Volume 60 Number 32 
      Produced: Tue, 30 Aug 2011 06:49:33 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Anonymity (2)
    [Martin Stern  Guido Elbogen]
Does Halacha require a person to make up a minyan? (3)
    [Carl Singer  Chaim Casper  Nachum Binyamin Klafter, MD]
Giving food to someone who said they couldn't feed their children  
    [Art Werschulz]
Kavod HaTorah 
    [Martin Stern]
    [Akiva Miller]
Public expression of mourning on Shabbat Chazon (3)
    [Chaim Casper  Akiva Miller  Baruch J. Schwartz]
Rabbainu Tam Teffilin 
    [Menashe Elyashiv]
Tzedakah (3)
    [Chaim Casper  Martin Stern  Art Werschulz]


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 30,2011 at 06:01 AM
Subject: Anonymity

Kenneth Ryesky <khresq@...> wrote (MJ 60#31):

> Having stated this, I hasten to note that in some communities and
> social circles the price of standing behind one's opinions can be
> steeper than in others.  As has been amply demonstrated, some people
> with opinions that do not tow the party line 100% actually do run the
> serious risk of having their children expelled from yeshiva, having
> the tires of their car slashed, having their windows broken and
> having their houses burnt down.

I was so surprised by this last statement that I contacted Ken offline and
he gave me the following URLs to a shocking incident:




I hope that this is very much an isolated case and not symptomatic of
anything more general. The worst that has happened to me was that I was
chucked out of my shul and guards were put at the door to stop me entering.
The trouble is that if we do not confront these bullies they will only
progress to worse things. The words of (the German Lutheran) Pastor
Niemoller spring to mind:

"When they [the Nazis y"sh] came for the Jews, I said nothing because I was
not a Jew. When they came for the Communists, I said nothing because I was
not a Communist. When they came for the Trades Unionists, I said nothing
because I was not a Trades Unionist. When they came for the Catholics, I
said nothing because I was not a Catholic. When they came for me, there was
nobody left to say anything."

Martin Stern

From: Guido Elbogen <havlei.h@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 30,2011 at 06:01 AM
Subject: Anonymity

Batya Medad <ybmedad@...> wrote (MJ 60#31):

>  Halachikly it's on a much higher level than those who throw 
> out words, whether as writers/blogger orcommenting on what 
> others write.

Halachikly? Do you have a source?

Halachikly it's on a much higher level? Either its halacha or not. 
There are no levels. Chumras are a different matter.

> In terms of Hilchot Lashon Haraa, when talking about a person, 
> leaving out the name is considered worse than using a name.


> That's because those who hear the story start wondering who it
> is, toying with all sorts of possibilities. That wondering, going 
> through a list in the mind makes it worse.

For whom?

> And in terms of the anonymous letter write or commenter, 
> some people would try to guess who it is, which can cause 
> the same sort of halachik problems.

Who cares if ploni alomi or anonymous is the real name of a 
commentator who lives out in the forests of Montana?

If you are at a table in a wedding hall where all seated are 
discussing some issue, would you demand to know the
name of each person offering an opinion?

IMHO, only a recognized authority should be required to 
identify as a validation of that authority to express an opinion.

As far as LH there is no difference if the person involved is named 
specifically or can be identified by subtle hints.

Where the person can not be identified, such as "Someone stole 
$500 from the Shul" there is no LH.

Etiquette is the usual reason for identification, but if possible 
repercussions are not desirable then anomity is not de rigueur, 
halachically or civilly.


From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Mon, Aug 29,2011 at 07:01 PM
Subject: Does Halacha require a person to make up a minyan?

Let me pose a different scenario -- one that actually happened a few months  

We have 8 people in the shule and it's two minutes before the scheduled  
zman for mincha. There are 2 people learning our bais medresh on another 
floor. I went to them and told them that we have 8 and that mincha is about 
to  begin. They do not respond and they do not join us. We begin mincha a 
few minutes  late after two other people arrive.

