Volume 59 Number 40 
      Produced: Tue, 21 Sep 2010 12:07:03 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Birkat hacohanim after sunset 
    [Avraham Walfish]
Kohanim duchening at Minchah on a fast day  (3)
    [Haim Snyder  Elazar M. Teitz]
Multiple comments on the time for neilah 
    [Josh Backon]
Prohibition of entering a church (2)
    [Chana Luntz  Meir Shinnar]
Womens place 
    [Chana Luntz]


From: Avraham Walfish <rawalfish@...>
Date: Tue, Sep 21,2010 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Birkat hacohanim after sunset

David Ziants wrote (MJ 59#36):

> If birkat hakohanim is done slightly after sh'kiya - is it so terrible?
> I have heard that there are Rabbanim, not specifically in my city, who
> allow this for their shuls. On what do they base themselves? Would there
> still be a later time limit?
Shekyiyah is presumed, for purposes of everyday halakhah, to be the
commencement of *bein hashemashot* (between the heavenly luminaries), which
the halakhah treats as a period of doubt as to whether it is day or night.
Normally we are stringent in both directions, so that we would insist in
performing daytime mitzvot, such as birkat kohanim, before shkiyah and nighttime
mitzvot (evening shema) after full nightfall, i.e. tzet hakokhavim [stars come
out]. But there is a basis in the sources for assuming that, even after
shekiyah, day continues for a period of time. Most famously Rabbenu Tam assumed
that *bein hashemashot* actually starts a considerable amount of time after
shekiyah. Normally his opinion is only followed by some people as a stringency,
not as a leniency, although I have seen some exceptions. However, even those who
normally accept that *bein hashemashot* starts with shekiyah will, in cases of
need or duress, follow opinions that give a little wiggle room in between
shekiyah and the onset of *bein hashemashot*. Rav Moshe Feinstein, in some cases
- including issues more serious than birkat kohanim - allows an additional 13
minutes after shekiyah that can be considered full daytime.

Hag sameah



From: Haim Snyder <haimsny@...>
Date: Tue, Sep 21,2010 at 07:01 AM
Subject: Kohanim duchening at Minchah on a fast day 

David Ziants said (MJ 59#34):

> 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?

Talmud Bavli, Taanit 26:2 states that R' Meir holds that there should be a
priestly blessing at every prayer on a public fast day and Yom Kippur since
there is no suspicion that the cohen will have drunk intoxicating beverages.
R' Yosei holds that since there is a rabbinic prohibition of birkat
hacohanim for Minha on other days, this should apply also to fast days.
Ne'lla doesn't occur every day, so the rabbis didn't relate to it, so it is
said then.

On other fast days, when we don't have a Ne'lla service, there is a priestly
blessing in minha, which seems to negate R' Yosei's thesis. I can't find the
source, but I heard that the reason we don't have priestly blessing at minha
on Yom Kippur was Tirha D'tzibura (annoying the public) since there will be
a blessing in Ne'lla. However, since we should have said it per the practice
on other fast days, we say "elokainu velokai avotainu" to remind us that it
is appropriate.


Haim Shalom Snyder

From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
Date: Tue, Sep 21,2010 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Kohanim duchening at Minchah on a fast day

The Tukenchinsky Luach (a calendar of Halachic rulings regarding prayer for
Jerusalem) states that on a fast day Kohanim only go up to bless the people
at Minchah if it is Minchah Ketanah (1.25 hours before sunset) or later. If
they pray Minchah earlier than that, there is no blessing by the Kohanim.

Shmuel Hakohen Himelstein

From: Elazar M. Teitz <remt@...>
Date: Tue, Sep 21,2010 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Kohanim duchening at Minchah on a fast day 

Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...> wrote (MJ 59#39):
> Akiva Miller stated the following (MJ 59#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?

Orach Chaim 129:1-2.  On Yom Kippur, birchas kohanim is done at Shacharis,
Mussaf and N'ila, but not at Mincha, so as not to confuse it with other days,
when it can not be said at Mincha since the kohanim have already eaten.  N'ila,
which is not said on other days, does not present that problem.  On the other
fasts, if Mincha is davened at the time that N'ila is said on Yom Kippur,
birchas kohanim is permitted; otherwise, it is not.  As the Mishna B'rura
explains, their custom, normally, was to daven mincha early in the afternoon, so
that if it was delayed on a fast day to the late afternoon, it would not be
mistaken for an ordinary non-fast day.

