Volume 63 Number 62 
      Produced: Tue, 24 Oct 17 01:43:43 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

A further clash of cultures? (2)
    [Leah Gordon  David Lee Makowsky]
A strange order of verses in Hallel Hagadol (2)
    [Elazar Teitz  Michael Poppers]
Driving to visit someone on Shabbat (and Yom Tov) (2)
    [David Lee Makowsky  Susan Kane]
Food on Simchat Torah (was Simchat Torah on a Friday) 
    [Leah Gordon]
Raising the Torah in a Switched-handed Fashion (2)
    [Martin Stern  Chaim Casper]
Seeking an article (2)
    [Chaim Casper  Danny Wildman]
Simchat Torah on Shabbat (was Simchat Torah on a Friday) 
    [Martin Stern]


From: Leah Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Mon, Oct 23,2017 at 12:01 AM
Subject: A further clash of cultures?

Regarding Martin's recent post (MJ 63#61) about the nursery school teacher for
living with man:

I think there are three categories to think about:

HALAKHICALLY - what exactly is the problem with a teacher living with someone
whom the administration deem to be inappropriate, from a halakhic point of view?
 Even if they had some kind of proof that she was living with a man
sexually/intimately, as long as neither is married to anyone else, I fail to see
why their exact status is of concern to anyone except the couple involved and
their potential children.

PRACTICALLY - have any of these people actually interacted with nursery school
students?  These kids are interested in where they're getting their next apple
juice or hugs; they could not care less about the personal lives of teachers -
in large part due to the solipsism of the very young.  Bais Yaakov high school
girls are another matter - from my experience, they are intensely curious about
teachers' relationships, husbands, children, dating, etc., probably because of
imminent concerns about their own lives. But toddlers?  Definitely not.

LEGALLY - I don't know much about UK employment law, but I doubt very much that
this was a legal firing.  And I find distasteful any accusations of
"tale-bearing," for two reasons.  First, this accusation is most often trotted
out against a helpless victim who has little power of her own in the community
(another recent instance would be, for instance, sexual abuse by a Rabbi).  And
second, my understanding is that in our current secular/tolerant countries, we
are meant to trust and obey systems of justice, taxation, etc.  This isn't a
Czar Nicholas situation.

--Leah S. R. Gordon

From: David Lee Makowsky <dmakowsk@...>
Date: Mon, Oct 23,2017 at 01:01 PM
Subject: A further clash of cultures?

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 63#61):

> 'A Jewish teacher has claimed she was a victim of discrimination by an
> Orthodox nursery which fired her after learning she was living with her
> boyfriend ... She said she felt she was being punished for a private and
> personal issue that was entirely separate to my work ...

Does the nursery receive state funds?  I believe in the UK at least some schools
do that and this has caused problems with what they are forced to teach and not
teach.  I don't think it is much of a stretch to include this situation.

For me, paying day school tuition was an extreme hardship.  However I am very
grateful that the state was not able to interfere in how the students were taught.

The above having been said, I do favor vouchers as long as the state does not
get to interfere because of them.


David Makowsky


From: Elazar Teitz <emteitz@...>
Date: Mon, Oct 23,2017 at 10:01 AM
Subject: A strange order of verses in Hallel Hagadol

Martin Stern asked (MJ 63#61):

> Sometimes one may say something in davenning for over 60 years and suddenly,
> it strikes one that something is not quite correct. I had that experience
> this morning during Hallel Hagadol in Pesukei Dezimra when I noticed the
> apparently 'wrong' order of the pesukim:

>> lemolikh amo bamidbar [Who led His people in the wilderness] ki le'olam
>> chasdo
>> lemakeh melakhim gedolim [Who smote great kings] k.l.ch.
>> veyaharog melakhim adirim [Who killed mighty kings] k.l.ch.
>> leSichon melekh ha'Emori [Sichon, king of the Amorites] k.l.ch.
>> ule'Og melekh haBashan [and Og, king of Bashan] k.l.ch.
>> venatan atrzam lenachalah [Who gave their land as a heritage] k.l.ch.
>> nachalah le'Yisrael avdo [a heritage for His servant Yisrael] k.l.ch.
> AFAIK no "great kings" were smitten before the battles with Sichon and Og
> so those two verses, which seem to refer to Yehoshua's defeat of the 31
> Kenaani kings, should have come after the ones referring to them. Then the
> following verses refer naturally to the inheritance of the territories in
> Kenaan.
> Have I misunderstood something?

