Volume 59 Number 34 
      Produced: Mon, 20 Sep 2010 01:58:42 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Al Het 
    [Ira L. Jacobson]
Anomalies in Ashkanazi Yom Kippur davening - no aleinu (4)
    [Chips  Akiva Miller]
Anomalies in Ashkanazi Yom Kippur davening - no birkat hacohanim at mi 
    [David Ziants]
Anomalies in Ashkanazi Yom Kippur davening - selichot 
    [Martin Stern]
Brady Street Cemetery - Whitechapel 
    [Shmuel Himelstein]
Rabbinical headcovering? 
    [Michael Gerver]
Sunset Period - Neliah - Yom Kippur "closing" 
    [Carl Singer]
Versions of prayers and poems in our liturgy (2)
    [Ira L. Jacobson  Akiva Miller]
Yedid Nefesh 
    [Alan Rubin]


From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Sun, Sep 19,2010 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Al Het

Rabbi Moshe Sokol brings an insight into the confessional "Al 
Het."  Al het shehatanu lefanekha beyod`im uvelo yod`im is 
traditionally understood as referring to sins of which we are aware 
and those of which we are not.  The Birkat Hayyim, says Rabbi Sokol, 
interprets this as referring to sins where we know things that we 
need not know, and those where we don't know things that we should know.

I feel that this is very much timely regarding the details of 
abominations discussed recently on Mail-Jewish at length.  Just as I 
should feel guilty of having listened to a short description I heard 
many decades ago by an American of the Puerto Rican persuasion, who 
described his first sexual experience with a lamb.  These are indeed 
abominations of which we have no need to learn their details.



From: Chips <chips@...>
Date: Sun, Sep 19,2010 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Anomalies in Ashkanazi Yom Kippur davening - no aleinu

At our minyan, we DO say Aleinu after Mincha and if there is a significant break
between Musaf and Mincha we say Aleinu then too. (we always break between Mincha
and Neillah)


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Sep 19,2010 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Anomalies in Ashkanazi Yom Kippur davening - no aleinu 

David Ziants <dziants@...> wrote (MJ 59#33):

> 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) .

There are varying customs regarding the shir shel yom. Some, like David's
shul, say it after shacharit, others after mussaf, and yet others before
pesukei dezimra (preceded by anim zemirot).

There is always the kaddish derabbanan after the braita of Rabbi Yishmael
and a kaddish yatom after mizmor shir chanukat habayit in those shuls that
say it (These may be the ones to which David refers).

> 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. ...

David is correct in his surmise. In my old shul we said varying numbers of
selichot in shacharit, mussaf and minchah depending on the length of the day
in order to avoid any "breaks". I believe that this was the universal custom
amongst Ashkenazim at one time. In the older German machzorim (and the Kol
Bo Vilna) the selichot (numbered) were actually printed. Each year a card would
be given out to inform people of the numbers of the ones that were to be said.
Different places had different customs in this respect and the East European
printers did not bother to include them. In most modern machzorim there is just
a cryptic note (after ya'ale veyavo in shachrit and minchah) or after the avodah
in mussaf "kan amru selichot" which tends to be ignored - hence their
disappearance in most congregations.

> 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.

I cannot understand why Aleinu is not said if there is going to be a break
between mussaf and minchah. I suspect that the reason is simply that the
printers assumed a continuous davenning with no breaks, and therefore did
not print it, and people just said what was in the machzor without thinking.
> regarding a custom, that someone recently mentioned, when everyday arvit
> [evening service] is said straight after mincha, and alainu is omitted
> after mincha.

This was the German custom so many shuls instituted a short learning
session, or recitation of tehillim, between minchah and ma'ariv so that
aleinu could be said after minchah.

Martin Stern

From: Art Werschulz <agw@...>
Date: Sun, Sep 19,2010 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Anomalies in Ashkanazi Yom Kippur davening - no aleinu 


Regarding the fact that we don't say Aleinu on Yom Kippur during the day, David
Ziants wrote:

> We are not missing out on alainu because we say it in the amida at musaph. 

I don't know if that works as "the" explanation.  After all, we say Aleinu
during the Rosh Hashana mussaf, but we still say Aleinu at its "usual" place.

