Volume 61 Number 43 
      Produced: Fri, 12 Oct 2012 12:46:17 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Blame the printers? 
    [Martin Stern]
halachic "maximums"? 
    [Stuart Pilichowski]
Keeping The Haftorah Book Open. 
    [Immanuel Burton]
Mikra'ei Kodesh 
    [Chuck Elnekave]
Multiple Simultaneous Aliyot 
    [Stuart Pilichowski]
Once a year? 
    [Elazar M. Teitz]
Rabbi's sermon (was - Yom Kippur machzor problem) 
    [David Ziants]
Security vs. welcoming strangers 
    [Leah S. R. Gordon]
Subjective perceived time 
    [Chaim Casper]
The Fox and the Fish 
    [David Greenberg]
Yom Kippur machzor problem 
    [Martin Stern]


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Wed, Oct 10,2012 at 03:01 AM
Subject: Blame the printers?

The correct way of referring to the festival of Shemini Atseret has been
discussed in the past, since the phrases "beyom hashemini chag atseret" and
"et yom hashemini chag atseret" used in the Ashkenazi liturgy are
grammatically problematic.

There are several suggestions as to how this should be corrected but I have
a suspicion that the source lies with the printers. In machzorim they
printed the appropriate paragraphs with "beyom" or "et yom" at the end of a
line with the various names of the Yamim Tovim underneath. This would have
been correct for all the others, since "beyom (or et yom) rosh hachodesh/chag
hapesach/chag hashavuot/chag hasuccot/hazikaron/hakippurim" are all perfectly

With Shemini Atseret, however, it should have read "bayom hashemini chag
atseret" and "et hayom hashemini chag atseret", referring to "the eighth day,
a festival [whose sole purpose is] assembling". Because of the way they did
their typesetting, the printers seem to have introduced the problem. Has
anyone any comments on this?

Martin Stern


From: Stuart Pilichowski <stupillow@...>
Date: Thu, Oct 11,2012 at 04:01 PM
Subject: halachic "maximums"?

We're all pretty familiar with chumrot dealing with minimum quantities, such as 
minimum matzah to fulfill the mitzvah at the seder or minimum amount of wine to 
fulfill kiddush. Are there also "maximums", such as maximum water usage for 
netillat yadayim, since water is quite scarce, or maximum speed permitted while 
driving, since high speeds may be dangerous and therefore sakanat nefashot?

Mevaseret Zion


From: Immanuel Burton <iburton@...>
Date: Sun, Oct 7,2012 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Keeping The Haftorah Book Open.

I remember being told once that if one reads the Haftorah from a printed 
text (as opposed to a parchment scroll), one should keep the printed 
text open while saying the blessings after the Haftorah.

Is this actually a known custom?  If so, does anyone have a source for it?

Thank you.

Immanuel Burton.


From: Chuck Elnekave <chuck.elnekave@...>
Date: Wed, Oct 10,2012 at 12:01 AM
Subject: Mikra'ei Kodesh

When the Yamim Tovim are mentioned in the Torah, they are referred to as
"Mikra'ei Kodesh", as opposed to the intermediate Chol HaMo'ed days, which are
not labeled as such. (They seem to fall under the general category of
"Mo'adim".) However, in the prayer custom of the Sephardim and the Edot
HaMizrach, the Yamim Tovim are referred to as "Yom Tov Mikra Kodesh" and the
days of Chol HaMo'ed are called simply "Yom Mikra Kodesh". 

My question is, if the Torah specifically singled out the Yamim Tovim as the
"Mikra'ei Kodesh", why are the days of Chol HaMo'ed given that title?

In Parashat Emor, the term "Mikra'ei Kodesh" seems to be used as an equal term
to what, in Parashat Pinchas, are called "Mo'adim", and that would explain the
whole conundrum if not for the fact that Shabbat is included in that list of
"Mikra'ei Kodesh", in a status equal to the Mo'adim, and yet Shabbat doesn't
seem to get the title of a Mikra Kodesh in the tefillot of the Sephardim and the
Edot Mizrach. 

Can anybody help shed any light on this?

Thanks, and kol tuv,

Chuck Elnekave
Thornhill, ON


From: Stuart Pilichowski <stupillow@...>
Date: Thu, Oct 11,2012 at 06:01 AM
Subject: Multiple Simultaneous Aliyot

I heard that in Manchester, England on Simchat Torah in order to save time
ten people go up to the Torah for an aliyah at the same time.
Ever hear of such a thing?

Mevaseret Zion


From: Elazar M. Teitz <remt@...>
Date: Sun, Oct 7,2012 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Once a year?

Yisrael Medad writes (MJ 61#42): 

> To follow up on my posting regarding the question whether the High Priest
> really entered the Holy of Holies but once a year, I was reading the Sept.
> 21 Shabbat Supplement of Makor Rishon - from a large pile I had to catch up
> on - and spotted an article by Aharon Shtechelberg on the matter of the
> Ketoret (Incense ritual).  He suggests that Aharon entered the Holy of
> Holies daily, based on Exodus 30:34-36 and also 28:35, until his two sons
> were killed, sacrificing a strange fire.  That was the critical moment that
> altered the practice.     

