Volume 62 Number 85 
      Produced: Tue, 10 May 16 01:54:14 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

A Kedushah problem 
    [Elazar M. Teitz]
Concubinage Relationship 
    [Dr Russell Jay Hendel]
Machar Chodesh (5)
    [Martin Stern  Perets Mett  Dr. William Gewirtz  Dr Russell Jay Hendel  Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz]
Sefirat Ha'omer (3)
    [Haim Snyder  Perets Mett  Sammy Finkelman]
Some thoughts on An'im Zemirot (3)
    [Martin Stern  Mark Steiner  Robert Schoenfeld]


From: Elazar M. Teitz <remt@...>
Date: Mon, May 9,2016 at 08:01 AM
Subject: A Kedushah problem

Martin Stern (MJ 62#84) cited a theory that in the k'dusha of Shabbos morning,
wherein we recite the words "Az bekol ra'ash gadol adir vechazak mashmi'im kol",
the words "adir v'chazak" are a misinterpretation of the abbreviation "a-ch-k,"
and that its correct reading should be "ofanim v'chayot kodesh."   
There are two major problems with this clever hypothesis which render it almost
certainly incorrect.  

First, it strains credulity that two millennia of Torah scholars -- including
many who wrote extensive works on t'filla -- were unaware of such an error. 
Furthermore, "ch-k" would never be used as an abbreviation for "chazak."  (If
one wants to theorize an error of interpretation of an abbreviation, it would be
that the original was a-v-ch, which does lend itself to interpretation as "adir
v'chazak" as well as "ofanim v'chayos," without mention of "kodesh")

There is a problem with our text: we do not find angels described as "adir" or
"chazak."  However, the problem disappears if one recognizes that most of us
parse the expression incorrectly.  It is not "az, b'kol ra'ash gadol, adir
v'chazak mashmi'im kol" which means "Then, with a great sound of noise, the
strong and mighty make voices heard".  

Rather, it is "az, b'kol ra'ash gadol adir v'chazak, mashmi'im kol," which means
"Then, with a great, strong and mighty sound of noise, they make voices heard".

"They" refers to the ones of whom we have just said "v'kara ze el ze" that they
call to one another and say "kadosh, etc."  

Then, with a mighty sound, they make heard the second part of the k'dusha,
"Baruch k'vod Hashem".

"Adir" and "chazak" are not nouns referring to angels, they are adjectives
modifying the noun "kol" meaning "voice" or "sound."



From: Dr Russell Jay Hendel <rashiyomi@...>
Date: Sun, May 8,2016 at 12:01 AM
Subject: Concubinage Relationship

There was a recent thread on the permissibility of extra-marital relations
(MJ 62#80). I posted a submission discussing the position of the Rav, Rabbi
Joseph B. Soloveitchick, on the views of Rambam and Raavad. In that posting
I mentioned a lack of memory on a certain issue:

More specifically, I pointed out that verse, Don't muzzle an ox while threshing
(Dt 25:04), according to all opinions in Jewish law, must be read as casuistic
and subject to generalization. Thus it is interpreted to prohibit any animal,
not just oxen. Similarly, Dt 23:18 prohibiting prostitution, must, according to
all opinions, be interpreted as casuistic and generalized to prohibit any
extra-marital relationship. I then pointed out, that
> I do not remember how the Rav interpreted the Raavad's dissent on Ishuth 1:4.
> I also don't have a clear punchy way of defending the Raavad as I write this.

Someone wrote me offlist and pointed out that if this comment on the Raavad's
position is due to me, than it can't be the case that I forgot what the Rav
commented on since the idea was not his.

This is a correct observation. My purpose here is to correct my previous posting
by showing three views on extra-marital relationships.

View A:

According to this view there is controversy among the early authorities
(Rishonim) whether there is any biblical prohibition against extra-marital
relationships. Rambam says it violates prostitution (Dt 23:18) while Raavad
dissents. From this controversy would follow the possibility that certain
authorities might permit concubines to laypeople.

