Volume 62 Number 65 
      Produced: Sun, 28 Feb 16 01:58:15 -0500

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Can a woman become a man and get an aliyah? 
    [Chaim Casper]
Concubinage relationship 
    [Dr. Josh Backon]
Greetings on a Yahrzeit (3)
    [Martin Stern  Harlan Braude  Michael Poppers]
Haftarat Mishpatim: Yitzhak/Yishak 
    [Yisrael Medad]
Hashgacha Pratit Stories 
    [Joel Rich]
Of samech, traded and sin/shin 
    [Arthur G. Sapper]
Saying an extra kaddish unnecessarily (2)
    [Martin Stern  David Tzohar]
Tircha d'Tzibbura 
    [Stephen Colman]


From: Chaim Casper <surfflorist@...>
Date: Fri, Feb 26,2016 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Can a woman become a man and get an aliyah?

Martin Stern (MJ 62#61) and Aryeh Frimer and Avy Dachman (MR 62#62) disqualify a
woman who has undergone a gender reassignement surgery and become a man from
receiving an aliyah.
I believe that Rabbi Eliezer Waldenberg, the Tzitz Eliezer, would disagree.   In
a fascinating study of R` Waldenberg's work, Alan Jotkowitz in Hakirah (a
wonderful journal on halakhik topics - I encourage all of you to subscribe at
www.Hakirah.org) Vol 19, Summer 2015, pg 113 says "This attitude towards modern
science can also be seen in two other positions of R` Waldenberg.   A child born
with female external genitalia is halakhically considered a female even if his
genetic phenotype is male (Tzitz Eliezer Vol 11, 78; my apologies for not
quoting R` Waldenberg directly as I couldn't locate the relevant teshuvot
online).   The fact that the child has a Y chromosome is irrelevant to R`
Waldenberg because the Talmud was concerned only with external appearance, not
genetic makeup.  He goes as far to suggest that a woman who undergoes a sex
change operation becomes halakhically a man as reflected in the external
genitalia (and vice versa) and does not need a bill of divorce (i.e. a get) from
her spouse because a man cannot be married to another man (Tzitz Eliezer Vol 10,

If she becomes a he, that would mean that "he" would be eligible for an aliyah.

A number of years ago, I read an article in the New York State Journal of
Medicine (the date and the author escape me and I no longer have access to a
medical library) on what would happen if a man's brain was transplanted into a
woman's body and vice versa.  The article's conclusion was that the body would
determine the gender of the brain.  Thus, a female brain in a male body would be
eligible for an aliyah and would be obligated to observe the halakhah from a
male perspective.  (There was one exception: the author would not approve of a
male brain/female body having sexual relations with a male, an idea to which I
believe R` Waldenberg would reject.  Anatomy is destiny).   The point is the
same: the gemara is concerned only with external appearance.   Once she became a
he (her brain in his body), that would mean that "he" would be eligible for an

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


From: Dr. Josh Backon <backon@...>
Date: Thu, Feb 25,2016 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Concubinage relationship

Susan Buxfield wrote (MJ 62#64):

> Moreinu HaRav Elazar M. Teitz wrote (MJ 62#63):
>> Aside from the legality of the concubinage relationship being hotly
>> debated, with the majority opinion holding that it is not permitted ...
> Since usage of "majority" and "minority" requires a finite countable number of
> opinions within a specific reference, the assertion of Moreinu HaRav Elazar M.
> Teitz that the "the majority opinion holding that it is not permitted" would
> appear tenuous given that there seems to be little dispute in the sources in
> both Rambam's Sefer HaNashim perek 1 and Even HaEzer 26 provided that the 
> three issues of "Meyuchedet, Tovelet and Niv'alah LeShem Pilagshut" are
> fulfilled.
> From the above sources:
> 1. The objections of the Tur and his father, the Rosh, was the presumption 
> that the girl would be afraid to immerse ...

An unmarried woman living in a pilegesh (roughly translated as "concubine")
relationship shouldn't be embarrassed about going to the mikveh since there's
nothing inherently wrong with it. This follows the disagreement between the
Rambam and Raavad (Hilchot Ishut 1:5) on pilegesh. The Raavad permits it and
this is the view of most poskim (see: Bet Shmuel EH 26 s'k bet). Needless to
say, this is NOT one-time casual sex but a permanent living-together
arrangement. If the woman is bound up in a living-together relationship and thus
no other man can marry her, even according to the Rambam, the woman isn't in the
category of kedesha [a loose and promiscuous woman].

