Volume 59 Number 50 
      Produced: Sat, 09 Oct 2010 15:53:30 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

A welcome change in trying circumstances 
    [Shmuel Himelstein]
Lo Yishama al Picha (It shall not be heard through you) (2)
    [Michael Engel  Chana Luntz]
R' Eilon and forum Takkana (5)
    [Rabbi Meir Wise  Josh Backon  Akiva Miller  Keith Bierman  David I. Cohen]
Shir shel yom 
    [David E Cohen]
Shower on Second Day Yom Tov (2)
    [Martin Stern  Michael Frankel]


From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
Date: Thu, Oct 7,2010 at 08:01 AM
Subject: A welcome change in trying circumstances

Most of you have probably heard of the tragedy in Vizhnitz, where eleven
Torah scrolls were burned up.

In today's Haaretz, I read that one of the rabbis there claimed that the
reason this happened is because the people talk to each other during the

Not going into the accuracy of this assessment, I am gratified that the
blame was laid on internal problems within the community.

Unfortunately, too many people have attributed blame to "others" rather than
themselves, as for example blaming the Shoah on "the Zionists" (a totally
blasphemous allegation, if ever I heard one!) or a bus accident with
numerous deaths on the fact that there is Chilul Shabbat (desecration of the
Sabbath) in the city from which the bus left.

I'm always amazed at how many people can be "God's bookkeepers" and know His
mind - especially given what we are told about prophecy in our days, which
is primarily the province of children and the simple-minded.

Shmuel Himelstein


From: Michael Engel <michael11694@...>
Date: Wed, Oct 6,2010 at 07:01 PM
Subject: Lo Yishama al Picha (It shall not be heard through you)

I apologize for the tone of this post but Dr. Russell J Hendel's categorization
(MJ 59#47) of Jeannete Friedman's reaction (MJ 59#45) as "overly emotional" and
showing a lack of understanding of the halachic process has been festering in me
as being, in my humble opinion, ignorant of the way Jewish law and custom has
been transmitted throughout the generations. 

Jeannette and I have similar backgrounds (Hungarian Chassidic). I don't know
other people's background, but many of us who were raised in a thouroughly
observant milieu year-in-and-year-out, having raised children and grandchildren
with the help of our parents and grandparents and rabbis, have an almost
intuitive idea of how to behave. We don't have to pick up the Mishnah Berurah
time after time. As one of my rebbes said to a mispalel who was burching about
Shkia and mincha said, "We were holy Jews before there was a Mishna Berurah". 

In fact, the most important thing to learn is when a sheilah is warranted and
our rabbis give shiurim to both male and female for this purpose. Both Jeannette
and I know how to recognize a "Klotz Kasha" when we hear it. I don't, by the
way, attribute the name klotz kasha to the original inquiry about the English
days of the week but handling of such a question is dependent on who is asking
the question. I can give you many examples of Poskim who changed their decisions
in comformance with the practical observance in Europe of "ordinary" Jewish
homemakers sans doctorates but they were infused and saturated with Torah as it
was practiced at home where glatt kosher was not readily avaiable for cooking at
the corner Deli Glatt, nor did they know the inside of a Kosher Restaurant.  I
leave it to you whether you owe Jeannette an apology. Either way, it never hurts
to have a little humility.

Lastly, I would like to cite a quotation from Rabbi Chaim Berlin Zatzal. He was
asked about paying cash to a gentile woman and if the enquirer was alllowed to
extend his hand to her in payment?: Here is his overly emotional answer: I
notice he did not quote chapter and verse from Rishonim and Achronim. I don't
know about you, but I woud accept an off-the-cuff answer from R. Chaim Berlin
before a meticulously researched formal analysis by some wet-behind-the-ears
inexperienced Yeshiva Bochur. If I began to tell you about the embarrassing
mistakes made by the aforementioned in Shiurim with Smicha in front of
experienced Baale Batim, Your face would blanch. This at least to me seems to
echo the sentiments that Jeannette expressed. "That the gentiles shouldn't say
about the God Fearers that they are crazy and lack basic manners".

From: Chana Luntz <Chana@...>
Date: Fri, Oct 8,2010 at 02:34 PM
Subject: Lo Yishama al Picha (It shall not be heard through you)

Yechiel Conway wrote (MJ 59#44):
> I have wondered for a long time whether using the English  names of
> the days of the week is a violation of the prohibition of lo  yishama al
> picha (the names of other deities shall not be heard through you).

And Jeanette Friedman (MJ 59#45) responded:

> We function in a world where most people are not even aware of the
> roots of the names of the days of the week.

I think this may be a cultural difference between England and America, but I
would be surprised if any British schoolchild did not learn (and hence most
educated British adults are probably aware of) the origin of the names of
the days of the week.  But this might be because, in the words of the new
British Minister for Education, this is part of the "story of our island"
and that the Viking (and Roman and French) conquests (and what effect they
had on Britain) are probably given lesser prominence in the US (and even
less in Israel).