In Yerushalayim, it is said on a fast day only if it is Mincha K'tana (starting
from two and a half hours before sunset, where "hour" is defined as one-twelfth
of the day's daylight), in accordance with the above.  However, when I learned
in Ponevez Yeshiva in Bnei Brak (in the '50s), it was said even though Mincha
was davened in the early afternoon.  I am unaware of their justification, but I
assume it was based on a p'sak [halachic decsion] of the Chazon Ish.



From: Josh Backon <backon@...>
Date: Tue, Sep 21,2010 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Multiple comments on the time for neilah

Dr. William Gewirtz wrote (MJ 59 #38):

> Two assumptions appear to be common to a number of the comments made 
> in the last few posts:
>1) the priestly blessing cannot occur after sunset proper

According to most poskim (based on Orach Chayim 129) it can take place
up to 13.5 minutes *after* shkiya (sunset). In OC Siman 623 (duchening during
Neila) the Magen Avraham is explicit: if Neila started during daylight the
Cohanim duchen even if it's already dark ("v'afilu icher ad ha'laila" quoting 
the Maharil) although he does suggest NOT to duchen during Neila. This in fact
is the ruling of the Rema (OC 623:5), the Mishna Brura and the Aruch HaShulchan.

Our Young Israel shul in Jerusalem subjects us to the 6th Innui (affliction] on
Yom Kippur by rushing through Neila so that Duchening can be before shkiya and
then spend 25 minutes standing up singing line by line of Avinu Malkeinu. Nothing
like a little amaratzus by the gabbaim (in spite of my protests). [If any of
them read MJ,you can forget about my very very hefty donation to the shul
building find. 5 Innuyim on Yom Kippur is enough :-) ] As you say in Chinese:
the Neila has "nisht kan taam v'nisht kan reiach" [It's a farce].

Josh Backon (a very unhappy camper)


From: Chana Luntz <Chana@...>
Date: Tue, Sep 21,2010 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Prohibition of entering a church

Last night I responded to a post by Mark Steiner <marksa@...> in
MJ 59#37 but realised overnight that I had glossed over a very important
point, that should have been in my post, so I hope you will forgive my
adding to what I said there.

Mark Steiner wrote as part of his post:

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

Actually most people do believe that Tosafos was indeed talking specifically
about Jesus, because of the language of the Tosphos HaRosh (and the Rabbainu
Yerucham) who specifically mention him (ie in the place where Tosphos says
dvar acher [another thing] the Tosphos HaRosh and the Rabbainu Yeruchum write
Yeshua HaNotzri).

But more importantly, I glossed over the fact that there are (at least) two
Torah prohibitions that are discussed in this Tosphos.  The one I have been
concentrating on is the one mentioned at the end, namely that of lifnei iver
[placing a stumbling block before the blind].  The issue there is that in
order to violate placing a stumbling block before the blind, the persons who
might stumble have themselves to have a prohibition (there is no problem
giving wine to somebody who is not a Nazir).  

However there is another Torah prohibition that can be violated by causing
somebody to swear in the name of an idol, and that is found at Shemos 23:13
"lo shema al picha" [it shall not be heard through you] - ie there is a
problem if the name of an idol is articulated due to your causation.  Now it
is in fact this prohibition that is referred to in Sanhedrin 63b when it
cites the prohibition on forming a partnership with an idol worshipper.  

Now this prohibition  of causing the name of an idol to be heard through you
is a separate prohibition placed on a Jew, and it also applies if the Jew
causes another Jew to enunciate the name of the idol.  There would thus seem
to be no reason to differentiate between Jew and non-Jew here.  If it would
be a problem to cause a Jew to swear in the name of Jesus, this prohibition
should logically kick in vis a vis a non-Jew.  

Therefore Tosphos, and following them the other commentators, need to
comment that they do not actually use this name, but they use references to
their holy things.  As the Beis Yosef (Yoreh Deah siman 147) comments in the
name of the Rabbainu Yerucham, there is a problem if they use a name of
authority or divinity, but holy things where they use the regular name used by
people (I would guess also including names like father, son etc) there is no
problem recalling.  The Beis Yosef goes on to explain there that this is only if
they don't give any importance to the name [bloshen chashivut is the Hebrew],
but I suspect that is not what the Rabbainu Yerucham meant, because then he
could not use this explanation [ie of them swearing on their holy things] to get
us out of the prohibition vis a vis partnership.

