Volume 62 Number 98 
      Produced: Thu, 15 Sep 16 01:51:42 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

A seat by the eastern wall 
    [Joel Rich]
Artscroll Question 
    [Joel Rich]
Gender Relationships (2)
    [Orrin Tilevitz  Martin Stern]
Interaction with Non-Observant Jews 
    [Martin Stern]
Loud davening 
    [Carl A. Singer]
Minimum Requirements For Shechitah 
    [Martin Stern]
The missing shammas (2)
    [Chaim Casper  Michael Poppers]


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Sun, Aug 28,2016 at 05:01 PM
Subject: A seat by the eastern wall

I'm looking for references as to why such a seat is considered honorific. Can
anyone help?

Joel Rich


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Sun, Sep 11,2016 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Artscroll Question

Anyone know why in the standard daily Artscroll siddur they moved the "chazan's stop" right after kriat 
shma from before l'dor vdor to after it by al avoteinu, while leaving it there in the all Hebrew version 
(Tifferet Yaakov)?

Joel Rich


From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Sun, Aug 28,2016 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Gender Relationships

Yisrael Medad writes (MJ 62#97):

> what I found "controversial" and that could "generate some discussion" is, in
> the sources he brings that are lenient to extending a hand to assist a fallen
> person of the opposite sex, the very need to bring sources. 
> I was always taught, especially as regards interpersonal relationships, that
> basic commonsense is the first guide. What could possibly go through a Yeshiva
> student/Talmid Chacham/regular Orthodox Jew's mind that would cause him to
> hesitate, even if there was no life-threatening situation? Actually, there is no
> "relationship" there.

Along the same line, many years ago I found brought down as a leniency in a book
on hilchot nidah that it is permissible for a man to touch a dead woman.

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, Aug 29,2016 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Gender Relationships

In response to Yisrael Medad (MJ 62#97):

While "basic commonsense is the first guide", it is not invariably the final
judge. Much discussion in the Gemara is based on analysing it and
considering possible situations which might lead to a different conclusions.
These are considered and either refuted or accepted depending on the
circumstances. What might seem obvious prima facie to a layman is not always
correct. Rabbi Doniel Neustadt's discussion shows that, in the case of
extending a hand to assist a fallen person of the opposite sex, the halachah
is, in general, as might have been expected. But, to do so, he must bring
his sources, so I cannot understand why Yisrael finds this so objectionable.

Martin Stern


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Sep 11,2016 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Interaction with Non-Observant Jews

This week's Weekly Halacha Discussion(Ki Teitsei) by Rabbi Doniel Neustadt is
clearly going to be controversial so I am distributing it for members' comments.

The halachic definition of a mumar, an apostate, is a Jewish person who denies
the existence of G-d, rejects His Torah and wilfully desecrates the commandments.

While technically, he is still a Jew, and any children he or she has are
considered Jewish, he loses many of the rights and privileges enjoyed by a Jew
in good standing. Among numerous other strictures, he is not buried in a Jewish
cemetery, he is not honoured in any religious ceremony, the wine he handles is 
considered defiled, etc. In earlier times, such a person would be a persona non
grata in the community, utterly alienated from the Jewish People.

Whether or not the halachos applying to an apostate are applicable nowadays, is
a subject widely discussed and debated among contemporary poskim. There are
millions of secular Jews world-wide who were born, raised and educated without
any knowledge or awareness of Hashem and His Torah. While they do not
acknowledge the dominion of Hashem, nor do they observe the mitzvos, they are
basically victims of their upbringing and of the education they and their
parents received. Thus many poskim feel that as victims of circumstances, they
are not to be designated as apostates, at least in certain areas of Halachah.
(See Binyan Tziyon 2:23; Chazon Ish, Y.D. 2:28; Minchas Shelomo 2:4-10)

Question: May a non-observant Jew receive an aliyah to the Torah?

Discussion: While it is appropriate and preferable to call to the Torah only
those who are God-fearing Jews who observe all of the mitzvos, when the need
arises or when peace in a congregation is at stake, it is permitted to call upon
even those who are lax in certain areas of mitzvah observance, Preferably, 
they should be called only after the first seven aliyos; Peer ha-Dor 3, pg. 36
quoting an oral ruling from the Chazon Ish. See Yagel Yaakov, pg. 286) as long
as they consider themselves believers in Hashem and His Torah. But under no
circumstances is it permitted to call non-believers to the Torah, for their 
blessings are not considered blessings at all. If absolutely necessary, it may
be permitted to accord them other ceremonial honours that do not entail reciting
a blessing, e.g., hagbahah or gelilah. (Igros Moshe, O.C. 3:12, 21, 22)

Question: May a Shabbos desecrator be counted as a member of a minyan?

Discussion: Under extenuating circumstances, where otherwise there will not be
enough people for a minyan, some poskim permit counting an apostate towards a
minyan, enabling the congregation to recite Kaddish or Kedushah. Even then, the
Shemoneh Esrei that this congregation will daven will not be considered tefillah
btzibbur. (Igros Moshe, O.C. 1:23; 2:19) Other poskim are more stringent and do
not allow counting a Shabbos desecrator for a minyan under any circumstances.
(Mishnah Berurah 55:46)

Question: May a Kohen who desecrates Shabbos be allowed to recite Birkas Kohanim?

Discussion: While all poskim agree that, preferably, a non-observant kohen
should not be allowed to recite Birkas Kohanim, (Mishnah Berurah 128:134) and,
indeed, he should not be called up to duchen with the rest of the kohanim,
still, in a situation where barring him from Birkas Kohanim will result in an 
argument or in alienation from yiddishkeit, many poskim allow him to be called
up and bless the congregation. (Igros Moshe, O.C. 1:33; Minchas Shelomo 2:4-10;
Tzitz Eliezer 7:6; 13:14) Since each case must be judged on its own merit, the
Rav of the shul will have to determine how to deal with the Kohen in question.

