Volume 59 Number 39 
      Produced: Tue, 21 Sep 2010 06:40:16 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

A Cure for STS 
    [Stuart Wise]
Anomalies in Ashkanazi Yom Kippur davening - no aleinu 
    [Joel Rich]
Anomalies in Ashkenazi Yom Kippur davening - no birkat hacohanim at mi 
    [Ira L. Jacobson]
Greetings for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (2)
    [Shayna Kravetz  Avraham Friedenberg]
Prohibition of entering a church (2)
    [Rabbi Meir Wise  Chana Luntz]
    [Martin Stern]
The Electra controversy 
    [Shmuel Himelstein]
Versions of prayers and poems in our liturgy (2)
    [Carl Singer  Eitan Fiorino]


From: Stuart Wise <Smwise3@...>
Date: Mon, Sep 20,2010 at 06:01 PM
Subject: A Cure for STS

Is there a permanent cure for STS -- that is, Sliding Talis Syndrome?
For as long as I am married, I have battled with talis after talis, having  
to readjust it several times during anytime I wear it. I even bought one  
advertised as no-slide, but alas, it too was less than perfect.
I don't move about a lot while davening, and my shoulders aren't  
particularly narrow, but what is there about the woolen talis that cause 
slippage and what is the practical solution, short of velcroing it in  place?
Stuart Wise


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Mon, Sep 20,2010 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Anomalies in Ashkanazi Yom Kippur davening - no aleinu

One might also question why regular weekday minyanim that daven mincha right
before shkia and maariv right after shkia (sundown) say aleinu after mincha.
(side point - given that an individual can't daven maariv alone at that time,
and we only allow maariv at that time to be sure that there will be a minyan for
maariv, why isn't there a pashkevil demanding that folks daven maariv after
tzeit hakokhavim (star rise)?)

R'YBS (in the R' Lustiger machzor) is quoted as saying something along the lines
of that we don't say aleinu because one is to feel that atonement is just out of
reach, that it hasn't yet been attained through the tfilla we just said - this
is a continuing theme of R' YBS (e.g. when we are "dofkei btshuva" we should
feel that we are knocking at the unopened gate, pleading to be let in).

Gmar Tov

Joel Rich


From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Tue, Sep 21,2010 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Anomalies in Ashkenazi Yom Kippur davening - no birkat hacohanim at mi

Akiva Miller stated the following (MJ v59 #36:)
> On the fast day of Asara B'Teves in 5740, I was the chazan for an 
> early mincha at a certain yeshiva in Israel. After Kedusha, I became 
> aware of a commotion in back of me, and realized that the kohanim 
> were being told to wash their hands and go up to say the bracha. I 
> knew the halacha was that they should *not* do that

Where do you know that halakha from?

My experience (in the Land of Israel) is that Hasidim ordinarily do 
not dukhen at fast day minha, while non-Hasidim do.

Perhaps the to-do was about sheki`a?



From: Shayna Kravetz <skravetz@...>
Date: Mon, Sep 20,2010 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Greetings for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur

In reply to a note from Carl Singer <carl.singer@...> (MJ 59#36):

> There seem to be multiple "formulaic" greetings on both Rosh Hashanah and
> Yom Kippur. G'mar hatima tova ....  some seem to get longer each year
> There are Yiddish ones, "ob a geet g'benched yur"  -- Have a good, blessed
> year and  "a geeten kvital"  -- (you should receive) a good note [as 
> in piece of paper]
> I was wondering if anyone has any insights to the custom and the variants.

"A gut'n kvit'l" (as we pronounce it in my part of Yiddish-dom) is a 
wish that is said between Yom Kippur and Shemini 'Atzeret.  It 
reflects the metaphoric procession of God's decision from writing 
down (k'tivah -- up to Rosh Hashanah) to sealing (khatimah -- up to 
Yom Kippur) to giving the angels their instructions (kvit'l -- up to 
Shemini 'Atzeret).  My mother A"H, who grew up near Bialystok, 
Poland, said that on Shemini 'Atzeret night, children would wander 
the streets looking for kvitlach -- little papers.  Their parents 
would thoughtfully have provided some, wrapped around candies in 
honour of the yomtov.

A gut'n kvit'l to all JF-ers and Klal Yisrael.

