Volume 61 Number 05 
      Produced: Thu, 02 Aug 2012 12:37:44 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

A Unique Iranian Custom? 
    [Martin Stern]
BASH (2)
    [Martin Stern  Martin Stern]
Eruv chumra 
    [Orrin Tilevitz]
Segulas and other Misrepresentations of Judaism 
    [Marshall Gisser]
Time to begin the fast (2)
    [Martin Stern  Menashe Elyashiv]
Waiting for a minyan 
    [Martin Stern]
Waiting for the Rabbi (2)
    [Martin Stern  Menashe Elyashiv]


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, Jul 31,2012 at 07:01 AM
Subject: A Unique Iranian Custom?

I wrote (MJ 61#02):

>> Stuart Pilichowski wrote (MJ 61#01):

>>> I'm holding off from starting until we get a minyan so kaddish can be
>>> recited instead of starting tefillah and skipping kaddish because of the
>>> latecomers.

>> Since, strictly speaking, an aveil only has to say one kaddish per day, and
>> there will be an opportunity to say it after Aleinu (hopefully the minyan
>> will have assembled by then!), so why hold up the davenning and possibly make
>> people skip breakfast or be late for work.

Stuart responded off-line (and was happy that I quote him as below):

> My minyan referred to here only meets on shabbat.

Obviously we were talking at cross-purposes -- my primary concern was with
workday situations. Also, on a weekday morning where the aveil might be
shliach tzibbur, he might feel constrained to speed up psukei dezimra etc.
to make up for the lost time, which is hardly an honour to the departed.

> Most people practice the tradition of reciting all possible kaddishes and
> don't focus or even care what the strict letter of the law states. This is
> especially true because of the emotional nature of saying kaddish.

I have noticed a tendency to increase the number of kaddeishim, especially
because Artscroll prints them in places where they are not strictly
required. Originally, Ashkenazim had the minhag that only one person said
each kaddish, but this caused problems when there were several aveilim in
shul. To get round this, extra opportunities for saying kaddish were
introduced, but they were only actually said if that was the only way for
each aveil to say one. Later the Sefardi minhag of all aveilim saying the
kaddeishim together spread but the supernumerary kaddeishim were still

There are even some people who go around to various minyanim in order to say
an extra kaddish. In my opinion, they may be guilty of being marbeh
bakaddeishim. What good do these people think they are doing? They may quote
the idea that by saying kaddish, the neshamah [soul] of the niftar
[departed] is lifted from Gehinnom or, at least, raised to a higher level
in it. One could argue that, by multiplying kaddeishim, one is implying
that the neshamah is so deeply mired in Gehinnom that extra effort is needed
to raise it. Is that really a way of honouring the niftar?

> And anyway, holding up davening for an important matter is worthwhile.

I don't think saying a few extra kaddeishim is really such an important
matter that it can override starting on time. Since I usually start
davenning early and get a bit ahead of the tzibbur so as to have time to say
everything and still be able to start shemoneh esrei with them (the main
tefillah betzibbur), I usually miss the early kaddeishim even if I have
yahrzeit (and even if there is already a minyan present).

Martin Stern


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, Jul 30,2012 at 02:01 AM
Subject: BASH

Yisrael Medad wrote (MJ 61#04):

> The separation distance for passing in front, or on any side, of a person
> engaged in prayer ...

AFAIK this restriction only applies to passing in front of someone davenning
shemoneh esrei. Two reasons are generally given:

1. Not to disturb that person's concentration; and

2. Because the Shechina 'stands' in front of such a person.

As I pointed out previously (MJ 61#03), probably neither applies to someone
who deliberately davens in places where others have to pass, such as aisles
and doorways.

Martin Stern

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, Jul 31,2012 at 06:01 AM
Subject: BASH

Steven Oppenheimer wrote (MJ 61#03):
> While the Mishnah Berurah is lenient regarding sitting in front of a person
> who is davening as long as the chair is at least "govoha yud tephochim
> verochav dalet [35 inches high and 14 inches wide]" (based upon the Chayei
> Adam - 26:4), he is stringent regarding walking in front of a person in that
> situation.  The Chayei Adam, however, is lenient in this situation and permits
> walking in front of the davener when the above partition exists.  This lenient
> accepted by the Aishel Avrohom MiBatchach.  (Most of our chairs today meet the
> position is also requirements of a mechitza govoha yud tephochim verochav
> dalet.)

What can one do about people who come late at a weekday shacharit, daven
slowly and do not omit anything (as is mandated by halachah in these
circumstances) so that they only manage (if lucky) to start their shemoneh
esrei with chazarat hashatz, and finish during ashrei / uva letzion, but
insist on davenning at the rear of the shul inconveniencing anyone
unfortunate enough to happen to be in the seat in front of them?

I have been tempted to tell such people that they are not yotsei lechatchila
[have fulfilled in the first instance] the mitzvah of tefillah betzibbur
[public prayer] which is accomplished by STARTING shemoneh esrei with the
congregation. Admittedly there is an opinion that one can be yotsei [fulfil
the mitzvah] by starting at the time when the shliach tzibbur commences chazarat
hashatz but that is only bedieved [second best]. Of course, one may be
forced to rely on this from time to time, if one is unavoidably delayed in
coming to shul, but the problem is that these people do it on a regular

Any comments?