Question: How do we treat non-mevushal wine or grape juice that was handled by a
non-observant Jew?

Discussion: The previously mentioned debate about the status of modern day
secular Jews applies here as well. Some poskim permit drinking wine that was
handled by a non-observant Jew and some do not. The opinion of Rav M. Feinstein
was that even if we are lenient about the status of contemporary non-observant
Jews in certain areas of Halachah, we should be stringent in this area and not
drink wine that was handled by a non-observant Jew. (Igros Moshe, Y.D. 1:46;
2:132; 4:58-3; O.C. 5:37-8)

Note: The above discussion concerning the status of non-observant Jews applies
to the typical American Jew who was born and raised in a secular environment and
is clueless about his religious heritage and responsibilities. Unfortunately,
there are some individuals who were born and raised in an 
Orthodox environment yet, somehow, came to reject their upbringing and deny the
existence of Hashem and His Torah. The halachic status of those individuals is
much more complicated and each and every case must be dealt with individually,
in consultation with a competent Rav or posek.


From: Carl A. Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Mon, Aug 29,2016 at 02:01 PM
Subject: Loud davening

As I grow older and surlier I find that many things enhance my davening -- and
several things detract. Focusing on the detractors, loud davening - so as to
call attention to oneself is one such item. Others include - in no particular order:

Talking during davening

Wandering or pacing around during davening - especially if you invade my space
(aka daled amos)

Davening aloud but not in synch with the tzibur - whether one is ahead or behind
-- I don't want to hear them. And sometimes they make it difficult to answer
"amen" when appropriate.

Carl Singer


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, Aug 29,2016 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Minimum Requirements For Shechitah

Immanuel Burton wrote (MJ 62#97):
> The Mishnah in Tractate Chulin 2:1 states:
> "If one slaughtered by cutting one of the organs of a bird of both organs of
> an animal, the slaughtering is valid."
> The two organs referred to here are the trachea (wind-pipe) and oesophagus
> (food-pipe), and it seems that the only requirement for shechitah to be valid
> is for these two organs to be cut.
> The Mishnah continues:
> "Rabbi Yehudah says that he also has to cut the main blood vessels in the
> neck."
> ...
> Dr I M Levinger in his book "Shechita In The Light of the Year 2000 - Critical
> review of the scientific aspects of methods of slaughter and shechita" refers
> to a case cited by Heinrich Sporri in 1965 in which a man cut his own throat
> including the trachea and oesophagus but not the carotid blood vessels, and
> was subsequently saved - the man later reported that the pain was not great.
> If the *minimum* requirement for shechitah is for the trachea and oesophagus
> to be severed, how is this intended to cause the death of the animal in a
> humane manner?

Perhaps shechitah is not intended to cause the death of the animal, only to
render its flesh permitted for consumption. The requirement of killing it in
a humane manner might be a separate matter, possibly under the heading of
tsa'ar ba'alei chaim [avoiding cruelty to animals], though the distinction
is purely academic.

Martin Stern


From: Chaim Casper <surfflorist@...>
Date: Sun, Aug 28,2016 at 06:01 PM
Subject: The missing shammas

In MJ 62#97, Martin Stern talks about a minhag, mentioned by the Maharil, for
the shammas to call out "Ya'aleh veyavo" before the shemoneh esrei of ma'ariv
which has been replaced by a more recent custom where someone (usually a number
of people) will bang loudly to remind people of a particular prayer to be added
to the Amidah. I draw the reader's attention to OH 236:2 where the M'haber says:

"One must not interrupt (speak) between Yiroo Eineinu and the Amidah (in the
Ashkenazic Ma'aariv).  However, what the shaliah zibbur (i.e. the shamash or
gabbai) announces (out loud) between kaddish and the Amidah is not considered an
interruption because it is needed for the davening."   

The Mishneh Brurah offers a number of items one should announce including
Ya'aleh V'yavo, Tal u'Matar and even Al Hanissim, calling this announcement very
good (shapir dami). 

For better or for worse, we live in an era where people feel a need to be
stricter than the halakhah.   So they won't announce out loud, per the M'haber
and the Mishneh Brurah, the last minute instructions to help the community daven
the correct t'filot.  So they have opted for a "new custom", hitting the table
or shtender (lecturn) in front of them.   I would feel comfortable with this
change in davening protocol except that there are a lot of people in most
synagogues who will not understand what message is being conveyed when someone
hits the table in front of them.   If so, what benefit has been gained? 

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

From: Michael Poppers <the65pops@...>
Date: Mon, Aug 29,2016 at 09:01 PM
Subject: The missing shammas

Martin Stern writes (MJ 62#97):

> On Rosh Chodesh, there is a minhag, mentioned by the Maharil, for the
> shammas to call out "Ya'aleh veyavo" before the shemoneh esrei of ma'ariv
> (which is not considered a hefsek bein ge'ulah lisfillah [an unwarranted
> interruption]) to remind everyone not to miss it out. Actually he writes
> that in his town (Mainz) this was only done on the first night of Rosh
> Chodesh and "Rosh Chodesh" was called out on the second evening  (or on the
> only evening if there is only one day) since that was the first day of the
> month, though this distinction does not seem to be widespread. Certainly, it
> was NOT the custom for anyone else to do so.

It is also the *minhag* in KAJ/"Breuer's" (which follows Minhag Frankfurt).  I
can't speak as to whether it was the *minhag* in any community other than that
of MaHaRYL in his day (14th century CE).

All the best from
Michael Poppers
Elizabeth, NJ, USA


End of Volume 62 Issue 98