Volume 50 Number 33
                    Produced: Wed Nov 30  6:01:00 EST 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Davening with a minyan
         [Asher Grossman]
Obligation in Minyan
         [Chana Luntz]
Prayer for the State of Israel (2)
         [Mike Gerver, Joseph I. Lauer]
Tahanun and presence of a Hatan
         [Martin Stern]
Tfilat Hatzibbur
         [Martin Stern]


From: Asher Grossman <asherg@...>
Date: Tue, 29 Nov 2005 23:15:29 -0500
Subject: Re: Davening with a minyan

Arie wrote:

      doesn't HKB"H "deserve" that we should daven in the most
      kavana-inducing atmosphere possible ?


      isn't it a good feeling to arrange your schedule so as to daven in
      a minyan three times a day ? and have it work out ? isn't it great
      to break up a secular day by responding to a totally Jewish call ?
      isn't that once in a great while being the tenth man (out of an
      eventual total of ten) worth all the other times ?

Way to go Arie!

I've long lamented (in private, but not always), the fact that davening
today has become just another chore to get through - and an unpleasant
one at that. The best example of this can be seen in the common
statement "I have to 'do' Mincha". Thus davening gets shifted around to
accommodate whatever schedule we have, gets shoved aside when it becomes
inconvenient, and gets locked into timed sessions with a precise
expectation of when it will end. The very concept of a "Minyan Factory"
speaks for itself - an automated assembly line, missing only the
conveyor belt, for mass produced obligations - with a common result
resembling Charlie Chaplin's "Modern Times" factory mishaps.

(On the last count, I have to relate what I saw in a famous Brooklyn
"Minyan Factory". Next to the Amud hangs a note, with a precise schedule
for the Chazan: at X:30 - Brachot, X:38 - Rabi Yishmael, X:39 - Hodu,
and so on until, with 5 minutes given to saying from Ashrei till the end
of davening, Davening concludes at 8 minutes after the hour - 38 minutes
for Shachrit!)

The Ribbono Shel Olam gives us 24 hours a day inwhich to live our lives,
7 days a week, 365 days a year, for (hopefully) 70-80 years. Can't we
devote an 11/2 hours a day (for all three Tefilot) to thank him? Doesn't
the idea of being an observant Jew mean that our life revolves around
keeping Mitzvot, being shaped by them, instead of the other way around?

So Arie, the answer should be a resounding YES! It's wonderful to know
that your day is structured around Avodat HaShem. Whether you learn or
work, there are things that are carved in stone and we schedule the rest
around them. Davening should be at the top of that list.

Asher Grossman


From: Chana Luntz <chana@...>
Date: Tue, 29 Nov 2005 22:44:16 +0000
Subject: Obligation in Minyan

In message <m1EggXW-000zpeC@...>, Aliza Berger writes:
>The following true story could either elicit admiration or a feeling of 
>"this is going too far": A teenage male relative had a babysitting job, 
>and arranged for another boy to fill in for him for half an hour so 
>that he could go to shul for ma'ariv. He was not saying kaddish and 
>there was never any problem collecting a minyan in that particular 
>shul. What do people think of this?

Well there are halachas governing this:

The Shulchan Aruch writes (Orech Chaim siman 110, si'if 2), translation
is a bit rough as I have had to translate concepts like "going down
before the ark" which means to act as shaliach ztibor):

"Workers who are performing their work at the place of the employer
[baal habayis] if he gives them no wages except for their meals, pray
the full shmonei esrei, but they do not act as shaliach tzibor or
duchan, but if he gives them wages they only pray the shortened version
of the shmonei esrei, but today it is not the way to be makpid
[particular] in relation to this, and hence today one who is paid wages
without stipulation can pray the full shmonei esrei."

And the Magen Avraham brings there, in si'if katan 7 "but today" and
this is also the ruling regarding going to shul, if it is the minhag
that workers go, he may go.  As the Mishna Brura explains (s'if 11),
because it is not the way of employers to be makpid about this.

