Volume 60 Number 99 
      Produced: Mon, 23 Jul 2012 14:25:32 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Anybody else notice Netanyahu's library? 
    [Michael Frankel]
BASH (2)
    [Eli Turkel  Chaim Casper]
BASH & Kaddish 
    [Menashe Elyashiv]
Catholics and kippot 
    [Leah S. R. Gordon]
Mourner's kaddish by a non-mourner (3)
    [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz  Martin Stern  Chaim Casper]
Seating etiquette 
    [Lorne Schachter]
Who asked you? 
    [Carl Singer]
Women, Men, Tallit, Civil Disobedience 
    [Leah S. R. Gordon]


From: Michael Frankel <michaeljfrankel@...>
Date: Mon, Jul 23,2012 at 12:01 AM
Subject: Anybody else notice Netanyahu's library?

I was sitting at my kitchen table this Sunday morning following minyon and
perusing our local left wing rag - the Wash Post (which I balance during the
week by occasionally skimming the local right wing nut offering - the Washington
Times) when Face the Nation came on the TV and there was Benjamin Netanyahu
being interviewed by Bob Schieffer about appropriately weighty inyonei d'yoma
[current affairs - MOD], Iran and terrorism and such like. But my eye was drawn
to the bookshelves behind the seated Netenyahu which held what appeared to be
matched sets of large volumes with somewhat gaudy lettering designs, an
unmistakable profile to the more traditionally educated.  As my kitchen TV is
not HD, I screwed my eyeball right up to the screen, squinted hard, and sure
enough - backstopping Netenyahu during the Schieffer interview was a set of
Shulchon Arukh.   I couldn't make out the volumes on the row above since the
camera clipped the picture but there were enough there to be a shas, and, who
knows, maybe a Tur and Rambam.  What this means, I haven't the foggiest, but,
following a moment of cognitive dissonance, I wondered whether I was the only
one of the more than two million people watching the show at that point to note
the curiosity.  

Mechy Frankel


From: Eli Turkel <eliturkel@...>
Date: Sun, Jul 22,2012 at 04:01 AM
Subject: BASH

Martin Stern quoted Torah Tidbits as writing:

> One may not walk in front of someone who is in the middle of the Amida.
> Most explain this prohibition as disturbing the davener. But according to some
> sources, the reason is that it is disrespectful to the Sh'china, the Divine
> Presence, which "stands" in front of the davener.

The problem is that the 2 principles frequently contradict. In EY there is
birchat cohanim every morning. As a levi I frequently find someone davening in
the aisle or in front of the door making it impossible to do one's duty without
walking in front of the person praying. Even more so when one needs the bathroom.

Eli Turkel

From: Chaim Casper <surfflorist@...>
Date: Sun, Jul 22,2012 at 03:01 PM
Subject: BASH

Martin Stern (MJ 60 #98) correctly writes:
> one may not walk in front of someone who is in the middle of the Amida[h]. 
> Most explain this prohibition as disturbing the davener. But according to
> some sources, the reason is that it is disrespectful to the Sh'china, the
> Divine Presence, which "stands" in front of the davener.

This is the halakhah (O.H. 102:4; the Mishneh Brurah mentions both of
Martin's explanations).  I have also noticed this quite often first hand
as people who are late for davening (or, in the case of Musaf, have
stepped outside because they didn't want to hear the d'var torah, so when
they come rushing back in for musaf) will stop and daven just inside the
door to the shul.   Thus, the people who are inside shul who want to exit
to the lobby cannot do so because that would require them to walk in
front of someone who is davening the Amidah.  

The biography of Rav Moshe Feinstein, zt"l, mentions that the above once
happened to the Rosh HaYeshiva ("head of the yeshiva" is how the members
of his immediate community used to call him).  A student was davening
in the hallway; to pass him would necessitate walking in front of him.  
Rav Moshe stopped and wouldn't budge until the student finished his Amidah.

Someone who was walking with the Rosh HaYeshiva encouraged him to pass
in front of the student because the companion felt the student was
improperly taking his time in saying the Amidah.  Rav Moshe said no, he
could not continue forward as he saw a wall, "the wall of halakhah," in
front of the student which prevented him from passing.   And there he
stood still until the student finished his Amidah.     

B'virkat Torah,
Chaim Casper
North Miami Beach, FL


From: Menashe Elyashiv <Menashe.Elyashiv@...>
Date: Sun, Jul 22,2012 at 02:01 AM
Subject: BASH & Kaddish

There are 2 proper ways for saying the mourners' Kaddish:

Askenazim - one mourner says it

Sefaradim - all mourners say in unison

The BASH way is to have a "horse race", i.e., all mourners say Kaddish 
but not in unision. Only the yekkes & hazon ish places retain the original
Ashkenazi way. Others use the Sefaradi way that all can say, but they do not
always have a unison Kaddish. 

There is no obligation to say Kaddish that is not answered.


