Volume 49 Number 46
                    Produced: Wed Aug 10  4:51:01 EDT 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

an Aramaic answer
         [Elazar M. Teitz]
Borders of Israel
         [Frank Silbermann]
Brich Shmeih on Shabbat
         [Joshua Hosseinof]
Davening "For" the Amud
         [Jeanette Friedman]
         [Menashe Elyashiv]
Out of Israel
         [Menashe Elyashiv]
Pidyon HaBen
Visitors in shul (2)
         [Jeffrey Kaufman, Martin Stern]
WWI and Jewish soldiers
         [Shalom Carmy]
WWI Truce
         [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz]


From: Elazar M. Teitz <remt@...>
Date: Tue, 9 Aug 2005 18:00:19 GMT
Subject: re: an Aramaic answer

> It's time to move this from a discussion within a Jewish elite (m-j)
> and borrow/paraphrase a line from a movie and yell - in private and at
> board meetings - I'm mad as hell and ain't gonna take it any more!
> Either begin teaching Aramaic as a language or I'll yank my kids, self
> and $$$ and put them in a place where the educators will teach it.

Be prepared to do home schooling, given that there are no schools below
college, and probably below graduate school, level which teach Aramaic
as a language.

The truth is that teaching Aramaic grammar would be a highly improper
misallocation of the schools' most precious commodity -- time.  The
knowledge of grammar would do little to enhance the understanding of
Talmud at the elementary or high school levels.  What is needed is a
vocabulary, and the meanings of certain key phrases; and any rebbe worth
his salt sees to it (especially at the beginning levels) that this
knowledge is imparted, in the course of teaching the g'mara itself.

Most schools begin Talmud in either the fifth or sixth grades.  Can you
imagine teaching the grammar of Aramaic at that level?  You would also
have to wait several years for teachers to be trained, since none at
that level have the requisite knowledge.

I have known many talmidei chachamim, including some who are or were
considered g'dolim by all.  Not one had ever had formal training in
Aramaic grammar, and knew of it only what they gleaned in the course of
learning Talmud and (an unfortunately neglected source of enhancing
vocabulary) doing sh'nayim mikra v'echad targum [the requirement that
the weekly portion be reviewed by studying the text twice, and the
Aramaic translation once].  Most would probably find it very challenging
to conduct even a simple conversation in Aramaic. I think that dispels
the notion that formally teaching the language is a necessity for a
grasp of Talmud.



From: Frank Silbermann <fs@...>
Date: Tue, 9 Aug 2005 08:43:05 -0500 (CDT)
Subject:  Borders of Israel

My point of view is that, as my life is not on the line daily the way is
true of residents of Israel, I will not presume to tell Israelis what to
do or not do with Gaza and other places.

Nor do I claim to have any understanding as to what they _should_ do.
Maintaining control requires ongoing combat; but not maintaining control
may lead to results that are just as bad.  I do not envy those whose
responsibility it is to decide.

As for the idea that Torah forbids us from making a tactical retreat, I
would answer that maintaining control requires us to re-conquer those
areas quite frequently.  One could argue that we have no more obligation
to keep re-conquering Gaza than, say, to go out and conquer the parts of
Eretz Israel that the modern State of Israel has never yet possessed.

Frank Silbermann	New Orleans, Louisiana		<fs@...>


From: Joshua Hosseinof <JHosseinof@...>
Date: Tue, 9 Aug 2005 14:28:30 -0400
Subject: Brich Shmeih on Shabbat

Stephen Phillips wrote:
> 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.

I was quite surprised to read this.  Sephardim only say Brich Shmeih on
Shabbat.  Looking at the teshuva in Yechaveh Da'at, it is a question
about saying Avinu Malkenu on Shabbat Rosh Hashannah (he concludes yes
to say it), and Brich Shmeih is one of the example cases brought down as
something that is said on Shabbat that is a personal request.  The
teshuva only mentions saying Brich Shmeih on shabbat as a justification
for Avinu Malkenu on Shabbat.  The teshuva does not address the
justifications for Brich Shmeih itself, nor does it indicate that Brich
Shmeih is said at anytime other than Shabbat.

I would also like to correct one earlier statement I made about Brich
Shmeih.  I had stated that the reason brought down in Rabbi Hamburger's
"Shorshei Minhag Ashkenaz" for saying Berich Shmei on Shabbat was
because of the phrase "brich kitrach v'atrach".  While that is one of
the reasons brought down by Rabbi Hamburger (it is quoted from the Ben
Ish Chai), the primary reason listed by Rabbi Hamburger for those who
say it on Shabbat, is because that section of the Zohar in Parashat
Vayaqhel is discussing hilchot shabbat in particular so it is only
appropriate to say Brich Shmeih on Shabbat.


From: <FriedmanJ@...> (Jeanette Friedman)
Date: Tue, 9 Aug 2005 06:26:26 EDT
Subject: Davening "For" the Amud

It's not FOR the amud. You are davening in front of it. FAHR dem amud.


From: Menashe Elyashiv <elyashm@...>
Date: Tue, 9 Aug 2005 14:28:35 +0300 (IDT)
Subject: Hiuv

Is there really an obligation to be a Shaliah Sibbur when in mourning?
It would seem that in the far past, communities would appoint a S"S who
was the Hazzan for every prayer. Is making a pirate minyan because 2
hiuvim want to be S"S proper? I think that the hiuv race is getting out
of control.


