Volume 56 Number 61
                   Produced: Thu May 21 23:19:48 EDT 2009

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Birchat Hachamah
        [Ben Katz]
        [Ben Katz]
Grave stone question (2)
        [Alan Rubin, Sam Gamoran]
Kadosh, Kadosh, Kadosh
        [Ari Trachtenberg]
The Manchester Tzimmis (was "Plurality vs. Minority")
        [Kenneth H. Ryesky, Esq.]
A new topic for discussion
        [Martin Stern]
Plurality vs. Minority - Din Torah
        [Sammy Finkelman]
Uploaded New Learn Hebrew Video - Clothing and Accessories
        [Jacob Richman]


From: Ben Katz <BKatz@...>
Date: Mon, May 18, 2009 at 11:45 AM
Subject: Birchat Hachamah

From: B Lemkin <lemkinrealty2@...>
> HaRav David Bar-Hayim wrote a small piece on why he did not say
> birkath hachamah which can be found at:

This was 1 of the 2 rabbis to whom I obliquely referred in my original

Thank you Mr. Lemkin for posting.


From: Ben Katz <BKatz@...>
Date: Wed, May 20, 2009 at 11:45 AM
Subject: Calenders

From: Robert Schoenfeld <frank_james@...>

>> > Interesting enough at least 2 ancient civilizations used a 56 year
>> > cycle between the sun and the moon One was the neolithic one in
>> > Britian and the other was the Mayas. The Maya long count was of the 56
>> > year cycle and their short count was our year. Both were more acurate
>> > than even the current Gregorian civil calender and equal to our
>> > calender
>> The above post makes no sense to me.
>> It is extremely unlikely that any ancient civilization could come up
>> with a more accurate calendar than the Gregorian (unless you believe
>> they were Divinely inspired). Also, "our" calendar, by which I assume
>> Mr.  Schoenfeld means the current Jewish calendar, is NOT particularly
>> accurate (it is off about 0.75 days per hundred years, which is why the
>> traditional time to insert vetayn tal umatar moves up about a day a
>> century).
>What I tried to say is that compared to the Julian and Gregorian
>calenders Our current Jewish Calender and some ancient ones are much
>more accurate And that the 56 year cycle was known to other
>civilizations but lost to history except for us

Even after clarification, Bob's statement remains incorrect. Our
current Jewish Calendar is NOT more accurate than the Gregorian, nor was
the "56 year cycle" lost to history, because there is no 56 year cycle
which measures anything astronomically meaningful.


From: Alan Rubin <alan@...>
Date: Tue, 19 May 2009 12:31:28 +0100
Subject: Grave stone question

David Ziants asked some questions regarding gravestone installation and
ceremonies in England.

Firstly it would be useful to know which cemetery your mother is buried
in because procedures vary between the different burial organisations.

Matzeivah installation ceremonies are often done around the time of the
first yahrzeit but many do them earlier. Time for the ground to settle
is important especially around London where the soil is clay.  The
ceremony is usually done as soon as the stone has been installed.

It would be advisable to use one of the local companies that inscribe
and install Matzeivahs. They are used to dealing with the cemeteries and
Jewish Burial organisations and will help guide you.

Some cemeteries are very busy. It may be wise to book your time slot
well in advance.

I do not know that the ceremony has particular religious significance.
It is the minhag and may give some sort of closure on the year of
mourning. There are a few prayers which are usually read and a eulogy
will usually be delivered.

I think that 'dedication of the matzeivah' is a reasonable form of words
for a notice.

I dn not think that there are any facilities for refreshments at any of
the grounds that I am familiar with. Again it would help to know which
grounds you are dealing with.

May you only have simchas.

Alan Rubin

From: Sam Gamoran <SGamoran@...>
Date: Wed, May 20, 2009 at 2:16 AM
Subject: Grave stone question

First of all, my condolences. May you be comforted among the mourners of
Zion and know no more sorrow.

