Volume 64 Number 07 
      Produced: Sun, 11 Nov 18 06:27:18 -0500

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Answering kedusha at night time 
    [David Ziants]
Daven or learn first? 
    [Joel Rich]
Geniza for Microfilm 
    [Chaim Casper]
Modern Orthodoxy? (2)
    [Martin Stern  Carl A. Singer]
Sephardic minhag of wrapping tefillin around the arm 
    [Sammy Finkelman]
Some problems with the haftarah for Vayeira (2)
    [Saul Mashbaum  Michael Poppers]
Stress in Kaddish 
    [Orrin Tilevitz]


From: David Ziants <dziants@...>
Date: Sun, Nov 4,2018 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Answering kedusha at night time

I was at a shiur recently, where the Rav (a well known educator) discussed the
permissibility of various halachic obligations via telephone, or more recently
via skype etc.

Some poskim (for example Rav SZ Aubach) do not permit this at all - and at their
students' weddings not even a microphone would be used for sheva b'rachot. 

There are many poskim - I remember Rav Feinstein being quoted - who permit this
and also for a person to join a minyan in such a manner - if it is in real time.
These poskim hold that the example in the gemara about not fulfilling an
obligation when hearing the echo of a shofar from a cave applies only to shofar,
and with exception to birkat hamazon and kri'at shema (Torah obligations ?),
this sugya [discussion] does not apply.
It seems that the short time lag, as the voice is electronically processed, is
not seen as an issue by these poskim who permit it.
I asked during the shiur concerning whether it is permitted to answer mincha
kedusha where it is night time for me in my locale, and they are praying mincha
at the proper time in the locale of this minyan. The Rav could not give me an
answer to this, so I welcome any feedback on this forum.

David Ziants

Ma'aleh Adumim, Israel


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Thu, Nov 8,2018 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Daven or learn first?

I'm told the "minhag ha'olam [common practice] is to get up early to learn and
then daven (even if that is not the first minyan available). Assuming the
learning starts after the earliest time for davening, shouldn't the "minhag" be
to daven first, then learn?

Joel Rich


From: Chaim Casper <info@...>
Date: Sun, Nov 4,2018 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Geniza for Microfilm

Asher Samuels asks (MJ 64#06):

> One of the political parties running in the local election distributed what 
> they claim is a copy of the Zohar on microfilm.  Lacking a microfilm reader I can
> neither confirm nor deny what they actually distributed, but the more general
> question is whether material that is not printed in a usual manner (e.g.
> microfilm, film negatives) requires geniza.

I once asked the Rav, Rabbi Joseph Dov Halevi Soloveitchik, zt"l, if one was
allowed to record over a cassette tape (How many MJ readers remember those?)
that had a Torah or Haftorah reading on it?    He responded to me, "I don't
know, but I will tell you this: It definitely is not mechikas hsShem (erasing
the printed Name)."

In Asher's case, I ask is the image on the microfilm the written Name?   Or is
it just an image of the written Name?     If it is just an image of the written
name, then is it any different than the spoken name on a tape cassette?   

In a similar vein, I remember seeing (though I can't recall where) that the Name
on a computer monitor is not a Name that requires geniza because nothing has
been actually written.   The "I"s and the "0"s of a computer mother board have
been programmed to write a "G" (as in God) or "Yud" (as in The Name) in the
order the computer operator has dictated.   It is not writing as we understand
it.     When we look at the monitor, we discern these letters are making a word.
 But it is not a word.

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


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Nov 4,2018 at 06:01 AM
Subject: Modern Orthodoxy?

Joel Rich wrote (MJ 64#06):
> Two "M.O." (Modern Orthodox) community members on different occasions recently
> articulated to me that M.O. means picking and choosing what one observes
> (e.g., the classic "I don't hold of not putting on makeup on Shabbat").

