Volume 60 Number 96 
      Produced: Tue, 17 Jul 2012 15:12:39 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

A query regarding Rabbeinu Tam tefillin 
    [Menashe Elyashiv]
A Unique Iranian Custom? (4)
    [Martin Stern  Martin Stern  Sholom Parnes  Stuart Pilichowski]
Distractions (was "Davening in stocking feet") 
    [Martin Stern]
Question re: Yekke Minhagim (2)
    [Martin Stern  Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz]
Seating etiquette (5)
    [Carl Singer  Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz  Josh Backon  Martin Stern  Michael Rogovin]
The week of Tisha be'Av this year? 
    [Larry Israel]
Unknowning forbidden relations 
    [Keith Bierman]
Women and Tallitot 
    [Martin Stern]


From: Menashe Elyashiv <Menashe.Elyashiv@...>
Date: Tue, Jul 17,2012 at 02:01 AM
Subject: A query regarding Rabbeinu Tam tefillin

In reply to Martin Stern's query (MJ 60#95):

You are correct. Full attention is required during the hazarat hashas. R. 
Tam Teffilin is an extra hiddur. Changing Teffilin during the hazara is 
not proper. One should either wait until after Alenu, or after Tahanun. I 
have seen in the poskim 2 ways for R. Tam Teffilin:
1. The mekubalim wear both sets together, as this is the correct kabbalic 

2. The pashtanim hear or say 2 Kedushot & 3 Kaddishim with the Rashi 
Teffilin, & 1 kedusha & the ending Kaddishim with the RTT.

R. O. Yosef, and in other places (like mine), we have a 2 minute break 
after Tahanun for changing Teffilin, while the hazzan reads Halachot. 

Btw, we do this also on Succot, so that one should refrain from wrapping up the 
4 minim during Kaddish.


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, Jul 17,2012 at 05:01 AM
Subject: A Unique Iranian Custom?

Chaim Casper wrote (MJ 60#95):

> ... 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
> start on time.   In fact, I used to have a haver (dear friend) whose
> meticulously philosphy was "If you can't come on time, don't come at all."

I must admit to some sympathy with the latter sentiments but there are
sometimes circumstances where a person is forced to be late. When one of my
daughters got married to a boy from out of town, we were asked not to allow
too long a gap between the (in England customary) post-chuppah reception and
the dinner because the chatan's side had nothing to do in between. To
accommodate them, we arranged the chuppah at 5.30, followed by a reception
until 6.30, and had the dinner, for those invited, scheduled for 7.00. At
7.00, all the out-of-towners washed and sat down so we began. When the local
guests turned up from 8.30 onwards they were surprised that we were
finishing the main course! My feelings were that it served them right - they
must have known my yekkishe antecedents.

Apropos of that wedding, a very good friend of the chatan rang me about a
week before to tell me he had an important business meeting, which he could
not reschedule, and could not get to the dinner before 8.00, even if he
broke the speed limits on the motorway. He asked if he could still come, and
I assured him he could and we would keep a main course for him though it
would not be possible to do so for the soup. He was quite happy with the
arrangement and I was only too happy to accommodate someone who had the
decency to ask. Unfortunately, that is not the norm.

Martin Stern

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, Jul 17,2012 at 05:01 AM
Subject: A Unique Iranian Custom?

Chaim Casper (MJ 60#95) wrote:

> One can take [punctuality] 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.

Starting early is entirely unacceptable, and the gabbai should have refused.
Some people have tight schedules and can only get to shul on time and not
earlier. This is almost a case of a communal "lo yachel devaro [one must
keep one's word]."
> 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.

While I would not be quite as strict as Chaim (I think up to 5 seconds
leeway either way can be allowed!), I think he is generally correct. Halevai
every shul followed his lead.

Martin Stern

From: Sholom Parnes <sholomjparnes@...>
Date: Tue, Jul 17,2012 at 08:01 AM
Subject: A Unique Iranian Custom?

So, if you cross a Yekke with a Chabadnik, you get........

Moshiach who comes on time!

Sholom J Parnes
Hamelech David 65/3
Efrat 90435 ISRAEL

From: Stuart Pilichowski <stupillow@...>
Date: Tue, Jul 17,2012 at 01:01 PM
Subject: A Unique Iranian Custom?

