Volume 62 Number 82 
      Produced: Tue, 03 May 16 22:15:02 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Genaivas Da'as 
    [Carl A. Singer]
Halachically married without civil marriage 
    [Carl A. Singer]
Old Audio Tapes 
    [Joel Rich]
Single Parenthood 
    [Martin Stern]
Some thoughts on An'im Zemirot (4)
    [Aryeh Frimer  Sammy Finkelman  Dr Russell Jay Hendel  Stuart Pilichowski]
The historicity of the Exodus 
    [Mark Steiner]


From: Carl A. Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Mon, Apr 25,2016 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Genaivas Da'as

As many Americans will recall -- years ago when the United States wanted to go
metric all sorts of strange adaptations were made.

Some products increased in size:  A quart bottle (= 32 Fluid Ounces) of seltzer
grew to 1 liter = 33.81 fluid ounces.

Some products stayed the same.

And some products shrank.  Some quarts (such as many wines) shrank to 750 ml 
(3/4 of a liter) = 25.36 Fluid Ounces or worse yet 650 ml = 21,98 Fluid Ounces.

Other products didn't convert -- some quart jars became 28 fluid ounces -- today
I opened a bottle of Beet Borscht that is only 24 ounces which is 3/4 of a quart.

Other products have shrunk similarly --  we find 7 oz, rather than 8oz, etc.

Although these items are labeled -- is it genaivus das to sell items in "off
sizes" such as 11 oz, etc.

Carl A. Singer


From: Carl A. Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Wed, Apr 20,2016 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Halachically married without civil marriage

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 62#81):

> Nowadays people live together without being married and this usually carries
> little if any social stigma. As far as I am aware, the civil law takes no
> interest in these matters provided nobody makes any claims that depend on
> being married, and that would come under laws relating to deception or fraud
> rather than marriage per se.

It is the flip side of this coin that is problematic:

An individual claiming to be "single" -- that is neither legally married nor in
a common-law marital relationship -- and using this single "status" to fraudulently
obtain government benefits ....

Outside of Israel we are a minority -- perhaps a minority within a minority --
when someone clearly identifiable as a "frum" Jew (to the delight of the New
York Times) ends up on the front page for committing a crime -- it is, to say
the least, an unfortunate occurrence.

Carl A Singer


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Thu, Apr 28,2016 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Old Audio Tapes

Our shul is getting rid of a large number of old shiurim on audio cassettes and
CD's.  Does anyone know of any digitization projects that might be interested
before they are disposed of?

Kol Tuv

Joel Rich


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, May 2,2016 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Single Parenthood

Chana Luntz wrote (MJ 62#81):

> ...
> As (some of) you may know, my oldest child is very severely disabled. Despite
> looking normal at birth it transpired that he was born with a very rare
> medical condition (a random genetic mutation, which is not hereditary) called
> lissencephaly (it means smooth brain, and means he doesn't have the normal
> folds in the brain, just a few thick folds). As a consequence, although now
> aged 14, he functions at the level of a six month baby (at best) is fully
> wheelchair bound, prone to epileptic fitting, and needs 24 hour care.
> When we were in Great Ormond Street (the premier children's hospital in the
> UK) getting the diagnosis, and having tests - we met numbers of (non-Jewish)
> parents of severely disabled children of various ages.  By and large, for
> those for whom it was their first child, it was also their only child - and we
> asked a number of them about whether they had considered having more children,
> if they could ensure (e.g. through genetic testing, or other means) that those
> other children would be normal - and their response was, almost invariably,
> that they didn't think having other children would be in the best interests of
> the child they had nor would it be in the best interests of the siblings they
> would bring into the world. The burden of looking after a child of this nature
> was too great.
> My husband and I looked at each other, and we both were of the view that this
> was not the kind of family we had envisioned.  We had envisioned a family whom
> we would educate to be chayav in mitzvos, to have bar and bas mitzvos, and to
> carry on our tradition.  Our oldest son, loveable as he is, does not and will
> not do any of these.  And as soon as the doctors confirmed that the mutation
> really was a random one, and the risks to any future children were very low, I
> got pregnant again.
> ...

First I must say how much I admire Chana and her husband in their courageous
decision which reminds me of the case of King Chizkiyahu described in the
Talmud (Ber.10a based on 2 Kings 20:1)) who was upbraided by the prophet
Yeshayahu for not having children. The former claimed to have known through
ruach hakodesh [a minor form of prophecy] that any children he would have
would be completely wicked. The prophet's response was "You must do your
duty and trust the Almighty's wisdom in guiding the world".

> Many people indeed would argue that it is not in the best interests of the
> child to have more than one or two other siblings, even if they are all normal
> - as that child gets less attention than those with fewer siblings

This is manifestly untrue. I have just been reading a book called "Call the
Midwife" by Jennifer Worth in which she recounts her experiences in the poverty
stricken East End of London in '50s.