Exodus 30:34-36 is addressed to Moshe, not to Aharon.  28:35 cannot relate to
the Holy of Holies, since it refers to Aharon's wearing of the garment
containing the bells -- a garment which could not be worn in the Holy of Holies.

But that merely shows that there is no proof for the attempted answer.  However,
the answer itself is impossible.  Aharon could not have entered the Holy of
Holies on a daily basis prior to the death of his sons, because it wasn't until
the day they died that he became a kohein. 



From: David Ziants <dziants@...>
Date: Mon, Oct 8,2012 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Rabbi's sermon (was - Yom Kippur machzor problem)

Yisrael Medad wrote (MJ 61#41):

> 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
> either the Rabbi's sermon was shorter or not at all.

It was from this list a number of years ago I learned differently from Martin's
assertion (MJ 61#42):

> Until relatively recently sermons were not delivered on Shabbat or Yom Tov
> mornings - the preferred time traditionally was after minchah when people
> were more relaxed (and not hungry). The Reform movement introduced morning
> sermons on the Protestant model because that was the only time they held
> services and this spread later to more modern Orthodox synagogues, probably
> because of the decline in shul attendance at any other time. In charedi
> shuls, the traditional format is still followed and morning sermons are
> virtually non-existent, being restricted to such things as a few words of
> exhortation before shofar blowing.

I do not have the MJ reference at hand, but someone on this list gave 
reference to siddur manuscripts that were found in the Cairo Geniza that 
the Reish Galuta (Spiritual Head of the Babylonian Community) would give 
his drasha immediately after Kriat hatorah (or actually after the 
Haphtara) of Shacharit. The congregation would listen to his words 
attentively and at the end of the drasha there would be mutual blessings 
which are our two Aramaic Yekum Purkan prayers that are said on Shabbat.

The general custom I have seen in recent years is to have the drasha at 
this point and not after the Sepher Torah is returned to the Aron. I 
used to think that it was to do with a city Rav doing the rounds of all 
the shuls within his vicinity and so had to find the optimal route so he 
can visit as many shuls as possible without missing musaph etc. I now 
see Rabbanim who do not have to visit other shuls (like the shul Rav who 
has no other commitments) following the same practice, of giving the 
drasha at the earlier point (and someone sits and holds the sepher tora 
whilst this happens).

Having the Yekum Purkan  prayers explains why there is no kaddish 
derabban, because the prayer for the Reish Galuta comes instead.

I do agree that many chareidi shuls do not have the Rav speaking in 
shacharit, but my feeling is that it is a more a knee-jerk reaction that they 
do not want to follow a model as Martin describes.

In addition, there is a trend to have a drasha between kabbalat shabbat 
and arvit and this is given by one of the other learned congregants (who 
might or might not have smicha) and not the Rav.

There are still the shiurim after late mincha of Shabbat, but I have 
noticed that there is a trend to abolish this in shuls that do not have 
seuda shlishit [Shabbat 3rd meal], especially in the winter, because 
there is a sensitivity to the Rambam who specifically rules that seuda 
shlishit should be after mincha.

David Ziants
Ma'aleh Adumim, Israel


From: Leah S. R. Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Wed, Oct 10,2012 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Security vs. welcoming strangers

Something happened in my shul on Yom Kippur that I thought was handled really
well, but I am curious to hear other perspectives.

Background - we have a shul that usually gets around 100 people for shabbat
davening.  On the High Holidays, we get nearly twice that many, evidently
appealing to many locals for our spirited, quiet, meaningful davening, with
really nice chazzanut.  We do not have "tickets", though we ask attendees to
register ahead of time and give what they can afford in lieu of membership.  

Ok, so I had no idea that any of this happened until I heard about it on
Sukkot, but here is what happened:

A gentleman was the "on-call" greeter-person for Neila. Apparently he was
approached by one of the ladies who said, "there seems to be a man sitting in
the women's section". He investigated, and sure enough, there was someone he
didn't know, sitting there.  So he approached and said quietly, "At our shul,
men sit on this side; would you like me to help you find a seat?" and the man
cooperated pleasantly and followed to the men's section.

Another person approached him and said, "that guy looks suspicious:
he isn't wearing a kippah, he doesn't have a machzor out, and he has a
large backpack".  Probably he started panicking inwardly, wondering, could
it be a terrorist?  But if he's just a Jew looking for Neila, how can I not
alienate him?  So he approached again, this time offering to help the guy
find a place in the machzor (he accepted).  Then he said to the guy, "I'm
sorry, it's our policy; may I please inspect your backpack for security?"
And the guy pleasantly complied, and it wasn't suspicious.  

