Volume 63 Number 72 
      Produced: Mon, 05 Mar 18 17:26:52 -0500

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Charity solicitations (4)
    [Ari Trachtenberg  Dr. Josh Backon  Sammy Finkelman  Lawrence Israel]
Mixing Nuscha'ot HaTefila 
    [Yisrael Medad]
Questions about Zeresh 
    [Leah Gordon]
Reading last line of Psalm 150 twice (3)
    [Yisrael Medad   Immanuel Burton  Sammy Finkelman]
Shetarei hedyotot 
    [Chaim Casper]
Succah walls 
    [David Ziants]
Telling the truth 
    [Sammy Finkelman]
Was Rav Soloveichic "Orthoprax"? 
    [Chaim Casper]
    [David E Cohen]


From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Sat, Mar 3,2018 at 10:01 PM
Subject: Charity solicitations

Carl A. Singer wrote (MJ 63#71):
> It usually goes like this - a telephone call:  "Doctor Singer, last year you
> generously gave us $100, can we count on you again this year?" (Usually a
> telephone call -- rarely a letter.)
> Comments, please.

I refuse to engage telephone solicitations.  They are often by third parties
(paid on commission) and there is little recourse for best behavior (as you
observe).  Thank G-d we have many options for our (limited) tsdaka budget, there
are many needy charities left after I cross off those who, I feel, misbehave.



From: Dr. Josh Backon <backon@...>
Date: Sun, Mar 4,2018 at 07:01 AM
Subject: Charity solicitations

In response to Carl Singer (MJ 63#71)

He should follow this suggested approach:

Somebody knocks on the door of the wealthiest person in town and asks for a
donation. The millionaire tells the schnorrer: 

"My wife needs $250,000 for an urgent heart transplant; if my brother doesn't
cough up $100,000 by tomorrow, he'll have to declare bankruptcy; my daughter
needs $50,000 for tuition at Bennington. I DON'T GIVE TO THEM, I SHOULD GIVE TO
YOU??" :-) 

Josh Backon

From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Mon, Mar 5,2018 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Charity solicitations

Inresponse to Carl Singer (MJ 63#71):

Most likely these charity organisations are using professional fund raisers and
not giving them any directions, or asking any questions at all except maybe for
whom else they raised money or how much they raised.

The ethics of the entire field may be deficient, but, if so, people may not
realize this.

From: Lawrence Israel <larry.israel@...>
Date: Mon, Mar 5,2018 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Charity solicitations

In response to Carl A. Singer (MJ 63#71):

Another "trick" that some places use to thwart us record keepers is to use two
(or maybe more) different names for the same organization. We found out about
one by accident; now we ask "by what other names are you known". 

Of course, this is no guarantee that the answer will be correct.


From: Yisrael Medad  <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Sat, Mar 3,2018 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Mixing Nuscha'ot HaTefila

Carl Singer wrote (MJ 63#71)

> There was a shul where by consensus the nusach used was simply that of whoever
> was the ba'al tephila at that instant. The reason being these were all *alteh
> Yidden* / survivors from many different parts of Europe and many different
> traditions. Thus each got to remember and keep alive the davening of their 
> youth.

That reminds me of the time I was davening Kabbalat Shabbat many years ago,
before 1970, and used the tune of "Scarborough Fair" (try it) for Lekha Dodi. A
voice from the back spoke up loudly, demanding I stop. I was caught out - using
a 17th century English folk melody recently renewed by two Jews, Simon and

But no.

When the Rabbi asked him why I was to be stopped, the old man replied, "In
Poland that was the tune we used for reciting Kinnot on Tisha B'Av".

Go figure that out.

P.S. I cannot recall whether I changed tunes or continued with Scarborough Fair.
That's how long ago it was.

Yisrael Medad


From: Leah Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Sun, Mar 4,2018 at 12:01 AM
Subject: Questions about Zeresh

I wonder about this every year - maybe some on MJ have wisdom to share: 

In Esther, Chapter 5, Haman clearly describes "Mordechai the Jew" when speaking
to "his loved ones and Zeresh his wife" - in response to which Zeresh and the
gang suggest that he make plans to hang Mordechai.