Art Werschulz 

From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Mon, Sep 20,2010 at 12:01 AM
Subject: Anomalies in Ashkanazi Yom Kippur davening - no aleinu

David Ziants (MJ 59:33) raised several concerns about the lack of Kaddish Yasom
(Mourners Kaddish) on Yom Kippur, except for at the end of the evening service
and the very beginning of the morning service -- far unlike the rest of the
year, when it is also said at the end of the morning and/or additional service,
and at the end of the afternoon service.

He asked:

> 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?

To me, the simplest response to this is the opinion of Rav Moshe Feinstein (in
his Igros Moshe, Yoreh Deah, vol 1, #254) which is that this Kaddish does NOT
need to be said more than once a day.

His proof is that the current practice of several people saying Kaddish in
unison is a comparatively recent development; originally, only one mourner said
each kaddish, and the several Kaddishes were distributed to the several mourners
by lot. In such circumstances, Rav Moshe writes, "each person would say only one
Kaddish per day, and sometimes he wouldn't even say one Kaddish, but most of the
time he did say one Kaddish per day."

It is worth noting that this responsum was addressed to a person who was
employed to say Kaddish on behalf of people who had no children to say Kaddish
for them. (I'd point out that I have seen advertisements for this service in
several Jewish newspapers.) The questioner was asking Rav Moshe how many people
he could hire himself out to. Following the logic I quoted above, Rav Moshe
answered that however many Kaddishes he says on a typical day, taking advantage
of whatever multiple minyanim are available, that's how many people he can say
Kaddish for - and even if on some occasions he won't be able to say that many
Kaddishes, that's okay.

But Rav Moshe added an interesting point: (brackets are my insertions) "Even
though the law is that one Kaddish is sufficient, if the relative who is paying
the Kaddish-sayer thinks that he'll be saying *many* Kaddishes, then it could be
that he is stipulating to pay only for *that* service [that of saying many
Kaddishes], in which case [the Kaddish-sayer] might be stealing [by accepting
payment for a service which he isn't providing]."

At this point, I thought that Rav Moshe would suggest that the Kaddish-sayer
might offer two services: a less-expensive once-a-day service, and a
more-expensive multiple-Kaddish service. But that's not what Rav Moshe
suggested. Rather, he wrote: "Therefore, it would be good to tell the relative
who is paying, that he'll be saying Kaddish once a day for the [dead] relative,
because more is unnecessary. And if this will be publicized, and become known to
many people that he is saying only one Kaddish per person, then he won't need to
make such an explicit stipulation any more, because it will be presumed to be
known that one Kaddish is enough, unless stipulated explicitly."

One might argue that Rav Moshe allowed this leniency (of just one Kaddish per
day) only for a paid Kaddish-sayer, but would have encouraged an actual mourner
to attend services several times a day, so that Kaddish could be said several
times per day. But I do not believe Rav Moshe would have *required* this, for
two reasons: First, because his logic is based on the original institution of
Kaddish, in which a typical actual mourner would say Kaddish far less than three
times a day. Second, because he is recommending that it should be publicized
that paid Kaddish-sayers are on a once-a-day basis. surely Rav Moshe could have
anticipated how this publicity might induce less-motivated mourners to skip some
Kaddishes, but he did not address that, leading me to suspect that he felt this
way for actual mourners as well.

Akiva Miller


From: David Ziants <dziants@...>
Date: Sun, Sep 19,2010 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Anomalies in Ashkanazi Yom Kippur davening - no birkat hacohanim at mi

As a follow up to my previous two postings, a third anomaly in the Yom 
Kippur davening [prayers] according to Ashkenazi minhag [= rite 
emanating from European countries] that I can think of (this and my two 
previous postings are relating to the order of prayers in Land of Israel):-

Mentioning the importance of birkat hakohanim [Priestly Blessing] in my previous
posting - which is done at shacharit [morning 
service] and musaph [additional service] and also at ne'lla 
[finishing service on Yom Kippur] - it is not done though at mincha.

With this in itself, I do not feel any inconsistency. Shacharit and musaph like
every shabbat and yom tov. Ne'lla - a reason being I assume, that this is "ait 
rachamim" [a great time of heavenly mercy] and so an ideal time to receive
birkat hakohanim.

The point is that at mincha we have the place-holder "elokainu velokai 
avotainu" used as if there should be duchening [go up to the stage to bless] 
but no cohanim present (also used outside of Israel at shacharit as 
cohanim never bless then). Therefore why do we have this place-holder at 
mincha? If it is like a minor fast day, then why should the Cohanim not 
duchen? If mincha on Yom Kippur is not comparable to mincha on a minor 
fast day (for Yom Kippur is a happy day and Cohanim duchen at shacharit 
as well as musaph) then why have the place-holder?