One incident shows how totally incorrect the above attitude can be. It concerned
a couple whose twenty fourth (pp.127-143) and twenty fifth (pp.281-290) children
she was called to deliver (at home not in hospital -
something that would probably not be allowed today). Incidentally, the oldest
was 22 at the time of the latter's birth but I do not want to consider the
halachic considerations as to the advisability of such a close succession of
pregnancies (this might form a new thread if anyone is interested). 

Despite living in terribly overcrowded conditions (7 rooms in the house - by
local standards a mansion with most 'smaller' families of only a dozen children
making do with one or two rooms), the children were described as all well
adjusted and living amicably together without friction. While this might be
an exceptional case, it is certainly not uncommon for two-children families to
be riven with jealousy and conflict - so it is not necessarily the case that
large families inevitably lead to children getting insufficient care and attention.

> (not to mention those who argue that it is not in the best interests of
> society to have parents have more than their replacement number of children,
> given the "over-population" of the earth).

Unfortunately too many Jewish couples take such considerations far too much
to heart. It is obviously easier to have fewer children, but are such "best
interests of the child" arguments not in reality often an excuse to legitimise
the parents' reluctance to be 'burdened' with a large family.

As Rabbi Emanuel Feldman once said in a sermon mentioned in his book "Tales
out of Shul" (p. 110) that "it's a shame that after losing all those people
in the Holocaust the Jewish rate of reproduction is the lowest of any group
in America [and] suggested that any family that has decided it has had
enough children should reconsider and have at least one more child".

> All of these are "best interests of the child" arguments, and once you open
> the door to one of them, are you not in effect opening the door to all of
> them?

A Pandora's box.

Martin Stern


From: Aryeh Frimer <Aryeh.Frimer@...>
Date: Wed, Apr 20,2016 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Some thoughts on An'im Zemirot

The issue of minor girls reciting An'im Zemirot or Adon Olam came up to the
Halakhic Committee of the Rabbi Jacob Berman Community Center - Tiferet Moshe
Synagogue in Rechovot Israel:

Rabbi Jacob Berman Community Center - Tiferet Moshe Synagogue
Decision of Halakha Committee on Minor Girls Leading Anim Zemirot or Adon Olam

Several weeks ago, the President of the Berman Community Center asked The
Halakha Committee regarding minor girls leading the community in the recitation
of An'im Zemirot or Adon Olam. After serious discussion, the Halakha Committee
unanimously concluded that this should not be done for the following reasons:

Hazal forbade a community to appoint as their permanent hazzan one who lacks the
signature of adulthood and maturity of a full beard - which is at about 20 years

In the latter cases it would be improper for a community to choose someone who
is "only a kid" to represent them before the local temporal powers to be - a
fortiori before the King of kings.

Nevertheless, from time to time a teenager can be asked to daven for the
community provided he is above 13. The custom to allow minors to recite certain
minor portions of the davening (e.g.,An'im Zemirot or Adon Olam is based on the
concept of Hinukh [to educate them of how to function as a Hazan]. There is no
obligation of hinukh on minor females regarding mitsvot and rituals that will
not be obligatory - and certainly if they are forbidden - when the child becomes
Hence we have unanimously ruled that minor girls should not be allowed to lead
the community in the recitation of Anim Zemirot or Adon Olam.

Rabbi Yehezkel Babkoff
Rabbi Mordechai Goldreich
Rabbi Aryeh Frimer


Hullin 24b and Tosafot, s.v. "Nitmalei zekano;" Shulhan Arukh, O.H., sec. 53,
no. 6 and 8.

Taz, O.H., sec. 53, no.2; Mishna Berura, O.H., sec. 128, no. 34, n. 122; Arukh
ha-Shulhan, O.H., sec. 53, no. 10.

 Hence, a parent need not train his daughter in mitsvot aseh she-ha-zeman
gramman. See R. Yehoshua Neuwirth, The Halachoth of Educating Children,
Jerusalem: Feldheim, 1999) Dinim Kelaliyyim, parag. 2, p. 2; R. Chaim Kanievsky
cited by R. Elimelekh Winter, Minhat Elimelekh, III, in a responsum
(correspondance) at end of the volume, sec. 1, p. 243, no. 4; R. Barukh
Rakovsky, ha-Katan ve-Hilkhotav, I, ch. 2, no. 7. This is all the more true
here, since leading the community in the singing of An'im Zemirot and Adon Olam
is something that is forbidden to them as adults. Leading contemporary posekim
(including R. Aharon Lichtenstein, R. Nachum Rabinovitch, R. Asher Weiss, R.
Avigdor Nebenzahl and others) have confirmed that having women lead communal
prayer rituals is prohibited. For further discussion, see the addendum to
"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.rcarabbis.org/pdf/frimer_article.pdf.

