Volume 62 Number 94 
      Produced: Fri, 08 Jul 16 03:32:36 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Brisker methodology 
    [Joel Rich]
Gemara narrative 
    [Harlan Braude]
Hashgachah question (2)
    [Martin Stern  Dov Bloom]
Some thoughts on An'im Zemirot (3)
    [Martin Stern  Yisrael Medad   Chaim Casper]
Tachanun after Shavuot (2)
    [Chaim Casper  Saul Mashbaum]
Why isn't the Rema considered the final authority for Ashkenazim? 
    [Chaim Casper]


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Sun, Jul 3,2016 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Brisker methodology

Do others also think the Brisker (analytic) methodology is the final word in
Talmudic learning? I was brought up that way but wonder if it isn't much like
our current understanding of physics - it explains a lot more than we used to be
able to but we know something still doesn't fit exactly.

Joel Rich


From: Harlan Braude <hbraude@...>
Date: Thu, Jun 30,2016 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Gemara narrative

Joel Rich wrote (MJ 62#93):

> When you are learning gemara and you come to an argument where the hava
> amina [initial assumption] seems strange (e.g. Makot 14a where the gemara 
> first assumes the Rabbanan learn a halacha from lchaleik yatzat [separate 
> reference was to differentiate] and ask where does R' Yitzchak learn it from. 
> The Gemara answers from a different pasuk and then asks why don't the 
> Rabbanan learn it from there. The answer is ein hachi name [they could have  
> learned it from there indeed]?! So why does the Gemara record the whole 
> misattribution of reason, and how did the Rabbanan know/not know what the
> correct source was?

If one bears in mind that the Gemara is not merely a record of halachic
decisions (shailos utshuvos), but probably the greatest guide to Torah study and
teaching ever to appear, the answer becomes almost self-evident.

Among other lessons one may glean from cases like this, it's not solely about
the subject being analyzed as it is a demonstration of the analytical process
itself. When attempting to resolve a difficulty, theories and ideas that aren't
ultimately proven "right" are also welcomed.

The key is to put in the effort, engage in discussions with others equally
committed to addressing the issue and you'll ultimately make some real and 
significant progress.


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, Jun 30,2016 at 12:01 AM
Subject: Hashgachah question

Orrin Tilevitz wrote (MJ 62#93):

> In an email I recently saw, a restaurant manager reported a surprise visit
> from a mashgiach who noticed a bottle of white balsamic wine vinegar which he
> said was "problematic", but told the manager that he could finish up the
> bottle and order one from a better source next time. Could this statement
> possibly be acceptable? (The kashrus agency involved is itself problematic,
> for other reasons.)

The crucial point is that the bottle of white balsamic wine was
"problematic" but not definitely non-kosher, i.e. kosher bedieved [after the
fact] rather than lechatchilah [in the first instance]. This sort of
situation does not justify throwing it away but is best avoided, hence the
mashgiach's ruling (or, more probably, that of the rav to whom he referred

I suppose that this depended on the principle of chazakah [things retain
their original status until evidence is forthcoming that it has changed] or
avoidance of posible hefsed ochlim [unnecessary destruction of foodstuffs].
Together these would incline the halachic ruling as Orrin describes.

I had a similar problem many years ago with an item that had been
acceptable, but not under supervision, which changed its manufacturing
process, making it non-kosher. I was told that we could finish what we
already had purchased and only avoid purchasing it in future.

Martin Stern

From: Dov Bloom <dovbbb@...>
Date: Thu, Jun 30,2016 at 06:01 AM
Subject: Hashgachah question

In reply to Orrin Tilevitz (MJ 62#93):

It sounds perfectly possible. The vinegar may have had a certain hechser, and
the organization giving supervision to the restaurant prefered a different
hechsher, but the first one was not traif. Or the first one may have an
additive,  which 98% of the time is kosher but may possibly be traif.  Since the
additive is less than 1/60 of the mixture,  and a safeik,  the supervisors
prefer vineger where the additive has a hechsher,  but allowed the restaurant to
use up the muttar bedieved
[permitted after the fact] bottle.

The major problem with balsamic vinegar is stam yainom.  If boiled or
pasturized, the mixture would by most be considered ok, the supervisors prefer
vinegar with a different arrangement.

Kosher is not always binary,  but there are many levels of hiddurim
[stringencies] ,  preferences,  questionable items ...


