Volume 61 Number 41 
      Produced: Wed, 03 Oct 2012 16:10:37 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Educational Resources and Cool Videos for Sukkot  
    [Jacob Richman]
Once a Year? 
    [Yisrael Medad]
Ribbono shel Olam 
    [Shmuel Himelstein]
Simpler piyutim? (3)
    [Eliezer Berkovits  Wendy Baker  Avraham Walfish]
Subjective perceived time 
    [Martin Stern]
What is the meaning of "TiTonu"? (3)
    [Martin Stern  Jack Gross  David Tzohar]
Yom Kippur machzor problem (2)
    [Yisrael Medad   Martin Stern]


From: Jacob Richman <jrichman@...>
Date: Thu, Sep 27,2012 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Educational Resources and Cool Videos for Sukkot 

Hi Everyone!

Sukkot is the Jewish holiday that commemorates how protective 
"Clouds of Glory" surrounded the Jewish people after leaving 
Egypt during the forty years of wandering in the desert. 
It also commemorates how the Jews lived in temporary dwellings 
during that same time. 
Sukkot begins Sunday night, September 30, 2012.

My English Hebrew Dictionary - Sukkot Vocabulary Study Sheets

Each Hebrew word has vowels, as well as an English transliteration. 
The Hebrew words are displayed as graphics. This means you don't 
need special fonts to view them. 
To view the list of all the words on the site, visit:

The Jewish Trivia Quiz
has 35 multiple choice questions about Sukkot.

What is the Hebrew date of the first day of Sukkot ? 
What is another name for the Sukkot holiday ? 
What does Sukkot commemorate ? 
What is the minimum area of a Sukkah as defined in the Talmud ? 
What is the maximum height of a Sukkah ? 
What does the Aramaic word "Ushpizin" mean ? 
Who gets called to the Torah reading on Simchat Torah ? 

The above questions are examples from the multiple choice 
Flash quiz. There are two levels of questions, two timer settings.
Both kids and adults will find it enjoyable.

Free Sukkot Clipart

Whether you need a picture for your child's class project, 
a graphic for your synagogue, Hillel or JCC Sukkot
announcement, the Jewish Clipart Database has the pictures
for you. You can copy, save and print the graphics in
three different sizes. 

Sukkot Cool Videos
47 cool Sukkot video links.
There is something for everyone.
The list includes:
Livin' in a Booth - Fountainheads Sukkot 
How to Build a Sukkah - Moishe House Rocks 
Sukkot Fun for Kids - Learn about Sukkahs! 
Sukkot: The Ultimate Shelter
Shalom Sesame Sneak Peek: Monsters in the Sukkah 
Shalom Sesame: Noam's Sukkot 
Learn Hebrew - Sukkot Video 
Sukkot Preparations 
Speed Sukkah 
The Sukkot Shake (in Jerusalem) 
Big Etrog 
Halacha Yomit: Sukkot - Living in the Sukkah - Rabbi Chaim Brovender
Sukkot - Rabbi Shlomo Riskin
13 reasons to build a Sukkah
Learn How to Make A Lulav Ring In 25 Seconds 
Chabad UCSB Lulav Shake 
Frumsatire: Sukkos Thoughts 
Shlomo Carlebach - Hoshana Raba 
Ushpizin - movie trailer 
Sukkot in Israel 
  and many others.....

To learn more about Sukkot, I posted on my website 
56 site links, ranging from from laws and customs to games and 
recipes. Site languages include English, Hebrew, Russian, 
Spanish, French, Portuguese, German and Italian.

All 56 links have been reviewed / checked.
The address is:

Please forward this message to relatives and friends, 
so they may benefit from these holiday resources.

Happy Sukkot!


From: Yisrael Medad  <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Sat, Sep 29,2012 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Once a Year?

In Leviticus it states: 

"And the LORD said unto Moses: 'Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not
at all times into the holy place within the veil'..." (16,2) 


"And this shall be an everlasting statute unto you, to make atonement for the
children of Israel because of all their sins once in the year."(16,34) 

We all know, or assume we know, that the special service performed by the High
Priest described there in that chapter is done only once a year and the High
Priest enters the Holy of Holies but once a year.

