Volume 54 Number 82
                    Produced: Thu May 31  5:41:44 EDT 2007

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Bicycle on Shabbat
         [Daniel Geretz]
Bicycle vs Tricycle on Shabbat
         [Keith Bierman]
Bowing for "Gadlu la-shem iti"
         [Irwin E. Weiss]
Gadlu Lashem Itti
         [Ira L. Jacobson]
gadlu l'hashem iti
         [Gilad J. Gevaryahu]
Hair covering
         [Michael Feldstein]
Married Women and Hair Covering
         [I. Balbin]
Need info on budapest
         [Moshe Bach]
Rabbinic Position - Sacramento
         [Harry Weiss]
Rise and Fall of the Bima
         [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz]
Synagogue Dues
         [Carl Singer]
Synagogue membership and dues
         [Rabbi Shaya Kilimnick]


From: Daniel Geretz <danny@...>
Date: Wed, 30 May 2007 09:41:10 -0400
Subject: RE: Bicycle on Shabbat

Dr. Ben Katz writes:

> 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.

IIRC, the reason I learned for not riding a horse was a gezerah lest one
pull a stick off the tree to use as a switch (I think I saw this in "The
Sabbath" by Dayan I Grunfeld - but it was a long, long time ago.)  That
rationale does not support a comparison to bike riding (hitting the bike
with a switch will not make it go faster.)


From: Keith Bierman <khbkhb@...>
Date: Wed, 30 May 2007 08:40:03 -0600
Subject: Bicycle vs Tricycle on Shabbat

>          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.

Tricycles can be as taller or taller than a conventional bicycle.  Also
bicycles can be very low the ground (lower than a person walking)

Since conventional bicycles do not make people appreciably taller
(unlike horseback) surely that can't be the actual source of a

In any event, height is not directly related to the number of wheels.

Keith Bierman  | <khbkhb@...> | khbkhb1@fastmail.fm
AIM kbiermank |  skype khbkhb | gizmo: keithbierman 1-747-641-9858


From: Irwin E. Weiss <irwin@...>
Date: Wed, 30 May 2007 08:16:37 -0400
Subject: Bowing for "Gadlu la-shem iti"

I don't know the source for why we bow at this verse.  Dr. Ben Katz'
suggestion that it originated with some Chazzan wishing to emphasize
"U'neromema" is as good as any.

I was told once that the source for why we stand when the President of
the US comes into the room was this: Before Washington, we had no
minhag.  So, when he was scheduled to the Chamber of the Senate, no one
knew what to do. Of course, one would have stood for a King, but we had
just overthrown, so to speak, King George III.  Yet, it seemed
appropriate to do something. But, no one knew what to do.  Just as
Washington came into the room, one of the Senators dropped his chewing
tobacco over his desk. (All of the desks on the floor of the Senate are
equipped with spittoons).  So, he stood up to retrieve his falling
tobacco pouch, and, as luck would have it, he stood just as Washington
was entering the room--his act of standing was then duplicated by
everyone else, and, presto, we have the minhag to stand when the
President comes in to the room.  Whether this is really true is unknown
to me.

Irwin E. Weiss,  Esquire
Baltimore, MD


From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Wed, 30 May 2007 13:03:32 +0300
Subject: Re: Gadlu Lashem Itti

Susan D. Kane stated the following in mail-jewish Vol. 54 #80 Digest:

> 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.

I have heard serious protests against someone causing the sefer Torah to
"bow."  Is there any halakhic basis for this act?

IRA L. JACOBSON         


From: <Gevaryahu@...> (Gilad J. Gevaryahu)
Date: Wed, 30 May 2007 10:34:35 EDT
Subject: gadlu l'hashem iti

Susan Kane (MJv54n80) writes:

> 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?)

In my current shul we close the ark before the ba'al tefila says
"gadelu..." but I attended other synagogues where the minhag was to keep
it open until it was said. In some shuls, if there is only one sefer
Torah, they keep the ark opened until the Torah is returned.

I speculate that we close the ark before the ba'al tefila says
"gadelu..." because we turn towards the ark when we say "gadelu".  The
closing of the ark when there are other sifrei Torah left inside is a
statement that it is not the physical Torah/s which we bow to, but
rather it is God. Therefore, it makes sense not to close it when there
are no other sifrei Torah left inside.

Gilad J. Gevaryahu


From: <MIKE38CT@...> (Michael Feldstein)
Date: Wed, 30 May 2007 07:58:55 EDT
Subject: Hair covering

> 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 hair.

That's correct.  However, it's also wrong to assume that certain actions
could not have been practiced by Shomer Shabbos women because it's not
halachic (when the evidence clearly shows that it did).  And once it's
established that Orthodox married women left their hair uncovered, it
also behooves us to try to understand whether there was specific piskei
halacha allowing women to uncover their hair, or whether rabbis simply
looked the other way (figuratively--and maybe literally too!).

Michael Feldstein
Stamford, CT


From: I. Balbin <isaac.balbin@...>
Date: Thu, 31 May 2007 07:59:43 +1000
Subject: Re: Married Women and Hair Covering

From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>

      I don't know the history but generally unless something is a clear
      minhag shtut (not judging whether this is) we assume that there
      was an acceptable reason for it.

