Volume 61 Number 55 
      Produced: Mon, 26 Nov 2012 10:58:28 EST

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Calling the Kohanim 
    [Chaim Casper]
Evidence that Avrohom had a daughter 
    [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz]
How does your Shule records Nedavos (donations) on Shabbos? (3)
    [Carl Singer  Orrin Tilevitz  Martin Stern]
Is Reform legitimately a form of Judaism? 
    [Martin Stern]
Mechitza Evidence 
    [Orrin Tilevitz]
Should an aveil act as shatz in the 12th month? 
    [Martin Stern]
When did Yitzchak live in Geror 
    [Robert Israel]


From: Chaim Casper <surfflorist@...>
Date: Tue, Nov 20,2012 at 08:01 PM
Subject: Calling the Kohanim

Yisrael Medad (MJ 61#54) asked if speaking is forbidden during hazarat hashatz
(Amidah repetition), then why is it not a hefsek (interruption) when the gabbai
calls out "Kohanim" or the shaliah zibbur (reader) leads the kohanim by
prompting them word for word with the Birkat Kohanim (Priestly Blessing)? 

In a (couple of) word(s), tzarkanah d't'filah -- it is a necessary part of the
davening.  Talking that is an interruption of the davening is forbidden.   Thus,
social chit chat is forbidden.   But talking that is part of the t'filah is
allowed.   So not only saying "Kohanim" or word for word prompting of Birkat
Kohanim is permissable, but for example the gabbai can (after hazi kaddish in
ma'ariv) advise the daveners as to what amidah is being recited (e.g. call tal
umatar the first evening it is said - MOD).  

R` Moshe Feinstein, zt"l, ruled that one may announce the page where the
davening is holding so everyone will be davening together (of course, he
suggested that a board with numbers would be better, but short of that,
announcing the pages would be acceptable), as that would not constitute an
interruption of the davening but would be tzarkanah d't'filah. The only other
talking I can think of during davening that is allowed would be sho'el u'meishiv
(answering a halachic question of immediate urgency - MOD).   If someone asks a
rabbi a question during davening, you would be allowed to answer him/her.   You
couldn't engage in a general conversation but you could answer a question poised
to you.

B'virkat Torah,
Chaim Casper
North Miami Beach, FL


From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahillel@...>
Date: Sun, Nov 18,2012 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Evidence that Avrohom had a daughter


When the Torah tells us that Avrohom was "blessed in everything" 
(Bakol), there is a dispute as to what that means exactly.

1. Avrohom and Sarah had a daughter as well as Yitzchak.

2. Yitzchak was Sarah's *only* child and Avrohom did *not* have a daughter.

3. Avrohom had a "magic healing gem" with healing properties.

3a. He was blessed with all manner of riches.

Option 1 is because a person is considered to have fulfilled "be 
fruitful and multiply" only when he has both a son and a daughter. The 
small kaf in Chayei Sarah in the word "U'Livkosah" (and to weep for her) 
shows an indication [if we ignore that kaf --Mod.] of "UL'vitah" (and for her 
daughter). That is, it implies that their daughter died at the same time as 
Sarah. This explanation states that Avraham could not find anyone for her to 
marry, as the entire world was made of of idol worshippers. Unlike Yitzchak, 
she would have had to go to her husband's family and would have beeen lost.

The second explanation states that for the reason given above, it was 
actually a blessing for Avraham *not* to have a daughter.

When Yitzchak went to Geror, he told everyon that Rivkah was his sister. 
Avraham by this time was well known and therefore, it would have been 
well known who his family was and whether or not he had a daughter. For 
the claim to be believed, the fact of a daughter had to be known.

       Sabba     -          ??? ???        -     Hillel
Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz | Said the fox to the fish, "Join me ashore"
  <SabbaHillel@...> | The fish are the Jews, Torah is our water


From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Tue, Nov 20,2012 at 02:01 PM
Subject: How does your Shule records Nedavos (donations) on Shabbos?