A Chabad source has it thus: 

"The Torah describes Yom Kippur as achat bashanah, 'once a year' -- a phrase
which also translates as 'the one of the year'. The Chassidic masters explain:
this is the annual point in time in which true oneness breaks the surface
multiplicity and separateness that define our lives on the year's other 364 

And another Chabad source has it: 

"The High Priest is instructed to only enter the Holy of Holies chamber of the
sanctuary once a year, on Yom Kippur; and even on this holiest day of the year,
the entry into the Temple's inner sanctum must be accompanied by a special
service and specific offerings which are detailed in this reading."

Even the New Testament informs us that only the High Priest had access to the
Holy of Holies and only once a year on Yom Kippur:

"But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and
never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people
had committed in ignorance." (Hebrews 9:7). 

Rabbi Yissocher Frand writes: 

"Once a year, one man out of the entire nation was privileged to wear these
special garments."

The Jerusalem Talmud (Yoma 28b) has it: 

"As we learn from Exodus 30:10 [And Aaron shall make atonement upon the horns of
it once in the year...], once a year he makes atonement but not twice a year".

In the Babylonian Talmud (Yoma 60a) we read: 

Our Rabbis taught: Concerning every ministration of the Day of Atonement
mentioned in the prescribed order, if one service was done [out of order] before
another one, it is as if one had not done it at all. R. Judah said: When does
this apply? Only with regard to service performed in white garments, within [the
Holy of Holies], but any service performed in white garments without, if in
connection with them he performed one out of order before the other one, then
what he has done is done [valid]. R. Nehemiah said: These things apply only to
service performed in white garments, whether performed within [the Holy of
Holies] or without, but in case of services performed in golden garments
outside, what has been done, is done. Said R. Johanan: And both
expounded it on the basis of one Scriptural passage: And this shall be an
everlasting statute unto you . . . once in the year."

Despite all the foregoing, is it possible that the entry into the Holy of
Holies was not solely a 'once-a-year' event?

Yet the Midrash Shemot Rabba (38:10) reads: 

"Aharon would enter into the Holy of Holies at any time and if it were not for
all the merits that entered with him and assisted him, he would not be able to
do so".

and Midrash Shemot Rabba (21:6) reads: 

"...God said to Moshe - not as you presume that there is a time for one hour, a
time for once a day, once a year, once in twelve years or a time for once in 70
years or an everlasting once but whenever he [Aharon] wishes to enter, he may as
long as he keeps to this particular order..."

So, was it truly only once a year?

Yisrael Medad


From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
Date: Tue, Oct 2,2012 at 04:01 AM
Subject: Ribbono shel Olam

There is a prayer beginning "Ribbono shel Olam," which is said by Ashkenazim
on the Shalosh Regalim and on the Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, just before
the Sefer Torah is taken out.

I have two questions regarding this:

a) On the Chagim except Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, there is a place
where one inserts one's own name - listed in the Siddur/Machzor as Peh ben
Peh i.e,. so-and-so, the son of so-and-so). In inserting one's own name,
does one then insert one's father's name or one's mother's name?

b) Why on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, does one not insert one's name, as
one does on the Chagim (and let's not go into why this should even be
necessary on the Chagim - after all God is omniscient ...)?

Shmuel Himelstein


From: Eliezer Berkovits <eb@...>
Date: Fri, Sep 28,2012 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Simpler piyutim?

Stuart Wise wrote (MJ 61#39):

> As we have completed two weeks of Selichos, I must admit that I do not
> understand much of what I said. It makes me wonder whether people in 
> the era when the selichos were composed were so learned in lashon 
> Ha-kodesh that the tefilos held meaning for them. Some of the grammar 
> is quite complex as is the  vocabulary.  It may be poetic and 
> beautiful but for whom does that have meaning other than lovers of 
> literature.  Would it not have been better to compose simpler piyutim?

See also Machzor Hameforash in his introduction to the Avodah section on
Yom Kippur, where he discusses the different Nuschaos (Amitz Koach and
Ata Konanta) and suggests that Nusach Sefard preferred Ata Konanta
because it is easier to understand than Amitz Koach. I suppose the
Ashkenazim found this less of an issue, although I am not sure why.

Eliezer Berkovits

From: Wendy Baker <wbaker@...>
Date: Fri, Sep 28,2012 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Simpler piyutim?

