Volume 61 Number 45 
      Produced: Wed, 17 Oct 2012 15:09:39 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

A problem with the Yehi Ratzon in Birchas Kohanim 
    [Eliezer Berkovits]
Eruv Politics 
    [Yisrael Medad]
Halachic "maximums"? (4)
    [Perry Zamek  Irwin Weiss  Tal S. Benschar  Stuart Pilichowski]
Mikra'ei Kodesh 
    [Martin Stern]
Multiple Simultaneous Aliyot (3)
    [Perry Zamek  Stephen Phillips  Stuart Pilichowski]
Shul Security and welcoming strangers 
    [Carl Singer]
Yom Kippur machzor problem (3)
    [Mark Steiner  Martin Stern  Tony Fiorino]


From: Eliezer Berkovits <eb@...>
Date: Tue, Oct 16,2012 at 11:01 AM
Subject: A problem with the Yehi Ratzon in Birchas Kohanim

As another Yomtov with its Birchas Kohanim has just passed by, I thought
I would pose a difficulty that has long bothered with me with the text
of the Yehi Ratzon recited while the Kohanim sing before Sholom. 

In it, the Yehi Ratzon states: 'and give us Chen, Chesed and Rachamim in
Your eyes and in the eyes of all who see us, just as You gave your
righteous one Yosef, when his father clothed him in Kesones Passim, Chen
Chesed and Rachamim in Your eyes and in the eyes of all who saw him ...'

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I always thought that wearing the Kesones
Passim had the opposite effect on 'the eyes of all who saw him'?

Eliezer Berkovits


From: Yisrael Medad  <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Sun, Oct 14,2012 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Eruv Politics

[Allowing this submission because "eruvin" were recently discussed.  --Mod.]

For those in the neighborhood:

"Shaping Community: Poetics and Politics of the Eruv"

Three exhibitions exploring a Jewish spatial practice
curated by Margaret Olin in three parts
at the ISM Gallery of Sacred Arts, the Allan and Leah
Rabinowitz Gallery (Slifka Center), and the 32 Edgewood Gallery.

with tour of all three exhibitions
Thursday, October 18 | 4:30-6:30 pm
simultaneously at all three at Yale

Yisrael Medad


From: Perry Zamek <perryza@...>
Date: Tue, Oct 16,2012 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Halachic "maximums"?

The Mishnah in 'Arachin lists a number of items that are subject to minimum and
maximum numbers, among them the maximum for the 'erech [assigned value] of an
individual (50 shekels), and minimum and maximum numbers for the instruments
played by the Leviim in the Beit Hamikdash.

Perry Zamek

From: Irwin Weiss <irwin@...>
Date: Tue, Oct 16,2012 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Halachic "maximums"?

Stuart Pilichowski wrote (MJ 61#43):

> 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?

Not sure this qualifies, but I always heard that if you had a pot of chicken
soup on the stove, and one drop of milk fell into it, so long as there was no more 
than 1/60 ratio of milk to meat, that the soup remained kosher.  I don't know
if this is so, and I don't know a good way of measuring the spilled milk and the
volume of the chicken soup, and it's best not to spill the milk, but I guess this
is an example of a halachic maximum.

As to speeds, I recall that in 1967 while on a trip to California, in our brand
new 1967 Pontiac, my mother (z"l) was driving on a straight and flat road without
any traffic. I was in the backseat with my brother. My mother got the car up to
107 miles per hour, at which point the screaming from the backseat caused her to
examine what she was doing.

Irwin E. Weiss
Baltimore, MD

From: Tal S. Benschar <tbenschar@...>
Date: Tue, Oct 16,2012 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Halachic "maximums"?

Techumim -- maximum one can travel outside one's place where one began Shabbos
is 2000 amos.
Esrog --  Has a maximum size -- which is a machlokes in the Mishna Sukkah 3:7. 
We hold that as long as you can hold it with two hands, it is kosher.  Larger is
not.  (Although if it is THAT large, one wonders how one could even lift it up
to fulfill the mitzvah.)

Tal S. Benschar

From: Stuart Pilichowski <stupillow@...>
Date: Wed, Oct 17,2012 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Halachic "maximums"?