From: Menashe Elyashiv <elyashm@...>
Date: Tue, 9 Aug 2005 14:50:46 +0300 (IDT)
Subject: Out of Israel

The simple fact is that in Lebanon, they kept two days Yom Tov. After
Eilat was captured, it was natural that they kept one day, seeing them
selfs as Israelis. Eilat is very far from Jerusalem (ca. 4 hours drive),
was not populated in the Temple time, and by almost all opinions, is not
part of Biblical Israel. The fact was that they kept 1 day, and even if
this was incorrect, nobody would change it.


From: Fenella <fenellam@...>
Date: Mon, 8 Aug 2005 16:19:14 +0200
Subject: Pidyon HaBen

It is the first born son who opens the womb.  If the mother has no
previous, normally delivered children then Pidyon Haben is needed.  It
makes no difference if the mother converted, a Jew is a Jew, whether
they were born Jewish or chose to be Jewish.  If the mothers conversion
was not halachic then it would be a different matter of course!  Also if
the father is a Levi (or, in a different scenario, a Cohen) there is an
exemption.  A previous miscarriage also exempts from Pidyon Haben (I
think only a miscarriage taking place after 40 days of pregnancy but I
am not 100% sure on that)

I once asked, if a convert has children before conversion, given that
she spiritually becomes a new being when she emerges from the mikveh,
would a son then born later be eligible for Pidyon Haben?  The answer
was no, as it is purely a physical matter of whether she has previously
given birth or not.



From: <D26JJ@...> (Jeffrey Kaufman)
Date: Tue, 9 Aug 2005 10:16:03 EDT
Subject: Re: Visitors in shul

Bernard Raab <beraab@...> wrote

> I was in a strange shul (more like a "shtiebel") for the first (and
> only) time. The gabbai asked if there was a chiyuv present. I looked
> around and, seeing no others, I raised my hand. He looked me over, and
> declared that I needed a "hittel", a hat, to cover my kipah, and he
> scurried off to find one. He returned with a battered, stained, and
> ...
> hachnasat orchim, at that point I started to feel that I was
> impersonating someone else, and had to decline the honor. Was I wrong?
> Is there a "Randy Cohen" in the house?

Bernie, I was just in a similar situation yesterday.

I do usually wear a hat for davening but I did not have it with me when
I hurried to catch the last Mincha before Shkia at a popular "Minyan
Factory" in Flatbush (where on occasion I get to daven for the
amud). The gabbai (knowing that I am a chiyuv) offered me the amud. I
politely declined explaining that I did not have my hat with me. (The
shul requires the shat"z to wear a jacket, hat and gartel - they supply
the gartel) Three people graciously offered me their hats. Two of them
fell over my ears and one sat on the top of my head like a little tin
cup. I told them that all these hats look foolish on me therefore I
could not wear any of them. Someone said that no one cares what it looks
like. I told him that if we wear a hat because of Kavod it is certainly
not "kavodik" to look like a fool. I did not go to the amud.

Jeffrey Kaufman

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, 09 Aug 2005 10:14:00 +0100
Subject: Re: Visitors in shul

on 8/8/05 10:31 am, Carl A. Singer <casinger@...> wrote:

> 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.

Perhaps a welcoming notice should be put up as, I believe, is done in
Carl's shul which can 'warn' visitors of any unusual 'major' local
minhagim. For example, I have suggested that my shul draws visitors'
attention to our minhag that only one person says each kaddish and that
they should speak to a gabbai if they wish to say one. More minor
variations are best left out in order not to overburden visitors.

The crucial point is to be as welcoming as possible but to avoid
embarrassing situations from arising. A very common problem is where a
visitor is given the honour of opening the aron hakodesh but is not told
in advance how to do so. Shuls have quite a variety of arrangements,
some have draw string for the parochet, others do not; some open from
right to left, others from left to right, so the poor visitor may well
go up and spend an embarrassing minute fumbling with it before someone
realises his predicament and goes up to help him. A little forethought
could have avoided this public humiliation.

I suppose Orrin could use this as a way to get rid of his 'yahrzeit from
hell' visitor but that would be a matter of last resort.

> 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.

The latter are behaving in an unacceptably rude manner.

> 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.

This is an example of what I referred to above as a minor variation.

> 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
> Tirah."

Since this disrupts davenning, it is better to put it on the 'welcome'

> 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.

AFAIK the general rule is that for what is not noticeable to others, one
follows one's private minhag but, where something is noticeable, one
follows the custom of the place. Our minhag in kedushah is to say only
'Kadosh...', 'Barukh...' and 'Yimlokh...', the introductory portions
only being said by the chazan, so, when in other shuls, I have to appear
to be saying the local nussach though, since it would be inaudible, I
can in reality avoid it; after all, there is no need to shout
'Nekadeish...' or 'Na'aritsach...'.

Martin Stern


From: <carmy@...> (Shalom Carmy)
Date: Tue,  9 Aug 2005 10:41:51 -0400
Subject: WWI and Jewish soldiers

> From: Nathan Lamm <nelamm18@...>
> I find this unlikely- there were Jews on all sides, but enough for a
> minyan?
> There was the famous "Christmas Truce," in which British and German
> soldiers sang carols and played football together. Maybe this is a
> Jewish adaptation of that story.

Probably true.

R. Amiel, in one of his derashot, uses story of a Jew who comes across a
dying enemy soldier who says Shma Yisrael.


From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabba.hillel@...>
Date: Tue, 09 Aug 2005 08:52:23 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Re: WWI Truce

Rabbi Wein in a recent tape of the month pointed out that Jews served in
the German army as a greater percentage (of Jews) than nonJews (as a
percentage of their groups).  The Germans kept excellent records on this
but lied about the statistics in order to minimize the number of Jews
reported as having served.

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz | Said the fox to the fish, "Join me ashore"
<Sabba.Hillel@...> | The fish are the Jews, Torah is our water


End of Volume 49 Issue 46