Volume 60 Number 68 
      Produced: Tue, 06 Mar 2012 10:18:06 EST

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

App. for laining? 
    [Stephen Phillips]
Gadlu and Facing the Aron Kodesh 
    [Steven Oppenheimer]
Metzitza b'peh 
    [Steven Oppenheimer]
Purim Torah  (2)
    [Marshall Gisser]
Silent mi shebeirachs 
    [Martin Stern]


From: Stephen Phillips <admin@...>
Date: Mon, Mar 5,2012 at 08:01 AM
Subject: App. for laining?

Shimon Lebowitz wrote (MJ 60#67):

> Not exactly, but there is a PDF available of the classic tikun
> from my childhood:
> http://download.hebrewbooks.org/downloadhandler.ashx?req=50656

> This copy even has a correction that mine (from my bar mitzva) is missing:
> on page 8, Bereishit 8:4 was originally written by the sofer as "vatanach
> tateiva" with a tav instead of a heh on the second word. That is how mine
> appears, but the pdf has it corrected.

It does, however, have the same error that I have seen in many of the older
Tikunei Sofrim, including the one I studied from for my Bar Mitzvah. Have a
look at Pareshas Vayakhel, Exodus 35:11, and see if you can spot the extra

Stephen Phillips.


From: Steven Oppenheimer <steven.oppenheimer@...>
Date: Mon, Mar 5,2012 at 09:01 PM
Subject: Gadlu and Facing the Aron Kodesh

While visiting family in NY this past Shabbat, I had the opportunity to
daven in a Manhattan Shul on Shabbat morning.  After the Sefer Torah was taken
out of the Aron Kodesh [Ark - MOD], the rabbi raised an interesting issue.  He
asked why, when the Sefer Torah has been removed from the Aron Kodesh, the
Shaliach Tzibbur (Shat"z), while reciting Gadlu LaShem Iti, turns to face
the Ark and bows to it.  The rabbi suggested this makes little sense since
he is inviting the congregation to praise HaShem along with him and since
the Shat"z is holding the Sefer Torah he should not turn around with his
back to the congregation.  He should face the congregation, and the people
should bow to the Torah.

Furthermore, said the rabbi, if the Aron Kodesh is empty, which it was,
since two Sifrei Torah were removed last Shabbat for Parashat Zachor, it
makes absolutely no sense to face the empty Aron Kodesh and bow to an empty

On the surface this seemed to be a reasonable point, so I looked into the
reason some places have the custom for the Shat"z to turn and face the Aron
Kodesh while reciting Gadlu LaShem.  It seems the custom has a strong
basis.  The verse Gadlu LaShem Iti Uneromema Shemo Yachdav (Tehillim
34:4) is comprised of six words.   These six words allude to the six steps
taken by the bearers of the Aron Brit HaShem [original Ark containing the
tablets with the 10 commandments given at Sinai - MOD] as is related in 
II Shmuel, 6:13 - "VaYehi Ki Tza'adu Nosei Aron HaShem Shisha Tza'adim [whenever
the bearers of the Aek walked six paces ... - MOD]". This is pointed out by
Tosfos in Megillah 32b, d.h. Golelo.

Since we are specifically referring to the Aron Kodesh, which occupies an
analogous position to the Aron of Moshe rabbeinu, it makes perfect
sense that we would face it when reciting Gadlu.  I would, therefore, suggest
that instead of characterizing this custom as making no sense, there seems to be
a Scriptural basis for the custom. Hanach Lahem LeYisrael, She'Im Einam Nevi'im,
Benei Nevi'im Hem [Even if the Jewish people are not prophets they are the
descendants of prophets - MOD].

Steven Oppenheimer, D.M.D.


From: Steven Oppenheimer <steven.oppenheimer@...>
Date: Mon, Mar 5,2012 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Metzitza b'peh

The most recent issue of the journal "Dialogue" (Winter 5772/2011-12)
features an article by Dr. Daniel S. Berman entitled, "Is Metzitza bePeh
Dangerous?"  Dr. Berman attempts to show that past criticism of Metzitzah
bePeh (MbP) is unwarranted.  He specifically criticizes the Hakirah article
written by Dr. Shlomo Sprecher in 2006 on the subject.  Dr. Sprecher had
serious concerns about the safety of MbP and presented an exhaustive review
of the literature that supported his concerns.  He also presented current
(until 2006) incidents that supported his reason to be concerned.

Dr. Berman in his Dialogue article rejects these concerns as well as the
concerns raised by the RCA in their 2005 statement on the subject.

