Volume 63 Number 06 
      Produced: Mon, 07 Nov 16 01:24:11 -0500

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Avinu Malkeinu at YK Mincha 
    [Jack Gross]
Genuine converts (was Chillull HaTorah) (2)
    [Martin Stern  Leah S. R. Gordon]
Lekol Teruoseinu (2)
    [Martin Stern  Michael Poppers]
Machzors and minhagim 
Starting minchah early (3)
    [Perets Mett  Joel Rich  Dr. William Gewirtz]
Tumin v'Urim 
    [Aaron Lerner]
Why say Ashrei three times daily? 
    [Martin Stern]


From: Jack Gross <jacobbgross@...>
Date: Mon, Oct 31,2016 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Avinu Malkeinu at YK Mincha

I recall a statement in Birnbaum's machzor that Mahara"m of Rothenburg
established the practice of omitting Avinu Malkeinu in mincha in order to start
neilah while it is still daytime.

Jack Gross


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, Oct 31,2016 at 06:01 AM
Subject: Genuine converts (was Chillull HaTorah)

Yisrael Medad wrote (MJ 63#05):

> As for his attempt, I think, to despise these "certain" Rabbis by seeking to
> draw a guilt-by-association to a (non)parallel case of "genuine" conversion,
> it is too close to Ellul / Tishrei for me to write anything more.

Though the situation in Israel is different from that in the USA, the same sort
of "blind eye" attitude is found worldwide among rabbis who place social and
national considertions above halachic requirements. I happened to read today a
report "Not recognizing converts could tear Jewish people apart" which quotes
Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, the rabbi of the Kehilat Yeshurun Congregation in New
York and a prominent Modern Orthodox rabbi in the US, one of whose conversions
was not recognised by Israel's Supreme Rabbinical Court, a conference of the
rabbinical organization Beit Hillel as saying:

"My relationship with and love for Israel were not hurt when the Chief
Rabbinate rejected my conversions, but it is a decision that created a
divide between Jews and threatens to tear us apart.

"I do not believe in theological pluralism, but I believe in practical
pluralism. We must find a common path to bring us together. We must stop
being afraid and act to break down the barriers between the Orthodox and the


On the same day, I read that Steven M. Cohen, the foremost US expert on
Jewish demography, had stated that "72% of non-Orthodox American Jews marry
non-Jews, and over 20 years, the communitys attempts to embrace those
intermarried families have failed completely".


In view of this does not Rabbi Lookstein's wish to break down barriers seem
to be misguided. This would suggest that, should he be implementing it in
practice, some of his conversions might be of dubious validity.

In Israel, conversion requirements should, if anything, be stricter since there
are obvious advantages in being a Jew there so the temptation to dissemble is
even greater. In fact the Talmud records that converts were not accepted at all
by the official courts during the reigns of Kings David and Shlomo for this very
reason. Outside Israel, the only extraneous consideration to look out for might
be a wish to please a prospective Jewish spouse's parents - the minor
discrimination in non-Jewish society is no longer very significant. In previous
generations, on the other hand, the latter was much more serious so anyone
wishing to convert could be assumed, at least prima facie, to be sincere - which
is not the case today.

Such considerations might apply to the "certain" other Rabbis to whom I
had previously alluded (MJ 63#04) to which Yisrael took such exception.

Martin Stern

From: Leah S. R. Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Mon, Oct 31,2016 at 07:01 AM
Subject: Genuine converts (was Chillull HaTorah)

Yisrael Medad (MJ 63#05) wrote:

> Martin Stern (MJ 63#04) wrote:

>> I get the distinct impression that certain rabbis consider "the maintenance
>> of a state and all its apparatuses" as more important than the desecration
>> of the Shabbat and are inclined to bend their decisions accordingly.
>> The same would seem to apply to the way they turn a blind eye to the obvious
>> insincerity of prospective 'converts' who quite clearly have no intention to
>> commit themselves to mitzvah observance.
>> [...]
> As for his attempt, I think, to despise these "certain" Rabbis by seeking to
> draw a guilt-by-association to a (non)parallel case of "genuine" conversion, 
> it is too close to Ellul/Tishrei for me to write anything more.

I also was struck by this conversion comment, and found it offensive.  How in
the world would a private citizen in the UK have any idea about the level of
commitment of a prospective Jew he has never met, in Eretz Yisrael?  Everything
I have read/heard on the subject indicates that many restrictions are put on
personal status issues in E"Y including conversions, sometimes to the point of
restricting things too much.