While such people may describe themselves as M.O., this does not represent
the ethos of the movement. However, because M.O. admits to membership any
halachically Jewish person, it will attract those who hold such views. They join
it because in more 'right wing' congregations, these views would be frowned upon
and, in consequence, they would feel out of place. Their presence is the obverse
of M.O.'s inclusivity and the latter's greater emphasis on correct doctrine and

This policy characterised the policy of the UK United Synagoague which was
officially Orthodox though most members were minimally observant which explains
why the majority of Jews in the UK are affiliated to Orthodoxy. By and large
defections to the Reform (in the UK more like the US Conservatives) and the
Liberal (more like the US Reform) movements were motivated by a wish to marry
someone not born Jewish who were not prepared to accept the conditions for
conversion of the London Beit Din. 

In the US, on the other hand, such minimally observant people tended to join the
Conservatives, at least if they moved away from the main centres of Jewish
settlement to suburbia. When setting up new communities, they felt Orthodoxy was
too 'foreign' and Reform too 'goyish' and chose the Conservatives as 'somewhere
in between' without giving much thought to doctrinal matters - which explains
that movement's phenomenal growth in the years after WW2.

> Perhaps one of the first projects the new OU data guy can work on is figuring
> out what percentage of M.O. holds this view?  What do others on MJ think the
> percentage is?

I am not sure this is really a sensible suggestion since it would perhaps
give a semblance of acceptability of "non-observant Orthodox" opinions as
opposed to "non-observant Orthodox" (or perhaps better "not-yet-observant
Orthodox" people.

Martin Stern

From: Carl A. Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Sun, Nov 4,2018 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Modern Orthodoxy?

In response to Joel Rich (MJ 64#06):

This post is absurd.  What if I were to post that two Chassidim said that they
only shower on Fridays before going to the Mikveh.

Or two Yeshiva-lyte said that Dinay Mamonos doesn't apply to their enterprise ....

Or two Chabadniks ....

Or ....

Every time we come up with a label and label another Jew (or ourselves) we are
working not to unite Yiddishkite, but to divide it into the we-uns and the they-uns.

Carl A. Singer


From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Fri, Nov 9,2018 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Sephardic minhag of wrapping tefillin around the arm

In the current (1 Kislev 5779 / November 9, 2018) issue of the (English
language) Yated magazine there is an article about (a visit to) Jewish Prague. 
He describes going to davening in the Altneuschul for Kabbalos Shabbos. And he

> ... Friday before Mincha, a Hebrew-speaking guard asked people questions in
> halacha to see whether they were Jewish and inquired as to how often they daven
> to ensure they weren't trying to sneak in for free.
> One person was almost denied entry when, in response to the guard querying how
> many times the tefillin strap is wound around the arm, he said eight.
> He quickly explained that he was referring to the minhag of Sephardim and that
> Ashkenazim wind seven times. That got him in.

??! Is this true? Do Sephardim wrap 8 times?

I know that Sephardim wind in the opposite direction, but I never heard anything
about a different number of windings.

I do remember Rabbi Philip Harris (Pinchas) Singer saying that it wasn't so
important (as some other thing about putting on tefillin) getting the number of
windings right.

That would make sense if there were some people who had a different custom.


From: Saul Mashbaum <saul.mashbaum@...>
Date: Sun, Nov 4,2018 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Some problems with the haftarah for Vayeira

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 64#04):

> As regards the first [miracle], regarding the impoverished widow (vv. 1-7),
> Dr Mendel Hirsch suggests that the link is between the way her creditor
> threatens to enslave her sons for non-payment of her debt and the
> inhospitable behaviour of the people of Sedom. I find this rather tenuous
> since the Torah text does not seem to lay much stress on that aspect of the
> latters' behaviour as opposed to their sexual depravity.

