond the minimum-necessary halachic requirements.

This is also not so clear, but there's no need for me to belabor the
point, other than to say that there are plenty of parents, including
ones who insist their homes are kosher, but whose homes are in fact,
according even to lenient halachic standards, definitely not kosher.

> You see the person being extra-lenient on kashrut.  I see that person
> being extra-strict on honoring his parents.

And in some instances it may be appropriate.  In more than a few others,
however, it isn't.  Sweeping generalizations such as Mr. Charlap's,
which are also made by more than a few rabbis, cause no end of agmat
nefesh (mental anguish) to those of us in family situations that don't
fit the "cookie cutter."  As a survivor of emotional and physical abuse
by my parents, I'm one of those whose situation seriously lacks fit with
the cookie cutter.  I suppose I've been fortunate that only one Orthodox
rabbi *ever* pressured me to "act leniently" regarding the gross
inadequacies of kashrut in my parents' home, to accede to their demands,
despite being very learned and certainly knowing better, that I
desecrete the Shabbat in their home, AND to submit docilely to their
abuse in the name of honoring my parents.  The rabbi to whom I refer was
one I *never* asked about these things: his "recommendations" came
completely unsolicited by me.

The rabbis to whom I've had occasion to pose the issues in different
places and at different times over the years emphasized that failing to
hold up kashrut, desecrating Shabbat, and submitting to abuse are NOT
part or parcel of honoring parents.  Relatedly, they also recognized
that sometimes it *isn't* appropriate to pull out all the stops because
not every relationship between parents and children should be preserved,
let alone at all costs.

Parent-child relationships may be the quintessential examples of every
situation being different and the need to CYLOR, and hope pray
(literally!)  that your LOR knows you and your family circumstances well
enough, and is (to use a terribly hackneyed description) sensitive
enough, not to force you either to preserve a relationship that
shouldn't be preserved, or to strain, perhaps to its breaking point, a
relationship that should be nurtured.


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Fri, 27 May 2005 06:33:17 -0400
Subject: Kaddish

I believe there is a common thread in recent discussions re: Kaddish.

 From an halachic viewpoint the necessity of saying Kaddish is, at best,
ambiguous.  And several postings have provided important sources to that

However, IMHO (although none of the postings have gone this far)
leveraging the above as a basis for denying access or accommodation to
davening (say as in the case of a woman during weekday minyan) or
trivializing the emotional need for someone to say Kaddish or Yizkor
doesn't fly.  One may posit that we are causing someone emotional pain
by denying them the opportunity to recite Kaddish, and this might
involve several avayrahs.

Imagine if you would that during ma'ariv someone got up and said --
"we're running late, let's skip (the mourner's) kaddish -- after all
it's not halachically mandated."

Carl Singer

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Fri, 27 May 2005 08:46:46 +0100
Subject: Re: Kaddish

on 26/5/05 11:19 am, Jack Gross <jbgross@...> wrote:

> Clearly Kaddish is not a stand-alone.  It either opens, closes, or
> separates sections of the congregational service; you cannot simply
> assemble a minyan, recite Kassidh "umzist", and part company.  Once the
> requisite context is present (commonly, a perek Tehillim was said by a
> minyan), I don't see why is it not mandatory.  What logical basis is
> there for maintaining that Kaddish may be said, but may also be omitted?
> I can understand that limud torah b'rabbim is a "Machayyev"; I don't
> grasp how it can be simply a "Mattir" for Kaddish.
> As to "tircha": There is nothing preventing one (or many) from leaving
> before a Kaddish is begun, even if that leaves the group without a
> quorum; the only restriction is *during* a Davar she'biKdusha.

Presumably Jack is referring to what I wrote in mail-jewish Vol. 48 #05

>> 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.

