Volume 57 Number 06 
      Produced: Wed, 19 Aug 2009 10:30:30 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

chadash assur min hatorah (religious reform is strictly prohibited) (2)
    [Gilad J. Gevaryahu  Mark Steiner]
Knots under the chuppah 
    [Yisrael Medad]
Main vs. sub minyan (5)
    [Ken Bloom  Ira L. Jacobson  Daniel Wells  David Ziants  Ken Bloom]


From: Gilad J. Gevaryahu <Gevaryahu@...>
Date: Sun, Aug 16,2009 at 09:01 AM
Subject: chadash assur min hatorah (religious reform is strictly prohibited)

Martin Stern wrote:

> Ben Katz  wrote:
> > While I usually agree with  the learned Martin Stern, I take exception to his
> > last comment  "chadash assur min hatorah (religious reform is strictly
> > prohibited)".  To the best of my knowledge, this comment, with its meaning of
> > "religious reform is strictly prohibited" originated with  the Chazon Ish and
> > is a clever play on words by a gadol hador, but is  by no means a universally
> > accepted axiom, to say the least.
> As  it happens, this use of the halachic ruling that refers, in reality, to
> the  prohibition of eating the new grain crop before the bringing of the
> korban  omer [barley offering --MOD], or nowadays the first day of Pesach, 
> is  due to the Chatam Sofer as part of his campaign against the Reform
> movement in the early nineteenth century.

"chadash assur min hatorah (religious reform is strictly prohibited)"  was 
written first by the Hatam Sofer 1762-1839 (as Martin Stern correctly  
stated) not the Chazon Ish. 1878-1953 (see Sho"t Hatam Sofer, Helek Aleph  (Orah 
Hayyim) Siman 28, ditto 148, and 181 and also in Chelek B (Yoreh De'ah)  
Siman 19.
Gilad J. Gevaryahu

From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Sun, Aug 16,2009 at 03:01 AM
Subject: chadash assur min hatorah (religious reform is strictly prohibited)

Martin Stern wrote:
> As it happens, this use of the halachic ruling that
> refers, in reality, to the prohibition of eating the new grain crop before
> the bringing of the korban omer [barley offering --MOD], or nowadays the
> first day of Pesach, is due to the Chatam Sofer as part of his campaign
> against the Reform movement in the early nineteenth century.

   This is a standard characterization of the Hatam Sofer, and so I'm
not writing against Martin (he's in good company), but to correct what I
regard as almost a slander against the Hatam Sofer:

1.  The phrase "hadash asur min hatorah" is not a "ruling" but a
Mishnah, Orlah 3:9: "Hadash [defined by Martin above] is forbidden by the
Torah EVERYWHERE.  It is important to quote the last expression, i.e. the
Mishna is saying the "hadash" is forbidden not only in the Land of Israel,
but also in New York and Manchester as well as Pressburg.  (One of my
relatives and his family were in the midwest of the U. S. for two years, and
refrained from eating hadash, meaning no Cheerios, no bagels, etc., from
September till Pesach.)  But see below.

2.  The Hatam sofer used this in a play on words, as Dr. Katz says, to
attack halakhic novelties.

3.  If you actually look in the Hatam Sofer's responsa, the use of this
"motto" (the Hatam Sofer calls this a "margela", a pearl) has little to do
with the Reform movement per se, but with all innovations.  For example, the
Hatam Sofer writes (Part I, OH 181) that although the "Tzlah" (and of course
in our generation, the Hazon Ish after him) ruled that, because "the eggs
got smaller over history" we have to double all the measurements using in
calculating the size of mitzvah objects like an etrog, the Hatam Sofer,
after a learned halakhic discourse refuting this stringency (about etrogim)
delivers the following peroration:

"And this is the proper ruling, so as not to terrify the people of Israel
[lehav`it et yisrael, an expression taken also from the Mishna, in yet
another play on words] with innovations which our ancestors never dreamed of
[taken from parshat Ha'azinu, another rhetorical device], and my word is
already uttered, "Hadash assur min hatorah bekhol makom"

4.  There are other responsa in which the Hatam Sofer attacks "new
humrot" (new stringencies) on the basis that hadash asur min hatorah "bekhol
makom."  Since there have in the past been posts on mail-jewish decrying
"new humrot", these posters might be surprised to hear that they have an
ally in the Hatam Sofer.  On the other hand, there are posters on
mail-jewish who have advocated halakhic innovations, allowing things that
have never been allowed--here, the Hatam Sofer would vigorouisly condemn
such leniencies.

