Volume 49 Number 72
                    Produced: Thu Aug 25  5:09:25 EDT 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Jackets (and Hats) for Tefilah
         [Frank Silbermann]
Jackets and hats in shul (3)
         [Batya Medad, Sholom Parnes, <FriedmanJ@...>]
Minhag Hamokom (2)
         [Joel Rich, Ira L. Jacobson]
Rabbinical Mathematics
Removing hats
         [David Curwin]
Volume of tephilah


From: Frank Silbermann <fs@...>
Date: Tue, 23 Aug 2005 10:39:52 -0500 (CDT)
Subject:  Jackets (and Hats) for Tefilah

I can respect the opinion that Jews ought to dress up somewhat for
prayer; but I don't think we can expect people to wear their "Sunday
Best" for every daily minion.

I've read that in the Middle Ages the custom of covering one's head when
saying a prayer or bracha was not yet universal; nowadays, according to
some, a single headcovering isn't even enough.  (I always thought
allowing one's kippah to hang down below one's hat was sloppy -- sort of
like when a woman's slip shows.)

Because we cover our heads to say a prayer or bracha, we now have the
custom of wearing a yarmulkah everywhere.  If a jacket is to be required
for prayer, will we eventually _all_ become "Yekkes"?  [Yekke is a
nickname for a German Jew in Israel -- because so many of them felt
naked without a jacket]

Is there a way we can resist the secular trend towards increasing
casualness and ever-lowering standards without risking

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


From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Tue, 23 Aug 2005 20:14:08 +0200
Subject: Jackets and hats in shul

Really, men, sorry but I think you wore out a topic that is more
cultural than halachik.  It's pretty far removed from the 613 mitzvot.

Travel around the world and time machine to Torah-true Jewish
communities, and you'll find a great variety in clothing norms and
acceptability for dovening.  The T'fillah of a man in full suit, tie,
hat etc is not necessarily more spiritual or correct or "mechubad" or
accepted by G-d than one in jeans and tee shirt.  It depends on the

I may be causing lots of traffic by this next statement, but I'm pretty
sure that halachikly your topic has less halachik significance than a
discussion of most halachkly proper hair covering for married women.
Not to leave those of you who don't know me in suspense, I wear anything
but a wig, except on Purim.  The story is in Chapter 18 of the book by
Urim Press about women's hair covering.


From: Sholom Parnes <merbe@...>
Date: Tue, 23 Aug 2005 16:33:56 +0200
Subject: Jackets and hats in shul

Based on the various postings regarding appropriate dress code for shul,
I think that we can conclude the the standards vary from place to place
and it certainly would not hurt if everyone showed respect for everyone

I once heard about the practice in Kerem be'Yavneh some 30+ years ago.
On the first shabbat in ELUL some non-Israeli students would invariably
show up for tefillah on Shabbat sans jacket and tie.  The Mashgiach at
the time ( I believe it was Rav Chaim Lifschitz) would send them back to
the dorm to get their ties and jackets. While he did not say anything to
the Israeli students, he explained that jacket and tie were the standard
of kavod for the American, English etc. students. Just because they were
in Israel learning for a year did not absolve them of their obligation
to show proper kavod as they were brought up.


From: <FriedmanJ@...>
Date: Wed, 24 Aug 2005 08:57:09 EDT
Subject: Re: Jackets and hats in shul

      Athough the rov may have been correct about an "objective level of
      respect," he is guilty of historical revisionism if he contends
      that an additional head covering was worn over one's yarmulka.

      The custom of keeping one's yarmulke on when donning a hat is, in
      yeshivishe circles, less than 50 years old.  Indeed, many rabbonim
      in Europe wore cylindrical yarmulkes with a flat top. (Rav Moshe
      Feinstein did so all his life.)  They *had* to be removed when a
      hat was worn -- the hat wouldn't fit over it.