Let's presume that there are no issues of membership, etc., is it any different 
if the two people who were learning upstairs are not members of the shule  
-- they were only taking advantage of our library.


From: Chaim Casper <surfflorist@...>
Date: Mon, Aug 29,2011 at 07:01 PM
Subject: Does Halacha require a person to make up a minyan?

If I remember correctly, the Ra"N holds you only need three who haven't
davened to be over lifnei ha-teivah [start public prayers].    RaSh"I held 
only one (the shaliah tzibbur himself) needs to not have davened.  I assume 
they mean that if the designated shaliah tzibbur can entice a response from 
the others in the beit midrash.   On the other hand, R' Sperling in Sefer 
Ta'amei Minhagim requires six to join together to daven (minus the divrei 

L'ma'aseh, I remember at the yeshiva (YU) that it was common practice for
someone who missed davening to say out loud yishtabah-borkhu or do a
hatzi-k'dushah and people would respond.   I once mentioned this to R'
Hershel Cohen, zt"l, the associate rabbi at Lincoln Square, and he said
"Don't do that here."   There are certain parameters that one follows that
may or may not be minhag hamakom.    They either are or are not done.

Chaim Casper
North Miami Beach, FL

From: Nachum Binyamin Klafter, MD  <doctorklafter@...>
Date: Mon, Aug 29,2011 at 07:01 PM
Subject: Does Halacha require a person to make up a minyan?

See Chayei Adam 29:3, 33:2, and 34:6, where there are discussions about 
activities which are prohibited before dovenning shacharit, mincha, and 
ma'ariv (respectively).  The purpose of these prohibitions are to prevent 
people from missing dovenning.  This even includes even learning Torah. 
There are numerous factors upon which these prohibitions are contingent, 
including whether there is a regular time for minyan later in the day that 
everyone attends.

My understanding is that in the case you have described, all things being 
equal, yes they are required to doven at that time, but not primarily in 
order to assist in making the minyan, but simply because they have not 
dovenned yet.

If, however, there is a regular time for mincha, for example at 5:30pm every 
day, and this group of people wants to doven an an earlier unscheduled time 
such as 4:00pm, then I think that the people sitting around and learning are 
entitled to doven at the regularly scheduled time of 5:30pm.  I do not think 
they are required to interrupt their learning or other activities in order 
to help people doven at an earlier, unscheduled time.  I think they are 
entitled to doven at the regular later time according to their original 

Nachum Klafter


From: Art Werschulz <agw@...>
Date: Mon, Aug 29,2011 at 08:01 PM
Subject: Giving food to someone who said they couldn't feed their children 

Carl Singer <carl.singer@...> writes (MJ 60#31):

> I was once in a pizza shop when someone asked for money for food -- the
> shopkeeper was none to happy and made some comments about this person's
> drinking problem -- I offered to buy the man a slice of pizza rather than risk 
> giving him money for liquor.  So I did NOT give him the benefit of the doubt -- 
> but who knows?

A number of years back, I was approached by a beggar in NY Penn Station, who called out to me "Hey, 
Moishe!" (not my Hebrew name).  At any rate, he was a Jewish beggar who asked for money for food.  Also 
fearing that he would use the money for drugs or alcohol, I took him to a shop and bought him some 
kosher baked goods.  I guess that was the best way to handle the situation.

Art Werschulz


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, Aug 29,2011 at 07:01 PM
Subject: Kavod HaTorah

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahillel@...> wrote (MJ 60#31):

> Martin Stern <md.stern@...> wrote (MJ 60#30):

>> Another occurrence that also disturbed me was where the shliach tsibbur,
>> when taking the Sefer Torah to the bimah [reading desk], made a detour so
>> that some individual should not have to trouble himself to move from his
>> place to kiss it.
>> These struck me as showing a slight lack of respect for the Sefer Torah and
>> I wonder what others think.
> I would say that this is not necessarily the case. It could be that the
> individual is handicapped in some way or would not be able to get to the
> Torah otherwise. Similarly, I have been in shuls where this is done so that
> the tzibbur can kiss (and show honor) to the Torah rather than trying to
> crowd the area around the amud if the Torah is taken there directly.

