Volume 61 Number 92 
      Produced: Fri, 23 Aug 13 12:07:41 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

A pronunciation problem 
    [Martin Stern]
Adding 4 lines from Psalms following Shir Hama'alot (3)
    [Martin Stern  Katz, Ben M.D.  Immanuel Burton]
Allusions in the word Shema 
    [Martin Stern]
Changing Role of the Rabbinate 
    [Bill Bernstein]
Heads Up This Rosh Hashanah 
    [Avraham Walfish]
Prayer for one's host country and for Israel 
    [Martin Stern]
Standing in shul (2)
    [Eitan Fiorino  Haim Snyder]
The missing hyphen 
    [Martin Stern]
Twelve Months Mourning For Parent 
    [Joel Rich]
Wedding Custom (4)
    [Martin Stern  Freda B Birnbaum  Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz  Katz, Ben M.D.]
Welcome Home to the New Olim (and 304 photos) 
    [Jacob Richman]


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Aug 18,2013 at 05:01 AM
Subject: A pronunciation problem

While I drew attention in my book (pp. 48-49) to the importance in
distinguishing between similar sounding letters, in particular an ayin from
an aleph (and by extension a final unsounded heh), this is virtually
impossible for Ashkenazim who are have lost the ability to pronounce the
gutturals correctly, especially the ayin and chet. It is, therefore,
difficult to understand the meaning of the comment in the Kitsur Shulchan
Arukh (17,5) that one should be careful to pronounce the word nishba with a
final ayin so that it should not be confused with nishbah with a final heh.
I have tried to ascertain the Oriental Sephardi pronunciation of ayin (the
Dutch/Portuguese use of ng is certainly problematic) and chet and find it
extremely difficult to enunciate the former at the end of a word. As an
Ashkenazi from Hungary, R, Ganzfried would presumably have also been hard
pressed to make the distinction so it is not clear what he meant by this

Martin Stern


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Wed, Aug 21,2013 at 07:01 AM
Subject: Adding 4 lines from Psalms following Shir Hama'alot

Aaron Lerner wrote (MJ 61#91):

> On Shabbat, holidays, and other days on which tachanun is not said, we recite
> Shir Hama'alot before Birkat Hamazon.  Some add four additional lines from
> Psalms ("Tehillat Hashem," "Va'anachnu Nevarech," "Hodu L'Hashem", and "Mi
> Yemalel") following Shir Hama'alot.
> What is the source for adding these additional four lines?

I would not be able to answer Aaron's query but one thing is fairly certain:
these additions were not made as a counterblast to Zionism, as I have heard
alleged, since at least the first two were added (together with a few other
verses) by the Arizal, as is mentioned in the siddur of R. Shabtai Sofer of
Premishl originally published, I think, in 1614.

Martin Stern

From: Katz, Ben M.D. <BKatz@...>
Date: Thu, Aug 22,2013 at 02:01 PM
Subject: Adding 4 lines from Psalms following Shir Hama'alot

In reply to Aaron Lerner (MJ 61#91):

I thought these were added to tone down the "Zionism" of the psalm.

From: Immanuel Burton <iburton@...>
Date: Thu, Aug 22,2013 at 09:01 PM
Subject: Adding 4 lines from Psalms following Shir Hama'alot

In reply to Aaron Lerner (MJ 61#91):

I once heard someone suggest that the extra four lines were added for 
the benefit of those people who liked the tune so much that they wanted 
another round.  In seriousness, though, I heard from Reverend Leslie 
Hardman z"l that it is a German custom.

I have a Dutch Siddur that has only three extra lines, omitting Hodu 

The first edition of the British "Authorised Daily Prayer Book" 
(commonly known as the Singer's Siddur) did not have these additional 
four lines at all.  The subsequent 26 impressions of the first edition 
also did not have these lines.  The second edition of 1962 included the 
first two of these lines, as did the subsequent 7 impressions.  The 
Centenary Edition of 1990 and the subsequent 2 impression included all 
four of these lines, as does the current 4th edition.

On occasion I've heard a fifth line added, namely "Kol ha'neshama" 
(Psalms 150:6), but I don't recall seeing this in print.

Immanuel Burton.


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, Aug 8,2013 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Allusions in the word Shema

The Avudarham (p.80) notes that the word Shema might be taken as an acronym
(notarikon) in several ways, deriving the message: Seu marom eineichem,
raise your eyes on high and see (Isaiah 40:26). Who? Shakai melech olam,
the Creator, King of the universe. When? Shacharit, minchah arvit,
morning, afternoon and evening. If you do this you will be accepting on
yourself the yoke of the kingdom of heaven, ol malchut shamayim, which is
an acronym of the first word, Shema, in reverse order.

