Volume 56 Number 35
                    Produced: Wed Sep  3  5:47:40 EDT 2008

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Online Aruch Hashulchan, Hilchos Eruvin and Avelus
         [Dovi Jacobs]
A plurality of customs
         [David Ziants]
A plurality of local customs
         [Martin Stern]


From: Dovi Jacobs <dovijacobs@...>
Date: Tue, 2 Sep 2008 04:44:15 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Online Aruch Hashulchan, Hilchos Eruvin and Avelus

The online, edited version of the Aruch Hashulchan has new material
available as we approach the Yamim Noraim.

Orach Chaim:

Our contributor Netanel, who has been working on Hilchos Shabbos in
Orach Chaim, recently completed Hilchos Eruvin in their entirety. This
encompasses simanim 345-416 (equivalent to the fourth volume of the
Mishnah Berurah). Since then he has already made good headway on the
main body of Hilchos Shabbos (going back to work from siman 242 on the
simanim equivalent to the third volume of the MB). God willing he will
be able to finish doing his steady and excellent work on Hilchos Shabbos
in their entirety.

This is of course in addition to the third part of Orach Chaim on the
Moadim that has been complete now for some time (=MB volumes 5-6). Thus
all the halachos to the coming Yamim Tovim can be found online in a
clear, edited format (Rosh Hashanah, Yom Hakippurim, Sukkah, Lulav).

Index to Orach Chaim: http://he.wikisource.org/wiki/AHS:OH

Yoreh Deah:

In Yoreh Deah I have been working on Hilchos Avelus over the summer
(simanim 339-403), and hope the have them completely finished God willing
before Rosh Hashanah.

This is in addition to the following highly relevant halachos from Yoreh
Deah that are already complete: Kibbud Av va-Em; Kevod Rabbo ve-Talmid
Chacham; Talmud Torah; Tzedakah; Millah; Avadim; Gerim; Sefer Torah;
Mezuzah; Niddui ve-Cherem; Bikkur Cholim. Altogether this encompasses
simanim 240-291 and 334-403 (when Avelus is included). Note that hilchos
Sefer Torah and Mezuzah are an important supplement for those who study
Hilchos Tefillin in Orach Chaim.

When finished with Avelus, I plan IYH to go back to the very beginning of
Orach Chaim and continue straight on from there.

Index to Yoreh Deah: http://he.wikisource.org/wiki/AHS:YD

Other noteworthy features:

A. Original edition: Each siman of the Aruch Hashulchan has a link to
high-quality scans of the original edition, which can be easily viewed to
use for proofreading. The scans are based on the PDF material at Chaim
Rosenberg's wonderful website Hebrewbooks.org, and have further been
organized into smaller files of manageable size for convenient use. So
far about half of the Aruch Hashulchan is available as scans. We are
grateful to Chaim Rosenberg for major these (and 10,000 other Torah
books) freely available for public use.

Please note: High-quality scans are still missing for some parts of the
Aruch Hashulchan (most notably all three volumes of Orach Chaim). The
PDF's currently available for these volumes at hebrewbooks.org are not of
a usable quality. If anyone has the expertise and ability to do quality
scans of these volumes it would be a wonderful contribution to the public
good! We would make use of them for this project, and they would also be
made available at the wonderful library at hebrewbooks.org.

B. We have requested, and are trying to implement soon, an extension to
the software that was made available recently, which will by default show
versions of texts that have been marked as proofread and free of
vandalism. This will allow those who use the Aruch Hashulchan or other
Torah texts at Wikisource to be confident that the integrity of the texts
they are using has not been compromised in any way. My hope is that the
extension will be implemented before Rosh Hashanah.


Important basic information on the texts (as in previous posts):

These are typed digital versions of the simonim that may be copied,
pasted, printed, used or adapted freely for any purpose. They can be used
for personal study, chavrusah, halochoh shiurim and in schools.

You can call up one siman at a time, or view all of "Hilchos Lulav" (for
instance) together on a single page. There is even a "printer friendly"
version available by clicking on "girsah le-hadpasah" in the toolbox on
the right margin, so you can send the entire "Hilchos Lulav" to the
printer with a single click.