Martin Stern


From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Fri, Jul 27,2012 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Eruv chumra

Hillel (Saba) Markowitz wrote (MJ 61#03):

> I know of people who will wear the tallis but will use the eruv
> in order to push the baby carriage or carry the baby. This is not
> a matter of "peer pressure" but of a conscious decision as to the
> purpose of the eruv and what it is needed for. It is also considered
> a matter of chinuch so that children will learn about the eruv and
> understand about the halachos of carrying on Shabbos.

I suspect at least some people push the baby carriage or carry the baby within an 
eiruv viewed as unreliable out of a misunderstanding of the principle of "hachai 
nosei et atzmo [a living being carries itself]", so one carrying it outside an
eiruv is not considered to be carrying it. As was explained to me when I
was young enough for it to be relevant, the rule applies only when the living
being is capable of walking on its own.


From: Marshall Gisser <mgisser@...>
Date: Thu, Aug 2,2012 at 07:01 AM
Subject: Segulas and other Misrepresentations of Judaism

Va'Eschanan teaches how Moses demanded the Jews "not 
forget what their eyes saw," referring to Revelation at 
Sinai. "You have been shown to know..." is another 
admonishment. And God granted man senses, precisely so we 
can determine what is real and what is not sensed.
All these points teach that God and Moses demand we accept 
only matters that are provable and discount matters that 
are not proven. Maimonides states this openly in his 
Letter to the Community of Marseilles.

In light of the sustained emails I receive from Jewish 
organizations selling segulas, amulets, and false 
promises - trinkets and lies that do not heed God's Torah 
where proof is the only acceptable criteria for 
acceptance, and where such addition to religious practice 
is prohibited - I suggest educators make a point of 
writing to these Jewish organizations, and including authentic 
Torah lessons in lesson plans.


Rabbi Marshall Gisser


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, Jul 26,2012 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Time to begin the fast

Shmuel Norin wrote (MJ 61#03):

> This year the fast for Tisha B'Av is starting at sundown Saturday night.  My
> question is why doesn't the fast start at darkness when Shabbot ends.
> Shouldn't we go with the rule "on a biblical question go strict and on a
> rabbinic question go lenient"?

We do apply this principle where taking on a Tisha B'Av restriction
noticeably conflicts with Shabbat -- for example, we do not take off our
leather shoes until the end of Shabbat. However, since (a) there is no positive
requirement to eat on Shabbat until the last minute, and (b) not eating is not a
noticeable act, we stop at sunset.

Martin Stern

From: Menashe Elyashiv <Menashe.Elyashiv@...>
Date: Mon, Jul 30,2012 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Time to begin the fast

OK, I know that the fast is over...however, Dr. William Gewirtz wrote (MJ 61#04):

> In every case, once the earliest point at which Shabbat ends is reached (no
> more than 35 minutes after sunset in the NY area), starting the observance of
> Tisha B'Av is clearly mandated. 

In Israel, it is earlier, about 20 minutes after sunset. BTW, the fast also ends
faster, 24 - 27 minutes after sunset -- I was home for havdala at 8:12 after a
sunset Arvit & Birkat Halevana.


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, Jul 26,2012 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Waiting for a minyan

Perets Mett wrote (MJ 61#03):

> Martin Stern (MJ 61#02) wrote (in thread "A Unique Iranian Custom?"):
>> so why hold up the davenning and possibly make
>> people skip breakfast or be late for work. Is this not tircha detzibbura
>> [inconveniencing the congregation]?  Perhaps, even worse, the aveil will feel
>> he must catch up the lost time and rush through the rest of davenning.
> Seems to me that if there is not yet a minyan, there is no tsibur, so tircha
> detsibura cannot apply ...

A good point, but eventually (hopefully) there will be a minyan who will then
be inconvenienced by being forced to either finish late or daven at
breakneck speed to make up for the delayed start. So the term 'tircha
detzibbura' might not be entirely inappropriate.

Martin Stern


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, Jul 30,2012 at 02:01 AM
Subject: Waiting for the Rabbi

Yisrael Medad wrote (MJ 61#04):

> Joseph Kaplan writes (MJ 61#03):
>> I think most people feel that God would prefer that we show this type of
>> kavod [honor; respect] to the rabbi.
> And, of course, the Rabbi, as well.

Not if he really believes in the virtue of humility, in which case he would not 
wish to be honoured at the expense of HKBH by having the congregation held up for 

Martin Stern

From: Menashe Elyashiv <Menashe.Elyashiv@...>
Date: Mon, Jul 30,2012 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Waiting for the Rabbi

In general, I do not wait for the Rabbi. Prayers are set according to 
sunrise and sunset, and therefore must start on time. The only exception 
is on Mosaei Shabbat Purim or Tisha B'av, when we start later, and of 
course, the Rabbi always comes late.

After hearing complaints that he makes everyone wait for him in his Yamim 
Noraim Amida, he told us not to wait for him to finish.


End of Volume 61 Issue 5