Furthermore, we have to be careful to, as the kids say, "check our privilege" -
it's really easy to sit on a high horse as Jews-by-birth, but that is obnoxious,
as converts obviously go through a much more onerous process than any of us did!
There are certain requirements, and it's between those converts and their
personal halakhic decisors.  Don't be like some born-citizens of a country
having an anti-immigrant stance with little thought to how they might be
feeling.  As a US citizen (i.e. belonging to a nation of immigrants, "converts"
if you will), I am offended by this.

Leah S. R. Gordon


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, Oct 31,2016 at 03:01 AM
Subject: Lekol Teruoseinu

Perets Mett wrote (MJ 63#05):

> Michael Poppers (MJ 63#03) wrote:
>> The nusach [liturgical text] Martin considers to be in error is also in the
>> Roedelheim-print machzor ["cycle" of additional / festival prayers] that was
>> originally edited by R. Wolf Heidenheim:
>> ...
> In the fourth edition of the Roedelheim machzor there is a footnote at the
> Areshes Sefoseinu of Zichronos referring to a manuscript explaining that in
> the case of Zichronos, the version is lekol tekioseinu. The explanation is
> that in Minhag Ashkenaz [in this context the South and West German rite], the
> shofar blasts at Zichronos are Tekio Shvorim Tekio, and no teruo is sounded
> then.

I have found the same note in my fifth edition of the Roedelheim machzor of
1828. In it R. Wolf Heidenheim writes that "I find this difficult for those
communities [Minhag Polen] that blow "Tekia Shevarim Terua Tekia" at all
three places according to the opinion of Rabbeinu Tam, who nonetheless still
say "Lekol Tekiateinu" after the Zichronot and Shofarot because of the
questionable text printed in the machzorim".

The shul in which we were davenning followed Minhag Polen [in this context
the North and East German rite], using the 1804 Altona machzor, which my
neighbour's Hanover machzor of 1837 was supposed to follow, so there seems
no reason for not using the same wording each time.

As regards Michael Poppers comment:

>> ... is still in use at "Breuer's"/KAJ and other q'hilos [congregations]. That
>> nusach seemingly was well-known long before the 19th century CE (e.g. see a
>> Venetian print from 1600 ...

"Breuer's"/KAJ follows the minhag of Frankfort based on Minhag Ashkenaz [in
this context the South and West German rite] which blows "Tekia Shevarim
Terua Tekia" after Malkhuyot, "Tekia Shevarim Tekia" after Zichronot and
"Tekia Terua Tekia" after Shofarot. The Italian Ashkenazim, being
descendants of immigrants from that area, did likewise, which would explain
the Venetian print from 1600.

Furthermore after the Shofarot, Minhag Ashkenaz blew "Tekia Terua Tekia" yet
still said "Lekol Tekiateinu" and not "Lekol Teruateinu" so it looks far
more likely that this 'minhag' is a consequence of a printing, or even an
earlier scribal, error and so upholds my suggestion that this is an example
of the power of the press to cause changes.

In any case Shevarim is really an alternative rendering of Terua that arose
because of doubts as to its true method of sounding, and the differing name
was only used to distinguish the two possible types of Terua. Therefore,
even in Minhag Ashkenaz, there seems to be no reason for not saying "Lekol
Teruateinu" if, as Michael Poppers pointed out, this is the preferred text.

Martin Stern

From: Michael Poppers <the65pops@...>
Date: Wed, Nov 2,2016 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Lekol Teruoseinu

In response to Perets Mett (MJ 63#05):

Thanks, Perets.  Actually, the footnote in question is by Shof'ros, not
Zichronos, as can be seen via URL


but yes, it explains that the *nusach* not only by Malchuyos but also by Shof'ros
should be "*t'ruaseinu*" for the reason you implied: in both those cases, a
"t'ruah" is sounded in between *t'qiyos* (by Malchuyos, as a *shvarim-t'ruah*;
and by Shof'ros, just as a *t'ruah*), while by Zichronos, just a *shvarim* is
sounded, so the nusach changes to "*t'qiyaseinu*".

All the best from
Michael Poppers
Elizabeth, NJ, USA


From: Anonymous
Date: Mon, Oct 31,2016 at 07:01 PM
Subject: Machzors and minhagim

I read with interest the multiple comments regarding different sequences of
prayer and inclusion / exclusion of certain prayers for Yom Tovim. Like many of
you I have several  different Machzorim at home.  Of course, they are not identical.

