Volume 63 Number 92 
      Produced: Sun, 05 Aug 18 05:27:10 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Advanced Talmud Study 
    [Joel Rich]
Al naharot bavel (2)
    [Joseph Kaplan  Sammy Finkelman]
An Epistemological Fallacy 
    [Ari Trachtenberg]
Berakhah hasemukhah lechavertah 
    [Martin Stern]
Rabbi Gershon Yankelewitz' ZTL -- Elul in Mir 
    [Carl A. Singer]
Tehillim for non-Jews in danger 
    [Stuart Pilichowski]
Undoing an elastic band on Shabbat 
    [David Ziants]
Yahrtzeit Kaddish? 
    [Yisrael Medad]


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Thu, Jul 26,2018 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Advanced Talmud Study

Should advanced Talmud studies for women be a high priority goal for Modern
Orthodox communities or an option? (i.e. do we push for it for all but those who
resist or have it as an option for the motivated?) Why? What about for men? What
is the state of play today?

Joel Rich


From: Joseph Kaplan <penkap@...>
Date: Fri, Jul 13,2018 at 02:01 PM
Subject: Al naharot bavel

Joel Rich asks (MJ 63#91): 

> To quote IIRC R' Asher Weiss - all Jewish tzarot are one big one, the lack of
> the beit mikdash. Thoughts?

My thought is a question. What aspect of the beit hamikdash is being referred to
when one speaks of its lack as the major Jewish tzarah? The building and/or its
destruction, animal sacrifices, the sanhedrin, the exile connected to its
destruction, all of the above, some of the above, none of the above. Or to put
it another way: what would actually be better for the Jewish People if a third
beit hamikdash would appear and why?


From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Mon, Jul 30,2018 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Al naharot bavel

In response to Joel Rich (MJ 63#91):

Al naharos bavel is not taught in schools, or printed in most Siddurim, or in
benchers that are prepared for weddings and similar occasions, or seen anywhere,
so it is not a true minhag, unlike Shir Ha'Maalos [Psalm 126] which is printed
in Shabbos Zemoris and regularly said.

The "Halachically Speaking column of Rabbi Moshe Dovid Lebovits (Rabbinical
Administrator of Kof-K Kosher) which appeared in the July 19, 2018 issue of the
Flatbush Jewish Journal {Nine Days and Tisha B'Av edition says, in part:

"As a remembrance of the churban the poskim write that one should recite al
naharos bavel before bentching during the week, on days that tachanun is
recited. The reason for saying the tefilla is to worry about the churban each
seuda that one washes. The minhag seems to be that people are careful to say al
naharos bavel during the nine days but do not say it the rest of the year. It is
unclear what the basis of this custom is."


From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Mon, Jul 16,2018 at 11:01 AM
Subject: An Epistemological Fallacy

Orrin Tilevitz wrote (MJ 63#91):

> Evolution is an established fact. ... AFIK, no credentialed biologist rejects
> or even questions the theory of evolution. It is no more a "theory" to be
> distinguished from "fact" than is the "theory" that AIDS is caused by a virus,
> or the "theory" that molecules are made of atoms even though (until recently)
> we hadn't seen them.

With all due respect to Orrin, I do not think that even one word in the opening
sentence is well-defined:

* "evolution" - from what point?  in what manner?  There are a number of
evolutionary anomalies that are still open. see, for example: 


* "established" - science does not function based on an establishment or a
preponderance of the experts (in contradistinction to halacha), in part because
there are no annointed experts (recall Feynman's famous quote that science is
the belief in the ignorance of experts). One of the underlying premises of
science is that anyone can successfully promote an intelligent position that
is supported by the known evidence.

* "fact" - there are no facts in science - only evidence based on the unprovable
axioms of science (reproducibility, uniformity of underlying laws, etc.).

For more on this topic, see 



From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Aug 5,2018 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Berakhah hasemukhah lechavertah

Generally where a set of berakhot arukhot (ones that have a final phrase
beginning "Barukh") are connected, for example the shemoneh esrei or birchat
hamazon, only the first begins with the word "Barukh" and the remainder 'depend'
on the "Barukh" at the end of the preceding one - a rule known as berakhah
hasemukhah lechavertah.

