Volume 59 Number 35 
      Produced: Mon, 20 Sep 2010 04:13:23 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Anomalies in Ashkanazi Yom Kippur davening - selichot 
    [Perry Zamek]
Entering a church 
    [Chana Luntz]
Entering a church- Lord Sacks meeting with the Pope 
    [Frank Silbermann]
Homosexuality and Bal Tosif (Adding to Torah prohibitions) 
    [Russell J Hendel]
Informing the Kehillah of davening variants on "special" days (2)
    [Martin Stern  Baruch J. Schwartz]
Women's places 
    [Meir Shinnar]


From: Perry Zamek <perryza@...>
Date: Mon, Sep 20,2010 at 04:01 AM
Subject: Anomalies in Ashkanazi Yom Kippur davening - selichot

Some thirty years ago, I served as chazzan for Rosh Hashanah and Yom 
Kippur in Adelaide, South Australia. (It was not uncommon for senior 
Bnei Akiva members, aged 20 or 21, to be asked to fill that role in the 
smaller communities there, or in New Zealand, where I had been the previous year).

For Yom Kippur, the official Machzor used in Adelaide was that published 
by Routledge and Keegan Paul. I was surprised to find it contained a 
full set of selichot for each of Shacharit, Musaf and Mincha, whose 
texts (for the piyutim) I had never seen before. This was in contrast 
with my old set of Machzorim printed in Vilna which simply stated, 
before Zechor Rachamecha, "One says selichot and then one says this" (in 
Yiddish of course). Unlike Martin Stern's community, in Adelaide there 
were no omissions from the selichot (and no break between Musaf and Mincha).

Another interesting custom in Adelaide was the singing of the Sephardi 
piyut, El Nora 'Alila, before Neilah - it seems that this addition to 
the strictly British Ashkenazic service was brought about by the influx 
(and later integration) of Egyptian Jews into Adelaide in the aftermath 
of the Suez Campaign in 1956. Indeed, the then president of the shule 
was a Mr. Ades, who was one of those Egyptian Jews.

The shule itself, whose address was given as Synagogue Place, was in the 
center of the city, quite far from where the Jews then lived. The very 
few religious Jews in the community walked for about an hour each way to 
get there. Since that time the synagogue property was sold, and a new 
synagogue was built out in the suburbs. The original wooden Bimah and 
Aron Kodesh are now part of the permanent display at the Jewish Museum 
in Melbourne.

Chag Sameach to all
Perry Zamek


From: Chana Luntz <Chana@...>
Date: Sun, Sep 19,2010 at 07:01 PM
Subject: Entering a church

Mark Steiner writes (MJ 59#32):

> However, I have a reference, that almost nobody cites and which seems to me
> conclusive: Tosafot Avoda Zara 14b, s.v. hatzav states that it is
> forbidden to sell wax to ALL Christians on their holy days, since they
> are very likely to use them for (votive) candles, and then the JEW violates
> "lifnei iver" (thou shalt not put a stumbling block before the blind).
> This seems to prove that the religion itself is idolatry and that it is
> forbidden for Gentiles to practice Christianity.  (A Jew is not permitted to
> cause a Gentile to violate one of the latter's prohibitions.)

There are a number of comments that can be made on this:

a) firstly it is well known that, as Tosphos is a compilation, it is not
unknown for various Tosphos (especially on different masechtos) to
contradict one another, and one cannot necessarily ask a kasha [question] on
that.  If indeed it were true that "nobody cites" this Tosphos (it is not,
but more of that later), then it could well be that the consensus of history
was to follow the one tosphos over the other.

b) secondly, the two Tosphos do quote different authorities.  The one you
cite refers to R' Baruch while the one in Sanhedrin 63b refers to Rabbanu
Tam.  It might well be that if there was seen to be any contradiction,
history would regard Rabbanu Tam as the more authoritative.

