Volume 62 Number 32 
      Produced: Tue, 09 Sep 14 17:08:20 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Altering Halacha (2)
    [Bill Bernstein  Martin Stern]
Hareidi enlistment into the IDF 
    [Yisrael Medad]
Is fifteen significant? (2)
    [Martin Stern  Rabbi Meir Wise]
Is there an obligation to serve in the Army? (2)
    [Reuben Freeman  Yisrael Medad]
    [Martin Stern]
Loud Music 
    [Deborah Wenger]
Reciting L'David Hashem Ori (4)
    [Martin Stern  Stu Pilichowski  Michael Poppers  David Ziants]
Unmarried minor wearing tallis over his head 
    [Chaim Tatel]


From: Bill Bernstein <billbernstein@...>
Date: Tue, Sep 2,2014 at 07:01 AM
Subject: Altering Halacha

In the discussion on altering halakha there is a request for other topics that
have ceased to be current.  

I remember in a tape by Rav Frand on Mourning the Destruction of the Temple he
cites an example where the Shulchan Oruch states that when one renovates or
builds one's house one should leave part of one wall unfinished "zecher churban
[in memory of the destruction]".  And R' Frand notes people don't do this
anymore.  I don't recall what reasons he gives for it, more than klal Yisroel
just doesn't do it.  And I suspect that is the reason in many things: the
specific din (law) fell by the wayside from disuse.

Bill Bernstein
Nashville TN.

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, Sep 4,2014 at 07:01 AM
Subject: Altering Halacha

Orrin Tilevitz wrote (MJ 62#29):

> Yisrael Medad asks (MJ 62#28) of examples of "altering halacha" in addition to
> the one he gave, that mourners no longer invert their beds.
> One that comes to me immediately is the widespread practice outside of Israel
> of not eating in the sukkah on shemini atzeret.

The custom here in Manchester among non-Chasidim is to eat all meals (but
not sleep) in the sukkah on Shemini Atzeret. I believe the Chasidim eat the
day meals, but not the evening one either because they have hakafot or they
are excused since the lights will have gone out before they return

Martin Stern


From: Yisrael Medad  <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Mon, Sep 8,2014 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Hareidi enlistment into the IDF

On Sept. 8, this report appeared in Israel Hayom:


The number of ultra-Orthodox Israeli men being drafted into the army has risen
by 39 percent since the Knesset passed the Equal Sharing of the Burden Bill in
March ... This year, 1,972 haredi men were drafted into the army, 863 of whom
took up combat roles, compared to 1,416 last year and 1,327 the year before
that. Over 11,000 haredim have responded to notices summoning them to the
special screening and absorption center for ultra-Orthodox recruits established
at the IDF induction center at Tel Hashomer.  "The numbers prove that the new
draft law has paved the way toward a social and legislative revolution in
Israel," Peri said.

Yisrael Medad
Post Office Box 9407
Mobile Post Efraim 4483000


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Wed, Sep 3,2014 at 04:01 AM
Subject: Is fifteen significant?

I wrote (MJ 62#30):

> 3. After the removal of the word emet from emet veyatsiv, which we append to
> the Shema, there are fifteen words used to describe the shema.

There are various reasons given for detaching the word "emet" but the
following thought came to me:

In the final pasuk of the third paragraph we find the phrase Ani HaShem
Elokechem repeated and followed by our saying the word "emet". It makes
perfect sense to say, I am HaShem your G-d who took you out of the land of
Egypt, but the repetition is strange.

Perhaps one might explain this as a reference to the work we must do on
ourselves in recognizing HaShem. As the joke would have it, taking the Benei
Yisrael out of Egypt was accomplished in seven days, but it took forty years
of wandering in the midbar [wilderness] to take Egypt out of the Benei
Yisrael! Thus, the repetition of "Ani HaShem Elokechem," with no action
performed, might be meant as an instruction to us to internalize our
relationship to HaShem so that we can remove the tuma [impurity] of Egypt
from ourselves. 

This line of thinking suggests a possible further reason for adding the word
emet at the end of this pasuk. The word might be viewed as an acronym for
"Et-eretz Mitzraim Totziu, [you shall remove the land of Egypt (from
yourselves)], suggesting that the whole pasuk should be understood to mean,
I am HaShem your G-d who took you out of the land of Egypt to be your G-d 
I am HaShem your G-d (who commands you to) remove the (influence of the)
land of Egypt (from yourselves).