His last observation links the word Shema primarily to the first paragraph,
referred to by Chazal as kabbalat ol malchut shamayim. In my book "A Time
to Speak" (p. 82) I suggested that a further acronym might be ol mitsvot
Shakai, which would link it to the second paragraph, referred to by Chazal
as kabbalat ol mitsvot which commences Vehaya im shamoa, the word
shamoa being spelt the same as shema, though vocalised differently.

I speculated that there might be a further allusion to the third paragraph,
referred to by Chazal in connection with one of its most important themes as
zechirat yetsiat Mitsrayim, remembering the our leaving Egypt but for many
years the connection eluded me. Recently, an idea occurred to me that would
also link it to the word Shema, and thereby link all three paragraphs which
commence with this word. Perhaps one could suggest that the first two
letters are an acronym of Shibud Mitsrayim, the slavery in Egypt, which
necessarily preceded our redemption. 

Furthermore the last letter, ayin, has gematria 70 which could be an allusion to
the fact that initially there were 70 souls who went down to Egypt with Ya'akov
(Shem. 1,5).

Also, the mispar katan of ayin is 7 which might be an allusion to the 7
generations from the Brit bein Habetarim, at which the Shibud and Ge'ulah were
predicted (Br. 25), until the actual Yetsiat Mitsrayim - Avraham, Yitzchak,
Ya'akov, Levi, Kehat, Amram and Moshe.

Just as the slavery was a necessary precondition for our being moulded into a
nation (Dev.10,22), so the word Shema with which we begin Kriat Shema might be
seen as alluding also to the subject matter of the conclusion of the third

Has anyone seen these ideas before?

Martin Stern


From: Bill Bernstein <billheddy@...>
Date: Wed, Aug 21,2013 at 07:01 PM
Subject: Changing Role of the Rabbinate

For a long time I did not get the OU's magazine Jewish Action but for some
reason it started coming in the mail again. The most recent issue's cover story
concerns "the changing role of the rabbinate" which I read with some interest. 

I live in something of a vacuum so don't keep up on trends like this. I do
understand that society changes and so does its needs in all things, rabbis
included. But am I the only one to feel slightly uneasy with the "rabbi as CEO"
model, complete with MBA-toting rabbis? Or the congregation that nearly went
bankrupt building a $50 Million synagogue? I realize costs in Manhattan (where
this was) are higher and all. But is this really a proper use of community
funds? What else could have been purchased with those funds? Perhaps I'm an old
fashioned romantic but "rabbi as scholar-saint" seems more of an ideal to me.

Bill Bernstein
Nashville TN (It's not Memphis)



From: Avraham Walfish <rawalfish@...>
Date: Wed, Aug 21,2013 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Heads Up This Rosh Hashanah

In MJ 61#91, Richard Fiedler posted an interesting and informative
discussion of the unique lunar event we can expect to observe this erev
Rosh Hashanah - seeing the Old Moon on erev Rosh Hashanah - and its
connection to the dispute in Mishnah Rosh Hashanah 2:8 between Rabban
Gamliel and R. Yohanan ben Nuri. 

I would like to make a minor correction to his post, which will slightly weaken
the connection between the event in Yavneh 1900 years ago and the upcoming event
this year. The Mishnah does not state that the dispute between Rabban Gamliel
and R. Yohanan ben Nuri took place on Rosh Hashanah. The Mishnah goes on to
record a second dispute between Rabban Gamliel and Rabbis Dosa and Yehoshua that
took place on Rosh Hashanah, but this very dramatic dispute didn't involve
seeing the Old Moon on erev Rosh Hashanah but a discrepancy between the
witnesses' testimony of sighting the Molad and the observed fact (by the
witnesses? by the Beit Din? - dispute among commentators) that the following
evening the New Moon was nowhere to be seen. In fact, we have no way of knowing
in which month the first clash, regarding the Old Moon, occurred.

