Volume 56 Number 33
                    Produced: Tue Sep  2 20:21:38 EDT 2008

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Blogging and e-lists - creating a virtual community (2)
         [Robert A. Book, Ari Trachtenberg]
Educational resources for the Jewish New Year
         [Jacob Richman]
Hatam Sofer
         [Binyomin G Segal]
A plurality of local customs
Prayer for the Country in the U.K.
         [Orrin Tilevitz]
Prayer for the Country in UK
         [Bernard Raab]
Royal Family
         [Menashe Elyashiv]
Talit (2)
         [Menashe Elyashiv, Tzvi Roszler]
Wearing Tzitzis at Night (3)
         [Bernard Raab, Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz, .cp.]


From: Robert A. Book <rbook@...>
Date: Tue, 2 Sep 2008 01:04:37 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Blogging and e-lists - creating a virtual community

Welcome back, Avi!

As many others have stated, there surely is value in continuing

As one who reads -- and sees great value in -- blogs and Facebook and
the like, these things are differen from a mailing list.

A blog is usually written by one person or a few people, and while
others can comment, only the author(s) start a new topic.  They are
great for disseminating (or following) the views of the authors, and
while many allow "comments" these are at best like an extended "letters
to the editor" section, more than like a real discussion.  Lots of
people don't even click to see the comments.  And that's with the good
blogs -- a lot of them are horrible, and the comments are often much
worse.  A good blog is like a good column, with the ability of readers
to comment.  One excellent blog that might be of interest to MJ readers
is http://cross-currents.com -- one look at that will make it clear that
(a) it's very good, and (b) it's not a substitute for MJ.  They are just
different types of things.

Facebook is great for keeping in touch with friends and colleagues, but
it's not really set up for exchanging ideas or discussing topics.  The
same applies to LinkedIn and the others.

A mailing list is optimized for discussion.  Anyone can raise a topic,
and there is not the heirarchy of "posters" vs. "commenters."  MJ is a
unique list.  The "community" we have hear could not easily be
transferred to any other medium, and even if we could, it wouldn't be
the same.  For MJ to become a blog, everyone who's currently a
subscriber would have to become a blog author to start a topic, and
cross-linkage between topics would be difficult.  It might be possible,
but the transition cost would be high, and the workload to keep it
moderated might not be any lower.  Plus, everyone would have to learn a
new interface.  This is a case of "don't fix what isn't broken."

Avi, for all your efforts over the past 19-20 years, THANK YOU!

--Robert Book    

From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Mon, 01 Sep 2008 19:19:33 -0400
Subject: Re: Blogging and e-lists - creating a virtual community

> From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
> ... I wonder about the halachik
> status of those who blog and comment without revealing who they are,

There are important reasons for commenting without revealing who you are
 ... for example, if you know the blog owner and know that your comment
will be taken in a different light from you (personally) than from a
random internet denizen.

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


From: Jacob Richman <jrichman@...>
Date: Tue, 02 Sep 2008 00:27:26 +0300
Subject: Educational resources for the Jewish New Year

Hi Everyone!

Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year 5769, begins Monday night, September
29, 2008.

The J Site - Jewish Education and Entertainment 
has several entertaining features to celebrate the new year:

Jewish Trivia Quiz: Rosh Hashana

Which special prayer is said in the days before Rosh Hashana ? 
Which group of foods is customary to eat on Rosh Hashana ? 
What are the other three names of Rosh Hashana ? 
How many times is the shofar sounded during Rosh Hashana ? 
Which food is customary NOT to eat on Rosh Hashana ?

The above questions are examples from the multiple choice 
Flash quiz. There are two levels of questions, two timer settings.
Both kids and adults will find it enjoyable.

Additional Rosh Hashana resources and games on the J site include:
Free Rosh Hashana Clipart
The Multilingual Word Search Game (English / Hebrew / Russian)
The Hebrew Hangman Game 
My Hebrew Songbook (Hebrew Song Lyrics)
My Jewish Coloring Book (online / offline)

The J site has something for everyone, but if that is not enough, I
posted on my website 82 links about Rosh Hashana, from laws and customs
to games and recipes.  Site languages include English, Hebrew, French,
German, Italian, Portugese, Russian and Spanish.  All 82 links have been
reviewed / checked this week.