Shayna in Toronto

From: Avraham Friedenberg <elshpen@...>
Date: Tue, Sep 21,2010 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Greetings for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur

Carl Singer <carl.singer@...> <mailto:carl.singer@GMAIL.COM>> wrote 
(MJ 59#36):

>  There seem to be multiple "formulaic" greetings on both Rosh Hashanah and
>  Yom Kippur. G'mar hatima tova ....  some seem to get longer each year

>  There are Yiddish ones, "ob a geet g'benched yur"  -- Have a good, blessed
>  year and  "a geeten kvital"  -- (you should receive) a good note [as in
> piece of paper]

>  I was wondering if anyone has any insights to the custom and the variants.

I never heard of "a geeten kvital" until just a few days ago.  A friend 
was explaining that this greeting is used on Hoshana Raba, because 
Hoshana Raba is the final sealing of what we hope will be a good year.  
The greeting symbolizes the final [good] decree for the new year.

Avraham Friedenberg
Karnei Shomron


From: Rabbi Meir Wise <Meirhwise@...>
Date: Mon, Sep 20,2010 at 02:01 PM
Subject: Prohibition of entering a church

Whilst Chana Luntz's knowledge of Rishonim is impressive she fails to  
realise that the pesak [final halachic ruling - MOD] is like the majority of the
Acharonim who do not usually follow one Rishon, especially one who was
unfortunately lost for centuries!

The fact that the Meiri on shabbes writes that the notzrim [Christians - MOD]
are gedurim bedat [religiously observant - MOD] and are allowed shituf does not
help us. Jews are not allowed shituf! He did not write therefore Jews are
allowed to enter churches.

Let's look at what the leading poskim Sefardim and Ashkenazim of our  
generation write.

1. Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef in Yechaveh Daat vol 2 no 45 in the conclusion:  
the matter is clear it is absolutely forbidden to enter churches of  
the notzrim.

2. Rabbi Moshe Feinstein in Igros Moshe chelek yore deah 3 no 129:
The prohibition to enter the churches of the notzrim is obvious...

3. Rav Ovadiah even prohibits this to ambassadors, Jewish leaders when  
invited on state occassions! See responsa Yabia Omer vol 7 Yore Deah no 12

4. As does the Sefer "Mareh Habezek" vol 3 no 114. The editorial board is headed
jointly by Rav Nachum Rabinovitch and Rav Zalman Nechemiah Goldberg.

5. The Tziz Eliezer (Rav Waldenberg) vol 2 Yore Deah no 91 forbids entry even
into the courtyard of a church!

I was privileged to serve both Chief Rabbis Brodie and Jakobovits and  
as far as I know they both represented the Jewish community at state  
occassions by standing in the hall adjacent to Westminster Abbey. This  
was in response to a direct invitation from the Queen which is  
tantamount to an order, however even she took into account their  
religious feelings.

Chief Rabbi Sacks arranged an early minyan and then walked to stand   
outside on the street at the late Princess of Wales funeral which was  
on a shabbat as a mark of respect.

Lord Jakobovits zatzal was invited to Windsor Castle as a guest of the  
Queen during the sefira and asked his Bet Din to sit in special  
session  to allow him to shave for the occassion as he was frightened  
to be moreh heter le'atzmoh [rule leniently for himself - MOD]!

This is a far cry from the attitude of some or our correspondents! And  
all of this does not alter the halachah to allow any of us to enter  

As to the correspondence on the attitude to homosexuality. Am I alone  
in noticing that this prohibition was read out at mincha on yom kippur?
Having said that our attitude to homosexuals should be no different  
than that towards adulterers, necrophiliacs or people who have the  
urge to committ incest et al, providing of course that they do not  
set up seperate synagogues or campaign for its legalisation.

Chag Sameach

Rabbi Meir Wise

From: Chana Luntz <Chana@...>
Date: Mon, Sep 20,2010 at 07:01 PM
Subject: Prohibition of entering a church

Mark Steiner <marksa@...> writes (MJ 59#37):

> First, I believe that the reading of the Tosafot in Sanhedrin saying
> that belief in the Trinity etc. is permitted (to Gentiles) because it
> is only "shituf" -- this reading is untenable.

You are certainly entitled to your belief, and as I tried to point out,
there are others within our great tradition that agree with you.  However
what I was also trying to make clear is that there are yet others within our
great tradition who disagree and hold that is exactly what the Tosphos is
saying, and that that is what it means.  I do not believe, for example, that
you can so cavalierly write the first Chief Rabbi of the State of Israel out
of our tradition (and the reason I brought him was because he is so
unequivocal, and because the halacha l'ma'ase question that he was
addressing, ie running a halachic State with a Christian minority living
within the land,  is dependent upon them not being idol worshippers).