Martin Stern

From: Rabbi Meir Wise <Meirhwise@...>
Date: Wed, Sep 3,2014 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Is fifteen significant?

In reply to Martin Stern (MJ 62#30):
Yes, the number 15 is significant in prayer. The most ancient source for this is
the Targum (pseudo-)Yonatan to Devarim 32:3.

The Ashkenazim counted the words long before the Chasidei Ashkenaz of the 13th
century. In fact, if you look carefully, every kedusha, I emphasise, EVERY
KEDUSHA, has 15 words before the first "Kadosh" fulfilling the requirement of
this most ancient Targum!
No other nusach - not 'Sefard', not Sefardic, not Yemenite (Shami or Baladi) -
fulfills this requirement. So those people who belittle or have abandoned Nusach
Ashkenaz should think again and repent (See Igrot Moshe, Orach Chayyim 3:5).
As stated, The Ashkenazi sages counted the words and even the letters of the
prayers and in this way the most ancient traditions were preserved unlike other
prayer rites.
Shana Tova

Rabbi Meir Wise


From: Reuben Freeman <freeman@...>
Date: Mon, Sep 1,2014 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Is there an obligation to serve in the Army?

Before anyone can assess the credibility of the far-reaching opinion of Rabbi
Wise (MJ 62#29) and the value of his nephews' anecdotal evidence regarding the
structure and operation of Israel's military, I think we should be informed what
is the basis of the military experience and military expertise of all these

It seems to me  that Rabbi Wise supports a general exemption from IDF service
for yeshiva bochurim, *hence* he advocates a extremely radical step: scrapping
the current general obligation to serve in the IDF (or National Service) and
instead setting up a volunteer professional army for which presumably yeshiva
bochrim would not volunteer. 

Whether such a drastic step would or would not work is in effect gambling with
the fate of  Israel.  Surely more than Rabbi Wise's amateur advocacy is required
before even considering whether a professional army is desirable or practical or
even implementable in the near future.

Nevertheless, let's analyse if such a step is compatible with also wanting the
army to be by and large a "Jewish army" with mostly Jewish soldiers who are
imbued with Jewish values and not just a mercenary army.

If Rabbi Wise agrees that it is highly desirable that Jewish education should be
strengthened and encouraged more and more and if this value becomes increasingly
realized, then (if I understand Rabbi Wise}, there would be more and more
yeshiva bocharim who then of course would opt to learn and not voluntarily go
into a professional IDF . After all, [again if my understanding of Rabbi Wise's
priorities are correct], given the choice, it is preferable to be a yeshiva
bochur than to enlist into a voluntary professional IDF.  

So what Jews  would then be left to go into the professional army - those who
don't want to be yeshiva bochurim and who do want to be soldiers..  But doesn't
Rabbi Wise want every male Jew who can do so to be a yeshiva bochur (at least as
an ideal)?

If so, the potential pool of volunteers for a professional army should go down
as the percentage of yeshiva bochrim go up. Taken to an extreme limit where
there are only yeshiva bocharim (a value which Rabbi Wise may find desirable),
there would be no Jewish volunteers for a professional IDF.  

This analysis rests on the assumption that a yeshiva bochur ought not go into 
the army.  If this assumption is false then everything is back to square one. 
But I am still skeptical whether Rabbi Wise would advocate yeshiva bochurim
going into the IDF whether it is voluntary or obligatory.

Reuben Freeman

From: Yisrael Medad  <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Fri, Sep 5,2014 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Is there an obligation to serve in the Army?

Rabbi Meir Wise (MJ 62#29) quotes the Rambam to justify ... what?  That
Levites (and Kohanim) are released from military service.  He further suggests I
"did not offer any refutation" of his reasoning, although I do not think he
himself offered any to my points but went off on an arithmetical tangent.