The online text is based on the original printed edition, but has new,
additional features:
 *  The abbreviations (roshei tevos) have been fully expanded (with the
    current exception of hilchos Shabbos);
 *  Full punctuation has been added;
 *  The text has been divided into smaller paragraphs (within the
 *  Citations within the text (from Shas, Rambam, Tur, Shulchan Aruch)
    are indented;
 *  The navigation bar and the indices to simonim (e.g. the Orach Chaim
    index) are extremely easy to understand and use;
 *  Thousands of links have been added within the text.
 *  Accuracy: Obvious typos in the original edition of Aruch HaShulchan
    are corrected in the text using brackets [] and parenthesis (), while
    less certain corrections can be documented and discussed on talk
 *  Imperfections: Should you find a mistake (e.g. a typo or mistaken
    puctuation) when you study these texts, there is no need to "live
    with" the error. Instead you can correct it yourself directly, and
    your correction will be reviewed by experienced proofreaders.
    Similarly, any software feature in need of improvement (such as
    navigation or layout) or can also be improved upon directly.
 *  Availability: These Torah texts are available immediately, directly
    and freely to anyone with internet access, and can be easily &
    conveniently printed for those without internet access.
 *  Freedom: These Torah texts may be freely used, copied, adapted, or
    improved for any purpose based on an open-content license. (That
    license obviously only covers this edition's new features, while the
    text of the Aruch HaShulchan itself in its original edition is
    completely in the public domain.) We hope others will take our texts
    and improve them even more for the public good.
These features enhance the readability of the text and facilitate
comprehension in ways beyond what is available in any other currently
available edition of the Aruch HaShulchan, whether in print or

Tables of Contents:
 *  Orach Chaim: http://he.wikisource.org/wiki/AHS:OCH
 *  Yoreh Deah: http://he.wikisource.org/wiki/AHS:YD (available text
    begins with siman 240)

Besides just using these texts for your own Torah study, feel free to
improve and correct them as well, for yourself and for others! You can
correct typos, improve the punctuation, and even improve the formatting
of entire pages. You are also invited to add new simonim on your own. Two
of the website's main contributors have professional experience with
editing Torah texts and/or proofreading, and we are happy to help others
contribute as well.

Please be makdish your learning of halachah from these texts in the
zechus of Israel's wounded and captive soldiers, for acheni kol beis
yisrael in poverty, sickness or distress (among them Rivkah bas Tirtsel),
and the strength and peace of all Israel.


From: David Ziants <dziants@...>
Date: Wed, 03 Sep 2008 00:44:04 +0300
Subject: Re: A plurality of customs

In my previous posting on this subject I made the well known stand that 
saying BHUV"Sh in certain places is halachicaly wrong.

From: Carl Singer:

> To David's point -- I may be tilting at windmills, but because a 
> minhag is "well practised" does not make it correct. But similarly, 
> because it is not common in our community does not make it "mistaken." 
> Can one really correlate popularity (or common practice) of a minhag 
> [or lack there of] with its correctness. Then again, what makes a 
> minhag correct? Carl

I understand that the custom of saying BHUV"Sh is a relative recent one
and not mentioned in the gemarra. Maybe someone on this list can either
refute me here or substantiate this by giving more details. Assuming
that I made a true statement, then it makes a lot of sense that at times
where hefsek (interruption) matters, then hefsek is the more important
issue, and it seems it is on this logic that most poskim published their
decisions that the minhag of saying BHUV"Sh at such junctures is not

I now think that I answer part of my own question here concerning 
certain types of communities where a lot of people answered whereas in 
others they did not:-

Those communities where Jewish learning is strong, the habit of 
answering BHUV"Sh in a place where hefsek is not allowed has now been 
obliterated as the individuals have a strong will to do everything 

The communities where Jewish learning is/was not so strong, people 
continued following force of habit, not even necessarily knowing that 
what they are/were doing is not halachikally acceptable (hoping this 
premise is now proven). In these communities, it might take another 
generation for the error to disappear, as the individuals in the next 
generation, who hold onto their Judaism, tend to be more knowledgeable.

I still have my question:

>> Where did this mistaken custom start?
>> Did it start in the East End of London, or did they do this also in 
>> E. Europe?

It is known that a lot of customs among Ashkenazi Anglo Jewry were taken 
from the earlier Spanish and Portuguese Sephardim. Could there have been 
an influence here?

David Ziants


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, 02 Sep 2008 13:04:00 +0100
Subject: A plurality of local customs

Other members of mail-jewish may remember the persecution I suffered as
a result of my temerity in suggesting that the minhagim of my shul
should not be altered against the wishes of part of the membership. For
my pains, I was physically ejected and guards put at the door to prevent
my entry, something not heard of since the days when Yeravam ben Nevat
posted sentries to prevent his subjects from being oleh regel.