c) thirdly, there is no mention in the Tosphos on Avodah Zara 14b that this
is referring to Christianity.  All it says regarding the wax is "assur
l'mkhor shaava l'shum oved cochavim b'yom eid hahu aval beshar yomim vadai
mutar" [it is forbidden to sell wax to any idol worshipper on the day of his
festival but on the rest of the days it is certainly permitted].  There is
no mention of "bizman hazeh" [today] as there is in the tosphos in Sanhedrin
63b. Nor is there any mention of practices that would seem to be specific to
Christianity. Offering votive candles is pretty standard across religioins.
It is therefore quite possible that the Tosphos on Avodah Zara was talking
about the idol worshippers in the time of the gemora.  Or if not in the time
of the gemora, the idol worshippers (not Christians) who were around at the
time of the tosafists (for example, according to Wikipedia it wouldn't be
until the 12th century until the North Germanic Tribes had Christianized;
Belarus, Russia and the Ukraine took until the 13th century and the Kingdom
of Hungary until the 14th century).  While the Tosphos on Sanhedrin 63b
offers a description of the belief structure of those non-Jews around
Rabbainu Tam which sounds very much like Christianity (partnering the name of
heaven with another thing), there is no such reference in the Tosphos on
Avodah Zara 14b, referring only to idol worshippers.

d) it should be noted that in the Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah siman 148 it
discusses the specific halachos of how to behave on an idol worshipper's
holiday, and the prohibitions associated with it.  And after going through
11 si'ifim, most of which are drawn from the beginning pages in Masechet
Avodah Zara, the Shulchan Aruch concludes as follows in si'if 12:

Si'if: 12:  There are those who say that all of these things were not said
except in that time, but today there are no idol worshippers and hence it is
permitted to do business with them on the day of their festival and to lend
to them and all the rest of the things.

The equivalent siman in the Tur (ie Yoreh Deah Diman 148) again after
discussing all of the prohibitions on doing things on an idol worshipper's
festival concludes:

... and today the Rashbam writes in the name of Rashi that all is permitted
because they are not idol worshippers and they will not go and give thanks
[to their idol].  And even though they offer and give money to their priests
it is permitted to lend to them as their priests do not acquire from them
offerings or objects that beautify [the idol] rather they eat and drink from
them and further since the essence of our livelihood is from them and we do
business with them all the days of the year and if we cease from them on the
days of their festival there will be aiva [hatred] thus it is permitted and
that which is taught in Tosphos d'h "b'akum" that we do not sell, but if we
sell it is permitted because it is as if we are flattering to him and it is
taught that if one entered to a city and found that they were rejoicing one
should rejoice with them as it is as if one were flattering them.

The source for the first part is given in the Beis Yosef:

Beit Yosef Yoreh Deah siman 148

12: And now writes the Rashbam in the name of Rashi that all is permitted:
that is to say that which is recalled in this siman to be prohibited is now
permitted and the reason is that they are not idol worshippers that is to
say that they do not know well idol worship as it is written and said in the
first perek of Chullin (13b) that the non Jews outside of the land of Israel
are not idol worshippers rather the custom of their fathers is in their
hands and they do not go and give thanks [to their idol].

But as you can see the Tur was not happy just to give Rashi's view, and this
is reiterated in the Rema on the Shulchan Aruch:

Rema: And even to give money to the priests, they do not use this for
sacrifices or objects of beauty for the idols, but rather the priests eat
and drink with it; and further if there is in this because of aivah [hatred]
if one separates oneself from them on the day of their festival, and we
dwell amongst them and we need to do business with them all year, and thus
if one enters a city and finds them rejoicing on the day of a festival, he
can rejoice with them because of aivah as he is like one who flatters them
(All in the Tur) and in any event, a baal nefesh [one on a more elevated
level] will distance himself from rejoicing with them if he is able to do
this where there will not be aivah in the matter (Beit Yosef in the name of
the Ran) and so if he sends gifts to an idol worshipper...

e) and note further a prohibition on selling wax on the day of an idol
worshipper's festival is to be found in the Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah siman
151 si'if 3 - and indeed the Gra notes that this is sourced in the Tosphos
that you refer to on Avodah Zara 14b.  The si'if in the Shulchan Aruch here
is part of a general siman that is headed "things which are needed for idol
worship it is forbidden for a Jew to sell" and which discusses incense and
other things discussed in the gemara and Tosphos in Avodah Zara.

In the si'if two above (ie si'if 1), the Rema discusses more generally
selling things that are needed for their worship and notes that the
prohibition is only if they cannot get the things from another place or they
will not do something else with it, but if they can acquire them from
somewhere else it is permitted to sell, and although there are those who are
stringent, the custom is to be lenient, but one on a more elevated level [a
baal nefesh] can be stringent for himself.

