Volume 54 Number 80
                    Produced: Wed May 30  5:42:39 EDT 2007

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Bicycle vs Tricycle on Shabbat
         [Dr. Ben Katz]
Cost of Synagogue Membership
         [Ari Trachtenberg]
gadlu l'hashem iti
         [Susan D. Kane]
Historical Data about Hair Covering in Lita
Married Women and Hair Covering
         [Rabbi Wise]
Psychotherapy and Confidentiallity: An amusing Counterexample
         [Russell J Hendel]
Turning for L'Cha Dodi
         [Dr. Ben Katz]
Zaycher vs. Zecher (2)
         [Michael Poppers, Joshua Hosseinof]


From: Dr. Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Tue, 29 May 2007 13:07:16 -0500
Subject: Re: Bicycle vs Tricycle on Shabbat

>From: <Meirhwise@...> (Rabbi Wise)
>Firstly a bike has a chain which can come off (my 2 sons used to ride
>bikes to school) and the fear would be that it would need fixing
>analogous to a musical instrument. A trike does not.  Also a trike is
>meant for a much younger child who doesnt travel very far. Someone did
>write that it was more of a toy.

         I was always taught that the reason not to ride a bicycle on
shabat was similar to the rabbinical decree (gezarah) about riding a
horse - lest one pull an apple off a tree, which would also not apply to
a tricycle.


From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Tue, 29 May 2007 14:12:25 -0400
Subject: Re: Cost of Synagogue Membership

> From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
> ... So the synagogue has to support itself by getting money from those
> who participate in its activities.  (I am carefully NOT using the word
> "members") I don't have the answers -- but here's a bushel basket of
> questions.

I think it's important to agree that synagogues are not as important as
we might think.  For example:

* building mikva clearly takes precedence over building a synagogue
* one needs only one synagogue in which to fulfill the mitzvah of
     davening with a minyan; and,
* there is no permission to violate interpersonal mitzvot in order to
     build or maintain a synagogue,

As such, any synagogue should be open to the Jewish community, without
(reasonable) exceptions.  More importantly, new/unaffiliated members
should be treated at least as well as existing members (reminiscent of
the classical explanation of Abraham leaving his prayers to attend to
his visitors).

Thus, though it might be reasonable for a synagogue to suggest dues to
its members based on its operating costs, I find it to be a grievous
transgression to coerce members to pay (either a fixed amount or "what
you think they could afford").  In my opinion, it is by far better for a
synagogue to cease to exist than for it to mistreat Jews (which would,
after all, eventually also lead to the same thing).

On a practical level, one approach that I have seen to work involves
setting suggested dues and then having members "self-sponsor".  In other
words, each member confidentially contacts the treasurer and states how
much of the suggested dues he/she will pay.  The suggested dues for the
following year are based on the (slightly padded) difference between
operating expenses and revenues.

Yes, it is possible that people will take advantage of you and give less
than they should, but I would argue that you have a specific obligation
to give your fellow Jews the benefit of the doubt in these matters.

Ari Trachtenberg,                                      Boston University
http://people.bu.edu/trachten                    mailto:<trachten@...>


From: Susan D. Kane <suekane@...>
Date: Tue, 29 May 2007 18:52:11 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: gadlu l'hashem iti

Shayna wrote:
> Which is why the moment of "Gadlu la-shem iti" seems to me so crucial
> in the Torah service.  At that moment, in the tefilah with which I am
> familiar, the person /holding the Torah/ bows -- thus emphasizing that
> it is not the material object of parchment and ink which is the real
> object of our respect but rather its Source.

This was always my understanding of the meaning of that bow -- to make
it clear to everyone in the room that while it might appear, sometimes,
that we worship the Torah -- we worship only G-d.

For this reason, I've always felt that the ark and the parochet should
be open during this verse, so that it is absolutely clear that the ark
is empty while we are bowing.  In my current shul, they close the ark
before this verse is sung.

Do I have any basis for my feeling that the ark should be open during
this verse, or am I holding too strongly to something that is merely a
personal preference?  (Or were my previous shuls simply slow to close
the ark?)

