Volume 62 Number 45 
      Produced: Sun, 25 Jan 15 01:48:57 -0500

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

LGBT "rights" (2)
    [Chaim Casper  Bill Bernstein]
LGBT Rights 
    [Leah S. R. Gordon]
Reciting Adir Bamarom 
    [Haim Snyder]
Reciting Adir Bamorom 
    [David E Cohen]
Seating on planes 
    [Abraham Lebowitz]
Tachnun on July 4th 
    [David E Cohen]
The Rabbi As Moral Authority 
    [Bill Bernstein]
Uva leTsion go'eil 
    [Martin Stern]


From: Chaim Casper <surfflorist@...>
Date: Sun, Jan 18,2015 at 12:01 PM
Subject: LGBT "rights"

In MJ 62#44, Martin Stern talks about the forced teaching of LGBT "rights" in
the United Kingdom schools, including Jewish schools.  

> This seems to be a result of Nicky Morgan's having ruled that faith
> schools be "penalized for not sufficiently celebrating festivals of 
> other faiths, not teaching sex education or tolerance of 
> homosexuality ..." as part of her program to "actively promote
> fundamental British values".

Martin offers some examples of the negative effects this policy has on our
students and our schools.   He concludes by asking

> Do others agree that the state should not be allowed to insist on
> Jewish schools teaching subjects that clearly go against Torah
> values and what do they think should be their response?

I do not believe such a situation could occur here in the US due to our dogmatic
"separation of church and state" culture.  True, there are some loopholes in
this concept (I vaguely remember reading that New York provides bus service and
some secular textbooks).  In fact, one candidate for state office here in
Florida based part of his candidacy on the state providing some funding to
private (i.e. religious) schools (by the way, this candidate lost big time).  
But, by and large, the price one pays for sending one's children to day schools
and yeshivas is that we incur a double education obligation: part of our taxes
go to cover local public schools, while, in addition, we in the Jewish community
have to pay a separate amount to cover our children's day school/yeshiva tuition.  

The advantage to the American system is the golden rule: He that has the gold
makes the rules.   In other words, since the government pays no part of the
bills, the government has no say in the content of the curriculum.  As a result,
our schools are free to teach whatever they want, for good or for bad, without
any worry of the authorities stepping in and saying, "Thou shalt teach X" or
"Thou shalt not teach Y."  The only limits are the limits imposed by the
community or by the parents of the student body.

There has always been pushback from the Jewish community but with limited
success.  "Why should we pay tuition taxes for tuition we will never use?" is a
common argument.    But the response I've gotten from Jewish politicians is just
as vigorous: "If the civil government starts paying the bills, they will want to
start dictating policy and content.  Do you want the civil government stepping
in and telling you how to run your schools?"  

My personal opinion is that government has a vested interest in ensuring that
every student gets a quality education for two reasons:

A) It is in the government's self interest to develop a future generation of
citizens who will be supportive of that government. (Think of the large Islamic
immigrant population in the west and what it means to the future of Europe and
the Americas). Along with government financial support of the education of the
future generation will come policy and tuition directives that will encourage
development of those future citizens and 

B) Government wants that all future citizens will be self sufficient. Thus, a
solid civil education that enables graduates to earn a living without the state
becoming the sole supporter of that failed student is of vital interest to the
state.   (Think much of the Israeli haredi community).  

The truth is I will never have the druthers to implement my opinion into public
policy.   That leaves the separation of church and state doctrine will remain
firmly in place here in the US.   Is this policy implementable in the UK to
solve Martin's dilemma? 

B'virkat Torah,
Chaim Casper
North Miami Beach, FL

From: Bill Bernstein <billbernstein@...>
Date: Fri, Jan 23,2015 at 10:01 AM
Subject: LGBT "rights"

Regarding Martin Stern's query (MJ 62#44)  on what the response should be to the
honorable shadow minister insisting that Jewish schools teach that homosexuality
is perfectly acceptable, we can change the topic slightly to make it more clear.