Allow me to restate my points and further clarify:

a) all Jews should actively seek to learn the arts of war to the extent
that he can (as for a 'she', we'll avoid that for now).

b) that Jews should do so is historically a positive and desirable Jewish
trait (one example of others I briefly mentioned is Psalms 141:1).

c) in today's reality of a sovereign Jewish state there are many
opportunities and levels to do so and not to do so is an act that, among
other things, endangers the lives of Jews and may fall as into the category
of causing pikuach nefesh.

d) as to the longstanding opinion that the paradigm of "the tribe of Levy"
frees all Torah scholars, in toto, from this duty, I would humbly suggest
that this is a manipulation. Incidentally, there is the obverse, that "they
have no portion".  I would note that those refusing to serve are invited to
refuse as well all that the state provides monetarily for them.

e) this is not to say that release from military duty due to studies is to
be abolished nor that full military service must be undergone by all.

f)  I am not engaged in the argumentation that "the army is short of
recruits".  Even if the army requires less recruits than there are
available, I would still support military training whether during the
summer months or whenever as well as periods of some sort of guard duty or
office work in the army or manning the observatory lookouts.

g) in mentioning the Rambam, he establishes the following Mitzvot in
Hilchot Kings and Wars:
* The obligation to destroy the seven nations living in the Land of Canaan;
* The prohibition against allowing any one of them to remain alive;
* The obligation to destroy the descendents of Amalek.

Someone has to do that, and I would think that even a Levy (and whether or
not that definition holds today when the temple is not longer extant and the
tasks of carrying or singing or playing instruments no longer exist is another
matter) would wish to be able.  It is also remarkable that the census of the
children of Israel employs the terminology of "army" as an age limit (and, yes,
the Kohanim and Levites are excluded, but see above).

h) one further point: the language used by some in the Haredi camp (and I
am not including Rabbi Wise in this) in their campaign against any sort of
mobilization framework is hateful and, in some cases, anti-Semitic and
shameful (see, for example, http://tinyurl.com/k7n4nzd).

Yisrael Medad


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Sep 7,2014 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Latecomers

In his regular Vebbe Rebbe column in Torah Tidbits published by OU Israel
Center (Ki Teitzei 5774), Rav Daniel Mann of the Eretz Hemdah Institute
deals with the question of latecomers "Shortening Psukei D'zimra to Catch Up" 
with the tzibur, that might form the basis of a new thread for us.

http://www.ttidbits.com/1104/1104xl.pdf pages 15-16

Question: I have noticed in a few shuls that a minority of the tzibur starts
the Amida together and many people who come in a few minutes late do not try
to catch up. Isn't it correct to skip parts of P'sukei D'zimra in such a

Answer (abridged): The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 52:1) rules that one
should shorten PDZ in order to catch up to the tzibur and details the order
of precedence ... starting the Amida together is the main issue (Mishna
Berura 52:6). ... The Sha'arei Teshuva (52:1) says that if one davens too
slowly to keep up with the tzibur, he is allowed (apparently not required)
to say everything at his own pace and miss the [silent] Amida with the tzibur.
The implication is that he is not required to start davening early to "build up
a lead" (ibid.). ...  While it is proper to slow down to the average
participant's davening speed, "holding back" those who come on time to
accommodate latecomers is also problematic.

While his final conclusion is to recommend latecomers to skip as much of PDZ as
needed to give a good chance to start the silent Amida with the tzibur, a point
he does not consider is whether to take into account the inconvenience caused by
latecomers davening at their own pace and thereby preventing someone in front of 
them from sitting down because of their davening their silent amidah. This would 
not be a problem for someone obviously aged or infirm but might prove 
embarrassing for someone temporarily in need.

What do other MJ members feel is the correct way a latecomer should behave?

Martin Stern


From: Deborah Wenger <debwenger@...>
Date: Thu, Sep 4,2014 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Loud Music

Moshe Poupko wrote (MJ 62#31):

> In the discussion about loud music, one "guest" was ignored.  Small children and
> babies who are brought to weddings where the music is very loud have no defense.

> It is very common to see children standing at the bandstand getting the full
> blast of the volume.  It is amazing that their parents seem to be totally
> oblivious to the cumulative damage being done to their offspring.  

My niece is a speech pathologist and, as such, sees many children with hearing
problems. She insists that her 2-year-old uses earplugs whenever they go to a
simcha (and probably uses them herself).

Here's a thought: the disposable earplugs are very inexpensive, especially when
bought in bulk. How about a band providing a bowlful of them at the entrance to
the reception room, so that anyone who feels that the music is too loud may
avail themselves of them?

