Volume 51 Number 24
                    Produced: Wed Feb 15  5:01:28 EST 2006

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Coats during prayer
         [Russell J Hendel]
Lingua Franca
         [Carl Singer]
         [Russell J Hendel]
New Site about Hebrew Language
         [David Curwin]
Perfect Mis-understandings - Standing for Torah Readings (3)
         [Arie, Yehonatan Chipman, Steven Oppenheimer]
"Raboysay mir veln benshn"
         [Immanuel Burton]
Wearing Jackets to Prayer/Clothing to Tefillah
         [Stu Pilichowski]
The word "yahrzeit"
         [Andy Goldfinger]
Yiddish, Aramaic, and other Vernaculars
         [I. Balbin]
Yiddish in Ritual (2)
         [Elazar M. Teitz, Gershon Dubin]


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Thu, 9 Feb 2006 21:15:30 -0500
Subject: RE: Coats during prayer

In my WEEKLY RASHI digest this week(and in my Rashi is simple) I cite
Rashi who in turn (in Deut Verse 1 of Vethchanan) cites a Sifre that
there are 10 words to describe prayer. I suggest that each word connotes
a different situation/response to prayer.  For example you SCREAM to God
when you are in deep trouble (This weeks parshah). You seek GRACE from
God when you want a favor you dont deserve (Vethchanan). You STAND YOUR
GROUND in prayer when you are trying to understand the rationality of
Gods justice (Abraham). etc

But then wearing a coat would only be an appropriate response in those
prayers whose situation requires it. Surely if you seek GRACE from GOD
or STAND YOUR GROUND you dress up. But if you scream in pain it wouldnt
make sense to dress up. Thus the person who had a 'bad day at the
office' comes home and rushes to minyan and screams to God to be saved
from his boss probably shouldnt wear a Jacket--but his prayer is as
important as anyone elses (In fact it reflect 10% of the situations that
require prayer)

Russell Jay Hendel;http://www.Rashiyomi.com/


From: <casinger@...> (Carl Singer)
Date: Thu, 09 Feb 2006 07:45:09 -0500
Subject: Lingua Franca

The Molad discussions evolved out of a discussion of the use of Yiddish
in religious ritual.  Let's expand the question -- what (if any) parts
of prayer and ritual may be conducted in the lingua franca (common
language - in this case meaning the language that an individual uses as
their "native" or first language.)

For example: May an English speaker daven in English -- with the same
effect (what ever that means) as davening in Hebrew?

 .... with sources please.



From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Thu, 9 Feb 2006 21:10:09 -0500
Subject: RE: Molad

Several people have pointed the anomaly that the court decision of when
the month starts determines the new month EVEN if astronomically the
actual month started at a different time (Actually the court was allowed
AT MOST a one day difference).

Some people consider this an a) act of operational convenience or b) an
assertion of the court's authority.

Rav Hirsch gives the finally beautiful explanation: If the month was
determined by astronomical events then it would appear that NATURE
determined when God and Israel meet on the holidays. Therefore to
counteract this appearance the court could override (within reason). Rav
Hirsch then gives a sort of "dating analogy." It is as if God says: "I
will meet you for a date in my Temple on Nissan 14th...and Israel
says...OK but lets move it one day because of the bad roads." In other
words, it is precisely the determination by the court vs the
determination by natural events that gives the Jewish holidays an aura
of a shared experience between God and Israel vs a summon of nature.

Russell Hendel;http://www.Rashiyomi.com


From: David Curwin <tobyndave@...>
Date: Sun, 12 Feb 2006 10:04:39 +0200
Subject: New Site about Hebrew Language

Hi everyone,

I've started a new site where I'll be regularly writing short pieces
about Hebrew words and phrases. I'll be dealing with both modern and
classic Hebrew, slang, new terms, and the influences of other languages.
I'll be particularly focusing on the origins of the words and phrases
and how they passed from one language to another.

You can visit the site here:


(If you're interested, the RSS feed is at
http://balashon.blogspot.com/atom.xml )

I'm really interested in your feedback, criticism and comments, and also
questions or ideas for new entries.