It is interesting and instructive that an article just appeared (3/3/2012)
about another baby in Brooklyn who died in September 2011 from what is
being diagnosed as Herpes contracted from the Mohel who performed  MbP
during a bris that took place in Rockland County, NY (Monsey?).  The cause
of death was listed by the Medical Examiner as "disseminated herpes simplex
virus Type 1, complicating ritual circumcision with oral suction."

See the following:


Dr. Berman concludes his article by asking what would he do with his own

He states that at his grandson's bris (one year ago), the Mohel who was
suspected (in 2004) of having infected the 3 children who contracted the
Herpes virus, performed the bris and that the Mohel's son performed the
MbP.  Dr. Berman brings this to bolster his argument that MbP is really
safe.  If there is no inherent danger, I would ask why he had the Mohel's
son do the MbP and not the Mohel himself.  Apparently, Dr. Berman's
contention that the wine used during the Milah kills the virus or perhaps
the brief MbP contact is too brief to transmit the virus is not that
convincing even for Dr. Berman.

We perform the commandments because we firmly believe in HaShem and the
Torah way of life.  The need for MbP during the Bris ritual has been
accepted by some Rabbinic authorities and rejected by others.  We would
like to believe that no one will be harmed in the performance of a Mitzvah.
It is our obligation, however, to be aware of the Metzius (reality).  If
there is even a small chance that a Jewish baby may contract a virus as a
result of oral contamination and die (R"L), we must reassess what we are
doing and make modifications within the bounds of Halacha.  This is not a
new question and alternatives have already been sanctioned by great Poskim
of previous generations.  Future generations depend upon our vigilance.

Steven Oppenheimer, D.M.D.


From: Marshall Gisser <mgisser@...>
Date: Fri, Mar 2,2012 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Purim Torah 

See the current Jewishtimes that has a detailed 
presentation of the Purim story: 

From: Anonymous
Date: Sun, Mar 4,2012 at 07:01 AM
Subject: Purim Torah

Many years ago, in a far away country, there was a well known rabbi who
was consulted on all sorts of matters relating to the Jewish people. His
wise counsel was sought from people of all walks of life, and his
decisions were accepted by the community at large, as they understood
that his rulings and pronouncements were divinely inspired.

So when on a certain occasion he met with some parents of his students,
and a few mothers complained that their children were not making their
beds, he assured them that he would deal with the matter. That week, in
his public address to his students, he mentioned that the students
should always make sure to make their beds in the morning. When the
person transcribing the speech wrote up his review of the talk, he made
sure to emphasize the rabbi's intention. He wrote, The Rosh Yeshiva
today ruled that one is mchuyav [obligated -MOD] to make his bed in the morning.
Word spread fast. The halacha had been established: One was obligated to make
their bed.

Later that day, someone came to the Rosh Yeshiva and asked, I don't
have time to make my bed before I go to davening. By the time I get back
my mother is gone for the day so she doesn't think I make my bed, and
isn't pleased. What should I do? After hearing the answer that was
given, the halacha was suitably amended to say that the bed should be
made as soon as one gets up. One is mchuyav to make his bed in the
morning, as soon as he gets up.

The next day, he was approached by a bochur that wanted to know, When
you said as soon as he gets up, do you mean immediately - right when
one steps out of the bed - or is one allowed some time first? One isn't
required to do it immediately, he answered. So they modified the text
accordingly: One is mchuyav to make his bed in the morning, soon after
he gets up. How long soon after? he was immediately asked. How much
time exactly? 10-15 minutes, he replied, figuring that's a reasonable
amount of time. And so it was added: One is mchuyav to make his bed in
the morning, within 10-15 minutes from when he gets up. The bochurim
found this to be a satisfactory resolution, but unsurprisingly, it
resulted in some individuals insisting that it should be made by 10
minutes, and others saying it was fine to wait even 15 minutes. After
some time, they settled on an unofficial resolution by considering 10
minutes to be the first zman [fixed tme - MOD], and 15 minutes the second zman.
Things went along smoothly until one day a bochur came over and explained to
him a problem he had run into. My roommate doesn't like the way I make
my bed! He claims it's not really made! What do you mean?, asked the
Rosh Yeshiva. Well, he claims that for a bed to be considered made
the pillow needs to be on top and the sides need to be even or tucked
in, and I just lay out the cover on top, covering everything, however it
comes out. What should I do? The Rosh Yeshiva mulled this over for a
while, and replied: You're allowed to make it however your family does
it. What's acceptable to your mother (or father) is acceptable here.