There are several situations where this rule is also applied even when there is
an intervening passage e.g. barukh she'amar / yishtabach before and after
pesukei dezimra, birkhot keriat shema and those before and after hallel. The
usual explanation is that these sets of berakhot are not disconnected by the
intervening passage(s) to which they apply.

In view of this 'explanation', why do the berakhot after the haftarah start with
"Barukh" and not 'rely' on the one before its recitation?

The only explanation I could think of was that, unlike the three other occasions,
the haftarah varies from week to week and might therefore be considered a break -
but I don't find this entirely satisfactory. Can anyone shed any light on the

Martin Stern


From: Carl A. Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Sat, Aug 4,2018 at 11:01 PM
Subject: Rabbi Gershon Yankelewitz' ZTL -- Elul in Mir

Shabbos was Rabbi Gershon Yankelewitz' ZTL Yahrzeit His son, Moishe reminded me
of a shiur that's on-line at this link-

SichosMussar- Elul in Mir, Europe


Highly recommended!

*Carl A. Singer, Ph.D.Colonel, U.S. Army Retired
70 Howard Avenue
Passaic, NJ  


From: Stuart Pilichowski <stupillow@...>
Date: Sat, Jul 14,2018 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Tehillim for non-Jews in danger

Carl Singer wrote (MJ 63#91):

> This past Shabbos, before hearing of any rescues, I asked my Rabbi "If the
> children in the (Thai) cave were Jewish would we not be saying tehillim?"
> Do any others on the list have any thoughts or comments on what our attitude
> should be?

My practice has always been to say tehillim or mishebayrach for anyone and
everyone in danger or peril. Tsunami, earthquake, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, etc etc.
When I was a gabbai or shul president I did this as a public functionary of the

I can't imagine reasoning against this practice.

Stuart P
Mevaseret Zion


From: David Ziants <dziants@...>
Date: Sat, Jul 14,2018 at 07:01 PM
Subject: Undoing an elastic band on Shabbat

If a small object (for example a little disposable toy) was joined to another
object (for example a shtender [book stand]) with an elastic band wrapped around
multiple times - would their be an issue of "untying knots" on Shabbat if one
wants to unwrap this band? There is no (or ought to not be) issue of intended
permanency with respect to the small object that was joined to the big object
and might have been joined on by a small child or a young man who does not know
any better.

When unwrapping an elastic band, sometimes on a wind, the band is stuck a bit,
so one needs to adjust the existing winds a little bit to free it. Should
this make a difference? If there is a chance the elastic band will snap whilst
doing this, should this make a difference?

I tried looking this up in Shmirat Shabbat k'hilchata, but could not find a
reference to this type of scenario.

David Ziants
Ma'aleh Adumim, Israel


From: Yisrael Medad  <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Sat, Jul 14,2018 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Yahrtzeit Kaddish?

Martin clarifies (MJ 63#91) in response to what I wrote (MJ 63#90):

>> In responding to my comment (MJ 63#88), Martin Stern indicates (MJ 63#89)  
>> that he relies on the Kitzur Shulchan Arukh.
>> That in of itself is problematic.
>> Even in my high school yeshiva years, Rav Ganzfried wasn't known as the most
>> authoritative source of Halacha Psukah because of his general social outlook.

> While I agree with Yisrael that the Kitzur Shulchan Arukh is not the MOST
> authoritative source of Halacha Psukah, I never indicated that I relied solely
> on it ... I would have thought that my use of the qualification "for example"
> showed that I was merely giving a reference to an easily obtainable work
> rather than a key authority.

I thought it was obvious that I did not make a general judgment on his point in
that his sole source was Ganzfried other than merely highlighting a problem I
perceive in using his Kitzur Shulchan Arukh. I will admit that I was surprised
that he did not respond to my writing that what was problematic was his "general
social outlook". I apologize if this altercation is getting a bit tedious.

Yisrael Medad



End of Volume 63 Issue 92