Volume 62 Number 41 
      Produced: Thu, 27 Nov 14 01:46:04 -0500

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Birkat Hakohanim on Yom Kippur 
    [Sammy Finkelman]
Kaddish - when is a section break not a break? 
    [Avraham Friedenberg]
Mangled Piyutim 
    [Martin Stern]
Obligation to Serve in the IDF 
    [Yisrael Medad]
Repulsive odour 
    [Martin Stern]
Serving other gods 
    [David Tzohar]
Silent Mi sheberachs 
    [Bob Kosovsky]


From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Wed, Nov 5,2014 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Birkat Hakohanim on Yom Kippur

Steve Bailey wrote (MJ 62#38):

> 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.

and Haim Snyder wrote (MJ 62#38):

> 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.

That's the exact opposite of what it says in the Gemora in Taanis 26b. There is
nothing there about "tirha d'tzibura" - maybe that is in a commentary? The only
reason given for any omission is because people might carry over the practice to
non-fast days, and then a Kohen might have drunk wine before Birkas Hakohanim.

Rabbi Yose says that the prohibition  is not for both Minchah and Neilah but
only for Minchah (that is, unlike Rabbi Yehuda who said it was for both)

And there is something there about the actual minhag being according to Rabbi
Meir  who said do it at Shacharis and Musaf and Minchah and Neilah, but the
Halachah is according to Rabbi Yose, who said the Rabbis imposed a restriction
on doing it on Yom Kippur but only at Minchah.

The Gemorah concludes that the reason they now (then) do Bircas Cohanim on fast
days at Minchah is that on (regular) fast days Minchah is like Neilah.


From: Avraham Friedenberg <elshpen@...>
Date: Sun, Nov 2,2014 at 03:01 AM
Subject: Kaddish - when is a section break not a break?

Kaddish Titkabel and Chatzi Kaddish are used as breaks in the various sections
of our davening.  However, there seems to be a conundrum during weekday nusach
Sfard concerning the placement of Kaddish Titkabel. On Mondays and Thursdays we
daven Ashrei - Lamnatzeach - U'va L'Tztion - Kaddish Titkabel, and then return
the Sefer Torah to the Aron Kodesh.

Logically, shouldn't the break and the Kaddish come after we return the Sefer
Torah? Why does the order seem to be backwards?

Avraham (Alan) Friedenberg
Karnei Shomron, Israel


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Nov 2,2014 at 03:01 AM
Subject: Mangled Piyutim

Orrin Tilevitz wrote (MJ 62#40):

> BTW, I grew up in Young Israel whose high holiday baalei tefilah davened with
> eastern European traditions which I have since learned were authentic.
> Everyone sang Vechol Maaminim in the way that Martin and others think
> improper.  (That improper way is, as I recall, how  the piyut is printed in
> the Birnbaum mahzor).

I checked the Birnbaum mahzor and the superscription is merely
"Responsively" which I would understand to mean that the verses should be
sung alternatively by the chazan and the congregation though it is not clear
which part is said by whom. It certainly precludes both saying both.

All the machzorim printed in Germany (Sachs, Heidenheim et al) specify that
it should be said the way I suggested.

This format is followed by the Routledge and Shapiro Valentine editions
printed in the UK which both specify explicitly which parts are to be said
by the chazan and congregation respectively.

The Artscroll machzor in the footnotes confirms that this is the correct way
but adds "Nevertheless, it is customarily recited as if this latter phrase
were the beginning of a new verse" which implies that custom is not strictly

In any case, this fits the sense of the piyut, i.e. the chazan states an
attribute of HKBH and the congregation respond that "everyone believes" it
to be true, as is fairly obvious.

> By contrast, in school -- not Orthodox -- we were taught a Louis Lewandowski
> melody to Vechol Maaminim that has the piyut sung "properly" -- the way Martin
> and others think it should go.

It is the East European custom to which Orrin refers which was not as
practised in Western Europe - hence the way Louis Lewandowski composed his
melody. This has nothing to do with not being Orthodox.

