Volume 61 Number 15 
      Produced: Fri, 17 Aug 2012 11:41:47 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Accommodating both women and men in shul 
    [Bill Coleman]
Benching gomel (6)
    [Carl Singer  Joel Rich  Jack Gross  Steven Oppenheimer  Art Werschulz  Stuart Pilichowski]
Chasan getting maftir at the aufruf 
    [Joel Rich]
Cherem D'Rabbenu Gershom (2)
    [Martin Stern  L Reich]
Kashrus Of Canned Tuna. 
    [Immanuel Burton]
Meat after Tisha B'Av 
    [Josh Backon]
Reporting Crimes committed by Jews 
    [Carl Singer]


From: Bill Coleman <wbcoleman@...>
Date: Thu, Aug 16,2012 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Accommodating both women and men in shul

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 61#14):

> Leah S. R. Gordon wrote (MJ 61#13):

>> I would suggest to Mr. Stern that women as well may be justified by having
>> to leave early for work.  (It happens that I write this at 5:30am local
>> time, just ahead of the sun, when indeed I am on my way out to work.)
>> Yet I agree that it is unfortunate that more women and men do not come to
>> shul every day.  Since fewer women attend, that is extra unfortunate.

> Women do not have any obligation to participate in public prayer and, by
> and large, most only do so on Shabbat and Yom Tov. Even those who are
> punctilious to daven shacharit and minchah every day usually do so at home
> even if they could, without any great inconvenience, attend shul. They,
> therefore, have no need to have a 'reason' for not attending, unlike men
> who do have the obligation but may be excused by extenuating circumstances.
> Of course women should be welcomed should they come but it is unrealistic
> to expect shuls to make permanent arrangements for what is a very rare
> occurrence.

No one is questioning that the halakhic obligations of women differ from
those of men.  The issue is whether or not shuls ought to, or even need
to, accommodate women who wish to daven on weekdays.  Some apparently feel
that the cost of such accommodation is substantial.  I view it as trivial
and am inclined to attribute the willingness to turn away women to other

One such factor is something I have often observed in my own shul, which
has a spacious beis medresh and a permanent mechitzah enclosing a ezras
nashim which easily seats at least ten people.  While women do appear
occasionaly, it is certainly true that, more often than not, no women are
present.  What does this mean?  It means that hardly a day goes by that
one, two, three or more men set up shop in the ezras nashim.  It's not
because the men's section is full or even remotely close to being crowded,
because it is neither, it's because for whatever reason they like to sit in
the back behind the mechitzah.  When a woman shows up they generally clear
out quickly, but sometimes this happens while they are davening shemonah
esrei and I have overheard complaints that the women in question had no
business entering until the men had finished and left.  This to me is real
chutzpah and an indication of how these characters feel about women.

Where there's a will there's a way, and where there isn't there isn't.


From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Thu, Aug 16,2012 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Benching gomel

Martin Stern asks (MJ 61#14):

> This (Thursday) morning we had a troop of people come up one after the other
> to bench gomel, delaying the davenning interminably. IMHO it would be much
> better if the gabbai would call out before the first one that he would be
> doing so in order to be motsi (exempt) everyone else present and not permit
> this tircha detzibbura. What do others think?

While I sympathize re: the tircha detzibbura  (even more-so if I were in
attendance). To me it would depend on the circumstances -- 

(a) some people bench gomel in almost a perfunctory manner whenever they fly

(b) In other circumstances gomel is both halachic and emotional -- illness,
car accident, birth ....

I believe the former case (a) could warrant the solution which Martin
suggests - that is someone being motsi the others. In circumstance (b), however,
I would be willing to miss my train if that's what it took.
Carl A. Singer, Ph.D.
Colonel, U.S. Army Retired
70 Howard Avenue
Passaic, NJ  07055-5328

From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Thu, Aug 16,2012 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Benching gomel

In reply to Martin Stern (MJ 61#14):

It pretty clearly works (see Shulchan Arukh Orach Chaim 219:4-5) and I think the
tzibbur would have the right to implement such a rule  BUT  one should also
consider in "the norm" that there is a basic chakira (underlying issue) as to
whether hagomeil is primarily a blessing instituted by chazal or an act of
thanksgiving in place of the korban todah (thanksgiving offering).  To the
extent that there is an element of the latter, it would seem that one would want
to be obvious about their thanksgiving.

Joel Rich

From: Jack Gross <jacobbgross@...>
Date: Thu, Aug 16,2012 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Benching gomel

In reply to Martin Stern (MJ 61#14):

The standard wording of the bracha declares that the speaker, as a sinner,
was undeserving of the good that G-d bestowed on him.  That seems
inappropriate when one says the Beracha on behalf of others.   

