Volume 63 Number 77 
      Produced: Sat, 24 Mar 18 17:02:56 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

A Masoretic joke? 
    [Sammy Finkelman]
Beyond the Seven Noahide Commandments 
    [Orrin Tilevitz]
Depriving the minyan of the opportunity to say tachanun 
    [Martin Stern]
Egg Matzo 
    [David Lee Makowsky]
Munich manuscript (was Who are the "minim"?) 
    [Sammy Finkelman]
Using secular music when davening 
    [Sammy Finkelman]
Vechol ma'aminim 
    [Leah Gordon]
Who are the "minim"? 
    [Sammy Finkelman]
Yehiyou Lerotzon Imrei Fee 
    [Haim Snyder]


From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Thu, Mar 22,2018 at 03:01 PM
Subject: A Masoretic joke?

'bli kol', mentioned by Orrin Tilevitz (MJ 63#75) indeed does have the gematria
of 92, but 've'ein lah', mentioned by Martin Stern (MJ 63#74) doesn't.

There's a yud in the word ve'ein so its gematria is 6 + 10 + 30 not 6 + 30, so
've'ein lah' has a total gematria of 102 not 92

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz (MJ 63#75) writes that it turns out Pekudei's mnemonic
was first erroneously dropped in the Venice Mikraot Gedolot.

I can see an explanation for that one at least. After Pekudei, there is a total
and a mnemonic  given for the number of Pesukim in Sefer Shemos, so it might not
be noticed very quickly that the total for Parshahs Pekudei itself was missing!

But what I don't know is what's the exact purpose of this. Is anyone going to be
counting verses to see if one is missing? Is there some significance to the
number of Pesukim?

By the way, I cannot see any verse total or mnemonic for Pekudei in either of
the links he gives for that.


From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Fri, Mar 23,2018 at 02:01 PM
Subject: Beyond the Seven Noahide Commandments

In a society in which non-Jews are bound to observe the seven Noahide
commandments, does Judaism view a non-Jew who observes non-ritual mitzvot (that
are binding on Jews) as being on a higher spiritiual/moral/ethical plane than
one who does not? Or do the 7 Noahide commandments comprehensively govern
non-Jews' conduct in the same way the Torah's laws (toraitic and rabbinic)
govern Jews' conduct, so that nothing else matters? 

Said a bit differently, do the 7 Noahide commandments, in setting out only
certain prohibitions whose violations are punishable, permit everything else and
make no judgment about a non-Jew who does these acts? For example, is a non-Jew
who engages in slander, who kills animals for recreation (not food), who
sexually abuses women, or who, when married, has sexual relations with other
women (assuming that this does not constitute "gilui arayot"), on a lower plane
than one who doesn't do these things?


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sat, Mar 24,2018 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Depriving the minyan of the opportunity to say tachanun

Joel Rich wrote (MJ 63#76):

> The Mishnah Brurah (O"C 131:26) contains a psak that always interested me -
> Tov lizaher shelo yichnas hachatan l'beit haknesset (a chatan should not go to
> shul) - in order not to deprive the minyan of the opportunity to say tachanun.

I must say that the custom in certain circles to omit tachanun on any
pretext is one of the things I find irritating with what appears to be a
widespread intolerance of those who wish to say it. Why can't those who want
to miss it out give the others the time to say it? After all we don't force
them to say it if they want to omit it.

Martin Stern


From: David Lee Makowsky <dmakowsk@...>
Date: Fri, Mar 23,2018 at 02:01 PM
Subject: Egg Matzo

How does one handle the situation at a Seder where at least one person must eat
egg matzo for health reasons.  Obviously a Rav must approve this.

How is the matzo kept separate?  Is it labeled so no one else takes it? Any
other insights would be appreciated.

I have never been to such a Seder but I am curious as to how this situations is

David Makowsky
(847) 942 - 2636


From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Tue, Mar 20,2018 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Munich manuscript (was Who are the "minim"?)

