Volume 60 Number 23 
      Produced: Mon, 25 Jul 2011 10:24:38 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

A visit to Rome (2)
    [Jack Gross  Mark Steiner]
Being Menachem Avul  [comforting a mourner] and Eulogies (3)
    [Harlan Braude  Chaim Casper  Joel Rich]
In vitro meat 
    [Chaim Casper]
Ridiculous Daf Yomi question (2)
    [Robert Schoenfeld  Chaim Casper]
Stand or not? (4)
    [Chaim Casper  Akiva Miller  Haim Snyder  David Ziants]


From: Jack Gross <jacobbgross@...>
Date: Sun, Jul 24,2011 at 01:01 PM
Subject: A visit to Rome

Shmuel Himelstein wrote (MJ 60#22):

> On Friday night ... , after the six chapters of Kabbalat Shabbat, they recite
> Mizmor LeTodah.

Cf. "Shibolei HaLeket", which takes issue with the (now universal) custom of
omitting Mizmor LeTodah from pesukei dezimra on Shabbat morning.  He makes the
point that thanks-giving is the central theme of Shabbat (Mizmor shir leyom
hashabbat tov lehodot...).  So inclusion of mizmor letodah as a seventh
mizmor epitomizing Shabbat is entirely appropriate.

From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Sun, Jul 24,2011 at 05:01 PM
Subject: A visit to Rome

Some comments about Shmuel's visit to Rome (MJ 60#22).  Eitan Fiorino is a
better source than I, as he actually davens using the siddur Shmuel describes:

1. I think that the rite is better described as the Benei Roma rite
rather than the "Italian" rite.  There is no such thing as the Italian rite
really, since Italy was a single country only recently.  For example, Torino
has a siddur which is also sui generis, so does Cuneo.  (Both are in the
Piedmont district, in the Northwest of Italy near the Alps.) Tuscany
(Florence to Livorno) uses the Sefardic siddur.

2. The Roman rite is more or less identical to the siddur of R. Saadia

3. I am surprised that Shmuel didn't notice that the Friday evening
maariv has different berakhot from the weekday, as R. Saadia introduced
special Sabbath content, e.g. "Blessed art thou ... who finished his work on
the Seventh Day..." (asher kilah ma`asav bayom hashvi`i).  The Rishonim were
well aware of this blessing and more or less forbade it, as a change in the
formula (matbe`a shtav'u chachamim).  R. Saadia obviously believed that as long
as the end of the blessing (hama`ariv `aravim) remains the same, it is not

[PS I just reread Shmuel's posting and realize that he wasn't there on Shabbat,
so he couldn't have noticed the change in the ma`ariv prayer!]

In conclusion, I couldn't agree more with Shmuel about the importance of
studying different rites.  I'll give you an example -- I was once in Florence
for Shabbat Zakhor, before Purim.  I was shocked to hear them read the
parshat Zakhor twice -- once as "acharon" and once as "maftir."  It was only
when I came back home and opened up Tractate Megillah that I realized that I
had forgotten an explicit Tosafot to the effect that this was Rashi's ruling
(since there is a debate in the gemara whether Zakhor IS the parshat
hashavua or not).


From: Harlan Braude <hbraude@...>
Date: Sun, Jul 24,2011 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Being Menachem Avul  [comforting a mourner] and Eulogies

In MJ 60#22, Carl Singer wrote:

> My son recounted a similar situation last year when a tree fell and killed
> two people as they were leaving shul in Teaneck. Prior to this event, he had
> been mentoring the son of one of the deceased and thus he spent considerable
> time during the shiva period with the family. He noted that most of the people
> being interviewed were strangers to the family -- just people drawn to the
> tragedy and perhaps to the cameras.
> [...]
> We had known *both* Mother and daughter for over 35 years.  We sat and waited
> for the mourner to initiate a conversation.  We were then drawn down memory
> lane sharing thoughts for well over half an hour.