Keith Bierman wrote (MJ 61#44):

> In reply to Stuart Pilichowski (MJ 61#43):

>> As for speed, whether it's dangerous depends on the road and other
>> vehicles. In much of the US, speed limits are set as a fraction of the
>> roads designed safe speed. And going slower than the rest of traffic is
>> also a known hazard (so if everyone else IS going 70mph, on a road 
>> designed to be safe at 85mph, going 55mph is NOT going to improve group 
>> safety .. although if it is the posted speed limit "dinah d'malchutcha" (law 
>> of the land...) might call for sticking to it anyway).
>> I would think it consistent with halacha to never (intentionally) go 
>> faster than is safe. But since that depends on road conditions, road design, 
>> etc. (race tracks really are pretty safe at speeds of over 150mph ;>) why 
>> would we expect our Sages to invest the effort to establish specific halachic
>> maximums?
>> If the new trend towards computerized driving (or driving assistants)
>> continues, the max speeds (and the safe following distance ... since 
>> that's largely a question of reaction time, combined with the stopping 
>> ability of the specific vehicle) may well go up.
>> Other than asserting "never go faster than is safe or legal" what sort
>> of Halakhic maximum would make sense? What would we base it on?

"Public service announcements" and "dinah d'malchutcha" (law of the 
land...) don't seem to be incentive enough for what I think are most "religious"
people - at least in Israel. I'm looking for proclamations from the pulpit or
some kind of formal gezerah or takanah or a more proactive stance from the
Rabbanut..... and Rabbanei Tzohar.

Mevaseret Zion


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, Oct 15,2012 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Mikra'ei Kodesh

Chuck Elnekave wrote (MJ 61#43):

> 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.

The solution to Chuck's problem may be found in the Gaon's understanding of
the meaning of the word "Shabbat" in Parashat Emor.

He explains "Six days you may do 'melachah' but the seventh day shall be a
'Shabbat Shabbaton Mikra Kodesh' on which you may not do any 'melacha'..."
(Vay. 13,3) as not referring to the weekly Shabbat at all. According to him,
the 'six days' on which some forms of 'melachah' (specifically for food
preparation) may be done are:

1. First day of Pesach
2. Seventh day of Pesach
3. Shavuot (one day)
4. Rosh Hashanah (one day)
5. the first day of Succot
6. Shemini Atseret

The seventh day is Yom Kippur on which no 'melachah' whatsoever may be done
(vv. 28,31), whereas on the other six only "melechet avodah" is proscribed
(vv. 7,8,21,24,35,36). This ties in well also with the fact that Yom Kippur
is the only one called here "Shabbat Shabbaton" (v. 32).

A further support to the Gaon's thesis is that after enumerating the Moadim,
it states (v. 38):

"Apart from 'Shabbatot Hashem' and apart from your offerings, whether vows
or donations, which you offer to Hashem."

This seems to add the 'Shabbatot Hashem' to the Moadim and imply that the
previously mentioned 'Shabbat Shabbaton Mikra Kodesh' was something else.
Since Shabbat occurs each week automatically as from the time of Creation,
it is the 'Shabbat Hashem', as opposed to the Moadim whose observance is
dependent on the fixing of the New Moon by the Sanhedrin.

This also explains why, at the end of the berachah of kedushat hayom, we say
"Mekadesh (hashabbat) veyisrael vehazemanim"  in that specific order - the
festivals depend on Yisrael but the Shabbat does not.

Martin Stern


From: Perry Zamek <perryza@...>
Date: Tue, Oct 16,2012 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Multiple Simultaneous Aliyot

Menashe Elyashiv wrote (MJ 61#44):

> BTW, I had over 100 people at the vatikin minyan. With 3 Torah scrolls, we 
> finished all the extra aliyot in 15 minutes. The regular minyan, with 
> maybe 50 people did not split up for the extras, and the total time for 
> the Torah reading was ...an hour and a half!

I wonder if the gabbaim of the regular minyan gave the full mi-sheberach
treatment to each person having an aliyah.

Perry Zamek

From: Stephen Phillips <admin@...>
Date: Tue, Oct 16,2012 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Multiple Simultaneous Aliyot

Perets Mett wrote (MJ 61#44):

> In reply to Stuart Pilichowski (MJ 61#43), Mishna Bruro quotes the custom of
> calling up two people at a time. I recall that, when I was in the Sunderland
> Beth Hamedrash for Simchas Torah, they followed this custom. They were called
> up:  Yaamdu ploni ben ploni uploni ben ploni.

