Volume 56 Number 93 
      Produced: Fri, 17 Jul 2009 15:36:47 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Birkat Kohanim in Haifa 
    ["Daniel Cohn]
Chatzi kaddish [half kaddish] after Torah reading 
    [Sammy Finkelman]
Hasgacha Streits 
    [Carl Singer]
International Date Line (was: you must be joking!) (2)
    [Elazar M. Teitz  Bill Gewirtz]
JOFA - Request for Proposals 
    [Mordechai Horowitz]
Knots under the chuppah 
    [David Maslow]
Otam in place of Itam? 
    [Ben Katz]
The Missing Hekesh 
    [Russell J Hendel]
Women Rabbis 
    [Mordechai Horowitz]
    [Carl Singer]
Z'manim on an airplane 
    [Ari Trachtenberg]


From: "Daniel Cohn <4danielcohn@...>
Date: Wed, Jul 15,2009 at 02:01 AM
Subject: Birkat Kohanim in Haifa

Right. I ran into this also in Kibbutz Shluchot (near Bet Shean) and I was
told there is a "minhag hatzafon" where they do not duchen on weekdays.



From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Wed, Jul 15,2009 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Chatzi kaddish [half kaddish] after Torah reading

This Kaddish is said only on days in which you read the Torah but
there is no Musaf, so it can't be a very important one for a mourner
or anyone. It only occurs on certain days and never on Shabbos, Yom
Tov or Rosh Chodesh. (Basically, Mondays and Thursdays. You can also
add most of the days of Chanukah and a Ta'anis Tzibur. These are all
days in which only three men are called to the Torah.)

> It is my understanding that originally this chatzi kaddish [half kaddish] was
> said by the baal shacharit [leader for the morning prayer], but was changed
> (due to the inconvenience of re-calling the baal shacharit back) to having it
> said by the baal koreh [Torah reader].

In the shul where I daven it is usually said by the Ba'al Koreh.
Sometimes, and not all that infrequently, it might be given to
somebody else, and usually that somebody else would be the person who
got the 3rd aliya on a weekday - and that might be part of the reason
he got the aliya.  He is still standing by the Torah.

Very occasionally, it could be somebody who didn't get the last aliya
and who is not standing right next to the Torah at the time he recites
the kaddish.

This should not be a big issue. The Ba'al Koreh says it, unless
somebody in charge more or less wants to give it to somebody else, and
remembers or decides in time. Most of the time that happens the person
who says it instead would be somebody who got an aliya.  I think it
would most often be in the case of a yahrzeit.

The Ba'al Koreh does have to be alerted to the fact that somebody else
is going to say it, otherwise he may say it too fast and it's over.

It could maybe be considered the prerogative of the Ba'al Koreh, and
some people have this attitude, but in almost all cases the Ba'al
Koreh would readily be mochal [forgiving --MOD], if that is necessary. It is
probably not the prerogatve of the Ba'al Koreh in any way, it is just that he
has a Chazakah (presumption) that he is going to say it, and a lot of
people like to say Kaddish, so people don't like to take it away
without permission.  That applies also to davening before the Omud,
too, you know.


From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Wed, Jul 15,2009 at 11:01 PM
Subject: Hasgacha Streits

I know nothing about the Streits situation other than it's welcome in my
home.  I recently read an article in a Baltimore paper that pretty much talks the
politics of hashgacha [kosher supervision --MOD] -- it certainly doesn't put
things into a good light.

The halachic issue is two-fold -- (1) are we the semi-informed retail
consumer eating food which is not kosher despite labels, AND  avoiding food
which IS kosher because of errant information about certain hashgachas -- and
(2) does such errant information fall within boundaries of loshen horah [loosely
"gossip" --MOD].



From: Bill Gewirtz <wgewirtz@...>
Date: Thu, Jul 16,2009 at 01:01 AM
Subject: International Date Line (was: you must be joking!)

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz wrote:
> Consider the situation of a city through which the international date 
> line runs.  Crossing the street could put you in a different day.

