Volume 62 Number 38 
      Produced: Wed, 15 Oct 14 08:16:43 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Altering Halacha 
    [Sammy Finkelman]
Ascertaining the aroma of the incense? 
    [Martin Stern]
Atifa b'Tallit Katan (was Unmarried minor wearing tallis over his head 
    [David Ziants]
Birkat Hakohanim on Yom Kippur (3)
    [Steve Bailey  Dr. Josh Backon  Haim Snyder]
Calendrical musings - alignment of solar and lunar calendars 
    [Avram Sacks]
    [Yisrael Medad]
Making a brakhah on the sukkah on Shmini Azeret 
    [Chaim Casper]
Mangled piyutim 
    [Orrin Tilevitz]
Serving other gods 
    [Martin Stern]
Shemittah and Honey 
    [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz]
Silent El Maleh Rachamim 
    [Harlan Braude]
Six days for melachah according to the Gaon 
    [Martin Stern]


From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Tue, Oct 7,2014 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Altering Halacha

Michael Poppers wrote (MJ 62#37):

> In MJ 62#36, Sammy Finkelman wrote:
>> Another place where Halacha seems to have changed (for many) is the issue of
>> sleeping in the Succah....In times past, in Europe, it was cold and maybe
>> dangerous and people didn't feel comfortable, and so it was ruled sleeping
>> can be avoided....That reason seems now to have become unnecessary. Someone
>> else maybe can explain what went on.
> I think Sammy is asking why many avoid sleeping in the *sukah*.  If so, here
are some thoughts: ...

No, the question is why is it not there, even Lechatichillah.  If anyone does
it, it is a midah chassidus.

It is not like melachah on Chol HaMoed or Amira L'akom on Shabbos. No reason
whatsoever is needed.

The question is how did it get replaced by and why it has been replaced by
eating in the Succah, which many people are. very anxious not to avoid for major


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, Oct 6,2014 at 02:01 AM
Subject: Ascertaining the aroma of the incense?

In MJ 62#30, I noted that in the braita (Ker. 6a)

> the eleven spices in the incense, to which a further 4 ingredients are
> recorded with anonymous attribution (as opposed to the kippat hayarden added
> in the name of Rabbi Natan).

Rabbi Natan also is quoted there as saying "if one added honey it would be
disqualified and if any of its ingredients were omitted one would be subject
to a (heavenly) death penalty". From the discussion in the Gemara there it
is clear that the punishment applies to both the addition of honey and the
omission of any of the listed spices.

On the other hand, Bar Kappara is quoted in a braita as saying "if one DID
add the minutest amount of honey to the incense, nobody would have been able
to resist (its fragrance)".

Does making incense, but adding a small amount of honey, give us a permitted
means for ascertaining its aroma.

Martin Stern


From: David Ziants <dziants@...>
Date: Tue, Oct 7,2014 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Atifa b'Tallit Katan (was Unmarried minor wearing tallis over his head

Michael Poppers wrote (MJ 62#37):

> In MJ 62#36, Isaac Balbin noted:
>> In respect of the issue of an unmarried minor wearing a tallis over his head,
>> this is not a problem as it is called Atifa (wrapping of the head) and one is
>> obliged to do that when one is called to the Torah, for example. If one 
>> wears a hat, then the hat suffices. This is the Psak (decision) of Mori 
>> VRabbi (my teacher and Rabbi) Rav Hershel Schachter the Rosh Kollel at YU 
>> and Posek (Halachic decisor) of the OU.
> If he understands how to do so, a minor is obliged to perform *atifa*, period!
> -- see BT Sukah 42a and, on how to fulfill via a *talis qatan*, OC 8:3 (URL:
> http://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=49623&st=&pgnum=26).  
> We might be segueing into the "Altering Halacha" thread in wondering how many
> young men who know how to be *misateif* actually perform *atifa* with a *talis
> qatan* (and I have long argued that young men in general should be wearing a
> *talis gadol* for davening at least from when they become Bar Mitzva -- see MB
> 17:10 [p.57 at the above-mentioned URL] -- which, inter alia, would allow them
> to easily perform *atifa*).