The question revolves around whether kiddushin creates an issur [prohibition] or
is a kinyan mamoni [a financial acquisition]. The Avnei Miluim (42 s'k 1)
derives from the Rashba (Kiddushin 6b d"h ileimah) that there isn't a kinyan
(see also: Meshiv Davar Chelek Daled 35 and Shut Chelkat Yoav EH 6).

There is, however, still the rabbinical prohibition of living together without a
ketuba (Rambam Hilchot Ishut 10:7-10).


Josh Backon



From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, Feb 25,2016 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Greetings on a Yahrzeit

David Olivestone wrote (MJ 62#64):

> How come Jewish communities in different countries have developed different
> expressions to use when greeting someone who has a yahrzeit that day?
> ...
> In Israel, people generally don't say anything at all, except for Yekkes who
> say, "Ad bi'at ha-go'el," (something like: looking forward to the coming of
> the Redeemer).

A better translation would be "Until the coming of the Redeemer" to which
the one who has yahrzeit replies "Bimhera veyameinu [Speedily in our days]".

Martin Stern

From: Harlan Braude <hbraude@...>
Date: Thu, Feb 25,2016 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Greetings on a Yahrzeit

David Olivestone (MJ 62#64) wrote:

> How come Jewish communities in different countries have developed different
> expressions to use when greeting someone who has a yahrzeit that day?
> In North America, people say: May the neshamah have an aliyah,"(that is, may
> the soul of the departed one move up a notch in heaven).
> In England they say, "I wish you long life," (some use the Hebrew, arichat
> yamim).
> In Israel, people generally don't say anything at all, except for Yekkes who
> say, "Ad bi'at ha-go'el," (something like: looking forward to the coming of
> the Redeemer). 

I apologize to David if he's looking for a scholarly response to his interesting
cultural question but, personally, I'm not too surprised that different terms
of expression develop in different societies and countries, even in an identical
demographic (e.g.; Orthodox Jews, Sephardic, Chassidic, etc.)

For example, while "good morning" is commonplace in many languages and cultures,
I recall being baffled by the greeting "boker ohr" (literally "morning
light") I heard regularly when I lived on a Kibbutz back in the 70s.

To my way of thinking, the expression seems inane in it's lack of concern for
the well-being of the other party. It's just some pointless statement of fact,
like "water, liquid" or "rock, hard"!

Also, there are no peculiarly bland greetings the rest of the day, like "laila
choshech" ("night dark").


From: Michael Poppers <the65pops@...>
Date: Thu, Feb 25,2016 at 09:01 PM
Subject: Greetings on a Yahrzeit

In response to David Olivestone (MJ 62#64):

Perhaps someone familiar with "wishing length of days" can speak more
wisely than I, but my tuppence is that such a greeting is referencing the
"l'ma'an [in order that]" of the 5th of the Aseres haDibros (Ten
Statements, popularly translated as Ten Commandments) -- if so, it likely
was meant to be said specifically to someone commemorating the Yahrzeit of a parent.

As for the other two greetings David mentioned, a subtle undercurrent of
the Yekkish "Ad bias hagoeil [until Mashiach comes]", to which the
response should be "Bimheirah b'yameinu! [may it occur speedily in our
days!]", is that not just the niftar/nifteres (departed close relative) but _all
those Jews_ no longer with us should merit t'chiyas hameisim [to again rise
and live to enjoy the Messianic age] -- as such, I prefer it to a "May the
n'shamah have an aliyah! [may the soul of the departed close relative
rise]" greeting, which only wishes well for the one Jew no longer with us
and not for all the others.  Moreover, as David noted in translating
that latter greeting, the "aliyah" in question is popularly understood
to refer to some sort of Heavenly promotion, not to t'chiyas hameis, and
if so I have a personal objection, because I would prefer to
think meritoriously of the niftar/eres as _not needing_ to move any closer
to the Shchinah [Divine presence] than it already has subsequent to 11 months
of at least one person bringing it merit via saying Qaddish.

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


From: Yisrael Medad  <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Thu, Feb 25,2016 at 03:01 AM
Subject: Haftarat Mishpatim: Yitzhak/Yishak

Russell Hendel (MJ 62#64) wrote:

Susan Kane wrote (MJ 62#62):
>> 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.
> I would like to argue that this is a deliberate misspelling with intent to
> nuance subtleties via the literary technique of the pun. 

