Volume 49 Number 57
                    Produced: Wed Aug 17  5:34:31 EDT 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Chassidic Stories (3)
         [Shoshana Ziskind, Shimon Lebowitz, Jeanette Friedman]
Customs of the Place- Minhag  haMakom
         [Irwin Weiss]
-ess Words
         [Nathan Lamm]
Jackets for Tefillah (3)
         [Joel Rich, Martin Stern, Bill Bernstein]
Minhag haMakom
         [Carl A. Singer]
Pidyon HaBen
         [Shimon Lebowitz]
Separation of Church and State
         [Martin Stern]
Visitors, chiyuvim, and nightmare shelichei tzibur
         [Martin Stern]


From: Shoshana Ziskind <shosh@...>
Date: Mon, 15 Aug 2005 06:07:04 -0400
Subject: Re: Chassidic Stories

On Aug 15, 2005, at 5:44 AM, <FriedmanJ@...> (Jeanette Friedman) 

someone wrote first:
>       1) a person who didn't know how to daven, so on yom kippur in shul
>       he, according to different versions, either whistled or said the
>       aleph bet instead of the text of the tefilot, and was criticized
>       by baale batim next to him, until the end when it was revealed, in
>       diff.  ways in diff.  editions, that his tefilah is the greatest
>       of all those in the shul.
> No, it was a mute boy who took out a flute...and it was Reb Nachman, if
> I remember correctly who said that his flute opened shaarei shamayim to
> the tefillah of the kehilla.
> would that such tolerance be displayed today.

But as the story is written here the boy as criticized and that's how
I've heard the story as well which implies that people weren't exactly
so tolerant of people then either.  I don't have experiences from "back
then" but my gut feeling based on reading chassidic stories is that at
least in these stories, there wasn't necessarily more tolerance shown
back then than now. In fact, many chassidic stories highlight how before
the Baal Shem Tov, many simple yidden were not treated necessarily so
well because if you weren't a Torah scholar then you were looked down
upon or at least that is how its painted in these stories.  One thing
the Besh"t accomplished was to show how every single yid is special and
has a special purpose.  Before then it could be argued that there was
less "tolerance" for the simple yidden.

My gut feeling that tolerance is a middah which people have needed to 
work on for quite some time, not just in 5765 or 5565 or even 5465.

Shoshana Ziskind

From: Shimon Lebowitz <shimonl@...>
Date: Mon, 15 Aug 2005 14:48:44 +0200
Subject: Re: Chassidic Stories

The story quoted said:
> either whistled or said the aleph bet instead of the text of the
> tefilot, and was criticized by baale batim next to him,

to which Jeanette responded:
> would that such tolerance be displayed today.

So, where in the story is there tolerance for whistling (or, playing the
flute, as the Jeanette corrected)?

And besides, since when do hassidic tales define proper decorum in shul?
Just because some mythical boy "opened the gates of heaven" with flute
playing, we should allow such activity in our shuls? I personally don't
think so.

Shimon Lebowitz                           mailto:<shimonl@...>
Jerusalem, Israel            PGP: http://www.poboxes.com/shimonpgp

From: <FriedmanJ@...> (Jeanette Friedman)
Date: Mon, 15 Aug 2005 08:53:53 EDT
Subject: Re: Chassidic Stories

Eliezer Wenger is right, it was the Berditchever.


From: Irwin Weiss <irwin@...>
Date: Mon, 15 Aug 2005 07:55:14 -0400
Subject: Customs of the Place- Minhag  haMakom

Shmuel Himelstein wrote a somewhat humorous (to me) note on "Subject:
Customs of the Place - Minhag HaMakom in Vol. 49, #55.  Though he was a
"founder" of the shul, he was unaware of a Minhag to give preference to
a person with a hat on for an aliyah (at least on Shabbat Mincha, and I
presume at other times).  He ceased wearing a hat to restore equality.