What if the same honorable minister declared (which surely won't happen) that
Protestant Christianity was a British value and that schools must teach that as
well?  The response would be obvious: there is no way for a Jewish school to
teach something to antithetical to the Torah and remain a Jewish school.  Here
too there is no way a school could continue teaching something so antithetical
to Torah.

Bill Bernstein
Nashville TN.

From: Leah S. R. Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Sun, Jan 18,2015 at 04:01 PM
Subject: LGBT Rights

In MJ 62#44, Martin Stern comments on:

> Labor's shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt said ... compulsory sex
> and relationship education, including LGBT rights ... is common sense, not
> nonsense ... [and] all schools [should have] to teach gay rights.'
> This was in response to Education Secretary Nicky Morgan's edict that
> 'faith schools must teach tolerance of lesbian, gay and transgender
> relationships' as part of her programme to 'actively promote fundamental
> British values'.

Mr. Stern disagrees with this "programme" and posits that Orthodox schools
should not only be exempt from such education, but should lay down lives in

It's hard to know where to start on this issue, but first of all, the
scientific community is unanimous that homosexuality is inborn, not a sign
of anything "wrong," and not "curable".

Furthermore, this actually doesn't matter, because all "free" countries are
progressing along the spectrum of accepting and honoring personal choice in
sexual relationships, whether one individual approves of another or not.

Religious freedom may mean that Mr. Stern doesn't have to engage in
homosexual acts, but it certainly doesn't mean he can control *other*
people's sexual acts - including children in his community.  When someone
tries to force anyone to marry another not of his/her own personal
religious choice, then we can talk about laying down lives in protest.

To deny LGBT human beings their God-given rights to marriage, community,
basic humanity - this would be the true travesty, and I applaud the
politicians who see this as an agenda for "fundamental British values" even
from my position as a wayward colonist.  ;)

When children learn that a certain kind of human being is "lesser" or
worthy of being ignored, bullied, marginalized - then those children grow
up to be bigoted adults who oppress others.

I don't expect everyone on M.J to agree with me on these points,
considering some even objected to the teaching of dinosaurs and evolution,
but surely I'm not alone in my view.

Now as to whether a Bais Yaakov school should be able to exempt itself from
sex education or British Values education - I tend to think not.  I can see
the public good for a country to ensure that all children, regardless of
their parents' narrow-mindedness, can learn the values important to their

In our own USA, we have a concept of "fight speech with more speech" - if a
religious parent thinks that s/he has the more correct point of view, let
that parent use logic, reason, etc. to persuade his/her children of that
view.  Censorship is usually borne out of fear of truth being revealed.

Finally, it would be only to the good if more Chareidim, particularly
girls, received accurate sex education and sexuality education, from as
young an age as possible.  When girls are "married off" barely out of
adolescence, with little understanding of their own bodies, much less of
boys' bodies, it's not a recipe for a healthy adult female sexuality.
Many, many authors have written about these problems, particularly in
recent years.

--Leah S. R. Gordon


From: Haim Snyder <haimsny@...>
Date: Sun, Jan 18,2015 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Reciting Adir Bamarom

Eliezer Berkovits (MJ 62#44) asks whether reciting Adir Bamarom while the Shatz
is continuing with Sim Shalom is preventing them from listening to Chazaras Hashatz.
There are 2 answers that I have for this concern. 
First, here in Israel, where there is Birchas Kohanim every day, my siddur (Azor
Eliayu) says that one says Adir Bamarom only on days when one had a bad dream
and said Y'hi Ratzon. I realize that this doesn't apply to Jews in Galus who say
Y'hi Ratzon every time there is Birchas Kohanim on the assumption that they had
a bad dream since the last Birchas Kohanim (although I'm not sure that this is
true on the second day of Pesah, Shavuos and Sukkos, the seventh and eighth days
of Pesah or Shmini Atzeres and Simchas Torah).
The other answer is that one says Modim D'Rabbanan while the Shatz is saying
Modim (according to the Mishna Brura, the Shatz doesn't have to wait for the
congregation to finish) which implies that one is not obligated to listen to
every word of Chazaras Hashatz if there is something that they should be saying
at that time.