Someone else responded:
> Of course, the international date line runs through the middle of the Pacific
> Ocean and avoids all land masses to avoid this situation.

According to R. Tukatzinsky and R. Shapiro the dateline is in the pacific(at
least mostly).  But not so according to the CI [Chazon Ish --MOD] - it is 90
degrees west of Jerusalem and runs through Asia and Australia.  And while the CI
assumed the dateline extends to the coastline, others argued that you can step
in and out of shabbat.  Neither a coastline or the ability to move into and out
of shabbat are very appealing.

All of this is avoided as I will argue in a forthcoming paper, that there is no
need for a dateline in halakha.  This was the position of a number of great
rabbis and despite what many assume, there is no logical need for a dateline.

From: Elazar M. Teitz <remt@...>
Date: Thu, Jul 16,2009 at 03:01 AM
Subject: International Date Line (was: you must be joking!)

The following dialogue appeared:
> > Consider the situation of a city through which the international date 
> > line runs.  Crossing the street could put you in a different day.
> Of course, the international date line runs through the middle of the Pacific
> Ocean and avoids all land masses to avoid this situation.

     Both writers assume that the Internationl Date Line has halachic
significance.  The overwhelming majority of halachic decisors [believe] that it
doesn't.  There are two major opinions as to where the day changes halachically:
(a) 12 hours from Jerusalem.  This is close to, but not identical with, the
international line.  (b) Six hours east of Jerusalem.  This is the opinion of
the Chazon Ish.
     When the Mirrer Yeshiva escaped the Holocaust and arrived in Kobe, Japan,
the question of date came up.  It was sent to Yerushalayim, where the above two
opinions were formulated, (a) being the majority opinion (and, I believe, what
is followed today).  Japan is seven hours east of Jerusalem, and thus, according
to (b), is actually 17 hours to its west.  Thus, Shabbos according to this view
should be the day the Japanese call Sunday.
    As for the problems of a date line going through a city, the International
Date Line solves the problem by curving around land masses. (b) more or less
does the same: according to the Chazon Ish, any land mass of which a part is
within the six-hour limit is considered to be completely within it.  According
to (a), however, it is indeed possible to have two parts of one city being 24
hours apart.


From: Mordechai Horowitz <mordechai@...>
Date: Sun, Jul 12,2009 at 07:01 PM
Subject: JOFA - Request for Proposals

In M-J V56#86, Rose Landowne <Roselandow@...> posted:
> JOFA (the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance) invites submissions for
> its Seventh International Conference on Feminism and Orthodoxy to be
> held in New York City on March 13th and 14th, 2010.

In what way can JOFA be considered an Orthodox Jewish organization? From what I 
can tell, this organization rejects the idea that Jews are limited by the rules
of Jewish law/halacha.  For example (quoting from the same post): "Traditional
values and social conservatism have reinforced narrow interpretations of Jewish

Believe what you want, but how can you call that Orthodox?  It's Conservative 
Judaism all over again!


From: David Maslow <maslowd@...>
Date: Thu, Jul 16,2009 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Knots under the chuppah

I was recently at a frum wedding and the Chatan [groom --MOD] had partially
untied his tie (pulled the long end out of the loop) before going to the chuppah.

I subsequently asked him about it and all he could tell me was that it was a
minhag [custom --MOD] having to do with not having knots under the chuppah,
which would extend to laced shoes as well.

Does anyone have any further information on the basis of this minhag.

David E. Maslow


From: Ben Katz <BKatz@...>
Date: Wed, Jul 15,2009 at 09:01 PM
Subject: Otam in place of Itam?

Martin Stern wrote:
> Last Shabbat at minchah it struck me that there is a rather problematic
> construction in "Uva Letsion" [part of the prayer -MOD]. In the verse (Yesh. 59,
> 21) we find "Va'ani zot briti otam ..." which obviously means "And, as for me,
> this is my covenant with them ..." Surely the normal word for "with them" is
> Itam not Otam which usually means them, the definite object of a verb
> unspecified in this verse.