Sometimes we have Minhagim and we don't know where they come from and
they really have no basis.  It's like the family argument that goes on
for generations and is still creating a rift amongst the family members,
but no one remembers why the fight started, just that there must be good

Someone told me about a shul discovered in Europe where the people would
daven the Amidah initially facing east, and then turn 90 degrees to the
right about a quarter of the way through, and then, another 1/4 of the
way through once again turn another 90 degrees to the right and so on,
so they finished again facing east.  From whence came the minhag? Well,
the story is that the evil monarch in the area had banned Siddurim
(prayer books) so that the machers (big-whigs) in the shul wrote the
Shemonah Esreh on the walls of the shul--starting with the Eastern wall,
and then the Southern wall, so that to daven one would have to turn to
read the prayers from the walls.  This circumscribed (literally) the
decree. Well, years later, siddurim were permitted and the walls were
painted over, but the members of the shul apparently thought that it was
customary to daven in that fashion, so the custom of rotational
davenning perservered.  I have always thought the story was made up, and
maybe it is, but it illustrates the point.

Irwin E. Weiss, Esq.


From: Nathan Lamm <nelamm18@...>
Date: Mon, 15 Aug 2005 05:46:46 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: -ess Words

One ethnic word is "Negress," which is also seen as being quite
derogatory today. I think this may go back to a time when male/female
terms were well separated: One would never refer to a female "waiter" or
"actor," for example. (On the other hand, "man" meant "human".)  Now
that we have female waiters, actors, and so on, "waitress," "actress,"
and "Jewess" have become passe and sometimes offensive.


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Mon, 15 Aug 2005 08:26:37 -0400
Subject: Jackets for Tefillah

> While I realize that there are many shuls that allow men without
> jackets to daven for the amud, and in Israel I notice there are many
> people as well who do, is it not more respectful to Hakadosh Baruch Hu
> to come properly dressed to daven to him, with a jacket, socks and
> shoes?  I am not the first to make this comparison, but there are
> occasions when even these casually people will dress for a client or
> an important person.  Doesn't Hashem deserve the same?

> S.Wise

Without discussing the halachik issue, I would point out that in the
States it is very common for top level meetings to take place in
"business casual" (read no jackets).  You might also consider where the
"jacket" came from in the first place (i.e. whose idea of proper dress
was this - Jews or Non-Jewish?)

Joel Rich

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, 15 Aug 2005 12:13:29 +0100
Subject: Re: Jackets for Tefillah

on 15/8/05 11:02 am, <Smwise3@...> (S. Wise) wrote:

This says it all! I am only commenting because I happened to ask my rav
about davenning without shoes on leil Tish'a beAv this year when it is
motsa'ei shabbat. I have slip on shoes which I could easily kick off
immediately after barekhu but putting on what I think are called
sneakers in the US is quite a time-consuming nuisance. His psak was that
there was no need to wear such footgear and I could daven in my
socks. He suggested that this might be compared to the kohanim who were
obliged to perform the avodah in the Beit HaMikdash barefoot. I did this
and only put on the Tish'a beAv shoes before going home.

Martin Stern

From: Bill Bernstein <billbernstein@...>
Date: Mon, 15 Aug 2005 08:28:57 -0500
Subject: Re: Jackets for Tefillah

In 2000 I accompanied my wife's uncle back to his native Hamburg, as a
guest of the city.  This was part of Hamburg's program to bring back
former residents (i.e. Jews) who had fled.  There were a number of other
people on the trip, many from Israel, and all of them not religious.
One highlight of the trip was lunch with the Burgermeister (mayor) at
City Hall.  On the way in I noticed one of the men from Israel wearing a
tie.  Half-joking I observed to him that if he didnt wear a tie to shul
on Shabbat then why was he wearing one to lunch with the Burgermeister?
He didn't really respect the Burgermeister more than HaShem, did he?  He
answered, the Burgermeister is a little man so he wouldnt understand if
I came without a tie.  But HaShem is big so He understands when I dont.
Uncle Hermann's comment when I told him was "Israelis, they have an
answer for everything."

Bill Bernstein


From: Carl A. Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Mon, 15 Aug 2005 07:17:36 -0400
Subject: Minhag haMakom

I long ago related the story of a shul where the minhag haMakom was
whatever the schatz brought to the amud.  In this case it was an Israeli
shul populated by frum Jews from various parts of Europe.  These
remnants (and I use the term affectionately) davened as they had done in
their home towns.  I've since seen postings of similar accommodations.