However, in Chapter 6, in the same context, Haman's advisors and Zeresh counsel
him that "if Mordechai is a Jew, you will lose".

Some questions:

1. Did Zeresh not notice that Mordechai was a Jew when giving the initial
advice?  Why?

2. Is it possible that the text in Chapter 6 was written to be a sort of warning
to anti-semites later to come in history, and wasn't meant to have literally
occurred at that point at all?

3. Why are we so quick in the liturgy (e.g. the hymn, Shoshanat Yaakov) to
condemn Zeresh, just for being "the wife of my destroyer" when she does warn
Haman against tangling with the Jews?

4. Why do we condemn Zeresh explicitly for who her husband is, when we do
not do that to Esther - I see that the text includes both Zeresh and Esther, at
least at some point, speaking up to their respective husbands, on behalf of the
Jews.  I also feel sympathy for Zeresh losing her entire family in the killing

--Leah S. R. Gordon


From: Yisrael Medad  <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Sun, Mar 4,2018 at 01:01 AM
Subject: Reading last line of Psalm 150 twice

Ed Greenberg asks (MJ 63#71):

> Does anybody know why we read the last line of Psalm 150 (Kol Ha'n'shma) twice
> when in davening, even though it only appears once in the actual Psalm?

A. The Tur and Kol Bo hold that the section of the morning prayers called
P'sukei D'zimra end there and therefore, the verse is repeated. The next few
recitations are entitled P'sukei Baruch Hashem L'Olam. See Mishnah Brura 51:7.

B. In addition, see the Midrash at Breishit Rabba 14:9 where R. Levi in the name
of R. Chanina says that we should be saying praises to our Creator for every
single breath we take based on that verse at Psalms 150:6, and instead of
neshama (soul) read neshima (breath).

Yisrael Medad

From: Immanuel Burton <iburton@...>
Date: Sun, Mar 4,2018 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Reading last line of Psalm 150 twice

In response to Ed Greenberg (MJ 63#71):

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks in his commentary in the 4th edition of the Authorised
Daily Prayer Book writes that the repetition of a verse is a convention
signalling the end of a book or passage.

Immanuel Burton.

From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Mon, Mar 5,2018 at 02:01 PM
Subject: Reading last line of Psalm 150 twice

In response to Ed Greenberg (MJ 63#71):

Well, I didn't know, and didn't even realize this, but I thought of a place to
look and I found an (at least partial) answer.

Philip Birnbaum's siddur has explanations of various points about the davening.

About Kol Haneshma he writes on page 66 that it is repeated because this verse
marks the end of the Book of Psalms. 

Which raises the question, why repeat it? It also reminds me that at the end of
4 books, the next to last verse is repeated. So there might be some kind of a
tradition to repeat the last words, maybe to show that we are not abandoning the

Verses from Tehillim are also repeated in two other places in the davening In
Psalm 91, which is the 4th extra Psalm recited on Shabbos and is also in Krias
Shema al hametah" the last verse starting with 'Orech Yamim' is repeated
wherever that psalm is recited.

Birnbaum says on page 310 this is so that number of verses of this Psalm should
add up to seventeen which is the numerical value of the word "Tov"

And the last verses of Hallel are repeated.

Birnbaum writes "The last nine verses, from Odechah to Hodu L'hashem [Philip
Birnbaum has those words in Hebrew letters] are spoken twice when the Hallel is
recited because they do not follow the arrangement of synonymous parallelism of
the previous verses. Each of the last nine verses expresses a new thought.

Of course, the chazzan often repeats words or even verses, as when taking out
the Torah and there is a Psalm which repeats some words included among the
Psalms said for Kabolas Shabbos.