Looking forward to hearing from you and seeing you on the site,



From: <aliw@...> (Arie)
Date: Sun, 12 Feb 2006 21:47:24 +0200
Subject: Re: Perfect Mis-understandings - Standing for Torah Readings

in MJ 51/23, Rabbi Rich Wolpoe wrote:

>So let us restate the syllogism above:
>A)  if one stands for the 10 commandments then
>B) one is honoring or Honoring the memory of the Diviine Revelation 
>and therefore 
>C) one also stands at the Song of the Sea but one is in NO
>WAY making a value statmen tabout any particular verse in the 

whoa - you lost me somewhere between b and c.

a) i'm a fan of your hava amina - i think that you should not stand for
one part of torah reading if you won't stand for them all - so i, for
one, stand for all the laining. ten commandments, shirat hayam - all the
same to me.

b) i can accept your b, (honoring the Divine revelation) when the ten
commandments are read on shavuot, b'ta'am elyon, but not in parashat
yitro, when they are read b'ta'am tachton, and are "just" another part
of the torah. as a matter of fact, i lain on shavuot in my shul, and i
go to the mikva before i lain, and i lain bid'chilu u'rchimu.  but i
also lain parashat yitro (even though the switch from elyon to tachton
and back makes me crazy when i prepare), and do none of the above (well,
i don't go to the mikva, anyway).

c) as for c, i fail to see its connection to b, or how you arrived at
that conclusion.


From: Yehonatan Chipman <yonarand@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Feb 2006 17:32:59 +0200
Subject: Re: Perfect Mis-understandings - Standing for Torah Readings

    I dont know what Rabbi Wolpe means by "conventional wisdom."  In
fact, in general we hold that "minhagei Yisrael," customs that are
widespread among Jews, have some basis, and should be respected and
fulfilled, unless there's clear indication that they are mistaken.  This
particular one, of standing for the reading of Aseret ha-Dibrot both on
Yitro, Shavuot, and Vaethanan, is widely practiced in most Ashkenazic
kehillot (perhaps not in the yeshivish world, but there many people
stand for all of the laining anyway, so it's a kind of a moot point).
If one generally sits for Torah reading, and demonstratively remains
seated when everyone else is standing, that is far worse, showing a kind
of contempt and perhaps a "frummer than thou" attitude towards the
general public.

     Many Sephardim -- sorry, Edot ha-Mizrah -- on the other hand,
remain seated, perhaps following the Rambam, who has a teshuvah to that
effect, based pretty much on the reasons mentioned.  The problem, as I
see it, has a lot to do with anti-Christian polemic: once the Christians
started to promulgate the view that the Ten Commandments alone were the
substance of Gd's revelation at Sinai, Jews took care not to do things
that would seem to support this view (such as reciting them every day in
Shaharit alongside Keriat Shema, an ancient practice in Temple days,
mentioned in the gemara, I think in the second chapter of Berakhot, and
later abolished).

    Some years ago I wrote a study of this whole problem in my parsha
sheet, which I will bs"d be posting on my blogsite in a few days for
parshat Yitro.  The URL is http://hitzeiyehonatan.blogspot.com/.  It
should be up by Thursday February 16, under the heading "Yitro (Torah)."

    Yehonatan Chipman

   P.S. An interesting sidelight on all this: in Eretz Yisrael many
kehillot (I think the soiurce is Minhag ha-Gra - Yerushalayim) have the
custom of laining Aseret ha-Dibrot on Parshat Yitro (and Vaethanan)
using the "taam ha-tahton," and on Shavuot alone usng taam ha-Elyon.  As
if the one is like telling the story of Maamad Har Sinai, and the other
is as-it-were reliving the actual moment.

From: Steven Oppenheimer <oppy49@...>
Date: Tue, 14 Feb 2006 21:01:09 -0500
Subject: Perfect Mis-understandings - Standing for Torah Readings

Rabbi Rich Wolpoe wished to "attack" [the reason given for standing by
(Mod)]those who would criticize people who stand for the Torah reading
of the Aseret HaDibrot. (MailJewish 51:23)

We should be aware that Rambam was against the custom to only stand for
the reading of the Aseret HaDibrot (see Responsa Rambam 263).

This is also the position of other poskim - e.g. see Responsa Yechave
Da'at 6:8 and 1:29).

In light of the above, perhaps the "attack" approach may be be

Clearly, there are those who have well founded reasons and support for
not standing for certain portions of the Torah reading.

Similarly, there are traditions that support standing for certain
portions of the Torah reading.

One should read the responsa literature and/or discuss this with his
posek and make an educated decision.