From: Leah S. R. Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Fri, Jul 20,2012 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Catholics and kippot

Zvi Greenberg wrote (MJ 60#98):

> A Catholic friend of mine told me that he had never been in a
> synagogue and asked me to take him.  As we went in the door, I gave
> him a kippa to wear and said that I hope he doesn't mind wearing it.
> "No problem." he said. "The Pope wears one."

Great story!  When I graduated from Boston College, my husband told me
later of the ceremony:

"The only two guys wearing kippot were me and the Bishop!"



From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahillel@...>
Date: Fri, Jul 20,2012 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Mourner's kaddish by a non-mourner

Joel Rich (MJ 60#98) wrote:

> To make a long story short: a son-in-law whose parents are both alive (and 
> whose wife only has one brother - who could not say kaddish that day) asked 
> someone else to say kaddish for his mother-in-law that day.
> On this topic, the OU Vebbe Rebbe responded:
> The main issue has to do with the Kaddish following Aleinu at the end of the
> tefilla (and in a few places, during Shacharit). That was instituted to give
> mourners who are not able to be the chazan the opportunity to recite at least
> that Kaddish and thereby elevate the souls of their departed parents. Thus,
> poskim write that when one whose parents are alive says Kaddish, it may look 
> as if a parent has died, and we refrain from this in order to "not open our 
> mouth to the Satan."
> At the time, I noted:
> However the Rama (132:2) requires Kaddish after Aleinu, even if no mourner is
> present. He also says if no mourner is present, someone else should say it 
> (even someone with parents, if the parents don't object).

My mother's aunt had no children and I was basically the only one who 
could say it for her. My mother emphasized that she wanted me to say it 
for her even though both she and my father were alive at the time. 
Giving this permission is often the best way to be menachem avel [consoling a
mourner - MOD]. In his case, I would say that a parent should give the
permission and regard it as part of nichum avelim (comforting the mourners). I
think that a person should consider that he or she would want this done if 
they required it as well.

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz 

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Jul 22,2012 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Mourner's kaddish by a non-mourner

Joel Rich wrote (MJ 60#98):

> However the Rama (132:2) requires Kaddish after Aleinu, even if no mourner is
> present.

This Sunday morning, at the first minyan in the shul where I daven, there
were no mourners, but one came towards the end in order to join the second
minyan that was to start five minutes after we finished. Since we follow
this ruling of the Rema, I asked him why he did not "help us out" by saying
this kaddish. He said he was not sure if he could since he was not davenning
with us. I told him how I, as an aveil, had once been in a similar position
many years ago in a different shul, coming for ma'ariv before the minyan had
finished minchah, and was asked to say this kaddish since there was nobody
more suitable. 

It strikes me that there are two aspects to this:

1. The chiyuv [obligation] of a mourner to say kaddish (which might not
apply to someone not davenning with the minyan); and

2. the chiyuv [obligation] to have this particular kaddish said.

In today's case, I would argue that there is tartei lema'alyuta [a double
reason] for the aveil to say this kaddish since he has nothing to lose, even
if aspect #1 does not apply to him, and the congregation has everything to
gain by not 'forcing' a non-aveil to say a kaddish.

Martin Stern

From: Chaim Casper <surfflorist@...>
Date: Sun, Jul 22,2012 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Mourner's kaddish by a non-mourner

Joel Rich (MJ 60 #98) raises the issue:

> a son-in-law whose parents are both alive (and whose wife only has one
> brother - who could not say kaddish that day) asked someone else to say
> kaddish for his mother-in-law that day.

This is a constant challenge to me.  Husbands want to observe the yahrzeits of
their wives' parents.   But they have no hiyyuv (obligation) to do so!   So if I
don't give them an aliyah on the Shabbat before the yahrzeit or ask them to
daven on the day of the yahrzeit I will hear about it big time.   So, for what
it's worth, allow me to suggest in the name of world peace that one should speak
to their local gabbai BEFORE the yahrzeit so that the proper arrangements can be
made that will make everyone happy.

As to the saying of kaddish: The RaM"A says the main thing in mourning
observances (shivah, shloshim, 12 months and yahrzeits) is the davening from the
amud (the lead davener's desk).   Yet so many people are reluctant to step up to
the amud, whether it's because they feel their davening isn't fast enough (or
slow enough), they can't elucidate the words properly, or they are unfamiliar 
with synagogue protocol.   I usually suggest they daven shaharit from the second
Ashrei to the end or Ma'ariv.  But, alas, our tefilot have evolved into a
"kaddish based davening" (my expression) where too many of the unknowing assume
that the only meaningful expression of mourning is to say kaddish.  

Kaddish after aleinu occurs because aleinu is the official end of the davening
(the shir shel yom/psalm of the day notwithstanding).   During the time of the
RaM"A and earlier, one person said kaddish on behalf of the entire community. 
The RaM'A's point is that if there wasn't any avel (mourner) in attendance, then
someone nonetheless should still say kaddish to mark the formal end of the
davening.  (That is why the Rav, zt"l, held that tefillin should not be removed
until after this final end-of-the-davening kaddish.)  When the RaM"A is saying
someone must say this kaddish, he is emphasizing that even a non-mourner could
say it.