> The Tosafot there is not necessarily even talking about Jesus, but about
> any saints on whosse name one takes oaths.

The difficulty with this interpretation is that the problem that Tosphos is
addressing is whether one can enter into a partnership with a Christian
knowing that if the relationship breaks down, an oath from them will be
required (or if in partnership, you allow such an oath to be taken).  The
Jew cannot know ahead of time that the Christian will swear by any given
saint, nor do they detail that this is what must be specified as a condition
of partnership.  The most common form of oath that I am aware of (although I
am hardly expert) is in the name of the X, Y and Z (I think most people can
fill in the gaps).  If you cannot eliminate the giving of that kind of oath,
and that kind of oath is a form of idolatry, then partnership would of
necessity be forbidden.

Your position also does not explain how the Shach, for example (as I quoted
last time), could use the permissibility of a non-Jew partnering the name of
heaven with another thing as a reason for leniency in selling them things
they need for their religious practice.

> There is no doubt whatever that Tosafot are talking about votive wax
> candles -- they are giving a psak to a contemporary shayle [query].  I
> don't know whether the Romans even used wax candles in their worship,

Umm, a little bit of googling pulled up this as what a Catholic website
(http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/religion/re0434.html) has to say
about the origins of votive candles:

"Roman pagan culture also used candles in religious practice. Lit candles
were used in religious and military processions, showing the divine
presence, aid, or favor of the gods. With the development of emperor
worship, candles were also lit near his image as a sign of respect and
reverence. Remember that by the time of Jesus, the emperor was considered
divine and even given the titles, Pontifex Maximus (High Priest) and Dominus
et Deus (Lord and God)."

And indeed you talk also about a reference to a tonsure (the shaving of the
heads of the priests).  Tonsuring is a practice of Hindus, Buddhists and was
the practice of Celtic pagans.  But again and probably more critically
shaving was a Roman practice, in various different forms, including the
various alternatives found in the different Christian branches.

One of the things about Christianity is that its spread was eased by the way
it adopted and incorporated into its practice many pagan rituals, (Islam
also adopted some pagan rituals too, but to a much more limited extent, note
however that there is quite extensive discussion in the meforshim
[commentators] as to whether in fact one can genuinely consider the Muslims
monotheists when they still engage in the pagan ritual of stone throwing
[markalus], and although the majority, including the Rambam argues that this
although a hangover from the olden times, no longer means idol worship and
that the Muslims are therefore not idol worshippers, the Ran, for example,
disagrees).  Getting back to Christianity, the way it adopted and
incorporated pagan rituals is perhaps is why Christianization is described
in that way, as something of a gradual process taking place over the
centuries.  And certainly at the time of the Tosofists, there was a goodly
number of pagans and Christians and probably all sorts in between throughout
Europe whom they are likely to have at least some contact with.

> but the conclusion is unavoidable that Tosofot considers Christianity
> avoda zara.

I am afraid it is not unavoidable, and stating that it is does not make it
so.  There are far greater minds than me who have regarded this conclusion
as not only unavoidable but wrong.  On the other hand there are others who
indeed conclude like you do.  If your reading of the sources draws you to
this conclusion, then you clearly have upon whom to rely, but there is a lot
to be said for being able to comprehend what is quite a powerful halachic
reading that goes the other way.

> 3.	Tosafot RID (avoda zara 51b) "All wax wicks that burn before a.z.
> or the wax figurines that are hanging before the idol even though the
> priests take them down (destroy them?) and sell them...[all are forbidden

Can't actually see how any of this proves your point in any event.  If you
take the classic explanation of the Tosphos in Sanhedrin that shituf [ie
partnering the name of heaven with another thing] is forbidden for us and
not for them and, for us, it is a form of avodah zarah, (as can been seen from
the reference to the chet haegel [golden calf] which is described as a
problem of shituf), then you would still need to discuss all of these
problems.  If we were to use these objects to engage in this kind of
worship, these objects would be forbidden to benefit from (forever), so it
could well be that these things are still forbidden to us if done by them
(note by the way that if this approach were taken, then entering a church
might still be a problem for us, if not for them).  The more critical issue
getting at the essential questions regards selling, rather than buying,
because the question then is one of lifnei iver [putting a stumbling block
before the blind].  Non-Jews are prohibited from worshipping idols, so if we
enable them to do so, or cause them to give thanks to their idols, we are
ourselves committing a sin. (Note however that the bitul [nullification]
argument seems a bit odd, because if, say, a bone fide idol worshipper were
to offer up eg an animal sacrifice to his idol, and then sell us the bits
and pieces of the sacrifice left over, and that they and we would expect to
be left over, it is very strange to describe that as a form of bitul.
Anybody arguing for a form of bitul, it seems to me, is already suggesting
that there is something not quite standard idol worship about what is being

