Volume 61 Number 82 
      Produced: Fri, 10 May 13 08:41:44 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Books on Tefillah 
    [Martin Stern]
Customs Commemorating Bet haMikdash Practices 
    [Stu Pilichowski]
HaKedoshah or HaGedushah? 
    [Eitan Fiorino]
Kotel Priorities & Sensitivity 
    [Stu Pilichowski]
Lost tribes of Israel 
    [Martin Stern]
    [Martin Stern]
Shavuot Educational Resources and Videos 
    [Jacob Richman]
Tefillah / Bet haknesset 
    [Stuart Pilichowski]
The Kotel 
    [Martin Stern]
The Sharansky compromise (3)
    [Leah S. R. Gordon  Steven Oppenheimer]
Why should Aharon wear gold in the first place? 
    [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz]


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, May 6,2013 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Books on Tefillah

Stuart Pilichowski wrote (MJ 61#79):
> There are a few books on Tefillah. An old one by B.S. Jacobson, of which
> only part - the more general information - was translated into English.
> More should be available in Hebrew in Israel - if the book can be found.

Further to Sammy Finkelman's response (MJ 61#80), there are many books on
tefillah in English - I have over 30 apart from the two he mentioned as well
as about the same number in Hebrew - which I collected as part of my
research for my book "A Time to Speak". Some are very good, others less so.
Several are on specific topics such as Shema, Shmonei Esrei or Kaddish; some
are more halachic, others concern themselves with interpreting the texts and
yet others discuss the historic background and development of the liturgy.
Since many may no longer be in print, I hesitate to list all of them but
Stuart should be able to find a good selection in the various religious
bookshops in Jerusalem - Pomeranz in Be'eri or Manny's in Meah She'arim to
mention but two.

Martin Stern


From: Stu Pilichowski <cshmuel@...>
Date: Thu, May 9,2013 at 03:01 AM
Subject: Customs Commemorating Bet haMikdash Practices

Many common daily and Shabbat practices are traced to keeping up a custom that
was performed in Temple times. Ritual hand washing and hakofot on Hoshana Rabba
come to mind as popular examples.

My question: why were some practices chosen and others seemingly ignored? For
instance, are there any practices in modern times associated with the Menorah?
Why don't we have symbolic menorah's in shuls that we clean and light everyday? 

Stuart Pilichowski

Mevaseret Zion, Israel


From: Eitan Fiorino <afiorino@...>
Date: Tue, May 7,2013 at 09:01 AM
Subject: HaKedoshah or HaGedushah?

First, thanks to Martin Stern (MJ 61#81) for clarifying - yes, it was the
super-commentary, not Shabtai Sofer's commentary, that indicated "hagedusha"
began with the Baal Shem Tov - and thanks for beating me to the Machzor Vitry.

Sammy Finkleman wrote (MJ 61#81):

> Maybe it was that people continuously kept on making the mistake of replacing 
> HaGedushah with HaKedoshah  and in different places, Rabbis tried to get
> people to say all sorts of alternative phrases to try to prevent this, because
> HaKedoshah just wasn't right here.

I'm not exactly sure what Sammy is suggesting here.  Who said anything about
Rabbis trying "to get people to say all sorts of alternative phrases?" The only
alternatives that have been discussed are "hakedosha" and "hagedusha" and the
substitution of one for the other is only possible in nusach ashkenaz because
others lack the phrase in which one or the other word is/would be found.

I find it puzzling that the claim that "hakedosha" is a printer's error is so
widely held despite what seems to be a lack of evidence.  I have looked at
dozens of old printed texts from a wide time frame and geographic area, and have
never seen "hagedusha." While this is not definitive, those in favor of the
"printer's error" version cite nothing other than hearsay ("I once read that
...") in support.

Here's a relatively simple challenge to believers of the "hagedusha" myth -
bring forth some evidence that "hagedusha" was not the invention of the Baal
Shem Tov.  By "evidence" I mean a pre-1700 printed or manuscript witness to
"hagedusha."  If we cannot establish that "hagedusha" definitively predates the
BESHT, then we can safely dispose of the possibility that it predates "hakedosha."

Given that the earliest witness I have cited to "hakedosha" is 1527 (the Prague
hagadah), at this point the real challenge would be finding a witness to
"hegedosha" that predates that.  But first let's see if we get past the BESHT ... 



From: Stu Pilichowski <cshmuel@...>
Date: Tue, May 7,2013 at 07:01 AM
Subject: Kotel Priorities & Sensitivity

I agree with what Ms. Gordon wrote (MJ 61#81). . . .. I wrote what I wrote
because I think it effects everyone . . . . .