My mother passed away 35 years ago erev Shavuot. I was still a youngster
growing up in New York but I was involved in the stone arrangements.

The prevailing custom in our community was to unveil the stone after a
year. I honestly thought that there was a minimum time period before it
was permitted to be done though of course this was a matter of custom
not halacha. It was only after moving to Israel that I learned of a
multitude of customs. The Yemenites often have the stone set such that
it is already in place when the mourners get up from shiva and make
their first visit to the cemetery on the morning of the 7th day. The
most prevailing custom in Israel is after shloshim. Of course weather is
rarely a significant factor.

I strongly recommend that you have someone from the family check the
stone after it is set but before the formal unveiling ceremony. I went
to the cemetery three days before my mother's unveiling, scheduled for
convenience on a Sunday, and found that the inscription was wrong. The
text was to have read, inter alia, "devoted wife and mother " but it
actually read "beloved wife and mother". While I can attest to the
"mother" aspect, since my parents divorced a few years earlier the
"beloved wife" was not appropriate. I don't know how they did it but
three days later when everyone came together the stone was corrected.
Real hard-copy editing :-) but glad that I caught it.

As far as refreshments go, it isn't a halachik requirement though I
would think it is a courtesy to those who travel far and there certainly
is a custom of making a brocho and eating/drinking something l'ilui
nishmat (to raise the soul of...) Are there any relatives/friends who
live nearby that are going to be attending? If so, perhaps you could ask
someone to host a small get-together. That is what we did for my
father's unveiling as by that time, 18 years later, none of the
immediate family was living any longer in New York City. (Despite the
divorce, my parents are both buried in my father's family plot in Queens
though in different rows and separated by a few other relatives.)

Barring any relative, is there a kosher eatery, shul with a beit
medrash/social hall that you could go to? Failing that, you could rent
a conference room at a hotel. Whatever you will have, I'm sure it will
be modest and easily "brought in" and you need not involve the hotel in
any of the food arrangements.

Finally, a gravestone may not be "holy" but it is "dedicated" (to that
purpose and person). The Hebrew root kodesh also means "dedicated" or
"separated" as in Shabbat being a time set apart by Hashem's command,
hence "holy".

All the best,
Sam Gamoran


From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Wed, May 20, 2009 at 11:28 AM
Subject: Kadosh, Kadosh, Kadosh

I'm looking for help reconciling the positions of the Beur Halacha
(Mishneh Brurah 125:3) and Rav Moshe Feinstein (Igrot Moshe OC 3:4)
regarding kedushah [sanctification statements?]  in the repetition of
the silent prayer [amida].

The Beur Halacha considers the possibility of the shaliach tsibur
[public emissary leading the prayer] repeating the line "kadosh kadosh
kadosh" [Holy, Holy, Holy] after (and separately from) the congregation
and apparently rejects it, meaning that both congregation and shaliach
tsibur must recite this line together (as various siddurim suggest).

Rav Moshe, on the other hand, suggests that we should specifically
institute the custom of having the shaliach tsibur repeat this line
after the congregation, and this appears to be by far the dominant
custom in synagogues where I have prayed (in some cases, the shaliach
tsibur starts this repetition just as the congregation completes its

Any ideas how to reconcile these two situations?


From: Kenneth H. Ryesky, Esq. <khresq@...>
Date: Sun, May 17, 2009 at 12:44 PM
Subject: The Manchester Tzimmis (was "Plurality vs. Minority")

The postings by Martin and by David [56:58] have all but convinced me to
wind up my business here in Suffolk County, New York, and relocate, with
all deliberate speed, to Manchester, UK.

The whole world is turning against the Jewish people. Those groups and
nations we thought of as our friends and allies are now wavering in
their support for us, if not totally doing an about face and supporting
our enemies. Tyrants of all nations from Korea, Venezuela and Iran are
calling for our extermination and destruction. Antisemitism is becoming
increasingly acceptable in academic circles.

