Volume 54 Number 97
                    Produced: Wed Jun 13 19:45:02 EDT 2007

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Martin Stern]
Bicycle Riding on SHabbat
         [Daniel Cohn]
Buying a Get
         [Carl Singer]
Expanded definition of Kashrut
         [Ari Trachtenberg]
Fiat Libellus Repudii -Lo Bashshomayyim Hi
         [Michael Frankel]
The Higher Ones Level the Greater
         [Ari Trachtenberg]
Query regarding HaRav soloveitchik, zts"l
         [Zvi Fenton]
Rabbi Kook philosophy on secular University learning
         [David Mescheloff]
Siddur ha-Ge'onim ve-ha-Mekubbalim
         [Martin Stern]
Why? (lehadlik neir shel Shabbos Kodesh)
         [Alex Heppenheimer]
Zayin Tuvei Haiir
         [David Riceman]


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Wed, 13 Jun 2007 06:40:18 +0100
Subject: Akdamut

> Dan Werlin asks:
> Why don't they say Akdamut?

I have no idea why Lubavitch omit Akdamut but it appears IMHO that of
all the piyutim, it is the one which is top of the list for omission
since it is, in essence, an introduction to the Targum. This was ruled
over 100 years ago by the Netinah laGer when asked which parts of the
liturgy could be modified by the Orthodox United Synagogue in England.

Originally, after each pasuk was read from the Sefer Torah, its Targum
(Onkelos) was read by a second person (Meturgaman) from a printed
(probably formerly hand written) book, as is done to this day by the
Teimanim. This is the reason that, until relatively recently (about 350
years ago), the universal procedure was that the cohen would be called
up, recite the berakhah and have the first pasuk read for him (or read
it himself). After this the Meturgaman wpuld recite Akdamut followed by
its Aramaic translation. The second pasuk would then be read from the
Sefer Torah followed by its Targum and so on.

This procedure was eventually discontinued and in the course of time
only Akdamut was recited after the first pasuk had been leined. The
reason for this apparently strange procedure was forgotten and
objections were raised to what appeared to be an unwarranted
interruption of the reading. As a result most communities changed to
reading it before the cohen recited the berakhah.

Martin Stern


From: Daniel Cohn <4danielcohn@...>
Date: Wed, 13 Jun 2007 15:28:07 +0300
Subject: RE: Bicycle Riding on SHabbat

Avinoam Bitton writes:

>When asked why then he would not publicly give a heter for Shabbat bike
>riding, Rav Yosef was quoted: "If I did they would stone me".

I have read this story before (in MJ, many years ago), and I must say it
is hard to believe. Whatever one may think about Rav Ovadiah Yosef's
public stands on different issues, it's at least clear that's he is not
afraid of criticism from either secular or religious sources.


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Wed, 13 Jun 2007 08:18:22 -0400
Subject: Buying a Get

All too often we read of Get related issues -- most frequently due to
the halachik (gender) asymmetry of marriage and Get, and the
characterization (by some) of women as chattel, we find a woman (or her
family, etc.) having to buy her way out of an abusive, or non-functional
(homosexual husband?) marriage in an attempt to be "free" -- that is to
live as a normal, unencumbered human being.

It seems the halacha as currently interpreted by the Gedolai haDor is
not well suited for dealing with the pragmatics of several situations --
based on previous Mail Jewish Postings these include: 1 - abandonment
(husband runs off to a distant locale but doesn't give a get) 2 -
adultery (husband has another female "partner" who may or may not be an
aishes eish) 3 - abuse (husband abuses wife and / or children) 4 - (and
this is apparently newly public) homosexuality or any abhorrent sexual

It seems that there are three avenues that attempt to address this to
one extent or another.

1 - using the government legal system to attempt to impose some kind of
Get requirements -- a prenuptial agreement of sorts.  ---- Whether this
approach holds water legally or halachically needs to be discussed by
those knowledgeable (or opinionated) in that field.