The Aruch HaShulchan (110:7) adds a twist to this, after commenting that
it depends on the minhag hamakom [the custom of the place] "if he does
not make a stipulation explicitly".

Now, while by certain employers and industries it maybe indeed the
custom that such employers are not makpid about employees going to shul,
I do not think that can be said by parents employing babysitters. And it
is certainly not the minhag for babysitters to pop out to shul for half
an hour on their babysitting time.

Nor are parents employing a particular individual to babysit usually
relaxed about that person finding somebody else (whom they may not even
know) to babysit for a portion of that time.

So, I do not see how this fellow could do this, halachically, unless he
indeed, as the Aruch Hashulchan suggests, stipulated explicitly (ie, I
will only babysit for you if I am allowed to take half an hour off to go
to shul, and to either substitute whom I like, or somebody of whom you
approve).  If that is what the fellow did, and the parents agreed to
that, then clearly that is the employment contract that they have
agreed.  I would be very surprised though if on top of that they would
then agree to pay him (rather than the other fellow) for that half hour.

What that means is that the fellow is really agreeing to babysit for a
certain period of time, excluding a certain half hour, during which time
he can do what he wishes The fact that he wishes to go to shul is in
many ways irrelevant.  It may make the parents more likely to agree
knowing that that is what he wants to do with the time off, but it may
also be irrelevant to their decision making process, which may be more
based on who else they can get, and who the substitute is, than what he
is doing with the half an hour he does not want to babysit.

Chana Luntz


From: <MJGerver@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Mon, 28 Nov 2005 20:12:29 EST
Subject: Prayer for the State of Israel

Joseph I. Lauer asks, in v50n26,

      I would appreciate hearing details about the authorship of the
      Prayer from anyone who did attend the speech [by Rabbi J. J.
      Schacter] or who has further information on "Chief Rabbi Herzog's
      original, unpublished version of the Prayer for the State of
      Israel in his own handwriting".

I heard a similar talk that Rabbi Schacter gave in Raanana last Friday
night, and have a copy of the manuscript that he gave out. (I'll scan it
for anyone who wants it.) He did not claim that the manuscript, which he
found in the archives at Heichal Shlomo, proves that Rabbi Herzog was
the original or sole author. He might, for example, have copied it from
a draft sent to him by S. Y. Agnon. The manuscript does have a few
differences from the present text, and gives two alternatives, one above
the other, for one word (vehanchilam and vehanchileinu), which suggests
that Rabbi Herzog was at least editing it. Rabbi Schacter felt that the
contributions of Rabbi Herzog, Agnon, and possibly others, to the
present text, was very much still an open question. When he gave the
talk, Rabbi Schacter had heard about, but had not yet seen, the
newspaper article that Gilad Gevaryahu describes in v50n26, and wondered
whether that article might settle the question. But from Gilad's
description of the article, it seems that it did not.

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel

From: Joseph I. Lauer <josephlauer@...>
Date: Tue, 29 Nov 2005 13:25:48 -0500
Subject: Re: Prayer for the State of Israel

    I thank Mike Gerver for his informative report of Rabbi Schacter's
very recent talk on the subject of the Prayer for the State of Israel in
Raanana and look forward to receiving a scan of the manuscript that
Rabbi Schacter distributed.

    Another angle was added in an article by Zev Nagel published in the
May 4, 2004 edition of The Commentator.  Entitled "The 'Divine'
Authorship of the Prayer for the Welfare of the State of Israel", it
rehearsed some of the theories regarding authorship of the prayer.  (One
theory that it does not discuss is that the prayer was formulated by
Agnon and Harav Unterman, which I am not prepared to discuss but may be
a topic for others.)

    Among other things, Nagel wrote: "In his biography of Agnon, Chayei
Agnon, written in 1998, Dan Laor contends that Agnon, who was personally
close to Rav Herzog, was asked to compose a prayer for the welfare of
the State of Israel. According to Laor, Rav Herzog reviewed Agnon's
draft and introduced a series of changes; nonetheless, Agnon, according
to Laor's argument, would have been the primary author of the prayer."
However, "Zvi Noriah maintains that Agnon made a number of suggestions
on the initial draft of the prayer composed by the rabbinic council, one
of which was the phrase 'reisheit tzmichat geulatenu' -- the first
flowering of our redemption -- a clause that has lent itself to even
greater controversy over the years."

