Volume 50 Number 94
                    Produced: Sat Jan  7 21:44:21 EST 2006

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

ATID Seminar on ADHD
         [Jeffrey Saks]
Clothing for Tefillah (2)
         [Akiva Miller, Rabbi R. Bulka]
Definition Of "Ot" ("Sign").
         [Immanuel Burton]
Wearing Jackets to Prayer/Clothing for Tepfillah
         [Chana Luntz]


From: Jeffrey Saks <atid@...>
Date: Wed, 4 Jan 2006 15:11:03 +0200
Subject: ATID Seminar on ADHD

Connecting to the Student with ADHD
Workshop and Book Launching

* Connecting to the Student with ADHD
* Understanding the Learning Experience from his/her Perspective
* Finding Strategies for the ADHD Student to Succeed in Torah Education

Join us for a teacher workshop (in Hebrew) with Dr. Simcha (Stuart)
Chesner exploring his method of understanding ADHD and behavioral
difficulties in school. Dr. Chesner guides teachers on ways to
understand the student's learning experience, enabling us to be more
effective educators.

Monday evening, January 30, 2006 / Rosh Chodesh Shvat 5766
7:00 PM at Beit Gesher, 10 David HaMelech Street, Jerusalem

Space limited, free admission.
RSVP to 02-567-1719 or <office@...>
The workshop will be conducted in Hebrew.

Dr. Simcha Chesner, clinical psychologist, is the founder and Rosh
Yeshiva of Bnei Chayil High School in Jerusalem--Israel's first school
catering to the needs of ADHD students. He is also the founder of Matara
Institute for diagnosis and treatment of behavioral problems and
ADHD. In 1998 he created the "Jacob's Ladder" Center to train educators
and therapists to deal with these issues. His approach, NBCD
(Neuro-Behavioral Cognitive Dynamics), is used in educational
institutions throughout the country. Dr. Chesner is a member of ATID's
professional advisory board. Yeshivat Bnei Chayil is a "laboratory" site
for ATID's Beit Midrash Initiative. Dr. Chesner's newest book, "HaYeled
Betokh HaShiryon" ("The Child Within the Armor"), will be for sale at
discounted prices.

For details in Hebrew, click here:

Rabbi Jeffrey Saks
Director, ATID, Academy for Torah Initiatives and Directions
9 HaNassi Street, Jerusalem 92188 Israel
Tel. 02-567-1719 * Fax 02-567-1723 * Cell 052-321-4884
<atid@...> * www.atid.org


From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Wed, 4 Jan 2006 17:08:40 GMT
Subject: Re: Clothing for Tefillah

Harry Weiss wrote: 
> People go to shul and daven on their way to work. A painter or 
> garbage collector will not wear a three piece suit to daven and
> to work. A lawyer will dress diffently than a maintenance worker.

Yes, but what happens on days when they DON'T go to work, whether it is
a weekend, gov't holiday, or vacation?

I suspect that one's behavior on such days is a truer demonstration of
his real feelings and intentions.

I confess that on such days, I generally pick my clothes in accordance
with the activities of the day (less fancy clothes when building the
Sukkah, for example) and then, by default, I wear the same thing for
davening. But this is NOT how it really ought to be. Without a need to
rush to get to work, or some other pressing need, I really ought to
dress nicer for Shacharis, then (if I want to,) change to something less
formal for the day, and change back again for Mincha/Maariv.

I thank the participants in this discussion for reminding me of the
importance of this. No guarantees, but maybe I'll try to improve. Thanks

Akiva Miller

From: Rabbi R. Bulka <rbulka@...>
Date: Wed, 4 Jan 2006 13:02:52 -0500
Subject: Re: Clothing for Tefillah

To Harry Weiss & Frank Silbermann

Thanks for your response. But you miss the point. No one is suggesting
that people inappropriately attired should not daven. God forbid.

You are right to point to examples. There are situations when people are
stuck with the clothes they have on. That is very understandable.