In the times of the gemora, if one went into partnership with an idol
worshipper, they would vadai [certainly] swear by the name of their idol if
the relationship broke down and there would be a violation of it shall not
be heard through you (ie there is only one safek [doubt] whether or not an
oath would ever be needed).  However, if in fact it is not certain that the
person will swear using a name that should not be used, and in fact they
might use a holy thing that is OK to say, then there is a sfek sfeka (a
double doubt), first an oath might not be necessary and if it is, then they
might not swear using the wrong name.

That solves the articulation of a specific name  of an idol problem.

However idolatry is clearly wider than that.  We don't say that if there is
no mention of a problematic name there is no idolatry despite the thanks
that might be given or the acts that might be performed.  Causing this
brings us into the question of lifne iver, which is where the question of
what exactly the non-Jew is obligated in comes in.   If they are really
underneath it all giving thanks to the Creator of heaven and earth, even if
their theology is a bit confused, then arguably, if there is no prohibition
on partnering the name of heaven with another thing, there is no idol
worship going on. 

I also did want to add that, ironically enough, Mark Steiner and I would
seem to have reversed positions from the last debate we had.

In the last debate we had Mark (59#12) discussed the question:

> Codes aside, what did women actually DO?  All the major poskim in Ashkenaz
> state that women did NOT normally daven,

And he then went on in various posts to defend responses supporting mimetic
tradition and local custom rather than asserting that our foremothers were
failing to do as halacha required, no matter how clear the texts.

Now, in the case of women, if we say that indeed women are required to daven
and didn't, what are we saying about our foremothers?  Not that they
violated a rabbinic prohibition (G-d forbid) but that they failed on a
regular basis to perform a single rabbinic positive commandment (which it
would seem was instituted to allow them to be granted mercy).

Now what are we dealing with here.  It is quite clear that the mimetic
tradition and local custom in Ashkenaz was to:

a) form partnerships with Christians;

b) deal freely with them and sell them all kinds of things, whether on their
festivals or otherwise;

c) lend them money, finance their churches and the like, deal in their wine;

d) generally disregard the requirements of the opening Mishna in Avodah Zara
and a good portion of that tractate.

That is, if Christianity is full fledged idol worship, we are alleging that,
for those of us who stem from Ashkenaz, most of our forefathers (and
foremothers) are in violation of not just rabbinic prohibitions (loads of
them) but Torah prohibitions relating to idol worship.

Now for the Rambam who lived in Muslim lands, and who could minimise his
contact with Christians, it is fine to take a purist reading of the texts
and take one look at Christianity and say idol worship, all forbidden (and
as I mentioned in other postings, I am of the view that that purist
approach does tend to be the Rambam's way in any event).

But the Ashkenazi poskim, and particularly the Tosofists, were hardly likely
to take that approach.

On the other hand, the mimetic tradition and local custom in Ashkenaz was
also to choose martyrdom rather than convert to Christianity.  If
Christianity is not really idol worship, then what were people giving up
their lives for?

The really interesting thing about the classic understanding of the Tosphos
is that it steers a course between these two poles.  It says that
Christianity is idol worship for us (indeed akin to the golden calf, which
we hardly want to repeat) and so martyrdom is completely appropriate.  But
it also says that we don't have to worry about causing them to practice
Christianity, and hence all of the business practices and other dealings
that was common in Ashkenaz are indeed fully permitted.  None of the other
explanations fully does this.  Rashi's idea that they are not really idol
worshippers rather undercuts the martyrs.  The idea of aivah [hatred] just
doesn't explain enough, as there are, as Tosphos points out in Avodah Zara
2a lots of things we don't do without generating aivah.  Yes there are other
piecemeal attempts, but they really don't deal with the whole picture.

And that is why, in my view, this position keeps popping up throughout the
ages, despite various academic attempts to demolish it.  It is the
explanation that most accords with the mimetic tradition, and why I
personally suspect that it was what Tosphos, who of all the Rishonim
possibly tended to be the most sympathetic to the mimetic tradition, did
really mean.  On the other hand, many others don't.



