Volume 55 Number 91
                    Produced: Sat Dec  1 20:53:24 EST 2007

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Cos Shel Bracha
         [Ed Goldstein]
No Tachanun at a Bet Knesset in the case of a Brit
         [Yisrael Medad]
No Tachnun at a Bris
         [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz]
Noach trivium
         [Yehonatan Chipman]
Tachanun at Mincha (2)
         [Ben Katz, Rabbi Wise]
Zemanim (3)
         [Mark Steiner, David E Cohen, Dr. William Gewirtz]
Zemanim - comments on Ken Bloom
         [Dr. William Gewirtz]


From: <bernieavi@...> (Ed Goldstein)
Date: Thu, 29 Nov 2007 08:22:43 -0500
Subject: Cos Shel Bracha

The cos of birkat hamazon at seuda shlishit is not drunk then with a
bracha, but saved for havdala. Why not drink it as we do at other times
after birkat hamazon?

Ed Goldstein


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Thu, 29 Nov 2007 21:06:57 +0200
Subject: No Tachanun at a Bet Knesset in the case of a Brit

Following up on A kiva Miller's post re: "No Tachnun at a Bris", some thoughts:

a) the "simcha overflow" seems to be a correct analysis as the din is,
if I am not mistaken, that even if the brit milah ceremony is at a home,
still the tachanun is not said at the synagogue although I think that is
as long as one of the three "baalei-brit" [father, sandak, mohel] are
present although this may be in dispute.

b) i recall that when Shiloh was smaller or more compact, since the Rav
considered the entire area as one community even though there were two
synagoges, a brit at one synagogue affected the other and no tachanun
was said but after a few years, with expansion and the loss of the
close-knit community feeling (although by American standards we still
are small, some 250 families but spread over some 1000 acres and
different heights), he decided that only the synagogue where the
baalei-brit were present would not say Tachanun.

c) the idea of announcing is a great one.

Yisrael Medad


From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabba.hillel@...>
Date: Thu, 29 Nov 2007 05:31:44 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re: No Tachnun at a Bris

>From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
>Several posters have described various situations where Tachanun is
>skipped, even at a minyan other than the one where the main participants
>are davening, or other than the one where the bris will take place.
>Try as I might, there is only one reason that I can think of as to WHY
>Tachanun would be skipped at those other minyanim, and that is that the
>simcha applies not only to the main participants, but that the simcha
>overflows even to the other minyanim, and those people too are joyful
>about the event. But how does this overflow occur, if the people in the
>other minyanim are unaware that the bris will take place?
>It seems to me that if the minyan is going to skip Tachanun, then
>something should be done to insure that the minyan has at least some
>minimal awareness of the simcha. For example, instead of having the
>chazan go directly from Chazaras Hashatz to Kaddish, the gabbai (or
>someone else) should interrupt, and announce, "In honor of Ploni Almoni
>making a bris for his son today at the 7:45 minyan, we too will skip
>Tachanun today."
>But I've never seen this done anywhere. Has anyone else seen anything
>like this? Or am I totally wrong on the reason why the other minyanim
>skip Tachanun?

Another reason that I have seen is that since Eliyahu Hanavi will be
there, we omit tachanun in his honor.  Thus, since he is in that shul,
every minyon should honor him.  The discussions of this matter that
mention the entire city also have this idea.  Once he has left (the
minyonim *after* the bris) then tachanun is said.  That is, many
minhagim say that tachanun is skipped *only* at the minyonim *before*
the bris.  As far as the announcement of the gabbai, I think that there
may be an inyon (matter) of not having a hefsek (break) before kaddish.

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz | Said the fox to the fish, "Join me ashore"
<Sabba.Hillel@...> | The fish are the Jews, Torah is our water


From: Yehonatan Chipman <yonarand@...>
Date: Thu, 29 Nov 2007 21:10:35 +0200
Subject: Re:  Noach trivium

In 55 #89, Larry Israel wrote:

> The first sentence of this week's reading, Noah, has his name three
> times.  What other places, if any, in the Bible are there with a
> person's name appearing three or more times in one sentence?