I believe that this extreme action was not taken against the other
dissenters because they were so successfully intimidated by the 'Reform'
faction that they fled the place.

I was forced to take the rabbi and executive to a Din Torah in front of
the Manchester Beth Din and obtained the psak below. Unfortunately those
in control saw fit to ignore its ruling despite having signed a shtar
birurim (deed of arbitration) before the hearing agreeing to accept its
ruling. Can anyone suggest what I should do next?

Mr. M. Stern

Rabbi Y. Cohen & Others
Before Dayan Berger on 23rd Cheshvan 5768/4th Novemeber ^07

Mr. D. Berkeley QC for the Plaintiff
Rabbi Goldblatt for the Defendants
Both parties signed the Deed of Arbitration

This case concerns a disagreement between a member, or members, of  Adass
Yeshurun Shul, and its Rabbi and Executive apparently supported by the
general membership. At the hearing on 23rd Cheshvan 5768/4th November 07 it
was agreed that I decide, by way of a preliminary question, the following
issue: "Is it within the powers of the Rabbi, the Executive and the general
membership to alter the ethos of the Shul?"

In deciding this, one has to determine what had been the objectives of
the Shul[1]. The Shul was founded in 1940 by German refugees. One ought
to remember that at the time there was no shortage of Prayer Houses in
Manchester. Was the founders' goal merely to provide a familiar ambience
for the German refugees? Or, did they go further in endeavouring to
perpetuate and keep alive the illustrious Germanic tradition? Guidance
on this may be found in the Congregation's Constitution.

 Clause 2 thereof provides inter-alia:

"All activities shall be carried out in accordance with Shulchan Oruch

Clause 3 provides:

"Every Jewish person who is Shomer Shabbos may become and remain a member"

Clause 11 provides:

"If a member in the opinion of the Executive no longer adheres to item 2 and
3 of this constitution he can be excluded from the congregation".

Clause 12 provides:

"It is declared that items two and three are declared to be fundamental and
unalterable for all times."

One ought to bear in mind that the document was not drafted by
constitutional lawyers and is therefore somewhat ambiguous, I take it to
mean that the congregation cannot abandon the Shulchan Oruch or to alter
what it calls Ashkenas, nor may it admit members who are not Shomrei

In this context a question springs to mind. Whilst one can appreciate
the insistence on adherence to the rules of Shulchan Oruch, as the
founders were adamant that their efforts should not, in future, be
diverted to Reform, why insist on Ashkenas? Why not rely on Shulchan
Oruch to determine when and under what circumstances Ashkenas may be
abandoned? This, as well as my personal experience in other cases, leads
me to the conclusion that the founders were endeavouring to perpetuate
and keep alive the Germanic traditions. They were determined that their
hard labour should not be converted into a Chasidic Shtiebel or a
Lithuanian Shul.

I now turn to define the meaning of Ashkenas in clause 2. On a narrow,
technical interpretation it qualifies the words "Shulchan Oruch" just
preceding it as if to say "according to the rules of the
Rema". Following on from what I said above, however, I do not believe
that that is the case.  What it means is that all activities shall be
carried out according to Shulchan Oruch and the rites and customs of
Germany (in Hebrew Ashkenas).  I now come to a crucial issue: what is
deemed a change of ethos? In fact there is no precise answer. It is
obvious that not every modification is necessarily a change of ethos. A
need for change may arise out of current circumstances that necessitate
a modification of the prevailing custom. For example, when the Shul is
attended by boisterous youngsters it may be advisable to omit some
Piyutim. When there is no one able to render a certain tune, a more
familiar one may be substituted. However, changes only designed to
eradicate the idiosyncrasies of the congregation certainly fall foul of
the constitution.

That being the case, any member may insist that the constitution be
adhered to. It is not necessary for me to determine now, nor, I hope, in
the future, what should happen if the adherence to the old ways will
result in mass defection to the extent that it would not be possible to
carry on with the Shul activities.

The cost for the Hearing and all associated activity has been fixed by the
Administrative Department of the Beth Din at 300. In keeping with Halocho,
this is to be paid equally by the parties on receipt of this Psak.

Issued by the Manchester Beth Din on 5th Adar 1/ 11th February '08

Dayan I.D.Berger


End of Volume 56 Issue 35