Volume 58 Number 65 
      Produced: Thu, 12 Aug 2010 10:24:26 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Daf yomi 
    [Mordechai Horowitz]
Declaration of intent? 
    [Art Werschulz]
Kittzur Shulchan Aruch on where to daven 
    [Sammy Finkelman]
L'Hai Ro'i bibliographic reference needed 
    [Jon Greenberg]
Mystical and spiritual influences on halacha 
    [Michael Frankel]
Obligation to pray with a minyan 
    [Martin Stern]
The tendency towards being Machmir (was Who is a Posek) 
    [Carl Singer]
Wedding invitations 
    [Martin Stern]
When a mechizah becomes obligatory 
    [Elanit Z Rothschild Jakabovics]
Who is a Posek? (2)
    [Ben Katz  Joel Rich]
Women Saying Kaddish 
    [Batya Medad]


From: Mordechai Horowitz <mordechai@...>
Date: Thu, Aug 12,2010 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Daf yomi

David I. Cohen <bdcohen613@...> wrote (MJ 58#64)

> M. Horowitz wrote in 58#61  denigrating those who learn Daf Yomi everyday.
> Whether or not he he needs to ask mechila [forgiveness -MOD] for his remarks,
> I'll leave to the Higher Authority.
> As one who has studied through two daf yomi cycles and teaches a daf shiur
> at least once a week, I feel that I can lend some perspective.

I'll just say I am disappointed you chose to make a personal attack and 
the moderators decided it was appropriate to publish one.  It detracts 
from the serious issues you raise in your response.

There is a mitzva to judge people favorably. 

Lets look at what you are discussing

> 1) Daf Yomi fulfills the requirement to set aside time every day to study
> Torah. While there are many ways to do so, human nature being what it is,
> the structure of daf Yomi is much more compelling  -- even with a regular
> unstructured set up, so you miss a day, big deal, we''ll just start from
> where we left off last time. And, eventually the times you miss begin to
> outweigh the times you don't. But Daf is relentless. It is every day. It
> is a rigorous discipline, of daily structured Torah study.
How about a daily gemorrah class that covers less ground and includes both a
passive shiur and active chavrusa study to build text skills and reinforce
learning where people are expected to keep to a certain pace. 

You continue

> 2) Daf gives one a perspective on the very wide range of Torah, dealing
> with parts of the Talmud rarely studied in the Yeshiva's beit medrash

> 3) Although it is true, that due to its nature, much of what is studied
> is not retained, the recurrence of many Halachic and Talmudic themes,
> topics and concepts begin to resonate and become familiar, and the
> language and style of discussion also become further ingrained.

I think you actually give an argument here for Daf Yomi being part of full time
yeshiva study where you learn some Torah in depth an do other on a quicker less
in depth level but instead of spending 1 hour with Rav Scroll can spend 2-3
hours a day on the daf with another 8 for everything else.  I agree yeshivot
should give more breadth including Tanach, Midrash and halacha.  I think you
bring up an issue of how we should divide Torah study between breadth and depth
which will have different answers for workers and yeshiva students

> 4) Many become involved with daf, having little or no background, as less
> intimidating way of entering the Sea of Talmud. This is enhanced by the
> camaraderie of those who regularly learn together.

Why do you need the daf for regularly learning together. Why can't our shuls set
up regular learning programs for that outside the daf. And someone with no
background learns very little in a daf shiur where they might learn and retain
something in a mishna yomi shiur or a Mishna Brerurah shiur.

> 5) What's wrong with learning being entertaining as well?

Because Torah is not an episode of Lost. If you don't use up brain cells because
you forgot what you watched on TV thats a good thing for your soul.  If you
don't remember the Torah you spent an hour learning...  Especially if there are
other alternatives for your time that would allow you to retain the Torah you
are trying to learn.


From: Art Werschulz <agw@...>
Date: Wed, Aug 11,2010 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Declaration of intent?