The web address is:

Please forward this message to relatives and friends, 
so they may benefit from these holiday resources.

Shana Tova - Have a Good Year,


From: Binyomin G Segal <bsegal@...>
Date: Mon, 1 Sep 2008 17:00:55 -0500
Subject: Re: Hatam Sofer

Eric Grosser asks about the psak of the Hatam Sofer, and how it relates
to a specific worldview

To my mind the Hatam Sofer is a very specific historic case.

Much of his energy was devoted to fighting the innovations of the Reform
movement. Often the very fact that the innovation came from the Reform
movement was sufficient to render it forbidden. His well known
expression was "Hadash assur min haTorah" (lit. Innovation is prohibited
by Torah law).

I would suspect that this change to German was a case in point, and the
Hatam Sofer created the argument to fit the decision. So at least in
this case, I feel confident that had he been convinced of the linguistic
truth, the psak would not have changed. Indeed, I am not at all
confident that he really believed the linguistic theory he puts forth.

binyomin segal
To the WORLD, YOU may be ONE person; but to ONE person, YOU may be the WORLD


From: .cp. <chips@...>
Date: Mon, 1 Sep 2008 22:47:05 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re:  A plurality of local customs

Carl's question arising from Rabbi Angel's article has another aspect,
imho. Was the custom being followed from Turkey a valid custom or a
`mihnag taos`? The role of custom's are supposed to be based on valid
halachic reasoning about which a COMMUNITY decided to follow. As others
have noted, the present way of doing things (at least in the USA) has
done away with the community aspect but basing minhag on valid halachic
reasoning seems ,if anything, to be making a comeback.



From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Mon, 1 Sep 2008 18:23:02 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Prayer for the Country in the U.K.

This was not quite the question, but I have an 1878 mahzor, printed in
Warsaw, that in the standard prayer for the government (hanotein teshua)
names the czar, czarina, their children, their children's wives, and a
couple of dozen other relatives and other officials. (I once recited it
in our shul on Simchat Torah; our resident Russian emigres did not think
it funny.)


From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Tue, 02 Sep 2008 02:00:48 -0400
Subject: Prayer for the Country in UK

At a Shabbat in Nairobi in 2002, I was bemused to hear the prayer for
the government and for the well-being of the then dictator of Kenya,
Daniel Arap-Moi mentioned by name. I imagine that in Denmark, the names
are recited with affection. I doubt that was the case in Nairobi.

Welcome back, Avi. Many of us were concerned about your health, so it is
good to have you back. You are quite right to observe that the
blogoshere is no substitute for Mail-Jewish. A blog is a man on a
soapbox. M-J is more like a roundtable seminar with no fixed
agenda. Some of the seats are permanently occupied; others are occupied
by a rotating assembly of scholars. Over the years we get to know each
other quite well, although more as ideas and personalities than as
fully-formed people. We also enjoy some of the features of the storied
intellectual salons which were run ln their homes by notables in years
past, but involving a far larger and more diverse community. A unique
product of the internet age; it would be a shame to lose it.

Welcome back--Bernie R.


From: <Menashe.Elyashiv@...> (Menashe Elyashiv)
Date: Tue, 2 Sep 2008 08:54:20 +0300
Subject: Royal Family

I wrote in our local parashat hashavu page for this week about the King
in the Torah. I stated that there are no real kings today, except in
some african tribes. The European kings are just a replica of the past,
and they do not rule their countries. The queen of England and her
family maybe the richest family in England, but why should you pray for
them?  The base of the prayer is to pray for the government that rules,
for the good of the Jews, as Yermiyahu told the Jews in Bavel, and as
said in the U.S. etc.  Hasn't the time come to renew the U.K. prayer? 