Susan Kane
Boston, MA


From: SBA <sba@...>
Date: Tue, 29 May 2007 21:30:19 +1000
Subject: Historical Data about Hair Covering in Lita

From: Michael Broyde <mbroyde@...>

> It is quite clear from both the halachic and historical literature that
> this uncovering was the practice of the community in Lita (Lithuania) 50
> years before World War I, when Orthodox observance and culture was at
> its strongest.  For proof of this, one need only examine the fact that
> many poskim note this uncovering in the 1870s as already being well
> established; see e.g. Rabbi Yosef Chaim (Ben Ish Chai) Parshat Bo 12
> (writing around 1870).

Actually he writes that this is done by women in "Europe" - without
referring to Lita.  But I should note, that nowhere does he write that
he is talking of Jewish women. After all, he was a Rav in a Muslim
country, where, everyone - including the gentile women - covered their

Another possible 'rayah' that his isn't referring to Jewish women is the
fact that in most observant 'European' communities, eg Greater Hungary,
Poland etc, Jewish women DID cover their hair.

> Rabbi Yecheil Epstein's famous remarks on the commonness of this
> practice (Aruch HaShulchan OC 75:7) were published in 1903, and Rabbi
> Kagen's (Mishnah Berurah OC 75:2) in 1881; both of them are clearly
> referring to what is then an already very well established practice.

What should be added to the above comment (lehotzi milibon...)
is, that they both strongly articulate that it is a most serious issur. 
One can plainly see their extreme distress at the situation.



From: <Meirhwise@...> (Rabbi Wise)
Date: Wed, 30 May 2007 04:57:20 EDT
Subject: Re: Married Women and Hair Covering

I am somewhat disturbed by the air of triumphalism evidenced by some of
the correspondents to this Digest. They claim that the majority of
married women in Lithuania between the 1880s and 1914 did not cover
their hair. A claim not based on any survey but on the fact that both
the Arukh Hashulchan and Mishneh Berurah both bitterly decrie a laxness
in this area and discuss whether or not men are allowed to pray or
bentch in the presence of such women. This is hardly a heter.

The majority of Jews today do not keep Shabbat. By the same argument we
should tell our wives and daughters that they may not Heaven forfend.
Come to that if we are to play the numbers game we should all be Xtians
or Muslims.

Halacha is not decided by taking a census of what Jews do. Nor is it
decided by rabbis writing in journals whose own wives do not cover their

I have provided 5 rishonim and 5 acharonim and 2 seforim which deal with
this subject and have asked for a world recognised posek who allows ab
initio a married woman not to cover her hair.  I have be told of a rabbi
in Morroco of the Massas family but no-one seems to know the name of the
sefer or give the actual reference. In any event since we are so fond of
numbers he and the author of the article in the journal will be in a
tiny minority.

Anybody who wants to genuinely wants to learn (hopefully with the
intention of keeping - i.e. lilmod u'lelamed lishmor ve'la'asot) may
raise these issues or write to me off-line as several have done or
through the Digest.

This correspondence commenced with an innocent question about women
covering their hair to bless the candles. I replied amongst other things
that hopefully they will get to a level when they will cover their
always. I did not tell anyone what to do or criticise anyone's level of
observance but I will not stand idly by or keep silent whilst some
people try to pervert the halacha and permit that which is forbidden.

kol tuv
Rabbi Wise


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Tue, 29 May 2007 22:52:18 -0400
Subject: Psychotherapy and Confidentiallity: An amusing Counterexample

Is it really that obvious that a therapist should never break his
confidence!  Suppose Abe is a therapist, and Isaac his patient is
planning to have an adulterous affair with a married woman, say
Rachel. Suppose Abe KNOWS he can prevent the affair by breaking the
confidence. Does Jewish law really ENCOURAGE him to be silent for
reasons of parnassah (his occupation!)

Here is an amusing story from the BaMidBar Rabbah collection of
Midrashic Tales: "Isaac made overtures to a married women, Rachel. What
did Rachel do.  She flirted with him and they arranged to meet in a
certain place to have the affair. Rachel then told Rivkah, Isaac's
(legal) wife that her husband wanted to have an affair with her (She
broke the confidence:)). Rivkah dressed up to look like Rachel and met
Isaac at the place where he was suppose to have his affair with
Rachel. After (or was it during:)) the affair she revealed her true
identity and explained 'You are not satisfied with what you have ...so
you seek thrills elsewhere (Good therapy!)."

