Volume 52 Number 63
                    Produced: Tue Jul 25  6:49:18 EDT 2006

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

All of Sephira
         [Tzvi Stein]
Chasidus (4)
         [Binyomin Segal, Eitan Fiorino, Rabbi Wise, SBA]
Halacha and Chumrah
         [Batya Medad]
         [Rabbi Wise]
Ketuba of the pregnant virgin
         [Orrin Tilevitz]
Kinah (lamentation) regarding Gush Katif
         [B Lemkin]
Multiple Minhagim
         [Carl Singer]
Protocols in Marriages
         [Elazar M. Teitz]
Sephardim and the 3 weeks
         [Tzvi Stein]
Wedding Protocols
         [Gershon Dubin]
wedding protocols
         [Michael Kopinsky]
Where did my religion go?
         [Joseph Ginzberg]
         [Tzvi Stein]


From: Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...>
Date: Fri, 21 Jul 2006 08:30:56 -0400
Subject: All of Sephira

A friend who recently visited family in Israel related to me that they
were shocked when they found him listening to music.  He told them that
he kept the "first part" of sefira (i.e. until Lag B'Omer) and they told
him that it is not allowed to listen to music the *entire* sefira period
(Pesach until Shavuos).  I had never heard of that sheeta.  Is it a
meshugas or is it a real sheeta?


From: Binyomin Segal <bsegal@...>
Date: Fri, 21 Jul 2006 00:34:10 -0500
Subject: Re: Chasidus

Perets Mett  seemed very upset that someone equated chassidus with reform.

> This is outrageous.  The change in the khalef was a hidur in shechito,
> not a kulo.  How can anyone possibly equate that with reform?

I am not entirely sure I understand Perets' objection. It is no
disrespect to chassidus to acknowledge the simple historical truth. At
the introduction of chassidus, some of its innovations were met with
resistance. They were seen as inappropriate change - ie reform.

Most famously, the Vilna Gaon published a ban on chassidus where - among
other things - he mentions the change to the shechita knife. He, at
least, did not view the change as a hidur.

How we view those changes today, how and why they are different than
changes made by Reform, and indeed why Orthodox Judaism has, it seems,
ultimately rejected the Vilna Gaon's position is a much more complicated
question, best left for another time.

To the WORLD, YOU may be ONE person; but to ONE person, YOU may be the WORLD

From: Eitan Fiorino <AFiorino@...>
Date: Fri, 21 Jul 2006 13:32:16 -0400
Subject: RE: Chasidus

> From: Perets Mett <p.mett@...>

I'm not sure that this is what Perets is saying, but I seem to recall
that on this thread there has been some questioning of the extent to
which Hasidut represented a departure from social, theological and
halachic norms of the community. I don't think there is really any
question about this, and there are examples superior to knives and the
siddur.  I happen to have just started reading a book on a related
topic, "Faith of the Mithnagdim, Rabbinic Responses to Hasidic Rapture"
by Allan Nadler, and I will summarize what he presents as the major
criticisms of Chassidim made by contemporary mitnagdim like the Gra:.

1. Their view of God's immanence was heretical
2. They abandonded the learning of traditional rabbinic texts (eg,
Gemara and halacha) in favor of kabalah and kabalistic Chasidic writings
was viewed
3. They elevated prayer over talmud Torah and did not focus on the
literal meaning of tefilot but rather on mystical interpretations. 
4. They ignored halachic norms with regard to prayer (zemanim and
nusach) and established their own shuls.
5.  They over-emphasized physical pleasure with the concept of "avodah

I don't mean to assess these criticisms nor can I state to what extent
they apply to contemporary Chasidim (which seems to have gotten more
halachic minded over the centuries), but it is clear that the movement
was viewed as a serious and heretical departure by at least some
Ashkenazic rabbis.  Can you call that a kind of "Reform" - I don't know,
because I don't know if the early Chasidim viewed themselves as engaging
in a systematic reform of Jewish practice or if they simply felt they
were finding new ways to be express spirituality.  I do know one thing -
call it reform or not, the Gra sure didn't like it!

