Volume 52 Number 61
                    Produced: Fri Jul 21 10:02:47 EDT 2006

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Criticizing great men (and women)
         [Akiva Miller]
Davening for Amud During Shana
         [Orrin Tilevitz]
Emotional impact of intermarriage
         [Mark Goldin]
More on multiple minhagim
         [Ira L. Jacobson]
Natural Disasters and Rabbinic expalnations (was Rabbi Ovadia Yosef)
         [Susan D. Kane]
Vegetarianism/Veganism and R. Moshe
         [Mark Goldin]


From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Thu, 20 Jul 2006 02:37:25 GMT
Subject: Re: Criticizing great men (and women)

Noyekh Miller wrote:
> Shoshana Boubil seems to have the strange notion that there are some
> actions or words which, even if they become known, must be regarded as
> private and immune from criticism. Thus, if I learn by accident that
> the people next door have meetings of the Ku Klux Klan in the
> basement, I have no business talking about it to anyone or khos
> v'kholile criticizing it.

That's not how I understood her words.

I understood her as saying that the invited audience understood the
style and meaning of the rhetoric which was being spoken there.
Outsiders who happen to hear it may *think* they know what was said, but
they are wrong, because they mistranslated it.

Thus, if I learn by accident that the people next door have meetings
which sound like they are of the Ku Klux Klan in the basement, you
better make sure that you understand what was REALLY going on before you
talk about it to anyone or khos v'kholile criticize it. Consider the
possibility, for example, that it was not a *real* Klan meeting, but
that the people you heard were students rehearsing something for their
Social Studies class.

You'll probably complain that you saw that they weren't students.  They
were adults, speaking in the most vile and bigoted terms. Okay, I will
concede your point. But that was before you were educated.  Mrs. Boublil
has tried to teach us about this time-honored tradition of the
Mochiach. The Mochiach talks in an extreme manner, and both he AND THE
AUDIENCE understand this. The audience KNOW that they are not to take
the mochiach's words literally at face value, but to understand them in
the context of mussar and exhortation.

I had never heard of this sort of thing until she explained it to us.
But now that she has, we should take her seriously.

On the other hand, it seems to me that these talks are not nearly as
private as she'd like to think they are. She considers the talks
priveleged because they appear on a special pay-for-subscription radio
station, so no one would be listening unless they want to.  Really? I
pay for my cable-tv, and there's a lot of stuff that I'd rather not get,
but it all comes as a package. Even when one pays for a specific
channel, that includes a great variety of shows. Someone could very
easily have purchased that radio station, and then stumble upon Rav
Yosef's speaking, and not understand the context. If things are as
Mrs. Boublil describes, I would hope that there would be some sort of
explaantion at the start and end of each show.

Akiva Miller


From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Wed, 19 Jul 2006 08:14:35 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Davening for Amud During Shana

In response to

> searching for heter for  a 12 month avel who has been davening Yom
> Kippur Mincha for a number of years to do so during his avelus. Need
> sources,

Aryeh Frimer writes:

> The grounds are straightforward.  If he has been davening for years he
> may continue, if people would notice his absence, because otherwise it
> would be aveilut be-farhessya.

i.e., "public mourning", which is forbidden on Shabbat and yom tov.
While I hesitate to challenge Reb Aryeh, I think his reasoning is
suspect.  Two simanim in Shulchan Aruch appear to bear on this
discussion, Yoreh Deah 376 and 400.

In YD 376:4, the Ramo at the end writes that even though it is not
forbidden, it is customary that an aveil does not lead prayers on
Shabbat and yom tov.  The Shach, quoting the Maharil, says that the same
is true for yamim nora'm, but add that it is ok for him to daven if
there is nobody better than he.  Several other sources, including (I
recall; I do not have the books at hand) Pitchei Teshuva on Yoreh Deah,
a commentary at the back of my edition called Chaim Uvrach Lemishmeret
Shalom (at P 42), and the Aruch Hashulchan, say that it is ok for him to
daven if he does it regularly.  The Aruch Hashulchan mentions sources
generally permitting (requiring?) an aveil to daven on Shabbat and yom
tov, but notes that the Ramo doesn't bring them down.

