Volume 56 Number 36
                    Produced: Wed Sep  3  6:09:41 EDT 2008

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Birkat Cohaneem in the Syrian community
         [Solomon halevy]
Hatam Sofer
         [Frank Silbermann]
Minhag - Halachah
         [Michael Poppers]
Pesachym - witnesses telling time
A plurality of local customs
         [David Cohen]
Prayer for the Country in UK
         [Irwin Weiss]
Royal Family
         [Perry Zamek]
Tallet for Boys
         [Solomon halevy]
Tzitzit at night
         [Binyamin Lemkin]
Wearing of Tallis Gadol by Bochurim
         [Ira Bauman]
Wearing of Tallis Gadol by Bochurim (never married grown males)


From: <Samboosak@...> (Solomon halevy)
Date: Wed, 3 Sep 2008 06:37:03 +0000
Subject: Re: Birkat Cohaneem in the Syrian community

Regarding Birkat Cohaneem in the Syrian community, we do wash the hands
as for the shoes,unless there is an actual duchan it is not necessary,
even during neeilah

Solomon halevy


From: Frank Silbermann <frank_silbermann@...>
Date: Wed, 3 Sep 2008 00:32:29 -0500
Subject:  Hatam Sofer

 Binyomin G Segal <bsegal@...>

> 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).

A local rabbi who says he's a direct descendant of the Hatam Sofer told
us in a shir that that expression "Hadash assur min haTora" was merely a
whimsical response to a specific proposed innovation.  His ancestor was
quoting a well-known halachic source that, at a certain time in the
agricultural cycle during which we have not yet donated the first of the
new crop to the Kohanim and Levites, "eating new (grain) is a
prohibition from the Torah."  ("Hadash assur min haTorah").

He suggested that, given the source of the Hatam Sofer's phrase, it was
probably not meant to be taken as a general halachic principle (although
in that era, the Hatam Sofer probably did feel that it was a
specifically bad time to accept changes).

> 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.

It does indeed sound as though the Hatam Sofer used a different standard
of logical precision when creating sound-bites for laymen, as contrasted
with the precision he would have applied to serious Talmudic

Frank Silbermann


From: Michael Poppers <MPoppers@...>
Date: Tue, 2 Sep 2008 19:28:00 -0400
Subject: Re: Minhag - Halachah

In M-J V56#31, Shmuel Himelstein notes:
> P.S. There is a mention in the book - I forget where - about a certain
> synagogue where the Baal Keriyah could be fined if he made any errors in
> the Torah reading! I suppose that could only apply if he was a paid
> employee.

Mei'inyan l'inyan (from one topic to another within the same general
discussion), Shmuel's note reminds me of a discussion (and poll) on the
now-closed Yahoo! Leining group re payment for leining services during
which one listmember (IIRC, Henry Goodman from the UK) noted that he
didn't receive payment but did have the privilege of "paying" the shul,
because he pledged some amount after being given an aliyah on that very
Shabbos. So, you see, ba'alei q'riyah can be "fined" in certain
communities whether or not they make any mistakes :-).

All the best from
--Michael Poppers via RIM pager


From: <chips@...>
Date: Tue, 2 Sep 2008 18:27:01 -0700
Subject: Pesachym - witnesses telling time

Daf 11 and 12:
   Why didn't they ask the witness if they meant going into the 3rd hour or leaving the 3rd hour?



From: <bdcohen@...> (David Cohen)
Date: Tue, 02 Sep 2008 15:53:05 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: A plurality of local customs

Ben Katz wrote:
> This gets into the whole mimetic vs text tradition issue of
> Rabbi Dr. Aharon Soloveichik

The author was Rabbi Dr. Hayyim Soleveitchik in his article Rupture and
Reconstruction, available at


From: Irwin Weiss <irwin@...>
Date: Wed, 03 Sep 2008 03:14:02 -0400
Subject: Prayer for the Country in UK

First, welcome back, Avi.  I have learned a great deal from reading the
intelligent posts here, and wish you many years of happy moderating.

As to the Prayer for the Country in the UK, I wished to relate the
following: In our shul in the USA, of course, we say the standard prayer
for the Country without naming names of the President, etc..  One
Shabbat we enjoyed the Bar Mitzvah of a young boy, whose father is a
British citizen (and also a citizen of Israel) but living temporarily in
the US.  Some of his relatives from London were in attendance.  He asked
the shul if he could recite the Prayer for the Country with the names of
the Queen, etc. included! Obviously, this is not our minhag, but it is
his.  Our shul is under 20 years old and is made up of an assortment of
people from various places and backgrounds.

One observation: Unlike virtually all tefilot, the Prayer for the
Country in the UK with the names of the Queen etc. changes text
periodically and irregularly. Of course, unlike most national anthems,
the English national anthem changes words too.  Could be G-d save the
Queen or the King, depending.

