Volume 51 Number 65
                    Produced: Fri Mar 17  4:07:23 EST 2006

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Counting for a Minyan, Wine and New Years Day
         [Steven J. White]
Counting Mechalel Shabbos for Minyan/Kitzur not Halacha (2)
         [Ira L. Jacobson, Martin Stern]
Just How Jewish?
         [Yisrael Medad]
         [Nathan Lamm]
Kitzur not halacha (2)
         [SBA, Andy Goldfinger]
Minyan and not openly religious people
         [Daniel Walker]
Shabbos desecrators are idol worshippers?
Tinok Shenishba
         [Tsvi Lieber]


From: Steven J. White <StevenJ81@...>
Date: Wed, 15 Mar 2006 23:08:08 -0500
Subject: Re: Counting for a Minyan, Wine and New Years Day

Comments to three threads, if I may:

1 (re diluting wine): I always heard it was because wine in those times
was thick, or of high viscosity.  (I'm tempted to say "like honey," but
I'm not sure it's really that.)

2 (re 10th for a minyan): I may have missed this in my quick skimming of
about 50 issues, but one must remember that the operative condition is
"m'chalel shabbos _b'farhesia_."  (emphasis mine) My understanding is
that _b'farhesia_ refers to someone who is intentional, public and
defiant in Sabbath desecration.  This affects the discussion in two
ways.  First, the ordinary non-frum Jew of today is not defiant in that
sense, s/he is instead a "tinok shenishba," and (he) can be counted
toward a minyan.  Second, even a strayed frum Jew who is not defiant
about it may be a "chozer bit'shuva" at any time, and we should not
judge and assume s/he is not.  It's only the openly defiant approach
that allows us to assume the worst.

3 (re Jan 1/Feb 14): I hate to break it to everyone, but New Year's Day
remains a day of Holy Obligation (read: mandatory church attendance) in
the Catholic Church.  Catholics older than about 50 can even remember
when it was still officially known as the Feast of the Circumcision. Of
course, that means I'll try to skip Mass myself that day, but in all
seriousness, the fact that the Church does not even use that language
any more may have some significance.  In any case, I personally am in no
position to overlook Feb. 14, for reasons of sh'lom bayit.  (;-)

Steven White
Highland Park, NJ


From: Ira L. Jacobson <iraeljay@...>
Date: Thu, 16 Mar 2006 10:44:57 +0200
Subject: Re: Counting Mechalel Shabbos for Minyan/Kitzur not Halacha

At 17:13 13/03/2006 +0000, Chana Luntz stated:

      Rav Moshe's famous teshuva allowing the counting of a mechalel
      shabbas b'farhesia [public sabbath desecrator] in Iggeros Moshe
      Chelek aleph siman 23

My understanding of this pesaq, is that IN A SH`AT DEHAQ (say, it is
snowing and some of the regular people don't show up, and we wonder
whether to call in a passerby), we may count a nonobservant Jew in order
to say qaddish, barekhu and qedusha, but NOT to have the event regarded
as tefilla betzibbur.  This distinction is perhaps of great

      as well as the follow on teshuva in Iggeros Moshe Orech Chaim
      chelek gimmel, siman 14.

The follow-on does not seen to add anything applicable to our

      Most of the aforementioned YU etc rely either on these teshuvas,
      or some of the other reasoning discussed in that thread (tinok
      shenishba etc) for the halachic positions stated above.

Have you seen their reasoning?  Can you bring us a reference?

IRA L. JACOBSON         

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, 16 Mar 2006 06:48:12 +0000
Subject: Re: Counting Mechalel Shabbos for Minyan/Kitzur not Halacha

On Mon, 13 Mar 2006 17:13:56 +0000, Chana Luntz <Chana@...>

> Firstly minyan is d'rabbanan, so safek d'rabanan l'kula [for a
> rabbinical requirement we rule leniently].

I was under the impression that the need of a minyan for a dvar
shebikdushah was based on the gezeirah shavah chain "tokh tokh, eidah
eidah" from the ten meraglim, in which case it has the status of
d'oraita as if it were written explicitly in the Torah. Perhaps Chana
can explain.

Martin Stern


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Tue, 14 Mar 2006 12:54:24 +0200
Subject: Just How Jewish?

Martin Stern has published a letter in the Jerusalem Post on March 13 in
which he writes about denunciations of Neturei Karta in responses to an
op-ed by Michael Freund.  He considers them completely out of proportion
to the significance of the Neturei Karta.

He then draws a comparison:

"This is especially so when compared to the relatively small reaction to
left-wing intellectuals who make such a fuss over the alleged violations
of the Palestinians' human rights. These groups, with their constant
harping on "the illegal occupation," and "the apartheid wall" are a far
more serious threat to Israel than the Neturei Karta."