The m'lachim g'dolim are Sichom and Og.

Just as "l'osei orim g'dolim" is the general, and then is followed by the
specifics "es hashemesh l'memsheles hayom, es hayareiach v'chochavim l'memsheles
halaila," so too "l'makei m'lachim g'dolim" is the general, followed by the
specifics:"l'Sichon melech haEmori, ul'Og melech haBashan."


From: Michael Poppers <the65pops@...>
Date: Mon, Oct 23,2017 at 10:01 PM
Subject: A strange order of verses in Hallel Hagadol

In response to Martin Stern (MJ 63#61):

Some commentaries address the ordering of the verses.  When I saw Martin's post,
my first thought was that the author first spoke in general of all the [smitten]
kings and then gave specifics, and I was happy to see that RaDaQ wrote something
similar, explaining that Sichon and Og represented two extraordinary examples of
the *chessed*/kindness that H' bestowed upon us and that this section of verses
proceeds from the general "smiting" to the slightly-more-specific "slaying" to
the names of two specific leaders. In this vein, please also note the succinct
comments of M'tzudas David.

All the best from
Michael Poppers
Elizabeth, NJ, USA


From: David Lee Makowsky <dmakowsk@...>
Date: Mon, Oct 23,2017 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Driving to visit someone on Shabbat (and Yom Tov)

Chaim Casper wrote (MJ 63#60):

> So my question is how does the MJ family deal with parents, siblings, children,
> friends and acquaintances who are not shomrei mitzvot (mitzvot observer)?   Do
> you invite them for Shabbat and Yom Tov meals?   What heterim or issurim
> [permissive or forbidden ruling] and sources can they provide?

I have been told that Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach actually allowed this.
However I have also been told by someone else that he:

- Made it clear this was for a specific one time basis and was NOT to serve as a

- Made it clear no one was to know about it (If true, this obviously failed).

Does anyone have more information on this?

David Makowsky

From: Susan Kane <adarconsulting@...>
Date: Mon, Oct 23,2017 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Driving to visit someone on Shabbat (and Yom Tov)

I have often heard these stories from the  "other side" -- the point of view of
the less observant relatives.  There is no easy win IMHO but it's worth it to
keep trying.

If the frum person invites the entire family to stay over, the less religious
person often feels imposed upon, like the author of the article. They want to
come for one meal or for a few hours -- they are not prepared to set aside 25
hours for a full Shabbat experience.

Understand that it is extremely rare to sleep over and spend all of Shabbat in
non-Orthodox communities.  It's awkward, and anyone who grew up secular cannot
imagine how that's not an imposition.  They are afraid to be "trapped" for so
long with strangers.  Non-Orthodox people are used to hosting guests for a meal
or for a few hours or maybe a child for a sleepover.  They are not used to
having someone they barely know in their personal space for 25 hours straight. 
Shabbat hosting is a balance between host and guest that is practiced over and
over in the frum world to become a fine art.

On the other hand, if the frum person evidences flexibility, by simply not
asking the less religious person how s/he will arrive or not trying to encourage
them to stay overnight, the less religious person is often offended.  The
attitude is basically "Okay, so it's fine for ME to sin for the sake of seeing
the family but YOU don't want to sin".

Non-religious people are extremely sensitive to anything they perceive as
hypocrisy in those more observant.  Thus, even though religion is disparaged
because it is "extreme" or "inflexible", the truly religious person in their
eyes if often the most extreme or inflexible one.  Those who evidence
moderation, flexibility, open-mindedness, pragmatism, or pluralism are often
suspected of hypocrisy.  And it is well known that conversations among Jews are
far more difficult in this area than any conversation with a religious person of
another faith.

Ideally, one would meditate before each of these conversations on the
commandment to love every Jew.  The only way to transform the conversation is to
feel that love strongly enough that it shines through these conflicts.  (Do I
achieve this?  No.  But I have seen people who do achieve it so I know it can be

Instead of saying "Don't drive here on Shabbat",  why not say, "I would love to
host your entire family for all of Shabbat (Chag).  Is that possible for you? 
If not, what will work for you?"

It seems to me that that would "cover" the requirement for the frum person not
to encourage driving while also asking the less religious person to take
responsibility for their choices.