> But if you want to invent a whole new way of describing that for America,
> because you have decided that saying the names of the days of the week is
> a sin, (tell that one to the goyim) or if you want to event a terrific new
> chumrah (so the  obsessive compulsive non-thinking Jews among us will have
> one more thing to make them crazy), then go right ahead.

I think this is a little unfair.  Yechiel Conway is asking, to my mind, a
perfectly legitimate halachic question on a Jewish mailing list which inter
alia, discusses such matters.

Indeed the Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah siman 147 si'if 1 states (after
forbidding swearing by the name of an idol) that one is not permitted to
mention their name, whether for a need or for no need.

The source of this Shulchan Aruch is the Gemora in Sanhedrin 63b which
states: "A person should not say to his friend, wait for me next to such and
such an idol" and appears to give this as an example of a violation of the
verse "the name of other gods you shall not mention nor shall it be heard
through you" Shemos 23:13 (although I believe that while the Yeraim and the
Smag understand this indeed to be a Torah prohibition, the Chinuch in
mitzvah 86 understands that merely mentioning without swearing is only a

[Note by the way there is a specific heter to mention such names in the
course of, and where necessary for, Torah learning, as well as names that are
explicitly mentioned in Tanach].

In the light of this, Yechiel Conway's question would seem to be a perfectly
valid question.  How come everybody refers to Sunday, Monday, Tuesday,
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday which are named after Norse gods?

Indeed Rav YH Henkin in Benei Banim (vol 3 siman 35, si'if 2) asks this
question (and about the months of the year named after Roman gods) and
suggests that there is no problem here because (see bottom of the first
column of page 117) the worship of these gods has been nullified and
has passed from the world it is permitted to mention their name.  This would
seem to allow for even more causal mentions of their name "By Jove" perhaps?

But I confess that I wonder if this is necessary for our days of the week.

Because in si'if 2 of the Shulchan Aruch quoted above, the Shulchan Aruch
says that "with the name of their festivals which are like the names of people
there is no concern to mention them and this is when he does not mention
them like the idol worshippers mention them with language of importance
[b'lashon chashivus]."

Am I reading to much into this si'if (which is not sourced in the Gemora as
far as I am aware) to say that if one can mention the names of festivals
which are like the names of people then surely Thors' day and Woden's say,
where we give the idol no chashivus is not different and would be permitted
even were the worship of such gods not nullified from the world?

Note that Rav Henkin indeed discusses this si'if in Shulchan Aruch when he goes
on to discuss place names like Satmar, San Francisco  and Saint Louis and
holds that recalling a name of an idol is different from recalling the name of
a city or place, even though that city or place might be named after an idol
and goes on to suggest that similarly recalling St Patricks day would be
permitted for this reason.

Similarly I can't see any problem calling a person who happened to be called
Jesus by his name based on this Shulchan Aruch (even were there not
additional reasons as mentioned by Rav Henkin to allow the use of this name
as it being a derivation of a name from the Tanach, which is always

And I am not quite sure what the question is when referring to BCE and CE,
which stand for Before the Common Era and Common Era (leaving aside the
question of a requirement to count from Nissan, which this does not do).
There is not  a "recollection" of any name of any idol in this at all, which
seems to be the clear trigger for the halacha.  Yes indeed one is arguably
giving chashivus to a particular division of time that was ultimately
sourced in problematic belief systems, but I can't quite see where this
trips the halachic tripwire, as it were, aside from the problem of counting
from January.



From: Rabbi Meir Wise <Meirhwise@...>
Date: Thu, Oct 7,2010 at 07:01 AM
Subject: R' Eilon and forum Takkana

Is the mail-Jewish really the forum to discuss cases which are sub  
judice? Especially when those discussing them have neither direct knowledge or  
involvement? If one cannot control one's urges to talk about these matters could
we not at least keep it to the level of theory. It is not long after Yom Kippur
- can we all take a moment to think if our contributions are going to increase
ahavat Hashem or yirat Hashem before we press the send button?


Meir Wise

From: Josh Backon <backon@...>
Date: Thu, Oct 7,2010 at 08:01 AM
Subject: R' Eilon and forum Takkana

David Tzohar wrote (MJ 59#49):

> We do not know if R' Eilon is guilty or innocent, but neither does the forum
> Takkana. What I do know is that the forum Takkana took upon itself 
> the authority of a Beit Din of smuchim ish mipi ish (original full halachic
> ordination) and forced a noted Rav into exile as if he was guilty of
> manslaughter. There were no witnesses to the alleged acts, so who are we to
> believe?