I cannot answer his question, but wanted to mention that in "Toldot
Ya'akov Yosef," the earliest Hasidic book of derush ever published
(1780), by R. Yaakov Yosef of Polnoyye, one of the outstanding talmidim
of the Baal Shem Tov, this parsha is referred to by the title "Noah
Noah" (thus on the running heads at the top of the page in the facsimile

Yehonatan Chipman


From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2007 11:20:25 -0600
Subject: Re: Tachanun at Mincha

>From: <Meirhwise@...> (Rabbi Meir Wise)
>My first rabbinic post in the late sevenites was in a large nusach sfard
>shul (made up of many defunct shuls) in the East End of London commonly
>called Nelson street. There they did not say tachanun any day at mincha!
>When I ask why they answered that the previous rabbis/rebbes held that in
>a town as large as London there was bound to be a simcha most days!!!

I thought sefardim didn't say tachanun at minchah. I'm also pretty sure
in YU HS (MTA) in the 70's we davened mincha w/o tachanun

From: <Meirhwise@...> (Rabbi Wise)
Date: Thu, 29 Nov 2007 01:37:58 EST
Subject: Re: Tachanun at Mincha

With respect to Martin Stern , I was the Rabbi there and the reason was
as I stated. We davened minchah gedolah so it was not due to lateness!

Rabbi Wise


From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Thu, 29 Nov 2007 08:22:29 +0200
Subject: RE: Zemanim

> For the purpose of computing zemanim according to the Magen Avraham
> (which should be used lechatchila for sh'ma in the morning), Tzait
> HaKochavim is 72 dakot zemaniyot after shkiat hachama, symmetric with
> alot hashachar.

According to this, twilight is much longer in the summer (when the days
are longer) than in the winter.  Yet astronomically this makes no
sense--astronomically, the twilight is shorter, not longer, in the
summer.  (In the winter, the sun sets at an oblique angle to the
horizon, and takes much longer, therefore, to sink below the horizon
enough to bring on the stars.)

From: David E Cohen <ddcohen@...>
Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2007 17:07:54 +0200
Subject: RE: Zemanim

I once asked a rav in the U.S. why it was that all of the many shuls in
town ended Shabbat a fixed number of minutes after sunset throughout the
year.  (Thought different shuls used different numbers of minutes, they
all kept it fixed.)  He answered that while he agreed that it should
really be based on the angular depression of the sun, most people will
find this confusing, and will assume that if Shabbat is over x minutes
after sunset at one point in the year, that will be true at any point in
the year.  Thus, each shul was taking the number of minutes between
sunset and its favored angular depression at the summer solstice and
using it throughout the year.  For example, a shul in the New York area
that wanted to use 8.5 degrees (R' Tukachinsky's measurement of when 3
small stars are visible), might find itself waiting 50 minutes
throughout the year, even if the sun reaches that angular depression in
New York after 41 minutes at the equinoxes.

In defense of those who use a fixed 72 minutes for `alot hashachar and
for Rabbeinu Tam's motza'ei Shabbat (leaving aside the discussion of
whether it takes 18 minutes or 22.5 minutes to walk a mil), I once
figured that perhaps they believe that Chazal themselves used similar
logic, and for the sake of simplicity, instituted a fixed amount of time
that would be "safe" to use throughout the year.  Thus, rather than
assuming that 4 mil is the baseline value for the equinoxes and must be
extended at other times of the year, they believe that it corresponds to
when it really gets dark at the summer solstice, but for the sake of
simplicity, Chazal mandated waiting that long at the equinoxes as well.

Problems with this, though, include:

1. That which is a chumra on motza'ei Shabbat is a kula regarding `alot
hashachar.  If one is assuming that `alot hashachar is always at 72
mintues before sunrise, but it really does not start to get light until
later at times of year besides the summer solstice, one could end up
doing a daytime mitzvah while it is still totally dark.

2.  In the time of Chazal, I don't think that using a fixed number of
minutes would have added any simplicity.  People did not have watches
and clocks, and would actually be much more in tune with whether the sky
reflected a certain degree of light or they could see a certain number
of stars than they would be with the passing of a certain number of

I hope that Dr. Gewirtz will be kind enough share a summary of his
theory as to how the custom of using a fixed number of minutes became
widespread in certain places.


