Volume 62 Number 62 
      Produced: Thu, 11 Feb 16 21:30:54 -0500

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Aliya for Transgendered individual (2)
    [Aryeh Frimer  Avy Dachman]
Beginning chazarat hashatz 
    [Orrin Tilevitz]
Duchening (blessing from cohanim) in Israel (2)
    [Joel Rich]
Haftarat Mishpatim 
    [Susan Kane]
Multiple Shiva Locations 
    [David Ziants]
Open (holy) books 
    [Joel Rich]
Rambam's Nusah tephila 
    [Martin Stern]
Saying an extra kaddish unnecessarily (2)
    [Dov Bloom  Immanuel Burton]
    [Martin Stern]
There are times when it is difficult to be a Jew 
    [Martin Stern]


From: Aryeh Frimer <Aryeh.Frimer@...>
Date: Fri, Feb 5,2016 at 02:01 AM
Subject: Aliya for Transgendered individual

Martin Stern (MJ 62#61) wrote:

> A serious problem will arise when a transgender individual is offered an
> aliyah. Should s/he be called according to his/her birth name or the one
> adopted post-operatively? or, perhaps, not be considered as eligible for an
> aliyah at all.

There has also been some discussion of whether a woman who has undergone a
transgender operation can receive an aliyya. R. Meir Amsel and Idan Ben-Ephraim
are lenient assuming that kevod ha-tsibbur is not relevant when the candidate is
externally a male; see R. Meir Amsel, ha-Ma'or, 25:6 (Kislev-Tevet, 5763) 19,
s.v. "Kevar"; R. Idan Ben-Ephraim, Sefer Dor Tahpukhot (Jerusalem, 5764) 163. On
the other hand, R. Yigal Safran, "Nitu'ah le-Hahlafat ha-Min," Tehumin, XXI,
117-120, forbids, nevertheless, because halakhically she is a woman. despite the
transgender operation. 

See end of Note 27 in

(a) "Women, Kri'at haTorah and Aliyyot (with an Addendum on Partnership
Minyanim)" Aryeh A. Frimer and Dov I. Frimer, Tradition, 46:4 (Winter, 2013),
67-238, online at http://www.traditiononline.org/pdfs/46.4/0065-0238.pdf or

(b) "Nashim, Keri'at ha-Torah veAliyyot (im Nispach al 'Minyanei Shutafut')" a
Hebrew translation of the above article (with corrections and additions) is
available at http://rcarabbis.org/pdf/Aliyyot_Wmn_Heb_Rev.pdf. 

Prof. Aryeh A. Frimer
Chemistry Dept., Bar-Ilan University
Ramat Gan 5290002, ISRAEL

From: Avy Dachman <adachman@...>
Date: Fri, Feb 5,2016 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Aliya for Transgendered individual

In reply to Martin Stern (MJ 62#61):

A transgender is simply a mutilated person. Their gender does not change.

Abraham H. Dachman, MD, FACR
Professor of Radiology
The University of Chicago
MC 2026
5841 S. Maryland Ave.
Chicago, Ill, 60637
tel: 773-702-6200
fax: 773-702-1161


From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Tue, Feb 9,2016 at 12:01 AM
Subject: Beginning chazarat hashatz

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 62#60):

> According to Shulchan Arukh (O.C. 124.1), the shatz has to wait for a minyan
> (or at least rov minyan, i.e. 6, NOT the majority of those present as some
> mistakenly translate the term, which would be rov TZIBBUR) before beginning
> chazarat hashatz.

I don't know where he gets this from. It's not in O.C. 124:1, which says only
that the shatz begins "le'achar shesiyimu hatzibur tefilitan", tr: "when the
congregation finishes the amida". Other sources, which I couldn't put my finger
on, specify "rov Tzibbur". 

Martin does point out correctly that:

> If there are not yet 9 others able to answer amen then there is a possibility
> that he is making berachot levatalah

That is in O.C. 124:4 -- but then he seems to conclude that the shatz can begin
anyway and have the intent for his tefilah to be voluntary. That idea is in fact
in the Mishna Berura in 124 Siman 19 -- but it refers only to the case where
some of the 9 are talking instead of listening, not that they are still davening. 

All the other later authorities I checked, even including the Shulchan Arukh
Harav, say that one needs to wait, at least in the first instance, for 9 other
people to finish. R. Fuchs in "Hatefilah Betzibur" states that one must wait for
9 others to finish, although he quotes the Tzitz Eliezer as saying that one can
start with 6 if otherwise the minyan will disappear.

