Volume 57 Number 34 
      Produced: Thu, 08 Oct 2009 10:19:17 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Gabbai's handbook (3)
    [Rose Landowne  Haim Snyder  Carl Singer]
Hebrew Roots 
    [Yisrael Medad]
kal nidrei? (2)
    [Michael Poppers  Elazar M. Teitz]
Rav Elyashiv and "Shabbat elevators" 
    [Shmuel Himelstein]
Redemption from sins? 
    [Avraham Walfish]
TSA and Kiddish HaShem 
    [Andy Goldfinger]
Two meals Erev Yom Kippur/chicken for kaporos 
    [Alex Heppenheimer]
    [Martin Stern]
Yom Kippur meals and Kaporas 
    [S. Wise]


From: Rose Landowne <Roselandow@...>
Date: Thu, Oct 1,2009 at 02:01 PM
Subject: Gabbai's handbook

> From: Ira L. Jacobson
> It further states at least twice: "If neither the rabbi or assistant
> rabbi are present in Shul then the Hazan should only begin repeating
> the 'Amida' once there are nine other men besides himself who have
> completed the silent 'Amida'".

From: Wendy Baker <wbaker@...>
> I  assume that if either or both the rabbi or assistant rabbi are  
> present that they would have the responsibility to signal the chazan when to
> start.  If they are not present the chazan has to be careful to watch  
> so as to start at the correct time.

I would assume that the custom was to wait until the rabbi or  
assistant rabbi finished the amidah and start then, with no signal.  
Without the accepted community leader there, you don't want to get  
into an argument about who is the important community person to wait  
for, so you wait for a minyan.

From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Thu, Oct 1,2009 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Gabbai's handbook

As is typical of this (Mail-Jewish) group some are dissecting the YICC
handbook. Let us not lose sight of the forest -- the importance of having a
cogent set of minhagim by which to operate.

Consider this excerpt from Rabbi Elazar Muskin's the introduction to the

"The great 19th century Halakhist, the Hatam Sofer, in his last will and
testament, instructed each community to follow its unique customs.
Throughout the millennia numerous Halakhic responsa have been written
addressing issues about what to do when the custom of a community is
debated. It is apparent to all readers of these responsa that much headache
and angst could have been avoided if the community in question would have
documented their practices."


I was Bar Mitzvah at Cleveland, Ohio's Warrensville Center Synagogue some
50 years ago - the same month that this congregation was formed as the merger of
three local congregations. Rabbi Elazar Muskin's father, the late Rabbi Jacob
Muskin, was its first Rabbi. Frankly, it spoiled me for it was such a well lead
and well run congregation
 "the soup was never too hot, nor too cold."

As a teenager davening there I was oblivious of all the deep thought and
hard work and sacrifice that  went behind making a congregation function as a
true house of worship. As an adult it seems that I know it all too well.


From: Haim Snyder <haimsny@...>
Date: Fri, Oct 2,2009 at 01:01 AM
Subject: Gabbai's handbook

In Vol 57 No. 33, Mark Goldenberg writes 
> The Avelut is for 12 months for a
> parent, Kaddish is for 11. During the 12th month, although no Kaddish is
> said, except Kaddish D'Rabbanan, the Avel should daven for the Amud.

Since the primary objective of the mourner is to lead the prayer so that the
congregation will answer Barchu to raise the departed's soul, and since the
Mourner's Kaddish was implemented for those males who (because of age or
other reasons) could not do so, the 11 month limitation should be applied to
leading the prayer as well.

Regarding stepping back 3 steps after the Reader's repetition, Rav
Soloveitchik held that he should (1) say Y'hi Ratzon aloud and (2) he should
step back unless he was going to say a Kaddish Shalem immediately.

Haim Shalom Snyder


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Thu, Oct 1,2009 at 07:01 PM
Subject: Hebrew Roots

Further to Martin writing:
> In essence the root p-d-h means paying someone in order to have an
> object or person returned
Actually it could mean "release in an exchange" as in Shemot 13:13 where
one first born is substituted for another and it doesn't have to be a
money ransom, see Yeshayahu 1:27: Zion shall be redeemed through justice.
> In Mishnaic Hebrew, a cock is called 'gever' which is also the word
> used for a man (male). This pun might be the underlying reason why
> specifically a cock is used as a substitute for a male.
That reads in an odd logic.  Is Mishnaic Hebrew also the source for
"cock"?  So what then is the source, in Hebrew, for rooster?
> Evenshoshan is a modern Hebrew dictionary and I am not convinced that
> it is necessarily an authority for Biblical Hebrew. 
Even-Shoshan, like all authoritative dictionaries, exhibit roots and
previous uses of words and in this case, all the way back to Biblical,
Mishnaic, Rabbinic, Middle Ages and modern Hebrew with even a bit of
slang but not much.  There are always more scientific tomes but I have
found it quite reliable.