While it is a way of honouring the Torah by approaching it to kiss it, this
is not an absolute obligation. If someone is handicapped in some way or
would not be able to get to the Sefer Torah otherwise, then they simply do
not have to. Therefore it is not necessary to take the Sefer Torah to them
and doing so in effect indicates that they are considered more important
than it. 

Certainly kissing the Sefer Torah does not justify jostling others
to get near enough but, unfortunately, not many people are aware of this.

Martin Stern


From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 30,2011 at 12:01 AM
Subject: Kojel

Ben Katz wrote (MJ 60#29):

> The halacha is that anything that is nifsal may-achilat kelev
> (roughly translated as so disgusting even a dog wouldn't eat
> it) is not food. Bone dust is in this state according to everyone.

My understanding is that the bones are kosher for an entirely different reason.

I believe there is a great amount of misunderstanding about the kashrus status of gelatin, and I'd like to 
recommend the article "Getting into the Thick of Things - Gelatin" to everyone. It was written by Rabbi 
Avrohom Mushell, Kashrus Administrator of the Star-K, and is available on the Internet at 

On the topic of bones, here is an excerpt from that article:

"The question, 'do bones of a non-kosher animal carry the same prohibition as the meat', is discussed 
in Yoreh Deah (99). The Shulchan Aruch maintains that bones of a prohibited animal are kosher... The 
Shach quotes the strict view that the moisture in bones of non-kosher animals is not kosher. Only dry 
bones are viewed as kosher. Some rabbinic authorities interpret the collagen as being part of the natural 
liquid of the bone which the Shach prohibited.

"It should be noted that even the Shulchan Aruch was only talking about the actual bone itself not the 
marrow of the bone, which is treated as meat and is prohibited. Furthermore, if the bone was already 
cooked with non-kosher meat or bone-marrow, it becomes unkosher.

"As you may have deduced from the above information, if we were to produce gelatin from a non-
kosher animal bone, this may only be done with cleaned and dried bone without any marrow or soft 
tissue. Rabbinic authorities note that one cannot assume that the manufacturers process alone will be 
pure enough to produce gelatin in a kosher manner. We should also take into account the opinions that 
the collagen in the bone is prohibited as part of the animals liquids. All things considered, one should 
refrain from consuming gelatin from a non-kosher animal. This indeed is the practice of most reputable 
kosher certifying organizations."

(end of excerpt)

I remember learning this halacha a long time ago, that the bones of a non-kosher animal are actually 
kosher, and I was very surprised by it. But this permission comes from the Torah itself. After the Torah 
explains the differences between kosher animals and non-kosher ones, Leviticus 11:8 tells us, 
regarding the non-kosher animals, "You will not eat of their flesh." Rashi explains: "We are warned 
about their flesh, but not about the bones, sinews, horns and hooves."

This helps us understand that on the one hand, why it is theoretically possible to make kosher gelatin 
from pig bones. But on the other hand, it is very difficult to do so in actual practice. It would require 
making sure that the bones are totally clean of any meat, or marrow, or even any fat or other moisture 
of the pig. The bone itself is kosher, but not any of that other stuff. The bone would have to be so clean 
that the cost would be prohibitive.

Akiva Miller


From: Chaim Casper <surfflorist@...>
Date: Mon, Aug 29,2011 at 08:01 PM
Subject: Public expression of mourning on Shabbat Chazon

This same question came up this year in another venue.   I responded:

"I know that Habad [and other hasidic groups] uses a regular melody and not
the Eli Zion melody.   That's because aveilut b'farhesia (public morning) is
forbidden on Shabbat.  Eli Zion connotes a mourning situation.   So if one uses 
it one Shabbat, one would be violating the aveilut b'farhesia concept.  So they 
use any regular tune.