May our actions reflect our love for Torah and our fellow Jews.

Steven Oppenheimer, DMD


From: Immanuel Burton <iburton@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Feb 2006 09:44:09 -0000
Subject: "Raboysay mir veln benshn"

As a matter of curiosity, if one is eating with enough people to make a
zimmun, and someone there wants to bentch and says, "Should we bentch?",
should everyone else present try and decide who should lead the zimmun,
or should they respond with "Yehi shem..."?

Immanuel Burton.


From: Stu Pilichowski <cshmuel@...>
Date: Sun, 12 Feb 2006 03:13:46 +0000
Subject: RE: Wearing Jackets to Prayer/Clothing to Tefillah

Just one more perspective on the issue --

Well, with all the discussion about davening before the King of Kings
compared to a King of flesh and blood I found out for myself what's

I met a king. King Abdullah II of Jordan. (photos available on request)

It happened rather suddenly, I didn't have much time to prepare, only a
few days. I knew immediately that I would wear my best. The black,
double breasted suit I wore at my son's wedding seven years ago. The day
I was to leave Israel for Washington, DC I discovered the pants were
missing. I was lucky I had another suit I thought appropriate for the
occasion. I was going to buy a new shirt (French cuffs) and tie once I
got to DC.

I went with my boss, an Israeli, who, while owning a few blazers, didn't
own a suit. He went out and bought one for this special occasion.

I met the King with a group of about 30 people. All dressed in their
finest.  My face-to-face meeting with the King lasted as long as it
takes to say "Good morning," and shake hands.

Thank God, my meetings with the King of Kings are not only a daily
occurrence, but even more so. Hashem is always on my mind. Especially
living in Israel. It would be a tremendous waste of time (for me, at
least) were I to prepare for my rendezvous with Hashem the way I did for
my breakfast meeting with King Abdullah.

I am certain that if I were to meet King Abdullah often I would also
become more familiar and not make the effort to "dress up" as I did for
the first meeting.

I think this is human nature.

Stuart Pilichowski
Mevaseret Zion, Israel


From: Andy Goldfinger <Andy.Goldfinger@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Feb 2006 07:49:12 -0500
Subject: The word "yahrzeit"

Mark Steiner writes:

> Yiddish expressions penetrated the world of North African Jewry; for
> example, yohrtsayt, for which there is no one word Hebrew expression.
> (This was discussed not along ago on mail-jewish: Hazal use "yom
> shemet bo aviv...")

I cannot remember the exact reference, but I recall seeing a statement
in the Ben Ish Chai explaining the the word Yahrzeit was Yiddish and
"V'lo zeh roshei tevot" (not an abbreviation).

-- Andy Goldfinger


From: I. Balbin <isaac@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Feb 2006 08:33:46 +1100
Subject: Re: Yiddish, Aramaic, and other Vernaculars

A Drosho of the Rav (R. Y.D. Soloveitchik ztl) regarding Yiddish is
germane here. The Rav was speaking to a group who held that Yiddish was
holy. He explained that Yiddish was secondary in terms of holiness, and
I'd suggest the same of Aramaic. The language should be considered as
TASHMISHEI Kedusha (something which is used to support holiness) like
the Mantle of a Sefer Torah. Of itself, it has no Kedusha. When it's
used in the Kedusha context, it acquires a secondary kedusha. The Drosha
was (as usual) beautiful in the context, but the thought itself was (as
usual) Geonish (brilliant).


From: Elazar M. Teitz <remt@...>
Date: Sun, 12 Feb 2006 17:30:30 GMT
Subject: Re:  Yiddish in Ritual

> Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky said that rabosay mir veln bentchn is a call to
> zimun, or pre-zimun as you say.  He held that it is not properly
> replaced by rabosay nevarech, which could be a pre-zimun or simply a
> prediction of one's coming action (i.e. future rather than tzivui)

Since the only difference between "mir veln bentchn" and "n'vareich" is
that one is Yiddish and the other Hebrew (there is no difference in
meaning between the two phrases), why is one any less ambiguous than the

From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Sun, 12 Feb 2006 14:42:16 -0500
Subject: Re: Yiddish in Ritual

I believe his rationale is that nevarech is more future and mir veln
bentschn is tzivui.  Mar'eh makom ani lach.



End of Volume 51 Issue 24