Deborah Wenger


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Wed, Sep 3,2014 at 04:01 AM
Subject: Reciting L'David Hashem Ori

Steven Oppenheimer wrote (MJ 62#30):

> It appears the custom to say LeDovid was originally mentioned in the sefer
> Chemdas Yomim (printed in 1731) which was open to criticism and so there were
> those who opposed the custom to recite the mizmor.  See Divrei Moshe
> (Halberstam) Orach Chaim 34.

I suspected that this might have been the reason for objections to this
"innovation" but could not remember where I had seen the suggestion.
> This supposition was incorrect because the custom to recite LeDovid is
> already mentioned in sefer Shem Tov Koton (printed 1706).

Though the attribution to Chemdas Yomim is incorrect, it does not follow
that the reason for the objections to saying L'David Hashem Ori may not have
had some foundation. I am not familiar with this sefer but from its date it
could also well have been suspected of Sabbatian tendencies. Can anyone shed
further light on it?

Martin Stern

From: Stu Pilichowski <cshmuel@...>
Date: Thu, Sep 4,2014 at 12:01 AM
Subject: Reciting L'David Hashem Ori

With reference to previous contributors' comments, I don't understand why "later
additions" to our traditions is taboo in the eyes of the GRA and others. Isn't
halacha and tradition a vibrant organism that grows and changes with the times?
Why do practices close with the Rishonim? If Klal Yisroel accepts something upon
itself (there are many examples) why isn't that acceptable enough?

Stuart P
Mevaseret Zion

From: Michael Poppers <the65pops@...>
Date: Thu, Sep 4,2014 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Reciting L'David Hashem Ori

David Ziants wrote (MJ 62#31):

> Many Nusach Ashkenaz communities, though, have  become lax on some elements. 
> For example, many say shir shel yom on Shabbat before kriat hatora and not after
> musaph as is printed in (I think) all the Nusach Ashkenaz siddurim.

Data point: in KAJ/"Breuer's" of Washington Heights, NY, USA (which by and large 
follows Minhag Frankfurt am Main, though apparently not in this particular
case), the "Shir shel Yom" is said after Shacharis on Shabbos (and, according to
current KAJers with whom I consulted, such is always the case when Musaf
follows, e.g. on Rosh Chodesh or Yuntef, not just on Shabbos), not after Musaf.

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

From: David Ziants <dziants@...>
Date: Thu, Sep 4,2014 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Reciting L'David Hashem Ori

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 62#30):

David Ziants wrote (MJ 62#29):

>> Unless they said L'David H' Ori before I came (and I was rather late), I 
>> don't think it was said at all. Mizmor Shir L'Yom HaShabbat was said after
>> Musaph.
> AFAIK, it is always said at the end of davenning, certainly after the shir
> shel yom. I can't believe anyone would come so late that they would miss it.
> David clearly was present well before the end so it would appear from his
> report that the Bet Knesset HaGra in Shaarei Chesed does not say it at all.

Actually, I realized that I would have missed it if they could have said it
before pesukei d'zimra, as is printed in some of the old Germanic siddurim (and
am sure Martin is aware), but I felt that this would be very unlikely as the
minyan is no doubt of Lithuanian stock. But in any case someone else on this
list has already confirmed that they omit it on Shabbat but not during the week.

I thank Martin for giving me the benefit of the doubt and I was indeed in shul
before the end of Shacharit of the vatikin minyan. I was under the false
impression that there were on-going minyanim which is what prompted me to go
there to find a minyan that was starting around 6:15am on Shabbat. Because of
family reasons I could not wait later (as later on there are a number of
minyanim in parallel), and so had to catch up shacharit and stay with the
vatikin minyan.



From: Chaim Tatel <chaim.tatel@...>
Date: Sun, Sep 7,2014 at 09:01 PM
Subject: Unmarried minor wearing tallis over his head

Shalom from the Left Coast of Outer Galus (Seattle, WA)

Yesterday I had the opportunity of leining in shul. A kid was called up for
Kohen (he was 13, maybe 14). Before the bracha, he put the tallis over his head.
This is the second time I saw a kid do this in shul. I commented to him that
this must be a new minhag. He replied that he was a Yekke (Jew of German origin)
and that's what they do. I know a lot of German Jews, having davened in their
shuls occasionally, and never saw this. Seems to me this is mechze keyuharah
(giving the appearance of arrogance).

Any thoughts?


End of Volume 62 Issue 32