Volume 59 Number 33 
      Produced: Sun, 19 Sep 2010 14:52:21 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Anomalies in Ashkanazi Yom Kippur davening - no aleinu 
    [David Ziants]
Anomalies in Ashkanazi Yom Kippur davening - selichot 
    [David Ziants]
CAPS for emphasis 
    [Martin Stern]
Early Morning 
    [Andy Goldfinger]
Entering a church- Lord Sacks meeting with the Pope 
    [Dr. Howard Berlin]
Informing the Kehillah of davening variants on "special" days 
    [Carl Singer]
Munkacser thought for Succot 
    [Martin Stern]
Myths and Facts of the Hebrew Calendar - Molad 
    [Richard Fiedler]
    [Perets Mett]
Versions of prayers and poems in our liturgy 
    [Eitan Fiorino]
Women's places 
    [Chana Luntz]


From: David Ziants <dziants@...>
Date: Sun, Sep 19,2010 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Anomalies in Ashkanazi Yom Kippur davening - no aleinu

There are a number of anomalies in the Yom Kippur davening [prayers] 
according to Ashkenazi minhag [= rite emanating from European countries], 
and each year I seem to notice something else.

It is possible that some of these anomalies have been discussed before 
on mail-jewish, but often renewing a discussion can bring out fresh ideas.

I will present now a number of anomalies as separate threads although 
some of them might have reasons that present commonality.

The first idea that I can think of is lack of kadish yatom [mourners' 
kaddish]. Since the general custom is to have shir shel yom [= psalm of 
the day] at end of shacharit [= morning service] (Rinat Yisrael 
machzor [festival prayer book] prints it after shacharit even though 
in the siddur [daily prayer book] it is printed after musaph), this 
means that the only possibility of saying kaddish yatom on Yom Kippur is at 
shacharit (there also exists points at beginning of shacharit, according to
my custom) .

The reason for this is because there is no alainu prayer after musaph, 
mincha [afternoon service] nor ne'illa [finishing service on Yom 
Kippur]. We are not missing out on alainu because we say it in the amida 
at musaph. A reason why no alainu (discussed in past in mail-jewish) is 
because originally  the davening would be in shul without any "break", 
or maybe a small break between musaph and mincha. At least in Israel, 
where I have davened in for the past 30+/- years, finishing musaph on 
Yom Kippur has been not much difference in time (maybe a little bit 
longer) than finishing musaph on Rosh HaShanna. One would go home, have 
a sleep and come back to shul a couple of hours later for mincha.

So with respect to the above:-

1) Maybe we should be putting Alainu or a psalm at end of Musaph to 
draw a Kadish Yatom; or maybe some learning (lacking pitum k'toret) to 
draw a kaddish d'rabbannan.

2) With the importance that is sometimes put, that one kaddish is said 
for a nashama [=soul] at every tephilla [=prayer service], how does the 
lack of kaddishim on YK resonate with this? (Question also applies 
regarding a custom, that someone recently mentioned, when everyday arvit 
[evening service] is said straight after mincha, and alainu is omitted 
after mincha.)

David Ziants
Ma'aleh Adumim, Israel


From: David Ziants <dziants@...>
Date: Sun, Sep 19,2010 at 07:01 AM
Subject: Anomalies in Ashkanazi Yom Kippur davening - selichot

Another anomaly in the Yom Kippur davening [prayers] according to 
Ashkenazi minhag [rite emanating from European countries] that I can 
think of:-

The machzor has during the repetition of ne'illa [finishing service on 
Yom Kippur], a lot of selichot [petitional payers], but in a number of 
shuls I have davened in over the years, most are not said in the place 
as printed in the machzorim (perhaps one or two are said according to 
time available) and those omitted are said after the repetion before 
avinu malkainu. This subject was discussed before, on mail-jewish, but 
am looking for new ideas.

The reason for doing this, is the importance that is put on saying 
birkat hakohanim [Priestly Blessing] and this has to be before 

Our machzorim developed in Europe, where the sunset period is longer, 
and ne'lla had more time to be said. Moeover birkat hakohanim, did not
have the same importance as it is given to it now in Israel, where it is
done (in most parts) every day. Weighing up everything, it seems that 
there are poskim who prefer to change the order (to which I personally
feel a kind of anti-climax although I have slowly become used to it) to 
what is printed in the machzor.

Should we in Israel now be printing machzorim that take into account 
this new order? Do we really have the permission to change the order that 
became ingrained in our tradition?

David Ziants
Ma'aleh Adumim, Israel


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Fri, Sep 17,2010 at 07:01 AM
Subject: CAPS for emphasis

Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...> wrote (MJ 59#32):

> Lisa asserts that emphasis should be indicated by underlines and asterisks
> rather than caps (In passing I have seen all 3 methods used). She claims caps
> is shouting.
> ...