I wrote (MJ 63#76):

> And the word "min" is old and appears in the
> copy of the Talmud written on parchment by a relative of R. Shimshon of Sens 
> in Paris in 1343 that was in the possession of a Jewish family in a small 
> town in Germany called Pfersa or Pfersee from at least 1610 through the mid  
> to very late 1700s and is now now called the Munich manuscript.

Something seems wrong with that statement, which I based on:


Q. How could it have been written in Paris in 1343??

The Artscroll book "The Rishonim"by Rabbi Hersh Goldwurm says the Jews were
expelled (actually even imprisoned and their property confiscated) from France
in 1306 by the terrible king of France, Philip IV, also known as Phillip the
Fair (meaning good looking)

(He  doesn't say terrible in the book, but you can read of his deeds elsewhere,
and his whole family came to ruin in 1314 with the Tour de Nesle affair - just
punishment.  Alexandre Dumas used that as raw material for a play, although
apparently not a book.)

They were readmitted in 1315, but not many came, and expelled again in 1322. In
1359 they were allowed back in return for a large bribe, and in 1394 expelled
till the 1600s.

Another book "Atlas of Medieval Jewish History" by Haim Beinart (Carta, 1992)
just mentions the expulsion in 1306, the return in 1315 but then says nothing
about 1322 and 1359 but only 1394 (page 59) (There was also an earlier,
expulsion more limited to Paris, in 1182 and some other local expulsions. All
the troubles started with the First Crusade.

Even if some Jews had settled in Paris around 1340, that doesn't sound like
propitious conditions for copying the entire Talmud. (albeit without any
commentaries of course)

All sources say it was written in the year 103 of the 6th millenium, and you can
see the picture of maybe the first page at 


but I am not sure where, if anywhere, it says Paris, but some words have been

The Chida, R. Chaim Yoseph David Azulai, says it ws written in Paris in the year
5103 by one of the relatives of Rabbi Samson of Sens. (I think the ON The  Main
Line blogger is saying he said this in a book called Shem HaGedolim published in
Livorno in 1774)

But do we know the writer of the manuscript was keeping the same count we do so
that that the 27th day of Teves in the year 103 of the 6th millenium works out
to early 1343?

The manuscript itself was rediscovered (or recovered because its earlier
location was known) by Rabbi Rafael Nathan Rabinovitch (the author of the
Dikdukei Seforim) in the Bavarian State Library in Munich in 1862.

Rabbi Shimshon of Sens is one of the main authors of the Tosfos and also lived
over 100 years before so I am not sure what his connection is with this Talmud
manuscript. He was born circa 1150, and went to Eretz Yisroel with the first big
migration of French Rabbis in 1211, (these are the Rabbis who started observing
the second day of Rosh Hashonah in Eretz Yisroel I think) and died in Acre (also
called Acco) about 1230. Acre eventually became a very big Torah center until
the Jewish community got destroyed as a result of a war in 1291. Many Jews
survived (they were ransomed by the Jewish community of Cairo) but they had to



From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Fri, Mar 23,2018 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Using secular music when davening

Carl Singer wrote (MJ 63#74):

> but today I seldom hear secular melodies incorporated into the local
Irwin Weiss wrote (MJ 63#75)

> Carl Singer wrote (MJ 63#74):
>> Perhaps it is a local (or "frum") affectation -- but today I seldom hear 
>> secular melodies incorporated into the local davening. I recall, perhaps 50  
>> years ago, both opera and popular songs adapted for use.
> Some years ago I was davenning at a shul here in Baltimore that has since
> closed. The Chazzan was born into a Satmar family, but the shul was Modern
> Orthodox. He had a fabulous voice and began to sing portions of the Kedusha to
> Broadway tunes.  Like, Kvodo Maleh Olam was to the tune of Memories from
> Cats. 
> This was met with pleasure on the part of some and horror on the part of 
> others. The rule then became that tunes must be suitable Jewish music. 
> (Whatever that means).  I've done Mimekomo Hu Yifen Brachamim to the tune of 
> Sunrise, Sunset from Fiddler on the Roof.  Is that acceptable?

