Volume 61 Number 12 
      Produced: Wed, 15 Aug 2012 05:25:03 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Chasan getting maftir at the aufruf (2)
    [Martin Stern  Chaim Casper]
Cherem D'Rabbenu Gershom (4)
    [Isaac Balbin  Josh Backon  Elliot Berkovits  Gilad J. Gevaryahu]
Davenning in a loud voice 
    [Martin Stern]
Meat after Tisha B'av (2)
    [Martin Stern  Percy Mett]
No Mechitza - What to do? 
    [Martin Stern]
Tachanun at a Wedding 
    [Yisrael Medad]
Tefillat shacharit as a way to connect to the Almighty 
    [Martin Stern]


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 14,2012 at 04:01 AM
Subject: Chasan getting maftir at the aufruf

Stuart Wise wrote (MJ 61#11):

> It has always seemed to be the custom that when possible, a chasan would
> get maftir at his aufruf. Of course, it is not always possible if there is
> more  than one chasan, or if there is a chiyuv such as a yahrzeit, or a
> yahrzeit in  the coming week. But is there a custom NOT to give the chasan
> maftir when none  of the above situations arise? I witnessed this a couple
> times recently.

Since a chatan is a chiyuv for an aliyah and maftir is not a 'proper' aliyah
since, in principle, it can be given to a child under barmitzvah provided he
understands what he is reading, it would appear that it is improper to give
it to a chatan. The same would apply to a barmitzvah boy who has not had an
aliyah on the previous Monday or Thursday. 

Martin Stern

From: Chaim Casper <surfflorist@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 14,2012 at 08:01 PM
Subject: Chasan getting maftir at the aufruf

In reply to Stuart Wise (MJ 61#11):

The source for the order of precedence in aliyot for hiyuvim (obligations) is
found among others in the Bi'ur Halakhah 136 ("On Shabbat and Yom Tov..."):
1) A groom on his wedding day

2) A groom on the Shabbat before his wedding day (what we call aufruf)

3) A bar mitzvah

4) A husband whose wife is in shul for the first time after giving birth (the
husband can then say "Birkat Hagomel" on her behalf)

5) A groom on the first Shabbat after his wedding (what the S'faradim call the
"Shabbat Hatan")

6) A yahrzeit for a man's father or mother if the yahrzeit is on that day

7) A father whose son will be circumcised in the coming week (some also honor
the sandek and mohel)

A number of points call out to be emphasized:

Please note there is no discussion of who get the haftorah.   There is only a
listing of which adult gets an 
aliyah.   Maftir in many S'faradi synagogues goes to pre-bar mitzvah boys.  
(Think the Spanish and 
Portugese Synagogue in Manhattan).    But even in those synagogues where only
adults get the 
haftorah, I can think of one very good reason why a hatan would not do get it:
he doesn't know how.

Notice that yahrzeit is #6 on the list and only in one very limited case.   In
my experience, too many 
people incorrectly think yahrzeit at anytime in the approaching week takes
precedence over everything 
else (e.g. a spouse's parent, a sibling, a child, etc). 

A father who wishes to name his newborn daughter is not on the list.    You can
name the baby without giving the father an aliyah though in practice and in the
name of peace we do try to give him an aliyah. Same thing for someone who wishes
to say the Gomel blessing for himself: he can say the brakhah without having an

We also try (outside the list above) to give a free of charge aliyah to our
synagogue honorees the Shabbat before our shul dinner.

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


From: Isaac Balbin <isaac@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 14,2012 at 03:01 AM
Subject: Cherem D'Rabbenu Gershom

It couldn't have applied to Australia. He didn't know it existed and there were
no Jews there at that time.

From: Josh Backon <backon@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 14,2012 at 03:01 AM
Subject: Cherem D'Rabbenu Gershom

The Cherem D'Rabbenu Gershom on not taking a 2nd wife (which by the way was one
of 25+ ordinances instituted at the time) is mentioned in Shulchan Aruch Even
HaEzer 1:10. I was surprised to see in the Tshuvat haRashba III 446 (as quoted in 
the TUR Beit Yosef EH 1) that this Cherem wasn't even accepted by those living in 
Provence in southern France. Many poskim indicated that this ordinance was in
effect only until the 5th millenium (800 years ago. See: Maharik as well as
Maharam miPadua as quoted in the Darchei Moshe on TUR Even HaEzer 1:9.;  Tshuvot
haRashba 157, and of course the Machaber in EH 1:10. The Beit Yosef TUR EH 14
mentions that there were instances of Ashenazim who took 2nd wives and there was
no protest by the beit din. See also the Tshuvat haMaharshdam EH 78 who permits
Ashkenazim to take a 2nd wife.

But kids, don't do this at home :-)

Josh Backon

From: Elliot Berkovits <eb@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 14,2012 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Cherem D'Rabbenu Gershom

Ari Trachtenberg wrote (MJ 61#11):

> When Rabbeinu Gershom made his decree, the situation was such that women
> were already largely excluded from many aspects of public life: earning
> an income, owning land, holding public office, etc.  In such an
> environment, polygyny served to further weaken women within a marriage,
> which is likely to provide a less stable family life (unless, I suppose,
> you take Bereshit 3:16 as an all-encompassing Torah obligation).  In
> this context, Rabbeinu Gershom's decree made a lot of sense. 