The Rav's position on View A was that it was contrary to normative readings of
the Talmud and the Halachic process. The controversy between the Rambam and
Raavad is not whether there is *any* prohibition against extra-marital
relationship but rather: The Rambam holds there are two violations, the
violation of prostitution and the violation of the obligation to perform a
marital acquisition prior to relationship. In contrast, the Raavad holds there
is only one violation, the violation of the obligation to perform a marital
acquisition prior to relationship. It is unthinkable that the Raavad's dissent
on the prohibition of prostitution should transfer to a dissent on the
obligation to perform a marital acquisition (The Raavad is in fact silent on
this Rambam passage)

View B:

The view of the Rav is, as just stated, that the Rambam held there were two
prohibitions against extra-marital relationships while the Raavad held there was
one. Thus according to all early authorities (Rishonim) concubines are prohibited.

View C:

My view is that the Raavad's position that extramarital relationships are not a
violation of prostitution is untenable since a universal exegetical principle is
that unconditionally stated verses are to be interpreted casuistically and
therefore generalized. Consequently, the Raavad's (explicit) position that
extramarital relationships are not a violation of prostitution is very weak.
Those who relied on this position to permit the concubine relationship cannot
therefore be relied on.

I hope this clarifies the possible approaches to extramarital relationships.

Russell Jay Hendel


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, May 8,2016 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Machar Chodesh

Avraham Brot wrote (MJ 62#84):

> Because Sunday was the first day of Rosh Chodesh Iyar, we read the Machar
> Chodesh Haftorah on Shabbat.
> Clearly, in the period of King Shaul, we did not have a fixed calandar, and
> the day of Rosh-Hodesh was *probably* determined by witnesses testifying their
> sighting of the crescent of the new moon.
> The Haftorah speaks of a royal Rosh Hodesh dinner, where David's place was
> empty on the first day of Rosh Hodesh. When David was missing also on the
> second day of Rosh Chodesh, Shaul asked his son Yonatan why David did not
> attend the dinner "also yesterday and also today".
> If Rosh-Chodesh was determined by the testimony of witnesses, why was there a
> need for two days of Rosh-Chodesh?

This problem also occurred to me and we discussed it on Shabbat. It would
seem from this haftarah that the custom was always to treat the thirtieth
day of the month as potentially being Rosh Chodesh in case witnesses arrived
late in the day - hence the Shaul's special se'udah on the first day. Apart
from Tishri, this se'udah could be deemed a voluntary one and would not
cause any problems.

Of course Rosh Chodesh Tishri would be Rosh Hashanah when melachah would
have been prohibited as well and it appears that this was also the practice.
The Mishnah records (RH 4:4 and Gemara ad loc.) that one year the witnesses
came very late in the day which led to other repercussions, after which it
was decided not to accept them after the time of minchah.

In this case, it would appear that they did not come so the thirty first day
was automatically Rosh Chodesh and a second se'udah was held in its honour.

Martin Stern

From: Perets Mett <p.mett00@...>
Date: Sun, May 8,2016 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Machar Chodesh

Avraham Brot asked (MJ 62#84):

> If Rosh-Chodesh was determined by the testimony of witnesses, why was there a
> need for two days of Rosh-Chodesh?

Someone asked me the same question in shul yesterday.

By the time the witnesses came it might be too late own the day to celebrate
Rosh Chodesh. The 30th day of any month was celebrated as the putative date for
Rosh Chodesh. If witnesses failed to arrive, the actual date of Rosh Chodesh was
the following day.

See also Tosafos on Rosh Hashono 30b

Perets Mett

From: Dr. William Gewirtz <wgewirtz@...>
Date: Sun, May 8,2016 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Machar Chodesh

In response to Abe Brot (MJ 62#84):

Actually not so clear. Both Saadyah Gaon's comments on haChodesh haZeh in
parshat Bo, (quoted in both Rabbeinu Chananeil and Rabbeinu Bechayah) often seen
as a polemic against the Karaites, as well as Bible critics for whom this verse
is seen as supporting the calendar of the Book of Jubilees, assume use of a
non-observational method, i.e. a fixed-calendar. Also, if you read the text
carefully, the second day was not necessarily anything other than a normal,
non-celebratory meal on the day after Rosh Hodesh.

The difficulty is actually for those who assume the rabbinic approach.
Traditionalists have to argue that based on observation of the skies the
previous evenings and given it being late spring, the moon was certain to be
visible later that evening, hence the ability to predict accurately.

Dr. William Gewirtz

From: Dr Russell Jay Hendel <rashiyomi@...>
Date: Sun, May 8,2016 at 10:01 PM
Subject: Machar Chodesh

Abe Brot asked (MJ 62#84):

> If Rosh-Chodesh was determined by the testimony of witnesses, why was there a
> need for two days of Rosh-Chodesh?