Ibn Kaspi seems to address this question by saying that otam = alecha later in
the verse (thus a translation might be: "and as for me, my covenant is upon you")


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Sun, Jul 5,2009 at 11:01 AM
Subject: The Missing Hekesh

I recently responded to Martin's question - why is Hekesh (making inferences
from Biblical texts that combine several matters in one (or proximate)
paragraphs) not mentioned in the Rabbi Ishmael rules - by suggesting that
Hekkesh is subsumed under "Matters inferred from context." I also responded by
pointing out that the Rabbi Ishmael rules are NOT meant to be THE EXHAUSTIVE
list of exegetical rules but rather refer to those rules dealing with STYLE,

Martin responded by stating 
> The only problem with Russell's explanation is that one would have expected
> the term
> Hekkesh to be listed rather than "Matters inferred from context"
> since that is the way this rule is usually termed in the Gemara.

So it seems that Martin is happy with my explanation and just wants
clarification on why Hekkesh isn't mentioned. 
Simple: Hekkesh - making inferences from proximate or multi-topic paragraphs is
NOT universally accepted (There are opinions that paragraph inference does not
apply to the book of Deuteronomy because it has so many diverse topics). On the
other hand INFERENCE FROM CONTEXT applies to all books of the Bible.

A second approach would be (as one person mentioned) that (certain) inferences
from paragraphs require a masoretic tradition. On the other hand CONTEXT does
NOT require a masoretic condition (Every sage has the right to apply context
where they deem it appropriate even without a masoretic tradition). So you name
the rule by something universal and not by something that requires traditions.
A third reason is as follows:Paragraph inference is ONE SUBRULE of CONTEXT.
Since CONTEXT is broader it is appropriate to mention it rather than the subrule

Here is a simple example of SOMETHING besides PARAGRAPH inference that would be
subsumed under CONTEXT. I suggest in my article
http://www.Rashiyomi.com/biblicalformatting.pdf that the Bible uses repeating
keywords to indicate bullets. So when the Bible says (Ex 3 1)  Moses said to
God, who am I THAT I should speak to Pharoh and THAT I should take the Jews out
of Egypt the repeated keyword THAT creates a BULLET like effect so that the
verse reads "Moses said to God: Who am I that (1) I should go to Pharoh and (2)
Take the Jews out of Egypt). Rashi comments by explaining why two bullets are
used - Pharoh was a difficult king and the Jews were a difficult people or not
worthy of redemption. (Some Rashi-ists might think Rashi is commenting on the
two phrases - in my article I cite verses where there are two phrases but not a
repeated connective keyword and show that Rashi was commenting on the repeated
keyword = bullets not on the two phrases).

Now the above is an INFERENCE FROM CONTEXT.  The CONTEXT shows a parallel
pattern and that parallel pattern (or parallel context)  justifies inference.
(Let me put it this way...the above Midrash is in Rashi and comes from various
Midrashic sources; this comment is similar to other comments that can be derived
from parallel repeated keywords indicating a bullet effect and the idea fits in
nicely with the Rabbi Ishmael rule of context since inference is made from the
parallel patterns / contexts).

So to recap: Context can indicate paragraph juxtapostion; or parallel structure
or many other things. Therefore the name of the rule is CONTEXT and this rule
subsumes many other rules.

As I look at the three explanations I have given
1) Context includes many rules like bullets
2) hekkeh (paragraph inference) may not apply to Deuteronomy
3) hekkesh (sometimes?) requires masoretic tradition - one thing becomes clear -
and perhaps this one thing is the real answer to Martin. The Rabbi Ishmael rules
are not a simple list. They must be learned. Each rule subsumes many rules,
exceptions and requirements. The Rabbi Ishmael beraitha is a good summary but
further elaboration is needed.