 YD 400 deals with aveilut on Shabbat of the shiva, where aveilut
be-farhessya (public mourning) is forbidden.  In pertinent part, the
siman says that while it is not permissible to call such an aveil to the
Torah, if he is called he must go up, because the failure to do so would
be public mourning.

 Neither of these simanim nor any of the sources I have seen (including
Kol Bo al Aveilut, which I cited in my first posting) mention public
mourning in the context of leading prayers, although of course I cannot
prove that no such sources exist.  Also, if Reb Aryeh's reasoning were
correct, consistent with the logic of YD 400, the rule in YD 376:4 ought
to be that one may not ask an aveil to lead the prayers on Shabbat and
yom tov, but that if he is asked he must go.  The sources do not say
that.  Alternatively, YD 400 should say that if he gets an aliya every
week (e.g., it's a small shul or he's the only kohen), he should be
given an aliya on Shabbat of the shiva.  It doesn't say that either.  As
for Ira Jacobson's posting that his shul once hired a chazzan in lieu of
the regular baal tefila who was an aveil, I'm not surprised - it's all
in the realm of minhag, and the general rule is "mutar lo
lehitpalel"--he may daven, not that he must.  However, Chaim Uvrach
Lemishmeret Shalom, which I cited earlier, quotes an opinion that
preventing a regular chazzan from leading prayers because he is an aveil
is like taking a mitzvah from him.  I have been in two shuls where a
regular yamim nora'im baal tefila was an aveil for a parent, and in both
he lead the prayers


From: Mark Goldin <goldinfamily@...>
Date: Wed, 19 Jul 2006 21:15:44 -0700
Subject: Re: Emotional impact of intermarriage

From: Joseph Ginzberg <jgbiz120@...>

> Re my earlier posting of why marrying "out" carries such a
> disproportionate psychic weight: It hit me during last weeks Torah
> reading that the radical, immediate, and violent act of Pinchas, done
> without so much as asking a "shaila", might be the reason there is
> such a visceral recation to this particular sin, more than others. 
> Perhaps there is some retained kernel of shock at the immediate and
> visible result of that sin in our collective memory, such that causes
> this reaction.  Offhand, I cannot think of another case that provoked
> such quick a and terminal punishment.

One other: When Matitiyahu ben Yochanan HaCohen slew the Jew who
sacrificed to the Greek gods.



From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Wed, 19 Jul 2006 18:57:51 +0300
Subject: Re: More on multiple minhagim

<casinger@...> (Carl Singer) stated, initially quoting this

>> Regarding an established synagogue with no established minhag, I
>> still wonder whether there is a halakhic justification.

> This Synagogue HAS an established minhag - to follow the shaliach
> tizbor's hometown minhag.  That is very different than no minhag at
> all.

WADR, this reminds me of the story of a shul where the congregants were
in an uproar about how they did something there--say, whether they
recited Tefilat Tal before the shtille 18 or as part of the hazaras
hashass.  Finally, a newcomer asked the obvious question, "what is the
established minhag here?"  To which the response was "it is our minhag
to argue about this issue every year."

But seriously, Harav Shlomo Goren, when discussing Seder Pessah in the
IDF, said that there were 17 different minhagim, which is why he chose
one of them to be the official minhag for the IDF.  In his enumeration
of the minhagim, including Ashkenaz, Baladi, Baghdad, and so forth, he
neglected to define a minhag called "fielder's choice."  What you have
defined is what Harav Goren would not have recognized as a minhag, but
rather the lack of a minhag.

Or perhaps you have some sources for defining what I refer to as "a lack
of minhag" as being a true minhag in the halakhic sense of the word.

IRA L. JACOBSON         


From: Susan D. Kane <suekane@...>
Date: Wed, 19 Jul 2006 21:45:56 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Natural Disasters and Rabbinic expalnations (was Rabbi Ovadia Yosef)

I haven't found the points below raised yet, so I thought I would offer

I recently returned from a conference in New Orleans.  As those familiar
with the city know, the areas of New Orleans famous for "debauchery"
were relatively untouched by Katrina.  The French Quarter sustained very
little damage.  And today, other than a labor shortage, the
tourist/business district is up and running and ready for the return of
drunken college students, even as larger and less-famous parts of the
city are still desolate.

