Volume 55 Number 85
                    Produced: Mon Oct  1  6:14:59 EDT 2007

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Joel Rich, Joel]
Avinu Malkenu In Neilah On Shabbos
         [Akiva Miller]
College Reunions
         [Jonathan Baker]
Dying on One's Birthday (3)
         [Daniel Wells, Sammy Finkelman, Carl Singer]
Requirement of eating at Kiddush
         [Avi Feldblum]
Sounding The Shofar At The End Of Neilah
         [Joshua Hosseinof]
Vowels in vav hachibur
         [Jacob Gross]


From: Joel Rich, Joel <JRich@...>
Date: Sun, 30 Sep 2007 09:49:30 -0400
Subject: Aninut/Aveilut

2 questions came up

1. Is saying - sorry for your loss - a form of nichum aveilim? If so,
what does one say to the onen in the funeral chapel before stimat
hagollel(sealing the grave)?

2.Does the avel have a requirement (or a positive disposition towards)
accepting nichum in general?(e.g. could a very private individual lock
themselves in their room for a week or must they sit, albeit not having
to say a word, so others can visit)?

Joel Rich


From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Sun, 30 Sep 2007 21:36:18 GMT
Subject: Re: Avinu Malkenu In Neilah On Shabbos

Immanuel Burton asked:

> As a rule, Avinu Malkenu is omitted on Shabbos. The reason that I have
> heard for this is that it contains requests, and one does not make
> requests of Hashem on Shabbos.  If this indeed the case, why is it
> recited in Neilah when Yom Kippur is on Shabbos?

I thought a lot about this over Yom Kippur. Here are the ideas I came up

First, I've heard some say that the reason is because Neilah ends so
late that Shabbos is practically over anyway, so we don't need to worry
about it. This makes no sense to me. To whatever extent Shabbos is over,
then Yom Kippur is also over, so why bother saying Avinu Malkenu at all?

Another answer might be that Avinu Malkenu is a prayer which is very
dear to many people, and having gone all Yom Kippur without it, some
leniency can be found to allow it for Neilah. I reject this too, for the
simple reason that Neilah is not a good time to be looking for loopholes
in halacha.

I think the answer is that there's actually nothing forbidding us to
make such requests on Shabbos. For example, under normal circumstances
we omit the 13 middle blessings of the Shemoneh Esreh on Shabbos. But if
one accidentally began them -- for example by saying "Atah Chonen" at
Maariv instead of "Atah Kidashta" -- then the halacha is that he *does*
finish the brachah that he started, because they're not really

Similarly, I suspect that it is not really forbidden to say Avinu
Malkenu on Shabbos. On the other hand, even though it is not forbidden,
the custom is that we usually do skip it. It is important to try to
understand what is happening here: Avinu Malkenu is not *forbidden*, but
it is generally felt to be *inappropriate*.

Appropriateness varies depending on circumstances. Things which are
inappropriate in some times could be quite appropriate at other times.

Neilah is a time of desperation. Yom Kippur is ending. The door is
closing. (That's the literal meaning of the word "neilah": closing. Or
even better, locking.) We have only a few minutes, or even seconds,
before HaShem seals the book that He's been writing for the past ten

It is tough to really feel Shabbos when Yom Kippur is in the way, and
one way we dealt with that was by skipping Avinu Malkenu last night at
Maariv, in honor of Shabbos. Same thing this morning at Shacharis, and
even a little while ago at Mincha. But this is Neilah!!! It's our last
chance! This is no time to get hung up on details about making requests
on Shabbos! Request it! Request it now! Avinu Malkenu, etc etc etc...

(I must give credit for these ideas to Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky, who
wrote an excellent article for Project Genesis on the topic of
desperation over the course of Yom Kippur. His article can be found at
http://www.torah.org/learning/drasha/5758/yomkippur.html If you followed
what I wrote above, then I have surely spoiled the punchline of Rabbi
Kamenetzky's article. But please consider reading it to your family next
year, *before* Yom Kippur.)