And then draws this conclusion:

"Both may be anti-Zionist but the leftists oppose Zionism because it is
too Jewish, the Neturei Karta because it is not Jewish enough."

Now, while this forum is devoted to Halachic issues, I think it does
have room for discussing just how Jewish does Israel have to be so that
the Neturei Karta will not have to travel to Durban or Iran to protest
its 'lack of Jewishness' or, more to the point, has Martin erred by
perhaps misinterpreting Neturei Karta dogma which, I would suggest,
discounts and negates any state of Israel - Jewish more or less - before
the arrival of a Messiah and has nothing to do with quantitative or
qualitative "Jewishness".  As to which is worse, Left-wing antiZionism
or Neturei Karta antiZionism, I will leave for another discussion
although the "Jewish" element cannot be disregarded.

Yisrael Medad
(and no, this is not a Purim contribution)


From: Nathan Lamm <nelamm18@...>
Date: Thu, 16 Mar 2006 11:00:35 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Kitzur

Author David Klinghoffer compares the Kitzur to the Manhattan White
Pages, where the Metropolitan Opera is listed right next to Metropolitan
Dry Cleaners. Both important in their own way, of course, but not on the
same level. So, too, the Kitzur, Klinghoffer writes, is a good place to
turn to if you need to know a specific halacha, but not the book to go
through to get a good overall view of Judaism.

Add to that the well-known issue that R' Ganzfried, great as he was,
reflects a certain point of view of Judaism and halakha (most notably
and infamously in terms of sexual relations, but in other areas as well)
which is certainly not mainstream. This is one reason we don't pasken
according to him; another simply is that he was an Acharon, and we,
still living in the era of Acharonim, have a vast range of works and
authorities to choose from. Indeed, the authors of certain works, no
matter how great, have been criticized for certain slight missteps: R'
Ganzfried or the Alter Rebbe, for example, are cited for calling their
books "Shulchan Aruch" or variants (indeed, the latter's work is simply
printed with that as a title, no qualifier), as if they somehow had the
authority of that work. Similarly, the Chofetz Chaim was criticized for
printing the Mishna Berurah alongside the Shulchan Aruch, as if his work
was the final word of halacha.  Again, great as these works and authors
were, no work published in the over 400 years since the Shulchan Aruch
and Nosei Kelim has achieved any similar level of acceptance.

SBA writes that "The entire KSA, OTOH, can be studied- even by younger
students in 12-18 months, giving one a grounding in the entire 4 chelkei
Shulchan Aruch."

I find this statement somewhat ironic, considering that the Shulchan
Aruch itself was written (as an abridgement of the Beit Yosef) to be
studied completely in thirty days. It can still be done, leaving aside
the Nosei Kelim, of course. The Mishna Torah as a whole shouldn't take
that long either. The Kitzur, on the other hand, may be of more value
when needing to know a practical halacha. But I don't think it would be
as valuable if read from beginning to end.

Nachum Lamm


From: SBA <sba@...>
Date: Thu, 16 Mar 2006 14:23:56 +1100
Subject: Re: Kitzur not halacha

From: Shoshana L. Boublil <toramada@...>

> This is one case where Sephardic psika (halacha LeMa'ase) is wonderful.  
> Tonight, my husband and one of his older brothers took turns reading the
> Megillah at their parents home, as they've been doing for the last few
> decades.  What is different is that this brother is not considered
> religious. SNIP 
> In Sephardi psika, except for an actual Apikorus, every one else can
> join in a Minyan.  

A number of years ago, a friend, who used to travel regularly to Japan
on business, brought back a copy of a letter - by the Israeli Sefardi
Chief Rabbi at the time - Rabbi YItzchak Nissim, to a Jew living in Kobe
who had asked him if he should davven in a minyan there - which did not
have 10 Shomrei Shabbos.  Rabbi Nissim writes that he should rather
davven at home - in private.

Obviously Sefardi poskim too have differing views


From: Andy Goldfinger <Andy.Goldfinger@...>
Date: Thu, 16 Mar 2006 08:09:01 -0500
Subject: Re: Kitzur not halacha

Many years ago, I had the privilege of attending the public shiurim
(classes) of Rav. Joseph Baer Soleveichik.  Rav Soleveichik did not
often make jokes, so one occasion sticks out in my mind.

During one session a woman in the audience asked about a somewhat unsual
halachic opinion (I don't recall what it was).  The Rav looked puzzled.
He asked her: "where did you see this?"  She said, "I saw it in the
Kitzur Schulchan Oruch in English."