The shaliach tzibur [prayer leader] for mincha where I was on YK, is a 
cohen. He was about to omit "elokainu velokai avotainu" but was 
"corrected" by the heckling of a few members of the congregation and so 
he said it. By the way he said it, rushed and quietly, I could feel his 
discomfort and this is possibly because of the above contradiction. 
(Unlike Sephardi [rite emanating from Middle Eastern countries] 
practice, an Ashkenazi sha"tz [prayer leader] who is a Cohen 
interrupts his repetition to duchen with the other Cohanim.) He might 
have felt:- "why am I saying this - that warrants "kayn yehi ratzon" 
["may it be his will (that it will come about)"] when I could easily be 
doing the real thing like I did at the other tephillot [=prayer 
services] and everyone answers 'amen' ".

David Ziants
Ma'aleh Adumim, Israel


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Sep 19,2010 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Anomalies in Ashkanazi Yom Kippur davening - selichot

David Ziants <dziants@...> wrote (MJ 59#33):

> The reason for doing this, is the importance that is put on saying
> birkat hakohanim [Priestly Blessing] and this has to be before
> sunset.
> Our machzorim developed in Europe, where the sunset period is longer,
> and ne'lla had more time to be said. Moreover 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.

The custom amongst Ashkenazim outside Israel is that birkat kohanim is only
said in mussaf on Yom Tov (Some omit it when Yom Tov falls on Shabbat) - the
reason for this is not entirely clear. On Simchat Torah some congrgations
move it to shacharit because most people make kiddush before mussaf and
there is a worry that a cohen may be somewhat intoxicated by then.

Martin Stern


From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
Date: Wed, Sep 15,2010 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Brady Street Cemetery - Whitechapel

I just noticed on an Internet site that the Brady Street Cemetery in
Whitechapel, London, founded in 1811, was basically full by 1840, and to
find more room they added four feet of earth and put in a second layer of
graves. Thus one finds headstones back to back - the bottom layer and the
top layer. And of course there is the cemetery in Prague which is claimed to
have twelve layers of graves. Thus there are ample precedents for this, as
proposed by some Israeli burial societies which are running out of space. 

We went on a walking tour of Whitechapel a few years ago, and the very
knowledgeable (Jewish) guide mentioned that any cemetery in England which
has not had a new burial for (I believe) ninety years may be reclaimed and
used for any other purpose. As we were told, the cemetery in question was
close to that ninety year limit without burials when a very prominent
British Jew (a Rothschild?) was buried there, thus given the cemetery 
another ninety years.

This brings to mind the fact that when I tried to take a bus to Meah Shearim
today, I was forced to walk up Yechezkel Street as there was a Charedi
demonstration regarding an alleged grave desecration in Jaffa (or was it

Shmuel Himelstein


From: Michael Gerver <mjgerver@...>
Date: Sun, Sep 19,2010 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Rabbinical headcovering?

Starting with Shoshana Ziskind's post in MJ 58#45, a number of people
commented on this old-fashioned black pillbox style yarmulke about a month
ago. As Hillel Raymon noted in MJ 58#51, this style of yarmulke was not
limited to rabbis, but was commonly worn by Jews in Eastern Europe, and by
Orthodox Jews in the US and other countries who came from Eastern Europe,
before the war. However, no one has commented on the fact that this type of
yarmulke is still in use in certain communities today, so I thought I would
say something about that, even though this thread is over a month old.

I only learned this because of an email I received a couple of years ago
from Noyekh Miller, whom many of you know from his occasional posts here,
and from the many years that he ran the Mendele list dealing with Yiddish
language and linguistics.

Mike, you're not old enough to have seen them in O. shuls, but before the
war the standard yarmulke (decidedly not kipa) was a black pillbox affair
not unlike what's worn by some Muslims.  My zeyde wore one and I wore one
(it came in very handy when we'd play hooky from kheyder and went hunting
wild blackberries -- that imitation papal thing you wear couldn't have held
a fifth of the luscious fruit).

Question: does anyone in Israel hold to the old custom? I would dearly love
to see and even wear one again.

After making some inquiries, I eventually learned, from Menachem Fishbein,
that this type of yarmulke is still worn today, at least in Jerusalem, by
Sephardim who wear Rabbeinu Tam tefillin. Unlike Ashkenazim who wear
Rabbeinu Tam tefillin, these Sephardim wear both sets of tefillin (Rabbeinu
Tam and Rashi) at the same time, and need a high straight-sided head
covering to go over the upper "shel rosh".