If my memory serves me right, Rabbi Marcus Lehman has a book devoted to
the life of Rabbenu Gershom, in which he relates (in great detail) how
Rabbenu Gershom himself married two wives, the second of which caused
him great trouble - I think she had an affair with a nobleman who made
problems for Rabbenu Gershom with the King/government. Thus, according
to Rabbi Lehman at least, the Cherem was made on the basis of Rabbenu
Gershom's own disastrous second marriage, and maybe had nothing to do with
the role of women in public in his time. We could speculate that even
had women been included in public life, as per nowadays, he would have
still made the Cherem.

Eliezer Berkovits

From: Gilad J. Gevaryahu <gevaryahu@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 14,2012 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Cherem D'Rabbenu Gershom

I always thought that the cherem of Rabbenue Gershom against polygamy reflected
the Christian society norms in western Europe, where he lived, and that only one
wife allowed to a man, whereas it never took hold in Muslim countries where the
norm was polygamy.

Gilad J. Gevaryahu


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Wed, Aug 15,2012 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Davenning in a loud voice

In the Shulchan Arukh, Orach Chaim 61,4 it states that "It is the custom to
say the first verse [of the Shema] aloud so as to arouse proper attention
[to its meaning]". Further in se'if 26 it states "There are those who are
accustomed to recite [the whole] Shema aloud but some recite it in an
undertone", on which the Rema, in the name of the Kol Bo, refers back to the
earlier se'if regarding the first verse. By singling out the Shema, it would
appear that generally, davenning should not be said aloud - at least not so loud
as to be heard by others.

In fact davenning in a loud voice may be incorrect as is evidenced by the
words of Eliyahu to the Nevi'ei Ba'al at the confrontation on Mount Carmel
(I Kings 18,27) "Call out with a loud voice for he [the Ba'al] is a god - he
is engaged in a conversation [with someone else], or he may be chasing
[something], or he is on a journey, perhaps he is asleep and has to be woken
up". Obviously this cannot apply to G-d since "the Guardian of Israel
neither sleeps nor slumbers" (Ps. 121,4).

I have noticed that many people get carried away with their tefillot and
thereby seem ignore this. I have not found a source for this practice but
perhaps someone can provide the reasoning that might justify such disturbing

Martin Stern


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 14,2012 at 04:01 AM
Subject: Meat after Tisha B'av

Isaac Balbin wrote (MJ 61#11):

> Now, I'm happily oblivious about Aveylus, but is there a Din that says the
> Avel shouldn't eat meat after Shiva?

AFAIK the answer is no but the aveilut on Tisha B'av might be compared to
aninut (the mourning period prior to the funeral) rather than aveilut (after the
funeral). In that case, continuing some of the stringencies after it may have
some foundation. While I do not recall whether the ban on eating meat by an
onein does continue, he certainly does not put on tefillin even after the
funeral (if on the same day as the death).
> There is also good reason to be lenient:
> 1. it is already pushed off and

This might be analogous to the position of an onein when the funeral is not
on the day of death but this requires further research.
> 2. the meat we eat isn't Simcha D'Orayso (biblical happiness) given that this
> refers to the meat of Korbanos (sacrifices).

I think this is not relevant in view of my analogy above.
> Finally, why do we make Havdalla on wine when they could have been consistent
> and suggested using a substitute (chamar medinah)

This argument is not valid since it is normally preferable to use wine for
havdalah, rather than chamar medinah, whereas there is no special reason
to eat meat specifically at any time (other than on Yom Tov).

Martin Stern

From: Percy Mett <percy.mett@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 14,2012 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Meat after Tisha B'av

Isaac Balbin (MJ 61#11) wrote:
> The "let's not rush to be happy by eating meat" argument is problematic. If that
> is indeed the Halacha it would not need to be mentioned for normal Tisha B'Av.
> Now, I'm happily oblivious about Aveylus, but is there a Din that says the Avel
> shouldn't eat meat after Shiva?

An ovel may eat meat during the Shiva, so why not after the Shiva?

Perets Mett


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 14,2012 at 05:01 AM
Subject: No Mechitza - What to do?

Bill Coleman wrote (MJ 61#11):

> Stuart Wise wrote (MJ 61#10):
>> In reply to Deborah Wenger (MJ 61#08):
>> I certainly agree that a makeshift mechitza could be made, but my point was
>> why would an Orthodox woman on her own want to be in a situation and not
>> feel  uncomfortable, rather than insulted...
>> Under the halachic circumstances, I don't believe "women" and "people" are
>> interchangeable. As far as I can tell, most Orthodox congregations are not
>> egalitarian.
> I find this attitude incomprehensible.  Personally, I find it uncomfortable
> to daven in a room where women are not accommodated.  This issue has
> nothing to do with egalitarianism,  it has to do with treating other human
> beings with respect.

In most communities, women do not come to shul on ordinary weekdays.
Unfortunately the same is true of many men (though some may be justified by
having to leave early for work), so many congregations daven in a smaller
beit hamidrash which does not have any mechitzah.

