Volume 57 Number 35 
      Produced: Fri, 16 Oct 2009 07:53:38 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

    [Menashe Elyashiv]
Brokenup Minyan 
    [Yisrael Medad]
    [Martin Stern]
Gabbai's handbook 
    [Martin Stern]
Hebrew Roots 
    [Martin Stern]
Kaporos (3)
    [S. Wise  Bernard Raab  Martin Stern]
Photos of Second Hakafot 
    [Jacob Richman]
saying Yihyu Lratzon out loud 
    [Michael Kahn]
Shabbat Elevators (3)
    [Yisrael Medad  Yisrael Medad  Sammy Finkelman]
The 3 Step Maneuver 
    [Yisrael Medad]


From: Menashe Elyashiv <Menashe.Elyashiv@...>
Date: Thu, Oct 15,2009 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Aliyot

Maybe some MJ readers can answer these questions
Who put the Aliyot (i.e. sheni, shlishi) into the Humashim? I checked the 
first printing of Mikraot Gedolot (1525) - no Aliyot. It is interesting 
that the Aliyot are almost the same by all the communities
Second question - Why are  there 7 Aliyot in Vezot Habracha? Even in 
places that stick to the original law and call 5 only, why write 7? Only 
in Israel Simhat Torah can be on Shabbat, and all Humashim where printed 
outside of Israel up to recently


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Thu, Oct 8,2009 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Brokenup Minyan

Rose Landowne writes, regarding starting Amidah repetition:
> so you wait for a minyan
In a tangential matter, if I am not mistaken, in cases after repetition
has been said, even if there is no minyan present (people have left for
the bus/train; the Rabbi has taken too long to daven; electricity has
failed; there's a fight with the Gabbai), repetition, Kaddish and more
is still said. 
Ishei Yisrael notes 15:41, infra, that 6 is the minimum required in
order to finish what had been started when there was a Minyan including
Kedusha and the rest of the Amidah but I admit, I am not sure reading it
whether for Kaddish after Amidah the minimum is required.  
Moed Tov to all,


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, Oct 8,2009 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Dictionaries

I wrote:
>> Evenshoshan is a modern Hebrew dictionary and I am not convinced that
>> it is necessarily an authority for Biblical Hebrew.

Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...> wrote:  
> 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.

The problem with any dictionary is that one can easily misunderstand a
passage in an older text if one does not take great care to distinguish the
various strata of language being quoted in it. This was the reason for my
reservations above.

Even in reading relatively modern English such as Shakespeare this can give
rise to such errors e.g. "I want clothes" would mean "I am naked [lacking
clothes]" not "I desire clothes" as might be suggested by the careless use
of a modern English dictionary.

Martin Stern


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, Oct 8,2009 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Gabbai's handbook

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.

Rose Landowne <Roselandow@...> wrote: 
> I would assume that the custom was to wait until the rabbi or
> assistant rabbi finished the amidah and start then, with no signal.

Sometimes the rabbi realises that he davens at such a great length that this
might inconvenience the congregation who have to hurry off to work. If he is
a mensch he waives his privilege to have them wait for him.

> 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.

Some congregations rely on the leniency mentioned in Shulchan Aruch to wait
for rov minyan [the greater part of a minyan, i.e. six people including the
shats], especially on weekdays when time may well be pressing.

The problem is that we use the word 'minyan' rather loosely to mean 'those
gathered to daven together' whereas it only refers to the minimum number to
qualify for public prayer, i.e. ten. Unfortunately some people do not
understand this and think 'rov minyan' means the greater part of those
present, which would be a great stringency if more than twenty people are at
the 'minyan'.

Martin Stern


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, Oct 8,2009 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Hebrew Roots

I wrote:
>> In essence the root p-d-h means paying someone in order to have an
>> object or person returned

To which Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...> wrote:  
> 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.

Yisrael is correct but I never said that the ransom had to be money though I
suppose the word 'paying' might have been open to that misinterpretation,
for which I apologise.
>> 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?

I suspect that this is a point where UK and US English usage differ. The
normal word for a male bird in the UK is 'cock' while 'rooster' is less
common and restricted to poultry. I presume that in the USA this is not so.
I am sorry for causing any misunderstanding.

I would ask those reading my submissions in future to take into account the
possibility that I may be using UK terminology before assuming that I am
making a mistake.

Martin Stern


From: S. Wise <Smwise3@...>
Date: Thu, Oct 8,2009 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Kaporos

Alex writes:
> 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.

After witnessing how it is performed in person and in pictures, I cannot  
imagine that this was the intention when this minhag was instituted, and 
still  bemused that given how it is evolved over history that it is still a 
custom, one  that seems to have actually widened in recent decades. 
Watching the smiling faces during the process leads me to believe that the  
meaning behind using the chicken may have been lost.  In addition, if we  
believe that Hashem forgives us for aveiros, why are we to assume we will be  
slaughtered in this world for our sins and not punished in the next?
S. Wise

From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Thu, Oct 8,2009 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Kaporos

From: Alex Heppenheimer <aheppenh@...>
> 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.
The thought of slaughtering a chicken to atone for ones sins is not quite in the
same category as shechitah for food production. Rather it reflects a modern
sensibility on the act of animal sacrifice for ritual purposes. I'm afraid if
that ever were to be restored as a routine part of our religion, that would be
yet another cause of cleavage among our Orthodox co-religionists.