Avie Walfish


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Wed, Aug 21,2013 at 07:01 AM
Subject: Prayer for one's host country and for Israel

Katz, Ben M.D. Wrote (MJ 61#91):
> David Lee Makowsky wrote (MJ 61#89):
>> I have a custom of not standing during the Prayer for the President and
>> Vice President because the prayer specifically mentions the political
>> office currently occupied by someone I believe is harmful to Jews.
>> What are the various halachic issues surrounding my actions?  Please do NOT
>> turn this into a political debate.  I am not advocating that anyone else do
>> this.
> Jeremiah (Yirmiyahu), upon whose advice the prayer for the state is based, did
> not make a distinction whether or not you agree with the state's politics.
> The idea seems to be that the better things go for the host state, the better
> it will be for Jews living there, even if the situation is sub-optimal.

I must say I agree with Ben on this and deprecate David's stance which I
believe is against halachah as Ben explains. At one time, the practice was
for the Sefer Torah to be brought to the gabbai who held it while reciting
the prayer for the state. This ensured that the congregation would stand to
honour it even if members may have had reservations regarding the particular
government in office at the time.

> For extreme cases this might be difficult (eg praying for Nazi Germany) but I
> doubt any US administration should pose that big a dilemma.

As regards antisemitic regimes, the prayer Hanotein Teshua Lamelachim [He
Who grants salvation to kings] was certainly recited in Tsarist Russia and
Wilhelmine Germany. However, when the Weimar Republic was established, it
was felt that the text was inappropriate in the absence of a king and an
alternative version was composed. Because of German Jewry's innate
conservatism this was not really accepted initially. After the 1933
establishment of the Nazi Tausedjaerige Reich [1000 year state], the fact
that it quoted the phrase from Tehillim "a thousand years in Your sight are
like a passing day" made it much more popular!

Martin Stern


From: Eitan Fiorino <afiorino@...>
Date: Wed, Aug 21,2013 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Standing in shul

Eric Mack wrote (MJ 61#91):

Many stand for certain portions of P'sukei d'zimra [the collection of Psalms and
other verses recited before Bar'chu].  Specifically, it is customary to stand for

a) "Baruch She'amar" (the blessing at the start of P'sukei d'zimra; 

b) "Mizmor l'toda", on weekdays, and "Hodu", on Shabbat; 

c) the verses and blessings from "Vay'varech David" thru "Yishtabach", which is
the blessing recited at the end of P'sukei d'zimra

I just need to point out this is according to minhag ashkenaz; other groups have
different practices regarding standing during different parts of tefila,
including during the noted portions of pesukei d'zimra, as well as kaddish,
barchu, and keriat hatorah and in particular during the last few pasukim of a
sefer and aseret hadibrot.


From: Haim Snyder <haimsny@...>
Date: Fri, Aug 23,2013 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Standing in shul

Eric Mack (MJ 61#91) pointed to places in p'sukei d'zimra where it is customary
to stand. This is in keeping with the R'MA in OH siman 51. The Vilna Gaon said
there that this was just an unnecessary strict observance and according to the
primary law, it is permitted to sit.
I daven in a minyan that is "prayer leader's choice" as far as nusah is
concerned. When they daven Nusah S'fard, I sit for the early items, but I stand
from Vayivarekh David on, because when I sit, it isn't obvious that I hold like
the Vilna Gaon and there isn't any problem of Lo Titgod'du. When they daven
Nusah Askenaz, I stand at all of the places the R'MA says. Unfortunately, I
haven't found a minyan in Petah Tikva that davens Nusah HaGra.
Haim Shalom Snyder


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sat, Aug 10,2013 at 07:01 PM
Subject: The missing hyphen

Latter day printers are not too careful in their almost universal omission
of the makeph (hyphen) in vocalised texts apart from quotations from Tenakh.

Unfortunately this can lead to some grammatical monstrosities, the most
glaring of which is in the vocalisation of such common words as 'et' [which
has no independent meaning and only indicates the direct object] and 'kol'
[all]. When these words are freestanding they carry the long vowels tserei
and cholam, respectively, but when they are attached to the following word
by a makeph, these vowels are shortened to segol and kamats katan.

The reason for this is that the makeph joins the two words and, as a result,
these short words are considered as part of a single combined word and lose
their stress. One rule of classical Hebrew grammar is that an unstressed
closed syllable cannot carry a long vowel. However these texts have,
incorrectly, the short vowel despite the lack of the makeph.

One thing that has always puzzled me is why sometimes there is a makeph, and
consequent vowel shortening, and sometimes not, and whether this makes a
subtle change to the meaning of the pasuk [verse]. As far as I can tell, it seems
completely random and this is reflected by the halachah that if the wrong
vowel is used in Kriat Hatorah in such situations, the word does not have to
be repeated. Does anyone know a reason for this variation?