2 - social pressure and social norms -- ranging from ostracism, cherem,
to bone breaking or other threats of violence.  ---- just telling it as
I see it

3 - halachik means -- ---- Is there a serious halachic approach to being
developed (taken) by serious scholars in an attempt to deal with this

Halacha has slowly and thoughtfully evolved for thousands of years to
meet the needs and challenges of Am Yisroel -- should we expect anything

Carl Singer


From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Wed, 13 Jun 2007 09:57:26 -0400
Subject: Re: Expanded definition of Kashrut

> From: Leonard Paul <lenpaul@...>
> Despite all good intentions, does one seriously believe that
> Conservative rabbis are actually qualified to render competent
> independent opinions that deal with "safe, fair working conditions" and
> such matters?

My bigger concern is that this broader hechsher might eventually be
decoupled from the standard kashrut hechsher, meaning that, for example,
treif restaurants might be able to get a "hechsher tsedek" that their
working conditions are good without getting a hechsher on their actual
food.  As such, this hechsher might serve as a a substitute for proper
food hechsher to some people.  I suppose the argument will be that these
people eat treif anyway, better they should have some Jewish connection
while doing so (similarly to the [then minority] Conservative decision
to permit driving to shul on Shabbat).

Anyone have any internal insight into the matter?

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


From: Michael Frankel <michaeljfrankel@...>
Date: Wed, 13 Jun 2007 06:20:34 -0400
Subject: Re: Fiat Libellus Repudii -Lo Bashshomayyim Hi

From: Elazar M. Teitz <remt@...>

> "Lo bashamayim hi" means no more and no less than that once the Torah
> was revealed, there will be no further revelation.  Therefore,
> questions arising that are not explicitly covered must be resolved
> byhumans operating within the framework of what was revealed, using
> their reason to find analogies, and to apply the Torah's given rules
> ..

Not so poshut.  e.g. R. Yaacov of Marveaux, also other examples. (I'm in
Israel this week with, ironically enough, no access to s'forim to
provide more precise citations)

Mechy Frankel                                       H: (301) 593-3949
<michael.frankel@...>         O: (703) 676-6955
<michaeljfrankel@...>                      C: (202) 255-3970


From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Wed, 13 Jun 2007 10:15:46 -0400
Subject: Re: The Higher Ones Level the Greater

> From: <azqbng@...> (Baruch C. Cohen)
> Rav Dessler makes it clear that a person can only be held responsible
> for behavior over which he has bechira (e.g., a tinok shenishba is
> obviously not punished for aveiros he is totally unaware of).

This might be true for the Heavenly court, but it does not seem true for
any earthly one.  The background of a murderer is irrelevant to whether
he goes to jail, only the specific circumstances related to the murder;
there has been a wealth of (secular) legal case history on mens rea
(literally "guilty mind") and associated reasons for diminished criminal
responsibility ... probably one of the legal scholars on the list could
comment further.

On a practical level, we must act as if sinners have direct
responsibility for their sins, for, otherwise, there would be little
incentive for people to carefully consider what they are and are not
willing to do.

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


From: Zvi Fenton <zhfzhf@...>
Date: Wed, 13 Jun 2007 19:14:23 +0200
Subject: Query regarding HaRav soloveitchik, zts"l

I wonder if you could help me please.  I am aware of a response of the
Rav to the setting up of a Christian Caucus in the Knesset of Israel.
Is there anyone who can help to find the source or even text of the
Rav's response?  I am most grateful.

Shabbat shalom and Chodesh tov

Dr Zvi Fenton


From: David Mescheloff <david_mescheloff@...>
Date: Wed, 13 Jun 2007 03:18:10 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Rabbi Kook philosophy on secular University learning

My daughter-in-law, Shifra, wrote her master's thesis a year and a half
ago, in Hebrew (over 140 pages), on "Rabbi Abraham Yitzhak HaCohen
Kook's Attitude Towards the Study of General Knowledge - Between Vision
and Realization".  Parts of it have been accepted for publication in
scholarly journals in the near future.  There is an abstract in English.
It is closely argued, thoroughly documented, and paints a complex
picture - more complex than is possible to summarize in the exchanges
that have been taking place on the list recently.  If anyone is
interested in more detail, please write me off-line and I will be glad
to forward your request to her.

