Volume 61 Number 46 
      Produced: Mon, 22 Oct 2012 01:53:28 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Do not Show Them Favour 
    [Martin Stern]
Multiple Simultaneous Aliyot (5)
    [Martin Stern  Martin Stern  Poppers, Michael  Jon Jacobson  Menashe Elyashiv]
The Yehi Ratzon in Birchas Kohanim 
    [Yisrael Medad]
To say or not to say - Tachanun 
    [Martin Stern]
Yom Kippur machzor problem  (2)
    [Martin Stern]


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Oct 21,2012 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Do not Show Them Favour

This week's Weekly Halacha Discussion by Rabbi Doniel Neustadt may be a bit
controversial and members may wish to discuss various aspects of them.

The Torah prohibition of Lo Sechaneim  Do not show them favour appears in
the context of laws governing the relationship that the conquering Jewish
nation should have with the defeated remnant of the Seven Nations who
resided in Eretz Yisroel before Yehoshuas time. The Torah admonishes us to
destroy them, not to seal a covenant with them, not to intermarry with them
and not to show them favour. Not showing them favour is interpreted by
Chazal to have three practical applications. We will list them and explain
each one briefly.

1. Do not sell to them land in Eretz Yisroel. Eretz Yisroel was dedicated by
Hashem as a land for the Jewish People, where the mitzvos of the Torah can
be kept with intensity and devotion. Idol worshippers and Gentiles do not
belong in the Holy Land at all and they certainly may not own property
there. It is therefore forbidden for a Jew to sell any property in Eretz
Yisroel to a non-Jew (1), even if the non-Jew is not an active idol
worshipper (2) and even if the sale will benefit the Jew only (3). Renting
or leasing a house or apartment to a non-Jew in Eretz Yisroel is permitted

2. Do not give them free gifts. Giving a gift shows affection or at least,
more than casual acquaintance, which can lead to forbidden relationships,
ultimately even to intermarriage. It is therefore forbidden to give a gift
to a gentile if one is doing so for no reason other than establishing a
friendship or a relationship. If however the purpose of the gift-giving is
to benefit the Jew, it is permitted, since it is no longer a gift but
rather an incentive for the future or a payback for the past. Thus it is
permitted to tip a waiter, a taxi driver, a barber, etc. for a job well
done, to give a gift to the mailman to show appreciation for his work or to
give a year-end bonus to a valuable employee. This is permitted even if the
Jew will not benefit from the non-Jew in the future (5). (Indeed, once it is
established that tips and gratuities are permitted, failure to do so when
customary constitutes a chillul Hashem as Orthodox Jews would be seen as
lacking good manners, appreciation, etc.)

Question: Is it permitted to give a gift to a non-Jewish employee,
colleague, etc. during the non-Jewish holiday season?

Discussion: Obviously Jews are forbidden to celebrate non-Jewish holidays as
many of them are considered to be a function of avodah zarah  idolatry. But
as explained earlier, giving a gift to an employee or to a person who
renders a service is merely an expression of gratitude, a form of payment
for past or future service which is not considered a celebration of avodah
zarah and is permitted. It is proper however, that no specific mention be
made that the gift is in honour of the non-Jewish holiday6 and that the gift
be given a day or two before or after the holiday rather than on the holiday
itself (7). Although gift-giving to non-Jews is forbidden, it is appropriate
to give charity to non-Jewish causes such as those that combat illness or
hunger. This is permitted even if all of the charity funds will benefit
non-Jews only (8).

3. Do not admire them. It is forbidden to admire a non-Jew, including
admiring his (or her) appearance, his actions or his statements. If however
the intent is to praise Hashem who created such an admirable person, it is
permitted (9). It is also permitted to praise a non-Jews accomplishment in
the sciences or arts, etc.(10). Similarly, honouring a non-Jew in
appreciation of past favours he has done for the Jewish community is
permitted. Honouring a non-Jew for the purpose of raising funds for a Jewish
institution should be avoided but is permitted when it is halachically
determined that there is no alternative (11).

It is permitted to visit a non-Jew who is ill, to daven and give charity on
his behalf, to eulogise him at his funeral, to assist in his burial and
comfort his relatives (12).

Note: People wonder why some of the halachos derived from Lo Sechaneim are
often ignored, as today it has become commonplace to admire or praise
non-Jews for their talents, athletic ability or statesmanship. Certainly,
this laxity can be partially attributed to the Great American Melting Pot
{multiculturalism in other places} and to the influence of the society and
secular media to which we are constantly exposed. Possibly, those who are
lax follow the opinion of the Rishonim (13) who maintain that this halacha
applies only to non-Jews who are active idol worshippers (14). Shulchan
Aruch however does not follow this opinion and clearly rules that the laws
derived from Lo Sechaneim apply to all non-Jews, including Muslims who are
not idol worshippers; the only exception would be a non-Jew who became a ger
toshav in the times of the Sanhedrin (15).