From: Chaim Casper <surfflorist@...>
Date: Sat, Mar 3,2018 at 10:01 PM
Subject: Shetarei hedyotot

Joel Rich wrote (MJ 63#71):

> On the topic of shetarei hedyotot [ordinary documents prohibited to be read on
> shabbat], I wonder why the reading of newspaper advertisements on Shabbat is
> rarely addressed (I'm thinking specifically of all the weekly divrei torah
> publications). 
> If there is no general exemption, is this just a case of mutav sheyihiyu
> shoggegin velo meizidin [better they should sin unknowingly than brazenly]? 
> My suspicion (and that's all it is so I am really wondering if anyone has 
> clarified this) is that like a number of gezeirot [rabbinic promulgations] 
> that according to the algorithm should not be able to be undone, common 
> practice has recognized the reality that perhaps their application today is 
> less clear?  Any insightsinto current rabbinic thinking would be very much
> appreciated  

I would suggest he look at Shmirat Shabbat K'hilkhatah 29:46-7.   There, Rav
Neuwirth, zt"l, says that m'ikar hadin (the basic law), newspapers are allowed
to be read on Shabbat but that one should avoid looking at the advertisements as
they involve mekah u'memkar (business dealings).   

I remember seeing a footnote that I could not immediately find where Rav
Neuwirth quoted his rebbe, Reb Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, zt"l, as saying newspaper
ads are not real mekah u'memkar.  Real mekah u'memkar is where both parties
speak to each other (or what I would call a sales pitch).    

If my memory is correct, then the connection of newspaper ads to sh'tarei
hedyotot would not be correct, at least according to Rav Auerbach. 

B'virkhat Torah,
Rabbi Chaim Casper

North Miami Beach, FL


From: David Ziants <dziants@...>
Date: Sat, Mar 3,2018 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Succah walls

Sammy Finkelman wrote (MJ 63#71):

> There is something that looks just wrong about halacha in William Helmreich's
> book "Wake Up,  Wake Up, To Do the Work of the Creator" (Harper and Row, 1962)
> On page 38 he wrote (describing what his family used to do approximately in 
> the late 1950s):
> "By law the succah had to have at least three new walls while the fourth could
> consist of a wall that was already standing."
> To my knowledge, this is not exactly the halacha. My understanding is that all
> that needs to be done is the schach needs to be lifted up and dropped again.
> That gives it the status of a new succah. I asked around and there are number 
> of well known more or permanent succahs that people remember.
> So where does William Helmreich get this from? Could there be some different
> version of halacha they followed that said this? Was there a minority opinion?

My question is where is this "three new walls" and "fourth already standing"
business from? From what I understand as basic halacha - a sukkah can be kosher
with two and a half walls that is configured like the Hebrew letter "hey". Also
three complete walls (the letter "kaf") or four complete walls (the letter
"samech"). Think of the word SuKaH in Hebrew letters - samech-kaf-hey.

It makes no difference how "permanent" or "temporary" these walls are as long as
the sukkah is stable in a normal wind.

The only thing I can think of, is that in the locale of the author of the above
mentioned work - the normal winds are so strong thatt one of the walls had to be
"already standing" - implying from a permanent building.

So if one has a sukkah that does not stand up to a normal wind this has to be
corrected before putting sechach on it - the possible scenario that is intended
in the quote.

In the case that this already has sechach on it, then one is considered putting
the sechach on again by lifting it up a bit and re-dropping it or reshuffling it
- a halacha I don't see relevant to what is mentioned in the quote assuming
the locale issue. Does he mention this elsewhere in the book?



From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Mon, Mar 5,2018 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Telling the truth

Further to the comments of Joel Rich (MJ 63#70), Bill Bernstein (MJ 63#69) and
Irwin Weiss (MJ 63#71), the most common lie probably told to children is that
"all Jews" do this or that, or don't do this or that, which hides the fact that
over the last century and more, many Jews have stopped being observant in
greater or lesser part.

The consequence of this is that they keep children from not completely frum
homes away from yeshivas (and even children from homes where there could be
close family members who violated halacha!) which is completely the opposite of
the way things worked in the immediate post-World War II era.

Of course then, most of the parents who sent their children to such schools came
from a religious background even if they weren't so observant themselves at that
point. And it wasn't so common to have extreme violations of halacha among close
family members.

According to a book I have, one Rabbi who was in a yeshiva at that time,
estimated that about 80% of the families kept kosher, and, while he wasn't so
careful to make an estimate at the time, about 20% fully kept Shabbos.


From: Chaim Casper <surfflorist@...>
Date: Sun, Mar 4,2018 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Was Rav Soloveichic "Orthoprax"?

