Volume 63 Number 99 
      Produced: Mon, 03 Sep 18 08:08:19 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

An Epistemological Fallacy 
    [Orrin Tilevitz]
An unusual phraseology in the Shulchan Aruch 
    [Joel Rich]
Braying in Shule 
    [Dr. William Gewirtz]
Meaning of g'zeira 
    [Eric Mack]
Rote davening 
    [Martin Stern]
Selling chametz on Shabbat (2)
    [Leah Gordon  Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz]
The name OF Hashem? 
    [Martin Stern]


From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Thu, Aug 30,2018 at 03:01 PM
Subject: An Epistemological Fallacy

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 63#98):

> I fear Orrin has completely missed the point I was trying to make. I did not
> wish to claim that scientists should say that "Hashem did [create the
> world]" but that they should admit that whatever natruralistic theory they
> may come up with must be tentative and, by its very nature, incapable of
> definitive proof - that it is basically an epistemological problem [one
> based on the nature of how we acquire knowledge].

At the risk of beating a dead horse, Martin appears to miss the nature of
scientific proof. Scientific proof, unlike (say) mathematical proof, does not
require absolute certainty. The highly improbable, or implausible, may be
disregarded even if they are theoretically possible. In elementary physics we
were taught that a finite probability exists that because of the random nature
of molecular movement, all of our molecules could simultaneously move in a
direction causing us to go Poof! Scientists would rightly view the mechanism --
a radical change over time in how nature operates -- that Martin proposes as an
alternative to evolution as so implausible as to merit being ignored. It does
not help that the only alternative theory advanced is "Hashem did it.". That is
not lack of humility.


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Sun, Sep 2,2018 at 09:01 AM
Subject: An unusual phraseology in the Shulchan Aruch

The phrase "Yeish mi shenireh midevarav [there exits someone who from his
statements appears (to hold)]" appears 3 times in Shulchan Aruch, twice in O"C
158 (hand washing) and once in E'H 141.

Has anyone any thoughts about the meaning of this phrase? Or any good sources on
unpacking the S"A's authorial keys shorter than Ein Yitzchak Volume 3 (such as this
one, or stam and yesh omrim, or why certain unusual cases are included?)

Joel Rich


From: Dr. William Gewirtz <wgewirtz@...>
Date: Thu, Aug 30,2018 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Braying in Shule

Leah Gordon wrote (MJ 63#98):

> In response to Carl Singer (MJ 63#96) and Irwin Weiss (63#97):
> My husband and I are blessed with some musical talent. Nevertheless, one of 
> our sons can't "carry a tune in a bucket".

My brother in law claims to be so frum that he will not carry a tune on either
Yom Tov or even within an eruv on Shabbat. I asked a local Rav to give him a
heter to have Alexa play zemirot during Shabbat/YT meals. 


From: Eric Mack <ewm44118@...>
Date: Sun, Sep 2,2018 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Meaning of g'zeira

As a kohen, I've been duchening [reciting the Priestly Benediction in front
of the congregation] for decades, but the wording of the paragraph we Kohanim
recite after Birkat Kohanim and concurrent with the ba'al tefilah's recitation
of Sim Shalom just caught my attention this Shabbat. (As it was during a vatikin
[sunrise] minyan, I might even say that it dawned on me.)

We say, "Ribbono shel olam, asinu ma she-gazarta aleinu [Master of the world, we
have done what you decreed upon us]".  On Rosh haShana and Yom Kippur, we recite
"u'T'shuva u'T'filla u'Tz'daka ma'avirin et ro'a hag'zeira" [these 3 actions -
repentance, prayer and charity - transform the evil decree].

Does a g'zera [decree] from HaShem not usually have negative implications? If
so, why is that word, in verb form, used regarding our Priestly requirement?

Eric Mack


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Sep 2,2018 at 06:01 AM
Subject: Rote davening

I read a very timely article by Rabbi Binomin Goldberg entitled "Close the
Siddur" in the 30 August issue of Hamodia which might strike a chord with
others, especially at this time of year. In it he wrote

> The goal of tefillah is for Bnei Yisrael to be able to connect to Hashem and
> create the basis of a sincere relationship with Him. By davening, one creates
> the beginnings of a potentially life-changing relationship, and it grows each
time one davens.
> ...
> Once we appreciate this concept, we can understand the critical role tefillah
> plays in our lives. When davening, we should realize that if not for the
> specific words we are uttering at that very moment, we would not have a true
> and real connection to Hashem.
> ...
> We can see what happens when our tefillos become automatic, recited merely by
> rote. We lose the ability to reaffirm our connection to Hashem, and any
> measure of connection we had previously achieved diminishes as a consequence.
> This idea is comparable to a cellphone battery. As the phone is used
> throughout the day, the battery's energy is depleted. Most people realize that
> it must be recharged often, to full capacity, in order to continue using it.
> Imagine someone who connects the charger to the phone but neglects to plug the
> other end into the wall socket. Obviously, if he is expecting it to work the
> next day, he's in for a disappointment. Nor can one assume that if he charged
> the phone last week, it will have enough "juice" to last for another week.
> There is simply no substitute for regular actual connection to a source of
> electricity. Otherwise, the phone will not charge, and its energy will
> continue to dwindle.
> Most of us realize - on an intellectual level, at least - that tefillah is a
> very necessary component in obtaining and maintaining life and its blessings.
> That is, we recognize the need for "recharging" However, by giving tefillah
> mere lip service, treating it as a task to be completed three times daily
> without active kavanah, we thereby deny ourselves the genuine connection to
the vital Source of our being. Our charger may be connected to the phone -
> but it it's not plugged into the wall.
> ...