Martin Stern


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Thu, Aug 22,2013 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Twelve Months Mourning For Parent

The Shach (Y"D 344:9) states that if a parent commands a child not to observe
the 12 months of mourning, it is a mitzvah to follow their command.  Does anyone
know whether this is the generally accepted halacha?  Has anyone seen anything
on whether "ruach chachamim" would be "noche" (The Rabbis would have a positive
view)  towards a parent who did so command?


Joel Rich


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Wed, Aug 21,2013 at 07:01 AM
Subject: Wedding Custom

Stuart Wise wrote (MJ 61#91):

> I am still bemused every time I attend a wedding where the fathers walk
> down the chasan and the mothers walk down the kallah, according to chasidish
> custom. Why would such a custom arise and become accepted. Are there any
> prohibitions that prevent an opposite sex parent to walk their child down the
> aisle? It seems sad to me that a parent should be deprived in such away,
> and that sectors of the Jewish community have embraced it.
> Of course I realize that most parents do walk down their child together,
> but for those that don't, this custom takes an event and turns it melancholy.

It would appear that there are two customs regarding this and it behoves
everyone to follow whichever is current in his community.  The problem
really only arises when the two families follow different customs in this
matter. There is a story about such a case which threatened to disrupt the
wedding plans so the mechutanim went to ask the advice of Rabbi Yaakov
Kamenetsky, saying that as a compromise he would follow the Rav's custom and
asked him what he had done at the weddings of his children. His reply was
that his personal custom was to do whatever made the current mechutan happy!

It is not correct to deride other people's customs just because one may have
a different one. Nahara nahara ufashtei.
> Similarly, because of the separation of the sexes, there is some parent
> that for the most part is not part of this important event in their child's
> life.

I am not sure that the separation of the sexes may not be for the best in
the present situation where divorce has become so prevalent r"l. Having
divorced parents accompany their child may be even more liable to lead to

Martin Stern

From: Freda B Birnbaum <fbb6@...>
Date: Wed, Aug 21,2013 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Wedding Custom

In reply to Stuart Wise (MJ 61#91):

I don't remember why it was suggested that we do this (almost 42 years 
ago), there being nothing very chasidish in either family, but my 
mother actually liked the idea a lot because she thought it indicated, or 
symbolized, the fact that the two families were uniting around this event. 
Also she liked my mother-in-law a lot!  (The feeling was mutual.)

The standard way is also good!

Freda Birnbaum, 

From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahillel@...>
Date: Wed, Aug 21,2013 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Wedding Custom

In reply to Stuart Wise (MJ 61#91):

There are several answers as to why this is done. However, the one that I find
best is that the mothers walk the bride and the fathers walk the groom to show
that both sets of parents have accepted the newcomer into the family as part of
their own family. The chasan is not a "son-in-law" but a son. The bride is not a
"daughter-in-law" but a daughter. Similarly, the fathers escort the groom to the
bride for the "bedeking" (check before the veil is put on) while the two mothers
flank the bride as the groom approaches. It is not a "melancholy" event but a
recognition that the young couple are full members of both families.

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz



From: Katz, Ben M.D. <BKatz@...>
Date: Thu, Aug 22,2013 at 02:01 PM
Subject: Wedding Custom

In reply to Stuart Wise (MJ 61#91):

I know of no halachic reason why there should even be separate seating at a
wedding.  Pretty soon men and women will not even mix UNDER THE CHUPPAH!  :-)
Ketivah va-chatimah tovah to all!


From: Jacob Richman <jrichman@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 13,2013 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Welcome Home to the New Olim (and 304 photos)

Hi Everyone!

Congratulations and welcome home to the 331 new olim that 
made aliyah to Israel from North America. The NBN aliyah charter 
flight arrived in Israel on Tuesday morning and included 88 children 
in 41 families and 172 singles. The youngest oleh in the group is 
one and a half months old and the oldest oleh is 75 years old. 
A record 125 of the single olim will be joining the IDF.

I took 304 photos of the exciting, historic event and I posted them 
online at:
As of today, there are now over 10,000 photos in the 
aliyah photo gallery.

I also posted the 304 photos on Facebook for name tagging.
The Facebook album address is:

If you have a Facebook account and you are in the photos or 
see someone you know, please feel free to name tag the photos.

May the aliyah from all over of the world grow and bring 
more Jews back to their homeland, Eretz Yisrael.

Have a good evening,


End of Volume 61 Issue 92