I think he has made a fundamental error in his concept of the chiyuv to
say kaddish. Apart from the one I mentioned, which is part of the seder
hatephillah, like chatsi kaddish and kaddish shaleim, and therefore an
obligation on the tsibbur as a whole, there is no obligation whatsoever
that any other kaddish be said. Their recitation is a personal
obligation on an aveil so, if none are present, there is no reason to
say it at all.  Furthermore, the obligation is for an aveil to say one
kaddish a day or, perhaps, one at each tephillah at most. This only
applies to a son and not any other relatives who may be permitted to do
so but are certainly not obligated.

The practice of saying a Mishnah (not really learning it) or a perek
Tehillim to enable an aveil to say yet another kaddish seems to me to
contradict the prohibition to be marbeh kaddeishim and therefore be a
clear case of causing a tirkha detsibbura. Perhaps, in a congregation
where only one person says each kaddish, it might be condoned if there
were insufficient kaddeishim to give each aveil an opportunity to say
one but, otherwise, it appears to be a highly dubious practice.

Martin Stern


From: Aryeh Gielchinsky <agielchinsky@...>
Date: Fri, 27 May 2005 02:04:33 -0400
Subject: Re: Minyan & The Great Divide

>>If the person is aware of the prohibition of Shabbos and violates it
>> publicly, whether for spite or for personal benefit, his shechitah is
>>not kosher, the wine he touches is prohibited, and he does not count to
>> a minyan.

> First, the Binyan Zion haChadashos 23 writes about a mechalel Shabbos
> who touches wine and whether this makes the wine forbidden.  After
> citing the sources he gives reasons why this is not applicable today,
> among them that many who are mechalel Shaboos nonetheless say the
> Shabbos tefillos and kiddush and therefore cannot be said to be in the
> category of an idol worshipper.

Igros Moshe OC 3 section 22

A Jew who is mechalel shabbos but davens (i.e. his avayros are for
personal benefit), his bracha is a bracha, but regarding shechita and
his wine, he is like a non-Jew.

>Finally in Melamed L'Hoil 29 he is asked specifically about counting a
>mechalel Shabbos in the minyan. After going through the classic sources
>again he concludes that today things are different.  People violate
>Shabbos through ignorance.  He even quotes the Sho'el uMeishiv that Jews
>from America do not become possul (unfit) for minyan since they are in
>the category of Jews raised among non-Jews.  Rav Hoffmann zt'l concludes
>that one who can go to a minyan of entirely shomer shabbos Jews should
>do so but a minyan that counts non-Shomer shabbos Jews is also
>permissable.  I also recall but do not have the reference handy of a
>teshuva in the Igros Moshe that holds this way.  As best I remember he
>brings proof from the Meraglim, who were certainly sinners.

Igros Moshe OC 1 section 23

Regarding a davar shebikidusha (such as Kaddish, Kiddusha, and Barchu) a
mechalel shabbos can be counted, but he may not be counted for Tifelah


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, 26 May 2005 21:34:22 +0100
Subject: Re: Qualifications for Ba'al Tefilah

on 26/5/05 11:03 am, Eitan Fiorino <Fiorino@...> wrote:

> For example - has Dov questioned the motives of those baalei tefila
> who in the guise of representing the tzibbur before hakadosh baruch hu
> are in fact indulging their own adolescent fantasies about being rock
> stars in the same way he has questioned the motives of women who wish
> to recite kaddish?  Why is it that I see none of the anti-women crowd
> pounding the table, demanding purity of heart and motive from those
> who are leading the tefilot of klal yisrael every day?

An excellent point. Of course we should question these adolescent
fantasists and, if Eitan is correct, refuse to allow them to act as
sheliach tsibbur.  There are well established rules about what qualities
are required and someone who lacks most of them should never be

Martin Stern


From: .cp. <chips@...>
Date: Thu, 26 May 2005 20:16:13 -0700
Subject: Rabbinic law conflicting with Torah law

Outside of the Beis haMikdosh, what are the examples of a positive Torah
law overriding a negative Rabbinic law?  Are any of them bein adom


End of Volume 48 Issue 20