My response is based in large part on a shiur on parshat Vayeira by Rav
Menachem Leibtag. I highly recommend consulting it at 


Although the idea that the sin of the people of Sedom was sexual depravity
(as Rashi explains) is so widespread that it seems almost axiomatic (and indeed
the term sodomy is based on this idea), the Ramban and other commentaries
explain it differently. According to them, the people of Sedom were not "thugs
and perverts" as R. Leibtag puts it, but cultured, law-abiding people merely
trying to uphold their strict laws against letting outsiders penetrate their
community. Their demand to let them "know" Lot's guests can well be taken to
mean that they wished to know who they were, and see if their presence in the
community was in keeping with the local laws. The problem was not that the
people of Sedom were lawless criminals, but that their laws themselves were not
based on justice and morality. This is contrasted to Avraham Avinu, who is
mandated, as Hashem states explicitly in the preceding passage, to establish a
society based on "tzedaka umishpat".

A clear example of a law which is unjust appears in the first story in the
haftara. There could indeed have been a law "on the books" which would enable
the impoverished widow's creditor to legally enslave her children for the
non-payment of a debt, but such a law itself is in violation of principles
of justice and morality.

A society whose laws themselves are corrupt and immoral could be the link
between the parsha and the haftara. Dr. M. Hisrch's commentary is, according to
this, most appropriate.

Aside from the shiur cited, R. Menachem Leibtag has posted hundreds of
additional wonderful shiurim on the www.tanach.org website.

Saul Mashbaum

From: Michael Poppers <the65pops@...>
Date: Sun, Nov 4,2018 at 07:01 PM
Subject: Some problems with the haftarah for Vayeira

In response to Martin Stern (MJ 64#06):

My thought is that both Sarah Imeinu and the Ishah haShunamis (II Kings 4:16)
had, each on her own level, an emunah [trust]-lacking response to the news that
they would give birth to a son; and the reaction of the first woman (doing what
Elisha advised without any comment) provides an example of how one should respond
be'emunah to the statements of an ish haEloqim (not to mention that one does not
need to be an ishah g'dolah [II Kings 4:8] to have emunah).

All the best from

Michael Poppers,


From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Tue, Nov 6,2018 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Stress in Kaddish

In response to the responses from Michael Poppers and R. Elazar Teitz (MJ 64#06)
to my question (MJ 64#05) regarding the proper stress in "tushbechata ve
nechemata and be-a-le-ma" in kaddish. This is, in part, informed by a helpful
correspondence I had offline with R. Teitz.

1. Both Michael and R. Teitz bring as proof the stresses, marked by
cantillations, in the Book of Daniel. The problem is that Daniel antedates the
kaddish by several centuries, and "as R. Teitz concedes" the Masoretes who later
vocalized the text of Daniel, and placed the cantillations, closer to the time
kaddish came into existence, presumably were trying to reconstruct the
pronunciation at the time Daniel was written. A better proof might be Akadamut,
written later than the kaddish (11th century?) and noted by R. Teitz: if we
assume, as is reasonable, that the ending of each word with the syllable ta is a
(crude) rhyme scheme, then that must be where the accent is, because the
penultimate syllables frequently don't rhyme.

2. That still does not necessarily answer the question. R. Teitz says that the
final word of each line of Akdamut is almost universally mispronounced on the
penultimate syllable. But what if Aramaic, which continues as a language of
prayer and learning even though it is not generally spoken by Jews (I need to
ask a Chaldean acquaintance how he pronounces these words), has evolved so that
today stressing the penultimate syllable is now acceptable and not erroneous at
all? (R. Teitz dismisses this possibility.) One proof is the phrase bisiyata
dishmaya, both of whose words are universally pronounced on the penultimate
syllable, by the most eminent rashei yeshiva on down. Indeed, one would sound
like an academic crank or a newbie to Judaism if one did otherwise. R. Teitz
concedes that in public he pronounces these words on the penultimate syllable,
although when he davens he pronounces them correctly because he is talking to
Hashem in what he says is Hashem's language. The fallacy is that Hebrew and
Aramaic are not the same language; Hebrew may be Hashem's language, but Aramaic
isn't, any more than is Yiddish. Indeed, as the common language of the people,
Aramaic was in effect the equivalent of Yiddish at the time kaddish came into
existence, and for many years before and after.


End of Volume 64 Issue 7