If money is not a problem, there's also the possibility of having the less
religious family members stay in a nearby hotel which gives them the freedom to
come and go more easily.

Susan Kane
Boston, MA


From: Leah Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Mon, Oct 23,2017 at 12:01 AM
Subject: Food on Simchat Torah (was Simchat Torah on a Friday)

In light of others' comments on MJ about "wives" (ha!  Thank you for the side
notes, I assume to the "Leah Gordons of this list" about how that is not always
the case...) and cooking for Shabbat, and planning for meals, on the Friday
Simchat Torah -

In general, chag fatigue sets in among us all.  Our shul is lucky to house
within the same building, three distinct congregations (Egalitarian,
Partnership, Traditional Orthodox) - and we have a custom of having a joint chag
lunch on Simchat Torah, historically a pot-luck.  I don't love pot-luck, because
I always imagine the offerings to be "cold treif cat-hair quiche".  :)

Recently, this lunch has been replaced by a catered shul meal, sponsored by some
very generous congregants, with the incredibly fortunate help of a higher-up in
the best local kosher caterer who happens to daven in one of our minyanim!

That said, I was more aggravated than usual on ST because this year, davening
ran so late that I had to go home before the luncheon (and I saw it being set
out and had a chance to feel wistful).  I guess I could have stayed, but there
were two recipes I really wanted to try for Shabbat (both turned out great, if
anyone is curious - a homemade kishke and a chocolate torte).

My late mother managed to cook all six-plus meals ahead of time without fail,
but that has always escaped my ability, even with my husband doing a generous
share of the work!  And this seems to be more the rule than the exception, among
my friends and community (both spouses cooking, but not everything done in advance).

Leah S. R. Gordon


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Oct 22,2017 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Raising the Torah in a Switched-handed Fashion

Yisrael Medad  wrote (MJ 63#61):

> I grew up with the Simchat Torah custom of raising up the Sefer Torah
> (Hagba'ah) which is at the parsha of B'reisheet with the lifter grabbing the
> etz chayim of the left side (the heavier side) in his right and the right side
> with his left...

I have also noticed this on occasion.

> Since I protested that that is unnecessary and when asked why, explained that
> the custom, to my mind, rose out of utility in that the left side is heavier 
> and usually the right hand is the stronger. The counter-argument was, if that 
> is the case, why not continue the cross-handed lift until most of sefer 
> Breisheet is read?
> So, my query to the list members:
> a. does anyone know the true origin of the custom and why it was instigated?
> ...

I suspect it is part of the levity on Simchat Torah rather than a minhag in
the strict sense of the word, so it is not necessary to protest to its extension
to other occasions any more than one might protest its adoption in the first place. 

There are far more practices on Simchat Torah to which one might take exception,
for example the overindulgence in alcoholic beverages during the repeated kriat
hatorah, rendering such persons' tefillat mussaf of questionable worth and
possibly, as the Gemara terms it, a to'eivah [abomination].
Martin Stern

From: Chaim Casper <surfflorist@...>
Date: Sun, Oct 22,2017 at 08:01 PM
Subject: Raising the Torah in a Switched-handed Fashion

In MJ 63#61, Yisrael Medad asks, 

> Does anyone know the true origin of the custom [of doing hagbahah with crossed
> arms] and why it was instigated?

In Avraham Yitzhak Sperling's sefer, Taamei Haminhagim (a great sefer -- I highly
recommend it.  There is not a lot of lomdus [intellectual sophistication] in it
but there is a lot of basic, behind the scenes knowledge one can use), he gives
two reasons why the hands are crossed for hagbahah on Simhat Torah (see chapters

1) Based on the Eshel Avraham (chapter 665), he says it is an allusion to
Masekhet Avot 5:22 where Ben Bag Bag says, "Hafokh bah, hafokh bah d'kulah bah
(Birnbaum--Study the Torah again and again for everything is in it or literally,
Turn it over, turn it over for everything is [contained] in it)."  By turning
over the the Torah scrolls by lifting it cross handed, we are alluding to Ben
Bag Bag's concept that all knowledge is located in this Torah we are lifting. 