5.  The irony of all this is, that if we look at Part I OH 143 of the
HS's responsa, we find to our astonishment that he DEFENDS the eating of
hadash (see Martin's definition) outside the Land of Israel.  [To be more
accurate, he defends those poskim who permit it, like against attacks.]  In
other words, he rules against the Mishna's ruling, "hadash asur min
hatorah."  Why?  Because this would be a "new humra"; many poskim in
Ashkenaz (including the Rema, the Arukh Hashulhan, and many others) held
that the halakha is not according to that Mishna (this is a complicated
subject, but just to give a simple example, the Arukh Hashulhan--and others
before him, e.g. the Magen Avrahm to OH 489--argues at length that the word
"everywhere" in the Mishna refers only to areas contiguous to the Land of
Israel, not, for example, Novhardok in Lithuania), and that the widespread
custom is to allow the eating of hadash.  So here the Hatam Sofer in effect
turns the slogan "hadash asur min torah bekhol makom" against itself, i.e.
against instituting the "new humra" of disallowing hadash!

I wrote all this in order to stop the defamation [I emphasize again, that
although this posting was triggered by a posting by Martin, I don't have him
in mind particularly, as he is just transmitting a widespread impression] by
stereotyping of one of the greatest, and sophisticated, talmide hakhamim
[loosely, Torah scholars --MOD] to have arisen in Judaism.


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Mon, Jul 27,2009 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Knots under the chuppah

In response to a post on "Knots under the chuppah" asking "Does anyone have any
further information on the basis of this minhag?", I went to "Google", entered
"knots under chuppah", and found this:

> In preparation for the chupah, the bride and groom untie any knots in their
> clothing, such as shoelaces, neckties, or bows....No knots: At the moment
> when the bride and groom "tie the ultimate knot," there should not be anything
> else binding them.

While this "knots" custom of Chabad is not strictly "halachic" and 
obviously is not even, probably, a custom of Conservative Judaism (even
though it seems to possess an element which I surmise some persons who
see Conservative Judaism as anything that rejects the idea that Jews are
limited by the rules of Jewish law/halacha might find loathsome)
nevertheless, I would think it is basically harmless and even those who
have adopted a rather simplistic definition of Conservative Judaism as
not Halachic, would tolerate.

Another thing: Since this is the second time I have pointed out that basic
questions can be answered, at least basically, by a simple Google search,
may I basically suggest that be done before raising an issue for discussion?



From: Ken Bloom <kbloom@...>
Date: Sun, Aug 16,2009 at 02:01 AM
Subject: Main vs. sub minyan

> Someone came to me (ashkenazi english speaker) to convey that he felt I 
> should have had the courtesy to give more time to let the sub-minyan 
> finish their thing.  He thinks that more than half the people there at 
> the time wanted vidduy/13 middot. I disagreed profusely because:
> a) It is very explicit how the nusach is determined for that place, and 
> nusach ashkenaz is not inferior to any other nusach.  Even in my own 
> community, I often have to explain, especially to sephardim, why nusach 
> ashkenaz do not do "after barchu" on Monday and Thursday, and not all 
> "nusach ashkenaz" is "nusach sepharad", etc.

The halacha for people who daven nusach Ashkenaz (as I have been told)
is to daven whatever nusach the shul around them davens, and only switch
to Nusach Ashkenaz for Shemonah Esreh.

This is not the case for Sepharadim (and presumably also Chassidim who
daven nusach Sephard). Their poskim are pretty explicit that they should
daven everything according to their own nusach (see, for example, Yalkut
Yosef ch. 101).

This is true even if they are saying kaddish. The only leniency in that
case is to shorten their somewhat longer "Yehe shlama raba" to maintain
synchronization. But they must say "v'yatzmach purkaneh v'kareiv

I haven't seen any indication that sepharadim have a chiyuv to add
barechu when the shaliach tzibbur [leader --MOD] doesn't, even though the second
barechu is generally said by one of the mourners who said kaddish, and
not the shaliach tzibbur himself. (But I may just not have read it.)

> b) When I am in a shul, which is a nusach to my own, I try and not make 
> a show of doing my own thing. For example, if every one is sitting down 
> for kaddish, I also say seated (but if there are some local people 
> standing I understand that me also standing ought to not be offensive).  
> I agree, though, that this can sometimes be harder when not in a 
> community setting.