Russell Jay Hendel; PH.d. ASA 


From: Mordechai Horowitz <mordechai@...>
Date: Sun, Jul 12,2009 at 07:01 PM
Subject: Women Rabbis

Russell wrote
> I think Frank came up with a good idea.  Give the woman some title such as
> "Social Coordinator" or "Reverend." I think some other (admissable titles
> might be ) "Synagogue coordinator" or "Synagogue Assistant Rabbinic
> Coordinator" or any other combination.

I will admit I've always felt that if we had used the sephardi tradition 
of calling Rabbis Chacham instead of Rabbi we would have less of a 
problem giving women a title.  The problem with calling women Rabbi 
seems to be twofold to me:

1) People confuse it with the Rabbi of the Talmud who halachically only 
could be a man (most Jews today don't realize that we don't have real 
semicha [Rabbinic ordination -MOD] today)

2) What I've heard called public policy and the belief that we can't do 
it because it would make us look like the heterodox movements that 
reject Torah in that we were running after feminism rather than 
responding to a new need within the halachic community.

Leonard writes
> For many years, I have been living in a suburb outside of Philadelphia where
> Gratz College is located.  Dr. Geffen is highly respected for her many
> contributions to Jewish scholarship

I looked at her biography and she is exactly what people within the Orthodox
community don't need speaking out on this issue.  Her Bio on the site:

Rela Mintz Geffen has been the president of Baltimore Hebrew University 
since 2000. Before that she was professor of sociology and coordinator 
of the programs in Jewish communal service at Gratz College in 
Philadelphia, where she served as dean for academic affairs for five 
years. She is a graduate of the Jewish Theological Seminary and Columbia 
University, and her PhD in sociology is from the University of Florida. 
She is a board member of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. Her 
most recent book, Conservative Judaism: Dilemmas and Challenges, was 
coauthored with the late Daniel Elazar and published by SUNY Press in 2000.
[[ http://www.jcpa.org/JCPA/Templates/showpage.asp?
DBID=&LNGID=&TMID=610&FID=253&PID=411#GLG ]]

Let me be blunt: she is a Conservative Jew.  She may be the best 
Conservative Judaism has to offer, like Alice Shalvi before her in 
Israel.  And as far as the Orthodox community is concerned the very act 
of being affiliated with any non-Orthodox movement makes her non-Kosher 
in terms of Judaism.

The general stance of Rav M. Feinstein OBM is one of strictness in connection 
with non-Orthodox tendencies in Judaism, even declaring that it is not permitted
to answer "amen" to a benediction uttered by a Reform Rabbi. 
einstein.shtml ]]

My feeling is that the more non-Orthodox institutional leadership like Ms Geffen
get involved in this type of issue, the more the mainstream of Orthodox will
hold on to the traditional position and reject even those options which may be
legitimate under halacha for fear of looking like they are giving in to
non-Orthodox ideology.


From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Wed, Jul 15,2009 at 11:01 PM
Subject: yuhara

It seems that a key to this discussion is our impact / interaction with

Consider for example what to do when invited to someone's home for a meal --
or vice versa -- when inviting someone to your home.   It seems there are
community (standards) issues here.

I recall many, many years ago when we were new in a town -- we invited
someone to dinner and they responded "do you toyvel [ritually immerse --MOD]
your dishes?" -- forget about the social aspects of that question and how it was
asked.   The reply was "No".

(At the time we only owned plastic dishes and our minhag is that they do not
need to be toyveled.) -- realizing that some have other minhagim.



From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Tue, Jul 14,2009 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Z'manim on an airplane

Bernard Raab wrote:
> The app automatically provides the minyan closest to your location,
> as well as every other minyan within a 40-mile radius,
> if you keep tapping the screen.
> Apparently the "Minyan" app is also available as a subset of the  
> "Siddur" app, which has many more features, including that week's
> weekday Torah reading.

There has been a similar app for Palm Pilots (see Pilot Yid) and the like.
I have converted the Shamash kosher restaurant database for Tom Tom GPS's
(and .ov2-compatible devices) so that my GPS device shows the closest
kosher restaurants in the area (see http://ipsit.bu.edu/documents/kosher/ ).

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


End of Volume 56 Issue 93