Then a third person approached him and said, "That guy is texting on his cell
phone!" which the witness apparently feared might be setting off a device
of some sort.  But the bag had been checked, so he said so, and that was
that, Neila ended, and we didn't see him again.  He also asked a friend of his
to be extra friendly/welcoming to the new guy so that for sure his only
experience wouldn't be with someone demanding things of him.

I started thinking not only about issues of security vs. welcoming
strangers, but also about the sense of privilege some of us get just by
knowing where to go and what to do (e.g. not use a cell phone in shul on
YK).  No one checked my bag, after all....  I'm not sure what the best way
is to handle this sort of thing.  I wonder if in larger shuls, they have
guards, or check all bags, or have tickets.  I really like that our shul is
the kind of place that a Jew feels he can just come to, at Neila, and be
there in any spiritual way that he can.  But does that open us up to risks?


From: Chaim Casper <surfflorist@...>
Date: Sun, Oct 7,2012 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Subjective perceived time

Martin Stern (MJ 61#41) raised the issue of "Subjective perceived time."  
Robert Israel  and Josh Backon in MJ 61#42 offered a couple of possible resources
to understand this phenomenon.

A more popular explanation can be had from the NPR show, RadioLab, which is
produced by WNYC-FM, the New York City Public Radio affiliate.   An episode from
a 2007 show of theirs - 


(the second segment of that show) talks about this.

B'virkat Torah v'Hag Sameah,
Chaim Casper
North Miami Beach, FL


From: David Greenberg <dsg1716@...>
Date: Sun, Oct 7,2012 at 04:01 PM
Subject: The Fox and the Fish

Those who have been studying Daf Yomi recently learned some of the most famous
aggadata in the Talmud, concerning Rabbi Akiva and the tragic end of his life at
the hands of the Romans. The beginning of this piece of aggadata includes one of
the most famous parables from the Talmud -- indeed, so famous that Mail-Jewish's
own Hillel Sabba Markowitz references it in his signature block. I am referring,
of course, to the parable of the fox and the fish.

Briefly, the scholar Papus ben Yehuda cautions Rabbi Akiva to stop teaching
Torah in public, which the Romans have outlawed. Rabbi Akiva offers Papus a
parable to demonstrate why he cannot, and will not, comply with the Roman decree:

"A fox was walking along a river and saw fish rushing to and fro. Said [the fox]
to [the fish]: 'Why are you fleeing?
"They said to him: 'The nets that the humans arespreading for us.'

"He said to them: 'Why don't you come out onto the dry land? We'll live 
together, as my ancestors lived with your ancestors.'

"They said to him: 'Are you the one of whom it is said that you are the 
wisest of animals? You're not wise, but foolish! If, in our environment of life,
we have cause for fear, how much more so in the environment of our death!'

"The same applies to us: if, now, when we sit and study the Torah, of which 
it is said (Deuteronomy 30:20), 'For it is your life and the 
lengthening of your days,' such is our situation (i.e, we are in danger), how
much more so if we neglect it...."

I had heard this parable many times, but its appearance in the daf yomi was the
first time I had ever read it firsthand from the source. I was struck when I
noticed the details of the statement Rabbi Akiva attributes to the fish; "We'll
live together, __ as my ancestors lived with your ancestors ___." It seems like
a pretty clear reference to an evolutionary concept.

Can anyone share sources that discuss this portion of the parable? I am aware of
Maharsha's exposition of the allegorical aspect of this statement -- that the
fox (the idolatrous nation of Rome) is reminding the fish (Bnei Yisrael) that
their forefathers worshipped idols just like (Rome) did, leading to the
destruction of the Beis HaMikash. But I am anxious to see what, if anything, the
sources say about the corresponding literal aspect of it.

David S. Greenberg


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Wed, Oct 10,2012 at 02:01 AM
Subject: Yom Kippur machzor problem

Stuart Wise wrote (MJ 61#42):

> Thanks again, Martin, for taking the time for your most interesting
> explanation (MJ 61#41). I am sure printers are responsible for many more of
> the problems, like varying font sizes

They also more or less invented the so-called Nusach Sfard by putting
together Sefardi and Ashkenazi texts in a rather random manner. Even more
surprising is that the choice of putting Tosafot on the standard Talmud page
is due to a printer who was not even Jewish, the Fleming Daniel Bomberg!

> Were it only that someone or ones had the courage to revise all our
> prayer-related texts!

All attempts to do so, even just to correct obvious errors that crept in
through mistakes in typesetting (e.g. printing 'or' instead of 'ur' in the
pizmon 'Ki hinei kachomer' in Kol Nidrei), run up against the widespread
conservatism prevalent throughout the Orthodox world. This is partly a
reaction, in the aftermath of the Shabbetai Tzvi scandal, against the
efforts of Maskilim and Reformers whose programs undermined Jewish
communities - when, even where they may have been right, they were treated
as wrong.

Martin Stern


End of Volume 61 Issue 43