So there is still a market for these black pillbox style yarmulkes, and you
can buy them at a yarmulke store, located in the Geula neighborhood of
Jerusalem, half a block south of Malkhei Yisrael, on either the first or
second small side street to the west of Kikar Shabbat. This store not only
sells nothing but yarmulkes, but sells only black yarmulkes, and not knitted
ones. But they did have those pillbox style yarmulkes in stock, for only 10

So I picked up a couple for Noyekh, who was very pleased to receive them the
next time I visited him in Brookline, as well as one for myself. They are
not exactly the same as the ones worn before the war -- I was able to compare
them, since I have one from the 1930s that we inherited from my
father-in-law a"h, who evidently also had fond memories of wearing  one, or
maybe only of his grandfather wearing one. The modern ones are more cheaply
made, with only a single layer of material, and a starched lining around the
side to hold the shape, which was not needed in the more sturdily made
pre-war ones. But they look very similar.

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel


From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Sun, Sep 19,2010 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Sunset Period - Neliah - Yom Kippur "closing"

David Ziants (MJ53#33) notes correctly that:

> 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.

Clearly sunset appears to occur more quickly the closer one is to the
equator. I recall in Hawaii -- where we had the additional advantage of an
unobstructed view as the sun set on the ocean -- that the sun seemed to plummet
into the ocean, almost like in the cartoons -- I was expecting it to bounce once
or twice.

That said nearly every shul has access to precise calendars -- they know the
(all important?) time that the fast ends - and can schedule Neilah to begin
at an appropriate time to allow for thoughtful davening with how much or how
little (extra?) content.

Which brings me to another related point.  Some congregations attempt to
conclude Neilah at the time that the fast is to end -- and thus the shofer
blowing Ma'ariv is usually said (sometimes a bit rushed) and then weather
permitting this is the first opportunity for Kiddush Levanah.

In contrast, some congregations finish Neilah a bit earlier, thus allowing
for a more benign Ma'ariv and the shofer is blown (at the correct time) AFTER



From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Sun, Sep 19,2010 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Versions of prayers and poems in our liturgy

Eitan Fiorino stated the following (MJ 59#33):

> 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.

Well, not exactly.  "Correctness" was not one of my parameters, at 
least not explicitly.  My point was that the people who have no 
qualms about reciting the "serious" prayers according to a text that 
is at wide variance with the known earlier versions, make such a big 
fuss over the changes that may have been made in Yedid Nefesh.  Why 
concentrate on the chaff and ignore the wheat?


From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Mon, Sep 20,2010 at 12:01 AM
Subject: Versions of prayers and poems in our liturgy

Eitan Fiorino (MJ 59#33) wrote:

> 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.

Yes, this is very true. But I find it interesting that not all of the rabbis are
bothered by it.

My favorite example concerns the proper text for the "Bracha Achas Me'en
Shalosh", which is said after certain foods, and is popularly called "Al
Hamichya". Anyone who learns Shulchan Aruch Orach Chayim 208 will find the
authorities discussing whether the proper text should be these words or those
words. But when the Mishna Brurah (paragraph 50) wants to offer a definitive
ruling on these variant texts, what is his source? "Our siddurim"!!!

Akiva Miller


From: Alan Rubin <alan@...>
Date: Sun, Sep 19,2010 at 02:01 PM
Subject: Yedid Nefesh

Ben Katz wrote (MJ 59#29):

> Ashkenazim were always more prudish than Sepharadim.  When Yedid 
> Nefesh makes its way from Sepharad to Ashkenaz in the Middle Ages, 
> shifchat olam (your everlasting maidservant) becomes simchat olam 
> (eternal joy), which doesn't even really make sense. 

I was under the impression that Yedid Nefesh had arrived in Ashkenazi 
Jewry via the Chacham Zvi who had picked it up while he was studying in 
Salonika. It is printed in Rav Yaakov Emden's siddur as a song that the 
Chacham Zvi would regularly sing at night. My edition of his siddur has 
'simchas olam' but given that it also has a commentary by R Sholomo 
Kluger (born 7 years after the death of R Yaakov Emden) it is possible 
that it has been edited and does not represent what R' Yaakov Emden 

Alan Rubin


End of Volume 59 Issue 34