I assume you've consulted appropriate psak about what to do in this
situation, and that you're not just coming up with this politeness on
your own.  According to Yalkut Yosef, Sepharadim are supposed to stand in
a Nusach Ashkenaz minyan, but in general we understand that Ashkenazim
won't sit when in our shuls.

> c) The people there could have stayed to do 13 middot after the official 
> minyan had finished, and before the next minyan.

My (sepharadi) rabbi has told me to do 13 middot in their proper place,
and if my tachanun takes longer than it should then I should finish it
after kaddish. (As if I had taken way too long on the shemoneh esreh,
and now had to catch up.)

I suppose we should do it quietly, but I haven't seen that written
anywhere. (Of course, I haven't even read the Yalkut Yosef Kitzur
Shulchan Aruch cover to cover, so my confidence about the matter is way
too low to say that it isn't written anywhere.)

> e) If the table is turned and it was an aidot hamizrach sha"tz and there 
> were ashkenazim in the minyan who wanted something that they do not 
> usually do - an example I can think of now is haphtora [reading from 
> prophets] on a ta'anit tzibbur [public fast day] - then would they allow 
> this easily?

Probably not, for precisely the same reasons I gave to answer question (a).

> In any case, by the fact that there was compliance after tachnun (could 
> have had a barrage of "lamnatzaiach" people [who insert this psalm 
> before alainu and do kaddish yatom after this] as happened  eight years 
> ago somewhere else), I felt that the people involved felt guilty of this 
> behaviour. Do I also have something to feel guilty about? If I had given 
> more time, I would have given in to anarchy.

Lamnatzeich isn't a problem. Let's assume the sepharadim finished
tachanun before the Sha"tz said kaddish titkabal. They'll say
lamnatzeich (hopefully quietly) at the same time you say Aleinu, then
they'll say Aleinu after kaddish, just like they're supposed to, with no
kaddish at the end. Sepharadi minhag [custom --MOD] is to say Kaddish before,
but not after Aleinu, so this shouldn't ever cause a fight about an additional

So you probably wouldn't have given in to anarchy. The only issue is
just that they need a little more time.  So perhaps you can take your
time, focus on the words you're saying a little more, and know that when
you're done there are no more other minhag clash issues like this one.

> Has anyone written anything extensive on this anthropological issue 
> among our communities?

Who needs anthropology when reading the appropriate poskim will suffice?
What more do you want out of this issue?

BTW, I've answered these questions within the last couple years on the
Avodah email list. See


From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Sun, Aug 16,2009 at 02:01 AM
Subject: Main vs. sub minyan

David Ziants wrote on Thu, Aug 13,2009 at 07:01 PM:
>There is a sign up explicitly saying that the nusach [prayer rite] is
>according to that of the sha"tz, and so being nusach ashkenaz, I took a
>relevant siddur to lead. Everything went fine until it came to tachnun
>[the supplication prayer towards the end].

This is really part of a large question: how does one behave in a 
minyan that is praying with a nusah other than his.

R' Moshe Feinstein rules that one (who is not the sheli'ah tzibbur [leading
--MOD]) recites the qedusha of the shul he is in at that moment, and the 
qaddish yatom.  Other posqim hold just the opposite.

The poseq I asked some years ago told me to say my own qedusha no 
matter what the shatz says.  He also suggested that in a shul where 
the shatz [abbreviation for shaliach tsibur --MOD] does not say tahanun at minha
-- not on a day or in a situation where tahanun is not to be recited, but in a
shul where people are taking time off from work and wish to save time -- that 
even if I am accustomed to saying tahanun at minha, I should not say it here.


From: Daniel Wells <biuashur@...>
Date: Mon, Aug 17,2009 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Main vs. sub minyan

> There is a sign up explicitly saying that the nusach [prayer rite] is
> according to that of the sha"tz

Its important to make a distinction between the wording of the Hazarat
Shmoneh Esrai which is in essence creates slight differences between the
different nusachot and that of reciting or not reciting the Viduy.

The Ashkenazim were in general influenced by the GR"A who held that excessive
viduy recital was inappropriate. However it was not banned.

Thus when davening from the amud in a "nusach haShatz" senario, and feeling
that many of the congregants would feel cheated by the non viduy recital, I
feel no hesitation in reciting it with the rest of the worshipers.