As to the concept of al tiftach peh lesatan (do not open [your] mouth to
the Satan): I didn't see it mentioned in the Be'er Hetev, the Mishneh
Brurah or O.H. itself.   My apologies if I missed it.

B'virkat Torah,
Chaim Casper
North Miami Beach, FL


From: Lorne Schachter <lorne136@...>
Date: Sun, Jul 22,2012 at 07:01 PM
Subject: Seating etiquette

I've been davening in a hashkama minyan in town for over 20 years, sitting
in the same place every week.  I try to make a habit of getting in 10-15
minutes early.  My sons ask me why and I tell them so that no one will take my
seat.  And, believe it or not, twice in the last year a guest came in even
earlier than me and sat in my seat (and I sit in the far back corner).  I moved,
I lived, I davened.

Lorne Schachter
136 Washington Ave
Edison, NJ 08817


From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Fri, Jul 20,2012 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Who asked you?

I very much appreciate the B.A.S.H. discussion serving as a reminder
regarding not walking in front of someone who is davening -- and the equal
admonition regarding being careful with where one plants oneself for
davening -- our small shule has some "choke points" and someone who
unwittingly stands at such a locale may keep a dozen congregants standing
in their wake.

There are welcome suggestions -- If I'm in the store and reaching for a
product -- I appreciate someone telling me "that product" is now milchig.

In contrast to welcome suggestions -- there are the "who asked you"
exporters of chumrahs.   The classic form for dealing with a question is to
ask one's posek a shaila -- that is I have a question -- I ask.   NOT you
have an answer and you tell. These exporters are frequently exporters of (their)
chumrahs.   A polite "who asked you" -- may be the best response.

Halachically -- what are the parameters for such exporters?

A gutten Choidesh.
*Carl A. Singer, Ph.D.
Colonel, U.S. Army Retired
70 Howard Avenue
Passaic, NJ  07055-5328


From: Leah S. R. Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Fri, Jul 20,2012 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Women, Men, Tallit, Civil Disobedience

[I would like to point out that I keep editing the subject line in order to 
frame the issue(s) in a fairer manner.]

In response to Michael Rogovin (MJ 60#98, thread "Women and tallitot"):

> It would be a good start for everyone to agree that everyone has a minimum
> standard for what is acceptable to wear at the kotel (or anywhere else).

I don't disagree with this, but I do disagree that a "minimum standard" is
related to a tallit or not.  I would say that a "minimum standard" in this
context could be related to, say, sleeve length, or the propriety of
sandals.  And in this, I totally agree that Michael Rogovin, the chareidim, and
I - all have our own lines in the sand, and those might be different.  My
strong suspicion is that Martin Stern and I would come down on the same
side in being anti-sandals, though I have not asked him.  :)

> No one should frame the argument as: the kotel belongs to all Jews and
> therefore if I want to wear x at the kotel, I have a right to do so.

I think we have to look at the wearing of a tallit as a symbolic action,
not a fashion choice.  The chareidim view it as an act of civil disobedience.  I
view it as an act of sanctification, if that's the right word - I mean adorning
oneself to daven specifically as one understands the halakha to require/allow.

I'm not talking about someone's right or not, because of being Jewish, to
wear a vulgar T-shirt at the Kotel.  When I go to the Kotel, I wear longer
sleeves than I might when I go to the gym.  I don't view that as
necessarily being offensive, precisely because I agree with Mr. Rogovin's
basic premise.

To wear a tallit, to read the Torah, to daven and sing with kavana - these
are all things that are established Jewish behaviors, not controversial
when men do them - and frankly, not controversial in vast swaths of the
Jewish community when women do them.  The chareidim would really really
like these behaviors to be shocking or out of the religious mainstream, but
hey, they're not.  Women's tefila groups are very common now in the modern
Orthodox community.

The particular act of "civil disobedience" in Deb's wearing a tallit - and
by the way, I should add that she wasn't even at the Kotel proper; she was
at the side area where women's tefila groups are relegated - is a lot of
things, but it isn't a dress code issue.

> Some activities, however legitimate some Jews may feel they are, should
> not take place at the kotel, even if they are legal and (at least according
> to some) appropriate in other public places. The same of course is true for
> other public places, like the Knesset, the Lincoln Memorial and Central
> Park.

No disagreement here.  This would preclude all kinds of behaviors - but
not, in my opinion, davening.

I think that to frame Deb's davening as somehow similar to, say, teenagers 
necking at the Lincoln Memorial, is to disregard the prime issue:  she is a 
Jewish person davening Jewish content in the time-honored Jewish way at a Jewish 
davening location.  And by the way, women have worn tallitot for much longer 
than I've been alive, but they've been less picked on because of it.

--Leah S. R. Gordon


End of Volume 60 Issue 99