I think the rule is that one MUST wait for 9 others to finish, and one
SHOULD wait beyond that for more than half of the people to finish (if there are
more than 19 people present). Waiting for at least 10 is the practice in the
mincha minyanim I attend in New York City. As the gabbai of a small minyan where
invariably the 9th person is dawdling, I'd like to find a better answer but I

Orrin Tilevitz


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Thu, Feb 4,2016 at 11:01 PM
Subject: Duchening (blessing from cohanim) in Israel

Daniel Wells wrote (MJ 62#61):

> The chazzan, like anyone else who is prevented from moving in front of the
> cohanim, is included in the birkat cohanim - OH 128:24.

Interesting approach - have you seen it written down anywhere?  The Shulchan
Arukh's language is anusim (compelled?) - I know that on the Yamim Noraim (High
holy days) when the chazzan needs to back up for korim (bowing to the ground) 
during the repetition of the Amidah, he jumps back to make room, so I suppose it
depends on how you define 'compelled'.

Joel Rich

From: Elazar M. Teitz <remt@...>
Date: Fri, Feb 5,2016 at 06:01 AM
Subject: Duchening (blessing from cohanim) in Israel 

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 62#61):

> Apropos what David Olivestone (MJ 62#60) and Joel Rich (MJ 62#59) wrote
> about duchening in Israeli shuls, I wonder why it is always recited so fast
> that it is impossible to say the "Ribono shel olam" (cf. Ber. 55b)
> concerning disturbing dreams. While this might be understandable on weekdays
> when people are in a hurry to get to work, surely it should be possible for
> the cohanim to use an extended chant for the last words of each of the three
> verses, at least for Mussaf, to allow for its recital as is the practice
> outside Israel on the Yamim Tovim.

Contrary to our practice outside of Israel, the "Ribbono shel Olam" prayer was
not meant to be recited while the kohanim pause.  As is cited in the Talmudic
reference Martin referred to, it was to be said during the recital of the
kohanim's blessing, and timed to be completed together with their ending of the
blessing, so that the congregation's "Amein" apply to the individual's prayer as
well as the kohanim's b'racha.  Hence, there is no problem saying the prayer
even at a weekday Israeli Shacharit.



From: Susan Kane <adarconsulting@...>
Date: Mon, Feb 8,2016 at 01:01 AM
Subject: Haftarat Mishpatim

In the last line of the haftarah for Mishpatim (Yirmiyahu 33:26), Yitzchak is
spelled yud-sin-chet-kuf rather than yud-tsaddik-chet-kuf.  I did a double take
and looked at the commentary but saw no reference for this.

It's hard to believe that there could be a scribal error in the name of one
of the patriarchs and of course, changing the root of a name changes its

Explanation?  I'm hoping it's something deep ...

Susan Kane
Boston, MA


From: David Ziants <dziants@...>
Date: Sat, Feb 6,2016 at 07:01 PM
Subject: Multiple Shiva Locations

Joel Rich wrote (MJ 62#61):

> The practice of sitting shiva in different places has become more common in my
> community over time (e.g. sit at niftar's (deceased's) home in Boston then 
> come back to New Jersey to sit so friends don't have to shlep). It would be an
> interesting study to see what amcha (most people) and Rabbis have said/done 
> (much like the 2nd day yom tov thing) for this change to have occurred, or 
> does someone know that this has been done historically and there are sources?

I don't immediatly have any sources - but when I sat shiva for each of my
parents, I naturally read the halacha books on the subject. The basic halacha
seemed to be that, in general, one can relocate to a different place during
shiva under certain circumstances - usually to move closer to one's family/home
and maybe other reasons. So it seems the question should be the other way round
- why was it frowned upon to move places in shiva when clearly the halacha
allows this under certain circumstances.

So why (at least in England during the 1960s, 1970s, and maybe later) it always 
seemed to be considered something absolutely forbidden? I remember once (when my
parents were alive) I visited my parents' shul in England (one of the big shuls
where majority of the membership were primarily Rosh Hashanna / Yom Kippur
goers) - in the 1990s I think - and there was an "Ask the Rabbi" session and one
of the congregants asked about a certain prominent religious person who was
reported in the newspaper something like: "started shiva in one place and then
continued in another place" and how such a thing was permissible. The Rabbi did
not seem to be able to give a clear answer - but said something like "I have no
idea ... but am sure the person asked the most prominent Rabbis to obtain a
dispensation ..." I think the reply itself demonstrates that the possibility
that this is allowed to happen was not well known.