> The reason caps are superior to asterisks and underline is because they are
> more easily noticable. If you skim a posting and see a capped sentence or
> capped word you can, if the author used them skillfully, instantly identify
> the major thread of the posting. In fact, caps is no different than say a
> yellow highlighter. True, yellow is loud, but it is an excellent way to bring
> INSTANT NOTICABILITY and therefore a useful aid in notetaking.

I must say that I also found Lisa's comment strange but assumed that she was
referring to a convention generally accepted in the USA which is, as far as
I am aware, unknown in the UK. Since Russell has shown that the use of
capitals is not universally recognised as offensive in the USA, I shall not
feel inhibited from using them for emphasis, and would encourage others to
do so, since as Russell points out they are far superior for this purpose
than the alternatives.

Martin Stern


From: Andy Goldfinger <Andy.Goldfinger@...>
Date: Fri, Sep 17,2010 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Early Morning

While driving to work following Selichos and Shacharis, I pass a church with the
following sign:

"Early Morning Worship Service - 8:30 AM"

(Sigh ...)


From: Dr. Howard Berlin <w3hb@...>
Date: Fri, Sep 17,2010 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Entering a church- Lord Sacks meeting with the Pope

If it prohibited for observant Jews from entering a church, why then did Lord
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, England's Chief Rabbi (whom I had the pleasure to meet on
my many visits to London and the services at the Western Marble Arch Synagogue)
meet with the Pope in St. Mary's University College Chapel on Friday, the day
before Yom Kippur?

Dr. Howard M. Berlin               


From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Fri, Sep 17,2010 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Informing the Kehillah of davening variants on "special" days

Martin Stern (MJ 59#32) in response to my posting Subject: Responding "amen"
and "ye'hai shmay rahba ...." notes:

> Something I have found even more off-putting is the habit of certain people
> on Rosh Chodesh to 'scream' the words 'Ya'aleh veyavo' when they get to it
> in their 'silent' shmoneh esrei, and similarly for other additions on other
> 'special' days. If one is at a different point, the shock can make one lose
> one's concentration, just as a meshulach does when he talks to one at
> points when one is not allowed to speak.

Agreed that this behavior is disturbing and improper.

I've seen several approaches over the many years.  Most often:

1 - at the very beginning of the silent amdiah the gabbai bangs the


2 - at the very beginning of the silent amidah the gabbai loudly says
"Ya'aleh veyavo"

More recently the Rabbi of our shul, earlier in davening (when it is
permissible to speak) delivers a short drosh reminding the kehillah, perhaps
with a bit of explanation, etc.  I find this outreach to those who may not be
well versed in the davening to be quite positive.



From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Fri, Sep 17,2010 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Munkacser thought for Succot

Jeanette  Friedman <FriedmanJ@...> wrote (MJ 59#25):

> The "Minchas Eluzer" would throw one of his classic hissy fits if he saw
> himself referred to in Modern Ivrit, which to him was an abomination.

Jeanette can correct me but I believe one of his bon mots was that the arba
minim (four species taken on Succot) alluded to the four varieties of
heretics (minim): "Agudisten, Mizrachsiten, Tsionisten und Socialisten".

Martin Stern


From: Richard Fiedler <richardfiedler@...>
Date: Fri, Sep 17,2010 at 07:01 AM
Subject: Myths and Facts of the Hebrew Calendar - Molad

From a Knol by Zvi Shkedi


In Pesachim 94b, the Jewish scholars of the Talmud admitted that their theory
for the movement of the sun was wrong. (By day the sun moves from east to west
under the sky and at night the sun moves back from west to east above the opaque
sky). This same theory is also presented in Baba Batra 25b. In a debate with the
gentile scientists, the Jewish scholars accepted the gentiles' theory as being
more correct. (The sun moves in a continuous circle above the earth by day and
under the earth at night). From here we learn that the Jewish scholars did not
mind the possibility that their theories in the field of science could be wrong
- they were always open to learning from the wisdom of the gentiles.

Now for a witnessed based calendar, i.e. one before we started to use a
calculation, It is the first crescent moon that can be seen after the
conjunction which we call the New Moon. Normally it is impossible to see the
conjunction except in the special case of a solar eclipse. I will borrow from
the the US Navy website their statement about the visibility of the New Moon.
One should note I have changed their use of the term lunar crescent to New Moon
and New Moon to lunar conjunction to be consistent with my use of these terms.

