Volume 60 Number 58 
      Produced: Tue, 10 Jan 2012 14:25:03 EST

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

"Drumming" on Shabbos 
    [Carl Singer]
Dairy after Meat, Meat after Dairy -- and sleep 
    [Richard Steinberger]
Le'olam yehei adam - first and foremost be a mentsch 
    [Steven Oppenheimer]
The Case of the Bumbling Baal Keriah 
    [Orrin Tilevitz]
Women singing (6)
    [Irwin Weiss  Yisrael Medad  Mark Steiner  Martin Stern  Martin Stern  Richard Steinberger]


From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Sun, Jan 8,2012 at 08:01 PM
Subject: "Drumming" on Shabbos

There are many discussions / opinions about clapping hands on Shabbos.
This past Friday evening, a new twist arose.

One of our balabatim [members of our congregation --Mod.] was shaliach tzibor for 
Kabbalos Shabbos [led the prayer service on Friday evening as we welcomed Shabbos 
--Mod.] and he started a lively tune for L'cho Dodi -- and he started drumming on 
the shulchan (which happens to be a cabinet, thus quite resonant).   His
drumming (as I characterize it) was with both palms and fists on the shulchan
throughout L'cho Dodi -- quite rhythmic and loud.  If one hadn't been
looking they might have mistaken the sound for bongo drums.

I thought this might come under a prohibition of musical instruments.  Any

Carl Singer


From: Richard Steinberger <richardlouis@...>
Date: Sun, Jan 8,2012 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Dairy after Meat, Meat after Dairy -- and sleep

Carl Singer wrote (MJ 60#56):

> So after a hearty fleischig chulent you fall sound asleep. When you wake
> X minutes later may you now eat a bowl of dairy ice cream?
> What are the halachic and practical responses to the above?
> BTW -- when I wake, I want more chulent :).

Funnily enough, this topic was discussed at our shiur this morning. Apparently,
this question is discussed by the Imrei Emes (or the Sefas Emes), who suggests
that sleeping at night may reduce the time required to wait after meat to eat
dairy. The questions we had at the shiur were "How long do you have to sleep and
does sleeping during the day count?" We then digressed onto what is the reason
and our medical participants were not really able to suggest a reason such as
changes in metabolism rates during sleep.

Richard Steinberger


From: Steven Oppenheimer <steven.oppenheimer@...>
Date: Sun, Jan 8,2012 at 08:01 PM
Subject: Le'olam yehei adam - first and foremost be a mentsch

The news these last few weeks about some people spitting at little girls,
calling women *zonot* (whores), physically attacking other people and
throwing stones at them is disconcerting to say the least.

The last Rashi in Parashat Yitro discusses why there needed to be a ramp
going up to the mizbeach (altar) and not stairs.  The Torah tells us "*lo
tigaleh ervatcha alav*" - your nakedness should not be exposed to it (the
stairs leading to the altar).  Rashi explains that by lengthening one's
stride in order to climb stairs one reveals one's ervah (genital area) to
the stairs.  But, continues Rashi, it isn't really revealing one's ervah
because the Kohanim wore pants under their tunics.  Nevertheless, the
result of lengthening one's stride is as if one were revealing his ervah.
And this is showing disrespect to the stone stairs.  Rashi continues that
if we are taught to be sensitive to the "feelings" of an inanimate object
such as stone stairs, how much more so must we be careful how we treat
people - for people are created in G-d's image and they do have feelings
and can be hurt by the way others act towards them.

When we accidentally drop a siddur or a sefer, we kiss the sefer.  Does the
siddur (sefer) feel anything?  Clearly the act of kissing the siddur is
meant to inculcate within us a sensitivity that should translate into the
respect we need to show to another human being.

If we are concerned about an inanimate object that has no feelings, how
could we possibly disrespect another person created in G-d's holy image?

The Mishnah Berurah writes (549:1) that those people who fast on a fast day
but do not spend their time contemplating their behavior and doing teshuva
seize the unimportant and neglect the main lesson (*tafsu hatafel vehinichu
ha'ikar*).  G-d does not look at our outside appearance but examines our
behavior (regarding the people of Ninveh it is written, "And G-d saw their
deeds" - not their sackcloth and their fasting).

How could a G-d fearing person spit at a little girl, call a Jewish woman a
harlot, attack and throw stones at another Jew or call Jewish policemen
Nazis?  We are all created in G-d's image. *Deracheha darchei no'am* - the
ways of the Torah are pleasant.

Some of us need to relearn the above lesson.

Steven Oppenheimer, D.M.D.


From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Sun, Jan 8,2012 at 12:01 AM
Subject: The Case of the Bumbling Baal Keriah

May, or must, a competent and prepared baal keriah who is a stranger offer to
take over from a baal keriah who is neither competent nor prepared when it seems
that nobody else in the shul is prepared to layn? If so, how and when?