And yet, in Manchester, they have somehow managed to create a social and
economic environment where shuls have the luxuries, unaffordable here in
Suffolk County, of being able to exclude Jews from entering their
premises under threat of arrest! Manchester is such a golden land that
shuls can shun potential members who wear the wrong color hat, the wrong
style clothing, shoes or sheitels, who daven with the wrong niggun, and
who use the Birnbaum Siddur instead of the Artscroll!

We don't have it that good here in Suffolk County! We often have to make
telephone calls to get up a minyan (and, unfortunately, my own schedule,
which frequently takes me into New York City and elsewhere, does not
make me a reliable minyanaire). There have been times when two Bucharan
barbers (who insist upon reciting "Borchu" AFTER "Aleinu" have dropped
in and enabled us to achieve our minyan.

If we were in Manchester, however, we wouldn't have to contend with such
affronts to the sanctity of our minhagim. We, too, would be able to
exclude other Jews from our shul because they (A) are not Ashkenazi; (B)
wear grey hats instead of black hats; (C) eat gebrokts on Pesach; (D)
say "Morid ha Tal" from Pesach to Shmini Atzeres; (E) drink Kesser
instead of Kedem (or, for that matter, Jim Beam instead of Crown Royal);
and/or (F) crack their eggs at the wide end instead of the narrow end.

Unfortunately, we can ill afford such luxuries out here. Our
circumstances compel us to warmly accept into our kehillah all Jews who
come to join us.

Perhaps I shall move to Manchester!

-- Ken Ryesky
E-Mail: <khresq@...>


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Wed, May 20, 2009 at 7:55 AM
Subject: A new topic for discussion

In the brachah, asher yatsar, the Almighty is praised for creating the
human being with many orifices and organs ... if one of these should be
open or closed at the wrong time it would be impossible to exist.

In former times obstructed labour was a major cause death in childbirth
of the mother or the baby, or both.

In light of this can anyone suggest why it is not said by the mother
after a safe delivery since its wording would seem particularly
appropriate at that time?

Martin Stern


From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Tue, May 19, 2009 at 1:19 PM
Subject: Plurality vs. Minority - Din Torah

Plurality vs. Minority - Din Torah - "A plurality of (local) customs" -
Manchester England synagogue

The first thing that occurs to me is that I know there is a Gemorah in
Megillah (but I cannot locate it right now) that says that if even one
person objects to a change in Nusach, you are not allowed to do it. And
even more, if this is in a city, where people know about the synagogue
but do not attend it all the time but may be absent for a prolonged
period - you are not allowed to change it even then. I think this may be
called Minhag HaMakom. This is written down anywhere Halachah is written
down. I don't understand why this issue didn't come up. I am wondering
if the reason Martin Stern was actually physically excluded from coming
into the synagogue was that the people who did it thought that by doing
so they make this halachah not apply (not realizing that it would apply
even if not one member present objected because of where it is and the
presence of other synagogues) although they gave the reason after the
fact, without bothering to warn him first (the mitzvah of Hocheach) or
give him an opportunity to desist, that he was denigrating the Rabbi -
at least in part because he benched gomeil one day.

There is a similiar situation going on right now at the Jewish Community
Center of Bensonhurst, where the Nusach has been changed.  This has not
proceeded anywhere like the case above yet - there is din torah and no
exclusion but there is a change. The person involved who objects would
like to contact Martin Stern and find out about a lawyer and things like


From: Jacob Richman <jrichman@...>
Date: Mon, May 18, 2009 at 3:47 PM
Subject: Uploaded New Learn Hebrew Video - Clothing and Accessories

Hi Everyone!

I uploaded a new Learn Hebrew video to the Internet.
The topic of the new video is Clothing and Accessories.

The address is:

The updated page also contains past videos that I uploaded.

Feedback is welcome.

Please forward this message to anyone that may be interested
in learning Hebrew. Thank you!

Have a good day,


End of Volume 56 Issue 61