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, Jun 30,2016 at 12:01 AM
Subject: Some thoughts on An'im Zemirot

Rose Landowne wrote (MJ 62#93):

> Martin Stern wrote (MJ 62#92):
>> The problem with "leading responsively in Av Harachamim and Ashray" is that
>> some element of chanting might be involved (or a more militant woman might be
>> tempted to push the boundary).
> I have heard Rabbi Saul Berman state that a woman chanting does not fall under
> the category of prohibited singing.

That might be his opinion but others might disagree. With An'im Zemirot, the
person leading its recital is probably better described as "singing" than
"chanting". In any case, it would not be appropriate for this to lead to
communal friction so, if this might be the result, it would be better

Martin Stern

From: Yisrael Medad  <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Thu, Jun 30,2016 at 03:01 AM
Subject: Some thoughts on An'im Zemirot

In MJ 62#93, Rose Landowne noted Martin Stern's intimating (MJ 62#92) that
perhaps by leading the congregation to reply responsively at Av Harachamim
and Ashray that

> a more militant woman might be tempted to push the boundary

and she responds that

> Rabbi Saul Berman state[d] that a woman chanting does not fall under the
> category of prohibited singing.

Of course, it could be that Martin, or someone else, could have written that
perhaps there are more militant and fanatic males who will not tolerate even the
raising of a woman's voice above a whisper during prayer services.

Would an alternative be drums, taking into consideration the Midrash that they
were employed by the women to drown out their own voices?

Yisrael Medad

From: Chaim Casper <surfflorist@...>
Date: Fri, Jul 1,2016 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Some thoughts on An'im Zemirot

There has been a lot of discussion regarding anim z'mirot over the last few issues.

Here is a different question:  Is anim z'mirot a d'var shebikdushah (something
which requires a minyan of ten adult men to recite)?   

On one hand, it fits the definition of a d'var shebikdushah as it is recited
responsively (e.g. the shaliah zibbur [the leader recites a line and the
community says the next line], the same as borkhu or k'dushah.

But on the other hand, if it is being recited by boys under 13, then how can you
call it a d'var shebikdushah?  Boys are not eligible to lead any part of a minyan. 

A side point would be can someone sit during anim z'mirot?   The m'haber
of the Shulkhan Arukh (R' Joseph Caro) rules that the Torah scrolls (when they
are in the aron kodesh) are in a separate/different r'shut (domain or zone) and
so even if you see them, you don't have to stand.   And if pre-bar mitzvah boys
are reciting anim z'mirot, then it might not be a dvar shebikdushah.   So would
sitting be an option at this point of the service?

Finally, and forgive me if this has been noted, but the Rav, zt"l, Rav Yosef Dov
Halevi Soloveitchik, did not say anim z'mirot because he was worried people
might misunderstand the anthropomorphisms in it (most notably talking about G-d
wearing t'fillin).   

Chaim Casper
North Miami Beach, FL 33162-1229


From: Chaim Casper <surfflorist@...>
Date: Thu, Jun 30,2016 at 08:01 PM
Subject: Tachanun after Shavuot

Martin Stern (MJ 62#93) asked if zidkatekha should have been said this year
(2016/5776) at Shabbat minhah because the olat re'iyah (a private sacrifice)
would not have been offered on Shabbat, the 7th day after the first day of Shavuot.

Allow me to offer two reasons why and how one could have skipped zidkatekha this

1) Lo palug (no differentiation).   

In a regular year, the sheva y'mei tashlumin (the seven days starting with
Shavuot when the Shavuot sacrifices could be offered if the Beit Hamikdash /
Temple were in existence) would always start with the first day of Shavuot (the
6th of Sivan) and end on the seventh day after (or the 12th of Sivan).  It makes
no difference how these seven days fall out; starting with the first day of
Shavuot, no tahanun or zidkatekha would recited.   

Thus, in 2017, the first day of Shavuot is Wednesday, May 31 which means the
last day for skipping tahanun is Tuesday, June 06.   Now, should we say
zidkatekha on that Shabbat, June 03 because you don't bring an olat re'iyah that
Shabbat?   That I have never heard of.  So if one would skip zidkatekha on the
4th day of the sheva y'mei tashlumin (as per next year, 2017), one would skip
zidkatekha on the 7th day of the sheva y'mei tashlumin (as per this year, 2016);
lo palug, no difference as both days are Shabbat. 