I think I'm about as cynical as the next fellow, but sometimes even I have to
consider the possibility - admittedly remote - that other people may, at least
occassionally, operate without self-interest and self-agrandizement. I think
there is room to consider that these "strangers" came sometimes miles and,
perhaps, hours away from their homes for reasons other than to gawk and to get
themselves on TV.

<< Warning, harsh comments follow. Those easily-offended beware! >>

Since Carl took the liberty of categorizing the various levels of connection
visitors have with mourners, perhaps I'm not too far out of line to make
some oberservations of my own about common reactions to good deeds
performed by others:

          1 - Wow, that's a very nice thing they did
          2 - Yeah, it was OK, but they should have done more
          3 - Hey, I was here first!
          4 - What a bunch of posers and opportunists.

I leave it to the reader to select the best choice.

<< End of harsh comments section >>

From: Chaim Casper <surfflorist@...>
Date: Sun, Jul 24,2011 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Being Menachem Avul  [comforting a mourner] and Eulogies

Carl Singer <carl.singer@...> asks (MJ 60#22):

> Other than those halachos that deal with when a eulogy may or may not be
> said -- are there specific halachos dealing with the content of a eulogy?"  

The mehaber rules in Yoreh Deah 344:1 that "it is a great mitzvah to
appropriately eulogize the deceased, that he should raise his voice to
say things that break the heart in order to increase the crying and
remember [the deceased's] praises but to overdo it....."    And in the
next s'eef, it is noted that this applies to both men and women.   And
s'eef 3 says we can hire professional mourners to help in the process.

This was once explained to me (I don't remember if it was with my Aveilut
rebbe, R' Melekh Schecter, zt"l, or someone else) that we want the
aveilim to "cry their hearts out," to work out the pain and anger towards
Hashem that the mourning process fosters upon us so that the aveilim will
be able to return to their day to day lives.

Similarly, during shivah, the visitors should stay quiet and let the
aveilim lead the conversation where they want to go (YD 376:1). Again, we
want the aveilim to cry and "get it out of their systems."   They should
be talking about their loved one(s).   

Thus, if one eulogizes the deceased or one is menahem avel and the
conversation drifts to the ball games or the stock market, then one must
question whether the mitzvah is being done properly.   Additionally, I am
not sure saying, "Don't cry--S/He led a wonderful life....Be happy s/he
went quickly...s/he is in a better place" actually fulfills the mitzvah. 
My personal experience is that this is the way aveilut occurs here in
the states much to the regret of the halakhah.

B'virkat Torah,
Chaim Casper
North Miami Beach, FL

From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Sun, Jul 24,2011 at 09:01 PM
Subject: Being Menachem Avul  [comforting a mourner] and Eulogies

Carl Singer <carl.singer@...> wrote (MJ 60#22):

> Other than those halachos that deal with when a eulogy may or may not be said --
> are there specific halachos dealing with the content of a eulogy?

R'YBS said that there are 2 major topics to cover - who the niftar was and how
much we will miss him.

Joel Rich


From: Chaim Casper <surfflorist@...>
Date: Sun, Jul 24,2011 at 08:01 PM
Subject: In vitro meat

Bernard Raab  wrote (MJ 60#20):
> Those who are stringent say that the former non-kosher status [of gelatin MOD]
> is restored by making it once again edible (the position accepted in the US,
> based on a ruling by Rav Moshe Feinstein), while those who are lenient (the
> Rabbanut of Israel), say that it can be used and eaten, if all of the other
> ingredients are kosher. 

I went looking in Yad Moshe, Daniel Eidensohn's index of Rav Moshe
Feinstein's, zt"l, rulings and I did not find where Rav Moshe ruled that
a non-kosher food item that has gone through hozer v'nei'ar would be
returned to the traife status.   For example: non-kosher beef bones are
dried out completely (or soaked in poisonous acid).   Then they are
ground into a powder.   Then water is added to the powder to make an
edible paste.   Hozer v'nei'ar would say that that a "new" substance
regains its original traife status.   But did R' Moshe say that?   
Indeed, R' Chaim Ozer Grodinski, zt"l, the major posek of Europe prior to
WWII would say no, and in fact he permits pepsin(!) made from the
stomachs of pigs.   And, of course, this overlooks the Rama's p'sakim of
yavesh k'etz and davar hadash being mutar.   