"However, I have never been to an Ashkenazic community where they don't
use the Eli Zion tune for Lekha Dodi (I'm not saying they don't exist,
I'm just saying I have never been to such a community [and, in fact, someone
quoted Rav Shachter, shlit"a, as saying the Rav used this tune at his
shul{s, i.e. Onset and Maimonides}]).   Even though it may be aveilut
b'farhesia, the fact is we are in the nine days, just before Tisha B'Av so
of course we are not as happy as we could be or should be."

One person responded to me Martin's point, that those who bring in Shabbat
early can justify singing Lekhah Dodi to the tune of Eli Zion because at the
time they sing Lekhah Dodi, it is still technically a weekday and hence
aveilut b'farhesia would not apply.   But those who daven b'zman will wind up
singing Lekhah Dodi to the tune of Eli Zion AFTER shkiah which can be argued
as being Shabbat even though they have not yet said either Mizmor Shir L'yom
HaShabbat or Borkhu.   Can we be melamed zekhut on their behalf?

A bigger question would be how can some places use the Eli Zion tune for
Kale Adon?  That plus the Eikhah tune for the haftarah would certainly
constitute aveilut b'farhesia on Shabbat.   And what about those communities
that use the Eikhah tune for birkat hahodesh for Menahem Av (which occurs in
Tamuz).   Isn't that aveilut b'farhesia?  So can we melamed zekhut for these

So the answer that someone offered to me is that we use the Eikhah tune and
the Eli Zion tune on Shabbat because it has become part of our nusah
(liturgy).  These tunes set the mood of the time of the year.  Just like the
tune for yontiff davening, for yamim noraim davening, for kol nidrei,
neilah, the five megillot, etc. all set the mood for those happy times, so,
too, do the Eikhah and Eli Zion tunes set the mood of the season for us.
Also note that some places sing B'nei veitkha on Yom Tov to a version of Eli
Zion (u'mipnei hataeinu...)!   They broadcast to the world by using a
special tune/motif that the time is now to contemplate the destruction of
the beit hamikdash and to focus on how we can correct our ways that caused
that hurban in the first place.

May we merit to be the generation that rebuilds the beit hamikdash speedily
in our day.

Chaim Casper
North Miami Beach, FL

From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 30,2011 at 12:01 AM
Subject: Public expression of mourning on Shabbat Chazon

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 60#31):

> Once again this year on Shabbat Chazon, some people have
> raised objections to singing Lecha Dodi to the tune of Eli
> Tsion because they claim it violates the prohibition on
> displaying mourning practices publicly on Shabbat. I feel
> they are incorrect for several reasons.

The best article I have found on this topic appeared on these very pages, in Mail-Jewish 25#64, in January 
1997, written by Baruch J. Schwartz. His arguments are similar to Mr. Stern's, but there are about three 
times as many of them.

You can read it in full simply by clicking on:

Akiva Miller

From: Baruch J. Schwartz <schwrtz@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 30,2011 at 04:01 AM
Subject: Public expression of mourning on Shabbat Chazon

Martin Stern (MJ 60#30) notes:
> Once again this year on Shabbat Chazon, some people have raised 
> objections to singing Lecha Dodi to the tune of Eli Tsion".

I covered this topic quite comprehensively in my submission to MJ 25:64, August 30, 1996 entitled "Tisha 
B'Av Cantillation on Shabbat". This can be accessed through the MJ archives or my writing to me at 
<schwrtz@...> A Hebrew version is also available. 

