Volume 50 Number 63
                    Produced: Mon Dec 19  4:45:00 EST 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Giving Tzedaka during Davening
         [Nachum Amsel]
Israeli - diaspora Ashkenazic practice variations
Obligation in Minyan (2)
         [Chana Luntz, Aliza Berger]
Siddurim made for Eretz Yisrael
         [Jack Gross]
Tzur Yisrael
         [Emmanuel Ifrah]


From: Nachum Amsel <namsel@...>
Date: Sun, 18 Dec 2005 16:53:07 +0300
Subject: Giving Tzedaka during Davening

My father's minhag was to give after Kedusha -- during Chazarat
Hashatz. Many years later I found a source for this practice. It says
Teshuva, Tefila, Tzedaka. Follow that order. After inner Teshuva during
davening, saying Shmone Esreh (Tefila), then give Tzedaka.

Rabbi Dr. Nachum Amsel


From: <Phyllostac@...> (Mordechai)
Date: Sun, 18 Dec 2005 23:19:29 EST
Subject: Israeli - diaspora Ashkenazic practice variations

<< From: Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...>
> ....The nusach is also different, oddly enough (Eretz Yisrael Ashkenaz
> vs. Chutz L'Aretz Ashkenaz).  I never delved into it completely, but I
> heard the Gr"a was a factor in these differences.  The differences I
> remember off the top of my head are Sim Shalom vs. Shalom Rav for Shabbo
> Mincha Shemone Esrei; long version of the Bircas HaChodesh Bracha; and
> saying Ein Kelokeinu at the end of Shacharis. >>

The practices of many Ashkenazim in EY today have been influenced by the
large Sepharadic and Oriental Jewish population there over the years.
When the early Ashkenazic olim arrived in EY in recent centuries, they
were a small minority among those other Jewish groups at first. So some
non-Ashkenazic practices got mixed in among some of them - such as a
custom to cut a boy's hair only at the age of three (adopted at first
mostly by Hassidim, and referred to by them as 'upsheren', which is not
minhog Ashkenaz - see sefer Shorshei Minhag Ashkenaz, volume III), as
well as some changes in the siddur hatefilloh, such as a longer birkas
hachodesh brocho and ein k'Elokeinu daily, as above (see siddur eizor
Eliyohu). However, even these were not universally accepted - see e.g.
sefer Luach Eresh, Otzreinu 5761, p. 600, that in the famous Lederman
shul in Bnei Brak, they, as per R. Y.Y. Kanievsky ('the Steipler Gaon')
and the Chazon Ish, zt"l, say the shorter (as in the diaspora) version
of that part of the birkas hachodesh.

Those customs are not from the GR"A, however, and we have no record of
them being practiced by him in Vilna. Other divergences in minhag
between some in EY and Ashkenazim in the golah might conceivably be
traced to the GR"A, e.g. not wearing tefillin on chol haMoed. Each case
needs to be investigated separately, however, as the matter is too
complicated to allow automatically ascribing all differences to the
GR"A, without supporting documentation.



Date: Sun, 18 Dec 2005 22:44:23 +0000
From: Chana Luntz <chana@...>
Subject: Obligation in Minyan

Aliza Berger wrote:

Quoting an earlier poster:
>"hey - i admit that my reason is a selfish one - i feel that when i 
>daven b'yechidut i have much less kavana and my davening just is not 
>real. doesn't HKB"H "deserve" that we should daven in the most 
>kavana-inducing atmosphere possible ? don't we owe it to ourselves ? 
>can ANYONE out there in mj-land honestly say that he davens better at 

And then wrote:

>Aliza here again - I understand the sentiment and confess that I 
>personally also have more kavanah in a group setting. But not everyone 
>does. For example, my husband says he has more kavanah at home, because 
>the minyan goes too fast. I may be carping -- and I recognize that Arie 
>admitted he is being selfish -- but I would still like to point out 
>that it could be argued that according to this viewpoint, apparently 
>wives are expected to be able to have appropriate kavanah at home, and 
>their husbands do not even give them the option of going to minyan and 
>thus having more kavanah (except perhaps on shabbat morning). The 
>husbands feel they have done their duty by both attending to the family 
>and attending minyan. It would not occur to them to stay at home and 
>have the wife go to minyan instead.