The Rav replied: "well, could be - To tell you the truth, I never
read the Kitzur Shulchan Oruch in English."


From: Daniel Walker <dywlists@...>
Date: Thu, 16 Mar 2006 13:14:14 -0000
Subject: RE: Minyan and not openly religious people

IMHO the debate is not whether the Psak of the Kitzur and MB (who are
quoting many earlier authorities) is correct but rather of its
application to today's reality where Mechalelei Shabbos BePharhesya are
the majority rather than a minority as they were in the MB or Kitzur's
time and place.

In this kind of situation surely we should be guided by the principle
that the Halacha is like the later authorities who have both studied
earlier opinions and applied it to the present situation. To that end I
would like to paraphrase R' SHZ Aurbach quoted in Ishei Yisroel p138
note 52, (my translation)

"it is better if possible to pray in a place where there is a Minyan of
observant people however in case of necessity one may rely on those who
write that in our days when the breach is bigger than the standing wall,
they have the status of Tinokos Shenishbu..........and one should strive
not to cause pain or embarrassment and even more so not to cause them to
distance themselves from our religion Chas VeShalom" emphasis mine.

Other sources quoted there that state that one is not obligated to
verify if the potential Minyan joiner does in deed break Shabbos,
Deoraysa, in public but should assume the best.

At the risk then of sounding fundamentalist, is it not incumbent on the
cell phone talker and his defendants to bring a contemporary psak that
contradicts RSHZA before behaving in a manner that would involve the
Issur DeOraysa of shaming someone and worse may push them further away
from Yidishkeit.

Daniel Walker


From: SBA <sba@...>
Date: Thu, 16 Mar 2006 23:42:42 +1100
Subject: Shabbos desecrators are idol worshippers?

From: David Charlap <shamino@...>
>SBA wrote:
>> While some may consider a Mechalel Shabbos a 'tinok shenishba', does
>> that extend as far as making him acceptable for a minyan?  [To
>> paraphrase the Brisker Rav, "Nebach a Mechalel Shabbos is still a
>> Mechalel Shabbos.."]
>> Check out the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 72.
>> The heading of that chapter says it all
>>  "...one who desecrates Shabbos is is like an Idol-worshipper.."
>> So should we be so quick in condemning a person who was simply following
>> the halacha?
>Is this really the Jewish nation you want to belong to?  Where the
>community actively hates and punishes everybody whose Shabbos observance
>is less than perfect?  I sincerely hope not.

In response to this, and to those who [to their own detriment] do not
consider the KSA as posek enough for them and also re RSB's post re the
Sefardi lenient opinion on mechalelei Shabbos, let me quote from no less
a [Sefardi] posek than the Rambam himself - in Hilchos Shabbos - in his
final halacha [30:15]:

"...The Shabbos is a sign between HKBH and between us forever.
Therefore one who trangresses other Mitzvos is included amongst the
Rishei Yisroel. However one who descrates the Shabbos publicly, is
considered an idol worshipper in all matters..."

Seems clear enough to me.



From: Tsvi Lieber <tlieber@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Mar 2006 22:03:55 -0500
Subject: Tinok Shenishba

     The issue of how non-observant Jews should be regarded came up for
me in a telephone shailah with Rav Moshe Feinstein in the mid60s.  In
those days he could be reached directly by telephone IF you could speak
Yiddish.  I was a graduate student teaching a Poli Sci section at City
College.  As often happens in the fall, Rosh Hashanah and Sukot fell
during the week and so I would be unable to teach on three evenings.  I
considered the possibility of giving my students an exam (with proctor)
on Sukkot.  However in my class there were some Jewish students.

     He answered his home phone immediately--no secretaries or
intermediaries.  I posed the question to him as to whether I could
require some Jewish students to take an exam on Yom Tov.  He quickly
answered that yes, I could give the test to them.  Somewhat surprised, I
asked why they should not be considered in the category of Tinok
Shenishba and I would be leading them to sin.  He explained that they
came to college intending to write anyhow in their other classes.  And
the students in City College know that it is a Yom Tov and shouldn't be
considered as innocent of Jewish law.

     If I understood him correctly, I found his reasoning, while
personnally beneficial, to be unusually harsh in judging fellow Jews.  I
later realized that there might be some ultimate logic and benefit to
his position.  The closest parallel is the opinion that reform and
conservative marriages are not considered to be acceptable halachically.
This may be viewed as terrible in its philosophic implications but on
the other hand, in the case of children of extramarital affairs or
children of remarriages without a get for the first reform/conservative
marriage, it may very well prevent the possibility of mamzerut.

Tsvi Lieber


End of Volume 51 Issue 65