I believe, however, that the Halacha is that only one of them should recite the
Blessings on behalf of all of them.

Stephen Phillips

From: Stuart Pilichowski <stupillow@...>
Date: Wed, Oct 17,2012 at 04:01 AM
Subject: Multiple Simultaneous Aliyot

Am I to take it for granted that in a situation of Multiple Simultaneous Aliyot
each oleh makes their own bracha at the same time as everyone else? OR does one
make the bracha for everyone as often happens at kiddush?
Stuart Pilichowski
Mevaseret Zion


From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Tue, Oct 16,2012 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Shul Security and welcoming strangers

As with most things in life there are no clear-cut answers.  The following
is pure opinion - not halacha.

>From my experience I suggest we draw some clear-cut distinctions.  (My
suggestions apply to urban, U.S. and are based on experience / incidents
over the past several decades.)

Threatening   Disruptive    Out of Place    Derelict / hungry

1 - Safety is foremost -- if anyone appears threatening -- immediately call
the police -- even if it's Shabbos -- err on the side of caution.

2 - If someone disrupts services -- preaching, ranting, etc. -- escort them
out the door* -- tell them that the police have been called (even if they
haven't) -- if possible check the license plate of the car they drive away
in (if applicable).  Report to local police# -- they may well provide added
security for next Shabbos.

3 - If someone looks out of place -- for example, we had a woman come in wearing 
a pantsuit and a tallis -- turned out not to be Jewish ("I pray
directly to the Torah") -- ask them to step outside -- in case of a female,
we had a woman accompany her along with the men.  Find out what's going on
and tell her she's not welcome.    Too many of our "bleeding heart
liberals" asked "what if she is Jewish?" -- nonsense.  The middle of
davening is not the time to deal with this.  Keep disruptive people out of
services -- you can be social worker in different venue.

4 - if someone is derelict, hungry, etc., -- escort them to the kitchen and
by all means feed them.  Tell them, however, that this is a one-time-only
thing, and that they can't come during services. If they are Jewish (sometimes
easy / sometimes hard to determine), invite them into the services (escorted as
appropriate) -- then make arrangements to contact them after Shabbos -- perhaps
to put them in touch with social services, etc.

# The police in our community have been wonderfully supportive and proactive --
on Yom Tovim or when situation requires, a police car is parked in front of our

* Escort -- strength in numbers.  at least 3 large men.
*Carl A. Singer, Ph.D.
Colonel, U.S. Army Retired


From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Tue, Oct 16,2012 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Yom Kippur machzor problem

One small comment on the vocalization of the Ashkenaz siddur.  Tony (MJ 61#44)
speaks of the "quick" revocalization of the siddur by the "maskilim" in the 18th
and 19th century to eradicate the elements of Mishnaic Hebrew. This is certainly
true, but oversimplified.  Already in the 17th century, R. Shabetai Sofer, a
disciple of the "Lvush" and a devotee of "dikduk," was asked by the Vaad Arba
Aratzot to produce a "correct" siddur, which he did; he was an arch
"Biblicizer."  (I believe that some of his emendations were based on the
Avudraham, a source which reflects the Sefardi minhag.) Apparently his siddur
(which is available on line at http://www.otzar.org/wotzar/book.aspx?104996) did
not "catch on," though it is said to have been approved by the true gedolim of
the time, such as the Maharsha, and many other Polish gedolim who were hardly
maskilim and did not regard "dikduk" as subversive.  Only later did "Tony's"
maskilim get a hold of this siddur and use it for their own purposes. So the
revocalization of the Ashkenaz siddurim cannot be called a quick change.

You can see how R. Sofer consistently and fanatically revocalizes the text.  An 
example is the word zemon (with a kametz instead of zeman with a patah), pure
Biblicization.  Zemon is not found in the Kaufmann manuscript (vocalized) of
the Mishnah, and my brother pointed out that in the Vatican Sifra (vocalized)
it's zeman 80% of the time.  I mention this example because there is a Sofer
fanatic in my son's shul who actually corrects his shehehiyanu beracha (over
megillot) to zemon!  (They daven in Ashkenazic pronunciation in which the
distinction is present, or at least is since the 14th or 15th century.) 
Rabbinic Hebrew is "lizman hazeh," not as in Biblical Hebrew "lazmon hazeh."