Isaac Balbin wrote (MJ 61#54):
> I've been charged with updating our system. We currently use cardboard
> cards with a member's name and address in the middle. Around the edges there 
> are various amounts, and these are "recorded" via putting in one of those 
> pins which have bendable wing backs.
> If it's someone who is not a member, then we have a series of little
> alphabetical strips and spell out the name in order and stack it into a pile,
> put a paper clip on it and attach it to a blank card.
> Now, I'm not really asking so much about the halachic issues of such; seems
> every Shule does something similar. I'm just wondering if anyone is using a
> method perhaps more innovative/convenient or if what I've described is about 
> as good as it gets.

I guess the first question is whether or not one solicits donations for an
aliyah -- some congregations do and some do not.

It seems there are two things which one wishes to "record":

(1) who received an aliyah / honor and 

(2) - if applicable - who pledged some amount.

As for Members -- or more accurately, for those who have a cardboard
(index) card -- when someone is called for an aliyah their card is pulled
from the alphabetical listing and placed in a separate section to be
recorded after Shabbos. If pledges are solicited then a second card (with
amounts written along the edge) is paper clipped to the front of the first card
-- the clip positioned at the appropriate amount.

We have no elaborate scheme for dealing with folks for whom we do not have
a card -- we rely on their honesty  and possibly the Gabbai's memory.
When someone is a guest of a specific individual, we may pull the host's
card in the manner above -- but that can be confusing.


From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Wed, Nov 21,2012 at 06:01 PM
Subject: How does your Shule records Nedavos (donations) on Shabbos?

Isaac Balbin asks (MJ 61#54):
<<same quote as above --Mod.>>

As long as halachic issues aren't the question, I'll report a system I saw in
use over 30 years ago in Shenandoah, Pa. at Kol Nidre, where I was the chazzan
one Yom Kippur. One of the members sat in the back and wrote down pledges, in
pen, on a pad.

(When I saw this, I asked him to stop. I did not return the following year; they
got someone from JTS.)

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Wed, Nov 21,2012 at 06:01 PM
Subject: How does your Shule records Nedavos (donations) on Shabbos?

Apropos Isaac Balbin's query (MJ 61#54), the following appeared in the Torah
Tidbits, published by the OU Torah Centre in Israel, for Vayeitsei:

Vebbe Rebbe by Rav Daniel Mann, Eretz Hemdah Institute

Donation Envelopes on Shabbat

Question: It is the practice in some shuls to give a self-addressed envelope
to one who gets an aliya to mail his pledge after Shabbat. Is the envelope

Answer: Each congregation's rabbi should set policy on such halachic
issues, but the issue is worth discussing. Such an envelope is muktzeh, at
least as a kli shemelachto l'issur (=ksmli), a utensil whose main purpose is
for something forbidden on Shabbat (Mishna Berura 308:10). After all, it
is meant for putting in money and often subsequently sealing before
mailing, which are forbidden on Shabbat. If it is muktzeh machamat
chesron kis (one would refrain from using it for a secondary purpose), it
would be forbidden to move it at all (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim
308:1). However, since such envelopes are usually plentiful and inexpensive
enough to not qualify, one can move them while they are fulfilling
a use that is unrelated to something forbidden (ibid. 3).

Let us analyze how this donation-related envelope is used. One could
suggest that its use as a harmless preparation for a mitzva after Shabbat
is as valid as a simple purpose on Shabbat. However, those who posit
that tefillin are ksmli do not allow one to move them so he can put them on
on Sunday (see Magen Avraham 308:11; Taz 308:3). One could claim
that the envelope's permitted purpose on Shabbat is so the potential donor
will not forget his opportunity. However, not forgetting is significant
only if attached to a donation and therefore there is no positive gain on
Shabbat of the oleh taking the envelope.

I heard a claim that I cannot understand in the name of a talmid chacham -
the envelope is not muktzeh at all either because it is also a reminder or
because it can be used for putting in permitted things. However, a ksmli is
always something that can be used for something permitted, just that is not
its main purpose, and still one is permitted to move it only while he is
using it for a positive, active permitted use. Even if the shul says
they are using it actively as a reminder, this will not help the person
who takes it home without necessarily being interested in that.