As far as I am aware, whenever a posek has been asked the question (by a
man) who in fact has greater kavanah at home, whether to stay home and
have greater kavanah or go to minyan and have less kavanah, the answer
has been to go to minyan.

Certainly this is Rav Moshe's response [(geros Moshe Orech Chaim, chelek
3, siman 7 (but note that Rav Moshe is also of the clear opinion that
tephila b'ztibbur is a chiyuv).  I have also read teshuvas elsewhere
(one of them I thought was in the Baer Moshe, but then when I went
looking for it I can't find it) which held similarly that better to
daven with a minyan with less kavanah than to daven individually, even
when the statements regarding the requirements to daven in a minyan in
general were not as strong as Rav Moshe.

This is despite the fact that having kavanah is in and of itself a
mitzvah (see Shulchan Aruch Orech Chaim siman 98, si'if 1) - so you can
see that, in terms of my discussion of what in halacha "trumps" what,
minyan would seem to trump kavanah.

At least part, if not all of the reason for taking such a position even
if one does not hold a strong view regarding the chiyuv of davening
b'tzibur, is that today we are all regarded as not having, and not being
capable of having, the level of kavanah that is halachically required -
as is explicit from si'if 2 of siman 98 (referred to above).  That si'if
starts off by saying that that one should not daven in a place where
there is a something that operates to nullify his kavanah, and not at a
time which operates to nullify his kavanah, but today we are not careful
in all this because we do not have so much kavanah in davening.  That
is, while me may feel, in a relative way, that our kavanah is better or
worse in certain circumstances (such as being with or not being with a
minyan, or being in this minyan rather than that), halachically we are
considered to be so far short of the absolute standard of kavanah that
fulfils the mitzvah that this relative feeling would seem to be barely
relevant.  So while Arie's feeling that he has more kavanah in a minyan
setting might seem to be a nice to have motivating factor to get him to
minyan, it does not have appear to have significant halachic weight, and
certainly therefore the conclusions you draw in the opposite situation
cannot necessarily be drawn.

On the other hand, I would take issue with the statements on this list
that one can never possibly have a circumstance where it might be
appropriate for a husband to daven at home so the wife can daven in

Rhonda Stein <rhondastein@...> in mail-jewish volume 41, No 11
took the time to transcribe a story (with the permission of the author)
from "Rav Pam - the Life and Ideals of Rabbi Avrohom Yaakov HaKohen Pam"
by Rabbi Shimon Finkelman, published by Artscroll.  The story has much
power and pathos, and it worth reading in the original posting, but to
cut to the halachic chase Rav Pam made two rulings:

a) year one, he ruled that the husband should go home and look after the
children to allow his wife to get to shul and daven Neila on Yom Kippur.

b) year two he ruled that the same husband's place was in the shul, and
he should therefore not go home and look after the children so as to
allow his wife to get to shul and daven Neila on Yom Kippur.

If you hold that there is never a circumstance when a husband should
stay at home so his wife can daven in shul, then you are saying that Rav
Pam ruled against the halacha in year 1.

On the other hand note that it was expected that the husband would be in
shul for most of Yom Kippur, even though his wife barely had time to

The actual situation of the case in question is instructive.  The couple
had been burdened with a severely disabled child, and during that first
year they were subject to extraordinary and abnormal levels of stress.
The ruling in the first year was a recognition of that, and in a way a
form of signalling that this was a special family with very special

Which is why I think it important to understand that the ruling in the
second year was also a form of chessed in a way that might not
immediately be apparent.  Because while sometimes it is important for
there to be recognition of the particular and special stresses that a
person or family is under at a particular time, sometimes, when one
really has to deal with special circumstances, a family gets sick of
being special and just wants to be normal.  Having the husband daven
Neila in shul and having the wife at home with the children not able to
daven at all was and is the norm in the community of which Rav Pam was
leader (unlike say my community, where it might be considered more the
norm is to hire childcare for Yom Kippur).  Having the wife in shul and
the husband at home was exceptional, and there is only so long a family
is going to want to go on feeling exceptional in this way, rather than
as normal as possible under the circumstances.

