Volume 52 Number 71
                    Produced: Wed Sep 13  5:11:18 EDT 2006

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

All of Sefira (4)
         [Anonymous, Leona Kroll, Menashe, Martin Stern]
         [Leona Kroll]
Exciting new High School Program from AMIT
         [Russell Jay Hendel]
Hebrew on my computer
         [Tzvi Stein]
Images on Gravestones
         [Mike Gerver]
Meat in the Nine Days
         [David Neuman]
Source of "Beshem Hashem"
         [Ephi Sachs]
Turning off Electrical Devices on Shabbat
         [S. Wise]
A Unique Kollel
         [Rabbi Ari Enkin]


From: Anonymous
Date: Wed, 26 Jul 2006 17:32:59
Subject: RE: All of Sefira

>From: Tzvi Stein
>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?

I long-ago got a heter for listening to music on the radio during sefira,
and have never thought to revisit the question. However, every year when
we renew our subscription to the Philharmonic, I try to select our series
to avoid going to a live concert during this period, at least until Rosh
Chodesh Sivan. This is usually an annoyance, and frequently requires that
we exchange dates after the tickets are delivered. This year, during a
Gemarah shiur, we learned the requirement for "elements" of aveilus
during this period, but not "actual" aveilus. In response to my question,
our Rav responded that, in his opinion, avoiding attendance at a live
concert would not be required during sefira. Since this struck me as a
bold (and welcome) departure from my previous practice, I questioned him
about it privately, and he reaffirmed this position. His position, as I
understand it, is that the prohibition against live music was always in
connection with a simcha, which is to be avoided during sefira, but that
the extension to all live music is uncalled for.

When I asked him if this would apply to the "three weeks" as well, he
refused this application since the rationales are quite different, and
at least in part because of the shorter period involved.

In order to avoid publishing for our highly respected LOR without his
permission, and also to avoid the inevitable attacks he would be
subjected to, I ask that this submission be accepted anonymously.

From: Leona Kroll <leona_kroll@...>
Date: Thu, 27 Jul 2006 02:47:05 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: All of Sefira

  it's a real sheeta. when i lived in America the only people i knew who
kept it were Chabadnikim but in Israel most Ashkenazim seem to keep it-
at least in the Chareidi and Chardal communities. I've heard a few
people say that in America their community wouldn't keep it but in
Israel its appropriate to be strict- either because of the kedusha of
the place or because this is where the plague happened.

From: Menashe <elyashm@...>
Date: Wed, 26 Jul 2006 09:15:39 +0300
Subject: All of Sefira

The mourning period of Sefira ends on or after Lag Ba'omer, unless one
follows the other minhag that starts from Rosh Hodesh Iyar. There are
some places that take both minhagim, and will not allow weddings until
Rosh Hodesh Sivan, save Lag Ba'omer.

We were married after Lag Ba'omer. The local Rabbanut did not allow us
to regester by them! We regestered by the Rav of my bride's moshav. 24
years later, our son married after Lag Ba'omer. No problem finding a
mehadrin hall, because of the double humra. His Rosh Yeshiva refused to
come, not because of the wedding being after Lag Ba'omer, but because he
doesn't allow weddings before Shavout. His reason - he doesn't want
interruptions in Tora study before Matan Tora. Well, there were 4
weddings in this period. At least he solved the problem of Mesader

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Wed, 26 Jul 2006 11:52:37 +0100
Subject: Re: All of Sefira

The minhag of the Arizal is to observe the stringencies of the Sephirah
for the whole period. As regards music the Mechaber rules that one may
not listen to it all year round, except possibly at weddings!

Yesh al mi lismokh.

Martin Stern


From: Leona Kroll <leona_kroll@...>
Date: Thu, 27 Jul 2006 03:10:42 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Chassidus


it would be difficult to address all of the misconceptions about
Chassidus and Chassidim expressed in these posts, but i'll try to
address a few.

1. Chassidus vs Reform: Chassidic innovations differ from Reform
innovations for one very critical reason: the innovations of Chassidus,
like the innovation of pruzbal (excuse any transliteration errors) meant
to ensure adherence to both the letter and spirit of halacha w/in a
framework which accepted Torah- both the Written and the Oral- as being
Torah m'Sinai and the work of D, p, etc. Indeed, they are less of an
innovation in many cases than pruzbal. the point of an iron knife, for
example, was to avoid nicks which would render the shcitah unkosher. The
point of switching to steel was that an iron knife might begin to
develop a nick before the shochet can perceive it and as iron is
difficult to sharpen shochtim were not sharpening them after every
use. Steel knives can be sharpened more easily, are sharpened after each
use, and thus enable fulfillment of the halacha in the best possible
way. The Ben Ish Chai accepted this ruling and made it binding on his
kehilla as well.

2. Tzim Tzum- Rav Chaim of Volozhin, foremost talmid of the Gra-
accepted the Chassidic view of tzimtzum, comtinuous creation, and, as
Uncle Moishy says, "H' is everywhere".

3. The nusach we 'switched to' was actually determined by research
conducted by the Rav, Ba'al HaShulchan Aruch, and Ba'al HaTanya, aka the
Alter Rebbe, Rav S.Z. of Liadi. He examined countless siddurim to arrive
at an authentic nusach, correct scribal errors, and, when applicable,
choose between 2 halachically equal decisions based on the kabbalistic
teachings of the Arizal AND STATEMENTS MADE IN CHAZAL. I once heard a
short lecture from a talmid at the Mir who ONLY davens from theCHabad
siddur- a switch he made after learning in-depth what the Gemorra says
on tefillah.  His reason? Because (his words) "if you really know the
halacha, its impossible to make yourself daven from any other
siddur. They don't make sense."