Haim Shalom Snyder
Petah Tikva


From: David E Cohen <ddcohen@...>
Date: Sun, Jan 18,2015 at 04:01 AM
Subject: Reciting Adir Bamorom

Eliezer Berkovits wrote (MJ 62#44):

> Can anyone comment on the propriety of the congregation reciting Adir
> Bamorom after the Shatz concludes Birchas Kohanim in the Diaspora (i.e
> on a weekday/Shabbos, not on a Yomtov, after 'Duchening' proper)?

The Rema and the Levush (OC 130:1 in each), presumably basing themselves on
Talmidei Rabbenu Yonah (Berachot 43a in the Rif) are in favor.  That being said,
I believe that most diaspora-geared Ashkenazi siddurim do not printit with the
weekday/Shabbos amidah.

> Perhaps it was only meant to be recited then, while the Sha"tz waited for
> both to be finished before continuing Chazaras Hashatz?

It doesn't seem so.  According to the text printed in our gemara (Berachot 55b),
one who finishes the prayer for favorable outcome of a dream "too early" says
"Adir baMarom" in order to extend his prayer until the kohanim are finished, so
that the "amen" that the congregation says to to the kohanim's blessing will be
to his prayer as well.  According to the text of the Rif (Berachot 43a), it is
in fact, meant to be said after the kohanim finish their blessing and turn back
around.  The Rema brings (from the same piece in Talmidei Rabbeinu Yonah
mentioned above) that one should then aim to finish it at the *same time* as the
chazzan is finishing the blessing of "sim shalom," so that the "amen" that the
congregation is answer to the chazzan will be to his prayer as well.

-- D.C.


From: Abraham Lebowitz <asaac76@...>
Date: Sun, Jan 18,2015 at 06:01 AM
Subject: Seating on planes

In MJ 62#44 Immanuel Burton wrote:

> In the Tisha B'Av story, the Sanhedrin debated as to whether to offer the 
> animal sent by Caesar as a peace offering to be brought in the Temple, but 
> which Bar Kamtza had purposefully blemished.  The majority opinion was to  
> offer the animal anyway, even though blemished animals may not normally be 
> offered this one should be in order to avoid war.  There was a single, 
> minority opinion (Rabbi Zecharia ben Avkolos), who said that people will then 
> think that blemished animals may be brought in the Temple.  When the Rabbis 
> suggested killing Bar Kamtza so that he wouldn't report to Caesar what would 
> happen, Rabbi Zechariaben Avkolos objected by saying that people would then 
> say that those who make blemishes in sacrifices will be killed.  Rabbi 
> Yochanan then said that the excessive carefulness of Rabbi Zecharia ben 
> Avkolos caused the destruction of the Temple, and our subsequent exile in  
> which, almost 2000 years later, we still find ourselves.

I think that Rabbi Yochanan's comment would be better translated as: "the
*modesty* of Rabbi Zecharia ben Avkolos caused the destruction of the Temple"
My Rebbe (R' Moshe Turner) when learning this explained that it was the custom
of the Sanhedrin to hear the opinions of the most junior members first so that
they would not be reluctant to differ from the opinions offered by the senior
members.  Because of his modesty Rabbi Zecharia ben Avkolos considered himself
the most junior member but his colleagues considered him a senior member and
would not differ once he expressed an opinion.

Abe Lebowitz


From: David E Cohen <ddcohen@...>
Date: Sun, Jan 18,2015 at 03:01 AM
Subject: Tachnun on July 4th

Yisrael Medad wrote (MJ 62#44):

> I can only add to that the refusal of too many Orthodox Jews in Israel who
> insist on saying Tachanun on the state's Independence Day.

