Volume 60 Number 26 
      Produced: Fri, 29 Jul 2011 13:15:36 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

A visit to Rome 
    [Martin Stern]
Equal weights? 
    [Martin Stern]
Family Mesorah 
    [Michael Poppers]
In vitro meat 
    [Jack Gross]
    [Leah S.R. Gordon]
Morid Haggoshem 
    [Michael Frankel]
Nedarim and Chumrot (2)
    [Martin Stern  Gershon Dubin]
Praying Towards Jerusalem 
    [Bernard Raab]


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Wed, Jul 27,2011 at 05:01 PM
Subject: A visit to Rome

Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...> wrote (MJ 60#25):

> a) In the lines immediately preceding the Shacharit Amidah, I am used to
> ""Hashem Yimloch LeOlam Va'ed. Tzur Yisra'el ..."
> In the Romi Siddur, after "LeOlam Va'ed" there is the addition of the verse,
> ""Biglal Avot Toshi'a Banim VeTavi Ge'ulah Livnei Veneihem."

This line is derived from the ancient minhag Erets Yisrael and is still
preserved when the ge'ulah piyutim are said in Minhag Ashkenaz on Pesach,
and in the East German minhag until Shavuot. The best known of these is the
one for Shevi'i shel Pesach, Shabbat Beshallach and Shabbat Brit Milah - Yam
leyavashah by Yehudah Halevi.

Martin Stern


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, Jul 28,2011 at 07:01 AM
Subject: Equal weights?

In the Torah (Ex. 30, 34), HKBH instructed Moshe Rabbeinu to make the
ketoret [incense] "Take spices, nataf, shekhelet and chelbenah, spices and
pure levonah (I have intentionally left the names untranslated), equal
weights of each."

In the Talmud (Bavli, Kritot 6a and Yerushalmi, Yoma 4,5, also cited in the
siddur), the braita "Pitum Haktoret" states "The incense was composed of
tsori, tsipporen, chelbenah and levonah - seventy maneh weight of each; mor,
ketsia, shibolet nerd and carcom - sixteen maneh weight of each; kosht -
twelve [maneh weight]; kilufah - three [maneh weight]; kinnamon - nine [maneh
weight] ..."

The commentators explain the apparent discrepancies between the eleven spices
in the braita and those mentioned in the Torah as follows: "The first word
'spices' indicates two [unnamed] spices to which are added nataf, shekhelet
and chelbenah making, in total, five. The second word 'spices' indicates
that this number is to be doubled, making a total of ten, to which one adds
levonah, giving a final total of eleven."

That deals with the first problem - the apparent number discrepancy. The
next problem is that nataf and shekhelet seem to be omitted from the braita
but, again, the commentators explain that these are tsori and tsipporen
respectively, the latter being the Rabbinic word-equivalents of the Biblical
names. So far so good.

That the other seven spices are not mentioned in the Torah is not a problem
in view of the Rabbinic exegesis above but what is difficult is why the
eleven spices are not all of equal weights as apparently specified by the

I have not seen any explanation for this and suggest that perhaps it might
be linked to the way the verse 'codes' the ingredients - only those
explicitly mentioned are to be of equal weight (the first four), and also those
representing their 'doubles' (the second four) are also to be of equal weight,
but not necessarily the same weight, but the remainder are unrestricted.

Has anyone any ideas on this matter?

Martin Stern


From: Michael Poppers <MPoppers@...>
Date: Thu, Jul 28,2011 at 07:01 AM
Subject: Family Mesorah

In MJ 60#25, Carl Singer asked:

> ... many of us live and daven within communities that are
> heterogeneous at some level....
> This may not apply to some enclaves, Kiryat Joel or KAJ -- but for
> many of us -- the remnants of personal or family mesorah are
> singular experiences.
> *Halachically -- what weight should these carry vs. the kehillah --
> both in individual and communal activities?* 

Being poreish [separating] from the tzibbur [a group gathered/a community
committed to acting in unison] is a key halachic problem in these situations. 
Where there is a minhag hamaqom (established community custom re particular
public actions/nusach), I believe it should trump a familial/birthplace minhag
(again, only re public actions or re nusach hat'filah [the text of public
prayers and the manner in which they and the Torah reading are accomplished]).  
Examples would include:
-- public nihugei aveilus [mourning customs] (e.g. refraining from
hair/beard-cutting) during the S'firah period [the span between Passover and the
Feast of Weeks];
-- whether the Shaliach Tzibbur/chazzan [prayer representative] says "Ga'al
Yisrael" (just before the Amidah/"Shmoneh Esrei") aloud; and
-- saying (or at least not obviously separating from the tzibbur while they're
saying) "N'qadeish" at the beginning of "[standing] Q'dushah."  