2) According to those who hold Matan Torah was on Sivan 07

To some, the sheva y'mei tashlumin start with the first day of Shavuot / Sivan
06.   But there are those who hold that the Torah was given on Sivan 07 (cf R`
Yosi in Shabbat 87).  Thus, this year, there are those who would have skipped
tahanun until Sunday, June 19 / Sivan 13 (Sivan 13 is the 7th day after Sivan
7).   Thus, these people, even according to Martin, would have skipped
zidkatekha on the Shabbat of June 18 as that would have been only the sixth day
of the sheva y'mei tashlumin. 

Chaim Casper
North Miami Beach, FL

From: Saul Mashbaum <saul.mashbaum@...>
Date: Tue, Jul 5,2016 at 06:01 AM
Subject: Tachanun after Shavuot

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 62#93):

> Some people, however, have a minhag not to say tachanun during the whole week
> after Shavuot which they say is based on the fact that those who had not 
> brought their olat re'iyah [festival offering] on Yom Tov itself had seven
> days of tashlumin [catch up time]. This year Shavuot fell on Sunday so the 
> seventh day would have been on the following Shabbat when private korbanot 
> could not be brought. 
> Does that mean that they should have said Tzidkatekha tzedek, whose recital is
> linked to tachanun, at minchah on Shabbat this year? If not, is this a case of
> mishum lo plug [not acting differently in special circumstances]?

The custom in Israel is not to say tachanun *six* days after Shavuot, since one
has *six* additional days to bring the olat re'iyah [festival offering] after
Shavuot. The law is "Shavuot yesh lo tashlumim kol shiva" which means that all
seven days are appropriate for the olat re'iyah *including Shavuot itself*. Thus
the dates for not saying tachanun end on the 12th of Sivan, six days after
Shavuot. Tzidkatekha tzedek *was* said at minchah on Shabbat, the 13th of
Sivan, this year, according to the custom in Israel.

In light of the above, I strongly suspect that Martin Stern is mistaken, and
that there is no well-established minhag not to say tachanun on the 13th of Sivan.

On the other hand, in most years, when there *is* a Shabbat during the six days
after Shavuot, we in Israel do *not* say Tzidkatekha tzedek at minchah on that
Shabbat, even though the olat reiyah could not have been brought on that day.
This answers Martin's question.

Saul Mashbaum


From: Chaim Casper <surfflorist@...>
Date: Fri, Jul 1,2016 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Why isn't the Rema considered the final authority for Ashkenazim?

I could not find it in my records, but I remember seeing in MJ over the lastfew
months that the mehaber of the Shulkhan Arukh, Rav Joseph Caro, is considered
the final ruling by most Sepharadim.   But on the other hand, Rav Moshe
Isserles, known by the acronym of Rama (or Rema), is quite often ignored by
Ashkenazi poskim (halakhic deciders) even though he is known as the source of
Ashkenazi custom. 

I came across an answer.  Rav Hayim ben B'zalel (1520-1588) was a slightly older
contemporary of the Rama.   In fact, they had learned together in the same
yeshiva (Lubin).  (Side note, Hayim was the older brother to Rav Judah Low, the
MaHaRa"L miPrague).   Rav Hayim rejected the Rama's Ashkenazi glosses to the
Sepharadi Shulhan Arukh for a number of reasons.  

1) The Rama's work reflected the Polish custom.   It did not take into account
the practices of the German, French or other Ashkenazi communities.  

2) The Rama was a big maikel (lenient arbiter of halakhah) and there were cases
where Rav Hayim felt the Rama did not reflect accurately what should be the
(stricter) halakhah (from an historical or contemporary perspective, does this
sound familiar to the reader?).

3) the Rama at times allowed custom to overrule halakhah.  I came across a
statement by Rav Avraham Gumbiner (the author of the Magen Avraham commentary on
the Orah Hayim section of the Shulkhan Arukh) where he said the halakhah is "A"
but everyone does the custom "B" and he couldn't understand why.   This, of
course, makes for a great shiur.   

Out of respect for the Rama (and the Gra), I try as much as possible to follow
their rulings.   However, my kids for years have ribbed me for doing things
differently from other people!     

B'virkat Torah,

Chaim Casper
North Miami Beach, FL 33162-1229


End of Volume 62 Issue 94