The students filed complaints with the forum Takkana. And Eilon admitted
that the complaints were factual. [Admission of guilt engenders sanctions.
See: Chavot Yair 72 as brought in the Pitchei Tshuva YD 115 s"k 25].

See Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat 28:1 in the Rema (quoting Hag'ahot
Maimoniot on the Rambam Hilchot Edut 5:1) re: 1 witness can testify in the
case of *afrushei m'issura" [prevent a prohibition from taking place]. Even a
woman who tells her husband she has been unfaithful is believed if there
is circumstantial evidence to believe this is true (see: Shulchan Aruch
Even ha'Ezer 115:2 in Rema. In halachic parlance this is termed "raglayim
l'davar"). The Rosh (on the gemara in Makkot perek 1 # 11) rules that if
one sees illicit sexual behavior one is required to testify. See also: Noda
B'Yehuda mahadura kama OC 35 and Minchat Chinuch #122.

Josh Backon

From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Thu, Oct 7,2010 at 08:01 AM
Subject: R' Eilon and forum Takkana

It's quite possible that I simply don't understand the situation well enough,
but at first glance, it seems to me that David Tzohar (MJ 59#49) contradicted
himself in his posting.

First he wrote:

> The forum summoned R' Eilon, and even though he denied the allegations
> he agreed to go into "Galut" to the village of Migdal near the Kinneret;
> he also agreed to cease all teaching.

Then he mentioned:

> I asked a learned Rosh Kollel of a Yeshivat hesder, "What is the Halachic
> authority of the forum Takkana?" First he explained at length how
> important Takkana is as a place where victims of sexual harassment can
> bring their complaints without their identity being exposed, then I
> repeated my question and the Rav looked me in the eye and said one word:
> *"none"*.

But then, he wrote:

> I do not know if R' Eilon is guilty or innocent, but neither does the
> forum Takkana. What I do know is that the forum Takkana took upon itself
> the authority of a Beit Din of smuchim ish mipi ish (original full
> halachic ordination) and forced a noted Rav into exile as if he was
> guilty of manslaughter.

In the first section, he used the word "agreed" twice. This contradicts the
third section, where he claims that they "forced" him into exile as if they were
a fully-empowered Beit Din. I do not know where David got the idea that this
punishment was forced. As the rav in the second section explained, Takana has no
authority to do such things. They are merely a committee who met behind closed
doors to discuss a situation, and what to do about that situation, and all
parties agreed on how to handle it. No "authority" was needed, because no one
was forced to do anything. If R' Eilon felt forced to go into exile, it seems to
me that it was a result of community pressure (read: agreements to keep things
quiet), and not from Takana's "authority".

DISCLAIMER: None of the above should be construed to either support or oppose
any of the above factions. I do not claim to know the best way of handling these
situations, and my only comment is to show the contradiction in what was posted.

Akiva Miller

From: Keith Bierman <khbkhb@...>
Date: Fri, Oct 8,2010 at 02:34 PM
Subject: R' Eilon and forum Takkana

David Tzohar <davidtzohar@...> wrote (MJ 59#49):

> If R' Eilon is found guilty, he should be punished to the full extent of the
> civil law. But if he is innocent then the Rashei Yeshivot should prostrate
> themselves before him and beg his forgiveness

While traditional Scottish law had three verdicts, "Guilty, Not Proved  and
Innocent" as far as I understand Israeli secular law, like British and US
law, it's just Guilty or Not Guilty, which maps into the Scottish "Not

I know nothing of the circumstances of the case, but it is an overstatement
that a failure to prove guilt is establishment of innocence.

I rather prefer the Scottish system (only Innocent had "double jeopardy"
protection, so "Not Proved" could result in another trial once more evidence
was accumulated).

At least that's my understanding.

From: David I. Cohen <bdcohen613@...>
Date: Fri, Oct 8,2010 at 04:01 PM
Subject: R' Eilon and forum Takkana

I have no idea who David Zohar is or what if any connection he has (had)
with R. Eilon. (BTW, if he had a connection, then he is nogeia b'davar
[conflict of interest]. ) For him to denigrate the unanimous actions of some
of the greatest gedolim of our generation is hubris of a great magnitude.

Some points to consider: R. Eilon voluntarily submitted to the "jurisdiction"
of Takana and voluntarily abided, for a time, to their decision. They did
hear evidence and did allow R. Eilon to present a defense. I am not sure how
Mr. Zohar knows that halachic standards were not adhered to, as the
proceedings were in camera. These Gedolim came to a decision that both
protected potential victims and R. Eilon's reputation. That he eventually
failed to live up to his part was the cause of the subsequent reputational
damage, as he left the Takana Rabbonim with no choice.

As a side point, please don't mix up American constitutional mandates with
halachic norms. (e.g. confronting your accusers, presumption of innocence).