A friend of mine wants to use the tune Sunshine (originally) from the Miami Boys
Choir for Mimekomcha Malkeinu Sophia in Kedusha of Shacharis on Shabbos but
wonders how many people know it.

I think the principle reason that known tunes are used is so that the
congregation can sing along.

People can learn an unfamiliar tune, but that takes a few hearings usually for
any person. If it is new to everyone nobody will be able to sing it.

> Once we had a visitor from Australia in shul.  I did Adon Olam to Waltzing
> Mathilda in his honor. But, there are limits of course!

Familiar tunes are sometimes used to evoke an effect, in which case they should
be something related to what is said. This is not a bad thing to do especially
since it is at the end, although Adon Olam is NOT a marching out song.

That reminds me of the tune the chazan (actually the Rabbi) used to use for
yechadesheihu for Birkhas hachodesh [benching Rosh Chodesh]. For Kislev and
Teves, he sang it to the tune of Maoz Tzur; for Adar, Shoshanas Yaakov; and for
Nisan, Dayenu.

Tunes also get adopted in circumstances outside of shul, like for day camp.


From: Leah Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Tue, Mar 20,2018 at 10:01 PM
Subject: Vechol ma'aminim

Saul Mashbaum (MJ 63#76) makes the statement (relating to secular tunes):

> When I taught at the high school in Providence RI many years ago, the practice
> was to sing the piyyut "VeKol Maaminim" on the Yamim Noraim to the melody of the
> well-known Yiddish lullaby "Of'n Pipichik."
> The principal, Rabbi Nachman Cohen, told me that the choice of this melody was
> intentional. He said that the piyyut expressed emunah pshutah, the fundamental
> and uncomplicated faith in HaShem everyone can share, even those unlearned and
> not intellectual. The melody of a children's song is appropriate for this 
> message.

I strongly disagree that this piyyut is in any way uncomplicated or
unintellectual.  I have spent a lot of time learning it and looking into sources
and deeper meanings.  The various language is deep not only in meaning, but in
linguistic style.  In fact, as a family we felt it was such a moving piece of
liturgy that I commissioned an artist's calligraphy of it which now hangs in our
living room.

Leah S. R. Gordon


From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Tue, Mar 20,2018 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Who are the "minim"?

I wrote (MJ 63#75):

> Jastrow ... cites a few instances. Avodah Zarah 65a and 26b, Horayos 11a, Gittin
> 45b, Tosephta Bava Metzia II 33, Yerushalmi Berachos IX 12d are examples.

I looked at Avodah Zarah 26b. From the Gemorah itself it looks like a "min" is
somebody who makes a point of violating the Torah - like the people who used to
hold Yom Kippur balls.

If it has some connection to an Arabic word meaning liar, or false arguer, it
probably went through a few changes of meaning before you got to the word "min."

I was speculating that maybe this was a word the rambam adopted from Arabic but
that's probably not so, although he seems to have the idea that it is atype of
thinking rather than someone who does certain things.


From: Haim Snyder <haimsny@...>
Date: Tue, Mar 20,2018 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Yehiyou Lerotzon Imrei Fee

Sammy Finkelman wrote (MJ 63#76):
> One Artscroll siddur surprised me by saying the Chazan should say Yehiyou
> Lerotzon Imrei Fee (quietly) after completing his repetition of the Shemoneh 
> Esrei
This should not be a surprise. In Ma'ase Rav 42 it says (my translation) "In the
repetition of the Shmoneh Esrei the reader should say before the prayer Hashem
S'fatai and, at the end Yehiyou Lerotzon".
This is because in the Gemorra (Brachot 9b), Rabbi Yohanan says Hashem S'fatai
and Yehiyou Lerotzon are to be said at the beginning and end and Rabbi Ashi says
that they are like extensions of the prayer. The Gr"a therefore says that if
they are part of the prayer they should be said by the reader who should repeat
the prayer in its entirety.

Haim Shalom Snyder
Petah Tikva


End of Volume 63 Issue 77