Another problem that needs discussion is hachana, preparation from
Shabbat to weekday. Hachana is a problem even if one does a totally
permitted act, when it is done for the needs of weekday. Here, giving the
envelope is only useful so that the shul will get the donation later. A
strong precedent for this application of hachana is the halacha that one
may not bring wine on Shabbat to the place where it will be needed for
Havdala on Motza'ei Shabbat because of hachana (Magen Avraham 667:3;
Mishna B'rura 667:5). Therefore it is forbidden for the oleh to take home
the envelope even if we can solve the problem of muktzeh and even if there
is an eiruv. We see that the fact that it will be used for a mitzva does not
overcome the problem. The Chayei Adam (153:6) does permit (for the
purpose of a mitzva and when there is no other choice) bringing the wine
when there is time to drink it on Shabbat. The leniency is because it is
not noticeable that it is being done for after Shabbat. In our case, not
only are there other options, but it is also clear that the envelope is
meant for use only after Shabbat.

An idea that solves both problems is to give the envelope a permitted
purpose by putting a dvar Torah or other usable memento into the
envelope. Then the ksmli is being used for a permitted purpose and is
permitted. Taking the envelope and the dvar Torah home in it is also not
hachana because the two together have a purpose on Shabbat - the page
for reading and the envelope for storing (Yalkut Yosef 308:12). One
problem is that the recipient might remove the dvar Torah from the
envelope and not put it back, in which case the envelope would no longer be
in use for a permitted purpose.

Another suggestion is to attach the two together so that one would be
carrying the envelope along with the dvar Torah (Nachalat Yisrael (Krauss)
pg. 236).

If our readership can explain outright leniency, we will, bli neder,
publicize it in the future.


Martin Stern


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, Nov 20,2012 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Is Reform legitimately a form of Judaism?

May I thank Keith Bierman (MJ 61#54) for giving the true author of the quote
"we give halachah a vote but not a veto" as being the founder of
Reconstructionism, Mordechai Kaplan, which was not included in Jonathan
Romain's book.

Martin Stern


From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Wed, Nov 21,2012 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Mechitza Evidence

Yisrael Medad writes (MJ 61#54):

> By now it is widely accepted among scholars that synagogues from the early
> centuries of the Common Era did not have a separate women's section. This
> might surprise people whose knowledge of Jewish synagogues derives from
> contemporary Orthodox or pre-Second World War European examples.
> Zeev Weiss, "The Sepphoris Synagogue Mosaic." Biblical Archaeological
> Review (Sept./Oct. 2000), 51.>

That indeed is the technical basis of the conclusion in the Conservative
responsum that no mechitza is required today. That responsum explicitly assumes
that women attended synagogue. But is there any basis for that assumption?


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, Nov 20,2012 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Should an aveil act as shatz in the 12th month?

Yisrael Medad  wrote (MJ 61#54):

> Martin writes (MJ 61#53):
>> There is a minhag that someone acts as shatz for ma'ariv on the Motsa'ei
>> Shabbat before a Yahrzeit
> That should be, if I am not mistaken, "there is an Ashkenazi custom".

Actually, if you want to be pedantic, it should be "there is a custom among
some Ashkenazim", since not all follow it.

But that is not really relevant to the substantive question as to whether
this custom overrides the custom that an aveil does not have the amud in the
twelfth month since that might be taken as implying that the deceased was a
rasha [wicked person] who remains in Gehennom for the maximum twelve month
period (whatever that all means), a contradiction to the mitsvah of kibud av
ve'eim [honouring parents].

Martin Stern


From: Robert Israel <israel@...>
Date: Tue, Nov 20,2012 at 04:01 PM
Subject: When did Yitzchak live in Geror

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz wrote (MJ 61#54):

> Logically it could not have occurred while they were growing up, because
> it would have been too hard to hide the children and keep their identity
> (as children of Yizchak and Rivkah) secret. Thus, it could only have
> occurred during the twenty years before they were born or after Avraham
> had died.

I don't see why. Single parents might not have been all that unusual in 
those days. Somebody seeing the children might logically conclude that 
their mother had died and Aunt Rivkah was helping to raise them.

Robert Israel
University of British Columbia


End of Volume 61 Issue 55