Volume 49 Number 40
                    Produced: Mon Aug  8  5:31:23 EDT 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Brich Shmei (6)
         [David Curwin, Dan Rabinowitz, Joshua Hosseinof, Martin Stern,
Stephen Phillips, shuanoach@aol.com]
Nusach Ashkenaz
         [Carl A. Singer]
Pidyon HaBen
Pidyon Haben (was: Shaliach for bris)
         [Perry Zamek]
Pidyon-ha-Ben Question (3)
         [Susan Shapiro, Jechezkel Frank, Martin Stern]
Previous Texts
         [Eitan Fiorino]
Visitors in shul
         [Carl A. Singer]


From: David Curwin <tobyndave@...>
Date: Thu, 4 Aug 2005 21:11:15 +0300
Subject: Brich Shmei

 Alan Rubin wrote:

> I would be interested in the opinion of the experts on Minhag 
> Ashkenaz on whether Brich Shmei is said before taking out the 
> Sefer Torah on Monday and Thursday. It is in the Art Scroll 
> Siddur but as far as I remember not in Singer's.

I'm certainly no expert. But as I've done in two recent posts, I can
check Cohen's Siddur Ezor Eliyahu. He writes (my translation):

The custom of saying (Brich Shmei) in Ashkenaz is apparently from the
Arizal, and in the early siddurim it doesn't appear, except for the last
of them. But the GRA did say it, as is seen from Maaseh Rav 164, and it
also appears in the Siddur Derech Siach HaSadeh, by R' Azriel and R'
Eliya of Vilna (not the GRA, as I've mentioned in an earlier post.)

-David Curwin

From: Dan Rabinowitz <rwdnick@...>
Date: Thu, 4 Aug 2005 05:48:37 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Brich Shmei

The custom to recite Brik Shemi is found in the Zohar.

 Although the Zohar was discovered/written in the 12th century, this
custom did not become popular until the 16th centruy. The Arizal was the
one to popularize it.  However, both the Zohar and the Ari are clear
that the only time one should recite Brik Sheme is on Shabbat.  The
passage in the Zohar appears in the context of other prayers to recite
on Shabbat such as Kel Adon.  The Ari's statement to recite it is also
found in his statement on Shabbat prayers, there is no mention in any of
the Ketvei haAri to say this during the week.  There is a debate whether
it is appropriate only for Shachrit or for Minha as well.  This custom
to recite Brik Shemi anytime the sefer torah is removed began due to
ignorance of publishers or readers that assumed the approraite time is
any time the sefer torah is removed.

While there are source that justify the recitation during the week they
are all post-facto justification and in truth rather weak.

Dan Rabinowitz

From: Joshua Hosseinof <JHosseinof@...>
Date: Thu, 4 Aug 2005 12:07:22 -0400
Subject: Brich Shmei

See Rabbi Hamburger's "Shorshei Minhag Ashkenaz" Volume I for a full
discussion on this.  In brief, the argument in favor of saying it only
on days with Musaf is because of the phrase "berich kitrach ve'atrach" -
since keter is mentioned in the Kedushah of Musaf, and keter is
mentioned here in Berich shemeih, therefore we would only say Berich
Shemeih on days where Musaf is also said.  The argument in favor of
saying it any day the sefer torah is taken out is that the preamble to
Berich Shemeih in the Zohar implies that the passage is read anytime the
sefer torah is taken out to be read publicly, and not just on days with

Since the Nusach Ashkenaz Kedushah of Musaf does not mention "keter" at
all, it would seem that this point doesn't fit in well with Nusach
Ashkenaz, so the logical approach would be to say it anytime the sefer
torah is taken out or not at all - and there are such opinions.  Rabbi
Hamburger also brings down several other reservations that have been
expressed about saying Berich Shemeih in general, both with the text,
and because of bowing in the middle, but I would refer you to his sefer
to read it in detail.

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, 04 Aug 2005 20:44:37 +0100
Subject: Brich Shmei

We never say it. For a full discussion see Shorshei Minhag Ashkenaz
vol. 1

Martin Stern

From: Stephen Phillips <admin@...>
Date: Thu, 4 Aug 2005 12:15:02 +0100
Subject: Re: Brich Shmei

My understand of a Teshuva in Yechoveh Daas (Volume 1 Siman 54) is that
the justification for saying Brich Shemei on Shabbos (one normally
doesn't ask for one's needs on Shabbos) is that it is said on weekdays
as well and is therefore part of the service generally.