One's familial/birthplace minhag should (or, at least, can) rule in private 
circumstances (or, while one is in public, when what one does isn't noticeable 
to others as separating from the tzibbur).  Examples would include:
-- whether one washes/is noteil yadayim in one's home before saying Qiddush on
-- whether one says "Sim Shalom" or "Shalom Rav" as one's last private-Amidah
blessing during Shabbos Mincha; and
-- whether one says all of the "V'yitein l'cha" paragraphs on motzoei Shabbos.

A gut'n Shabbes/Shabbas Shalom
and all the best from 
-- Michael Poppers via BB pager


From: Jack Gross <jacobbgross@...>
Date: Wed, Jul 27,2011 at 06:01 PM
Subject: In vitro meat

Regarding rennet and cheese -- 

If you posit "panim chadashot", rennet is intrinsically mutar, so "davar
hamaamid eino batel" is quite irrelevant. 


From: Leah S.R. Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Thu, Jul 28,2011 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Kojel?

Chaim Casper <surfflorist@...> wrote (MJ 60#23):

> 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) ... 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.   

Are you certain that "Kojel" is made from unacceptable sources [to us in
2011]?  I was under the impression that it was OU, and I even thought it was
made from fish bones, though I could be remembering wrong.  Is it possible
that you mean "Jello"?



From: Michael Frankel <michaeljfrankel@...>
Date: Wed, Jul 27,2011 at 11:01 PM
Subject: Morid Haggoshem

Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...> wrote (MJ 60#25):

> I too am old enough to remember when every Ashkenazi siddur had "haggoshem".
> I'd just like to offer a note about the sequence of events. In the autumn of
> 5740/1979 ... I come ... only to point out that this tumult began no later
> than the autumn of 1979, well over 6 years prior to Rav Moshe's passing.  

I apologize for what I now see was an ambiguous nuance.  I did not mean to imply
anybody waited around until R Moshe was gone before changing to "haggeshem"
(though perhaps some publishers did, it took some while before tummelers for
change actually scored a success in published siddurim and I am not familiar
enough with Artscroll publishing history to exactly date their first offering of
"haggeshem").  I was just struck by the juxtaposition of those
time frames.  It is correct the initiative grew out of Israeli environs -
indeed, the result of the (odd) obsession by a single person who apparently
dedicated his life to this work, and it is remarkable he was ultimately
successful.  It is also my impression most Israelis paid little attention to R.
Moshe's opinions about anything, quite unlike the deference accorded R. Moshe in
the US. 

>From a biblical grammar perspective, haggeshem/haggoshem might be argued either
way and it is a judgment call - R. Moshe judged one way, the Israelis another. 
While it doesn't end a sentence, it certainly ends a phrase and, if so
inclined, one could equivalence it to one of the lesser masoretic pausal forms
such as tipchoh or zoqef qoton.  The latter in particular produces literally
hundreds of biblical pausal forms, although not as often as the major pausal
forms of esnachtoh and sof posuq.   The siddur printers treat the entire phrase
as an insertion and give it its own separate line where it visually simulates
the end of a sentence, which perhaps helps condition its acceptance with a
qometz.  However, it remains astonishing that such a "grammatical" sort of
argument - usually the province of maskilim/pointy headed academics -  could
possibly gain enough traction to overturn what was by now a two hundred year old
common practice in such an inherently conservative milieu.

But the more fundamental point is well expressed by Mark Steiner (MJ 60#25):

> I believe that the ultimate question is: whether the siddur is written in
> Biblical or Rabbinic Hebrew.
i.e. who says  t'filoh - which was actually composed and then transmitted over
the generations by these self same rabbonim who spoke Hebrew in this
non-biblical way - needs to conform to much earlier biblical forms?  All
pre-18th century Ashkenazim and present day s'faradim certainly didn't and don't
feel that way - and  that includes the blessing over wine which unambiguously
ends its sentence with "haggefen".   As Mark cogently sums it up:

> In Rabbinic Hebrew, linguists tell us, there was no pausal form for gefen,
> geshem etc.  Therefore it is irrelevant whether "morid hageshem" is the end
> of the sentence or not.

Just so.  And since Mark is one of the two eminent Prof Steiners in his family,
we can presume when he speaks of scholarly opinion of "linguists", he does so
with at least derived authority.   It is interesting however that the various
Israeli decisors as well as R. Moshe and (if reports cited previously are
accurate) RYBS, RYK, etc all seem to agree that Biblical forms are indeed
called for in the siddur.  One may speculate whether they were aware of the
historical Ashkenazi experience in these matters.

