Volume 49 Number 61
                    Produced: Thu Aug 18  5:14:12 EDT 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Chassidic Story
         [Batya Medad]
Customs of the Place- Minhag  haMakom (5)
         [Stuart Pilichowski, Mark Symons, Gershon Dubin, Martin Stern,
Tom Buchler]
Dibur hamatchil (2)
         [<bdcohen@...>, David Curwin]
         [Arnie Kuzmack]
Jews and "ogresses"
         [Janice Gelb]
Mezuzah Question
         [Joshua Hosseinof]
Pidyon Haben
         [Aliza Berger]
Volume of tephilah
         [Evan Rock]


From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Wed, 17 Aug 2005 13:02:06 +0200
Subject: Re: Chassidic Story

about that chassidic story dovening with a flute or whatever

As I remember it, it was someone mute, who had no other way to
communicate.  Meaning it doesn't justify all of the non-handicapped
people who clap, bang, tap, raise (swing) their arms to the side like a
cross etc during dovening.  Some of us are "disabled" in a different way
and totally lose our concentration (kavanah).  It's terribly distracting
and selfish for people who can pray conventonally and quietly to put on
shows.  A minyan, t'fillah b'tzibbur is a group effort, not an
opportunity for people to show their originality to a syncopated beat.

http://me-ander.blogspot.com/  http://shilohpics.blogspot.com/


From: Stuart Pilichowski <cshmuel@...>
Date: Mon, 15 Aug 2005 15:38:46 +0000
Subject: Customs of the Place- Minhag  haMakom 

I daven in either of two minyanim. One is a yeshiva minyan, one is a
baalibatishe minyan.

In both minyanim when it comes to the mourner's kaddish, for example,
everyone does their own thing all together - the ashkenazi, sefard, edat
hamizrach. Everyone is respectful of the other and waits at the
appropriate times so that everyone says it all in unison and all finish

Why do people have to make things so difficult?

Stuart Pilichowski
Mevaseret Zion, Israel

From: Mark Symons <msymons@...>
Date: Wed, 17 Aug 2005 22:34:33 +1000
Subject: Customs of the Place- Minhag  haMakom

> From: Irwin Weiss <irwin@...>
> 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? ...

That reminds of the (probably apocryphal) story I heard about a certain
prominent Rabbi (whose disciples tended to closely observe his every
behavior and follow it) who was making Havdala one Motzaei Shabbat, when
there happened to be a broom in the way. He picked up the broom and
moved it aside, taking care to point out that there was no particular
significance in his moving the broom, it wasn't a minhag, but he merely
needed it out of the way. Subsequently, when his disciples made Havdala,
they would make sure there was a broom there, then move it out of the
way, saying "this isn't a minhag, I'm just moving the broom out of the

Mark Symons

From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Wed, 17 Aug 2005 13:14:58 GMT
Subject: Customs of the Place- Minhag  haMakom

> From: Irwin Weiss <irwin@...>

>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.>>

It isn't (completely) made up.  The Bach tells, in the introduction to
his sefer on Rus, of a shul of which he became the rav.  They had the
custom, source unknown to anyone, of facing the back of the shul during
Rosh Chodesh bentschin.  He tells how he researched it and found some
old man on his deathbed who gave him the reason.  BTW it wasn't any
government decree, but simply a shortage of siddurim.


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Wed, 17 Aug 2005 11:26:59 +0100
Subject: Re: Customs of the Place- Minhag  haMakom

There are innumerable such stories and perhaps some of them are
true. Here are two which I rather like.