There are two sources that explain this. Rambam, Kidush Hachodesh (chapters 1-3
particularly 1:7 and 3:7) and Rabbi Hirsch on Ex. 12:2. Let me briefly summarize
using Rav Hirsch's symbolic interpretation.

If our (the Jews) meeting God was exclusively determined by an astronomical
event, then it would give the appearance that God and the Jews are bound by the
higher authority of nature.

Rav Hirsch therefore likens the establishment of a month to a "date" between God
and the Jews. Like in any date, God calls up the Jews and says, "I would like to
see you on the new moon". Let's suppose the New Moon is scheduled astronomically
for the 30th. The Jews have a right to respond, part of the dating process, "I
can't quite make it on the 30th; how about the 31st instead".

So, as Rambam explains, the month is established by two acts: 

i) an astronomical calculation and 

ii) a declaration of the courts based on witnesses and convenience. 

It is explicit in Jewish law that the courts can override both witnesses and the
astronomical event if for example roads are muddy and the courts want to give
the Jews an extra day to come up to Jerusalem. Both requirements are explicit
and determinative in Jewish law. However the next month can only occur on the
29th, 30th or 31st (The courts can't delay it beyond the 31st).

Rambam (ibid. 3:7) explains that if witnesses did not come on the expected 30th
day then they made the 31st the new month and had a party.

To go back to the haftorah of Machar Chodesh: Astronomical calculation had
probably predicted the 30th as the new month. So they made a party prior to the
declaration of the court. When witnesses did not come, they also made a party on
the 31st (as Rambam describes).

Russell Jay Hendel

From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahillel@...>
Date: Mon, May 9,2016 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Machar Chodesh

In response to Abe Brot (MJ 62#84):

Since the witnesses may come on the 30th day of the month (making it the first
day of the next month), it is treated as if it were Rosh Chodesh. Thus Shaul
Hamelech had the feast in case witnesses came and certified that it was Rosh
Chodesh. Once witnesses did not come, then the next day became Rosh Chodesh.
However, since the davening and korbonos had already been made, both days are
treated with the kedusha of Rosh Chodesh.

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz


From: Haim Snyder <haimsny@...>
Date: Sun, May 8,2016 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Sefirat Ha'omer

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 62#83):

> It's that time of the year again when those of us who live in the higher
> latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere have to stay up late to count the omer - in
> Manchester, England this can be getting on for 11 p.m. towards the end.

There is a solution to that problem which involves performing a positive mitzva
as well: Aliya!

Here in Israel, 8:22 p. m. is the latest the earliest time that the Omer can be
counted can be in Metulla. It's earlier in the middle of the country by one to
three minutes.

Also, you British should feel comfortable with the Israeli Labo(u)r Party which,
in the opinion of some, has anti-Israel members.


Haim Shalom Snyder

Petah Tikva

From: Perets Mett <p.mett00@...>
Date: Sun, May 8,2016 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Sefirat Ha'omer

Alan Rubin (MJ 62#84) asked:
> When I was acting as shliach tzibbur when I was an avel it was always my custom
> to recite the count aloud directly after finishing shacharis. Considering that
> counting the omer is a Biblical commandment and much of the daily prayers is
> only custom I am surprised that this is not adopted everywhere. 

1 the mitzva of counting the Omer is at night; if one counts by day no brochoh
is said

2 The consensus opinion is that nowadays Sefiras ho-omer is midrabonon (only the
Rambam holds that it is still min hatorah)

Perets Mett

From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Sun, May 8,2016 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Sefirat Ha'omer

In response to Alan Rubin (MJ 62#84):

It is Biblical only in the Beit Mikdash, and even there it could have been
done any number of ways.

What we do now, in every congregation, is Rabbinical.


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, May 8,2016 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Some thoughts on An'im Zemirot

Yaakov Gross wrote (MJ 62#84):

> One of the images, drawn from Isaiah LIX, depicts the Deity as a helmeted
> warrior ("chavash kova...")

It seems that chassidim have the custom to put on their streimels for An'im
Zemirot. I have always wondered whether the inclusion of this phrase is its

Yakir Hameiri wrote (MJ 62#84):

> Pardon me if this has already been pointed out, but I have heard/seen from
> a number of sources (which I do not have before me) that specifically
> because of the "holiness" of Shir HaKavod (An'im Z'mirot) there is a custom
> that it is sung by young children who are purer than (some) adults.