This obviously applies to our regular davening to which we can easily be
'anaesthetised' by its regular repetition and, therefore, simply say the
words on "automatic pilot" without any real thought as to its meaning. One
would have hoped that, because of their unfamiliarity, the selichot and
piyutim we say at this season would merit a slower pace but, regrettably,
this seems not to be the case. Hopefully, Rabbi Goldberg's words will help
wake us all up to the true nature of tefillah so that we should all merit a
ketivah vechatimah tovah.

Martin Stern


From: Leah Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Thu, Aug 30,2018 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Selling chametz on Shabbat

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 63#98):

> Joel Rich wrote (MJ 63#97):
>> Reuvain awakes in the middle of the night and, forgetting that it was
>> Shabbat, states, "Please sell my chametz." Then, realizing that it's Shabbat,
>> he makes a mental note to take care of it after Shabbat. He then forgets
>> about it until after Pesach has already started.
>> However, Alexa heard his pronouncement, made a complete list of his chameitz,
>> found the website that he used the previous year to sell his chameitz and
>> transmitted the fully filled out forms with the password. The sale was
>> completed by the Rabbi running the website.
> In these circumstances, it is unlikely that Reuvain was sufficiently conscious
> to legally appoint a sheliach [agent] to carry out his wishes nor, probably,
> had he even had in mind to appoint one.
> I presume Alexa was Reuvain's wife (though that may not be relevant here) and
> one might be tempted to apply "ishto kegufo [one's wife is considered as part
> of oneself]" but this would be an incorrect application of that dictum.
>> Would it make a difference if Alexa had waited until after Shabbat to
>> transmit the instructions?

Perhaps Martin is not aware that Alexa is a robot, the invention of
amazon.com <http://amazon.com>!

:) Leah

From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahillel@...>
Date: Thu, Aug 30,2018 at 09:01 PM
Subject: Selling chametz on Shabbat

In response to Martin Stern (MJ 63#98):

>From the context of the question and the way it is asked, it appears that
"Alexa" is a program on Reuvain's computer that automatically sends the
completed form to the Rabbi's email address. That in itself would raise a
question as to whether it is valid.

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, Sep 3,2018 at 08:01 AM
Subject: The name OF Hashem?

I wrote (MJ 63#97):

> Haim Shalom Snyder wrote (MJ 63#96):
>> However, that rule has a number of exceptions, including the regular
>> kedusha. There, the second response is just the last 4 words of the 11 word
>> verse "Vatisa'eini ruah va'eshma aharai kol ra'ash gadol baruch kevod Hashem
>> mimekomo".
> There is an opinion that one can also make such a break after an etnachta
> which would apply to the second response in the regular kedushah but not the
> first one. 
>> Another exception, and one that is more flagrant since it changes the
>> meaning, is the 13 midot, ending with the word "Venakeh".

I have noticed that, in some places, the tzibbur says "Veya'avor Hashem al
panav vayikra" and then waits for the shatz to say it before continuing
"Hashem, Hashem ..." which also involves splitting a verse (Ex.34:6), not
even at an etnachta. Surely this is also incorrect.

There is another punctuation point in the recitation of selichot. The
introduction to the 13 middot, "Keil Melekh yosheiv al kissei rachamim ...",
concludes by quoting the preceding verse (Ex.34:5) "Vayered Hashem be'anan
vayityatzeiv imo sham vayikra veshem Hashem".

In that verse the word "veshem" carries a tippekha which separates it from
the final word "Hashem", implying that one should make a short pause between
them. Not doing so makes a slight change to its meaning from "and He called
out with a name: 'Hashem' [G-d's aspect of mercy]" - i.e. the two words
"veshem" and "Hashem" are nouns in apposition - to "and He called out the
name OF Hashem" - with "veshem" being treated as in semikhut [joined to the
following noun "Hashem"]. This is probably such a fine distinction that one
need not be too worried about it but there is no harm in reading it

Interesting the alternative introduction, "Keil erekh apayim ...", used
after the petichah [introductory selichah] does not quote this verse in full
but simply concludes "... keyom vayikra veshem Hashem vesham ne'emar" which
could be read either way and this phrase would, probably, be more accurately
rendered "... as on the day when He called out in the name of 'Hashem', as
it is said: ...".

Martin Stern


End of Volume 63 Issue 99