When the time came that I sat shiva for my mother in the UK, it was well-enough
known, at least in my circles, that moving was allowed - it was obvious that
there would be no halachic problem to move back to my family and community in
Israel during the second day - especially as I was sleeping in my mother's room
in the old-age home and there was a waiting list in the community there for this

David Ziants
Ma'aleh Adumim, Israel


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Fri, Feb 5,2016 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Open (holy) books

Commentaries on Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah 277:1 discuss the practice of not
leaving a sefer (holy book) open when not using it (there are exceptions). I've
noticed in some shuls during kriat hatorah (torah reading) that the shatz (chazzan)
leaves his siddur open at ashrei for his eventual return. I'm curious if this is
a generally-accepted practice (and of course why).

Joel Rich


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Feb 7,2016 at 06:01 AM
Subject: Rambam's Nusah tephila

Shlomo Di Veroli wrote (MJ 62#61):

> I hope someone can assist me with a question that has been on my mind for some
> time:
> Is the nusah tephilah of the Rambam Egyptian, Eretz Yisrael or pre-qabalistic
> Spain in origin?
> Any sources you can point me in would be helpful.

This is probably impossible to determine conclusively but here is a brief
biography of the Rambam which might shed some light on it:

He was born in Cordova 1135 but had to leave after the Almohad conquest in
1148. From 1148 - 1160 he and his family wandered around Spain before
leaving for Fez (Morocco) in 1160, where they remained until 1165. They then
left, staying in Akko for about 5 months before settling in Fostat (Egypt)
where he remained until his death in 1204.

It seems that his Mishneh Torah was compiled between 1170 and 1180 during
his residence in Egypt. However, Egyptian Jewry did not have a native
nusach, as such, being divided between a community of Jews following that of
Eretz Yisrael (and pre-Arab-conquest Byzantine Jewry) and one, probably the
majority, following that of Bavel.

Most probably, the Rambam's nusah tephilah, which is appended to the Mishneh
Torah, reflects that of Bavel, which was the basis of that of Spain as a
result of the efforts of the Geonim, in particular Rav Amram Gaon whose
Seder was sent there at their request.

Martin Stern


From: Dov Bloom <dovbbb@...>
Date: Sat, Feb 6,2016 at 02:01 PM
Subject: Saying an extra kaddish unnecessarily

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 62#61):

> There was a brit milah in shul this morning and Aleinu was repeated 
> afterwards, after which Kaddish was said.
> A similar situation occurs with Kiddush Levanah on Motsa'ei Shabbat.
> It occurred to me that this 'marbeh bekaddishim [saying an extra kaddish
> unnecessarily]' could have been avoided if these were done before the Aleinu 
> in davenning. 

There is a teshuva (or a very comprehensive article) in Hevel Nahalato volume
15 section 6, by R' Yaacov Epstein, on the subject of Aleinu.

He concluded that, according to sources that he quotes, the Aleinu after a brit
is the Aleinu of Shacharit, postponed a few minutes when the brit takes place (as is
common and proper) immediately after tefila. Therefore, saying 2 Aleinus,
resulting in 2 kadeishim, would be incorrect.

I believe this is true also for the Aleinu after Kiddush Levana, which in a
great many siddurim doesn't have its own Aleinu.  In most little "kiddush
levana" booklets that people carry outside, after Maariv Motzai Shabbat, an
Aleinu appears.

My feeling is that that the Aleinu is the Aleinu of Maariv, postponed a few
minutes when Kiddush Levana is said.  Here too, it would be duplication to say
Maariv, Aleinu, Kaddish, a brief Kiddush Levana then a second Aleinu and Kaddish.
It would be correct to wait and say one Aleinu after everything (see Biur
Halacha O.  H.  426 for an alternative explanation).

R' Epstein,  a cautious and comprehensive scholar,  is by the way a grandson and
named after the renowned professor of Talmud, Yaacov Nachman Epstein z'l, and a
nephew of R' Haim Druckman (son in law of the professor z'l), present chairman of
the Bnei Akiva Yeshivas network,  may he be blessed with many more years.

From: Immanuel Burton <iburton@...>
Date: Thu, Feb 11,2016 at 09:01 PM
Subject: Saying an extra kaddish unnecessarily

In MJ v62n61, Martin Stern asked about the kaddish after Aleinu after a 
bris milah in shul (and similarly with an extra Aleinu after kiddush 
levanah), and how not saying the extra kaddish could have been avoided 
if the bris milah was done before the Aleinu in the davenning.