Thank you, Martin, for this most-informative post (MJ 61#40).  I tried to
condense it a bit but found it difficult to do so. The history of the times in 
which the piyutim and selichot were written and the kinds of material they include 
was eye-opening for me.

What occurs to me is this wonderful literature, which is what it is, is, 
by including it in the liturgy, experiencing a reduction in its 
meaning as it always is said in a great hurry, unless, like Martin, you 
only read half (or in my case less than half) of the material.

Should not this great and important literature and the history it 
represents be studied in school curricula or shul classes as 
historical literature, not only as parts of the liturgy?  Shouldn't we all 
be educated in the source of knowledge of what our ancestors went through 
through their poetry?  Without such directed study the meaning becomes 
lost, and ultimately the piyutim will be eliminated and difficult to find, 
as will a great part of our history and how those under duress managed to keep 
the knowledge alive.

Wendy Baker - retired History teacher - so you know my bias

From: Avraham Walfish <rawalfish@...>
Date: Sat, Sep 29,2012 at 02:01 PM
Subject: Simpler piyutim?

Regarding the difficulty of reciting and understanding the piyutim - I
recently heard someone quote Rav Yitzhak Hutner z"l: It is better to recite
a FEW piyutim without kavvanah than MANY piyutim WITHOUT kavvanah.



From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Wed, Oct 3,2012 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Subjective perceived time

When I was a boy, it seemed an awfully long time from Rosh Hashanah to Yom
Kippur. Now it seems almost no time at all from Yom Kippur to the next Rosh
Hashanah. This phenomenon got me thinking about whether there is a basic
difference between objective absolute time as measured on clocks and
calendars and subjective perceived time.

It seemed to me as if subjectively we perceive time quite differently to the
way it really is (or is that also an artificial construct) as a proportion
of our lifetime. Thus, to a one year old a year is a lifetime whereas to a
ten year old it is only one tenth of a lifetime, i.e. time seems to pass ten
times as fast. 

This idea might explain why we think things are speeding up as we age but my
impression is that this 'speeding up' itself gets faster as we get older,
which would imply that my suggested model is not the complete answer.

Does anyone know whether any research has been done on this and, if so, what
are its findings?

Martin Stern


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Fri, Sep 28,2012 at 10:01 AM
Subject: What is the meaning of "TiTonu"?

Eliezer Berkovits wrote (MJ 61#40):

> I have long noticed that the Viduy section at the back of the very popular
> Artscroll Machzor and paperback pamphlet 'Viduy' both translate TiTonu, the
> last word of Oshamnu, as 'You have let us go astray.' I have since discovered
> that this is based on the translation of the Chayei Adam.
> I do not however understand how this is correct grammatically or conceptually.
> First, conceptually - it does not seem correct that a statement directed at
> Hashem is somehow a confession (which I think Chayei Adam avoids by saying
> that Ta-inu, and *perhaps* also TiTonu, is more of a general overview than a
> specific confession), especially as all the other words are in the first
> person plural ('We have ...').
> ...
> I have checked Machzor Hameforash, both of Rabbi Birnbaum's interlinear
> sefarim, Metzudah Machzor and one or two others, and all provide either 'We
> have caused others to stray' or 'We have tricked/done crooked things'. The
> second translation, I suppose, is as per 'Vehayisi Be'Eynav Kimesataya' (thus
> justifying the tav-ayin-tav-ayin). I am not sure what the grammatical basis
> for the first translation is.

I also find the Artscroll translation difficult to justify. It would appear
that it is based on the assumption that the first tav indicates a second
person subject prefix of the imperfect (you) and the word is to be treated
as the hiphil of a verb whose root is ayin-tav-ayin, with the nun-vav
suffix indicating the object (us) of the verb, but this cannot be correct
because the vocalisation would then be ta'ati'nu. This quite is apart from
the fact that no such root exists (at least according to the Redak).

As far as I can work it out there are two possibilities for titanu, both
treating it as pilpeil form, which is the equivalent of the pieil of a
regular verb. The possible roots are:

1. tav-ayin-heh: This root is doubly weak -- it has as its second root-letter
the guttural ayin (not to be confused with an ayin-ayin verb), which cannot
take a dagesh as required in the pi'eil, and its third root-letter a heh
(i.e. it is also a lamed-heh verb). Probably it carries a causative meaning
here, as does sometimes happen with the pi'eil, i.e. it would be translated
we have caused [others] to go astray.