Akiva Miller


From: Jonathan Baker <jjbaker@...>
Date: Wed, 26 Sep 2007 11:26:25 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: College Reunions

> Tzvi Stein asks, in v55n83, about people's experiences attending
> college reunions on Shabbat. I have attended two college reunions that
> occurred mostly on Shabbat, as well as a high school reunion that
> started before Shabbat was over on a Saturday night in June, and in
> all cases I had good experiences.

I go to the every-five-years reunions at Princeton, and it has generally
not been a problem.  You make provision ahead of time for kosher food to
be delivered to the dining tent, there are minyanim at the Center for
Jewish Life, with a really lebedik Shabbos dinner, and you think about
carrying issues ahead of time.  The room key was a traditional metal
key, so I took some string and made a shabbos necklace out of it.  For
meals I could just take the ticket from my room to the dining area -
surrounded by fences and buildings, so no hotzaa problem.  The one real
dodge I took was to take a bottle of Crystal Light Hydration with me
beshinui just in case - NJ is really unpleasantly hot and humid in June,
and I shvitz an awful lot, lugging my massive bulk around.

The kosher food gets better every time.  Last time it was the same
bolony sandwich every meal.  This time, it was a reasonable facsimile of
the regular nonkosher meal.

        name: jon baker              web: http://www.panix.com/~jjbaker
     address: <jjbaker@...>     blog: http://thanbook.blogspot.com


From: Daniel Wells <wells@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Sep 2007 20:26:35 +0200
Subject: Dying on One's Birthday

      Statistically, IFF death is a random event then dying on one's
      birthday is has a probability of slightly MORE then 1-in-400, more
      accurately about 1-in-365.25 (let's not get overly involved with
      leap years at century years, etc.)

Is this not the birthday paradox where with 23 people in a room there is
almost a 50% chance of 2 sharing the same birthday and with 57, close to

It would appear with two people in a room the chance is 1-364/365. If
this can be extraploated to two events happening to one individual then
it's the same probability.


From: Sammy Finkelman <finkelmanm@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Sep 2007 14:57:55 -0400
Subject: Dying on One's Birthday

  From: <chips@...>
> > There are commentaries who mention that Moshe's dying on Adar 7, which
> > was anniversary of the day he was born, was a special `segulah` .
> > Something I've read and hear many times when getting close to Simchas
> > Torah. I was at a Shabos lunch table recently when this came up and a
> > teenager asked is it really so unusual - after all it seems it would
> > only be less than 1-in-400 chance of occuring. Is the statistical
> > chance different from that? Is there more to the concept of same
> > die/birth date?

Carl Singer:

CS> Statistically, IFF death is a random event then dying on one's birthday
CS> is has a probability of slightly MORE then 1-in-400, more accurately
CS> about 1-in-365.25 (let's not get overly involved with leap years at
CS> century years, etc.)

It gets even more complicated when you consider 2 Adars. In the lunar
calendar there are only 354 or so different days - but there are 30 days
every 2 years and 8-9 months or so on average that share an anniversary
with another date every 2 or 3 years.

Not, not talking about Moshe, the probability that someone will die
around their birthday is known to be in America different than
chance. (This iis probably because people have a goal of living to at
least a certain date, more than people giving up)

This article from 1992 discusses that: 

This particular article used deaths in California from 1969 through 1990.

It also references other articles.

They say that women are more likely to die on the week following their
birthday than on any other week of the year and the detah rate drops
below normal the week before. But men die more frequently shortly before
their birthday.

they don't think this has anything to do with the seasons, misreporting
on the death certificate, deferment of surgery or anything that people
do different around a birthday.

Jewish mortality drops 31% (!) just before Pesach and is made up by more
deaths just afterwards.  ( People checked and non-Jews were not affected
around those same calendar dates and it moves around with the civil date
Passover falls out on)

From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Sep 2007 15:28:31 -0400
Subject: Re: Dying on One's Birthday

No it is definitely NOT the same event / statistic.

The example you mention asks what is the probability that ANY TWO people
in the room have the same birthday for N people in the room.  When N is
23 that probability is about 50%. It's person number 1 having same
birthday as person 2, or 3 or 4 .... or 23. OR person number 2 having
same birthday as person number 3, or 4 .... or 23.  OR person 3 ....  or
Person 22 having same birthday as person 23.  Add up all those
probabilities and you get about .50 (50%)

The wikopedia article you mention deals with that statistic and how the
probability grows as the number of people in the room increases.