It is quite possible to have a bris ceremony or say kiddush levanah 
independently of davenning, e.g. having a bris in the middle of the day, 
or saying kiddush levanah later in the night when the moon becomes 
visible.  Since aleinu and kaddish would be said after a stand-alone 
bris, maybe no distinction is made when a bris is held immediately after 
a prayer service?  This doesn't answer the question why the bris isn't 
then incorporated into the davenning by being held before Aleinu.

On the subject of unnecessary extra recital of kaddish, I have often 
wondered about the kaddish between the Psalm of the Day and the recital 
of Le'Dovid Hashem Ori (Psalm 27) between Rosh Chodesh Ellul and Hoshana 
Raba (or Shemini Atzeres).  If kaddish serves as a divider between 
different parts of the service, what function is this kaddish serving?

Immanuel Burton.


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sat, Feb 6,2016 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Slavery

In Mishpatim we begin with the laws of an 'eved ivri', usually translated as
'Hebrew (or Jewish) slave' (Ex. 21, 1-6). Perhaps we could take this as a
basis for a discussion of the Jewish attitude to slavery.

First, however, it is quite clear that the 'eved ivri' is not a slave in the
usual sense of the word - that is the status of the 'eved k'naani', usually
translated as 'non-Jewish slave'. That is also a misnomer since the latter
is fully Jewish, being obligated in all (non-gender-specific) mitzvot like a
(free born) Jewish woman - his only disability, apart from servitude, being
that he cannot contract valid kiddushin [marriage].

The 'eved ivri' is more like an indentured servant who has to pay off his
debt to his 'master', either through his voluntary self-sale or because Beit
Din sells him for that purpose. His only major 'disability' is that his
master can make him live with a shifra k"naanit [female slave] in order to
produce children who will have the same status as her. How should we react
to this "infringement of his human rights"?

Perhaps the eved ivri is an example of kinyan peirot [a possession only for
the purposes of the fruits of his labour] as opposed to the eved k'naani who
is considered as being a kinyan haguf [as much the owner's property as his
cow or hammer], about which there is a dispute as to whether the two types
of kinyan are equivalent (Git. 47b).

That he is not a slave in the normal understanding of the English word is
clear from the laws applying to him, which led Chazal to state that someone
who acquires one is as though he acquires a master over himself (Kid. 20a).

Furthermore, he must be released after the completion of six years' labour
or, if he prefers to remain with his 'wife and children' after their expiry,
at Yovel [the jubilee year]. The laws of 'eved ivri' are only in force so
long as Yovel is operative (Kid. 69a) so any discussion is academic at

However, it would appear that an eved k'naani could exist nowadays in
countries which permit slavery. Unlike the former, one is forbidden to free
an eved k'naani except in exceptional cases of need (Ber. 47b) or if the
master injures him or her significantly (Ex. 21, 26-27), and he or she must
'work for you for ever' (Lev. 25,46). How should we react to this legal
concept and to whether a Jew would be entitled to own one nowadays?

Apart from those born as an eved k'naani, it is not clear what the mechanism
for their acquisition is, and this might be a further thread for discussion.

Martin Stern


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Feb 7,2016 at 06:01 AM
Subject: There are times when it is difficult to be a Jew

Elanit Z Rothschild Jakabovics wrote (MJ 62#61):

> I've heard of plenty of kohanim who have each gone to great lengths to get his
> fiancee's previous marriage annulled so that he could marry her.

I have also heard of a case where a kohen wished to marry a divorcee (or
possibly a convert  - I don't remember the details) and went to many Batei
Din around the world to find some way to permit it. Most were unable to help
him but, apparently, one did suggest, off the record, that the couple marry
civilly and then settle in a place where they were hitherto unknown and
would therefore be accepted as being halachically married - effectively the
concubinage relationship suggested by the late Rav Getsel Ellinson to which
I referred (MJ 62#61).

I believe that the lady was beyond childbearing age, otherwise there might have
been halachic problems with any offspring. Perhaps the Beit Din only made their
suggestion because of this but, in the absence of precise knowledge of their
reasoning, that would be entirely speculative.

However, if this were not the case, would any boys born from such a union be
kohanim since the prohibition, which would result in their disqualification, is
for a kohen to marry such ladies, rather than to consort with them outside
marriage? Though the latter might be prohibited for all Jews, the consequent
challal status might not apply since the union is not one from which kohanim
specifically are barred. 

Similarly would any daughters be permitted to marry kohanim? 

Can anyone shed light on these matters?

Martin Stern


End of Volume 62 Issue 62