That said, I've recently been assaulted by strange sounds in shul where
people use their own wording variant, not that of the shul.  I'm not
concerned with the authenticity (or even preference) of the change -- my
problem is the unilateral change foisted by the schatz.  Two cases in
point: One person who purposely skips "v'yeeshalal" in kaddish and
another who says "sh'lo assahni nachri" instead of .... "goy"

I wondering how other shuls deal with this?  Apparently supplying the
Schatz with the shul's siddur is not sufficient.

Carl Singer


From: Shimon Lebowitz <shimonl@...>
Date: Mon, 15 Aug 2005 14:48:44 +0200
Subject: Re: Pidyon HaBen

Well, to answer my own posting (with my father's help, he told me where
the tosafot was):

> I do not think this is the only case. I do not remember all of the
> tosafot in shas (thereby invalidating myself as a posek) but I have a
> recollection that there is one which says that the daughter of a kohen
> is a valid recipient for monetary "matnot kehuna" (gifts to the
> priesthood).

Pesachim 49B, the first tosafot, 'dibur hamatchil' (beginning with...  -
is there an English term for that?) "Amar Rav Kahana" quotes the gemara
Kiddushin 8A that Rav Kahana accepted a sudar (a garment) as pidyon
haben, and the gemara in Hulin 132A that he ate the kohein's portions of
a slaughtered animal. In both cases, Rav Kahane, who was *not* a kohein
(it was just his name, like a lot of Mr Cohen today) accepted these
priestly portions because his *wife* was the daughter of a kohein.

According to the Ein Mishpat on Hulin 132A, this halacha is in the
Rambam at Hilchot Bikurim 9:20, but my MTR Rambam shows it as halacha
18: 'A kohenet can eat "matanot", even if she is married to a Yisrael,
because they have no sanctity; and what is more, her husband can eat
because of her'.

The Shulchan `Aruch, Yoreh De`ah 61:8 also says explicitely "one who
gave the matanot to her (the kohenet's) husband who is a Yisrael, has
performed the mitzva of the gift, and of course the husband himself is
patur from giving".

These halachot refer to parts of a slaughtered animal, but the tosafot
also mentioned pidyon haben, and the Rambam stating lack of sanctity as
a reason, seems to include all of the monetary gifts (e.g. the first of
the shearing).

Shimon Lebowitz                           mailto:<shimonl@...>
Jerusalem, Israel            PGP: http://www.poboxes.com/shimonpgp


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, 15 Aug 2005 11:59:12 +0100
Subject: Re: Separation of Church and State

on 15/8/05 10:44 am, Bernard Raab <beraab@...> wrote:
>> From: <Dagoobster@...> (Chaim Shapiro)
>> I must remind [Lisa Liel] that the "wall of separation" is based on
>> Constitutional case law, and is NOT found in the Bill Of Rights.
> Of course it is. It is called the "establishment clause" in the first
> amendment. It reads: "Congress shall make no law respecting an
> establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...."

As an outsider, living in England with an established church, I always
understood "religion" in the context of the first amendment to refer to
a specific religious organisation like a church, rather than religion as
an abstract concept, and this is why dollar bills can have "In God we
trust" on them since it has no specific sectarian implication. If this
is incorrect perhaps one of our US legal experts can correct me.

Martin Stern


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, 15 Aug 2005 12:22:32 +0100
Subject: Re: Visitors, chiyuvim, and nightmare shelichei tzibur

on 15/8/05 11:02 am, Avi Feldblum at <mljewish@...> wrote:
> First, thank you, Martin Stern and others, for practical suggestions on
> how to deal with potential nighmare shelichei tzibbur.
> As I mentioned earlier, though, the MB suggests, and
> the book by Fuchs says, that "merutze lakahal" does not apply to maariv.
> I agree with the suggestions that in my nightmare scenario, I should
> just conveniently ignore this.

Just one further thought on this point: is the requirement of "merutze
lakahal" linked to shelichut in that there is no chazarat hashats at
ma'ariv in which, theoretically, the shats could be exempting those
present who are unable to daven themselves?

Martin Stern


End of Volume 49 Issue 57