Hakol kminhago [everyone according to his owm custom - MOD]. Once again the
halacha was adjusted accordingly: One is mchuyav to make his bed in the morning,
within 10-15 minutes from when he gets up. The manner of making the bed should
be done according to one's established minhag.

(Later that week when the bochurim went home for the weekend, many
parents were a bit mystified when they were asked by their sons, What
is the minhag of our family of how to make our beds? but they figured
it was all part of the tremendous spiritual growth they could see in
their young bnei torah [scholars - MOD].)

One morning a few weeks later, as shacharis was beginning, the Rosh
Yeshiva was notified about an argument that had broken out between 2
bochurim. Approaching their room, he heard loud shouting through the
closed door. As he entered, he found one of the bochurim vehemently
yelling at the other. Seeing him come in, the young man turned to him
and exclaimed loudly, Rebbe! I'm so glad you're here! I tried to get
him to make his bed but he wouldn't listen! He just ignored me, and now
it's 5 minutes after the zman, and look, his bed is still not made!

Before the Rosh Yeshiva had a chance to respond, the other bochur
quickly spoke up in his defense, That's not true. I only got out of bed
2 minutes ago! I still have 8 minutes until the zman!

Yes, he only got out of bed 2 minutes ago. But he woke up 20 minutes
ago! That means he should have made his bed 10 minutes ago!

It was clear that there needed to be some clarification: When the psak
was issued that a bed must be made 10-15 minutes after getting up, did
'after getting up' mean after waking up (msha'as kumuso) or did it
mean after getting out of bed (msha'as yitziaso)? At this point a
small crowd had gathered around the room and a vociferous discussion had
broken out. Everyone started buzzing, talking, sharing their thoughts of
why it meant this interpretation and not the other one. Realizing what
was happening, the Rosh Yeshiva put an abrupt stop to it all by loudly
demanding that everyone should immediately go to davening and they would
deal with it later on.

By lunchtime that day the Rosh Yeshiva had still not addressed the
burning issue and a fierce debate had already broken out in the halls of
the yeshiva. Even the rabbeim had gotten involved. Some felt that the
halacha had to mean from when a person got out of bed, because as they
explained, if it meant from when he woke up then the first thing he
would have to do upon awaking would be to look at his clock and remember
the time. But this can't be, because we all know that the first thing a
person must do when he wakes up is say 'modeh ani' and wash neigel
vasser. Therefore it must mean from when he gets out of bed. In spite
of this convincing logic others still held it was better to be machmir
[stringent - MOD] and go by from when a person wakes up and not to wait until he
gets out of bed. They pointed out that all that was needed to avoid the
above-mentioned conflict was to first say modeh ani, quickly wash his
hands, and then subtract 30 seconds from whenever he first looks at the
clock. But not all clocks have second hands on them, countered the
first opinion, and besides, it is too easy to forget the exact time
including the seconds. The machmirim had a ready response: Firstly,
someone who cares about the halacha properly can make sure to have a
clock with seconds on it, and secondly, he should also have a paper and
pen next to his clock so he can mark down the proper time, in order to
avoid the chance of forgetting it.

Seeing that positions had already been staked out in this dispute, the
Rosh Yeshiva decided not to voice his own opinion and instead told
everyone to go by whatever their rebbe held.

Unfortunately, this had the effect of causing a lot of machlokes [dispute - MOD]
in the school as some people didn't agree with their rabbeim, and resented
being forced out of their beds sooner than they preferred. The problems
were soon settled when a young illuy [genius - MOD] came up with an ingenious
solution. He pointed out that even though someone had woken up, if they had in
mind that they were sleeping it was like they actually were, since
machshava kma'ase [thought is like action - MOD]. Although his reasoning was
roundly rejected by many others, it satisfied those lazier bochurim and they let
the matter slide. No one was much surprised at their reaction, as these sorts of
students had already demonstrated their laxity of the halacha when it
was realized that they were deliberately getting dressed while remaining
in their beds, in order to give themselves more time until the zman of
when you get up would commence (according to the shita of msha'as

For a brief while the yeshiva had some complaints from bochurim who
wanted to switch rooms because their roommates were not keeping what
they felt was the right zman for making their beds. Already very
disturbed by the problems that the previous issue had caused and not
wanting to cause any more machlokes in the yeshiva, the Rosh Yeshiva
wisely dealt with the problem by declaring that if anyone was concerned
about another not making the zman, they were allowed to make the other
person's bed for them, as long as the first one had daas [intention - MOD] that
the other would be motzei him [act as his legal agent - MOD]. When asked if the
bed-making shliach [agent - MOD] also was required to have daas he replied that
it wasn't necessary because obviously if he was making it he had daas to do such
a thing. Despite his suggestion, it wasn't uncommon to hear bochurim loudly
reminding their roommates, Have in mind to be motzei so-and-so when making his 

Some months after the initial psak was issued, an enterprising bochur
started selling a unique clock that had a special alarm. The alarm would
wake you up, and when you pushed the proper button it would turn off and
ring 9 minutes later to remind you that you had 1 minute left to make
your bed. He actually also made a second one that gave you 14 minutes
instead of 9, but no one bought it since they felt it was better not to
be meikel.