Baruch J. Schwartz


From: Menashe Elyashiv <Menashe.Elyashiv@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 30,2011 at 02:01 AM
Subject: Rabbainu Tam Teffilin

A few men in our minyan wear the 2 sets together. However, those who don't 
change sets after the half Kaddish following tahanun (or the full Kaddish 
following (today's) Rosh Hodesh Hallel). What we did so that those who 
change would not miss Ashrei etc., and to avoid changing during the 
Hazarat Hashats , is to stop for 120 seconds, and someone reads one or two 
halachot. However, there are always some men that are so impatient, that 
they rush through Shemone Esrei, and change, disturbing others. This 
is not correct, because, and I don't have the source here, one says 2 
Keddushot with the Rashi set, and 1 Keddusha with the R"T set, 3 Kaddish 
with each set  ( The Kaddish division is @ minhag sefarad).


From: Chaim Casper <surfflorist@...>
Date: Mon, Aug 29,2011 at 07:01 PM
Subject: Tzedakah

Martin concluded (MJ 60#31) with a cute true story.   Allow me to offer 2 
similarly cute true stories in return.

My wife and I were once walking down Rehov Allenby in Tel Aviv when a
mevakesh saw my kippah, heard me speaking (American) English and assumed
that I was a prime candidate to make a contribution to his worthy cause.   I
only had a 10 shekel piece in my pocket, so I asked him to give me 8
shekalim change.  He looked at me and said, "Keep it--you need it more than

As gabbai at my shul, I am "the enforcer" to ask the mevakshim to stand by
the door to ask people as they enter and exit the room; they are not allowed
to walk around the room during davening to ask for a donation.   So I
stopped one man.   He said to me, very irritatedly, "BUT I AM NOT A
SHNORRER!"    I politely and respectfully responded, "I did not say your were
a shnorrer.   I merely said that our custom is that the mevakshim stand by
the door.   But please do not walk around during davening."   He turned
around and stormed out of the shul!   I guess he felt the other shuls in the
neighborhood would be better pickins.

Chaim Casper
North Miami Beach, FL

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, Aug 29,2011 at 07:01 PM
Subject: Tzedakah

Susan D. Kane <suekane@...> wrote (MJ 60#31):

> (2)  What are some general rules around tsedakah if you have debt?  My
> understanding is that everyone must give at least a token amount, but
> beyond that, if taking 10% of your after-tax income means that you cannot
> pay creditors, which obligation comes first?
> I've read a few things on this topic, but most of them deal with people
> who have *significant* extra income.
> ....
> Let's say, for example, that you need to pay your child's college tuition.
> There is no way to pay it and also to pay 10% of your income to tsedakah
> that year.  Should you ... go into debt in order to pay tuition so that
> you can pay tsedakah?
> ....
> But everyone else runs much closer to the bottom line, such that 10% of
> their income may very well cut into a modern understanding of basic needs.
> How does one calculate one's obligation in that case?

While ma'aser kesafim (giving 10% to tsedakah) is a laudable practice, it is
not obligatory and so one is not obliged to undertake it if that means one
cannot meet one's basic needs. It is certainly not required to go into debt
to do so. Conversely those who have a larger surplus of income over
expenditure are encouraged to give more than 10% and even the upper limit of
20% may be relaxed for the really wealthy.

Martin Stern

From: Art Werschulz <agw@...>
Date: Mon, Aug 29,2011 at 08:01 PM
Subject: Tzedakah

Chaim Casper writes (MJ 60#31):

> Consider also, if you would, the custom of giving tzedakah during hazarat
> hashats.   On one hand, the mehaber paskins that we should give tzedakah
> before the start of davening while the Sha"Kh suggests giving tzedakah when
> we say the pasuk, "v'ha'osher v'hakavod milfanekhah v'atah moshel
> bakol....."    Yet the closest thing I have seen to a universal custom for
> tzedakah is that a representative of the kehilah goes around collecting
> during hazarat hashats.

When I've attended the JEC morning minyan (Elizabeth NJ), I seem to remember that a representative of the 
qehilah (usually a youngster) goes around collecting at "v'ha'osher v'ha'qavod".

Art Werschulz


End of Volume 60 Issue 32