Volume 60 Number 69 
      Produced: Tue, 13 Mar 2012 10:28:11 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

App. for Laining 
    [Abe Brot]
Gadlu and Facing the Aron Kodesh (2)
    [Martin Stern  Jack Wechsler]
Metzitza b'peh 
    [Ben Katz]
Mi Shebayrakh for the ill 
    [Chaim Casper]
Silent mi shebeirachs 
    [Joel Rich]


From: Abe Brot <abe.brot@...>
Date: Tue, Mar 6,2012 at 01:01 PM
Subject: App. for Laining

Stephen Phillips wrote (MJ 60#68):

> 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
> vav.

I checked my tikun published by KTAV in 1946, which I have been using since
my bar-mitzvah in 1952. Sure enough, it says "ve-et krassov" instead of "et

Where do I get my money back?

Seriously, I have many examples of extra letters, missing letters and even
extra words in old Sifrei Torah that were written before the era of
computer checks. Apparently the task of proof-reading a Sefer Torah is so
difficult that many errors were never spotted until they began using
computer checks.

Avraham Brot


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, Mar 6,2012 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Gadlu and Facing the Aron Kodesh

Steven Oppenheimer wrote (MJ 60#68):
> 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....

I believe the custom is to bow at the word Gadlu and then raise the Sefer
Torah when saying the concluding phrase Uneromema Shemo Yachdav.

> 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
> Aron.

>From his comments, it is clear that that congregation left the doors of the
Aron open until after the Shat"z descended from it to take the Sefer Torah
to the bimah [reading desk].

In some congregations the custom is to shut the Aron immediately after
removing the Sefer Torah. In that case the Shat"z is bowing to its closed
doors, an action which seems to make absolutely no sense whatsoever. Can anyone 
find any way to justify this strange custom (which I have seen on innumerable

Martin Stern

From: Jack Wechsler <wechsler@...>
Date: Tue, Mar 6,2012 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Gadlu and Facing the Aron Kodesh

In the shul in which I grew up in England (Stamford Hill), the chazan used to
bow down to the aron at Gadlu LaShem Iti and then raise the sefer torah
upwards at the reciting of Uneromema Shemo Yachdav.

A freilichen Purim to all!

Jack Wechsler 


From: Ben Katz <BKatz@...>
Date: Fri, Mar 9,2012 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Metzitza b'peh

In M-J V60#68, Dr. Steven Oppenheimer wrote:
> 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."

Metzizah bapeh is unsanitary and was recognized as such by French physicians over 
200 years ago.  The fact that we are still arguing about this shows that there is 
something wrong with some branches of Orthodoxy as it is currently practiced.  The 
Talmud was incorrect stating that it has health benefits (there, I said it).  This 
reminds me, although it's of course not nearly as serious, as the people who 
repeat zecher amalek when reading Parashat Zachor despite the fact that every 
Orthodox scholar (eg M Breuer, S Leiman) who has examined the issue has shown that 
it is baseless AND that it might lead to an error having people think that zecher 
(what is read second [by some --Mod.]) is correct.


From: Chaim Casper <surfflorist@...>
Date: Tue, Mar 6,2012 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Mi Shebayrakh for the ill

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 60#68):

> ...[W]hen I asked other people, they said that they also had difficulty
> hearing mi shebeirachs since gabbaim tend to say them in an undertone...Is
> there any reason why one would not want people to know for whom, and for what
> reason, a mi shebeirach is being made?

Rabbi Hershel Schachter, shlit"a, once told me that we say this tefilah quietly
because we don't want to advertise that ploni ben ploni is ill.  I took it to
mean that maybe the ill person doesn't want others to know he/she is ill or
perhaps we may be inviting the evil eye to increase the pain and miserable
feeling associated with being sick.  

We did not discuss if this applies only to an ill person or if it would also 
apply to a new mother whom I assume would not object to the community wishing 
her well, as everyone understands the healing period following a birth.  

Now I would point out that the above applies in a community where the
mitpallelim (those in attendance who are praying) are paying attention.  My
issue is that too many people use this break in davening as a shmoozing period
and hence do not pay enough attention to answer "amen."   And unfortunately, 
this even applies to people who, the minute they give me the name of their sick
friend/relative, start up a chatter even while the mi shebayrakh prayer is being
said; they don't wait until I have finished the prayer so they could say amen to
a praying wishing their sick friend a complete and speedy recovery. 

Another issue relating to this mi shebayrakh prayer is why do we use the name of
the mother when we pray for an ill person (child ben/bat mother)?   Every other
time we refer to a person, we always use child ben/bat father.  I have been
given two reasons through the years: 

A) Rabbi Shlomo Riskin said the mother has more rahamim (mercy) in her than the
father, so we are using that merciful connection in an attempt to get God to
show mercy on the ill person.

B) Rabbi David Lehrfield said there is always an (outside) chance the child may
have another father other than the father in his name.   Therefore, if we are
asking God for mercy on this sick person, we want to make sure we have the right
parent's name connected to this sick person.

Has anyone ever heard of another reason why we use the mother's name instead of 
the father's name in a mi shebayrakh prayer? 

Best wishes for a Purim Sameah, 
Chaim Casper
North Miami Beach, FL


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Tue, Mar 6,2012 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Silent mi shebeirachs

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 60#68):
> Is there any reason why one would not want people to know for whom, and for
> what reason, a mi shebeirach is being made?

Yes, but from all those I have asked it appears to be a social one which seems
somewhat  halachically misplaced - since the general value of a mi sheberach (in
addition to giving tzedaka which could be done without a public announcement) is
to get others to specifically  pray for the sick individual.

Joel RIch


End of Volume 60 Issue 69