Volume 60 Number 95 
      Produced: Mon, 16 Jul 2012 17:31:52 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

A query regarding Rabbeinu Tam tefillin 
    [Martin Stern]
A Unique Iranian Custom? (2)
    [Joseph Kaplan]
Behavior in Shule 
    [Carl Singer]
Question re: Yekke Minhagim 
    [Carl Singer]
Seating etiquette (4)
    [Joseph Kaplan  Harry Weiss  Martin Stern  Martin Stern]
Silent shliach tsibbur (2)
    [Yisrael Medad  Martin Stern]
Unknowning forbidden relations (2)
    [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz  Martin Stern]


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, Jul 16,2012 at 04:01 AM
Subject: A query regarding Rabbeinu Tam tefillin

I have noticed that many of those who wear Rabbeinu Tam tefillin take off
their Rashi tefillin after kedushah and then put on those of Rabbeinu Tam.
Since one is supposed to give one's undivided attention to answering the
shliach tzibbur, I find this puzzling. Can anyone explain the source for
this practice?

Martin Stern


From: Joseph Kaplan <penkap@...>
Date: Fri, Jul 13,2012 at 06:01 PM
Subject: A Unique Iranian Custom?

Re Martin Stern's query (MJ 60#93):

Two stories:

1.  The son of Ashkenazi friends married a woman from the Iranian community. 
They had 2 sets of invitations; those sent to the bride's invitees had one time
and the time on those to the groom's was two hours later.

2.  My father (Ashkenazi) told me that when he got married (1940), he invited a
non-Jewish client.  The wedding was called for 7 and the client came at 7:05. 
Luckily, my father had already arrived, although he was not fully dressed; still
had to put on the collar of his shirt (he wore tails and a top hat).  None of
the other guests were there yet, of course.  He was apologetic but was always
careful, he told me, that at all future simachot he always made sure to warn his
clients about "Jewish time."


From: Chaim Casper <surfflorist@...>
Date: Sun, Jul 15,2012 at 05:01 PM
Subject: A Unique Iranian Custom? 

Martin Stern, Menashe Elyshiv and Orrin Tilevitz (MJ 60#93&94) talk
about the Iranian or S'faradi custom of not starting on time.   What was
not mentioned is that most communal events start late, at least in the
United States, some more late than others. The only large scale objection
to this rule is the German Jewish or "Yekke" community who meticulously
start on time.   In fact, I used to have a haver (dear friend) whose
philosphy was "If you can't come on time, don't come at all."

One can take this other position to an extreme.   When I came to Miami in
the summer of 1976 to meet my future in-laws, I would daven in their
synagogue.  I soon learned that a 7:15pm minyan meant that this community
of virtually all retirees would start at 7:10pm.   So for the Fast of 17
Tammuz, I figured I would outsmart them.   Minhah was announced for
7:00pm so I planned to show up at 6:50pm so that I would be there at the
start on minhah.  Lo and behold, I showed up at 6:50pm only to find the
minyan was already returning the Torah to the aron kodesh!   (Which meant
they must have started at 6:30PM!).  I said to the gabbai, why did you
start at 6:30pm if you announced 7:00pm?   His answer?  Because they (the
other mitpallelim/daveners) were pushing me to start.  It seems that this
community of retirees had nothing to do at home so they made it to shul
at 5:30-6:00pm.   They got bored waiting at shul for davening to start,
so they pushed to start as soon as possible which meant the 7:00pm
announced time went out the window.

My musar haskel (lesson) from this is that as long as I have a say in the
matter, at my shul, we start exactly at the announced time.   To the
second.  We even got an atomic clock that resets itself every night at
3:00am to the US official time piece which is located in Boulder, CO, so
we are always exactly on time.   People still come early, on time, late
and very late but the rule for the minyan is we start on time.

With wishes for binyan zion b'mishpat and an easy Tisha B'Av fast,

Chaim Casper
North Miami Beach, FL


From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Sun, Jul 15,2012 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Behavior in Shule

For many of us our shule and its "community" or congregation is a key
component of both our religious observance and our social behavior as Jews.

Two recent discussion threads have focused on our behavior in shule:

1. Seating etiquette and 

2. Selection / banning of a person as Shaliach Tzibur.

I believe these threads are intertwined, not separate -- both focus on our
midos bain adam l'chavairo [the manners / interaction between people].