1 Y.D. 151:8.

2 Chazon Ish, Sheviis 24:3. See, however, Darchei Teshuvah 158:22 who
quotes opinions who permit selling property to Muslims who are not
considered idol worshippers.

3 Chazon Ish, Sheviis 24:4.

4 Y.D. 151:8.

5 Y.D. 151:11 and Taz 8; Ashrei Haish, Y.D. 10:33.

6 Y.D. 147:2.

7 Rama, Y.D. 148:12.

8 Y.D. 151:12, Taz 9 and Shach 19.

9 Y.D. 151:14.

10 Tzitz Eliezer 15:47; Ashrei Haish, Y.D. 10:36.

11 Igros Moshe, Y.D. 2:117.

12 Y.D. 151:12 and Darchei Teshuvah 29.

13 Rambam, Sefer Hamitzvos 50; Teshuvos Rashba 1:8; Sefer Hachinuch 426;
Meiri, Avodah Zarah 20a.

14 See Torah Temimah, Devorim 7:2, who suggests that these halachos apply
only to the Gentiles of the Seven Nations.

15 C.M. 249:2; Shach, Y.D. 151:18. See Mishnah Berurah 225:33.


Martin Stern


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Wed, Oct 17,2012 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Multiple Simultaneous Aliyot

Stephen Phillips wrote (MJ 61#45):

> 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.

That has always been the practice that I have seen.

Martin Stern

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Wed, Oct 17,2012 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Multiple Simultaneous Aliyot

Perry Zamek wrote (MJ 61#45):

> 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.

My experience has been that mi-sheberachs are either considerably abridged
(no names etc.) or completely omitted on Simchat Torah except for the two
chatanim, kol hane'arim (where each child's name is mentioned in one
mi-sheberach) and, possibly, the first five aliyot and maftir if they were
specifically purchased.

Martin Stern

From: Poppers, Michael <Michael.Poppers@...>
Date: Wed, Oct 17,2012 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Multiple Simultaneous Aliyot

In MJ 61#45, Perry Zamek responded to Menashe Elyashiv:

>> 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.

My current shul apparently has a semi-serious custom for the gabbai to bless
each pre-"Kol-haN'arim" oleh with "Mi shebeirach es haAvos Hu y'vareich es
habanim, v'nomar 'Amein!'"  

IIRC, the shul of my youth (KAJ/"Breuer's") did not call up all adults on
Simchas haTorah, so I hadn't seen practices like simultaneous olim (or
concurrent readings in various places within the shul complex).

All the best from
Michael Poppers * Elizabeth, NJ, USA

From: Jon Jacobson <jonseattle@...>
Date: Thu, Oct 18,2012 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Multiple Simultaneous Aliyot

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 61#44): 

> In the shul I used to go to in Manchester, they called up all the Cohanim
> together and then all the Levi'im together - it was said to have been the
> custom they had observed in Germany. Otherwise people were called up
> individually. I don't know what they do any more since the new rabbi has
> uprooted the minhagim of the shul.
> I have heard of another shul in Manchester, where one of my sons is a gabbai
> which does call people up in groups by the tables at which they sit.
> I think this is an excellent practice since calling everyone individually is
> terribly time-consuming and, to put it mildly, boring. The result is a
> complete breakdown of kavod beit hakenesset as people chat among themselves
> and not pay attention.
> If I could I would call up groups as follows:
> 1. Kol hacohanim
> 2. Kol halevi'im
> 3. Kol ba'alei battim
> 4. Kol habachurim
> 5. Poloni im kol hane'arim
> 6. Chatan Torah
> 7. Chatan Bereishit
> and finally Maftir.
> What do others think of this proposal?

Funny - this past Simchat Torah I was telling someone that growing up in
Baltimore, my shul (Shomrei Emunah) used to do exactly that.   The shul
wasn't so large at the time, but I'm sure the fact that when they started
they only had one Torah and it would have taken too long to give everyone an
aliyah.    Over time, that "minhag" disappeared.


From: Menashe Elyashiv <Menashe.Elyashiv@...>
Date: Fri, Oct 19,2012 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Multiple Simultaneous Aliyot

In reply to Perry Zamek (MJ 61#45):

That was part of the story ... but let us leave the internal politics


From: Yisrael Medad  <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Wed, Oct 17,2012 at 04:01 PM
Subject: The Yehi Ratzon in Birchas Kohanim

Eliezer Berkovits' query would seem to me not to be applicable here in Israel.

In the 41+ years I've lived here, I can't recall a synagogue I've been in
that recites the Yehi Ratzon, unlike some synagogues in the Galut (Dispersion).

Am I alone in my experience?