It is unfair of Bill to castigate them for not making provision for the rare
occasions when the odd woman chooses to turn up. If a woman wants to come in
such circumstances, it is only reasonable that she should give prior warning
wherever possible so that a temporary mechitzah can be installed. Just
turning up and then taking umbrage because the facility is unavailable is

Martin Stern


From: Yisrael Medad <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 14,2012 at 03:01 AM
Subject: Tachanun at a Wedding

At MJ 61#11, Carl Singer asks if at a wedding, if the groom was not
present, should tachnun have been said at a Mincha prayer service.

My non-Semicha [Rabbinical degree] response would be no.

My reasons: since Tachanun [falling down supplications] is cancelled for a
happy event such as a brit milah [circumcision] even when the primary actors
(father, sandak [he-who-holds-the-infant] and the mohel
[he-who-performs-the-cut] are not even present at the prayer service) although
there are, of course, other minhagim [customs] including one whereby Tachanun is
cancelled for all in the entire neighborhood or village, praying in the same
building as the Chatan [groom] should cause a suspension of Tachanun utterance.
 Indeed, as the Mishnah Brurah states OH 131:4, the chatan is more 'influential'
in that whereas a brit milah only cancels the tachanun of the prayer immediately
before the ceremony (although, again, there are different customs and the
Chofetz Chaim notes Brisk, Vilna and Cracow), a chatan cancels the entire day's
saying of the Tachanun.
However, at note 21, he states that all this is before the chuppah [marriage
canopy and by extension, the actual wedding ceremony] has taken place. If
before, Tachanun could be said.  But in the next sentence, he reverses him,self,
allowing for Tachanun to be canceled even if the chatan has left the premises

Yisrael Medad


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 14,2012 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Tefillat shacharit as a way to connect to the Almighty

I should like to present some ideas that have occurred to me regarding the
structure of tefillat shacharit.

In his siddur, R. Yaakov Emden postulates that it involves an ascent in
levels of holiness in the Beit Hamikdash. I would like to suggest that its
components may also be seen as paralleling the four worlds of the kabbalah
through which the Divine beneficence percolates from the essentially
unknowable Ein Sof down to ourselves. From our perspective we reverse the
order and see it as our ascent towards the Almighty:

1. birkhot hashachar         olam haasiyah

2. pesukei dezimra           olam hayetsirah
3. kriat shema uvirkhoteha   olam haberiah

4. shemoneh esrei            olam haatsilut

In a way the identification of birkhot hashachar with olam haasiyah is
quite natural since they were originally instituted to be said before
leaving ones home, i.e. in the everyday world of which we are aware. The
other three sections then naturally correspond to levels in which we come
increasingly close to the Almighty, as is clear from the rules regarding
under what circumstances interruptions are permitted in their recital.

As I have pointed out in "Reading between the lines of the Shema" (included
in my book "A Time to Speak") after the removal of the word emet, which we
attach to the Shema itself, there are a further fifteen words, used to describe
the way G-d's word relates to us, and these might correspond to the fifteen
steps leading from the ezrat nashim up to the azarah (pp. 76-77). It would
appear therefore that the number fifteen signifies a significant rise in
kedushah, and we might expect to find it at each stage of ascent in the worlds
as represented by the four sections of tefillat shacharit. In fact we do, in
that there are precisely fifteen birkhot hashachar and fifteen expressions of
praise at the end of yishtabach which concludes pesukei dezimra. 

Perhaps these ideas could be applied to the introductory words of the first
berakhah before kri`at shema in the morning which also includes a fourfold
structure. There is a problem in that the order seems to be wrong because
it does not tally with that of the four worlds: yotser or (olam
hayetsirah), uvore choshech (olam haberiah), oseh shalom (olam haasiah),
uvure et hakol (olam haberiah repeated) and this needs explanation.

I would like to suggest that this apparently strange order in it, based on
the verse in Yeshaya (45,7), can then be understood as having the following
significance: yotser or uvorei choshekh refers to the 'ascent' just
undertaken from pesukei dezimra (olam hayetsirah) to kri`at shema
uvirkhoteha (olam haberiah).

Similarly, the second couplet, oseh shalom uvorei et hakol, refers to the
'ascent' already previously undertaken from birkhot hashachar (olam
haasiyah), which also ultimately brings one to olam haberiah. Thus it
carries the concept of rising to higher worlds, something that will
hopefully eventually raise us to the olam haatsilut that corresponds to the
shemoneh esrei but, since we are not yet at that level, this berakhah does
not allude to it.

This way of looking at the birkhat yotser as expressing the idea of ascent
fits very well with my previous essay Some Further Thoughts on the First
Paragraph of the Shemoneh Esrei (loc. cit. pp. 85-99)  where I described
how the first paragraph of the shemoneh esrei, which corresponds to this
highest world (olam haatsilut), can be understood as representing the
drawing down of the Divine beneficence by ourselves once we have reached
that level.

Of course this is all very speculative and I would value any
comments/criticism that anyone might care to make.

Martin Stern


End of Volume 61 Issue 12