And the Shach Yoreh Deah siman 151 si'if katan 7 notes on this statement by
the Rema that the custom is to be lenient that anyway today there is reason to
be lenient from the reason that we are lenient to form partnerships with them
that is like that which is written in Orech Chaim siman 157 that today it is
permitted to form partnerships with them since their intention is for the
Creator of the heaven and the earth rather they partner the name of heaven
with another thing and we do not find that there is anything in this because of
a stumbling block before the blind because the children of Noach are not
warned on partnering and so it is here.

So in summary, it is not as though the various commentators ignored the
Tosphos on Avodah Zara 14a, indeed they cite it extensively and it makes its
way into the Shulchan Aruch.  It is just that various reasons are given as
to why these halachos do not apply today, reasons that would appear to apply
to the wax as well as to the other matters on which they are specifically
raised, with the two main reasons being that a) idol worshippers outside the
land of Israel are not real idol worshippers and b) Christians specifically
do not seem to be real idol worshippers (note that the third reason for
leniency that comes up, that of aivah [generating hatred], would apply even
if one were dealing with bone fide idol worshippers, and might well cover the
Chief Rabbi's actions, or possibly actions of workmates in employment type
situations even in the absence of any other leniency, but this is not an
aspect I have really dealt with].
> Though the Meiri is thought to have ruled otherwise, I would like to
> point out that he cites this same halakha about the wax! 

The Meiri's position is a little more tricky, as if he really holds that the
nature of a bone fide idol worshipper is one without any religion, what
exactly are they doing with the wax?  But maybe he holds that in the absence
of any genuine moral structure, pomp and show was even more important, and
hence candles would be a part of that.

> The Meiri gives the well known rulings in cases in which Jewish law seems
> to be discriminatory. This is not one of the cases.

I am by no means and expert in the Meiri, but even from the sources I cited
last time, that seems and oversimplification.




From: Frank Silbermann <frank_silbermann@...>
Date: Sun, Sep 19,2010 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Entering a church- Lord Sacks meeting with the Pope

Dr. Howard Berlin wrote (MJ 59#33):

> 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?

It is forbidden for Jews whose Rabbi/posek forbids it. We have seen that those
rabbis who wish to forbid it have authorities upon whom to rely.

Frank Silbermann          Memphis, Tennessee


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Sun, Sep 19,2010 at 08:01 PM
Subject: Homosexuality and Bal Tosif (Adding to Torah prohibitions)

Lisa brought up 4 points in responding (MJ 59#30) to a recent posting of mine
(MJ 59#29). I intend to address all of them but just for the moment let me talk
about words.

My opinion is that the term homosexuality is used exclusively to mean male
homosexuality. There may be an ATTEMPT to change that today but I think most
people understand it that way.

In any event EVEN if the word has changed meaning there is nothing wrong with my
talking about HOMOSEXUALITY prohibitions. There is nothing misleading. There is
no violation of adding to Torah prohibitions (Bal tosif) Just to recap what I
have previously said. Both male homosexuality as well as lesbianism - both full
relations and other serious relations - are prohibited by the Torah. All these
prohibitions are mentioned (using our traditions) in Leviticus 18. 

What is true is that only full male homosexual relationship carries a death
penalty. It is possible that oral sex may only be a negative prohibition though
as I have pointed out the Rambam seemed to call this "bee'ah," [intercourse]
which would make it a second form of unnatural relations covered by a death
penalty. Lesbianism ACCORDING TO ALL AUTHORITIES is prohibited Biblically (under
"Don't do as the Egyptians did") Because the specificity of act is not mentioned
explicitly, there are no lashes but it is still a Biblical prohibition.

So there is nothing wrong speaking about homosexual biblical prohibitions.
(There is also nothing wrong with pointing out that full male homosexuality
carries a more serious penalty)

While on the subject of language and misleading terminology I would like to
mention the issue of use of COUPLES and SINGLEHOOD. In Jewish law a married
women has a STATUS. Sleeping with her carries a death penalty while sleeping
with a non married woman does not. Our language reflects this very serious
prohibition and is one contributing societal factor to express disapproval of
such acts.