Also most of the present ashkanzim don't usually feel upset at the inclusion
of Veyatzma but the rest get confused as when to say 'Amen' at that
point..so again I don't think its halachikally wrong to include its
recital for conformity.

This way everyone feels happy they've done their duty....and isn't that more

From: David Ziants <dziants@...>
Date: Mon, Aug 17,2009 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Main vs. sub minyan

Ken Bloom wrote:
> ...   BTW, I've answered these questions within the last couple years on the
> Avodah email list. See http://www.aishdas.org/avodah/vol23/v23n213.shtml#07

Thank you very much for your feedback, and also referring me to the thread on
aish daat.  I have some remarks on your response, which I will include in-line.
Before this, I need to apologise a bit because in the same posting I mentioned
two separate issues that possibly became convoluted:

(a) An ad-hoc minyan that is basically the sum of the people who happen to be
there. The distribution between the various nuscha'ot is probably a reflection
of the distribution of the people who come to that particular venue. Thus,
for example at least this year, there seemed to be very few people
dressed as chassidic chareidim in the kanyon [Israeli shopping mall --MOD], but
there is often a high percentage at the kotel (l'havdil [to distinguish between
holy and non-holy]).

(b) A neighbourhood shul that comes to serve a specific population (e.g.
ashkenazim) and the nusach is fixed within the various possibilities of that
population (for ashkenazim: ashkenaz,sepharad,gr"a, etc.; for sephardim:
Jerusalem, Morrocon, Iraqi , etc.).  The shul can be one of a fixed
nusach ("we only daven karlebach", or "we must go according to the Luach of
Tuketchinsky"), or may allow flexibility with or without certain
constraints ("if the shat"z for shacharit is nusach ashkenaz then an effort
should be made that the shat"z for musaph is nusach sepharad"; "on rosh chodesh
also nusach ashkenaz sha"tz must say two psalms and not just 'barechi nafshi'
[special psalm for that day]; and these are always said just after kaddish
titkabel of shacharit".

My story, of course,appertained to situation (a), but issues that crop because
of situation (b) are also worthy  of debate.

David Ziants
Ma'aleh Adumim, Israel

From: Ken Bloom <kbloom@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 18,2009 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Main vs. sub minyan

> Ken Bloom wrote:
> ... Although many
> ashkenazim sometimes rely (especially for leniences; whether correctly
> or not) on the rulings of Rav Ovadia Yoseph (the author of Yalkut
> Yosef), I doubt this with ashkenazi chassidim, and don't think they
> would use this as their source for any halachic issue. They might just
> see their nusach as superior as they claim it is based on kabballa
> thus do not see a need to conform to another shul's custom.. Since
> every chassidic court has its own nuance who decides which is the true
> kabbalistic version?

The idea that the nusach [style of prayer service --MOD] of the sepharadim is
superior based on its kabbalistic source *is* the reason (based on the HIDA)
that Yalkut Yosef advances for sticking with that nusach in any situation. 
Though chassidim probably wouldn't look at Yalkut Yosef for psak, many of them
have the same reason, and they're not inventing it -- their poskim
probably say it as well.

And it really doesn't matter for the purpose of this discussion which
one is the "true" kabbalistic version, because AIUI all you really care
about is "what motivates these people to try and bring up their nusach
to override mine which has been established by the shul's rule?", and
"what basis do they have to do it?"

> 13 middot neads a minyan . Without a minyan this cannot be said (maybe
> read in tune to the torah reading but that is completely irrelevant
> here as it could only apply to an individual doing it privately)...

13 middot needs a minyan of people saying the 13 middot, but according
to Yalkut Yosef (and possibly *not* according to chassidish poskim) if
you don't have a minyan, you can and should say it anyway by chanting it
with the proper ta'amim [cantillation --MOD].

> The issue is, whether the ashkenazi shatz is allowed to finish alainu
> and say kaddish without someone else trying to take over.

Maybe I'm misunderstanding the sociology here, but I think they wouldn't
take over.

> Rav Goren tzatz"al tried to create "Nusach Achid" to solve this issue
> (especially in the army), but this never really took on, even in
> situations where it could be useful. 

Well, I would imagine that most peoples' response to Nusach Achid would
be to disregard it, because really, what right does Rav Goren have to
change a nusach of tefillah that we've been using for generations and
that was decided by rabbis who were, quite frankly, much greater than
Rav Goren.


End of Volume 57 Issue 6