My point is that we do not give attention to davening dress as we
should. We certainly have not raised it up to the level of the clothes
we take to blue collar work. Best evidence of that is the difference
between the relatively formal dress of those coming to shul just before
running to work, and the garb these same people wear on a Sunday, for

All I am suggesting is that since davening is being before God, we
should give more attention to this, and seriously contemplate how our
dress reflects the profound reality of being before God..

Rabbi Reuven Bulka


From: Immanuel Burton <iburton@...>
Date: Wed, 4 Jan 2006 13:09:37 -0000
Subject: Definition Of "Ot" ("Sign").

I am currently writing a study on the wearing of tephillin on chol
ha'moed, and am trying to establish what the definition of an "ot"
("sign") is.

A reason usually given for why tephillin are not worn on Shabbat or Yom
Tov is that the Shabbat and Yom Tov are themselves signs, and so the
additional sign of tephillin is not required.  (I have a vague
recollection of hearing somewhere that two signs are needed at all
times, the other sign being that of brit milah.)

Chol ha'moed is not regarded as a sign in the way that Shabbat and Yom
Tov are because the Torah does not forbid work on chol ha'moed.  Sources
that state that tephillin should not be worn on chol ha'moed cite the
matza that we eat and the succah that we sit in as signs, and so there
is no requirement to put on tephillin.  However, I am not sure why these
two things are described as signs

The rainbow is described as a sign (Genesis 9:12), but I very much doubt
that one would have to take off one's tephillin if a rainbow were

I have therefore been trying to determine what the definition of a sign
is, and what sort of sign would remove the requirement to wear
tephillin.  Any pointers and suggestions would be appreciated.

Immanuel Burton.


From: Chana Luntz <chana@...>
Date: Thu, 5 Jan 2006 15:26:55 +0000
Subject: Wearing Jackets to Prayer/Clothing for Tepfillah

  I have wanted to post on this thread almost since it started (probably
about a month and a half ago) but unfortunately pressures of work being
what they are at this time of year I haven't had time, and I see it has
resuscitated itself in a slightly different guise under a different

Basically the reason I wanted to post was that, as so often appears to
happen, we seem to have had a whole discussion without any reference to
the basic halachic sources that underline the topic.

The key source to start off with is the gemora in Shabbas 10a.  The
gemora there is initially discussing the activities that one is
forbidden to start before davenning, in case he becomes engrossed and
forgets to daven, but if he has started, he does not need to stop. One
of these is a meal (what kind of meal is the subject of a machlokus
rishonim that we don't need to get into here).  And so the question
arises, at what point is one considered to have started their meal (and
hence does not need to stop).  And the gemora says that in Bavel they
held, when one loosens his belt for the meal.  And Rav Sheshes asks - is
it such a big tircha [imposition] to get him to tighten his belt again
in order to daven? Cannot he daven without a belt?  And the gemora
responds that it is nice to daven with a belt based on the pasuk (Amos
4:12) "Prepare to meet your G-d Yisroel". And so the gemora segues into
a discussion about appropriate dress for davening.

"Rava bar Rav Huna would put on nice socks for davenning because of the
pasuk "Prepare ..."; Rava would pray without his cloak and clasp his
hands saying " like a slave before his master"; Rav Ashi said I saw Rav
Kahana that when there was trouble in the world, he would remove his
cloak and clasp his hands saying " like a slave before his master" and
at times of peace he would dress himself and cover himself and enwrap
himself because of the pasuk "Prepare ..".

Based on this gemora the Shulchan Aruch rules in Orech Chaim Siman 91
si'if 6:

"It is the way of the chachamim and their talmidim not to daven unless
they are enwrapped" and the Rema adds "in times of trouble one should
clasp his hands at the time of tefilla like a servant before his master
and in times of peace to put on nice garments in order to pray"

And in Siman 98 si'if 5 the Shulchan Aruch writes:

It is fitting that a person should have special nice clothing for
tefilla, like the bigdei kehuna [special clothes of the cohanim] but not
every person is able to spend on this (l'bazbez) but in any case it is
good if he has special clothes for tefilla that are clean.