But the argument above is only al pi din.   The fact is that the American
Orthodox community of 2011 is so far to the right of the American
Orthodox community of the 1920s, 30s, 40s and 50s.  Kojel (made from
non-kosher slaughtered cows in Belgium) and Kraft and Borden's Cheeses
(using rennet made from the lining of cows stomachs) were considered
kosher back then.   But as the community moved to the right, we have
rejected the permissible rulings that made these products acceptably
kosher.   In other words, the reality did not change, only our
relationship to reality changed.

And my undestanding of the rulings of the Eidah Haredit, R' Sholom Rubin,
Shlit"a, Hug Hatam Sofer and R' Moshe Landau, Shlit"a is that they all go
to the right in their kashrut organizations.   The Rabbanut might use
these heterim but the private kashrut agencies listed above (which I
would argue enjoy greater ne'emanut from the public than the Rabbanut) do

As to Josh Backon's point that there is a prohibition on eating
disgusting things, I can only say he would be surprised at some of the
ingredients that go into the food we eat.  Years ago I pointed out at
Camp Yavneh where I was working at the time that the glaze on M&Ms can be
made from insect shells.   What kind of meat goes into hot dogs, balogne
and salami--Prime cuts?  Josh himself provides a recipe for p'tcha which
my father LOVES but turns my stomach to no end.  And finally, look at a
list of questionable ingredients in any kosher discussion: Sodium
Citrate, Tri-Calcium Citrate, Residual Fuse Oil, Iso-Amyl Alcohol, Acetic
Acid, Ethyl Acetate, Iso-Amyl Acetate and Ethyl Alcohol.   I don't know
about you, but these ingredients have my mouth watering!   Mmmm-Mmmm!  
Seriously, commercial kashrut is definitely not for the faint of heart.

B'virkat Torah,
Chaim Casper
North Miami Beach, FL


From: Robert Schoenfeld <frank_james@...>
Date: Sun, Jul 24,2011 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Ridiculous Daf Yomi question

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz asked (MJ 60#22):

> Ridiculous Daf Yomi question:

> http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2011/07/ridiculous-daf-yomi-question.html

> If you shecht [slaughter] an animal with a light saber, is the animal kosher?

This should be taken to a list that might best answer the question



From: Chaim Casper <surfflorist@...>
Date: Sun, Jul 24,2011 at 08:01 PM
Subject: Ridiculous Daf Yomi question

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz  asked a ridiculous Daf Yomi question:  
l   If you shecht [slaughter] an animal with a light saber, is the animal

A serious answer would be no.  While on one hand the light saber would
have no p'gamim (nicks), on the other hand how would you check the knife?
B'dikah of the knife by running your hand down the blade is an integral
part of the process.

Secondly, does the light saber burn/heat (i.e. cook) the flesh as it cuts
through the simanim (the majority of the esophogus and the trachea)?   If
it does, the meat would be traife as it is being cooked before it is

B'virkat Torah
Chaim Casper
North Miami Beach, FL


From: Chaim Casper <surfflorist@...>
Date: Sun, Jul 24,2011 at 08:01 PM
Subject: Stand or not?

Marilyn Tomsk asked "Does one stand for the Kiddush or not?" (MJ 60 #22).

As with most halakhic actions, there is a difference of opinion.   The
m'haber, R' Yosef Karo, writes in the Shulhan Arukh Orah Hayyim 271:10
that the Sepharadim stand for kiddush because kiddush is a form of
testimony that Hashem created the Universe.   And since testimony (edut)
is taken standing in a beit din, kiddush, too, is said standing.