So the Tosphos that really discusses this question is, to my mind, not the
various ones you have cited discussing objects which were used in ways that
we may well not be permitted to use them, but the one on Avodah Zara 2a. And
that Tosphos goes through various leniencies that allow for the disregard of
the stipulations of the Mishna, presumption that they are not really idol
worshippers, aivah [enmity - MOD], we know they are not idol worshippers, they
do not offer things as offerings etc etc.  

> To these Rishonim, we need hardly add the Rambam, who rules
> unequivocally on the matter -- to the extent even of saying (in his
> Commentary to the Mishnah, a.z. chapter 1) that in theory one is not
> allowed to live in a city with a church.  (And that our inability to
> comply with this is the curse that Moshe Rabbenu placed on us, "And thou
> shalt worship other gods [in the Exile]").

Nobody is disputing that the Rambam held that Christians were bone fide
ovdei avodah zara.  (And likewise the Ran appears to hold that the Muslims
were are bone fide ovdei avodah zara).  The question is rather about
whether there are others within our tradition with equivalent stature to the
Rambam, and indeed who may have been traditionally relied upon in Ashkenaz,
who took a different view.  And that is a machlokus haposkim [a dispute between
decisors - MOD].




From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Sep 19,2010 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Siddurim

Perets Mett <p.mett@...> wrote (MJ 59#33):
> 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.

The actual Nusach of the Ari has been printed recently in two volumes by
Rabbi D M Remer. The first volume contains a facsimile of the first Venice
edition of the Sefardi siddur on which it is based together with R. Chaim
Vidal's comments on the changes made by the Arizal. The second volume has
the actual siddur after these changes have been made. It differs in many
respects from the siddur of the Baal haTanya.

Perets is correct that the latter was used by all sections of Chabad but the
other branches (Kapust, Liady etc.) died out by about 100 years ago when their
rebbes had no children and the chassidim drifted to the remaining ones. So, at the
present time, Lubavitch is the sole surviving branch of Chabad.

Martin Stern


From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
Date: Tue, Sep 21,2010 at 12:01 AM
Subject: The Electra controversy

For those unfamiliar with it, there is a "ban" among many Haredim in Israel
against buying Electra brand products (air conditioners, etc.). This is
because another company of the parent company is involved in excavating and
building in an area where it is claimed there are graves. One sees spray-painted
notices on many stone walls in the area of Meah Shearim stating "One does not
buy Electra."

The above leads me to two questions:

a) What is the Jewish law involving a secondary boycott? (Here, the
"offender" is not Electra but its parent company).

b) What can possibly permit people halachically to deface other people's
property by spray-painting on every possible wall "Lo Konim Electra" ("One
does not buy Electra")? How can one possibly justify halachically damages to
another person's property? (And no - I assure you that the people involved
did not ask permission from the owners before spray-painting, because some
of these signs are on public walls where there is no one who can give such

Shmuel Himelstein


From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Mon, Sep 20,2010 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Versions of prayers and poems in our liturgy

Akiva Miller (MJ 59#34) in reply to Eitan FIorino (MJ 59#33) notes as

> 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"!!!

I believe this reflects the vital "balancing act" between our historical
thread (from Sinai) and the importance of "common practice" (in this case as
reflected by "Our Siddurim")

There are many more such examples - perhaps part of the "full employment act
for Poseks"


From: Eitan Fiorino <afiorino@...>
Date: Mon, Sep 20,2010 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Versions of prayers and poems in our liturgy

Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...> wrote (MJ 59#34):

> 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?

Oh, that is another matter entirely.  I can offer no explanation why someone
would be medakdek about yedid nefesh and not give a hoot about similar concerns
in other prayers (other than selective knowledge/selective ignorance).  Though,
I recall during the few years that I lived in Bala Cynwyd, PA, a new shul began
that banned the recitation of Yedid Nefesh because, so the story went, it was
"Zionist."  Perhaps there are religio-political overtones (silly ones, if I may
be so bold) around this particular composition that get people fired up?  After
all, there is nothing like politics to get people to focus on chaff and ignore
the wheat . . . 



End of Volume 59 Issue 39