From: <Menashe.Elyashiv@...> (Menashe Elyashiv)
Date: Tue, 2 Sep 2008 09:14:47 +0300
Subject: Talit

Even as daytime is the time the time for Talit, the Ari holds that one
should not take off his Talit Kattan except in the bathhouse. So there
are some who sleep with it, and do not say a Bracha in the
morning. OTOH, the Ari holds that one shold not put on a Talit at
night. So in the Sefaradi minhag the Hazzan has no Talit. In our
pre-dawn Selihot, it is too early to put on a Talit

This brings me to the subject of local minhag. I once saw a 70 or 80 old
man without a Talit. He never married, but it looked funny, or maybe sad
that all his life he did not have a Talit. I know some non- German
Ashkenazi Kohanim that their boys have a Talit. Why should a Kohen
borrow a Talit 8 times a week? But check any Litvak Yeshiva to see if
the German or Sefradi boys wear one. Why not? Because people give up
their minhag in favor of the widerspread one

From: <TzviR@...> (Tzvi Roszler)
Date: Mon, 1 Sep 2008 17:32:10 EDT
Subject: Talit

I believe I saw somewhere the reason single men do not wear taleisim is
due to The "smichut" juxtaposition in parshat Ki Taitzei of the
posuk(22,12)Gedilim Taaseh Lecho,to the next posuk:Ki yikach Ish
Isho.Most Sefardm do wear taleisim post Bar Mitzvah.

Tzvi Roszler @aol.com


From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Tue, 02 Sep 2008 02:50:43 -0400
Subject: Re: Wearing Tzitzis at Night

>From: Akiva Miller
>Rav Moshe Feinstein (in Igros Moshe Yoreh Deah 2:137) says that in such
>a case there is no prohibition to put them on, and there is also no
>need to put them on, and not even a "hidur" (praiseworthiness) to put
>them on.

Many long years ago, in my single days, I dated a girl who suspected
that I was not quite religious enough for her. Finally, after many
dates, she put me to the test: She casually, I thought lovingly, ran her
hand over my back, but not so innocently after all. She was feeling for
my tsitsis, and failing to find them, she confronted me. I protested
that it was nightime, and that it was not required that I wear them at
night, but alas, to no avail. Our romance was doomed. I was crushed,
but, in retrospect, although I might have been right halachicaly, she
was probably right hashkaphicaly.

Bernie R.

From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahillel@...>
Date: Mon, 01 Sep 2008 16:59:15 -0400
Subject: Re: Wearing Tzitzis at Night

> From: Guido Elbogen <havlei.h@...>
> The custom of single talit-less post bar-mitzvah men arose so as not
> embarrass those unable to purchase this expensive commodity back in Lita
> (Lithuania), Hungary and the surrounding nations..
> But today when they are relatively cheap, it's hard to understand why
> such a minhag has become entranched as if its a minhag instituted by the
> Knesses Anshei Gedola.

This reminds me of several stories that make the point

1.  The shul that had the minhag of turning and facing the back for
modim de'rabbanan (said by the congregation during the chazan's
repetition of the amidah).  During shul renovations the paint was
stripped from the wall and wooden engravings of various prayers were
found.  As you probably have guessed, modim d'rabbanan was found on the
back wall.

2. A shul had the custom of bowing during hoshanos when the participants
reached a certain point in the circuit.  Someone became curious as to
the origin of the minhag and traced it back to the original shul in
Europe.  There had been a beam in the ceiling there and people had to
duck under the beam (especially when carrying a lulav).

Given how customs continue, no matter why they got started, I would
expect that people nowadays would continue the minhag of not getting a
tallis until marriage even if the reason was originally economic.  This
would be especiallly if the custom arose many years ago.

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

From: .cp. <chips@...>
Date: Mon, 1 Sep 2008 22:57:00 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: Re: Wearing Tzitzis at Night

I'm single, never married. Graduated High School in 1980 and went to
post HS yeshivas in Boro Park. I was never taught to say a bracha on the
tallis katon and before today I do not recall hearing of such of a
thing.  Interesting, the juxtoposition of this and the 'plurality of
customs' thread - another reason to keep mj email list :-)



End of Volume 56 Issue 33