David I. Cohen


From: David E Cohen <ddcohen@...>
Date: Wed, Oct 6,2010 at 07:01 PM
Subject: Shir shel yom

In response to Martin Stern's post (MJ 59#46), Menashe Elyashiv wrote (MJ 59#48):
> I have seen 3 minhagim for Ashkenazim ... It seems to me, that these are a sort
> of zecher lamikdash, but not completely the mikdash way

In my shul (as Mr. Stern can verify with his son, who often sits in the row
in front of me), we say the regular shir shel yom after shacharit, and the
special shir for the yom tov or chol hamoed (as per the custom of the Vilna
Gaon) after musaf.  I think that the practice may have simply started as a
compromise between those who would say only the regular psalm and those
(like the Gaon) who would say only the holiday psalm, but it may, in fact,
be a proper zecher lamikdash.

There is an article on this topic (partially dealing with the question of
what, exactly, was done in the Mikdash) by Noam Schlesinger in Volume 24
(just published) of Alon Shevut Bogrim, the alumni journal of Yeshivat Har
Etzion.  Unfortunately, I don't think that it's available electronically.

-- D.C.


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, Oct 7,2010 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Shower on Second Day Yom Tov

Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...> wrote (MJ 59#49):

> In MJ 59:48, Martin Stern, quoting another source, wrote:
>> One should not distinguish between the first day of Yom Tov and the second
>> day of Yom Tov (for those who do not merit living in Eretz Yisrael) in this
>> regard and rule more leniently for the second day since it is only a rabbinic
>> obligation.
> That is not, AFIK, true as a general rule, which is why I phrased the question
> as I did. One example is a funeral: if someone dies on the first day of yom
> tov, he is buried on the second day, and I have heard of of such funerals
> being conducted in New York, which involved driving to the cemetery.

Theoretically there should be no problem with burying someone even on the
first day of Yom Tov, providing the grave is dug by a non-Jew. On the second
day, Chazal even allowed this to be done by Jews. They did so because, in
the days before refrigerated storage, bodies would decompose quickly in hot
climates (especially after 2 or 3 days) and this would be a zilzul hameit
[dishonour for the deceased]. It was understood that no forbidden work such
as driving to the cemetery would be done by a Jew. If the cars are driven by
a non-Jew, there is no Torah-prohibited work though it would generally be
rabbinically forbidden. However they allowed this rabbinically forbidden
work because of kavod hameit [honour of the deceased].

Since most cemeteries are now a considerable distance from where Jews live
the probability of such travel is much higher, especially among the less
observant. Also decomposition of the body is highly unlikely so we very
rarely do this any more.

Incidentally, our present calendar is arranged to avoid Yom Kippur falling on a
Friday or Sunday, one reason being to avoid two consecutive non-burying days.

Orrin could have also asked about the permissibility of taking medicine on
the second day, but not the first, but this is because, when Chazal made the
gezeirah [ruling] not to take medicine on Shabbat or Yom Tov in non-serious
situations, they specifically excluded the second days of Yom Tov from it.

Thus the only exceptions regarding second day Yom Tov are strictly limited
to situations specifically exempted by Chazal when they made their gezeirot.

> Another is turning lights on or off. One rav told me that he held that the use
> of electricity is permitted on yom tov, even though we don't use it in
> practice; but therefore if you really need to turn a light off on the second
> day of yom tov -- not the first day -- you may do so.

This is a daat yachid [opinion of a specific rav] but is AFAIK not widely
accepted so it is hardly relevant.

Martin Stern

From: Michael Frankel <michaeljfrankel@...>
Date: Thu, Oct 7,2010 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Shower on Second Day Yom Tov

Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...> wrote (MJ 59#49):

> One example is a funeral: if someone dies on the first day of yom tov,
> he is buried on the second day, and I have heard of of such funerals being
> conducted in New York, which involved driving to the cemetery.. 

KAJ Breuer's has always quietly conducted burials on the second day of yom tov.
 Apparently - I was informed by my mechuton - they're currently embroiled in
some internal brouhaha since their current Rav has just announced this practice
will no longer be permitted. Opposition further aroused by the Rav's statement
that Rav Breuer would also have agreed with him to ban such burials had he been
alive - to which the natural reaction is - how would he know?  This is not the
first time the old time yekkes who understand and want to preserve R Hirsch's
legacy have been confounded by their rabbi who is more of a yeshivish mold, and
is either unfamiliar with RSRH's writings or is familiar but in either case
rejects Torah Im Derech Eretz in a Hirschian mold. The previous rabbinical
blowup, precipitating the resignation in protest, at least temporarily, of the
community's president, occurred over the alleged neglect of Hirschian tradition
in the Breuer's school.  But what did they expect when they  go out of their
way, not for the first time, to import such people from abroad. 

Mechy Frankel <michaeljfrankel@...>


End of Volume 59 Issue 50