New Moon Visibility:

The visibility of the New Moon as a function of the Moon's "age" - the time
counted from Conjunction - is obviously of great importance to Muslims. The date
and time of each Lunar Conjunction can be computed exactly but the time that the
New Moon first becomes visible after the Lunar Conjunction depends on many
factors and cannot be predicted with certainty. In the first two days after the
Lunar Conjunction, the young Moon appears very low in the western sky after
sunset, and must be viewed through bright twilight. It sets shortly after
sunset. The sighting of the New Moon within one day of Lunar Conjunction is
usually difficult. The crescent at this time is quite thin, has a low surface
brightness, and can easily be lost in the twilight. Generally, the New Moon will
become visible to suitably-located, experienced observers with good sky
conditions about one day after the Lunar Conjunction. However, the time that the
crescent actually becomes visible varies quite a bit from one month to another.
The record for an early sighting of the New Moon, with a telescope, is 12.1
hours after the Lunar Conjunction; for naked-eye sightings, the record is 15.5
hours from the Lunar Conjunction. These are exceptional observations and
crescent sightings this early in the lunar month should not be expected as the
norm. For Islamic calendar purposes, the sighting must be made with the unaided eye.

It is important to note that I said "Conjunction" and not "Molad"! This is
because the Molad of Tishrei can be 15 hours after the Conjunction.

The Molad of Tishrei 3973, Yom Rishon 17 Hours and 155 Parts, 13 Sep. 212 CE at
11:08 AM.

The Sun set at 5:50 so this moon was 6 hours and 42 minutes old as measured from
the Molad.

Astronomically the moon's age is measured from the Conjunction, which was 12
Sep. at 8:34 PM, so it actually was 21 hours and 56 minutes old.

The Rabbis then did not have the science to tell them when the Conjunction took
place or indeed what the Conjunction was. In fact the Rabbis now probably
presume that the Molad is close to the Conjunction. 14 hours and 34 minutes
apart is not close.

The Molad is the result of a Rabbinical Calculation. It is an exact value. It is
based on a very good estimate made of the average lunar period by Chaldean
astronomers before the Babylonian Exile. Their number is exactly our number:
1 synodic month = 29;31:50:08:20 days (sexagesimal; 29.53059413... days in
decimals = 29 days 12 hours 44 min 3..." s) = 29 days 12 hours 793 parts

The starting point 2 days 5 hours and 204 parts (Molad shel Tohu) was our
Rabbis' creation. The calculated Molad of Tishrei 70% of the time is two days,
26% of the time is one day and 4% of the time is 3 days before any possibility
of the moon actually being seen.

NASA has provided tables of phases of the moon and lunar eclipses back to 2000 BCE.

Richard Fiedler


From: Perets Mett <p.mett@...>
Date: Fri, Sep 17,2010 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Sidurim

Ira Jacobson (MJ 59#32) wrote:

> and the Lubavitch movement produced the Nusah Ha'Ari siddur in 1803

Just a small point:

The 'so-called' Ari sidur was composed by the Baal haTanyo, the first rebbe of
Chabad. It predates Lubavitch, and was used by all sections of Chabad.

Perets Mett


From: Eitan Fiorino <afiorino@...>
Date: Fri, Sep 17,2010 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Versions of prayers and poems in our liturgy

Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...> noted (MJ 59#32) the fact that many different
versions of the siddur have been used by many different communities over time,
and asked:

> I do not imagine that anyone reading this prays precisely in 
> accordance with any of the large variety of "original" 
> formulations.  I wonder why it would be so important to 
> anyone who can be so described -- to find it so important to 
> reverse changes introduced in a poem such as Yedid Nefesh -- 
> which were introduced in accordance with the views of the redactors.
> Isn't there some sort of contradiction here between 
> preserving older versions of prayers and poems?

As someone who uses an ancient and uncommon nusach (bnei romi) and who has spent
a lot of time learning and understanding the historical development of the
siddur, I can give my perspective on Ira's question.

Siddurim change, and they change in multiple dimensions.  Not only does the
content shift over time (the inclusion and exclusion of specific prayers), but
the wording of those prayers changes and the voclization of those words change.
 I think one could claim that in general, something like a siddur is better
merely by virtue of being older and thus potentially closer to an idealized or
original form.  I think it is perfectly reasonable for someone to prefer to
recite tefilot the way they were composed.  In the case of yedid nefesh, the
question really is - why should anyone favor the prayer altered by an unknown
"redactor" (this is not really the right use of this term; let's say "editor")
with unknown skills, beliefs and motives, over the one composed by Elazar Azkiri?

Transmission of the text of the siddur has been notoriously poor.  These are
common books, edited and printed frequently.  Printers make mistakes - both
unintentional, and intentional - by "correcting" something that they mistakenly
believed was mistaken.  Moreover, some editors of siddurim systematically
introduce changes - for example, the complete revocalization of the Ashkenazi
siddur which took place in the 17th through 19th century.  This was based on an
assumption that the vocalization of rabbinic/mishnaic Hebrew was either wrong or
inferior to the vocalization of Biblical Hebrew.  Again, one can debate whether
or not this is "correct" but regardless - I don't understand why it is
perplexing that someone would prefer the original vocalization.