Shabbat shalom.


From: <Meirhwise@...> (Rabbi Wise)
Date: Fri, 21 Jul 2006 01:48:02 EDT
Subject: Re: Chasidus

In response to Peres Matt.

The "someone" was me - and I seriously doubt that the Gaon of Vilna
would have so violently opposed the changing of the shechita knives, or
the nusach hatefilla if it had been merely a question of hiddur mitzva.

It is not allowed for anyone to change the long established practice of
a community even for a hiddur mitzva. This would cast aspersions on the
all the previous religious leaders of that community. Hence the Remo did
not ban non-Jewish musicians at friday night weddings when he became the
Rav of Cracow despite the appeal of his uncle the Maharshal!

And the Maharitz of Yemen reversed the (impetuous) decision of his youth
to abandon the p'sak of the Ramabam in favour of the Beit Yosef as
regards basar chalak! He realised his mistake and reverted to the time
honoured p'sak of the Rambam.

Need I go on?

Rabbi Wise

From: SBA <sba@...>
Date: Fri, 21 Jul 2006 14:42:48 +1000
Subject: Re: Chasidus

From: Perets Mett
> As far as change in nusach hatefilo is concerned that was happening
> anyway - just compare a modern nusach ashkenaz with one from 300 years
> ago.

Also, unlike [lehavdil elef alfei havdolos] Reform, they didn't invent
new tefilos, rather they adopted various parts of the Sfardi tradition.



From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Fri, 21 Jul 2006 06:47:36 +0200
Subject: Re: Halacha and Chumrah

> These stories are a good example of a simple innocuous change and
> chumra, yet completely wrong!  On a grander scale, there are people
> proffessing the halacha that women cannot halachically wear make-up
> and snoods/hats.  Plain and shaitels only are permissible.  It gets
> worse from there.  Where did my religion go or am I just being too
> liberal?
> Shaya Goldmeier

You're fine; they're just adding chumrot and calling them halachot.
It's not a matter of being liberal or not.  Choose your own rabbi; don't
look at what others are doing.  If you trust your rabbi's judgement,
fine, if not find another.  Don't judge yourself according to others.

http://shilohmusings.blogspot.com/ ; http://me-ander.blogspot.com/        


From: <Meirhwise@...> (Rabbi Wise)
Date: Fri, 21 Jul 2006 01:50:53 EDT
Subject: Re: Ketuba

In response to Orrin

I can give eye witness testimony that visibly pregnant brides got 200
zuz. Will that suffice?

Rabbi Wise


From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Fri, 21 Jul 2006 08:23:52 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Ketuba of the pregnant virgin

Elhanan Adler writes:

> for an example of exactly such a ketubba (Corfu, 1812, from the
> collection of the Library of Congress) see:
> http://jnul.huji.ac.il/dl/ketubbot/html/loc04.htm
>  the bride is described as 'betulta shemimenu nit'abrah' (a virgin, made
> pregnant by him) and the amount is 200 zuz.

What I should have said is that the bride's pregnancy isn't in the
standard form of ketuba.  But this ketuba advances my original point in
this thread, which was to refute the argument that that a convert's
status as such is hidden in the ketuba by simply calling her "bat
sarah".  The author of this ketuba did not merely call the bride a


From: B Lemkin <lemkinrealty2@...>
Date: Fri, 21 Jul 2006 16:50:13 +0200
Subject: Kinah (lamentation) regarding Gush Katif

A sophisticated, moving and highly recommended kinnah (lamentation) for
use on Tisha B'Av has been written by Rav Yehoshua Buch, Shlita
regarding Gush Katif. To receive it one may send an e-mail to

Rav Buch sits on the beth din of Rav David Bar Hayim whose website is at

B Lemkin


From: Carl Singer <csngr@...>
Date: Fri, 21 Jul 2006 10:40:03 -0400
Subject: Multiple Minhagim

> 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.