A couple of weeks ago, on holiday I found myself Shabbat morning in a small shul
-- perhaps 35 men and 25 women -- in a wealthy permanent community that shall
remain nameless. I knew nobody and nobody knew me. The gabbai had heretofore not
acknowledged my existence (and indeed never did). As soon as the layning began,
it became obvious that the baal keriah was grossly unprepared. He had a chumash
open next to him, and glanced at it before layning each verse. Predictably, what
he layned bore little relationship to the printed text. People were yelling out
corrections left and right -- although they missed some -- and the trop was
invented. Perhaps worse, he did not seem to understand what he was reading: for
example, the last words of shishi are "Vayomar, Elohim yochnicha b'ni." He read
it as "Vayomer aleihem yochnicha b'ni." Nobody stopped him, so I went up to
point out the error quietly. He then reread it (as the first verse of the next
aliya) as "Vayomer Elohim, yochnicha b'ni."

The baal keriah appeared to me to be functioning as the community's rabbi. He
was the only person in the room with a hat and a suit; and indeed, aside from my
white shirt, all the other males were dressed casually.

I have layned Mikketz perhaps 35 times (and have layned essentially every
Shabbat for the last 25 years), and even so prepare the layning each year; I
have no doubt that I could have layned accurately, if not (particularly given
jet lag) perfectly.

My rabbi in Brooklyn says that I should have offered to layn as soon as I
realized this fellow was unprepared. Is this right? I was concerned about
embarrassing the baal keriah.

BTW, to my knowledge this was the only minyan within hundreds of miles, so
davening elsewhere was no option.



From: Irwin Weiss <irwin@...>
Date: Wed, Jan 4,2012 at 09:01 PM
Subject: Women singing

On this topic, I have two semi-rhetorical questions:

Did Moshe Rabbenu and the B'nai Yisrael who fled from Egypt at the Yam Suf hear
Miriam and the women singing?

Since we are to regard ourselves as if we went out from Egypt, did we too hear
the women singing?

Irwin Weiss
Baltimore, MD

From: Yisrael Medad <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Thu, Jan 5,2012 at 02:01 AM
Subject: Women singing

In MJ 60#57, Stuart Pilichowski writes:

> Why have *we* gone le-chumra / overboard strict?

As in the classic Lone Ranger/Tonto joke: "what do you mean *we*?"

In any case, the sociological response would be: when a group feels
threatened, it increases mutually shared restrictive behavior for reasons
of internal mobilization as well as protecting the flock.
Yisrael Medad

From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Thu, Jan 5,2012 at 04:01 AM
Subject: Women singing

In fairness to R. Elyakim Levanon, what he said was that COERCING a
religious soldier to listen to women singing by a military order is SHMAD
(forced apostasy), and in a period of shmad even minor transgressions and
even minor matters of Jewish attire must be complied with to the death.

Thus, discussions of the nature of the prohibition to hear women singing are
not to the point here.  The commander in chief of the Israeli Defense forces
has actually issued such an order--religious soldiers cannot be excused from
listening to female singers at official ceremonies.

Whether R. Elyakim was wise in making such a statement is perhaps not a
topic for this discussion.

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, Jan 5,2012 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Women singing

Stuart Pilichowski wrote (MJ 60#57):

> I thought a woman's voice was an issue only when it can be heard while reading
> Shma according to some opinions.
> Why have we gone le-chumra / overboard strict?

Stuart has confused two issues regarding women singing. A man is permitted
to hear one's mother, daughter and other immediate relatives sing (for a
definitive ruling ask your LOR) and also his wife except when she is niddah.
This hetter [leniency] does not apply while saying Shema. As regards other
women the prohibition is not restricted.

Martin Stern

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, Jan 5,2012 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Women singing

Frank Silbermann wrote (MJ 60#57):

> Does "voice" necessarily imply singing, or did Chazal suggest it would be
> better for him to die than even to hear her speech from behind the wall?
> Is it possible that the overpowering attraction that the man already had
> for the woman had anything to do with the advice?

Generally speaking "a woman's voice is sexually exciting" has always been
understood to refer to singing and not to ordinary speech. In the case of a
woman for whom a man has an overpowering attraction, there might be room to
argue that even listening to her speak might be prohibited.
> Are there no other points of view in the Talmud that might moderate
> this stance?  (For example, is there not something about a man who
> lets a woman drown, so as not to have to touch her, being a pious fool?)

Certainly one may have physical contact with a woman in order to save her
from drowning, but I can't think of any situation where one could save her
life by listening to her sing.

Martin Stern

From: Richard Steinberger <richardlouis@...>
Date: Sun, Jan 8,2012 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Women singing

The question of women singing is complex and there are diverse opinions, so each
person should go according to his mesora and/or Rov. My mesora (Minhag
Ashkenaz) allows women singing together with men, the reason being that "more
than one voice cannot be heard separately" (that's the literal translation of the
Hebrew expression). This may be considered a Kulah (leniency), but at least we
are consistent, and the corollary is another Halocho where we go LeChumra
(stringency), namely, how many Aveilim (mourners) say Kaddish at once.
Because of the principle that "more than one voice cannot be heard separately,"
only one Aveil is allowed to say Kaddish at a time. This generates a whole system
of who has precedence, which is discussed at length in Halocho. This latter
halocho was the subject of a blog on Minhagei Ashkenaz. See


Richard Steinberger


End of Volume 60 Issue 58