2. tav-ayin-ayin: This would be an ayin-ayin verb (in both senses) and also be
doubly weak - such verbs usually have a pilpeil in place of a pi'eil. It
would then be related to the word meta'tei'a (Ber. 27, 12) which Mandelkern
writes in his concordance is a pilpeil participle derived from this root,
as Eliezer surmises. It would then mean "we have deceived" or "we have

On consideration I think the second is more likely.

Martin Stern

From: Jack Gross <jacobbgross@...>
Date: Fri, Sep 28,2012 at 02:01 PM
Subject: What is the meaning of "TiTonu"?

Eliezer Berkovits (MJ 61#40) is right on both scores:  

Substantively, the idea that G-d enables people's wayward actions has its
place, but not here:  vidduy is a confession of guilt, not a plea-bargain;
offering excuses is out of place.  

Grammatically, any attempt (no matter on whose authority) to understand the
first tav as a prefix indicating the subject is "You", and the nun-vav as
an additional suffix indicating the direct object is "us" (along the lines
of keirav-ta-nu), is erroneous, as witness the second ayin.  Perforce the
verb root is tav-ayin-tav-ayin, and the vowels and nun-vav suffix are the
standard conjugated form of four-letter-root Piel verbs, in the "perfect" or
past tense, with the suffix indicating first-person plural ("we") as the
subject:  "We misled [others]".


From: David Tzohar <davidtzohar@...>
Date: Tue, Oct 2,2012 at 05:01 AM
Subject: What is the meaning of "TiTonu"?

The grammatical construction I think is clear. Hiph'il first person
plural of ta'h. But  does Hashem cause us to sin? Or do we cause others
to sin? Either way it is a difficult phrase to interpret.

David Tzohar


From: Yisrael Medad  <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Fri, Sep 28,2012 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Yom Kippur machzor problem

Stuart Wise (MJ 61#40) asks:

> I wonder what went into the minds of those who compiled the machzor.

As an observation on the number of prayers to be said, I would guess the
Rabbi's sermon was either shorter or nonexistent.

Yisrael Medad

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Fri, Sep 28,2012 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Yom Kippur machzor problem

Stuart Wise wrote (MJ 61#40):

> It seems to me that it would be virtually impossible to recite the entire
> Yom Kippur machzor even, I think, if you started 6 a.m. (which my mother A.H.
> said is when they started when she was a child). Putting aside the different
> type sizes, I wonder whether it was ever intended to recite it all, or was it
> more or less pick and choose. My shul says an average number of non-prominent
> looking tefilos, but I tend to say some of the others on my own. Again,
> similar to my difficulty in selichos, I wonder what went into the minds of
> those who compiled the machzor.

It is probable that nobody "compiled the machzor" but, rather, that it grew,
with considerable local variation in the selection of piyutim, in the
pre-printing era. When printing houses started to issue machzorim they
included as many of the piyutim as possible to widen their market but did
not specify which ones were said in any specific place (an impossible thing
to do in practice).

At first, each community would have known what to leave out but, after a
while, people would tend to say more because "they were printed in the
machzor". Also when people moved away from their villages or small towns
into larger places which had had no previous tradition, this trend would
have been reinforced.

One can see this sort of process in the customs of the German communities
which said selichot in shacharit, mussaf and minchah on Yom Kippur. In the
German editions of the machzor by Heidenheim and Sachs these selichot were
numbered and each year a list of the numbers of those to be said, which
might vary depending on the length of the day, was circulated to
congregants. This is still the practice in the remaining "Yekkishe

By and large the East European printers (the only exception of which I am
aware is the Machzor Vilna Kol Bo which has been reprinted in recent times)
just gave up on this large variety and merely printed in the appropriate
place a note to the effect that "in some congregations selichot were
inserted" at that point. The result was that they dropped out of use during
the nineteenth century simply because "they were not printed in the

So Stuart can blame the printers, who were generally not great scholars, for
the present situation where there seem to be far too many rather repetitive
litany-piyutim, especially in shacharit, and no selichot (which would seem
much more appropriate for the nature of the day).

Martin Stern


End of Volume 61 Issue 41