This is why in my earlier discussions, I tried to articulate it in terms
of obligations "trumping" other obligations.  Obligations to employers
(if they object) trumps obligations to daven in a minyan.  On the other
hand the halachic literature of which I am aware would seem to suggest
that the responsibility for a man to daven in a minyan trumps his
obligation to have kavanah (at the level we can maintain it), and also
therefore presumably that of his wife who does not have an independent
obligation to daven with a minyan.  On the other hand, there may well be
situations where obligations of chessed, or shalom bayis or similar may
trump obligations to daven with a minyan (I don't think anybody is
really suggesting that Rav Pam was wrong).  So the question is not that,
but when do those situations arise, how extreme do they need to be, and
how are such conflicting obligations negotiated and managed.

  In common parlance these day we have the concept of "superwoman", the
woman who has it all, successful family, high flying career, immaculate
grooming etc, and somehow manages to juggle all those obligations.  This
can be in many ways an irritating or frustrating role model for those
women who find they struggle to successfully "do it all" - or are forced
to let something drop in the process.  Similarly there are clearly men
who manage to do it all, provide for their families and be around when
needed for bonding and support of those same families and maintain their
communal and religious responsibilities.  This discussion is clearly not
for them (except as observers), any more than a discussion of work/life
balance is appropriate for a superwoman.  But my impression is that
these issues are not infrequently the source of some level of domestic
strife (and some of the communications I have received off list since
this discussion began rather adds to that impression) and that therefore
it is not a bad thing that such issues have an airing.

Chana Luntz


From: Aliza Berger <alizadov@...>
Date: Sat, 17 Dec 2005 17:44:43 +0200
Subject: Obligation in Minyan

cp wrote:

> Ok Leah and Aliza, show us one Posek who ruled that it would be fine
> for a wife to go to minyan instead of the husband when both are healthy
> enough to do so.  As has been pointed out many,many,many times in this
> group - it is the men that have the halachic obligation to go and daven
> with a minyan and not the women. This group is based on being a
> discussion list based on Halachic percepts.

For a posek who rules that it's an absolute obligation for every man to
go all the time, cp is correct. But as was mentioned in this thread,
this is usually stated as a recommendation, not an absolute
obligation. This was how there was room in the thread in the first place
for posters to suggest that men with family obligations do not have to

I already made this point and feel uncomfortable using up list space to
make it again. I only did so because cp worded his post as a
challenge. I hope people only respond if they have something new to say.

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


From: Jack Gross <jbgross@...>
Date: Fri, 16 Dec 2005 15:40:49 -0500
Subject: Siddurim made for Eretz Yisrael

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
>on 15/12/05 10:56 am, Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...> wrote:
>> Another difference in Ashkenaz Siddurim (not in Sefard) is that at
>> Shabbat Minchah in Eretz Yisrael in the last blessing of the Amidah we
>> say "Sim Shalom" while in the Golah it is "Shalom Rav."
>This is also the West German minhag (Minhag HaRinus) used to this day in
>Alsace, Switzerland etc.

Both practices are noted in the "Mordechai", so the division within
Ashkenaz is quite old.


From: Emmanuel Ifrah <emmanuel_ifrah@...>
Date: Fri, 16 Dec 2005 03:25:13 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re: Tzur Yisrael

Nachum Lamm wrote:

> I'm not sure how apocryphal this is, but I remember hearing that the
> Declaration of Independence of Israel contains this phrase as
> secularlists who signed on didn't want a mention of God, and so settled
> for this (to them) somewhat vaguer term, open to interpretation. Of
> course, it's not open at all: It clearly refers to God.

I had read another version, according to which to the religious, Tzur
Yisrael referred to God and according to secularists, it referred to
Israel's "Volksgeist" ("nation genius", a term created by the
19th-century philosopher Herder). It fits well with the fact that
Zionism was born in the context of 19th century european nationalisms.

If this is the true story, it means that it was a clear agreement
between both parties to use a term that was ambiguous to others but
clear to insiders.

Emmanuel Ifrah


End of Volume 50 Issue 63