Those of us who have had the opportunity or necessity to be a guest (or a
stranger) in other shules can relate stories that range from being warmly
welcomed to being treated in an ice cold manner or perhaps ignored.
To cite a single example, for many years when I was affiliated with the
U.S. Army War College I was a one Shabbos per year visitor to Harrisburg,
Pennsylvania.  The congregants at Kesher Israel made me feel like a long
lost relative.

I recall some time ago a posting from (I believe) Gilad Givaryahu who,
dressed in his Israeli Shabbos white shirt, ended up in a Chasidishe
(bekeshe, etc.) minyan and was treated most generously.

I have, fortunately, forgotten most of the negative experiences in other
buildings over the years.

In many shuls a guest is welcomed and escorted to a seat, or the guest may
ask where he or she might sit. In others guests are ignored or abused -- hence
this first story, a negative one:

On Shabbos morning I daven at the earlier of two minyanim at my shule -- a 7AM
minyan.   We have about 2 dozen attendees -- the same core group has been
around, many for over a decade. A few weeks ago one of our members returned
after a week's absence -- before davening we asked where he had been -- this
usually involves a simcha. He responded that he was upset with himself because
he lost his temper and walked out of shule the previous week -- explaining -- he
was invited to an aufruf and purposely came 15 minutes late so most of the
congregants at the shul he was visiting would already be seated. He chose a seat
in the back - and sure enough a few minutes later someone arrived and told him
"you're in my seat."  He apologized and asked if the adjacent seat was vacant --
the congregant said that yes it was.  A few minutes later, the scene was
repeated, apparently he was again ousted.  At that point he got up and
left (he confided to us that he felt his leaving was a display of
temper). He refused to tell us which shule -- he felt it would be loshon

Perhaps as we approach Rosh Chodesh Av we should examine how we as
individuals or as a congregation treat a stranger in our midst.

Similarly we might examine how we treat our fellow congregants.

Re: the Shaliach Tzibor -- years ago when I lived in a different community
we had a gentlemen who had a big heart, a real ba'al tzedukah and an active
member of our congregation -- and he (like me) couldn't carry a tune in a
bucket.  But each year when his Father's Yahrzeit came up, he davened
Shabbos Musaf -- it was an appropriate accommodation for this fine
gentlemen.  I'm a bit taken aback by those who might object to someone as
being unfit due to their (lack of) musical talent.

As we all know there is a "pecking order" re: who has the Chiyuv to daven
-- and for the most part it works out well.



From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Sun, Jul 15,2012 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Question re: Yekke Minhagim

We had a "guest" -- someone from out of town who frequently comes to visit
his daughter and grandchildren.  On a weeknight he had Yahrzeit and, based
on his request and the "pecking" order, he davened for the amud for

But being a Yekke whose minhag is that only one person says Kaddish for the
tzibbor -- since someone else in attendance was saying kaddish he, himself,
did not say kaddish -- only responded.   I certainly respect his decision
-- but I'm wondering how one might look at this re: minhag hamakom -- as
the minhag of our shul is that all mourners recite the kaddish in unison.

Carl Singer


From: Joseph Kaplan <penkap@...>
Date: Fri, Jul 13,2012 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Seating etiquette

Martin Stern asks (MJ 60#93):

> There seem to be two traditions regarding shul seating:


> Unfortunately, a lack of appreciation of these divergent practices leads
> to discord when those from one type of shul attend one of the other. How
> can such problems be minimised?"

How about a sign in the lobby.


From: Harry Weiss <hjweiss@...>
Date: Fri, Jul 13,2012 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Seating etiquette

Chaim Casper wrote (MJ 60#94):

> When my current synagogue installed new seats about two years ago, we 
> educated the membership to take the attitude that if they come late to shul and 
> there is someone already there, just move to the next seat.   Most people 
> accepted this advice.  We then went to step B and announced that men's seats 
> would be reserved until 10am (at Lincoln Square in New York, NY, they used to 
> hold mens' seats until 9:30am) while women's seats would be held until 10:30am 
> (or 10am at Lincoln Square).

Your shul's seats are fixed pews and members paid to have their fixed 

In places where people just create Makom Kavua - regular seat, I think at 
any time derech eretz supersedes using a regular seat and the person who comes 
should find another seat.  This would be an issue also where a row or seat 
disappeared during shul cleanup.