From: Meir Shinnar <chidekel@...>
Date: Tue, Sep 21,2010 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Prohibition of entering a church

With respect to the discussion about prohibition of entering a church:

1) For those interested, Rav Dov Linzer (Chovevei Torah) has a PDF
citing many of the sources cited here, as well as many others (google
Dov Linzer church) - and it is not as simple.

2) Mark Steiner talks about "the only tenable pshat" in the Tosphot.
Given the people who have read the Tosphot differently, I am a bit
surprised at this certainty (one is reminded of the Ramban's
introduction to his book Milhamot Hashem, where he talks about how
halachic reasoning never achieves mathematical certainty..) While many
do read the Tosphot as he does, others (who knew how to learn....) did

3)Rav Meir Wise talks about how psokim do not follow the Meiri.
However, the poskim I follow do follow the Meiri - Rav Kook, Rav
Herzog, Rav Yosef Eliyahu Henkin, the Seride Esh - indeed, the Seride
Esh has a letter where he talks about how everyone used to acknowledge
that the halacha was like the Meiri, but now there are some rashe
yeshivot who imply in their shiurim that the halacha is not like the
Meiri - although few yet dared to say it aloud - and that view was a
MORAL failing....and that view  of the Seride Esh  - that not
following the Meiri is a moral issue - is one that needs emphasis..

Meir Shinnar


From: Chana Luntz <Chana@...>
Date: Mon, Sep 20,2010 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Womens place

Menashe Elyashiv <Menashe.Elyashiv@...> writes (MJ 59#38):
> I checked this source in Higger's version. It states that one should
> translate (the Torah into Aramaic) for the people (am) women & children
> ... as on Shabbat they come early etc, but on Holydays  ... they leave
> early in order to prepare. The meaning is that we need to translate for
> all the non-Hebrew speakers, the "am", women & children. That does not
> mean that woman have to come to hear the reading, rather, that whoever
> would be there and not understand, needs translating.

Well the problem with this understanding is the preceding halacha, which
states, inter alia:

... And if he knows how to translate, good, and if not, we give it to one
who knows to translate well, and he translates so that it should be
understood by the rest of the people, the women and the children, because
women are obligated to listen to the reading of the sefer like men, and all
the more so males ...

Now it is this portion of the Maseches Sofrim which has given rise to a
whole raft of discussion as to what is meant by "women are obligated to
listen to the reading of the sefer like men".  The Magen Avraham (Magen
Avraham Orech Chaim siman 282:6) appears to take it on face value (and
following him the Mishna Brura (siman 282:12) although the latter does state
that it is the minhag today for women to go outside during the Torah
reading) but others, including the Aruch HaShulchan (Orech Chaim Hilchot
Shabbat Siman 282 si'if 11) take it as merely mussar for the translator to
ensure he does a good translation and establish in their hearts fear of

But nobody appears to doubt that the women were there.  I agree I may have
jumped to conclusions from amongst the three categories mentioned (the am,
the women and the children) that it was only the women who were fixing the
food for Yom Tov, and not the men (who I assumed therefore could still have
been davening shema vasikin on Yom Tov).  And maybe indeed it was both (and
the children) that were coming late on Yom Tov and leaving early.  But then
you do have to wonder who was making up the minyan for the start of
davening?  Was it a minyan of talmidei chachamim only, who unique amongst
the men did not prepare the food for Yom Tov?

> I understand Tosafot as explaining why Hazal instituted this reading.

Yes of course.  And indeed Rashi and others give different explanations (and
the Tosphos gives yet another explanation in the name of the Midrash).

> In the post-Temple times, YK prayers were shorter than
> today, so that men would see women outside.

Non-Jewish women would not have been adorning themselves in honour of the
day.  And if the Jewish women were all at home looking after children, then
that seems unlikely.  It does seem to me most likely that the women who
adorned themselves and about whom Tosphos was worried were Jewish women who
were hanging around the shul.

> I just stated the situation here were I live. This year we had some 20
> womem, most of them with older children or married ones.

I know that, I just wondered what had happened in your community that had
led to a breakdown in what seemed to me to be the norm around the world and
I suspect throughout most of our history.  It seemed odd, that is all.
Different communities around the world, as we have heard, have found
different ways of getting the vast majority of women to shul for the yamim
noraim, why does this community not seem able to manage it?




End of Volume 59 Issue 40