A better suggestion may be to invite the group to come up together and
recite the Beracha in unison.

From: Steven Oppenheimer <steven.oppenheimer@...>
Date: Thu, Aug 16,2012 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Benching gomel

In reply to Martin Stern (MJ 61#14):

That is what HaRav Nosson Gestetner wrote in his Responsa Lehoros Nosson.
(Although the response was to a different question)

Steven Oppenheimer, D.M.D.

From: Art Werschulz <agw@...>
Date: Thu, Aug 16,2012 at 07:01 PM
Subject: Benching gomel

In reply to Martin Stern (MJ 61#14):

Good idea.  I saw this in action at a shul in Hong Kong.  A lot of people fly in
and out of Hong Kong.  So after several of us bentched gomel as individuals,
the Rabbi directed one of the people to bentch gomel on behalf of the others.

Art Werschulz

From: Stuart Pilichowski <stupillow@...>
Date: Thu, Aug 16,2012 at 11:01 PM
Subject: Benching gomel

In reply to Martin Stern (MJ 61#14):

I think you first need to define "tircha detzibbura." You make the 
assumption that 'delay' =  tircha detzibbura. If that were the case, then 
many parts of our present tefillah that aren't obligatory should be 
excluded. Also the Rabbi's sermon, bar/bat mitzvah speeches, mi shebeirachs, 
kids singing beginning from Ein Kelohaynu, Aleinu - singing in general, 
announcements (instead of a simple printed handout). I'm sure I left out 
other common examples.

Stu P


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Thu, Aug 16,2012 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Chasan getting maftir at the aufruf

Chaim Casper wrote (MJ 61#14):

> Joseph Kaplan commented (MJ 61#13) on my post (MJ 61#12) regarding the
> order of hiyuvim for aliyot (the pecking order for who gets an aliyah).
> I quoted the Mishneh Brurah who ruled that "[a] husband whose wife is in
> shul for the first time after giving birth" is a hiyuv to receive an
> aliyah.  I then clarified the Mishneh Brurah's position by adding that
> "the husband can then say 'Birkat Hagomel' on her (his wife's) behalf".
> Joseph's questioned "is whether he (the husband) is still a chiyuv if, as
> is often the case in my shul and many others, the mother is the one who
> makes the gomel."
> Given his druthers, the Mishneh Brurah would rather 
> A) the husband say the gomel at a minyan or 
> B) the wife say it in front of ten men (and not during a davening).   
> I suggest that he would not be happy with the new mother saying gomel during
> davening.
> This difference plays out in our contemporary philosophies of
> Orthodox/Torah Judaism.    The Haredim would as a rule opt for the
> husband to say Gomel for the wife while the Modernists would countenance
> the wife saying it during davening (there are exceptions, for sure, but I
> believe this would be the general rule).   The question is where would
> the Centrists stand on the issue.  On one hand they would want to stretch
> the halakhah to its logical conclusion like the Modernists while on the
> other, they would insist like the Haredim on there being a precedent.  
> To decide what to do in practice would fall to a community by community
> consensus (with the guidance of its rabbi).

Certainly we can all agree on your last line!  However I would point out that R'
Ovadia Yosef (Yechaveh Daat 4:15) says that she should say hagomel from behind
the Mechitza at the time the Torah is being read - not because he is a modernist
but because she is the one who has to give thanks in front of 10.  I would
actually posit that "the modernists" are really old fashioned - returning to the
original understanding of the Thanksgiving offering approach.

Joel Rich


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, Aug 16,2012 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Cherem D'Rabbenu Gershom

Isaac Balbin wrote (MJ 61#14):
> ... but how exactly does this work. You come to country X
> as a Sefardi, and then daven in an Ashkenazi Shule, and your Rabbi is
> Ashkenazi. Over time, you adopt Ashkenazi practices, such as not
> eating rice on Pesach etc. Do you come under the Cherem D'Rabbenu
> Gershom?
> The same is true vice-versa.
> ...
> Would an Ashkenazi who went to live in Morroco, and discovered that polygamy
> was permitted de jure, have to stick to R' Gershom or would R' Gershom allow
> him to follow the Minhag HaMakom?

The general rule is that an individual moving temporarily to a new community
must observe the chumras of that community but may not abandon his own
previous ones. If he intends to settle there permanently he adopts their
practices whether chumras or kullas.

Where a group move to a place that already has a community, it would seem
that they can set up their own community maintaining their original customs
even if they differ from the original community.