How the distortion arose is difficult to ascertain. I suspect that the reasson
is that not particularly learned people wanted to say all the davenning
themselves and, therefore, started saying the parts specifically designated for
the chazan, either before or after him. This may have been influenced by the
chasidic movement which put much greater emphasis on ecstatic prayer rather than
the actual meaning of the texts, especially the piyutim which are in any case
quite obscure. It had hardly any influence on West European communities (German
Jews are well known for being much more staid and not being inclined to ecstatic
outpourings, at least in public) which might explain why they continued the
traditional way of saying the piyut.

Another possibility is the rise of 'operatic' chazanut in Eastern Europe where,
not always partcularly learned or even observant, chazanim, with their personal
choirs, reshaped the liturgy as a semi-operatic performance. It is well known
that this did give rise to several changes, primarily in shortening some parts
of the liturgy to compensate for their lengthy recitals. Typical of these is
omitting selichot in Shacharit, Mussaf and Minchah on Yom Kippur (that the East
European machzorim did not usually print them was a further contributory factor)
and skipping many other piyutim, and not reciting the whole of Avinu Malkeinu
responsively line by line.

Martin Stern


From: Yisrael Medad  <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Sat, Nov 22,2014 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Obligation to Serve in the IDF

Following the slaughter in the Har Nof synagogue, Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, the
Sephardi chief rabbi of Israel, said that Jews in Israel should not pray in a
synagogue unless there is an armed guard. Yosef called on the government to help
in funding the extra security.  He noted that there is no reason synagogues
should remain defenseless.

Based on personal experience of living in yishuvim, visiting other communities
and such, the simple fact is that where there is a larger number of worshippers
who have served in the IDF, there is a larger percentage of people who not only
know how to use weapons but either usually carry them or can if called upon by
the synagogue committee will carry them, thus alleviating the need for such a
call by the Chief Rabbi - Sepharadi.

That would be another reason for obliging military service.

Yisrael Medad


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, Nov 4,2014 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Repulsive odour

Recently we learned in Daf Yomi (Chagigah 4a and 7b) that certain persons
were exempt from the mitzvah of re'iyah [appearing in the Beit Hamikdash on
the Pesach, Shavuot and Succot].  A gatherer of dog's dung, a copper smelter
and a tanner are mentioned specifically. This was because their occupations
meant that they had such a repulsive small that others would not wish to be
in their immediate proximity and the verse (Sh. 23:17, Dev. 16:16) specifies
that "ALL your males shall appear before Hashem ...", excluding those with
whom others would not be prepared to associate.

I wonder if this principle might be equally applicable nowadays, in
particular to those heavy smokers whose breath and clothing reeks of stale
tobacco smoke. Should they be barred from shul or, at the very least, be
compelled to sit in a designated area away from others where they will not
disturb them.

Similarly, should meshullachim reeking of stale tobacco smoke be prevented
from circulating in shul for the same reason? Ironically, many are there to
collect money to finance medical treatment for illnesses they have inflicted
on themselves by that same smoking habit.

Martin Stern


From: David Tzohar <davidtzohar@...>
Date: Sun, Nov 2,2014 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Serving other gods

I think that Martin Stern (MJ 62#40) is to quick in denouncing Christian
charitable groups. There are some groups that have proven that they can give aid
without any ulterior message. Such groups have given generous support to
development projects in Yehudah veShomron and to ex-Gush Katif residents.

Would these Christians like to see Jews serving "oto ha-ish"? Certainly. But as
long as they keep that sentiment to themselves we can accept their contributions

David Tzohar,
David Tzohar


From: Bob Kosovsky <kos@...>
Date: Sun, Nov 2,2014 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Silent Mi sheberachs

I see a trend in synagogues where, in order to accomodate many sick people, the 
chazzan starts the mi sheberach and then falls silent at the point where the
name is recited, perhaps saying a number of names in an undertone while
congregants quietly recite the name or names they want.  The chazzan then
resumes in an audible voice after 1-2 minutes.

Is this a legitimate way to say a mi sheberach?  I would think the chazzan would
need to recite names out loud.  Since he is reciting the prayer, an individual
intoning a name would have no purpose, and that only when recited by the chazzan
does it become part of the prayer.  Is this correct?

Bob Kosovsky


End of Volume 62 Issue 41