Let's go back to the good old days, the late 50s and early 60s in Crown
Heights. I have written about this extensively. Let's just say that the
wearing of hats was a reaction to the non-wearing of hats by John
Kennedy....and that's why most guys wear black borsalinos, because hat
makers generally stopped making hats, and borsolinos and biber hits were
all that was available in the hat store on B'way in Williamsburgh. That
and shtreimlach.

Same is true for colored beanies, jeans and plaid
shirts. OUT. GONE. Good bye. Everyone had to switch to black or gray
chinos, jackets and hats, because it was proper and decent, and not
prust, like by the goyim.  In fact, I think it was Soupy Sales and his
beanie that put the kaibash on colored triangles in kippot--everyone
switched to solid black or kippah srugah. In fact, there was even a time
when EVERYONE wore kippot srugot---only the charedim, who never called
themselves charedim, wore them in black, like my dad did....and he was
gung-ho Agudah all the way.

I just love revisionist history.


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Wed, 24 Aug 2005 05:25:49 -0400
Subject: Minhag Hamokom

> The Kedushah itself is the same in every nusach, only the connecting
> phrases, which for us of German origin only the shats says in any case,
> differ. However, AFAIK Joel is correct and Stuart is not and one should
> not say anything audibly different from the local version under the
> prohibition of "agudot agudot", having divergent practices in the same
> place.

>> No one in my minyan(s) has any problem whatsoever with everyone saying
>> the kaddish of their own nusach or tradition.

>It would appear that these minyanim do not have their own nusach or
>minhag else it would be highly incorrect to do so.
> Martin Stern

This approach (kol hayashar benav=do your own thing) is quite common,
yet I've asked a few Rabbis and the general reaction (both to kaddish
and kedusha which are said out loud and thus different than private
prayer which one does stick to one's own nusach) is you're right

Joel rich

From: Ira L. Jacobson <iraeljay@...>
Date: Wed, 24 Aug 2005 12:42:19 +0300
Subject: Re: Minhag Hamokom

Marin Stern stated:

>> No one in my minyan(s) has any problem whatsoever with everyone
>> saying the kaddish of their own nusach or tradition.

> It would appear that these minyanim do not have their own nusach or
> minhag else it would be highly incorrect to do so.

Rav Aviner in a teshuva considers R' Moshe Feisnstein's pesaq on this
issue and, despite that, then pasqens the other way.  That is, each one
says the qedusha that is part of his own minhag.

IRA L. JACOBSON         


From: <Rt235@...> (Reuven)
Date: Wed, 24 Aug 2005 12:53:37 EDT
Subject: Rabbinical Mathematics

Hi, I'm looking for some resources in Rabbinical Mathematics and
Rabbinical Astronomy. I'm trying to develop courses in these areas.



From: David Curwin <tobyndave@...>
Date: Tue, 23 Aug 2005 14:54:03 +0300
Subject: Removing hats

> From: Nathan Lamm <nelamm18@...>
> It is difficult, if not pointless, to attempt to draw lessons of what
> constitutes "respectful" dress from former times- for example, in the
> days (before the 1960's) when hats were typically worn in the Western
> world, one showed respect by *removing* one's hat. To see this in
> action today, see what is done by people in uniform (military,
> police), who still cover their heads: Upon entering a building, their
> headgear comes off. If covering their heads, American civilians are
> supposed to remove their hats when the National Anthem is played.

This goes very far back. In fact, there's a midrash in VaYikra Raba
(don't have it in front of me) where it says that God doesn't *force* us
to remove our hats when we say kriyat shema.

-Dave Curwin


From: <Phyllostac@...>
Date: Tue, 23 Aug 2005 13:07:25 EDT
Subject: Volume of tephilah

> From: Evan Rock <theevanrock@...>
> 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?

Such a situation (someone who shouts parts of davening at excessively
high volume) can be a serious problem and a serious disruption to our
holy and divine services.

I believe that such a person, rather than being classified as holy and
saintly, should rather be categorized as a 'chossid shoteh' (a 'pious'
fool). The great sage Hillel teaches us in Pirkei Ovos (beginning of
chapter two), that "lo am ha'aretz chossid" - an ignorant person cannot
be fully and properly pious in our faith.