From: <wgewirtz@...> (Dr. William Gewirtz)
Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2007 16:03:03 +0000
Subject: RE: Zemanim

Difficult to answer "al regel achas" and more troubling we are on a
meta-halachic as well as strictly halachic issue - why poskim may have
decided a particular way.  In order to address properly one must
evaluate 1) the posek's understanding of the impact of season and
latitude - while it is widely acknowledged today, many do not appear to
have an adequate operational knowledge of how to apply, and in previous
generations, the issue may also not have been understood.  2) the extent
to which (anachronistic) reasoning assuming clocks may have had impact
on the psak.  Both of those areas are not subject to proof, in a formal
sense, and since we are discussing gedolai HaMesorah in many cases, this
has to be done within a proper, carefully developed framework.

Now add purely halachic principles that the posek may have viewed as
axiomatic of which there are a number, and u have the complete picture.

So to answer your question, if you address 1) and 2) and add a minimal
number of widely accepted halachic principles, you must end up with a
position akin to the Rav ZTL in his famous yartzeit shiur on this topic.
Since that is not common practice, something has to give.  My assumption
is that valid halachic axioms about chatzot and the gemara in pesachim,
constrained the ability to treat the evening and morning zemanim
differently.  Hence, both ended up "fixed."  Not a great answer, but to
square the Rav's logic with practice, requires a very long discussion.

If you would like we can discuss further.


From: <wgewirtz@...> (Dr. William Gewirtz)
Date: Thu, 29 Nov 2007 06:35:44 +0000
Subject: Zemanim - comments on Ken Bloom

>From: Ken Bloom <kbloom@...>
>> We are all aware of Sha'ot Zemaniyot but how do we calculate Alot
>> Hashahar based upon Sha'ot Zemaniyot?
>According to R' Ovadia Yosef, Alot HaShachar is 72 dakot zemaniyot (1.2
>sha'ot zemaniyot) before hanetz hachama. These sha'ot zemaniyot are 1/12
>of the time between hanetz hachama and shkiat hachama.
>We also need to compute tzait hakochavim. For the purpose of the
>earliest time to say sh'ma at night, and the end of shabbat, R' Ovadia
>Yosef uses 13.5 dakot zemaniyot, but that figure is only valid in Eretz
>Yisrael, and he told my rabbi, R' Daniel Raccah in Chica go, to use
>whatever accepted opinion is used here -- so we use 50 fixed minutes.
>For the purpose of computing zemanim according to the Magen Avraham
>(which should be used lechatchila for sh'ma in the morning), Tzait
>HaKochavim is 72 dakot zemaniyot after shkiat hachama, symmetric with
>alot hashachar. When computing zemanim according to the Magen Avraham,
>these dakot zemaniot are the same as those computed above (based on
>hanetz hachama and shkiat hachama), thus leading to the paradoxical
>result that in order to compute zemanim according to the Magen Avraham,
>we begin by computing the sha'ah zemanit according to the GR"A.

Ken - your post illustrates the obvious problems that have to be
addressed.  1) how can 13.5 in jerusalem and 50 in chicago be
reconciled?  THEY CANNOT. (BTW - Lemaiseh R. Yosef is more machmir but
that still does not solve the discrepency.  Your assumption that Shabbat
and zmanai kriat shema are the same differs from established practice.)
2) the interval of alot to hanetz as d Cohen in a previous post
explained is longer in the winter than at the spring/fall equinox.  That
is clearly NOT shaot Zemaniot.  The opinion of R. Yosef and many other
poskim CANNOT be reconciled with the meitzius that D. Cohen stated
precisely - haChush Maichish.  3) You refer to using the calculation of
the the Levush (adopted by the Gaon) as "paradoxically" required by the
MA (actually the Ramban and Trumot HaDeshen).  That "paradox" might
immediately tell you that something is problematic.

The more important issue to figure out is how all this dealt with
pre-clocks!  Beyond clocks, there are a number of other "modern"
mindsets that are used (even by the most charedi Poskim) to read the
gemara and rishonim.  Clearly that has to be questioned.  OTOH, I
strongly suspect that depression angles are really a very precise
measure for the way the gemara and some rishonim reasoned.  And again to
practically answer the original question - 16, (11.5 - 10.3) and 8.5 are
the most accepted depression angles used in halacha for alot, misheyakir
and the end of shabbat respectively.  I understand the view that at
every location, these zemanim should be set to a fixed number (chosen
leChumrah), but that is non-trivial for alot/misheyakir.

dr. william gewirtz


End of Volume 55 Issue 91