Yisrael Medad


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Fri, Oct 19,2012 at 04:01 AM
Subject: To say or not to say - Tachanun

In the (London) Jewish News, Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet, a Chabad Rabbi of a
Modern Orthodox synagogue, writes a weekly "Ask the Rabbi" column. This week
he answered a question on tachanun which might be something which might form
the basis for debate on Mail Jewish. For the present, I shall not give my
own personal views on this matter so as not to prejudice discussion of Rabbi
Schochet's opinions.

Dear Rabbi

A discussion took place in our synagogue as to whether we begin reciting
Tachanun (the penitence prayer) again two days after Simchat Torah or leave
it until the end of the month. In the end, some did it one way and others
another. Who is right and can you cite the source for our benefit?


Dear Haim

The general rule is that one doesn't recite this prayer during a festive
season or during other special occasions. Hence, when a groom is in
synagogue, a circumcision is due to take place, and even on a yahrtzeit -
the anniversary of the passing of a righteous individual as this is deemed
to bring special merit on the people.

This then gives way to different customs relating to the time period that
you refer to - based on particular sources (See the commentary on Code of
Jewish Law - Sharie Teshuva in Orach Chaim 131.19) and the onus is on each
community to follow its particular custom.

There are those who look for every excuse to never recite this prayer
altogether (cutting the service a few minutes shorter), as if they don't
pray fast enough as it is. It is told of one such community that looked to
find as many yahrtzeits of righteous people as they could and found one on
virtually every day of the year, thus managing to go a whole year without
ever saying the prayer because every day was special. Finally though there
was one day on which there was nothing special - no festival - no yahrtzeit.
The congregants were so excited that they were finally going to say the
special Tachanun prayer - and in their excitement decided to celebrate and
declare that day a festival. Because of the festival, they skipped the


Martin Stern


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Wed, Oct 17,2012 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Yom Kippur machzor problem 

Eitan Fiorino wrote (MJ 61#45):

> 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. 
>> ...
>> 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.

I think Eitan has missed the point I was making. It was the underground
Sabbatian movement that led to an almost paranoid suspicion of innovation,
and this built up during the 18th century and itself undermined Jewish
communities. The Emden-Eybeschutz controversy is typical of the phenomenon.

With the focus of attention on these antinomian neo-kabbalistic movements, the
rationalist trends of early maskilim were not seen as a serious threat. Only
when these developed into the Reform movement did the reaction set in, but by
then the revocalization of the siddur had already been accepted.

Martin Stern

From: Tony Fiorino <afiorino@...>
Date: Wed, Oct 17,2012 at 07:01 PM
Subject: Yom Kippur machzor problem

Mark Steiner wrote (MJ 61#45):

> 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.

Thank you Mark for forcing me to go back and look at this rather than to chat
casually from memory (and I must consequently amend my earlier posting).  

According to Stephan Reif (see his extensive super-commentary on Shabbetai's
commentary - "Shabbethai Sofer and his Prayer-book," Cambridge 1979), Shabbetai
frequently cites the masorah to support his vocalizations and argued strongly
that "a clear distinction must be drawn between Biblical and Rabbinic Hebrew"
and that "'sub-standard' forms borrowed from the latter must be eliminated from
the liturgy."  The retention of the non-Tiberian vocalization of medieval 
Ashkenaz in the liturgy (eg, no distinction between a kamatz/patach or
tzere/segol - "hanikud shelanu" according to the Machzor Vitry) was the "raison
d'etre of much of Shabbethai's commentary."  

Furthermore, Reif notes that attempts to revocalize liturgical texts according
to Biblical norms can be found as early as the early 1500s, which is not long
after the dominance of the Ben Asher masorah became complete and no doubt a
consequence of that.  But later, without a historical appreciation for a
changing standard of vocalization in Ashkenaz over the centuries, the blame for
these liturgical issues was placed on printers, chazzanim and poor understanding
of Hebrew grammar even by self-proclaimed grammarians.

It is interesting that Shabbetai Sofer's siddur itself did not achieve his
intended result - though it was printed several times and was a source for many
other siddurim and commentaries (including Hanau), there continued to be much
controversy and many siddurim published in Ashkenaz that did not adhere to
Shabbetai's "Biblical standard" - the matter did not become settled until the
siddurim of Heidenheim and Baer.  

So in one respect, the process of revocalization can be said to have taken
centuries.  Nevertheless, within a short span of time (a few generations?), the
controversy, which had endured for centuries, simply disappeared.  It is not
clear to me why this view of the superiority of Biblical vocalizations (a view
that I think is not really linguistically/historically accurate and certainly
not a halachic slam-dunk) became so attractive.  I can only think to associate
this with attitudes towards the Hebrew language that were driven/fostered by
emancipation and the enlightenment.



End of Volume 61 Issue 46