A while back, somebody posted the Butchaver Rebbe's "declaration of intent"
(regarding Divine Names, to be said daily) on some forum that I read.  I managed
to nuke the PDF file, and my paper copy is getting a little worn.

If it was posted here, or if anyone knows of its origin, could they let me know
where to find it (or perhaps email it to me).

Thanks.  Shanah tovah.

Art Werschulz (8-{)}   


From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 10,2010 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Kittzur Shulchan Aruch on where to daven

In Simon 12 there is somnething there about not davening next to a Rashah
(in shul!) What is is the basis of this? What was going on there?


From: Jon Greenberg <jon@...>
Date: Wed, Aug 11,2010 at 11:01 AM
Subject: L'Hai Ro'i bibliographic reference needed

I am seeking information (e.g., publisher and correct year of publication) for a
full bibliographic citation of the following:

Normal.dotm001955Abraham Joshua Heschel School116712.00false18 pt18
pt00falsefalsefalseLHai Roi(Yohanan Fried and Avraham Rigel, Eds.) Jerusalem

Can anyone help?

Many thanks,

Jon Greenberg


From: Michael Frankel <michaeljfrankel@...>
Date: Thu, Aug 12,2010 at 12:01 AM
Subject: Mystical and spiritual influences on halacha

It is worth reprising the formulation of the place of mysticism in halokhic
determination as articulated by, among others, Yitzchoq Karo (Yosef's uncle):

"We follow the laws of the Talmud and the 'normal' decision process no matter
what the Zohar may opine - but, in cases where there is no final determination
from Talmud, then the Zohar's determination is binding."

There are literally hundreds of places in Shulchon Aruch and Bais Yosef which
draw on a  mystical source (despite the well known 2 out of 3 [from the Rif,
Rambam and Rosh] algorithm) and these have been compiled in seforim that have in
some cases been around for hundreds of years now.   

Sometimes the Zohar only serves to flesh out some details of ritual, sometimes
it creates entirely new rituals.  And while this subject has been thoroughly
studied, if you only read one (ok, two) articles about it you would do well to
read "Hakhro'os HazZohar B'dvar Halokhoh" ("Decisions of the Zohar in Halakhic
Matters"), and "Yachasei  Halokhoh V'Qabboloh B'Doros She'l'achar Hisgalus
HazZohar" (Relationship of Halokhoh and Qabboloh in the Generations Following
the "Revealing" of the  Zohar"), both by the late great Jacob Katz and collected
in the volume "Halokhoh V'Qabboloh" put out by Magnes Press. 


Mechy Frankel



From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, Aug 12,2010 at 07:01 AM
Subject: Obligation to pray with a minyan

Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...> wrote (MJ 58#64):

> I thought it is obvious that, for one thing, [the Shulchan Aruch Orach Chayim
> 90:9 is] talking about someone who needs to work or has other obligations
> - not somebody who is TOTALLY unable to go to a syngagogue.
> There is no obligation to arrange your affairs so that you would always be
> able to daven with a minyan. And if there was such a thing, a person could
> not travel.  There are no conditions attached under which you are allowed to
> travel (which would often mean you would not be able to daven with a minyan,
> or listen to the Torah etc.)  In general, a person can arrange his affairs as
> it suits him best and then the issue of where and how to daven comes
> up.  The Gemorah deals with people in situations where they have limited
> time to daven, or say Shema. ...
> The need to daven doesn't impose any limitations on a person - unlike the
> need to keep Shabbos, Succos, Pesach etc.

Sammy is only partially correct. Davenning with a minyan can be 'pushed
aside' where circumstances dictate but, otherwise, it is assumed that a man
will do so. As Akiva Miller pointed out (MJ 58#81):

>> Rashi shows, in Pesachim 46 and Chullin 122, that a person [when
>> traveling] is obligated to travel up to four mil in the direction of
>> his travel even if he would prefer to stop here, and is even obligated
>> to go up to one mil back [to pray with a minyan].

I cannot therefore agree with Sammy that

> this does not really interfere with what he is doing

but implies that it may even entail some slight inconvenience. Davenning
privately is only allowed in the case of genuine necessity.