I believe a related topic of focus is how the "leadership" of a synagogue
communicates the sequence of prayer - and / or changes in the sequence of prayer
during the services.

For example, when the ba'al tefillah is using an Art Scroll machzor and the
synagogue has distributed Birnbaum machzorim -- either a "fact sheet" or someone
announcing pages is vital.

I'd like to know how other congregations deal with this situation.

[The author is known to the moderator but has asked for this to be published
anonymously so as not to identify the shul involved. This exception has been
agreed in this case because of the special circumstances involved though it is
not our general practice - MOD]


From: Perets Mett <p.mett00@...>
Date: Mon, Oct 31,2016 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Starting minchah early

> Martin Stern (MJ 63#05) wrote:

> While minchah should preferably be davenned at minchah katanah, this is not
> always practical, especially as we are now approaching winter with its short
> afternoons, so many people will be davenning minchah at minchah gedolah - 30
> minutes after midday.
> The 30 minutes is only a safeguard to be sure that one does not daven before
> midday and someone who inadvertently davens during those 30 minutes does not
> have to repeat minchah.
> It occurred to me recently that this might not apply to ashrei, which we say
> before minchah, so perhaps one could actually start about a minute earlier. 
> Of course, on a weekday this is hardly a major leniency but on Shabbat, when
> there is also Uva leTzion and Kriat Hatorah this could mean starting 10 minutes
> earlier, which might be helpful. The same might apply to a Ta'anit Tzibbur.
> I have been unable to find any ruling on this but, perhaps, others might know 
> of one.

There is at least one minyan for Shabbos Mincho in North West London which
starts less than 30 minutes after chatsos (midday) and so must be interpreting
the 30 minute rule to refer only to the Amido.

Perets Mett

From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Mon, Oct 31,2016 at 06:01 AM
Subject: Starting minchah early

In reply to Martin Stern (MJ 63#05):

The discussion from an upcoming audioroundup on R' Gil Student's Hirhurim Blog
might be pertinent:

Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz -Ten Minute Halacha - Leining Before Mincha Gedola on a
Fast Day
> In a pinch (school busses need to leave) can you read the Torah for mincha
> before the earliest mincha gedola?  Most sources seem to think mid-day and
> after is fine unless you say reading/learning of torah here is part of prayers.

I'd add that R'YB Soloveitchik felt the Rambam was being specific that one must
sit for Ashrei at the beginning of mincha as part of the "setness" of the prayer
so it might be an integral part of it.

Joel Rich

From: Dr. William Gewirtz <wgewirtz@...>
Date: Thu, Nov 3,2016 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Starting minchah early

In response to Martin Stern (MJ 63#05):

The question of starting mincha after chatzot [midday] but before the half hour
seyag [precautionary time] appears similar to a suggestion offered by Rabbi
David Tzvi Hoffman that would obviate the need for misheyakir ['when one can
recognise', the earliest time for shema, tefillin etc.] given our precise
knowledge of the time of alot hashahar [daybreak] when we use depression angles.
One can argue that both are just harkhakot [stringencies to avoid mistakenly
starting to early], obviated by 

1) the availability of a precise definition / occurrence of various zemanim,

2) limited to no reliance on imprecise observation, and 

3) the widespread use of precise timepieces.

That would be highly supportive of leniency with respect to an early mincha,
particularly those elements that precede the amidah. Ask your local orthodox rabbi.

Dr. William Gewirtz


From: Aaron Lerner <lerner603@...>
Date: Mon, Oct 31,2016 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Tumin v'Urim

Parashas Vezos Haberachah, chapter 33, verse 8 speaks of "tumecha v'urecha,"
[Your Tumim and Your Urim].  Everywhere else in TaNach the expression is Urim
v"Tumim. Why is the phrase reversed in Vezos Haberachah?

Aaron Lerner
Silver Spring, MD


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, Oct 31,2016 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Why say Ashrei three times daily?

The Gemara (Ber. 4b) tells us that whoever says Ashrei three times a day is
assured that he will attain the world-to-come and one of the primary reasons is
that it contains the pasuk "poteiach et-yadekha umasbia' lekhol-chai ratson".

Previously (MJ 62#30,32,34), I have suggested that the number fifteen might be
significant and indicate a rise to a higher level of kedushah.

This particular pasuk contains five words (at first sight seven but two pairs
are connected by a makeph [hyphen] as indicated above) and three times five is
fifteen. Is this a coincidence or could one suggest that this might be one
reason why Chazal included Ashrei precisely three times a day in our liturgy?

Martin Stern


End of Volume 63 Issue 6