    A major part of The Commentator article recounts research published
by Akiva Adler in 1998 in the Ha'Doar weekly, which challenged Agnon's
involvement in the composition of the prayer.  "Basing much of his
argument on the scholarship of Yoel Rapel who wrote his doctoral
dissertation on the subject at Bar-Ilan University, Adler explains that
despite whatever Laor had wrote the evidence is not conclusive
enough. In fact, it is all the more probable that Rav Herzog wrote the
prayer in its entirety."

    As part of "his research Rapel discovered another prayer composed by
Rav Herzog written for the soldiers of Israel's army during Israel's War
of Independence. The text of this prayer began with the same incantation
as does the current Prayer for the Welfare of the State of Israel, the
exhortation of 'Aveinu Shebashamayim' -- Our Father in Heaven. The
replication of the phrase is no mere coincidence, wrote Rapel. As the
prayer for the soldiers predates the Prayer for the Welfare of the State
of Israel, the replicated phrase demonstrates the consistency in Rav
Herzog's liturgical compositions."

    "Additionally, Rapel was approached by a man who claimed to have a
copy of the original prayer, enclosed in an envelope that read 'Office
of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel.' On top of the page read, 'prayer for
the State, copied and annotated by Mr. Agnon'; Rapel inferred from this
draft that Agnon copied down the prayer (from somewhere else) and made
his own corrections. A handwriting sample comparison of the script on
the envelope proved that it was indeed Rav Herzog's. Indeed Agnon was
involved in the prayer, but his role was merely ancillary. By the time
Agnon reviewed the text, the prayer was already fully composed."

    Finally, "Rapel points out that Agnon himself never claimed to have
written the prayer. Furthermore, Rapel argues, it was not in Agnon's
character to remain humble; had he composed the prayer on his own, we
would have known it. And if the rabbinic council did not write the
prayer, they would have never included it in the siddur. Therefore,
despite the popular conception, Agnon did not write the prayer."

    The Commentator article may be read at
http://www.yucommentator.com/media/paper652/news/671465.html or

    Joseph I. Lauer
    Brooklyn, New York 


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, 29 Nov 2005 11:56:53 +0000
Subject: Re: Tahanun and presence of a Hatan

on 29/11/05 11:15 am, <ERSherer@...> wrote:
> I have never heard of such a thing. In most (all minyanim?) that I
> have been, people are happy to have a chatan present so that we don't
> have to say tachnun

I cannot understand this aversion to tachanun. Surely the first sentence
of its concluding paragraph "And as for us, we do not know what to do
because our eyes are to You" is the most sublime acceptance that, in the
end, it is not our efforts that really count but, rather, HKBH's care
for us and it is in it that we trust.

Martin Stern


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, 29 Nov 2005 11:35:53 +0000
Subject: Tfilat Hatzibbur

on 29/11/05 10:01 am, Joel Rich <JRich@...> wrote:

>> There is no consideration of selfishness in attending a minyan whether
>> one needs it for one's own personal purposes like saying kaddish or not.
>> The basic value of davenning with a minyan is not personal at all but an
>> attempt to give greater glory to HKBH - Berov am hadrat Melekh (the glory
>> of the King is magnified by the greater multitude gathered to honour
>> Him).
>> Martin Stern
> Actually there is an element of selfishness - there is no guarantee that
> HKB"H will "hear" the prayer of an individual but the Tfilat Hatzibbur
> is tamid nishmat(always heard).  As they say at work - hop on the train
> that you know is leaving the station.

I don't agree that this should be our motivation. It is a privilege that
we are allowed to present our subjective wishes which Chazal have
formulated as the Shemonei Esrei but we should not routinely 'pester'
HKBH (as opposed to sudden emergency situations). He will do for us
whatever He knows is in our best long-term interests.

Martin Stern


End of Volume 50 Issue 33