Martin Stern


From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Thu, Aug 12,2010 at 08:01 AM
Subject: The tendency towards being Machmir (was Who is a Posek)

Stuart Pilichowski wrote (MJ 58#63): 

> The answer is really a very simple yet profound Yiddish adage:
> If you ask the shalah the answer you get might be "tref"

I learned the Yiddish adage differently --

If one must ask a shaileh {question} it* is tref    --   * it being the
object in question (usually a food item such as a chicken.)

Martin Stern (MJ 58#64) touches on the tendency towards machmir [stringency]
when one is in doubt. I'd like to take this discussion a step further -- as it
does seem that we (Torah observant society / thinking) are drifting more and
more to the machmir.

For what ever reasons, social pressure, the way things are taught in schools
and Yeshivas, an attempt to distance oneself from others who are less
observant (or in the extreme non-observant), a need to conform, perhaps a
variant of "Chadash assur min Hatorah"  -- I see this in many public

One trivial example:  The other day with the temperature in the low 90's and
humidity to match -- I was walking along Main Street here in Passaic, New
Jersey -- I walked past the "Kosher Store" -- and a few male patrons were
standing in front with their groceries.  They were in full "black" attire --
black suit, black fedora, dark tie, white shirt, etc., to do grocery
shopping.   I stopped by the pizza shop and the spell was broken -- a long
time friend walked in wearing dark slacks and a short sleeved white shirt
(no hat, no tie).  So I was no longer the only one who looked out of place


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, Aug 12,2010 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Wedding invitations

Fay Berger <JuniperViv@...> wrote (MJ 58#64):
> Many wedding invitations leave off the names of the mothers of the bride and
> groom. They print the father's name "V'raayato". Why has this become
> customary?

There is an even more obnoxious custom in certain chassidic circles to omit
the name of the bride as well. I was told that this is because of the fear
that mentioning a female name might arouse the passions of males who might
be led to sinful thoughts or even actions! This is nonsense.

However their custom may have Biblical precedent. As is well known, many of
our wedding customs are derived from the way Lavan behaved. Perhaps when he
sent out the invitations to his daughter's wedding to Yaakov he wrote:

"You are cordially invited to celebrate the marriage of Yaakov ben Yitzchak
to bat Lavan" without mentioning any specific girl's name.

No doubt the invitation continued that "there would be a deception (dalet
and reish look very similar so that might have been a printing error) until
daybreak after the chuppah".

Martin Stern


From: Elanit Z Rothschild Jakabovics <ezrothschild@...>
Date: Wed, Aug 11,2010 at 03:01 PM
Subject: When a mechizah becomes obligatory

Stuart Pilchowski wrote (MJ 58#62):

> Am I missing something? My weekday morning minyan and shabbat afternoon 
> minyan has no mechitza because women never attend. Is my bet knesset not
> kosher?>

Although I do not know the makeup of your shul and your community, shouldn't it 
be common practice in Modern Orthodox synagogues these days to have a mechitzah 
so that if a woman showed up, she would feel welcome to pray with you as opposed 
to not having a space in which to daven and feeling unwelcome/unwanted?


From: Ben Katz <BKatz@...>
Date: Thu, Aug 12,2010 at 03:01 AM
Subject: Who is a Posek?

Michael Rogovin <mrogovin118@...> (MJ 58#63) wrote:

> Aryeh Frimer wrote (MJ 58#62):

>> I have always wondered why the supporters of women's aliyyot and 
>> Partnership Minyanim haven't asked these first league Poskim [Rav 
>> Aharon Lichtenstein Shlita and Rav Nahum Rabinovitch Shlita] what their 
>> stance is? They are accessible, forthcoming and "straight-shooters". IMHO, 
>> the fact that this has not happened speaks reams.