Another issue that the yeshiva had to resolve was that according to the
opinions that one must make their beds from when they first woke up,
what was to be done if someone fell asleep again shortly after waking
up? After much learned discussion it was decided that falling back
asleep wasn't a problem, and the zman only started after the real, final
waking up. This was derived from the situation of if one woke up in the
middle of the night: Was he then obligated to make his bed shortly
after? For a brief time, some people in the yeshiva began to follow this
custom. But when the Rosh Yeshiva ruled that it wasn't necessary, they
understood from that that the zman only began after the last, real
waking up.

These events all occurred many, many years ago, and boruch Hashem
nowadays it isn't as heated an issue as it once was. Everyone
understands and accepts the principles of eilu v'eilu divrei Elokim
chaim [both opinions are the words of the living G-d - MOD], minhag avoseinu
byadeinu [following one's ancestral custom - MOD], baal nefesh yachmir [a person
who is careful about mitzvos should be stringent - MOD], and shomer
psaim Hashem [G-d takes care of people who know no better - MOD]. Each person
has their own traditions or chumros that they're entitled to follow or make up.
In addition, there have been many wonderful books written on this subject, most
recently Artscroll's splendid translation of Hilchos Ish UMitoso [Laws
applicable to a person and his bed - MOD], which sheds much light on this
subject for the average layman (also available in a laminated, newly type-set,
pocket edition that one can keep by their bed!).

However, legend has it that if you go to this yeshiva and poke in on
some of the rooms, you'll still occasionally find a bochur here and
there that tries to be extra zahir [meticulously careful - MOD] in this inyan
[matter - MOD] and  even on a cold winter night  will sleep on top of his
carefully made blanket so that he never will -- chas v'chalila! [G-d forbid - 
MOD] -- find his bed unmade past the proper zman!

Ratzah hakadosh baruch hu lzakos es yisroel, lfichach hirba lahem
torah umitzvos! [The Holy One blessed be He wished to give the Jewish people
extra opportunities to acquire merit -- He, therefore, increased for them the
Torah and the number of mitzvos (Makkot 3,16)!]

To receive a laminated, large print edition of the special tefila to say
before making your bed, please send a fax to 1-800-BE-ZAHIR with your
proper mailing address and we will be glad to send you one free of charge.
This publication is in memory of Masha Mushka bas Pesha Pushka o"h, who
was always careful never to have a bed unmade in her home. She was an
inspiration to us all.
Please do not read this publication in untzniyusdik places [places that breach
Jewish standards of modesty - MOD], before you daven, during chazaras hashatz,
in the middle of leining, during shiur or seder, while operating heavy
machinery, on the Internet, in the mikva, or while under the influence of daas
This publication is not intended to be used as a guide to practical
halacha. All halachic questions should be directed to your local
ultra-orthodox halachic authority.
The Internet is assur [verboten --Mod.].
Shkoyach [bravo --Mod.]!


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, Mar 5,2012 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Silent mi shebeirachs

Something very embarrassing happened to me last Shabbat. I went to a shalom
zachar [pre-circumcision celebration of the baby boy's birth/presence --Mod.] and 
after wishing the grandfather mazal tov, I said, "I suppose the
baby was born last night since you did not mention it when we met at the
chuppah yesterday". He replied "I made a mi shebeirach last Monday morning".
I had been there but had not noticed at the time.

At first I thought that the problem was just that my hearing has been
deteriorating but, when I asked other people, they said that they also had
difficulty hearing mi shebeirachs since gabbaim tend to say them in an
undertone. Often one does not know whether one was said for a choleh [sick person 
--Mod.] or a yoledet [new mother --Mod.] unless the oleh [person receiving the 
aliyah to the Torah reading --Mod.] gets a mazal tov, let alone the name of the 
person for whom it was said. From what others tell me, it is a common problem, not
just one in the shul I attend. Is it restricted to England or is this a
world-wide phenomenon?

Is there any reason why one would not want people to know for whom, and for
what reason, a mi shebeirach is being made?

Martin Stern


End of Volume 60 Issue 68