Dr. Aryeh A. Frimer
Chemistry Dept., Bar-Ilan University
Ramat Gan 5290002, ISRAEL
E-mail (office): <Aryeh.Frimer@...>
Cellphone: 972-54-7540761

From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Wed, Apr 20,2016 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Some thoughts on An'im Zemirot

Anonymous wrote (MJ 62#80):

> In my experience, in most orthodox minyanim An'im Zemirot is recited with the
> Aron Kodesh opened. Why? What's so special?

My understanding for the reason the aron is opened when it is opened is to get
people to stand up, which in turn is in order to get more attention. I am not
sure what the whole reason for An'im Zemiros is in the first place, but there
are things added at the end of davening. It's also called I think, "Shir
HaKovod. I think it definitely adds something to the davening.

> Some minyanim have moved it to before reading the Torah instead of the very
> end of davening to afford it more respect. By the end of davening everyone is
> putting away their tallit and can't wait to get home or to the kiddush.

Not everybody. It depends on how loudly the Chazzan sings it. It is not so
important how loudly or how many of the congregation sings alternate verses This
can more easily happen at Adom Olam.  Rabbi Philip Harris (Pinchus) Singer ZT"L
used to say that's not a marching out song. If nothing seems to be happening,
people will start to walk out.

> In my experience it is recited/performed by kids.

Not where I daven, but that's maybe partially because I sing it, and have been
doing so for approximately a quarter of a century on most Shabbosim. I remember
it from the Young Israel of Claremont Parkway in the Bronx. I think there may be
a  tendency to have children say this - and actually everything from Ain
Keloheinu on, because it is not officially part of the davening, so a koton can
be a chazzan, and people like to give children some responsibility. Children
also usually do not raise their voice.

Maybe better give them something else to do. Or a song that is something not

I think also there's  an issue somewhere on whether on not to say it on Yom Tov,
and most places do not, I think. One time it was said on the first day of Succos
and I was told the next day it was a mistake. It's not always sung by children.
It's just that there's this custom of making children the chazzan at the end of
the davening.

Martin Stern commented (MJ 62#81):

> This piyut is far too difficult to understand unless one is familiar with all
> the midrashic allusions

Nobody needs to, although it would good to understand the fact that we are
mentioning allusions. All the song says is that Hashem has been praised and
compared in numerous ways but none of them do justice, and then we get 
examples.  It takes a couple of stanzas to get to that point. You don't have to
know them outside of the song. Some people should know. One is in Az Yashir, as
understood, although that might just be a grammatical form. And if you don't
understand the song - well, nothing's lost compared to not singing it at all.

From: Dr Russell Jay Hendel <rashiyomi@...>
Date: Thu, Apr 21,2016 at 10:01 PM
Subject: Some thoughts on An'im Zemirot

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 62#81):

> This custom of having it led by children should be abolished as soon as
> possible. At the very least An'im Zemirot should be led by an adult who
> understands what it is all about. Where I daven we don't say it at all
> except on Yamim Noraim and I think that is the best way.

I disagree. According to the Rav, Rabbi Joseph Baer Soloveitchik, the main part
of prayer is the Shmoneh Esray and Kriat Shema. The songs we sing at the end of
service have no halachic significance for the commandment of prayer. In fact,
the Rav stated that he never says Mizmor Ledavid when they return the Torah.

If these songs have no halachic significance then their sole purpose is
emotional and evocative. They are not there for specific meaning but rather for
overall atmosphere.

If so, I think it wonderful that children are saying them. It gives them a sense
of participation in the service.

I also don't think their esoteric nature matters since I perceive them as there
for emotional evocation not for content.

Russell Jay Hendel 

From: Stuart Pilichowski <stupillow@...>
Date: Tue, May 3,2016 at 10:01 PM
Subject: Some thoughts on An'im Zemirot

In response to Martin Stern (MJ 62#81):

But kids singing An'im Zmirot is so very cute. Do you really mean the
chazzan is supposed to know the meaning of the words? How often does that

We have kids that sing An'im Zmirot by heart. They don't know how to read
yet - their parents/grandparents taught them the song so they could kvell
over their ayniklach / grandchildren in shul.

Stuart P
Mevaseret Zion


From: Mark Steiner <mark.steiner@...>
Date: Mon, May 2,2016 at 10:01 AM
Subject: The historicity of the Exodus

Readers of mail-jewish may be interested in the following by my brother,
Prof.Richard Steiner -- it is a discussion of the Exodus and its
connection to the parsha 'Aharei-Mot'.

Summary of the essay: Egyptian sources shed previously unnoticed light on the
phrase kema`aseh eretz mitzrayim ([do not imitate] the deeds of the Land of
Egypt) in the parasha of aharei mot. That phrase, in turn, provides new evidence
for the historicity of the Exodus, which has been denied by some scholars.

Here is a link to the essay, which is already attracting scholarly attention:



End of Volume 62 Issue 82