As for ur/or which exercises Martin, this has got to be checked--"ur" is
Mishnaic Hebrew for "fire", and it is possible that some "maskil" simply
didn't like this word.  But, for now, this is speculation.

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Wed, Oct 17,2012 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Yom Kippur machzor problem

Eitan Fiorino wrote (MJ 61#44):

> Martin Stern wrote (MJ 61#43):
>> Stuart Wise wrote (MJ 61#42):

>>> 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.
> I have to disagree with Martin here.  I really think the lessons learned from
> history are that prayer customs can be changed quickly and easily.  Look at
> the influence of the sfat kabbalists (kabalat shabbat and hakafot on simchat
> torah) or the wholesale revocalizing of nusach ashkenaz in the 18th/19th
> century (a process driven by grammatical notions of the maskilim that assigned
> a priority to "pure" Biblical Hebrew over mishnaic/rabbinic Hebrew).  Even in,
> our day there is the phenomenon of the Artscroll siddur.

Though he did not quote it, I had written (MJ 61#43):

>> 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.

I think it was the reaction to the Shabbetai Tzvi debacle and the
persistence of that movement underground that led to this extreme reluctance
to any innovations. 

I believe Kabbalat Shabbat had been widely accepted before it, and so remained,
unlike hakafot on Simchat Torah which were in the process of acceptance and were
caught up in the reaction in many Western Ashkenazi communities as detailed by
Ya'ari in his comprehensive Toldot Chag Simchat Torah. 

Similarly the revocalisation to which Eitan refers was by then already
widely established.

Fear of recrudescence of Sabbatianism also was partly what led to the often
vicious opposition to the Chassidic movement - after all, the Frankists were
their contemporaries. Gershom Scholem claimed that it was in precisely the
places where Sabbatians and Frankists had been particularly active that the
Reform movement first took hold so there may have been some justification
for treating further efforts of Maskilim with suspicion.

The Artscroll phenomenon is not quite the same - its editors have chosen an
already-existent minhag rather than making changes. That people tend to follow
what is printed on the assumption that it must be correct then led to
communities changing to fit to their popular siddurim.

Martin Stern

From: Tony Fiorino <afiorino@...>
Date: Wed, Oct 17,2012 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Yom Kippur machzor problem

Martin Stern responded:
> I think it was the reaction to the Shabbetai Tzvi debacle and the persistence
> of that movement underground that led to this extreme reluctance to any
> innovations.
> I believe Kabbalat Shabbat had been widely accepted before it,
> and so remained, unlike hakafot on Simchat Torah which were in the process
> of acceptance and were caught up in the reaction in many Western
> Ashkenazi communities as detailed by Ya'ari in his comprehensive Toldot
> Chag Simchat Torah.
> Similarly the revocalisation to which Eitan refers was by then already widely
> established.

Martin, I think the revocalization of the siddur took place well after Shabbtai 
Tzvi, who lived 1626-1676.  The first tentative steps in the process in a sense 
predate Shabbtai Tvi, as they began with the commissioning of Shabbtai Sofer to 
publish an authoritative Ashkenaz siddur in the early 1600s.  However, this was 
more a reaction to widespread problems with vocalizations among printed 
siddurim.  Interestingly, as I recently learned from the book "Hebrew in 
Ashkenaz," this was not merely a result of careless printers - part of the 
problem was the mapping of the Palestinian vocalization with five or six vowels 
onto the Tiberian nikudot which had additional vowels (leading to, for example, 
the wholesale swapping of kamatz and patach in old Ashkenazi manuscripts).

But my understanding is that widespread revocalization as a conscious effort to 
shed the pronunciation of rabbinic Hebrew in favor of Biblical Hebrew was purely 
a haskalah phenomenon, driven by the siddur Beit Tefillah, assembled by R. 
Zalman Hanau (a siddur that provoked the ire of the Noda biYhuda and R. Yaakov 
Emden) and the siddur VaYe'tar Yitzchak from Yitzchak Satanow, which Wolf 
Heidenheim largely followed in his siddur Safah Berurah.  



End of Volume 61 Issue 45