Now the Aruch HaShulchan commenting on these two simanim writes:

Siman 98:5 ... It is fitting to have special nice clothes for tefilla
like the bigdei kehuna but it is not possible for the average person to
spend on this, but one who is able to do this because he is wealthy,
indeed he should enhance in this way and in any case it is good that one
should have special clothing for tefilla that are clean such as clothing
that is not filthy, and also clean shoes is fitting for him for tefila
because of "prepare to meet your G-d O' Israel".

And then on Siman 91:2:

"And also it was said there [in the gemora in Shabbas10a] that Rav Ashi
said that I saw Rav Kahana, when there was trouble in the world, would
take off his cloak as if to say he took off his cloak from upon him so
he should not appear like an important person [Rashi] and when there was
peace in the world he would dress himself and cover himself and wrap
himself and said "Prepare to meet your G-d O'Israel" and in times of
trouble he would take off his cloak and clasp his hands in his fingers
like a person troubled due to fear of his master (there) and therefore
it is possible to derive that now, when there is trouble in the world
that one should pray mincha and ma'ariv in the weekday without a top
garment [beged elyon] and on Shabbas and Yom Tov one should pray with a
top garment because we do not recall troubles on Shabbas and Yom tov.
And the Shaliach Tzibbur also during the week should wear a top garment
or wrap himself in a talis and so is the minhag pashut in our countries
and also when one has an aliya to the Torah they dress in a top garment
because of kavod haTorah, and also for hagba."

Now given where the Aruch HaShulchan lived, my guess is that this "top
garment" was in fact a jacket.  So it would seem that, at least
according to the Aruch HaShulchan it rather depends on whether you
believe that it is a time of peace or a time of trouble.  If it is a
time of shalom, presumably jackets and other fancy attire are
appropriate, if it is a time of trouble, in fact they are not.

So when Bill Bernstein <billbernstein@...> writes:
>I'd like to expound a little on what Frank Silberman wrote about
>"blue-collar" workers showing up at minyan.  Many times I went with my
>father in law a'h to the afternoon minyan in Vineland NJ.  The minyan
>was made up mostly of retired German- Jewish chicken farmers.  With the
>exception of the de facto rav I do not recall any of the men dressing
>with a jacket or tie.  They came as they would have come from work.  My
>father in law, an electrician, did likewise.  I also don't recall it
>being an issue, with the possible exception of the shaliach tzibbur.

That sounds precisely like the Aruch Hashulchan (not so surprisingly 
given the German-Jewish reference).

The more interesting question is why is it that the general view, as
expressed on this board, appears to be that what would seem to have been
the attire appropriate for a time of peace (and/or the wealthy) is now
appropriate at this time (and across the board, not just, as the Aruch
HaShulchan suggests, on shabbas and yom tov).

Of course we know from cases of extremis (ie when there is really bad
trouble) it is not just the taking off of expensive outer garments, but
of dressing in sackcloth and ashes that is appropriate (see eg Esther
4:3, Yonah 3:5) so the idea that one does not dress up and does not wear
a formal top garment, but does not change into sackcloth would seem to
be for a more intermediate level of trouble, not of imminent crisis.

It rather leads one to speculate whether this is another manifestation
of the change described by Dr Chaim Soleveitchik in his classic article
Rupture and Reconstruction, ie that today we do not know how to relate
to Hashem as a servant to their master.  Today, if somebody gets an
invitation for an audience with the Queen or the President, one feels
(and probably is) on some level important, and the dressing up
associated with that is part and parcel of that feeling.

But in the days when Kings and Queens were not just about pomp and
ceremony, but held real powers over people's lives - people who went to
beg for something important did not necessarily dress up for the
occasion. That may have been for the royal court, but if anything an
ordinary person asking for mercy was expected to stress the distance
between the asker and the asked, and humble clothing would seem far more
conducive to that.

I therefore do wonder whether the emphasis on dressing up does not
actually say something perhaps a little worrying about us as a religious
society (although maybe it is just that, according to those that require
it, we have never had it so good, and hence the time should be deemed a
time of peace).

Chana Luntz


End of Volume 50 Issue 94