4. Avodas b'gashmious does not mean, and never has meant, immerse in
physical pleasure. It means use the physical to serve G-d. It is too
deep and complex to explain here, but even the most superficial look at
Tanya or Likkutei Diburrim would show how off the mark that idea is. In
both, and in countless other Chassidic sources, the Rebbeim state, among
other things, the intense spiritual danger in indulging in the
permissible or having pleasure from the physical.  You are allowed to
enjoy tasty food, for example, on Shabbos as part of the joy of Shabbos-
but if you are enjoying as food according to Chassidus you're causing
damage in all worlds and on all levels.

To imagine that one can understand what Chassidus is or isn't purely
from reading the critiques written by those who oppose Chassidus is like
taking all your info about Israel from the UN and thinking you 'get
it'. Misnagdim as a group don't understand the hashkofa or the halachic
rulings of Chassidim because in general they refuse to look at primary
sources or have any genuine dialogue with Chassidim. This is in contrast
to genuinely emesdiche Litvaks who care enough to look honestly at facts
and who stopped fighting Chassidim or labeling us years ago.


From: Russell Jay Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Wed, 13 Sep 2006 01:15:32 GMT
Subject: Exciting new High School Program from AMIT


Many high school students spend their year before college in Israel.
There is a wide choice of schools to chose from

AMIT has now created a new high school program, Midreshet Amit, for
women.  The novelty of this program is that besides learning they will
participate in being a big sister to the students at the Bait Hayeled
school in Jerusalem, a school that has done pioneering work in helping
children from families with problems.

For more information call 212 203 4683 or email
<MidreshetAmit@...> or visit the website

Ketivah VaChatimah Tova
Russell Jay Hendel, Ph.d.; www.RashiYomi.com/


From: Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...>
Date: Sun, 13 Aug 2006 11:26:10 -0400
Subject: Hebrew on my computer

I just figured out how to type Hebrew on my Linux computer, and I sent a
Hebrew email to someone in Israel.  Isn't that cool?  On Windows you
need a special program for that, don't you?

Linux gives me a choice of several Hebrew layouts.  Since I don't have
Hebrew letters on my physical keyboard, I chose the "phonetic" option,
which places each Hebrew letter on the same key as the English letter
with the closest sound, so K is Chaf, B is Beit, T is Tof, Shift-T is
Tet, etc.


From: <MJGerver@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Tue, 12 Sep 2006 18:08:45 EDT
Subject: Images on Gravestones

Bob Kosovsky asks, in v52n69,

      What are the halachic issues with having an image of the deceased
      on the stone?

I don't know what the halachic issues are, but it is not only Russians
in recent years (who might be presumed not to know about the halachic
issues) who do it. It seems to have been common in certain Jewish
cemeteries in the 1920s through 1940s, both in the US and in the Soviet
Union, though not in other cemeteries. This was done for some relatives
of mine, who were themselves Orthodox, though maybe their children
weren't. I don't think the technology is that hi tech. It could be done
with a photographic emulsion glaze, on a ceramic tile.

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel


From: David Neuman <daveselectric@...>
Date: Wed, 26 Jul 2006 13:31:35 -0400
Subject: Re: Meat in the Nine Days

What is the source for not eating meat in the nine days?  Is it Minhag
or Halacha?

What if I were to have a kosher food establishment, would I be able to
serve meat products for eating in or carry out ?  Are there any

david neuman
Dave's Electrical Service, LTD.
216-371-1580    fax  216-371-2893


From: Ephi Sachs <ephi79@...>
Date: Tue, 12 Sep 2006 11:11:36 +0200
Subject: Source of "Beshem Hashem"

Does anyone know who wrote the passage "Beshem Hashem Elokei Yisrael"
recited as part of the bedtime Shema?

I found references to Zohar Bamidbar which describes the locations of
the guardian angels and the heavenly presence over the Israelite camp,
and also a reference to Pirkei D'Rabi Eliezer describing the same
relative positions of the angles around the heavenly throne, but who
wrote the text that appears in the Siddur, and when was it first used?



From: <smwise3@...> (S. Wise)
Date: Tue, 12 Sep 2006 12:17:09 -0400
Subject: Re: Turning off Electrical Devices on Shabbat

> I have received heterim over the years from various rabbis for turning
> off fans or adjusting thermostats in Shabbat if these appliances were
> preventing sleep on Shabbat, especially for an elderly person. It has
> been my understanding that Shabbat rest is a Torah mandate, while the
> prohibition on the use of electricity on Shabbat is strictly of rabbinic
> origin, with the sole exception of incandescent lighting, which most
> poskim seem to regard as "eish" (fire), and hence of biblical origin.
> There are also some strong opinions that turning off such appliances is
> less problematic that turning on, on Shabbat.
> But as always, consult your LOR--Bernie R.

This discussion on heterim strikes me as strange. How an one rely on a
heter that was given in one situation and applied in another? If "amira"
to a non-Jew (telling a non-Jewish) is not permitted, how can doing
something oneself be allowed?  At the very least, I would think, one
should try to find a non-Jew and hint at what must be done, rather than
just do it yourself and cite some heter. What are the "strong opinions"
that turning off appliances is less problematic -- and what does less
problematic even mean. My fear here is that someone may read such
comments and then do something which I think is the source of the acts
described here -- "moreh heter" -- when just allows himself to do it
without any particular source for it.

S. Wise


From: Rabbi Ari Enkin <modiin@...>
Date: Tue, 12 Sep 2006 12:54:16 +0200
Subject: A Unique Kollel

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End of Volume 52 Issue 71