I guess the issue is that if one believes that changes "introduced in accordance
with the views of the redactors" are by definition "correct" then it may seem
strange that some would prefer otherwise.  Your error, I believe, is in assuming
that the editors were in fact, acting correctly all the time, or even most of
the time, or even some of the time.

Moreover, there is a spiritual and emotional aspect to this.  For many, the
recitation of "older versions of prayers and poems" is an affirmative act of
connecting with one's forebearers and ancient Jewish communities that may or may
not even be in existence today.  To recite a particular cycle of selichot, kinot
or piyutim that dates back many hundres of years for some carries inherent value
and meaning.  In contrast, in my opinion, something is diminished and lost in,
for example, the homogenized amalgam that most Ashkenazi siddurim and shuls have
adopted (the problem is not unique to nusach ashkenaz, however).



From: Chana Luntz <Chana@...>
Date: Sun, Sep 19,2010 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Women's places

Menashe Elyashiv  wrote (MJ 59#14):

> However, in our place, women rarely come to pray. For my son's Shabbat
> Hatan the only lady that came was - his wife! We (myself & wife) are
> older than most of the families. Most are young couples or slightly
> older with large families, so the women don't have a chance to get to
> prayers. My wife did not even think of going to pray with little children.
> Now she can, but our married daughter (3 kids , oldest is 3) said that she
> knows that for the next 15 years she will stay home.
> BTW, how many women asked me for a seat for Rosh Hashana this year? Up
> to today - 5. 

I was thinking about this post as I looked around the packed ezrat nashim
where I davened on Yom Kippur. And especially after my husband made his
yearly comment that I really ought to be back in shul for the layning [Torah
reading] for Mincha (our shul generally has a break between Mussaf and
Mincha, during which I tend to go home and rest, and then find it hard to
get back up again), since it was only instituted for the women.  Although
this year I took advantage of the break between Mincha and Neila to go look
up the Tosphos on which this comment is based (it is Megilla 31a, d'h
"b'mincha korin") and pointed out to him that actually it doesn't say (as he
seemed to assume) that the reading of the arayos [forbidden relationships]
was instituted because the women were in shul to hear it, but because the
women adorned themselves in honour of the day and therefore they (masculine)
were warned concerning arayos.  Still, if Tosphos assumed that the women
were all at home with the children, then nobody would have seen them,
adorned or not (and somehow adornment seems somewhat unlikely if one is
running around after small children while fasting), so I think a reading
that the women were in fact all in shul in Tosphos's time seems pretty

In addition, there is the famous Trumas HaDeshen Psakim u'Ktuvim siman 132
in which he permitted women with their periods to go to shul during the
yamim noraim [high holidays] because "they will be of sad spirit and
downhearted that all gather to be with the congregation and they remain
outside" a psak reiterated by the Rema in Orech Chaim siman 88 si'if 1.  
Now if most women were at home with children as per Menashe Eliyashiv's
community, then there is hardly any need for these psakim, nobody is going
to feel left out if they are not permitted to go.

And this is not to get into the Masseches Sofrim perek 18 halacha 6 that
says "that on Shabbas they [the women] are early to come in order to recite
the shema "kvatikin" with sunrise and they are late to go in order that they
should hear the explanation of the portion, but on the festivals they are
late to come, because they need to fix the food for Yom Tov, and are quick
to go because it is not according to the law to explain to them like it was
said of Rav that he would not place an expounder by his side from the
beginning of Yom Tov until the next day [because of potential drunkenness on
Yom Tov see Beitza 4a]." 

So one has to ask, were there not small children in those days?  How were
they able to manage to get the women to shul?  And in Menachem Elyashiv's
community, where are the teenage girls?  Are there absolutely no single
girls in this community (in which case, maybe every girl looking for a
shidduch should up sticks and go and live there)?  Thinking back to my
childhood, I do remember a number of families with lots of small children,
most of whom made do without non-Jewish help.  In one particular case I am
thinking of, where the rabbi was rabbi of a not so frum community, and there
was nobody else to call upon, the mother and the oldest daughter swapped
between them (this one went to shachris while the other stayed home, then
swapped for musaph etc etc) so there was pretty much always one of the two
of them in shul.   And in other communities where there was a wider pool,
they drew up rotas of mothers (or sometimes of 11 year olds or teenagers)
who took turns in looking after the children so that the rest could go to
shul (OK the babies maybe not, but assuming an eruv, a baby will often
sleep, especially in a baby sling, so they can be the easiest to bring to
shul of all).

So what is it about Menachem Elyashev's community that makes it different to
what it would seem has been the practice of women historically which is to
prioritise being in shul for the yomim noraim?




End of Volume 59 Issue 33