The areas that were hardest hit by Katrina were very poor New Orleans
neighborhoods, as well as the (oft-forgotten) Gulf Coast cities of
Mobile, Biloxi, etc.  The poorest and most vulnerable people in what are
already poor places -- the elderly, the sick, those without
transportation, those without insurance -- suffered the most from this

While the hurricane itself was literally an act of G-d, the level of
suffering it caused could have been largely mitigated if someone had
heeded the many and repeated warnings from environmental scientists that
the levees controlling Lake Ponchartrain were insufficient to handle the
major hurricane that would eventually hit this area.  See:

Drowning New Orleans, Scientific American, October 2001

Reposted here (I did not investigate the general nature of this blog)

Hurricanes hit the Gulf Coast *every* year.  Major hurricanes have and
will continue to hit the Gulf Coast every few years.  This particular
hurricane has been expected (though not planned for) for many years.

Is it a sign from G-d when the natural world does what it always does?

Many have spectulated that New Orleans, with its significant black
population and its Democratic leaders, has remained a low priority for
the Republican national administration in terms of needed
infrastructure.  Perhaps the lesson is that, as a nation, we Americans
cannot afford to be so short-sighted in our planning and to play
partisan politics with people's lives.

Trying to connect natural disasters to G-d's will is far more complex
than examining one's own life for similar connections.  You know the
inner workings of your heart and mind.  You are, perhaps, best qualified
to seek such lessons for yourself.  But to find a message from G-d in a
distant natural disaster implicitly condemns others -- others in the
midst of terrible loss and pain.  Such connections must be drawn with
extreme sensitivity and care.

On Yom Kippur, the kohen gadol prayed that the houses of the people of
Sharon would not become their graves.  He did not chastize the people of
Sharon for their sins.  He did not encourage them to move to a safer
town.  He prayed for them, because they were human beings, precious to
G-d, who lived in a dangerous area that regularly experienced natural

Is there some reason not to follow this example?

Susan Kane
Boston, MA


From: Mark Goldin <goldinfamily@...>
Date: Tue, 18 Jul 2006 16:57:28 -0700
Subject: Vegetarianism/Veganism and R. Moshe

Thank you for your excellent posting.  I was not aware of R. Moshe's
opinion and would love to read it.

I think you are 100% correct.  Assuming the horrors of factory farming
are real and not imagined (and I believe they are very real) it would
seem hard to justify the type of meat & dairy consumption that exists in
the Orthodox community.  I am coming across more and more Jews that have
eliminated meat consumption for ethical reasons but of course they are
still in a tiny minority.  Not only does factory farming inflict pain
and suffering on the animal but it also has a negative impact on the
workers, the surrounding communities who have to deal with the smell and
the pollution, the environmental damage caused by the huge quantities of
waste produced and the drain on resources needed to provide fodder,
water and so on.  Meat is simply too cheap, and it would seem the lives
of the animals are worthless.This is not even starting to talk about the
adverse health effects on the individual from excess consumption, growth
hormones, salmonella etc etc.

As you say, part of the reason this has not been fully addressed by the
halachic authorities is that this is a relatively recent phenomenon.Cows
and sheep and chickens in the shtetl must have been kept in idyllic
circumstances compared with what you would see at an Agriprocessors (and
all stages before it), and meat consumption was probably limited to
Shabbos for many people.  Also, and I don't know this for sure, the US
is probably worse than most other countries in this regard, and is
certainly behind Europe.  The other reason is just lack of awareness.
In my experience, very, very few people are aware of the origin of their
food, particularly animal products, and have often never heard the term
"factory farm" or understand its full import.  There are also those that
are dimly aware and know that if they were to learn more they would be
forced to reconsider their practices and beliefs.  There is an amusing
video based on "The Matrix" - a movie about people who are unaware of
the true nature of their world - at

Mark Goldin
Los Angeles


End of Volume 52 Issue 61