I used to live in a community in the States where the Rabbi and Rebbetzin worked 
(and still do) tirelessly for the community 24/7 with an "open door/the door is 
never locked" policy. 

When the clock showed it was time for mincha to begin, I always made an effort to 
convince the group that waiting for the Rabbi to arrive was more important than 
starting on time. I told them, It's not as if he's watching Jeopardy! And if we
do start and the Rabbi comes late we're going to wait for him to complete his 
shemoneh esray anyway! Usually this little forced discussion ended when the Rabbi 
walked through the door to the sound of Ashrei Yoshvei Vaysechah! 

Nowadays in Israel . . . . I like to start late if someone has to say kaddish and 
we don't have a minyan at the announced time.



From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Jul 15,2012 at 02:01 AM
Subject: Distractions (was "Davening in stocking feet")

Carl Singer wrote (MJ 60#94):

> This may deal more with social than halachic issues, but since davening is
> an important part of one's day ....
> ...
> While on the subject of distractions, what of a congregant who does not
> daven with the Tzibbur -- he's frequently several pages ahead (if he comes
> early he just starts)?  Or he's laying his head down for Tachnun as we're
> beginning the Amidah ... and, yes, he is audible.

I think it all depends on the circumstances. If he is a bit slow relative to
the congregation and comes early to give himself time to be able to start
the Amidah with it (which is the main requirement of tefillah betzibbur -
communal worship), one can hardly object provided he is not too audible. If
others can hear him and are disturbed, perhaps someone should point this out
as tactfully as possible. 

However, laying his head down for tachanun so early on a regular basis would seem
strange. If he had to occasionally leave early and did so after kedushah it might
not be so bad since others do this from time to time. I think the general rule
is one should not make it too apparent that one is being different from the rest
of the congregation.

Martin Stern


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, Jul 16,2012 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Question re: Yekke Minhagim

Carl Singer wrote (MJ 60#95):

> 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
> ma'ariv.
> 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.

There are two aspects to this problem:

1. As regards the congregation, I can't see how the fact that he did not say
kaddish could be a violation of minhag hamakom since it would not be obvious
that he was departing from it - after all, not everyone who has the amud is
an aveil or has yahrzeit. Those not knowing the facts would have assumed
that the person saying kaddish could not fulfil the role of shliach tzibbur
and so he was doing so instead.

2. As regards himself, he acted correctly since the main chiyuv is to be
shliach tzibbur and kaddish was only introduced for children below bar
mitzvah who could not fulfil that role. As shliach tzibbur, he did not need
to say kaddish and could let the other person do so.

Martin Stern

From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahillel@...>
Date: Mon, Jul 16,2012 at 07:01 PM
Subject: Question re: Yekke Minhagim

In reply to Carl Singer (MJ 60#95):

Since he just did not say the kaddish, it would not have been obvious 
that he also was a chiyuv. It could have been that a chiyuv got there 
late or was accidentally overlooked when the gentlemen was asked to be 
the baal tefilah. Thus, it was not necessarily a matter of violating 
minhag hamakom. Perhaps it would be a good idea to mention the minhag to 
the baal tefillah.

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz |


From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Mon, Jul 16,2012 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Seating etiquette

[1] I can't speak with statistical certainty, but I find that older
visitors when arriving in shule (alone, without a host) tend to ask where
they might sit.  Perhaps it's because they don't want to be moved after
they've settled in -- perhaps it's because over the years they have learned
better how to deal with circumstances and situations.

[2] My wife's grandfather was a member of the Spanish & Portuguese Synagogue
in Manhattan (Shearith Israel) and for several decades he sat in "his" seat
-- after he passed away that seat remained vacant for a period of time -- I
don't know if that was happenstance or minhag or simply a sign of respect.

I recall attending one Shabbos a few months after he died and after a
brief discussion with my family -- I sat in that seat -- with mixed

Carl Singer

From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahillel@...>
Date: Mon, Jul 16,2012 at 07:01 PM
Subject: Seating etiquette

In our shul, if someone comes in early and takes a makom kavuah, no one 
says anything and the person whose seat it is just moves over. A number 
of people (including myself) have put a shtender at the makom kavua so 
that people can see that it is taken. If someone is using it, I will 
daven nearby and usually the person sitting there will notice that I 
have come in and move at an appropriate part of the service. After all, 
I could have been at a simcha in a different shul or away for some other 
legitimate reason. There is no reason for a seat to be unused if I were 
not there.