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Jul 15,2012 at 02:01 AM
Subject: Seating etiquette

Menashe Elyashiv wrote (MJ 60#94):
> RE Martin Stern's query (MJ 60#93):
> The best solution is to have a gabbai that will take a visitor to an empty
> chair.

I think every regular congregant, and not just an official, should see it
as their duty to make visitors welcome and direct them to a seat they know
will be vacant.

Martin Stern

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Jul 15,2012 at 02:01 AM
Subject: Seating etiquette

David Ziants wrote (MJ 60#94):

> RE Martin Stern's query (MJ 60#93):
> The easiest way to minimise problems due to divergent practices is to
> put notices up in a clear way so that visitors see. This could also
> relate to other issues, such as the nusach (or allowed nusachim) of
> shatz, protocols for kaddish sayer(s) - do they stand in their place,
> next to the bima or at the front. In the shuls where I am, the kaddish
> sayers tend to be well self-trained to wait for the others when some have
> words that others don't say. Visitors, though, need to be informed of the
> accepted practice.

The problem is that most visitors do not look at the notice board.

Martin Stern


From: Yisrael Medad <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Sat, Jul 14,2012 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Silent shliach tsibbur

In response to Chaim Casper (MJ 60#94):

> The RaM"A in O.H. 581:1 gives the optimal traits one needs in a shaliah
> zibbur (prayer leader).   He concludes that every [male] Jew is acceptable
> so long as he is "meruzah lakahal" (approved by the congregation).  I have
> had to enforce this ruling many times, usually on Shabbat and Yom Tov, when
> I have to refuse the amud (the leadership role) to someone who has a
> terrible voice or doesn't know the nusah (liturgical tune).

That section also contains several other traits, not just one (as could be
understood from the wording) - and I think the proper spelling of the 
transliteration should be "merutzeh" or "merutseh". The letter is a tsadi and the
gender is male, not female.

Yisrael Medad

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Jul 15,2012 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Silent shliach tsibbur

Orrin Tilevitz (MJ 60#94) wrote:

> BTW, I grew up in a shul where one complete am haaretz had yahrzeit on Tisha
> B'Av. And he had money - I think he was a board member. In addition to
> reciting the haftarah -- and he could barely read Hebrew -- he persisted,
> every year, ... 
> Money talks.

Even during chazarat hashatz!


From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahillel@...>
Date: Fri, Jul 13,2012 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Unknowning forbidden relations

In M-J V60#94, Ari Trachtenberg wrote:
> When Avraham tells Avimelech that Sarah is his sister, allowing Avimelech to 
> take Sarah, who would be to blame for any resulting adultery:  Avraham or 
> Avimelech?
> Put another way, if a man has relations with a woman who proclaims herself to be
> unmarried (but actually is married, or is a niddah, or the like), is he still 
> open to capital punishment?  Obviously, there is no way for a man in such a 
> position to check the woman's status ... so it would seem to be unjust to 
> punish him.
> Thoughts?
Since the witnesses must first warn the person about to commit the sin, 
the man would not be able to claim that he thought she was not married. 
If they were not warned then bais din could not impose the death penalty.

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Jul 15,2012 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Unknowning forbidden relations

Re Ari Trachtenberg's thoughts (MJ 60#94):

Capital punishment requires witnesses who warn the couple and whose warning
the couple acknowledge but perform the act nonetheless. So it could not be
imposed in Ari's scenario.

That leaves whether they are liable to bring a chatat [sin offering].
Obviously if, as is most likely, the woman was aware of her status, she was
under the category of meizid (deliberate transgressor) and, where applicable,
would be liable to the heavenly punishment of karet (some sort of heavenly
death sentence). Kelapei shemaya galya [in the eyes of heaven it is known]
whether she was or was not aware so the punishment would be entirely just.
She could not bring a chatat for atonement because that was only available
to a shogeg (someone who sinned through carelessness).

On the other hand, the man would be a shogeg and could bring a chatat. Even
if one would argue that he was more like an ones [under duress] he would
still have to bring it under the principle of "chayav mishum sheneheneh
meichalavim ve'arayot [he had the physical enjoyment of the sin]" as opposed
to chillul shabbat be'ones when he would be exempt.

Bringing a korban is not a punishment but a way to rectify oneself and so
there would be no question of injustice.

Martin Stern


End of Volume 60 Issue 95