From: Michael Poppers <MPoppers@...>
Date: Mon, Oct 5,2009 at 11:01 AM
Subject: kal nidrei?

In M-J V57#32, my Rav, REMTeitz, wrote:
> If the "alma" referred to is the equivalent of the Hebrew "olam" or
> "ha'olam," it is irrelevant to this discussion, since even those who
> recognize a kamatz katan in Aramaic would consider this a kamatz gadol.
> Whenever the word appears in Nach, it has a meteg, which generally would
> indicate that the ayin-kamatz is an open syllable and the following sh'va
> is na, so that the kamatz is gadol.

And, as Rav Teitz pointed out to me when we discussed "al'ma" some time
ago, see Daniel 7:18, where the first syllable has not just a meseg (which
can mean different things in different places) but an actual ta'am (only
indicating a secondary accent, as it's the first of two t'amim on the word,
but certainly sufficient to cause the sh'va to be a sh'va na').

Moadim l'Simcha/Best wishes for a Gut Moeid from
--Michael Poppers via RIM pager

From: Elazar M. Teitz <remt@...>
Date: Mon, Oct 5,2009 at 03:01 PM
Subject: kal nidrei?

The following statement was made in Vol57#33:
> Anyone who who has studied Aramaic grammar knows that unlike Hebrew 
> there is only ONE kametz!
     I can't claim to have studied Aramaic grammar, but I have heard Kaddish
said by those who did, and there were unquestionably two distinct k'matzim.  
     Furthermore, if there is only one, I assume it is a t'nua g'dola.  How then
do we account for a chataf-kamatz in Aramaic, since the t'nua in every chataf is
k'tana?   Furthermore, it is my understanding that when chataf-kamatz appears,
in Hebrew, with a non-guttural consonant, it is not a chataf (half-vowel), but
rather a sign that the kamatz is katan despite its being in an open syllable, as
is tziporim.  What, then, is the function of the chataf-kamatz under the kuf in
a word such as kuf-dalet-mem, if it is pronounced "kadam"?


From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
Date: Thu, Oct 1,2009 at 12:01 AM
Subject: Rav Elyashiv and "Shabbat elevators"

The Israeli press reported yesterday that Rav Elyashiv forbade the use of
"Shabbat elevators". Is this meant to be a total prohibition? What changed,
that this ruling appeared right now? Has there been a change in the
technology? After all, Shabbat elevators go back at least 50 years, and many
of the finest Shuls and Orthodox hotels have been running these for decades.
What does this do for the elderly, who live on high floors in high-rise
buildings with such elevators? 

Shmuel Himelstein


From: Avraham Walfish <rawalfish@...>
Date: Thu, Oct 1,2009 at 04:01 AM
Subject: Redemption from sins?

Martin Stern
> My problem is that the verse appears to suggest that HKBH so to speak pays
> back something to "our sins" as though they had some independent existence
> like redeeming a pledge from a lender or ransoming a person from his
> captor.

The word p-d-h does not necessarily mean "ransom", involving paying in order
to redeem. Even a cursory perusal of a biblical concordance will reveal that
p-d-h frequently means "to extricate"or "to save". In addition to the Kadari
dictionary, which I cited in my last posting, see the Even Shoshan
concordance, which lists close to forty appearances of p-d-h with the
meanings h-l-tz, hitzil. Even Shoshan does regard this meaning of p-d-h as a
"borrowed" meaning, but it is a very common usage and appears in many
contexts in which there is no connotation of payment.
HKBH is frequently mentioned as redeeming Israel (Devarim 9:26, 21:8, etc
etc) or redeeming a person's soul (Tehillim 71:23), and He doesn't pay
anything to do so. Just as He redeems from slavery, from distress, etc., so
too He redeems from sin.


From: Andy Goldfinger <Andy.Goldfinger@...>
Date: Mon, Oct 5,2009 at 03:01 PM
Subject: TSA and Kiddish HaShem

The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has issued a directive to
its staff explaining that many travelers will be carrying the Arba Minim during
the Succos travel season, that they should be permitted to go through security,
and that these people should be treated with respect.


I think it would be a Kiddush HaShem for America Jews, whether traveling or not,
to send their thanks to the TSA for this consideration.  An email can be sent to:


Or (preferably!) a snail mail message (i.e. a "letter" - remember those?) to:

Transportation Security Administration
601 South 12th Street
Arlington, VA 20598

--- Andy Goldfinger


From: Alex Heppenheimer <aheppenh@...>
Date: Thu, Oct 1,2009 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Two meals Erev Yom Kippur/chicken for kaporos

In MJ 57:33, Martin Stern <md.stern@...> commented on S.Wise's post in

>> My father in law and brother in law both follow the custom of eating two
>> meals erv YK--one before noon and the seuda hamafeskes. I didn't grow up with
>> that custom and the mishna berurah doesn't mention it. So where does it
>> come from. I disagreed with my brother in law that the first seudah is
>> mitzvah--the mitzvah is to eat more erv Yok Kippur, not necessarily a meal.