One's birthday is fixed and the probability of any random event (which
occurs on a specific date, such as death) happening on that day is as
stated.  Similarly, what are the odds of being born on, say, January 1st
 -- 1 in 365.



From: Avi Feldblum <feldblum@...>
Date: Mon, 1 Oct 2007 05:52:52 -0400
Subject: Requirement of eating at Kiddush

During Yom Tov, we had a discussion of how much one must eat in the
succah in order to be required to eat and made a bracha. As many of you
know, the common practice of going into a succah and making a bracha on
a single cookie is likely incorrect. One needs to eat enough for it to
be considered "koveah seudah" - having a "meal" which most poskim hold
is an egg sized amount of bread or mezonot. As such, if one is having
kiddush in the succah after davening, the person making kiddush will
also be making the bracha "leshev ba'succah", so that person at a
minimum has to eat enough so that it is considered "koveah
seudah". Anyone else who makes the bracha themselves would also have to
eat an egg sized amount of the cake/cookies.

The question was raised whether this is really just a succah related
issue or is true all year long. Since there is a requirement that
kiddush be "bemakom seudah" - be a part of the meal, is there always a
requirement that the person making kiddush eat not just a olive sized
amount of mezonot, but an egg sized amount? For anyone else, since they
cannot eat before Kiddush as well, it is required that if they want to
eat anything, they need to eat enough so that it is considered "bemakom
seudah" for them, so they must eat an egg sized amount of mezonot?

One of the people said that the latter is the opinion of the GRA, and
that those who follow his opinion make sure to eat at least an egg-sized
amount if they eat at the kiddush. I do not remember hearing this as a
general halachic requirement.

I would appreciate any references to where this is discussed in either
the standard poskim or the shu"t literature.

Avi Feldblum


From: Joshua Hosseinof <JHosseinof@...>
Date: Wed, 26 Sep 2007 10:02:30 -0400
Subject: re: Sounding The Shofar At The End Of Neilah

While it is permissible to blow the shofar at Neilah if is not yet Tzeit
Hakochavim (nightfall) even on Shabbat as you pointed out, the problem
is that there are many uneducated people who are at Shul on Yom Kippur
who assume that the fast is over when they hear the shofar.  Therefore,
while halachically the shul was certainly allowed to blow the shofar at
that point, from a public policy point of view it was probably better
that they delayed it until it was truly tzeit hakochavim.

Rav Mordechai Eliyahu gives the above advice under the Halachot of
Neilah in his Machzor Kol Eliyahu.


From: Jacob Gross <JacobBGross@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Sep 2007 05:28:12 -0400
Subject: Re: Vowels in vav hachibur

Normally the Vav prefix, whether attached to a verb, noun, or adjective,
takes a shva.  There are two types of exceptions.

1. Interaction with the next letter:

- Changes from shva to patach if the first letter of the word to which
it is prefixed has chataf patach as its vowel: VA-aseh (Exod. 25:40).
- Changes to shuruk if the first letter of the word to which it is
prefixed has shva as its vowel: U'r'eh (ibid.)
- Also if the first letter is bet or peh: U'vata (Deut. 12:5), U'fanita
- Changes from shva to Kamatz before a one-syllable word at the end of a
phrase: v'shor VA-seh (Lev. 22:23)

2. "vav ham'hapechet": 

- When the Vav is attached to a Future form and changes its meaning to
Past, it behaves somewhat like a Heh prefix ("the"):
-- It generally takes a patach (and induces a dagesh in the following
letter): VAy-yomer.
-- But before Aleph (the prefix of first person singular), it instead
takes a kamatz: VA-avarech (vav kamatz), "and I blessed" (Gen. 24:48).

By contrast, VA-avarechecha (vav patach) (Gen. 27:7) is "and I shall
bless you" -- Not a vav ham'hapechet, but takes a patach under rule 1.


End of Volume 55 Issue 85