Irwin Weiss
Baltimore, MD


From: Perry Zamek <perryza@...>
Date: Wed, 03 Sep 2008 07:30:12 +0300
Subject: Re: Royal Family

Menashe Elyashiv wrote:
> 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? 

Let me make a couple of observations here, and respond to the above:

1. In Australia, I have noted that the prayer has been rewritten along
the lines that Menashe suggests, asking for blessings for "the Prime
Minister and the government " etc.

2. One ought to differentiate between the concept of "head of
government" and "head of state." In the United States of America, these
roles are filled by the same person. In the United Kingdom, however, the
head of government is the Prime Minister, while the head of state is the
Queen. This duality also applies to other Westminster-based systems
(those that have not become republics), with the difference being that
they also have a Governor-General, the Queen's representative (but
he/she is not the head of state). In Australia, the Queen is
constitutionally the Queen of Australia, and thus head of state.

3. It is not the government, i.e., the present set of ministers, etc., 
that rules, but rather the head of state, through those elected and 
appointed ministers.

4. What does this mean for the prayer for the government/royal family, 
etc.? In my view, the prayer should be for the welfare of the state, as 
personified in the head of state - president, queen, grand duke, or 
whatever - rather than for the welfare of the "government" (i.e. the 
Prime Minister and the ministers).

Pirkei Avot tells us to pray for the welfare of "malchut" - while this 
is translated as "the government", it probably denotes something far 
more permanent than the political party members currently in power. I 
believe it refers to the authority of the State, which does not change 
upon the whims of voters or members of parliament.

Perry Zamek


From: <Samboosak@...> (Solomon halevy)
Date: Wed, 3 Sep 2008 06:37:03 +0000
Subject: Re: Tallet for Boys

Sepharadeem put on a tallet from the time the boy starts going to
synagogue.  Regarding a tallet kattan, since it is only obligated when
wearing a four cornered garment, I don't see any obligation at all to
wear at night.


From: Binyamin Lemkin <lemkin@...>
Date: Wed, 3 Sep 2008 09:13:27 +0300
Subject: Tzitzit at night

>From my conversations with HaRav David Bar-Hayim I have understood that
his view is that one should wear tzitzit at night as well as during the
day and say a bracha on them if one has put them on at night.

                    Binyamin Lemkin


From: <Yisyis@...> (Ira Bauman)
Date: Tue, 2 Sep 2008 21:18:57 EDT
Subject: Re: Wearing of Tallis Gadol by Bochurim

I'm also delighted to see the M-J discussion back.  There was definitely
something missing from my life without the daily discussion.  Thanks,

Having been brought up in Washington Heights, I wore a tallis as a
child.  My rebbe in Yeshiva explained it thusly.  In Eastern Europe ,
young men delayed marriage for years so that they could devote
themselves to learning.  To encourage them to marry, the gezera was
enacted forbidding them the wearing of a tallis until they did.  In
Western Europe that problem never arose since the devotion to learning
was never as strong.  Therefore there was no reason to be mevatel
(abrogate) the mitzvah of wearing a tallis before marriage.  There may
be other reasons too, but that is the one that I was presented with.

Ira Bauman

From: <Phyllostac@...> (Mordechai)
Date: Wed, 3 Sep 2008 02:26:35 EDT
Subject: Wearing of Tallis Gadol by Bochurim (never married grown males)

>From: Binyomin G Segal <bsegal@...>
>Guido Elbogen asserts:
>> 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..
> Seems interesting, but I don't recall that this is the reasoning
> mentioned by MB. Is there a source for this explanation of the custom?

The Maharil mentions a custom that bochurim do not wear a tallis godol.
There is a (non-Talmudic) homiletical 'drosho' cited in support of such,
observing that 'gedilim taaseh licho' (commandment to make tzitzis) and
'ki yikach ish isha' (marriage) are next to each other in the Torah, so
the observance of the two is connected. I believe that is cited by the
MB (Mishna Berurah).

While that is common Eastern European custom, the minhag of others, e.g.
Western European Jews, such as German Jews, Oberlander Hungarian Jews
and others, as well as Sepharadim, Teimanim and bnei eidos hamizrach is
to have their youngsters wear talleisim to davening long before they are

What may be difficult to understand, is, why do German Jews seemingly
not follow the great codifier of Ashkenazic German minhogim, the
Maharil, in this case.

I saw an explanation at the fine minhogim discussion forum
(http://www.kayj.org/forum.html) of Khal Adas Yeshurun of Ramot in

Basically it says that the custom recorded by the Maharil was not the
original minhag, which was suspended for a while during difficult times,
but was restored later by gedolei Ashkenaz, such as the Chavos Yair,
Chasam Sofer and R. S. R. Hirsch (http://tinyurl.com/583vkr).



End of Volume 56 Issue 36