On that basis, one should say it on Mondays and Thursdays as well (as
indicated in ArtScroll) or not at all. But the clear custom of the
United Synagogue is not to say it then.

Stephen Phillips

From: <shuanoach@...>
Date: Thu, 04 Aug 2005 12:15:08 -0400
Subject: Re: Brich Shmei

The different minhagim are summarized in the book Shoresh Minhag
Ashkenaz, it's in vol. 1 or 2 if i recall.


From: Carl A. Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Thu, 04 Aug 2005 06:42:07 -0400
Subject: Nusach Ashkenaz

I am about as far from an expert as one can be on this topic -- but here
are two thoughts from the shiur we have between mincha / ma'ariv at our
shul.  Coincidentally, it took place yesterday (so I still remember.)

1 - the Shulchan Aruch states basically that you can use Nusach Ashkenaz
or Nusach Sfard, that both are fine but don't mix and match (my terms.)

2 - the Art Scroll Siddur siddur is not [pure] Nusach Ashkenaz.

Now my questions

Given #1 above, what is the history of the proliferation of so many
different variants of both Nusach Ashkenaz and Nusach Sfard.

Going forward (until the third Bays HaMigdash) in an age of universal
communication and myriad sources, etc., Why is it that there seems to be
continued divergence in new siddurs rather than convergence.

(neither siddurs nor sewing machines ....)


From: <aliw@...> (Arie)
Date: Thu, 4 Aug 2005 18:52:17 +0200
Subject: Re: Pidyon HaBen

in mj 49/35, Ari Trachtenberg wrote:

>My understanding is that the son not only has to be a first born but
>that the delivery has to be a normal (i.e. non C-section) delivery as
>well (this rules out many first-borns).

not only your understanding - the chiyuv is on peter rechem - and has to
be a normal birth. btw - the opposite of "normal", in our context, out
of the ordinary, in hebrew, is yotzei dofen - literally, issuing or
exiting from the side - as in a c-section !


From: Perry Zamek <perryza@...>
Date: Thu, 04 Aug 2005 13:36:24 +0200
Subject: Pidyon Haben (was: Shaliach for bris)

Yossi Ginzberg wrote:
>[Rabbi Savitzky] made the Pidyon Haben in Jerusalem, without the baby
>or the mother being present.

If one looks at the procedure for a pidyon haben, one will find that
there are two different versions for the father's "declaration" to the
Cohen (the rough translation is mine):

1) This is my son, the firstborn of of his mother...
2) I have a son, the firstborn of his mother...

The second version is for the exact circumstances that Yossi described -
the father carrying out the pidyon in the absence of the son (the
mother's presence or absence is irrelevant in this instance).

There is, of course, a third version, for a first-born who carries out
the pidyon for himself (if his father did not do so, for whatever
reason). Some years ago, a friend of mine redeemed himself from a cohen,
at the age of 24 (complete with seu'dat mitzvah), and we joked about who
would carry him in on a silver tray!

She'yirbu semachot beYisrael.

Perry Zamek


From: <SShap23859@...> (Susan Shapiro)
Date: Thu, 4 Aug 2005 20:56:30 EDT
Subject: Re: Pidyon-ha-Ben Question

      Does a firstborn son born to a Jewish mother need a pidyon-ha-ben
      if there is no father, or if there is a nonJewish father?  (When I
      say no father, you may variously consider:

      1. deceased father
      2. divorced father
      3. unknown father
      4. sperm donor "father"

The obligation of Pidyon Haben is on the father and if not the father,
then the child himself.

I believe a Rabbi in the community can do it for him, but you may have
to ask a Shai'la because I don't know at what age the boy has to do it
himself, if its before Bar Mitzvah or after, and if it can be done by
someone else in the meantime.

Susan, S. Diego

From: Jechezkel Frank <jb@...>
Date: Fri, 5 Aug 2005 06:02:46 +0200
Subject: Pidyon-ha-Ben Question

If there is no father, there is no mitzvah for the mother to do a pidyon
haben on the son (as a result from the fact that a woman herself does
not require a pidyono). However, the son still has the obligation to
redeem himself if the father never did so (for whatever reason).

I thought I'd share with you a story that we experienced within our

My wife and I were not able to do a pidyon haben for our son since he
was born with a C-section (Caesarean). We were a bit sad about the fact
that we could not fulfill this one-off mitzvah.