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz

From: Josh Backon <backon@...>
Date: Tue, Jul 17,2012 at 03:01 AM
Subject: Seating etiquette

Seeing someone sit in one's makom kavua in shul reminds me of the
old joke about the American synagogue on the High Holidays. Murray
doesn't have a ticket and the usher adamantly refuses to let him in.
Murray says, "I just want to speak with my business partner Irving
Cohen in the 4th row." The usher says, "OK but DON'T LET ME CATCH

Seriously, in our shul in Jerusalem, the gabbay guides guests and 
other visitors to seats that won't be used by regular mitpallelim.

Josh Backon

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, Jul 17,2012 at 04:01 AM
Subject: Seating etiquette

Harry Weiss (MJ 60#95) wrote:

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

This is a very important distinction. In a shul with fixed pews, people keep
their tallit, tefillin, siddur etc. in their desk, and it is inconvenient if
someone else 'squats' in it. They pay the shul a rental for this purpose, and
regulars should direct a visitor to a seat that is known to be vacant. Where
there is a more 'open plan' design this does not apply, though there is still
a concept of makom kavua and visitors should really ask where they can
conveniently sit.

Martin Stern

From: Michael Rogovin <mrogovin118@...>
Date: Tue, Jul 17,2012 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Seating etiquette

Chaim Casper wrote (MJ 60#94):

> at Lincoln Square in New York, NY, they used to hold mens' seats
> until 9:30am while women's seats would be held until 10am

I davened at LSS from 1988 to 1998 and can assure you that while I heard
about this so-called rule, including an announcement from the bima, it was
never seriously enforced. Indeed, there were several gentlemen near me who
often arrived long after 9:30 and would insist on their seats. While LSS
did have "reserved" tags on many seats when a member paid for a makom
kavuah, they seemed not to be in use at the time, since many of those seats
did not have regular users and many regulars sat in the same seat without a
tag for years. The Jewish Center tried putting color-coded stickers on
seats (either free or reserved, I forget) but that system did not last,

The bottom line for me is that if you want a reserved seat, come on time -
for birkat hashachar. If someone is in your seat, be a mench and move. It is
better to welcome guests than sit in a makom kavuah. If it is a shul
regular, you can either politely point it out, or let them know afterwards
and ask that they find a different seat next time, perhaps next to you --
and make sure to invite them for a shabbat meal; maybe they will be a new
friend. Or leave your talit on the seat Friday night. You could also move
around each week - a nice way to meet new people (just don't talk when it
is inappropriate to do so).

Kol tuv,
Michael Rogovin


From: Larry Israel <larry.israel@...>
Date: Mon, Jul 16,2012 at 11:01 AM
Subject: The week of Tisha be'Av this year?

This is a theoretical question for me, as my custom is to start the prohibitions
on the first of Av. But for those whose custom is to start only in the week of
the ninth, what do they do this year? Does the week start on Sunday, the third,
because the ninth is during that week? Or don't they start at all, as the ninth
is a Saturday, and we only observe it on Sunday, the tenth? 

If the ninth were really on Sunday would there not be any week at all?


From: Keith Bierman <khbkhb@...>
Date: Mon, Jul 16,2012 at 07:01 PM
Subject: Unknowning forbidden relations

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 60#95):

> .., 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).

If she suffered amnesia she could have been unknowing as well (no doubt there
are other ways this could come about (invalid get, etc.)).


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, Jul 17,2012 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Women and Tallitot

Dr. Steven Oppenheimer wrote (MJ 60#91):

> Yesterday, a woman who had been warned before decided to violate the
> compromise agreement and wear a "man's tallit."   She was arrested and told
> if she repeats her action she would face a fine in the future. ...  The woman
> who was arrested said she knew her action was confrontational but that she
> wanted to make a point.

Would this woman insist on refusing to don the clothing required when
entering a Catholic Church in, for example, Spain? If not, why should she
insist on flouting the sanctity of a Jewish holy place and offending other

Martin Stern


End of Volume 60 Issue 96