Stuart P
Mevaseret Zion


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Wed, Apr 24,2013 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Lost tribes of Israel

In today's Israel Hayom newsletter, there is an article by Florida
International University religious studies professor Tudor Parfitt entitled
'Lost tribe of Israel' found in Papua New Guinea?


in which he writes about the Gogodala, a tribe of former cannibals in a
remote corner of Papua New Guinea, who identify themselves as a Lost Tribe
of Israel. Inter alia, it states

> The idea that the population can trace its roots back to ancient Israel is
> shared by other tribes. There are those who believe that the whole Papuan
> population has its roots in the Holy Land.
> Parfitt has written 25 books and has been studying Judaizing movements around
> the world for 30 years. He is best known for his work with the Lemba tribe of
> Africa, which was shown to have a historic link to Israel. His recent book
> "Black Jews in Africa and the Americas" records the growth of Israelite
> movements throughout Africa and elsewhere. His research trip shows that the
> Gogodala are part of this growing, global Israelite movement.

Professor Parfitt can't be dismissed as just another "British Indiana Jones"
but holds an honours degree in Hebrew from Oxford University - he was a
contemporary of my wife on the course (as was Prince Hassan of Jordan uncle
of the present king, incidentally).

How should we react to such claims?

Martin Stern


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, May 6,2013 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Pessia

Yisrael Medad  wrote (MJ 61#80);
> Gilad Gevaryahu suggests that the feminine nomenclature, Pessia, is derived
> from the male Pesach. I would suggest it is rather a corruption of Batya =
> Bassia.

Since it is actually pronounced Pesha, I think it is a rather unfortunate
choice of name for a girl, as if people say about her father "ki yosif al
chatato pesha" (Job 34,37)!

Martin Stern


From: Jacob Richman <jrichman@...>
Date: Thu, May 9,2013 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Shavuot Educational Resources and Videos

Hi Everyone!

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On what mountain did Moses receive the Ten Commandments ?
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In the days of the Temple what did people do on Shavuot ?
Who married Ruth ?
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What is the connection between the number 7 and Shavuot ?

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Chag Sameach!


From: Stuart Pilichowski <stupillow@...>
Date: Tue, May 7,2013 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Tefillah / Bet haknesset

For people who don't understand the Hebrew prayers - translations (any -
Artscroll, Koren) used for reading along aren't all that helpful. Firstly, 
it's time consuming. By the time your finished the congregation is light 
years ahead of you. Secondly, translating doesn't afford the opportunity to 
think about what you've just said. Hence, you've fulfilled your obligation 
of Tefillah, but you've basically just mouthed the words.

Try this simple exercise:
1. Read the davening in your native language
2. Think about what you're saying
3. Don't look at the clock
4. Don't mind where the congregation is up to.

The shul experience - 2- 3 hours on a Shabbat morning - as long as it 
is..... isn't geared towards a "religious experience." (Whatever that means. 
As an aside I'd love to hear what people experienced or felt when they had a 
spiritual or religious experience. Especially when music was part of it.)

Stu P


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, May 6,2013 at 08:01 AM
Subject: The Kotel

Stuart Pilichowski wrote (MJ 61#80):
> I'm still in favor of Rabbi Angel's proposition that the Kotel outlaw
> 'minyanim' and be strictly a venue for personal prayer and supplication.

I entirely agree with Stuart. Perhaps one might make an exception and allow
minyanim for minchah when it is getting late in the afternoon but,
otherwise, the situation where there are several minyanim all at different
stages of the tefillah just leads to bedlam. I was once there on Friday
evening and that was enough to convince me never to do it again.

Martin Stern


From: Yisrael Medad  <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Tue, May 7,2013 at 03:01 AM
Subject: The Sharansky Compromise

In MJ 61#81, Martin brings Leah Abramovitz's views on the Women of the Wall.

Under Anat Hoffman's leadership, yes, the prayer customs they want to introduce
there are simply a tool of a Reform activist.

But there are at least three problems still remaining:

a) out of those 10 million visitors, how many are Jewish and how many really
wouldn't mind or even want a different arrangement even if they do respect the
current custom?

b) the Court now has changed its mind and the State decided not to appeal.

c) in principle, the "customs" do not necessarily need to be so, even according
to the Orthodox and even Ultra-Orthodox practice.

Yisrael Medad

From: Leah S. R. Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Tue, May 7,2013 at 11:01 AM
Subject: The Sharansky compromise

It will not surprise anyone that I have a different take on the Kotel and
the WoW [Women of the Wall -- MOD] than does Mr. Stern, below, or the writer
(Leah Aharoni) he quotes in his post.

Let's put aside for a moment the fact that the WoW would be shunted to an
area which, while technically part of the "Kotel wall," isn't imbued with
the same historical significance or meaning to our people as a davening
site.  (The fact that the WoW are accepting this offer means that they are
100% committed to a compromise!)