>According to Rabbi Wise, his father in law and brother in law are Teimanim
>so it is hardly surprising that their customs are not found in the Mishnah
>Berurah. Perhaps he would do better to consult a learned Mori [Teimani
>Rabbi] than mail-jewish which has very few contributors who are conversant
>with Teimani traditions.

I think Martin may have confused two Wises on this list. R' Meir Wise, from
London, has indeed mentioned his Yemenite in-laws before. But S. Wise - to judge
by his e-mail address - is from the US.

As for Mr. Wise's question, the Rema (Orach Chaim 608:4) speaks of the "morning
seudah (meal)," as opposed to the seudah hamafsekes which is in the afternoon.
So that seems to indicate that both of them should be actual meals. (Kitzur
Shulchan Aruch 131:3 adds that it's a mitzvah to eat fish at this first meal -
this based on the story of the tailor and the fish, cited in Tur, Orach Chaim
604. So according to this view at least, both meals are indeed a mitzvah.)

>> Also, does anyone know the actual source of the barbaric custom of
>> shlugging kaporos with a chicken? Every year there is some news story about
>> the mishandling of the birds. Why was this instituted and why with a chicken?

>In Mishnaic Hebrew, a cock is called 'gever' which is also the word used for
>a man (male). This pun might be the underlying reason why specifically a
>cock is used as a substitute for a male. The use of a hen for a female then
>follows quite naturally.

Tur (Orach Chaim 605) quotes a Geonic responsum that provides more detail:

"You have asked why we are accustomed to slaughter a chicken on Erev Yom Kippur,
and don't know the reason: if it's as an exchange [for the person performing the
ritual], why is a chicken different than any other animal? This is indeed a good
question. There are two reasons: one, chickens are more commonly found around
the house than any other animals or birds. Second, in some well-to-do places
they use rams or other horned animals, to evoke our father Yitzchak's ram. So
there is no fixed rule about this.

"We have also heard from earlier authorities that... a chicken is preferable,
since it is called 'gever'... and since it is called 'gever,' it is suitable to
be used in exchange for a person."

Mishnah Berurah (605:2) adds that the underlying idea of kapparos is for one to
realize that what's being done to the chicken should, by rights, be done to him
or her, and that it's only teshuvah that allows this sentence to be commuted.
(This is similar to the reason that the Chinuch (mitzvah 95) and other Rishonim
give for the Torah's institution of sacrifices for unwitting sins.) Using a
creature whose name actually means "man," then, drives that point home more

Given all of this, I would be very wary of calling the custom "barbaric." The
unfortunate fact is that some of those who label it as such, have a broader
agenda in which they try to thus stigmatize actual Torah laws (such as
shechitah) too.

Kol tuv,


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, Oct 1,2009 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Yifdeh

On Wed, Sep 30,2009, Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...> wrote:
> The verse in Devarim 21:8 would explain the use? Kaper l'amcha Yisrael
> asher paditha Hashem. Atone your people Israel, those who you redeemed
> a) Not necessarily ransomed
> b) the verb kaper is indeed linked to the verb lifdot as Martin wishes

Might I suggest that this backs my previously suggested difference between
the roots p-d-h and k-p-r. Perhaps it might be translated as "Accept our
repentance as the alternative 'payment' to the punishment we deserve, with
which You will take us back (like a returned pledge).

Apropos of this topic I have been trying to work out the difference between
the three terms selach, mechal and kapper that we use so frequently on Yom
Kippur and would like tentatively to put forward the following for comment:

Though the word selach is Biblical Hebrew and mechal is Mishnaic, I think
there is a fine distinction between them. Suppose Reuven owes a debt to
Shimon. If Shimon tells Reuven "forget it, as far as I am concerned the debt
never existed" - that is selichah. If on the other hand he says "I don't
want you to repay the debt" - that is mechilah. If he says "I know you are
virtually bankrupt and so I am prepared to accept your candlesticks, which
are worth far less, instead of the money you owe me" - that is kapparah.

With this in mind the order of the sequence "selach lanu, mechal lanu,
kapper lanu" becomes extremely significant. What we are asking HKBH is
"Please erase our sins as if they had never existed but, if You won't do
that. at least do not punish us for them or, in the last resort, accept our
teshuvah [repentance] as an alternative 'payment' instead of that

Martin Stern


From: S. Wise <Smwise3@...>
Date: Thu, Oct 1,2009 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Yom Kippur meals and Kaporas

[Regarding a recent post of Martin Stern:]
1) I am not a rabbi
2) my wife's family is the furthest thing from being Taimanim
3) As far as I can tell men and women use hens
S. Wise

[I suspect that we have here a simple case of mistaken identity. There are two
distinguished Wise men on our email list. Rabbi Meir Wise of London is a rabbi,
and I believe he has Taimani family. The current author does not. - MOD]


End of Volume 57 Issue 34