R' Moshe Isserles writes for the Ashkenazim that the entire kiddush
should be recited sitting down as we hold kiddush b'makom s'eudah
(kiddush must be made in the place where we have the Shabbat meal, and
since we have the Shabbat meal sitting down at the table, we sit, too for

My teacher, Shlomo Riskin, shlit"a, taught me years ago that vaykhulu
alone is said standing as that is the real testimony.   But the brakhah
over the wine and the kiddush itself are part of the meal so that is
recited sitting down.    And it was only this year that someone mentioned
to me that this was the litvishe custom (vaykhulu standing and birkat
hayayin - kiddush sitting).

B'virkat Torah,
Chaim Casper
North Miami Beach, FL

From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Sun, Jul 24,2011 at 10:01 PM
Subject: Stand or not?

Marilyn Tomsky asked (MJ 60#22)::

> Does one stand for the Kiddush or not?  

According to Shulchan Aruch (Rav Yosef Karo) 271:10: "One says 'Vaychulu'
standing, and then says 'Boray Pr'i Hagafen' and then Kiddush."

The Rama comments there: "One can stand during Kiddush, and it is better to sit
(46). The custom is to sit even when saying Vaychulu (47), except that when
beginning it, we rise a bit in honor of G-d's name, for when we say the words
'Yom Hashishi Vaychulu Hashamayim", His Name appears in the initial letters."

The Mishneh Brurah 271:46 comments: "'It is better to sit' -- because in that
manner, it is a better fulfillment of the rule that 'Kiddush must be where the
meal is', because he is actually sitting in the place of his meal. And the 'Beur
HaGra' concluded this too. And [one should sit] for another reason as well: When
one is saying Kiddush for someone else, there needs to be a kevius together.
["Kevius" is a difficult word to translate; it refers to the group being
established and permanent to some degree, and not totally ad hoc and temporary
-- Akiva Miller.] And by sitting together, it is considered to be kevius, as
mentioned above in section 167. According to that, the listeners also need to
sit, and it would be good to be careful about this... In any case, the listeners
must definitely establish themselves together as a group during Kiddush in order
to fulfill the mitzvah, and not be scattered and separated, walking here and
there, because that is not kevius at all."

The Mishneh Brurah 271:47 continues about sitting: "'even when saying Vaychulu'
-- Given that they already said it standing in the synagogue, one need not be
particular about it any further, and they say it sitting, like the rest of Kiddush."

>From what I have observed, most people do *not* follow the above procedure. It
seems that there are two customs which are much more popular than the above,

(1) Standing for all of Vaychulu and then sitting for everything else, and 

(2) Standing for all the words and then sitting to drink the wine. 

It is quite possible that I might have adopted one of these two more popular
customs, but I didn't, and I'd like to tell you why:

When I was as teenager and not nearly as observant as I am now, my family was
somewhat traditional, in that my mother always lit Shabbos candles and we always
had a family dinner on Friday night. At one point, my mother suggested that we
should begin the meal with Kiddush. We didn't know any of the detailed laws of
Kiddush, and probably wouldn't have cared too much even if we did know them, and
so, by default, we said Kiddush sitting in our seats, because hey, this is dinner!

A few years later, when I became much more observant, and was in yeshiva, and
was very interested in learning these details, I learned the Mishne Brurah that
I quoted above. I was overjoyed that the practice given by the Mishneh Brurah
was not only the same as the one my family had (unwittingly) adopted, but it was
for the exact same reason: Kiddush is part of the meal, and is therefore said in
one's seat. Like most baalei teshuva, most of my personal customs come from the
schools and communities I learned in, and very few came from my family. I was,
and still am, very comforted that I have this one from my family.

So, to answer Marilyn's question, my personal practice is as follows:

On a normal Friday night, everyone around my table sits for the entire Kiddush.
I, too, sit for the entire Kiddush, including all of Vaychulu, except that for
the words "Yom Hashishi; Vaychulu Hashamayim", I try to rise from my seat as the
Mishneh Brurah says.