I know many women who contend that the Halacha is that they should cover
their hair, and indeed, know some who also did so for some time (and
others who now do so).  For various reasons, those women do not cover
their hair.  I've heard it said, "I'm not at that level" or "It's too
hard". Now, I realise this is hearsay, albeit, I'd argue, a commonly
heard view. I am not sure that the mimetic tradition of someone who does
things for *these* reasons constitutes an "acceptable reason". This is
not the realm of minhag.

There are many men who don't go to Shule each morning.  Many of these
would say "I know it's the right thing to do" (yes, we know the language
of the Shulchan Aruch) but "I find it hard to get up in the morning" or
"I'm going through a stage where my yetzer hora is winning  some
arguments". We all go through it. I don't think that a mimetic tradition
of non shule attendance constitutes "acceptable reason" either.

There is Sociology and there is Halacha. They are certainly linked, but
I think that we need to tread very carefully if indeed *we* (as opposed
to Poskim) tread in this area.


From: Moshe Bach <moshe.bach@...>
Date: Wed, 30 May 2007 16:37:59 +0300
Subject: Need info on budapest

Hi all,

I'd appreciate any up to date information on Budapest (minyanim,
restaurants, tours oriented to jewish sites).  I've seen godaven and
shamash restaurant web sites, would like to hear recent first-hand
experience and recommendations.  Please answer offline.

maury (moshe) bach

(+972) 4-865-5845, inet 8-465-5845, cell (+972) 54-788-5845 (US filter
<mbach@...>, moshe.bach@intel.com


From: Harry Weiss <hjweiss@...>
Date: Wed, 30 May 2007 08:26:17 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Rabbinic Position - Sacramento

Small, vibrant, and diverse modern orthodox synagogue, established in
1982 in Sacramento, is seeking a full-time rabbi.  Join us in our
beautiful new building, in California˘s rapidly growing and
family-friendly capital city.  We are within 1 1/2 hours of the Sierra
Nevada Mountains, Lake Tahoe, and the San Francisco Bay area.  We are
searching for a dynamic leader who has the energy and vision to help us
to expand our membership.  We need someone with an outgoing personality,
who is compassionate, has strong pastoral skills, and who will help
sustain our warm and welcoming environment.  Our candidate must have a
strong Torah background with excellent written and oral communication
skills.  It is important that our candidate be an enthusiastic teacher
of children and adults, men and women.

Additional requirements are strong support of Israel and smicha that is
recognized by the Orthodox Union and RCA.

Please contact:

Rena Haberfeld


From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabba.hillel@...>
Date: Wed, 30 May 2007 06:42:57 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: Rise and Fall of the Bima

From: Immanuel Burton <iburton@...>
> While on the subject of Shul architecture/layouts, are there any
> Halachic rulings concerning which direction the seats should face?  Must
> all the seats face the Aron?  Are there grounds to allow the seats other
> than the ones between the Aron and the Bimah to face inwards towards the
> Bimah?  Or does it really not make any Halachic difference?

I should point out that Sefardic shuls that I have seen in Eretz Yisroel
see to be "in the round" with the congregants seated along all four
walls facing the center.

Also consider the references to the z'keinim (elders) being honored by
sitting along the eastern wall facing the rest of the congregation.

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz 


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Wed, 30 May 2007 21:22:16 -0400
Subject: Synagogue Dues

> 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).

I'm not sure that I can span the leap between "reasonable ... to suggest
dues" to "coerce members to pay" Is setting up a dues structure and
sending out bills coercive?  Granted some measure may go to far -- but
the organization does have operating costs.

Your comments re: Mikvah, etc., being more important are correct -- but
we don't live in an either or world -- most communities don't have to
choose among mikvah, school or shule.  Some thoughtful communities even
combine these edifices -- at cost savings.



From: Rabbi Shaya Kilimnick <rebshaya@...>
Date: Wed, 30 May 2007 10:16:20 -0400
Subject: Re: Synagogue membership and dues

    Having served as a congregational Rabbi for 38yrs, I too would like
to see a world where there are no synagogue dues. I would also like to
add to this shopping list the following :a world with no tuition for
Torah education, or Mikvah memberships, Free Shmurah Matzhah and Lulav &
Etrog program, so our Jewish people don't have to have to be exploited
with costs far beyond their means. While we are at it, how about a
standard wedding and Bnai Mitzvah program so that pleasant parents are
not having purge their pockets and pursers for their simchas.

    In other words , there are so many items out there that are costly
to be a Jew. Why is the Shul the first being suggested as the place to
eliminate dues or to introduce other means of support? Even if everyone
pays their dues, the shul needs other funds for Youth activities,
Educational programs, Building concerns, etc.  Over the years, people of
means have always 'stepped up to the plate ', and contributed over and
above their dues.  Certainly, it is the obligation of the board or
administration to make allowances for those who are unable to pay
dues. In most cases these situations are conducted with dignity and
certainly with the sensitivity for one's image and respect in his or
hers community.

    In any case, let's not forget that the strength of any Jewish
community is not found in the Federation nor the Yeshiva....it is the
Shul and its' climate of camaraderie and conduct of 'beyn adam
l'chavero'. Before Kristelnacht and the Shoah, the most established
Kehilot in Europe were due to the strength, success and infrastructure
of the synagogue, its rabbi and lay leadership. So even though it is
noble to suggest for free membership and that people pay on an honor
system, the fact remains, that the present financial structure for
supporting synagogues is the Dues and Membership system.

Rabbi Shaya Kilimnick <rebshaya@...>


End of Volume 54 Issue 82