I know many lesbians and male homosexuals who respectfully use terms like "my
partner" or "my life partner" to avoid a confrontation with the religious
terminology. It is potentially confusing and over time could easily encourage
serious sins for a lesbian or homosexual to use the term "wife, spouse, couple"
It is also misleading not to call them "single". 

Again: I believe the principles overlooked a request to synagogues that besides
upholding religious family values (said in the principles) and besides upholding
the religious prohibition of homosexuality, that Jewish society has an
OBLIGATION to reflect such serious values with numerous social norms such as
language and minor forms of ostracization. Here I am simply speaking about
encouraging synagogues not to recognize "couple" status to people who in Jewish
law are not couples. I think this very important.

Russell Jay Hendel; Phd ASA http://www.Rashiyomi.com/


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Sep 19,2010 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Informing the Kehillah of davening variants on "special" days

Carl Singer <carl.singer@...> wrote (MJ 59#33):

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

Option 2 is mentioned by the Maharil for ma'ariv when it is less serious to
interrupt between bein geulah litfillah [before starting shemoneh esrei]
than in shacharit. He writes that when there are two days Rosh Chodesh the
shamash calls out on the first evening 'Ya'aleh veyavo!' but on the second
'Rosh Chodesh!'. When there is only one day he calls 'Rosh Chodesh!'.

The custom was also to call out 'Tal umatar!' on the first evening it is to
be said and, on a ta'anit tsibbur, to call out before minchah 'Aneinu! Sim
shalom!', adding 'Nacheim!' on Tisha beAv.

Before shacharit, one cannot interrupt so in some places the gabbai bangs on
the bimah instead (Option 1). This is fine so long as he is the only person
to do so but, unfortunately, there tend to be other people who take it on
themselves to do so as well which is almost as disturbing as the behaviour I
mentioned in a previous posting.

Martin Stern

From: Baruch J. Schwartz <schwrtz@...>
Date: Mon, Sep 20,2010 at 04:01 AM
Subject: Informing the Kehillah of davening variants on "special" days

I too wanted to relate to Martin Stern's comments about "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."

I agree completely that these "yaaleh-veyavo helpers", while perhaps
well-intentioned, are annoying and distracting, and I am quite certain that they
are in fact not behaving in accord with tradition. Similarly those who insist on
banging on the shulhan instead of announcing the relevant prayer in actual
words, or continuing to pipe up with their noisy mashiv haruah's a week or two
after Shemini Atzeret, or announcing Al HaNisim on Shabbat Hanukkah -- their
hearts may be in the right place, but I think they are misinformed about the way
this matter is customarily handled. 

A few years ago I wrote a brief summary of the topic of announcing (sic! not
klopping on the furniture) seasonal and occasional changes in the davening,
going into detail about what I believe was traditionally announced, what was
not, and when, and why. I called it "Ve-elu hayyav lehachriz" (Roughly "Which
are the things that one must announce?"). It circulated in the neighborhood and
among friends, but it's in Hebrew so it never got posted to MJ. But anyone who
wants it is welcome to write to me, and anyone who thinks s/he has time to write
up a translation is invited to give it a try--as long as I get to approve the
draft before it gets submitted.

Hag sameah, and no announcing Atta vehartanu on Wedesday night, please,

Baruch Schwartz


From: Meir Shinnar <chidekel@...>
Date: Sun, Sep 19,2010 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Women's places

WRT Chana Luntz's comments on Menashe Elyashiv's community (MJ 59#33).

He is describing a community that, at most 50% of the community ever go to shul
- why would we consider that an Orthodox community??  (the phrasing is
deliberate - because it goes to the heart of the fact that in his community,
women are just not part of the community)

He argues that few women want to go to shul - why do we not view that as a
failure of education and Torah values rather than as something to be tolerated??
As Chana Luntz has documented, it isn't that the community maintains old norms -
the standard norm in Ashkenaz was for women to go to shul on yamim noraim - this
change is a reform ..

Rav Sherlow has a relevant tshuva in Reshut Hayachid (pg 231-232) - about a
woman asking what to do on Rosh Hashana given issues of childcare - and
answering that while there are certain areas where the husband has a greater
objecive obligation - this is not one of them, and they have equal obligation on
Yamim Noraim...(and while this may be viewed as somewhat radical, it is far less
radical than what is described by Menashe Elyashiv)

Meir Shinnar


End of Volume 59 Issue 35