Martin Stern

From: L Reich <lreich@...>
Date: Fri, Aug 17,2012 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Cherem D'Rabbenu Gershom

I have not followed all the exchanges on this topic, but I see that Keith
Bierman (MJ 61#10) and others (MJ 61#11-14) are unaware of sources regarding the
Cherem of Rabbenu Gershom and its current validity.

The Talmudical Encyclopedia has an extensive treatment of the Cherem. In the
Hebrew edition it can be found in Vol. 17 in columns 378-454 and in a postcript
pp 757-772. The latter includes photocopies of the earliest manuscripts showing
the cherem text. One can also see comprehensive coverage in the Aroch
Hashulchan, Even Ho'Ezer chapter 1.

To summarise very briefly. Some authorities believe that the Cherem has full
validity today. However, most say it was originally only in force until the year
CE 1240, but was accepted as still binding today by general acceptance and adoption.

Incidentally, there were several other Charomim propogated by Rabbenu Gershom.
Apart from the one on reading other peoples' letters, few are widely known today.

Leslie Reich


From: Immanuel Burton <iburton@...>
Date: Thu, Aug 16,2012 at 11:01 PM
Subject: Kashrus Of Canned Tuna.

I have recently seen articles on the web sites of various kashrus 
agencies about canned tuna, and why the prohibition of bishul akum 
[cooking by a non-Jew] is not applicable.

The rationale that I've read is that bishul akum applies only to food 
that is fit to be served to a king, which canned tuna is not. Does this 
rationale actually work?  I am sure that it is reasonable to assume that 
fresh tuna would be fit to be served to a king, which means that tuna 
per se is fit to be served to a king.  Does the method of production, 
i.e. canned versus fresh, change whether bishul akum applies?  Would 
bishul akum apply to a fresh tuna steak but not to canned tuna?

A list of FAQs on the Web site of the United Synagogue (of Great 
Britain) cites an opinion of the Chazon Ish, who forbade tinned sardines 
on the basis that "the King of England eats sardines for breakfast".  
This list of FAQs can be seen at:


I was a bit surprised not to see a different reason for why bishul akum 
doesn't apply to canned tuna.  The rule of bishul akum doesn't apply to 
foods that are eaten raw, e.g. carrots.  Given that raw tuna is used in 
sushi (specifically a type of hosomaki called tekkamaki), wouldn't this 
reason by itself be enough to exempt tuna from the prohibition of bishul 
akum (even, perhaps, according to the Chazon Ish)?

Immanuel Burton.


From: Josh Backon <backon@...>
Date: Thu, Aug 16,2012 at 09:01 PM
Subject: Meat after Tisha B'Av

Menashe Elyashiv wrote (MJ 61#14):

> Yisrael Medad wrote (MJ 61#09):

>> it's not that healthy to eat meat after a fast in any case.
> Why not. After Yom Kippur, we warm up the leftovers from the pre-fast
> meal.  What is good before a fast, is good for after the fast. My wife's
> menu: vegetable soup, rice, cooked vegetables, chicken.

When I was giving a course on evidence-based medicine: diagnosis and therapy at
the Faculty of Medicine of Hebrew University, I used to relate the following
anecdote to my med students. My grandmother a"h, a Holocaust survivor who was
born in Andrychov Poland in 1889 and passed away 20 years ago at age 103 in
Brooklyn, was definitely charedi. Until age 97, she used to fast the full 25
hours on Yom Kippur (until her doctors forbade her to fast). Like many others of
her generation, she used to break the Yom Kippur fast after Neilah by downing a
shot of brandy. All her doctors were horrified. I know one thing: she OUTLIVED

Dr. Josh Backon


From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Fri, Aug 17,2012 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Reporting Crimes committed by Jews

Today's Jewish Press online reported a registered sex offender who drives a
delivery truck broke into a summer camp and was viewed on security cameras
inside children's bunks. Of relevance are the following three items:   The
latter two from a spokesperson for an advocacy group.

1 - Camp directors waited about 35 hours before calling a criminal lawyer,
who advised them to alert the authorities.

2 - "An immediate report would have protected kids in other camps where
this driver was making deliveries...."

3 - "We hope the children were not pressured into changing their stories."

This is, unfortunately, but one of many such incidents that have taken place --
as the Rabbi Emeritus of my shul stated, "Vos Kristaltzach, Yiddeltzach
[What goes on in the general community goes on in the Jewish community]".

It seems that within certain observant communities there is a reluctance to
report and severe pressure is put on the victims.

I'd be interested in exploring the halachic basis for action or inaction.

I've heard too many times from others that one shouldn't masser another
Jew [denounce a fellow Jew to the civil authorities], regardless -- and it seems
to me that this is misguided.



End of Volume 61 Issue 15