> This is quite true but I doubt if the WoW will accept it - they are simply
> not interested in any compromise. As far as I can see, their aim is to
> break the "chareidi control" of the kotel and force their views and practices,

I don't know where this thought is coming from, but let's clarify - the WoW
would like to have a usable space for an Orthodox women's tefila group at the
Kotel, arguably the most holy Jewish davening site.  Not every Orthodox source
approves, but so what - there is a wide set of Orthodox practices that are
accommodated, not to mention non-Orthodox types of Judaism that many of us think
should be accommodated, at the Kotel.

I don't know if the WoW would like to "break up chareidi control of the Kotel,"
but I sure would like that as an outcome, never having davened with WoW in my
life but having spent lots of time at the Kotel under chareidi control as to my
dress, location relative to my cousin's bar-mitzvah, etc.

>> The time has come to state the truth, simple and unadorned: The Western Wall
>> doesn't belong to the Women of the Wall.
>> Considering that after 25 years and massive public relations efforts the
>> group can hardly gather 100 women on a good month, the assertion sounds
>> ludicrous.

I believe that this argument is a "straw man".  The WoW never asserted to
"own" the Kotel, just to have the same davening rights that an Orthodox
men's group would have, to mind their own business and do an infrequent
davening there that other tourists could easily avoid if desired.
Furthermore, all Jews "own" the Kotel for appropriate use, and I firmly
believe (as do thousands of people, not just the few dozen who attend) that
the WoW's use is appropriate davening.

>> Can you imagine so small a fringe group demanding to do as it pleases at the
>> Vatican? Westminster Abbey? St.Patrick's Cathedral in New York? Mecca?
>> At any place of worship in the world? That's not freedom of religion, that's
>> anarchy!

Another "straw man" argument.  The WoW is not a fringe group, though I suppose
it is only a small group of people who still brave the hate to attend regularly.
 There are many, many Jews who are sympathetic with the desire to pray in a WoW
fashion, which is a mainstream Jewish form of worship no matter if the chareidim
like it or not.  There are even more Jews who would like a third "mixed" section
so that egalitarian groups of men and women together, could daven at the Kotel.
 The fact that this option is totally off the table betrays that in fact, the
"chareidi control of the Kotel" is no myth.  I don't think Ms. Aharoni would
like to actually start counting up how many people vote for or attend each
option of worship types, if she wants to defend the status quo based on numbers.

>> The time has come to state the truth, simple and unadorned: The Western
>> Wall doesn't belong to the Women of the Wall. The Western Wall belongs to
>> its 10 million visitors a year, who respect the sanctity and decorum of the
>> site.

I believe this is a "red herring" argument now.  The WoW never disrupted any
sanctity or decorum.  That onus is squarely on the shoulders of those who
harassed the WoW services and members repeatedly, even throwing trash and worse
on them in such a holy place.  For those who believe that women davening
actively is itself a disruption of sanctity, I say:  you are the one whose
minority opinion should not be allowed to disturb my decorum.

>> ...
>> As much as the group would like to position itself as a grassroots
>> initiative defending the rights of its members, its supporters have made it
>> patently clear that this is just the first step in their battle "to liberate
>> Judaism from the ties of an Orthodox hegemony."
>> ...
>> Even Israel's ultra-liberal Supreme Court has ruled that the notion of
>> 100 women calling the shots at a site visited by some 10 million people
>> annually is just too rich.

Those who own social privilege in life are often really resistant to giving up
even a tiny bit of it.  If 100 women are allowed to daven, it takes nothing away
from the chareidim except the right to control those 100 women (!!).  I wouldn't
say that Israel's Supreme Court is "ultra-liberal".  And I agree that liberating
Israel from the "Orthodox hegemony" would be a nice goal, though this will never
happen.  For that matter, WoW identifies as Orthodox.

>> The Western Wall is the holiest site available to us - a place we all
>> can call home.
>> Let's not let anyone take that away from us.

Amen to this!

--Leah S. R. Gordon

From: Steven Oppenheimer <steven.oppenheimer@...>
Date: Tue, May 7,2013 at 12:01 PM
Subject: The Sharansky compromise

There has been much news of late regarding the protests of "the women of the
wall" at the kotel.

The following written by Ronit Peskin, a lady who grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and
now lives in Israel is worth reading:


This earlier posting may also be of interest:


Steven Oppenheimer, D.M.D.


From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahillel@...>
Date: Sun, Apr 21,2013 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Why should Aharon wear gold in the first place?

Rabbi Sorotzkin in /"Oznayim LaTorah"/ discusses the question of why the 
Kohen Gadol [high priest] should wear gold in the first place, since the 
gold is a "prosecutor" (reminding Hashem of the golden calf). He brings 
up two points in Acharei Mos when Rashi uses that as a reason why the 
Kohen Gadol enters the Kodesh Kadashim [Holy of Holies] with only the 
four linen garments of the regular priest.

I have posted a more complete dvar torah at


End of Volume 61 Issue 82