Rather than viewing it is a litmus test of one's hakarat hatov for the State of
Israel, I propose refocusing on what Tachanun actually is -- pleading with God.
 While the custom is now to use the fixed text of a chapter of Tehillim for this
purpose, I think that conceptually, "tachanun" is more a spontaneous pouring out
of one's heart than is the formal tefilah of the Amidah.

It is true that the prevalent custom nowadays is to omit Tachanun on most
festive days, but this was not always the case.  In the time of the Ge'onim,
they said Tachanun on Purim.  I believe that the Yemenite custom, to this day,
is to say Tachanun on Yom Kippur.  Saying Tachanun does not, in and of itself,
mean "I think today is a sad day."

It is true that nowadays, we omit Tachanun on all sorts of semi-festive days,
and one could ask, "If you're going to skip Tachanun for Pesach Sheni, how could
you say it on Yom haAtzma'ut"?  But those who say Tachanun on Yom haAtzma'ut
could legitimately answer that by saying that, were it up to them, they would
not necessarily think to institute the omission of Tachanun on Pesach Sheni
either.  They inherited an existing custom.  That is not the case with Yom

While personally, I recite Hallel and other festive prayers on Yom haAtzma'ut
rather than Tachanun (and this is what I believe to be the most proper practice,
as well as its being the custom in my community), I can understand the position
of those who did not adopt this practice.  There are a growing number of people
in the communities in question who do celebrate Yom haAtzma'ut in some way as a
sign of their genuine appreciation for the State of Israel, even if they do not
make any changes to the prayer service.  (See, for example,


I would suggest that we show "hakarat hatov" for their hakarat hatov, rather
than focusing on Tachanun as a litmus test.

-- D.C.


From: Bill Bernstein <billheddy@...>
Date: Fri, Jan 23,2015 at 10:01 AM
Subject: The Rabbi As Moral Authority

A troubling article about a year ago in the Wall St. Journal brought me to think
about this topic.  There it was reported a shul in Staten Island had scheduled
an aufruf for a convicted drug dealer.  The drug dealer was awaiting sentencing
so had some freedom.  He was not guilty of selling an ounce or so to friends but
was involved in a billion dollar enterprise.  The rabbi was quoted in the story
as being unable to say whether he should or should not have the aufruf.

This came on the heels of a very different story about the new Pope.  When asked
whether homosexuality was right or wrong he said "who am I to judge such a
thing?"  This overturns about 2000 years of Catholic doctrine.

In both cases I wonder whether someone doesn't have to be a moral authority. 
But especially in the former case.  Is the rabbi a source of moral clarity for
his community, or merely the arbiter of narrow areas of halakha?

As a post-scriptum I see the aufruf was cancelled but under murky circumstances.

Bill Bernstein
Nashville TN.


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Jan 18,2015 at 02:01 AM
Subject: Uva leTsion go'eil

Yisrael Medad  wrote (MJ 62#44):

> Martin Stern writes (MJ 62#43):
>> I have always wondered why we do not include Uva leTsion in shacharit on
>> Shabbat and Yom Tov...
>> Time considerations seem too trivial to be an explanation.
> He could have added to the question that in any case we say it for Mincha.

But this does not, in itself, answer the problem which was its omission in
the morning. Perhaps I did not make this absolutely clear, for which I
> What I found was that the Kolbo and Rokeach, Para. 362, eliminate it because
> of "bothering the congregation" ("toreach ha-tsibbur") since the elderly and
> the nursing mothers would suffer if the service would extend for too long a
> time and I presume they included the sermon in that period.

This seems far-fetched since the time extension would be relatively minimal,
especially when compared to the addition of mussaf let alone any piyutim. In
any case, the categories Yisrael mentions would almost certainly be
permitted to eat before davenning because of their "weakness".

As regards sermons, they were usually delivered in the afternoon in that
period, possibly because of this very consideration of "bothering the

Martin Stern


End of Volume 62 Issue 45