The only time, I think, when I saw an attempt of Atifa b'Tallit Katan was at the
kotel a few decades ago just after the last remnants of Taimani [=Yemenite]
Jewry came on aliya. It was mincha time and they seemed to be in a bit of a
quandary because according to their minhag it is important that the sha"tz
[prayer leader] wears a tallit gadol. It is also a custom among many other 
communities but most of us have learned that we can be flexible if there 
isn't one around - but it seemed more essential for these new olim 
[immigrants to Israel].

So in a number of minyanim I saw the shat"z having his tallit katan half pulled
out from under his shirt and half over his head. It seemed quite a difficult
feat because their tallit katan size seemed to be according the Rambam which
many people would call a "children's size" and is relatively small compared to
what most people from all the circles seem to wear today (possibly including
these same olim from however many years ago).

Chag Same'ach
David Ziants
Ma'aleh Adumim, Israel


From: Steve Bailey <docsteveb@...>
Date: Tue, Oct 7,2014 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Birkat Hakohanim on Yom Kippur

I heard that the reason BK is not said at mincha on YK is because it is
never said the rest of the year at mincha because of fear that the kohanim
would drink wine with their lunch and bless the people while intoxicated (a
biblical capital crime). So, although all fast on YK, we do not want to
confuse the rule for the rest of the year; thus, we say it at neila instead.


From: Dr. Josh Backon <backon@...>
Date: Tue, Oct 7,2014 at 06:01 AM
Subject: Birkat Hakohanim on Yom Kippur

The question is whether duchening is done at Neila. Either duchening isn't done
[Rema, Mishna Brura, Aruch haShulchan] or can be done EVEN AT NIGHT (not just
after shekiya) as per the Magen Avraham Orach Chayim Siman 623 who states if
Neila started during daylight, the Cohanim duchen even if it's already dark
("v'afilu icher ad ha'laila" quoting the Maharil) although he does suggest NOT
to duchen during Neila. [LAILA is **night**]. The She'elat Yaavetz (R. Yaakov
Emden 1697-1776) writes that he AGREES with the opinion of the Maharil.

PEYRUSH RASHI: according to the Maharil and the She'elat Yaavetz (and also the
Magen Avraham) even if it's pitch black (NIGHT) one can duchen during Neila.

Josh Backon


From: Haim Snyder <haimsny@...>
Date: Tue, Oct 7,2014 at 07:01 AM
Subject: Birkat Hakohanim on Yom Kippur

In MJ 62 #37, David Ziants asked why, in Israel, the cohanim do not say the
blessing at minha on Yom Kippur but do say it during Neila.
The answer is given in BT Taanit page 26b. Rabbi Yosi says no priestly blessing
at minha and there is a priestly blessing during Neila because doing it in both
prayers would be "tirha dtzibura" (bother the people) and Rabbi Nahman says the
halacha is according to Rabbi Yosi.

Haim Shalom Snyder


From: Avram Sacks <achdut18@...>
Date: Mon, Oct 13,2014 at 11:01 PM
Subject: Calendrical musings - alignment of solar and lunar calendars

The Hebrew calendar is supposed to be on a 19-year cycle in order to align the
calendar with the solar cycle.   However, there is still a three-day difference
between the 19 year lunar and solar cycles. Because it is not exact, there is no
guarantee that any given date will coincide with the same Hebrew date in 19
years.   However, is there a cycle that is, perhaps a multiple of 19 that
guarantees alignment?  

These questions arise for me because, for the first time in my lifetime, my
secular birthday will coincide with a minor fast .   The last time this occurred
was in 1939, when I was not yet born,  and it will occur again in 2034.   On the
other hand, my Hebrew and secular birthdates have never coincided, and will not
coincide until 2030.  They last coincided more than 50 years ago.  Thus, there
is no guarantee of a 19-year periodicity.  While this year's minor fast will
again coincide with my secular b-day in 19 years, this does not always happen
every 19 years.  

A good website that explains the 19-year periodicity is:


and a more detailed explanation is found at: 

http://atmos.nmsu.edu/~lhuber/leaphist.html .  

However, neither website answers my question about a truly aligned cycle.  Does
one even exist?

Avram Sacks


From: Yisrael Medad  <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Tue, Oct 7,2014 at 04:01 AM
Subject: Kappel

I am pregnantly waiting for the return to the name Koppel discussion.