In a certain shul they had the minhag after opening the Aron Hakodesh,
but before taking out the Sefer Torah, to turn round to fave the back
wall fora few minutes. Nobody knew why but nobody would question this
ancient custom which had been practised for generations. Eventually it
was decided to make some alterations which meant that the shul had to be
fully redecorated and one member said he would cover the costs provided
it was done 'properly' this time, i.e. the accumulated layers of paint
should first be removed. It was then discovered that the text of Berikh
Shemeih was written on the back wall and the 'minhag' was explained. In
the seventeenth century, when this custom was introduced, it was not to
be found in siddurim so someone had thought to write it on the only wall
that was clear and the tsibbur had had to turn to it in order to read
it. Even after it was printed in the siddurim and the wall was painted
over the 'custom' of turning round persisted.

The second story is of a shul where, when taking out the Sefer Torah,
they would genuflect and bend their heads as they passed the mid-point
of the bimah. Examination of shul records showed that several centuries
previously while the shul was being constructed, the local porits had
made some large financial demand on the community which drained its
resources so that construction had to be halted. As the shul was almost
complete they decided to use it as it was until funds became available
but some scaffolding remained. This left a slightly low beam at the
right side of the bimah which one had to duck under and this was the
origin of the 'custom' which remained after the shul was eventually
completed years later.

Martin Stern

From: Tom Buchler <tbuchler@...>
Date: Wed, 17 Aug 2005 11:37:43 -0400
Subject: Re: Customs of the Place- Minhag  haMakom

In Trebic, a short drive from Prague, one of the shuls (now a museum)
has siddur text painted on the walls. I would find the story entirely
reasonable, based on such physical evidence.

One of my favorite stories of this kind involves a shul where the custom
was to bow while ascending to the bima. The new rabbi, inquiring about
this custom, discovered that decades earlier there was a low-hanging
chandelier over the steps that the congregants had to duck under.



From: <bdcohen@...>
Date: Wed, 17 Aug 2005 13:00:22 -0400
Subject: Dibur hamatchil

> Pesachim 49B, the first tosafot, 'dibur hamatchil' (beginning with...
> - is there an English term for that?)

Yes, "Starting Verse" usually abbreviated in a footnote as s.v.

From: David Curwin <tobyndave@...>
Date: Wed, 17 Aug 2005 12:52:41 +0200
Subject: Dibur hamatchil

The term in English for "dibur hamatchil" is "s.v." = Latin "sub vero" =
"under the word."

-Dave Curwin


From: Arnie Kuzmack <Arnie@...>
Date: Mon, 15 Aug 2005 23:25:57 -0400
Subject: "Jewess"

Akiva wrote:

> But I guess I should admit that of all these, "Jewess" is the only one
> referring to a religion or nationality, nor are any of them
> capitalized. We don't find Baptess, Hindess, Frenchess or Chiness, for
> example.

There is also "Negress", which is also now considered offensive.  The
reason both "Jewess" and "Negress" are considered offensive appears to
be the implication that both Jews and Negroes are not quite human, so
that females of the two groups were given a separate term, just like the
females of some animal species.

In the past, both were neutral terms.  For example, there was a
newspaper called "The American Jewess" from 1895 to 1899.

Arnie Kuzmack


From: Janice Gelb <j_gelb@...>
Date: Mon, 15 Aug 2005 09:40:22 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: Jews and "ogresses"

Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...> wrote:
> Yeshaya Halevi wrote:
> > Using "ess" at the end of "Jew" was a way to dehumanize us. Ogres had
> > ogresses, lions had lionesses etc. About the only positive exception
> > that comes to mind is "prince" and "princess."
> and baroness, goddess, duchess, empress, hostess, priestess, prophetess
> Not to mention the more neutral actress, stewardess, waitress,
> headmistress, seamstress, hostess...

Just for the record, many of these "neutral" -ess terms are now
considered old-fashioned and are in transition: many "actresses" now use
the term "actor" to refer to themselves (as anyone who watches BRAVO's
"Inside the Actor's Studio" is aware :-> ), "flight attendant" is
preferred over "stewardess," "server" rather than "waitress," and so on.