I didn't know Harav Goren was paskening on this -- the Rabbi in the
story I cited, btw, is the son of Rabbi Aryeh Leven, the Tzaddik of

That aside -- arguing to extremes -- Yeminite, Baghdad, Ashkenaz, etc.
 -- does not resolve anything.  The situation that I intially described
did not involve 17 different minhagim from throughout the diasporah --
This is a situation where the congregants brought with them variants of
ashkenaz minhagim -- and they worked it out.  And this is their minhag
 -- not to be confused with "lack of a minhag."  What is wrong with this?
Halachically and socially?

Does one need to find an halachic source for acting reasonably bayn adam
l'havayroh?  Or is the implication that allowing the shaliach tzibbur
this latitude is trief?



From: Elazar M. Teitz <remt@...>
Date: Fri, 21 Jul 2006 06:28:11 GMT
Subject: Re:   Protocols in Marriages

The question was asked:

> What is the halachic basis for paying someone to perform the mitzva of
> being m'sader kiddushin?

     The same as that of paying a shochet for performing the mitzvah of

     To the best of my knowledge, there is no blanket prohibition of
accepting payment for performing mitzvos.  For certain ones, there is:
most notably, for teaching Torah and for serving as a judge in a Beis
Din. (For these, there is the heter of s'char batalah, of being
reimbursed not for the teaching, but for not being otherwise gainfully
employed at the time of the teaching.) For other mitzvos, mention is
made that one who takes money for them sees no b'racha in that money;
e.g., k'rias haTorah.  But while there may be no blessing accruing,
there is no prohibition in taking it.

     (Parenthetically, if the k'riah is done on Shabbos, there is a
prohibition of s'char Shabbos [pay for actions done on Shabbos].  A bal
korey who gets paid should do preparation during the week, and stipulate
that his pay is for the preparation of what he reads on Shabbos.)



From: Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...>
Date: Fri, 21 Jul 2006 08:24:32 -0400
Subject: Sephardim and the 3 weeks

I got an interesting email that laments the fact that Sephardim are
mimicking Ashkenazim in observing the "3 weeks".  The writer claimed
that there is not a single reference to the "3 weeks" in any Sephardi
halachic source.


From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Fri, 21 Jul 2006 13:10:41 GMT
Subject: Wedding Protocols

From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>

> IIRC R' Reisman quoted R' Pam as saying something along the lines of
> "My minhag is to do what the other parents want to do"

R' Reisman did indeed tell the story but it was about Rav Yaakov


From: Michael Kopinsky <mkopinsky@...>
Date: Sat, 22 Jul 2006 21:28:07 +0300 (IDT)
Subject: Re: wedding protocols

Joel Rich wrote:
> IIRC R' Reisman quoted R' Pam as saying something along the lines of "My
> minhag is to do what the other parents want to do" when questioned about
> the details of walking the chatan and kallah down the aisle (when R' Pam
> was the parent of a chatan or kallah)

This story (also) appears in Rav Yaakov Kamenetzky's biography by
Artscroll.  Rav Yaakov said at out of 6 weddings, he did three one way
and three the other way, based on the wishes of the mechutanim.

Michael Y. Kopinsky


From: Joseph Ginzberg <jgbiz120@...>
Date: Fri, 21 Jul 2006 09:32:49 -0400
Subject: Where did my religion go?


>Any change of long established practices is a reform.  This is
>outrageous.  The change in the khalef was a hidur in shechito, not a


>Where did my religion go or am I just being too liberal?
>Shaya Goldmeier

If "hidur" or new chumra's are the accepted norm, standing in the same
place=regressing. No?

Yossi Ginzberg


From: Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...>
Date: Fri, 21 Jul 2006 08:22:10 -0400
Subject: Re: Yisra-kel

I wonder if root cause of this problem is simply a lack of Torah
learning.  I don't see how someone who actually learned the relevant
halachos "inside" (and understood them) could possibly come away with
the impression that a dash must be placed in front of any 2-letter
sequence of Alef and Lamed.  However, it is well known that learning
something does not always lead to a change in behavior, so a certain
strength of character and desire to follow the true halacho would also
be necessary.


End of Volume 52 Issue 63