In unusual cases, however, such as when I am ill, I do not go to shul Friday
night, and therefore I have Kiddush and dinner first, and I daven Maariv after
dark. In such cases, I say the whole paragraph of Vaychulu standing, since I did
not yet say it standing in shul, following the Mishneh Brurah cited above, and
the reference to Mateh Moshe in Mishne Brurah 268:19. (The significance of
saying Vaychulu standing is that it constitutes testimony to our belief in

Akiva Miller

From: Haim Snyder <haimsny@...>
Date: Mon, Jul 25,2011 at 03:01 AM
Subject: Stand or not?

In MJ 60#22, Marilyn Tomsky asked:
> Does one stand for the Kiddush or not?

The question is somewhat ambiguous as there are 4 different Kiddushim:
Shabbat evening, Shabbat morning, Hag evening and Hag morning. 

There is almost universal agreement that whether one sits or stands while
reciting the Kiddush, one must sit while drinking.

In the publication T'humim volume 6, Rabbi Moses Feinstein wrote an eloquent
treatise on this subject.

Shabbat morning and Hag morning are considered the same way by almost every
one. He maintains that one must sit for these Kiddushim, even if your father

The difference between Friday evening and Hag evening is the recital of
Vay'chulu. Most people agree that Vay'chulu should be said standing since it
is testimony, although there are those who say that testimony is not given
after sundown so standing is not required. Rabbi Feinstein says that on
Friday evening sitting is preferable, but if your father stood then you may
also stand. On Hag that does not fall on Shabbat (even at the seder), he
maintains that Kiddush should be recited sitting, again independent of the
custom of one's father.

He is especially insistent on sitting if others are to be considered as
having made Kiddush by hearing yours. He says that sitting establishes
"k'viyut" (permanence) which is required to exempt someone else from
reciting the Kiddush.

Haim Shalom Snyder

From: David Ziants <dziants@...>
Date: Mon, Jul 25,2011 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Stand or not?

Marilyn Tomsk <jtomsky@...> asks (mj 60#22) :-

> Does one stand for the Kiddush or not?

Rav Neuwirt in Shemirat Shabbat Kehilchata (Vol 2) 47:28 brings 3 customs for
night time kiddush:-

a) Standing for the whole of kiddush.
b) Standing for vayechulu and then sitting for the berachot  (borai p'ri hagafen
and the b'recha of kiddush).
c) Sitting for the whole of kiddush.

He states that custom (b) is the preferable opinion. Rav Neuwirt does not seem
to give weight to preserving ones family custom (if one has a family custom, or
knows what it is) and maybe according to him, one would be allowed to change
one's family custom for the preferable custom. Neither does he say this
explicitly, so it is difficult to know from here whether he would encourage
someone to change a family custom in this case.

Whichever opinion one follows, one should sit when drinking the wine.
The household should follow what the person saying kiddush (I guess the master
of the house in normal circumstances) does.

In practice, I have observed over the years and decades:-
- Sephardim and Chassidim follow custom (a).
- Non chassidic E. European Ashkenazim (e.g Lithuanians) follow custom (b).
- W. European Ashkenazim may follow custom (a) or (b). I think the main stream
ashkenazi custom in both England (for example United Synagogue) and Holland is
to follow custom (a) and this might be because of the Spanish and Portuguese
sephardim who came to these places before them, and already set the custom in
the same way as they influenced other customs that were adopted by the ashkenazi
establishment there.
- I cannot remember seeing someone doing option (c) - sitting for the whole of

A rationale for sitting is that one is declaring the place of one's meal (unlike
havdalla which does not need a meal - although aidot mizrach sephardim sit for
havdalla and I also know ashkenazi families who sit for havdalla).
A rationale for standing just for veyachulu is that this is considered "giving
testimony" and one stands when one gives testimony.
A rationale for standing for the whole of kiddush, is kabbalistic (relevant to
chassidim and some sephardim - especially aidot hamizrach) or just a way of
giving respect to the occasion (relevant to many W. European Ashkenazim and
Spanish and Portuguese Sephardim).

For day time kiddush - which essentially is borei p'ri hagafen only - only
customs (a) and (c) apply, where custom (c) is the preferable.
See Shemirat Shabbat Kehilchata (Vol 2) 50:8
David Ziants


End of Volume 60 Issue 23