> In my mind, what is even more significant is that these supporters, many
> associated with JOFA [Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance] have for the last
> decade (and for many of the individuals even longer) turned to Rabbis Saul
> Berman, Haskel Lookstein, Shlomo Riskin, Yehuda Henkin, and even Avi Weiss.
> Every one of these (even Avi Weiss) has explicitly and publicly rejected
> Partnership Minyanim. Even when Rabbi Berman published Rabbi Shapiro's
> article and said it should be taken seriously as a work of scholarship
> (not as halacha lemaase [practical application], he also said it was a
> unprecedented change in mesorah and should not be done. I find it very
> distressing that JOFA turned to these rabbis for years until they rejected
> partnership minyanim (and with the exception of Avi Weiss other recent
> innovations for women). At that moment, these leading Rabbis for women's
> participation to the fullest extent possible in ritual were dropped and
> disappeared from conferences and mention in favor of Rabbi Sperber, who
> conveniently supports women's aliyot.

> This is not our way. Rabbi Sperber may indeed be correct technically, I
> am not the one to judge. But I can judge the way the questions are asked
> and the answers applied. If the rabbis that have been the mainstay of
> support for JOFA and women's growing participation in ritual life are
> saying no, not the Agudat HaRabbonim but OUR rabbis, then halacha demands
> that we listen, and not just run to someone, however qualified, to give us
> what we may desire. If we do otherwise, we can no longer claim the mantle
> of orthodox.

> To put it another way by example - I think the kitniyot custom [not to
> eat certain legumes and grains on Passover] is crazy and halachicly
> unjustifiable today. There are rabbis who, under various theories would
> support my point of view. But I don't know them, they are not in my
>community (or even country) and my rabbi and others that I know and turn
> to regularly all say I have to stick to the rule, even when some concede
> my logic is correct.  That is the way orthodoxy works.

There have been a lot of similar comments to those articulated above by Mr.
Rogovin as to how Orthodoxy works, but I believe they are historically incorrect. 
Piyutim (liturgical poems) were written by righteous poets in very observant
communities that added them to the davening, even in places where a Rabbi might
worry about a hafsaka (interruption). 
The Baale Mesorah (keepers of the textual tradition of the Bible) were not
Rabbis; there is even evidence that the greatest Massorite of all time, Aaron
Ben Asher, was a Karaite.

Chassidut was vehemently oppossed by Elijah of Vilna, certainly the greatest
rabbinic figure of his time, and thrived nontheless.  I could enumerate many
more examples.  

As a historicist (as well as a Maimonidean) I believe the only way to know how
Orthodoxy works is backwards through the lens of history.  Whatever observant
communities accept becomes part of Orthodoxy.  Chassidut worked.  Bais Yaakov
worked.  Sermons in the vernacular worked.  Consrvative and Reform Judaism did
not.  I believe it is too early to tell about partnership minyanim.  

Ben Katz,MD

From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Thu, Aug 12,2010 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Who is a Posek?

Mordechai Horowitz writes (MJ 58 #64)

in response to my earlier submission (MJ 58#61):

>> 2. Might one conclude that if one had a daughter who was an agunah, we 
>> might not trust his psak in these issues? A son who didn't earn a living? ...
>> (Personal interest)

> There is no sin in either being an agunah or being unemployed (and my opinion
> of Kollel is very different that of the community at large)

> Lesbian behavior is a clear sin according to all opinions.  And it's not
> surprising that someone who is suspect in legitimizing lesbian behavior will
> not be accepted as a posek in the Torah community.

1. Does having a relative who engages in certain behaviors (e.g. R' Shach's son
went off the derech and became a religious zionist :-)) mean one is suspect with
regard to legitimizing the relative's behavior?

2. My question did not presume any legitimizing, just a relationship.


Joel Rich


From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Thu, Aug 12,2010 at 07:01 AM
Subject: Women Saying Kaddish

Exempt and forbidden aren't the same.

All this talk about prayer and women, and has no one mentioned the
Biblical Chana?  Halachot of how to pray are derived from her prayer, so
obviously women are supposed to pray, but as women, not faux men.

Batya Medad


End of Volume 58 Issue 65