David Tzohar wrote (MJ 63#68):

> I recently heard a "Maiseh Rav" which if believable is lashon hara according
> to the Chafetz Chaim. On the other hand if it is true it is a powerful
> "tocheicha"[indictment] against thousands of the Rov's students. According to
> this Maiseh the Rov's wife AH did not wear a kisui rosh [headcovering] and
> when asked about it he answered "So what should I do - divorce her?)
> 1- Is the story true?
> 2- Does it imply that Shlom Bayit trumps Dat Yehudit? 

> If so "HaROV" was not IMVHO a "Lonely man of Halacha" but rather a VERY
> lonely man of Orhopraxy

Even though I am originally from Boston, I have no first hand information that 
Tonya Soloveitchik, a"h, (the Rav's wife) walked in public with her hair 
uncovered.  (I first learned with the Rav five years after his wife passed away.)
I have, however, heard numerous second hand confirmations that this is correct.
I have also been told that she covered her hair in shul.

I asked Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, shlit"a, if he had ever discussed this with the
Rav.   He said yes, he had, and the Rav's response was "You don't divorce a
woman because she doesn't cover her hair in public."   (I would say one should
look at the Arukh Hashulhan 75:7 where, after decrying that women do not cover
their hair nowadays, Rav Epstein, zt"l, says it is permissible for a woman to be
in public without her head covered.   I would also add that it is because of
this ruling that Rav Yisroel Meir Kagan, zt"l, aka the Chofetz Chaim and Mishneh
Brurah, and his followers are uncomfortable with the Arukh HaShulhan as a
halakhic source.)  

In addition, see Rabbi Michael Broyde's exhaustive work on the subject in
Tradition, 42:3, Fall 2009.   (The halakhic permissions for a woman to be in the
public with an uncovered head are there.) 

But my point to David is that he needs to remember what Orthodoxy was like in
the late 1800s in Europe (the time of the Arukh Hashulhan) through the 1960s in
the United States (the prime of the Rav and his wife).   Most Orthodox women did
not cover their hair in public.  

I remember seeing pictures of the Agudah conventions where there are scores of
women with uncovered hair and who are sitting with their husbands at the dinner
tables.  I have been told there was mixed, social dancing at those conventions.
Pictures of women were found in Orthodox publications.   And a picture of both
husband and wife would appear in the publicity for shul and school dinners.
(Note that Rav Avrohom Yaakov Pam, zt"l, of Yeshiva Torah v'Daas, met his wife
on a singles cruise around Manhattan sponsored by Agudah.)   Would any of this
happen today?  Nah, definitely not.   

The Orthodox community of 2018 is light years away from the Orthodox community
of 1868-1968.   (We ate KoGel then.  Can we eat it today?  Definitely not.)    So
I would ask David to reconsider his labeling the Rav "Orthoprax."   The Rav and
his wife were doing what their contemporaries were doing as that was the
Orthodox standard at that time.

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


From: David E Cohen <ddcohen@...>
Date: Sun, Mar 4,2018 at 06:01 AM
Subject: Zemanim

Dr. William Gewirtz wrote (MJ 63#71):

> Let me add that beyond clocks, depression angles, popularized by Rav Yechial
> Michel Tukatzinsky and first mentioned in halakha by Rav Dovid Tzvi Hoffman and
> by one who created some zemanim on behalf of Rav Naftali Tzvi Berlin, are a boon
> to the halakha. (If anyone knows of other 19th century poskim who were aware of
> or used depression angles, please let me know.)

On pages 524-5 of "HaZemanim beHalacha," R' Chaim Benish brings the luach of R'
Refael haLevi Hannover, from the year 5526 (1765-6 CE), and says that is the
earliest known zemanim chart to use solar depression angles.  This luach uses a
depression angle of approximately 8.5 degrees for alot hashachar / "misheyakir"
(which it considers to be identical) and approximately 7.5 degrees for tzeit

It should also be noted that R' Tukachinsky himself, in a number of places in
Sefer Bein haShemashot (pages 15, 49, and 98), refers to Sefer (ha)Elim, written
in 1629 by Yosef Shlomo Delmedigo ("Yashar miCandia"), as one of the sources
that discusses how to calculate depression angles.  (I assume that R'
Tukachinsky was looking at the 1870 Odessa reprint of Sefer Elim.)

-- D.C.


End of Volume 63 Issue 72