GENDER: Masculine
USAGE: Yiddish
Meaning & History
Yiddish diminutive of JACOB

Yisrael Medad
Post Office Box 9407


From: Chaim Casper <surfflorist@...>
Date: Sun, Oct 12,2014 at 12:01 AM
Subject: Making a brakhah on the sukkah on Shmini Azeret

In MJ 62#33 under the subject of "Altering Halakhah," I mentioned three reasons
why, in spite of the final psak halakhah (legal ruling) of Sukkah 47A [that we
outside of Israel sit in the sukkah but do not make the brakhah "leshev
basukkah" on Shmini Azeret], some people do not eat in the sukkah on Sh'mini

Over Sukkot/Shabbat, I was reading Nefesh HaRav (by R` Hershel Schachter) which
lists philosophical, halakhic and parshah expositions of the Rav, R` Joseph Dov
Halevi Soloveitchik, zt"l, (if you read Hebrew this is one book you should
definitely get and read).   R` Shachter quotes the Rav as giving two additional
reasons why some people do not eat in the sukkah on Shmini Azeret: 

1) Many hasidim do not eat in the sukkah on Shmini Azeret.   This, says the Rav,
is a mistake ("bi'va'dai ta'ut hu").  It started when some hasidic rebbes wanted
to have a fabregen on Shmini Azeret.   Since the rebbe's hasidim were too
numerous to all sit in the sukkah, they would sit elsewhere (in the rebbe's home
or shul, etc.).  After a while, people forgot why they were sitting in the
rebbe's home instead of the sukkah on Shmini Azeret.   So when asked why they
were not sitting in the sukkah, they said their custom was to not sit in a
sukkah on Shmini Azeret. 

2) The Rav noted that we tend to give less credence to mitzvot that do not use a
brakhah.   Since we do not make a brakhah, "leshev basukkah," on eating in the
sukkah on Shmini Azeret, people mistakenly think they are not doing a mitzvah. 
Since they are not doing a mitzvah, they might as well eat in their homes.   [R`
Shachter quotes Rav Moshe Feinstein, zt"l who said something similar about those
occasions when we do not make a brakhah on t'filin (see Igrot Moshe Orah Hayyim
1 #10).  Since there is no brakhah, people tend to mistakenly think they are not
doing the mitzvah.]      

B'virkhat Torah,
Chaim Casper
North Miami Beach, FL 33162


From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Tue, Oct 7,2014 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Mangled piyutim

Here is the reason for the custom to recite each pair of lines beginning with
"vechol maaminim" as opposed to as the piyut is written: the paragraph before
the piyut ends with the words "hamelech hamishpat" and the custom is for the
hazzan to recite them together with the first line of the piyut, as in "hamelech
hamishpat haochez beyad midat mishpat", with the aron kodesh opened precisely
while this going on. That leaves everything else to begin with "vechol maaminim".


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Oct 5,2014 at 06:01 AM
Subject: Serving other gods

One thing that has always puzzled me in the second paragraph of the Shema is
the verse "Be careful lest your heart be deceived, and you stray and SERVE
[va'avadtem] other gods and bow down to them" (Dev. 11:16). Since bowing
down is one of the ways of serving (worshipping) idols (San. 7:6), the
previously used word "va'avadtem" cannot mean "serve" in that sense.

One idea that occurred to me is that this verse is indicating a dangerous
progression to idolatry:

1. self-deception, i.e. thoughts that idolatry may not be so terrible

2. straying, i.e. actions to associate with it in some neutral manner
(interfaith dialogue?)

3. serving, i.e. working for the idolatrous system such as taking an
administrative job with it (e.g. as a caretaker or secretary) which would
not involve any punishable idolatrous ritual service

4. worship, which would then carry the death penalty

If this is correct, the verse is warning of a "slippery slope" by which one
might be seduced into idolatry, something Christian missionaries have used
by setting up ostensibly charitable "outreach" activities such as medical or
food aid to target groups.

What do others think of this analysis?

Martin Stern


From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahillel@...>
Date: Tue, Oct 7,2014 at 06:01 AM
Subject: Shemittah and Honey

Immanuel Burton wrote (MJ 62#37):

> I have been given to understand that bee's honey is kosher because it is
> essentially flower nectar, and not actually a bee product.  If honey is
> derived from flowers, would the laws of Shemittah apply to Israeli
> honey?  If they do not, then how does one have it both ways, i.e. honey
> is kosher because it's a plant product, but exempt from the laws of
> Shemittah?