Bernie R.

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, Oct 8,2009 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Kaporos

S. Wise <Smwise3@...> wrote 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

> [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]

MOD is absolutely correct and I offer my apologies for any embarrassment
caused by this mistaken identity. Though I do not qualify as such I should
have remembered Avtalyon's warning (Avot 1, 11) "Wise men be careful about
your words"!

> 3) As far as I can tell men and women use hens

This may be so in practice because male birds may be unavailable but
according to the literature such a distinction is made. In fact the question
is asked as to what to do for a pregnant woman who may be carrying a male
child. Some suggest that in this case one performs the ritual three times,
once with a hen for her, then twice more, once with a hen and once with a
cock, for her (as yet unborn) child. Others dispense with the second hen,
presumably relying on the opinion that one can do the ceremony for a group
together, i.e. the woman and her child in this case.

Martin Stern


From: Jacob Richman <jrichman@...>
Date: Sat, Oct 10,2009 at 09:01 PM
Subject: Photos of Second Hakafot

Hi Everyone!

Tonight (Saturday night after chag in Israel) I took photos of 
the second hakafot at S'deh Chemed in Ma'aleh Adumim. 
I posted 238 photos on my website at:


When the first page comes up, press the F11 key on the
top of your keyboard for a full page view.
Use the icon buttons on the bottom of each page to navigate.

I also posted 198 of the 238 photos on Facebook for 
name tagging. You can acces the Facebook Hakafot album via:

Enjoy the photos.

Shavua Tov - Have a Good Week,


From: Michael Kahn <mi_kahn@...>
Date: Fri, Oct 9,2009 at 03:01 PM
Subject: saying Yihyu Lratzon out loud

Haim Shalom Snyder writes:
> 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.

Thank you for that information. I recently davened in the Yeshiva University
Bais Medrash and the shliach tzibur actually said Yihyu lratzon out loud. I had
never seen that done and was wondering where it came from.

Yitzchok Kahn


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Thu, Oct 8,2009 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Shabbat Elevators

Shmuel Himelstein asks:
> What changed, that this ruling appeared right now? 
> Has there been a change in the technology? 
As far as I know, the technicians changed.  And changed their minds.
Correctly or not.  The person who informed was laughing at their

From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Sat, Oct 10,2009 at 07:01 PM
Subject: Shabbat Elevators

The Shabbat Elevator Matter Makes the NYTimes


> But the recent ruling, whose signers included Rabbi Yosef Shalom
> Elyashiv - at 99, widely considered the most influential Torah
> sage of his generation - introduced a caveat based on new
> technology in elevators. The rabbis wrote that this new
> technology, which was explained to them by elevator technicians
> and engineers in "a written and oral technical opinion," made
> them aware for the first time that using Shabbos elevators may be
> a "desecration of the Sabbath."
> They did not name the offending technology. But for several years
> there has been debate among Orthodox rabbis in Israel over
> whether devices that measure the weight in an elevator car, and
> adjust power accordingly, effectively make entering a car the
> equivalent of pressing a button.
[Quote added by MOD]

From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Thu, Oct 15,2009 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Shabbat Elevators

It is difficult to find out any details. Apparently Rav Elyashiv  did
not affix his name to the portion of this proclamation which claimed
either that things ahd changed or tghey had become aware of something
about Shabbos elevators. This may be an old position of his which he,
n request reaffirmed.

Obviously nothing has changed about Shabbos elevators. The claim that
there is a problem - or rather the new reason why there should be a
problem -  because there were some old objections - but the new reason
that accordimng to them every observant Jew should accept seems to be
extra energy is used in carrying an additional load and this is
directly the result of being on the elevator.

The problem with that concept is that that would apply to a lot of
other things too. Not just elevators, but also refrigerators for
instance. Opening and clsoing the door could cause the motor to work
harder and also putting in food. A counterargument could be that the
work is not immediate but in an elavator it is. Whatever the case this
is an issue that cabnnot have not occured to many others in the past.

I think the Chazon Ish did not use water from the faucet on Shabbos
because where he lived it caused extra pumping.


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Thu, Oct 8,2009 at 03:01 PM
Subject: The 3 Step Maneuver

Haim Shalom Snyder writes:
> 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.

The Mishna Brurah, 124:5, has the Mechaber deciding that chazan who has
finished the Amida repetition is not required (lo tzarich) to step
backwards three steps [124:4 notes btw that one who steps back more is
yohara = hubric] unless, like sometimes for Mincha, his repetition is
actually the first time he is davening the Amidah,  The MB there, 19,
says if he does, one need not shout at him in protest although I am
pretty sure I read that the reason for not stepping back a second time
is tircha d'tzibbur, that is, you're wasting the congregation's time


End of Volume 57 Issue 35