This Midrash shows a creative use of breaking a confidence to avoid a
serious sin and still give moosar (moral exhortation...imagine how poor
Isaac felt).

Don't misunderstand me. I am not suggesting flippancy in breaking
confidences.  But certain types of sin DO warrant breaking confidence
and THERE ARE respectable ways to break confidence. Let us now forget
that Aaron was known for his famous double-lies (When Abe and Isaac
fought the Midrash states that Aaron would pursue peace...he would go
first to Abe and then to Isaac and say to each: "You know the other guy
really feels bad about the rift that developed...I know he is willing to
resume the relationship with you provided you don't embarass him by
bringing up the past." In this way Aaron developed a reputation of a
"pursuer of peace."

We have a rich tradition! There are good ways to break confidences. I
suggest we be open about it and discuss what CAN be done instead of
seeking the complacency of what should not be done.

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


From: Dr. Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Tue, 29 May 2007 13:23:53 -0500
Subject: Re: Turning for L'Cha Dodi

>From: Shayna Kravetz <skravetz@...>
>Which is why the moment of "Gadlu la-shem iti" seems to me so crucial
>in the Torah service.  At that moment, in the tefilah with which I am
>familiar, the person /holding the Torah/ bows -- thus emphasizing that
>it is not the material object of parchment and ink which is the real
>object of our respect but rather its Source.

         I am not sure this is correct.  First of all, I am not sure it
is proper to be stooped when saying God's name.  I have often wondered
whether this curious practise originated with a chazan, who wishing to
emphasize "une-romma" (elevate) would not only lift up the Torah but
would elevate himself after bowing first, for emphasis; as it turns out
the chazan and many congregants are bowing low on "gadlu"


From: <MPoppers@...> (Michael Poppers)
Date: Tue, 29 May 2007 14:58:38 -0400
Subject: Re: Zaycher vs. Zecher

In M-J V54#73, Joshua Hosseinof responded:
<old me>Josh, are you adding "(so it is pronounced 'bene')," or does that
<old me>come from RAvBaM?

> The exact citation in Shu"t Rabbeinu Avraham Ben Harambam is Siman 79
> Question and Teshuvah Bet.  I'll do my best to translate.... 

Thank you, Josh.  Accordingly, the answer to my question is, "I added
that -- it didn't come from RAvBaM."  As I mentioned this privately many
days ago and didn't hear back from you, I'm assuming you agree -- if you
don't, please explain how you see within RAvBaM's words any indication
that he pronounced the vowel under the nun as (to use your
transliterations) "e" rather than "ay."  To repeat my understanding of
RAvBaM in different words than I used in M-J V54#69, he isn't denoting
how to pronounce the tzeireh but is only telling us it's different from
a chiriq malei, such that the chiriq malei's pronunciation includes its
yud while the tzeireh's pronunciation doesn't even when a yud follows.
(One _possible_ implication of his words is that he pronounced chiriq
chaseir differently than chiriq malei, but I don't think there's any
question he was saying that tzeireh is pronounced the same [as if an
aleph followed] whether or not a yud follows, hence there's no danger of

All the best from
Michael Poppers * Elizabeth, NJ, USA

From: Joshua Hosseinof <JHosseinof@...>
Date: Tue, 29 May 2007 16:14:46 -0400
Subject: RE: Zaycher vs. Zecher

By indicating that the Yud is pronounced like an Aleph, RAvBam is
indicating that there is no Yud like sound in the word "Bene", and that
the Yud is silent like an Aleph.  If there is no Yud-like sound in the
word, then the vocalization of Tzere cannot have a Yud-like sound in it
either.  You can, of course, interpret the text of RAvBaM differently as
you described in your email.  I don't think there is a conclusive answer
one way or the other. And since I think we've been around this
discussion a few times before, it's probably best if we just leave it at


End of Volume 54 Issue 80