I would say (from logic only) that once it has been collected by the bee and
processed into honey it has been removed from the status of a "growing thing"
and made into something else. As a result, by the time the bee keeper takes it
(and it becomes his) it is no longer subject to the halacha. It is not like wine
(for example) where the processing is done by a human being.

As I said this is from logic only. I do not have a source.

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz


From: Harlan Braude <hbraude@...>
Date: Tue, Oct 7,2014 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Silent El Maleh Rachamim

In MJ V62#37, Martin Stern wrote:

> Orrin Tilevitz wrote (MJ 62#36):

>> Where I davened today, the two yahrzeits in turn took the sefer torah
>> and recited it (I assume; it was inaudible) silently. Any basis for this?
> Such inaudibility seems to be all too common. I often ask why the gabbai in
> many shuls wants us not to know for whom a Mi shebeirach is being recited.

My guess - and this is purely conjecture on my part - is that some people - even
gabbaim - are not confident in reciting the 'Mi Sheberach' and do so quietly to
avoid public embarrassment.

In many shuls, at least on Mondays and Thursdays, it is the person observing a
Yahrtzeit who recites the 'Kel Malei' and many times I've noticed that it is
also done quietly, probably for that reason.

I doubt there is halachic precedent to recite what is apparently a public
prayer, performed in plain view of the congregation, essentially asking the
congregation to wait respectfully for the prayer to be recited and to respond
'Amen' to what was just said (often, that part alone is said out loud), yet
performed in a private fashion (inaudibly).

I consider this a different matter from the custom in some communities to
publicly request prayers on behalf of an ill person and only the Hebrew name
(so-and-so ben/bat mother's name) is revealed out of respect for the privacy of
the person or family. While I certainly empathize and cooperate by not asking
questions, when I find out months later that the name is of someone I know
(knew?) and care about, I consider how much more heartfelt my tefillos might
have been had I known the identity of the person (yes, perhaps I should have the
same feeling for any ill person anonymous or not, but I have just not yet
reached that spiritual plane).


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Wed, Oct 15,2014 at 07:01 AM
Subject: Six days for melachah according to the Gaon

There is a well known explanation of the Vilna Gaon on the Parashat Hamoadim
in Emor (Vay. 23), that we read on the first days of Succot (and the second
day of Pesach), that the six days when melachah is permitted (v. 3) are not
the six ordinary weekdays but rather the six (Biblical) holy days - the
first (v. 7) and last (v. 8) days of Pesach, Shavuot (v. 21), Rosh Hashanah
(v. 25), and the first (v. 35) and last (v. 36) days of Succot - and the
seventh day called Shabbat Sbabbaton (v. 3) refers to Yom Kippur also called
Shabbat Sbabbaton (v. 32) and not the regular weekly Shabbat.

The basis for this would seem to be that, on the former, some melachot,
specifically for food preparation, are permitted (Shem. 12:16) and only
melechet avodah is proscribed in this parashah whereas on Yom Kippur all
melachah is forbidden (v. 28). The change in terminology seems to imply that
the introductory permission of melachah means that only some, but not all,
forms of melachah are permitted. I have not seen the original observation in
the works of the Vilna Gaon - can anyone provide the reference?

Every year I notice points in this parashah that seem to back up his
explanation, and become more convinced that this is the simple meaning of
the parashah, but I have not heard them quoted in the Gaon's name.

First, in v.2, Hashem describes the following days as "moadei Hashem asher
tikr'u otam [these are the appointed times of Hashem which YOU shall
declare]" which seems to imply that these are NOT times appointed by Hashem
(i.e. days of the week) but rather times depending on US. This would seem to
refer to the festivals which depend on OUR declaration of Rosh Chodesh.

Second, these appointed times are to be "mikra'ei kodesh", a term never used
in the Torah to refer to the regular weekly Shabbat.

Third, at the end (v. 38) it states "milvad shabtot Hashem [apart from the
shabbatot of Hashem]" which seems to imply that everything previously
mentioned is NOT to be understood as referring to the weekly Shabbat.

Has anyone seen any of these points in the commentaries and, if so, can they
provide the references?

Martin Stern


End of Volume 62 Issue 38