-- Janice


From: Joshua Hosseinof <JHosseinof@...>
Date: Mon, 15 Aug 2005 12:14:50 -0400
Subject: Mezuzah Question

I was discussing over shabbat with somebody a case where a frum family
had sold an apartment to another Jewish family and had taken the
mezuzahs off of the doorposts in the apartment.  We were surprised that
they had removed the mezuzahs because of the well-known halacha that if
you move out of a house and another Jewish family moves in you are
required to leave the mezuzahs on the doorposts.  However, as soon as I
looked up the relevant halacha in Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah 291:2 I saw
that it only talks about renters- where if you are renting a house and
you move out, and you know the next tenant of the house is Jewish you
must leave the mezuzahs.  The halachah is based on a gemara in Bava
Metzia 102a (which I now remember having learned many years ago in
Yeshiva) which also uses the specific language of renters and not

The only references I can find that expand the requirement of leaving
the mezuzah behind to include sellers of a house are the Kitzur Shulchan
Aruch 11:22, and the responsa of Shivat Ziot #110 (Rabbi Shmuel Landau -
son of the Noda Bihuda).  The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch writes in language
that applies to either renters or sellers by simply saying that if you
move out of a home and and the next person to live there will be a Jew,
then you must leave the mezuzah.  The Shivat Zion discusses a case where
someone sold a house and did not explicitly say that included in the
sale were everying inside the house, does that person need to leave
behind the mezuzahs.  Shivat Zion first quotes Shulchan Aruch Choshen
Mishpat 214:11 where we learn that a sale of home that does not specify
what is included in the sale implicitly includes any fixture attached to
bricks or cement, but fixtures attached by nails to wood parts of the
house are not included in the sale.  But then the Shivat Zion takes a
most extraordinary turn - he uses the Gemara in Bava Metzia 102a and the
halacha in Shulchan Aruch YD 291:2 to conclude that the seller of the
home is not allowed to remove the mezuzahs, but without making any
attempt as far as I can tell to explain why a sale of a home should be
included in the rather explicit statements in the Gemara and Shulchan
Aruch that specify only renters.  The Shivat Zion finally concludes that
in Prague, where the question arose, the general transacation law in
effect was that anything attached to the home during a sale whether
attached to wood beams by nails or attached to the cement and bricks is
included in a sale (so therefore the seller in that case had to leave
the mezuzahs).

With that background in mind - I am curious as to how everyone, myself
included, has had the impression that when you sell a home to another
Jew you must leave the mezuzahs behind.  Now I'm not advocating to
anyone that when they sell their homes that they should take their
mezuzahs with them.  I just want to know if the halacha is truly that a
home-seller can take the mezuzahs, or if a home-seller is not allowed to
take the mezuzahs then what is the source of that requirement since the
sources in Gemara and Shulchan Aruch only talk about renters.


From: Aliza Berger <alizadov@...>
Date: Tue, 16 Aug 2005 14:07:54 +0200
Subject: Pidyon Haben

Shimon Lebowitz wrote:

>I have a recollection that there is one [tosafot] which says that the
>daughter of a kohen is a valid recipient for monetary "matnot kehuna"
>(gifts to the priesthood).

So could a bat-kohen be the recepient at a pidyon haben? If not, why
not?  Too bad we missed our chance and used my brother-in-law...Our son
was the 5th (!) generation of bechor (first-born male) born to bechor.

Regarding parties, people do sometimes make a party for a pidyon haben,
like for a brit.

Aliza Berger-Cooper, PhD
English Editing: www.editing-proofreading.com
Statistics Consulting: www.statistics-help.com


From: Evan Rock <theevanrock@...>
Date: Mon, 15 Aug 2005 09:14:14 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Volume of tephilah

There is man in a minyan that I go to who shouts his when he say the
kaddish, so much so that he drowns others and when davening he is a
verse ahead of the others and says it in such a voice that it can be
heard all the shul.

I have been told that his practice is to be commended that indeed one
has to shout the kaddish is that so?


End of Volume 49 Issue 61