Oh yeah.  And as for standing/sitting during qiddush which started this thread,
naturally and as is proper,  I stand through the entire qiddush Friday night and
shabbos, only sitting to drink wine.   The reason is simple and compelling,  my
father - raised in Sighet - did so.   And presumably
his father before him, and so on through the doros until my great**125 or so
grandfather invited Moshe Rabbeinu to his tent on a shabbos and stood up through
the entire qiddush -  and I'm confident  MR nodded his approval.   Against that,
the s'voros of litvak pointy heads who discern a need for a separate ritual
contortion to establish something called "q'vius" (tzvai dinim? mir musn
"qoiveiah" und dernochdem  "essen"? [two legal categories? so we must establish
a place where we will subsequently eat? - MOD] - but what, we're
not all listening to qiddush together and sitting together eating? viz, if
it quacks like a duck etc.) have all the weight of a photon [i.e. zero - MOD]. 

Mechy Frankel



From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Wed, Jul 27,2011 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Nedarim and Chumrot

David Tzohar <davidtzohar@...> wrote (MJ 60#25):

> The first halacha of hilchot nedarim in the Shulchan Aruch says "Anyone who
> makes a vow, even though he fulfills it is called evil and a sinner".

The Gemara says someone who makes a neder is as though he built a bamah
[altar] and one who fulfils it is as though he offered up a sacrifice on it!
> However the Mechaber goes on to say that it is permitted to make a vow if
> the intent is to motivate one to do a mitzvah with more hiddur or to
> increase Torah learning. According to the SA the vow must be said out loud
> but according to later authorities if one repeats doing the hiddur three
> times he is "muchzak" (considered as if) he said the vow out loud.

The crucial point is that he must do the hiddur as a hiddur and not because
he thinks that it is halachically required. This is more or less explicitly
stated in the formula for hatarat nedarim printed in the siddurim.

> I have a question. Does this hold true when someone takes on a chumra
> (stringent observance of a minhag or halacha)? For instance someone who up
> till now has eaten meat according to the kashrut standard of the ReMA, and
> now wants to upgrade to the standard of the SA. If he eats glatt-chalak meat
> three times is it considered as if he made a vow? If so he would need
> hattarat nedarim (release of the vow by a bet din) in order to go back to
> his old minhag, In other words is being machmir tantamount to making vows?

This would depend on whether he was an Ashkenazi or a Sefardi. If the
former, he would be taking on a chumra and would need hatarat nedarim to
stop. If the latter, it would be a halachic obligation and he would not be
allowed to revert to Ashkenazi shechitah which would be tantamount to
neveilah for him.

Martin Stern

From: Gershon Dubin  <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Thu, Jul 28,2011 at 12:01 AM
Subject: Nedarim and Chumrot

Apparently you started the laws of nedarim in Shulchan Aruch but didn't get far
enough.  Your scenario is treated in 214:1;  the conclusion there is that if a
person is aware that the item is permitted, but wishes to be machmir, this is
considered a neder and requires hataras nedarim.  If he thinks it's forbidden
and abstains accordingly, it does not require hatara.



From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Thu, Jul 28,2011 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Praying Towards Jerusalem

Abe Brot wrote (MJ 60#25):

> If you have a globe handy, stretch a string from New York to Jerusalem, and
> you will see the direction of the "Jerusalem Meridian".
> This concept is not new. Many people (including myself) advocate praying
> along the great-circle-route that goes through Jerusalem. 

I once did exactly as Abe recommends. I brought my globe into our Rabbi's shiur,
stuck pins into our location and Jerusalem, and stretched a string between the
two pins. Of course the string took the route northeast from our location
(northern New Jersey) and turned southeast in northern Europe. My effort was
intended to convince everyone that the location of our Aron Kodesh
(north-northeast) was not completely improper.

My question:

What is the halacha concerning which direction to face when the shul Aron Kodesh
is not exactly (or even approximately) at the right orientation? I have always
been under the impression that the AK trumps the geographic reality, and in a
shul one faces the AK. Is this wrong? Most shuls here in the US, when being
built, try to place the AK on the east wall. However, due to the exigencies of a
particular site this is not always possible; for example, if the entrance door
to the building is on the east wall. Moreover, in almost all cases, the site is
not aligned with the geographic grid, so that one cannot be so precisely
oriented. (A possible exception: Here in northern New Jersey a major new
synagogue "complex" with three separate chapels side-by-side has recently been
completed on a site which is large enough to have oriented the structure in any
direction. I believe it is the case that all of the chapels are aligned with
their AKs oriented northeast! I will attempt to verify if this is the case and
if it was deliberate.)

I recall one weekday minyon some years ago when a young man visiting from Israel
turned to our east wall to daven the amidah. Not wishing to embarrass a visitor,
I said nothing to him, but I thought he was in violation of three precepts: 

1. "al tifrosh min hatzibur" (do not separate yourself from the congregation),

2. he was turned away from our Aron Kodesh, and 

3. he was actually facing east/southeast, the wrong direction to Jerusalem (by
my and Abe's reckoning). 

Who was right?

Anyway, we are now building a new shul; the AK will be on that "east" wall.
Hopefully, everyone will be happy.

Bernie R.


End of Volume 60 Issue 26