One Shabbat, we were learning from the Sefer haMitzvot Hakatzar from the
Chofetz Chaim and learned that, if a father never redeemed his son, the
obligation is still upon the son to redeem himself. We were quite
surprised by this, since we always had the mistaken notion that the name
'Pidyon haBen' meant that the father must redeem the 'ben', the son.

And then I started thinking. 

My father, who was born during World War II (in Amsterdam), has never
met his father because his father was deported to Schoppinitz, Poland,
when his mother was pregnant with him. I wondered if my grandfather was
even able to do a pidyon to my father at all. After having asked my
father, we concluded, that it was impossible for him to have done the
pidyon since my grandfather passed away before my father was born.

This meant that my father still had to do his own pidyon! We spoke to
our local Rabbi who confirmed the matter.

Soon after that, a Pidyon haBen ceremony took place at the Rabbi's house
with a Kohen who is a friend of the family. As you may understand, this
was an emotional moment for my father, since, on the one hand, he was
reminded of his difficult fate in life of never having had a father. On
the other hand, he was able to perform such a rare mitzvah. Of course,
we had to have a special nusach for the pidyon, since the standard text
only mentions a dialog between the father and the Kohen!

My wife and I were also overwhelmed. Somehow, we felt Hashem has felt
our pain when we were no able to have a Pidyon haBen, and decided to
give us 'second chance' and give us such a beautiful part in the mitzvah
of Pidyon haBen. Or perhaps it was our grandfather, looking down from
Gan Eden, who finally managed to ensure my father would have what he
deserved all the way: a Pidyon haBen.

May we all be saved from tzarot like these, and may we never fail to
appreciate the Guiding Hand of Hashem in our lifes.

Jechezkel Frank,
Zurich, Switzerland

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Fri, 05 Aug 2005 12:52:13 +0100
Subject: Re: Pidyon-ha-Ben Question

The requirement for pidyon-ha-ben depends entirely on the mother (peter
rechem). Where there is no father either the Beit Din redeems the child
or he has to do so himself on reaching bar mitsvah.

Martin Stern


From: Eitan Fiorino <AFiorino@...>
Date: Thu, 4 Aug 2005 08:45:27 -0400
Subject: RE: Previous Texts

> From: Lipman Phillip Minden <phminden@...>
> Yisrael Medad asked:
> > [...]
> > instead of v'lamalshinim (slanderers) in the Shmoneh Esreh prayer, has a  
> > different text, in this case, v'lam'shumadim (apostators).
> >
> > My question is, can one today adopt earlier texts as they become  
> > available through research or must one keep with the text one has  
> > currently.
> In fact, there is reason to hold you aren't yotze with the current
> censured version!

I don't understand on what basis one would be "not yotzei" with the
current versions of this beracha?  If the basic theme of the beracha is
intact and the seifa is intact, how exactly is there ieven a question of
being yotzei.  How is this consistent with one being yotzei tefila with
considerably shortened forms of the amida under certain circumstances?



From: Carl A. Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Thu, 04 Aug 2005 07:15:48 -0400
Subject: Visitors in shul

We live in a very mobile society (fact) and a very insensitive one
(opinion.)  And one with many diverse davening minhagim (fact.)

I believe a major part of the problem is (lack of) communications.
Unfortunately, short of passing out a spec sheet to all visitors or
plastering the front wall of the shul with posters, it's difficult to
inform a visitor of various minhagim.

It is not uncommon to have visitors at davening.  Some visitors are
sensitive to being in a "strange" place and are careful listeners.
Others step boldly in as if they're davening in their home base, or
worse yet -- as if everyone else's nusach is wrong.

Our shul davens nusach ashkenas but the one Chabadnick who graces our
minyan and two or three sfardim who recently have joined us respond
"amen" instead of "Brei Chu" -- during the kaddish, likely out of habit.
That's not a great issue, but it is dissonant.

We also say "Al Tirah...." after Aleinu before kaddish.  It is here that
confusion reins supreme.  Visitors for weekday mincha / ma'ariv are
often people who are saying kaddish.  If they're cheeyuv and daven for
the amud, the gabbai will point this (Al Tirah) out to them.  But
invariably someone starts to say kaddish before the Chazen has said "Al

I'd be interested in how other shuls deal with similar issues.

Also what is halachik implication of yotzei mean ha'klal vs. breaking
one's minhag.  Simple example, if I'm in a nusach sfard shul do I
QUIETLY respond to the keddusah with my minhag ashkenas or should I say
the nusach sfard response.

Carl Singer


End of Volume 49 Issue 40