Puns are all well and enjoyable but as the Hebrew l'tzachek possesses a sexual

1) in the matter of Yishmael it being homosexual (Genesis 31:9), 

2) as regards Potiphar's wife simple licientiousness (Genesis 36:17), or 

3) even orgy romping (Exodus 32:6), not to mention idolatrous worship,

- see this Hebrew lesson of Nehama Leibowitz:


Yisrael Medad


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Thu, Feb 25,2016 at 08:01 PM
Subject: Hashgacha Pratit Stories

I find it interesting to hear the varied reactions to "hashgacha pratit" stories
(e.g. Chaim missed his flight and that plane later crashed). Why is it that some
people love them while others are left cold by them?  It occurred to me that
this may be an example of confirmation bias, defined in psychology and cognitive
science as a tendency to search for or to interpret information in a way that
confirms one's own preconceptions). 


Joel Rich


From: Arthur G. Sapper <asapper@...>
Date: Sat, Feb 27,2016 at 10:01 PM
Subject: Of samech, traded and sin/shin

Jack Gross wrote (MJ 62#64):

> 5. The place of Shin/sin is occupied by a letter (S) whose shape appears to be
> derived from our Tsadeh. (Perhaps they rejected the Shin shape, as too similar
> to the W that was eventually appended)
> It seems clear that, to their ear, the three symbols in Hebrew all 
> corresponded closely to their S sound, so two of the three were adjudged
> redundant.

The shape of the Roman letter "s" we use today was not derived from the shape of
the tsadeh.  It was derived, going backwards in time, by the Romans from an
Etruscan letter, who derived it from a Greek letter, who derived it from a
Semitic (Phoenician/Hebrew) letter corresponding to our shin/sin, and which was
originally derived by Semites from an Egyptian hieratic symbol (related to
Egyptian hieroglyphs).

The tsadeh was not borrowed into Greek because it was not needed.  There was no
sibilant sound in Greek corresponding to it.
Art Sapper


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, Feb 25,2016 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Saying an extra kaddish unnecessarily

Michael Rogovin wrote (MJ 62#64):

> Immanuel Burton wrote (MJ 62#62):
>> It is quite possible to have a bris ceremony or say kiddush levanah
>> independently of davening. 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? ...
> I think the answer is straightforward: not everyone who comes to shacharit can
> or wants to stay for the milah ceremony. They may not know the family, have to
> get to work, etc. They want to complete davening with the tzibur. They may
> include people saying kaddish. It would be a tircha, I would think, to tell
> them that if they want to say kaddish after aleinu to stay for the brit milah.

This is symptomatic of the fixation on saying every possible kaddish (even
those not necessary) that afflicts present-day society. According to
strict halachah, one kaddish a day, let alone per tefillah, is sufficient.

Someone who needs to leave before the milah will have had ample opportunity
to have said one earlier in shacharit and should not feel put out at missing
the ones at the end.

Of course if he came to shul late and missed the ones at the beginning, he
cannot complain - after all, we do not approve of 'chote niskar' [that
someone should benefit from his own faulty behaviour].

Martin Stern

From: David Tzohar <davidtzohar@...>
Date: Thu, Feb 25,2016 at 06:01 AM
Subject: Saying an extra kaddish unnecessarily

Unfortunately, since I am in shloshim for the passing of my daughter Esther
z"l, the subject of saying Kaddish is very relevant to me. We had a big argument
in our shul (Young Israel of Armon Ha netziv) on whether to say Kaddish after
Alenu after already having said it after Shir lamaalot essa einai. Our gabbai
who is of Iraqi extraction said it was an "extra Kaddish" and should not be
said. I claimed that it is written in the nusach sfarad siddur that Kaddish
Yatom is said after Aleinu. I asked my posek, R' Yochanan Ben-Pazi, who said that
it is the minhag of all Ashkenazim, including nusach sfarad, to say Kaddish
Yatom after Aleinu.
David Tzohar


From: Stephen Colman <stephencolman2@...>
Date: Thu, Feb 25,2016 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Tircha d'Tzibbura

Yisrael Medad wrote (MJ 62#63):

> Tircha d'Tzibbura [causing the public consternation and bother] is not really
> attended to properly, as noted by Orrin Tilevitz mentioning an "invariably
> the 9th person is dawdling". He, IMHO, is causing a tircha d'tzibbura.

Whatever your usual pace of davenning, it is vital to be considerate to the
other mispallelim. If I am davenning in a small minyan of only 10-12 men, I
will daven faster than if I was in a larger congregation so as not to cause the
minyan to have to wait for me (although somebody has to be the last one finished
in any minyan :)).

One of my pet hates is davenning the amidah next to somebody who is davenning
loud enough for me to hear. This is usually always a visitor - and often a more
choshuv [important --Mod.] looking gentleman. I always find a 'shsh' more disturbing 
than the actual cause of the problem, so there is often nothing I can do but try to
concentrate even harder on my own Tefillah. Very annoying though, and most


End of Volume 62 Issue 65