Such a person can definitely be said to be violating the proverbial
'fifth cheilek' of Shulchan Oruch - which deals with 'common sense' and
'derech eretz' (proper ethical behavior). Our holy sages teach us that
'derech eretz kodmo laTorah' - proper ethical behavior precedes
Torah. He is disturbing the concentration of others in the congregation
and disrupting the services. I suspect that Rav Yisroel Salanter z"l
would clearly say that such behavior is improper and foolish
pseudo-piety, when someone like that tramples upon the sensitivities of
his neighbors while allegedly being pious, and other great rabbis would

Beyond violation of the proverbial 'fifth cheilek', I think a strong
case can be made that he is in violation of other Torah teachings as

There is a principle of 'derocheha darchei noam' - the ways of the Torah
are ways of pleasantness. Shouting wildly and disruptively seems in
violation of that.

The gemara also teaches us that one who raises his voice in tefillah is
of little faith - as he thinks that Hashem cannot hear him if he doesn't

Even though there is a teaching in Rabbinic literature that 'kol mioreir
hakavonnoh' - davening in an audible voice above a whisper can enhance
concentration - nevertheless, screaming to the extent of disturbing
others in Shul is in a different category, and is not commendable. This
is so even if the people involved are all at the same spot in davening
in the siddur. However, if he is a verse ahead, it is even more
disruptive and wrong, as he can mix people up, while loudly shouting
different words in their ears.

We (at least many of us) are in a world that keeps on getting louder.
Noise pollution is a major problem, causing many ill effects - whether,
physical, psychological, spiritual.......In the past the synagogue
sanctuary has been a refuge of sorts from such wild, loud noises - and
it should stay that way. It should not be allowed to be violated and
desecrated with inappropriate loud noises of the kind that assault us
regularly on the street and elsewhere in our daily lives - nor with
stuff like cellular phones and other inappropriate talk - even if not
exceedingly loud, but certainly if so.

With regard to the holy kaddish and the answering of 'omein yihei shmei
rabba' - It is true that the gemara says (BT, Shabbos 119b) that someone
who answers it with 'all his strength' has his evil decree torn up, has
the gates of gan eden opened for him, is forgiven (according to
different Rabbis, see there). Perhaps the party involved is thinking of
that teaching and basing his behavior on a simplistic reading of that
text.  However, once again, we must remember that first impressions can
be misleading and that a person not properly Rabbinically learned cannot
be properly pious. Further examination there shows us that the great
commentator Rashi, on the spot, explains that the gemara means that he
answers it with all his kavonnoh - with total concentration - and not
that he is shouting at the top of his lungs. Tosefos, on the spot as
well, which often disagrees with Rashi, by the way, here records
agreement, although also later on noting a Rabbinic teaching praising
recitation of it in a raised voice. However, a raised voice doesn't mean
screaming to the extent of being a nuisance and irritant to your fellow

Another concern with such behavior could be 'mechzei kiyohara' - that it
appears as arrogant pseudo-piety, as our Rabbis warn us about elsewhere.

It did occur to me though, that it is possible that in some places there
is alot of improper talking going on during services, or some people
even be dozing off and perhaps the person involved wanted to drown out
the talking and arouse others to properly worship Hashem. If so, it
seems that he may have more ground for such a practice. Nevertheless,
shouting too loud can be counterproductive for such aims, antagonize
those he wants to reach, and even backfire. It is therefore important to
proceed with caution.

Finally, I would like to say that there are some Hassidim that
deliberately daven very loud (e.g. Karlin-Stolin Hassidim), but they are
a small, limited group of people and were and are opposed by even other
Hassidic groups in this practice. Perhaps in their synagogue one could
pray in a screaming voice, as one could perhaps assume that that is the
custom there and attendees are accepting and desirous of it (but even
there there may be limits and excessive loudness may be out of line).
Perhaps the offender should be be directed to such a congregation if he
insists on being disruptively loud.

In the merit of proper tefilla, may we merit the coming of Moshiach,
soon, in our days.



End of Volume 49 Issue 72