2) When the mishkan (tabernacle) was being dedicated, the prince of the tribe of
Menashe offered his gifts to the new mishkan on the eighth day (Bamidbar
7:48-59) which for us is Shmini Azeret/Simhat Torah.   Well, remember, when
Ephraim and Menashe were being blessed by Yaakov (B'reishit 48:14), Ya'akov
switched his hands so that his right hand was on Ephraim's head (who was to his 
left) while his left hand was place over Menashe's head (who was on his right). 
By crossing our hands while we lift the Torah, we are remembering Menashe
(remember, his gift is being offered on this day of dedication) and Ephraim (the
day before) (ibid.). 

One final point: Sperling makes no distinction as to which hagbahah we raise it
with switched hands.  Thus, a case could be made that he is saying the switched
hands could/should be done for all three hagbahahs on Simhat Torah.   In fact, I
have seen that done in a number of synagogues I have visited through the years
on S.T. 

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


From: Chaim Casper <surfflorist@...>
Date: Sun, Oct 22,2017 at 09:01 PM
Subject: Seeking an article

In MJ 63#61, Carl Singer mentioned that "someone recommended to me an article 
by the Rav (Rabbi Joseph Dov Halevi Soloveitchik, tz"l)  regarding why it seems
that observant Jews have shifted towards being more 'machmir'". 

I believe Carl is referring to an article written by the Rav's son, Professor
Haym Soloveitchik, entitled:


 The article originally appeared in Tradition Magazine, Vol. 28, No. 4 (Summer
1994).   It may be accessed at:

The article starts out:

"This essay is an attempt to understand the developments that have occurred
within my lifetime in the community in which I live. The orthodoxy in which I,
and other people my age, were raised scarcely exists anymore. This change is
often described as 'the swing to the Right'.

"In one sense, this is an accurate description. Many practices, especially the
new rigor in religious observance now current among the younger modern orthodox
community, did indeed originate in what is called 'the Right'. Yet, in another
sense, the description seems a misnomer....."  

The whole article is fascinating.   But I draw attention to footnote #98 where
Reb Haym relates that he discussed the movement to the right phenomenon with his
father, the Rav, and the Rav noted that he himself also noticed it. 

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

From: Danny Wildman <daniel.wildman@...>
Date: Mon, Oct 23,2017 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Seeking an article

I wonder if the article that Carl was recommended is actually the celebrated
piece by the Rav's son, Rabbi Dr. Haym Soleveitchik:

Rupture and Reconstruction: The Transformation of Contemporary Orthodoxy


available at:


Danny Wildman


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Oct 22,2017 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Simchat Torah on Shabbat (was Simchat Torah on a Friday)

Menashe Elyashiv wrote (MJ 63#61):

> Of course no Simhat Torah cannot fall on a Friday in Israel, but we can have
> it on Shabbat. Shofar does not push out Shabbat, 4 minim do not push out
> Shabbat, but hakafot and endless aliyot do push out the Shabbat day meals.

The reason for this difference is that originally the custom in Israel was
to read the Torah in a three-yearly cycle so there was no Simchat Torah as
we now know it. The current practice is a Diaspora import.
> How many eat the Shabbat morning meal on Simhat Tora? Kiddush with junk food
> and without bread is not a Shabbat meal.

Since this is the most important Shabbat meal, this sort of 'practice' seems
completely unjustifiable.

> My minyan (vatikin) ends around 11-11:30. Additional aliyot are spread out in
> 3-4 places, without any mi shebairachs. We have our hakafot after musaf and a
> very modest kiddush.

This sounds eminently sensible.

> But I assume that the men and kids really enjoy the no ending Simhat Torah.
> Their wives don"t...

They probably don't understand the concept of shalom bayit [family harmony]
but then I have to admit that I also find the endless hakafot and keriat
hatorah tedious as Leah Gordon must have intuited when she wrote (MJ 63361):

> I had to giggle, because I was actually in shul on ST, being annoyed by the
> excessive hakafot and foolishness, and immediately I thought of Martin Stern
> and how we would have this feeling in common!  I fully admit to being a yekke
> by character (and by 1/4 ancestry).  While I was planning to mention this to
> Martin, I didn't realize that he had an ending-early option to exercise, so
> I'm a bit jealous of that.

Apart from one who fled Portugal for Friesland in the Netherlands in the
1500s, my ancestors seem to have lived in the Rhineland as far back as
records exist, possibly even from Roman times when it was the Roman province
of Germania Superior.

Martin Stern


End of Volume 63 Issue 62