A good point but this custom that it is sung by young children is relatively
recent, certainly not more than 50 or 60 years so it is more likely to be a
post facto justification than a genuine reason.

Dr Russell Jay Hendel wrote (MJ 62#84):

> Martin Stern (MJ 62#83) argues, concerning my position that young girls,
> should be allowed to lead the congregation from the pulpit in the
> recitation of An'im Zemiroth, as follows:
>> I must disagree with Dr Hendel on this. Though these songs may not have
>> halachic significance as vital components of public prayer, our sages
>> included them in our liturgy, not purely for the emotional and evocative
>> atmosphere they may create.
> First of all we must be very careful when we speak about "our sages". "Our
> sages" could refer to the Talmudic sages, the Early authorities (Rishonim),
> the Geniuses (Geonim) etc. Many of the Piyutim we have in our liturgy - Ayn
> Kaylokaynu, Adon Olam, Yigdal, An'im Zemirot - were post-Talmudic. Hence their
> authority is lesser.

Dr Hendel is correct but I specifically wrote 'sgaes' rather than 'Sages' to
make this distinction. An'im Zemirot was composed by the Chasidei Ashkenaz,
flourished in the German Rhineland during the 12th and 13th centuries, and
is obviously post-Talmudic.

> ... Perhaps, Martin, Mark and myself can reach a compromise. Would we be
> willing to allow little children to lead in the singing of Lechah Dodi
> (Possibly, An'im Zemirot is holier since we do open the ark for it)?

There is much to be said for this suggestion since Kabbalat Shabbat is an
even more recent addition (16th-17th century) to our liturgy and is not so
full of obscure allusions as An'im Zemirot. The same might be true for Ayn
Kaylokaynu, Adon Olam and Yigdal, all of which can readily be understood, at
least at a superficial level.

Martin Stern

From: Mark Steiner <mark.steiner@...>
Date: Sun, May 8,2016 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Some thoughts on An'im Zemirot

Dr Russell Jay Hendel wrote (MJ 62#84):

> Biblically obligated prayer is a biblical commandment that applies to both
> men and women. (There are however opinions that women are not obligated to
> the Rabbinic commandment to pray 3 times a day). No one disputes that women
> are biblcially obligated to pray. But if so, minor girls should be educated
> (hinukh) in this important commandment. In fact, chanting An'im Zemirot is
> good practice in praising God, an important component of prayer.

I would like to make some comments on his claim: 

1. According to the Ramban, prayer is not a biblical commandment on men or women.

2. According to the Rambam, prayer is a biblical command on men and women.
However, he defines "prayer" as a threefold combination of: 

(a) praise, 

(b) request, 

(c) thanksgiving.  

It seems clear that An`im Zemirot does not count as prayer.  R. Haym
Soloveitchik ruled that the formula modeh/modah ani does not count as prayer,
and that women might as well recite the shemoneh esreh, rather than make up
something (For what it's worth, my own opinion is that Birkat Hamazon (Grace
after Meals) should count, because it has all the Maimonidean elements of
prayer).  So the only hinukh of girls and boys for prayer as such is the
shemoneh esreh.

3. Despite what I said in my previous post, that An`im Zemirot reflects the
victory of the Rambam and R. Saadya against the anthropomorphizers of Ashkenaz,
it is clear to me that the Rambam himself would have forbidden the singing of
this piyyut because of his strong opposition to praising God beyond what is
enacted by Hazal.  He actually opposes all piyyutim for this reason.  But he
would certainly have regarded this particular piyyut as a violation of the law
of prayer, not a fulfillment of it.  At the end of an`im zemirot, it is
customary to add the verse: "Who can tell the greatness of God, express all his
praise".  Hazal understand this verse as a warning against adding praise of God
to that which was instituted, which is why the verse ends An`im Zemirot, to say
that since the praises in the piyyut go beyond what was instituted in the
shemoneh esreh, they are somewhat dangerous.

From: Robert Schoenfeld <frank_james@...>
Date: Sun, May 8,2016 at 07:01 PM
Subject: Some thoughts on An'im Zemirot

Why then is Anim Zemeros sung with thw Aron Kodesh open while Yigdal and 
Adon Olam with the Aaron closed?


End of Volume 62 Issue 85