Best wishes,
David Mescheloff.


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Wed, 13 Jun 2007 11:42:39 +0100
Subject: Re:  Siddur ha-Ge'onim ve-ha-Mekubbalim

On Tue, 12 Jun 2007 15:12:05 +0300, Yael Levine
<ylevine@...> mentioned Yail Weinstock, Siddur ha-Ge'onim
ve-ha-Mekubbalim. I have almost the complete set of 21 volumes and would
like to obtain volumes 5 and 8. Can anyone help me?

Martin Stern


From: Alex Heppenheimer <aheppenh@...>
Date: Tue, 12 Jun 2007 20:24:26 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: Why? (lehadlik neir shel Shabbos Kodesh)

In MJ 54:93, Yisrael Medad wrote:
>Dan Werlin asks:
>> Is anyone aware of the origin and reason for the Lubavitch version (and
>> of any other variations)?
>I could say that they do not need a source but that wouldnt be fair.
>They have their own Shulchan Arukh as well as Minhagim and for them,
>that's enough.

Well, it is still true that those minhagim should be sourced to earlier
authorities where possible. The official compilation of Chabad minhagim
(Sefer HaMinhagim), compiled and published under the direction of the
Lubavitcher Rebbe zt"l, contains extensive footnotes tracing the sources
of the given customs. Building on this, a prominent Lubavitcher chassid
and historian, R' Yehoshua Monschein of Jerusalem, has published several
volumes (with more forthcoming, I hope) on Chabad minhagim and their
sources and parallels among other Jewish communities.

As for "their own Shulchan Arukh" - in fact oftentimes present-day
Lubavitch practice is _not_ in accordance with the Baal HaTanya's
Shulchan Aruch; for one thing, R' Shneur Zalman is known to have changed
his opinion in many instances. (Thus, where the instructions in R'
Shneur Zalman's Shulchan Aruch conflict with those in his siddur we
follow the latter, since it was written later (Shaar HaKollel 1:1).) In
any case, there's no evidence that the Baal HaTanya's Shulchan Aruch was
designed or written specifically for chassidim.

>Why don't they say Akdamut?

Neither do the Sefardim, and neither did the Worms community; it's not a
custom unique to Lubavitch.

It also wasn't always the universal practice of Chabad chassidim to not
say Akdamus. R' Shneur Zalman mentions the custom in his Shulchan Aruch
(494:7); it wasn't included in his siddur, but then neither were lots of
other piyutim (or indeed the Torah readings themselves).

R' Mondschein, in his Otzar Minhagei Chabad Nissan-Sivan (p. 303), cites
a number of statements by the Rebbe that his predecessors did not say
Akdamus, and that this was indeed the general practice in the town of
Lubavitch, but that the chassidim in Yekatrinoslav (including the Rav of
the city, R' Levi Yitzchak Schneersohn, the Rebbe's father) did say
it. (The Rebbe himself, apparently as a compromise, used to recite
Akdamus quietly before the Torah reading and continuing during the
breaks between aliyos.)

Kol tuv,


From: David Riceman <driceman@...>
Date: Wed, 13 Jun 2007 09:15:18 -0400
Subject: Zayin Tuvei Haiir

> From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
> Is anyone aware of any "academic" (I'm already on the sh"ut trail) works
> discussing the history of "lay leadership" in the Jewish community
> throughout history (or since the days that malchut was no longer in
> effect)

Try "Jewish Law and Decision Making" by Aaron M Schreiber (Temple 
University Press 1979).

David Riceman


End of Volume 54 Issue 97