Volume 64 Number 10 
      Produced: Sun, 02 Dec 18 12:13:52 -0500

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Another Problematic Stress in Kaddish (2)
    [Martin Stern  Yisrael Medad]
Contact sports 
    [Joel Rich]
Daven or learn first? 
    [Carl A. Singer]
Direction for Lighting Chanukiyah Outside 
    [Yisrael Medad]
Modern Orthodoxy? (3)
    [Joseph Kaplan  Immanuel Burton  Leah Gordon]
Saying Modim Out Loud (2)
    [Chaim Casper  Martin Stern]
What did Ashkenazim eat during Pesah 400 to 700 years ago? (2)
    [Martin Stern  Chaim Casper]


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, Nov 29,2018 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Another Problematic Stress in Kaddish

Susan Buxfield wrote (MJ 64#09):

> According to the rules of Hebrew Grammar, in Kaddish, there is a Shva Nach
> under the second Dalet of DeKuDSha and not a Shva Nah.

But Kaddish is in Aramaic so the grammatical rules are not necessarily the
> However many do pronounce the word as DeKudeSha which as mentioned would
> appear to be incorrect.
> Any comment? Does incorrect pronunciation affect the meaning?

In this case I don't think there is any change of meaning - only that one is
wrong but, not being an expert in Aramaic grammar, I can't say which.

Martin Stern

From: Yisrael Medad  <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Thu, Nov 29,2018 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Another Problematic Stress in Kaddish

In response to Susan Buxfield (MJ 64#09):

Is not Kaddish in Aramaic?,

Yisrael Medad


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Fri, Nov 30,2018 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Contact sports

I know there is a debate as to whether the ability to waive liability (i.e.
Reuvain tells Shimon it's OK for Shimon to hit Reuvain) refers to both monetary
and spiritual liabilities. I was wondering, according to those who said you can
waive the spiritual liability, whether that would also work retroactively (e.g.
would somebody escape lashes for less than a penny's worth of damage - if the
aggrieved party waived the spiritual damages after the fact of the hit)

Joel Rich


From: Carl A. Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Thu, Nov 29,2018 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Daven or learn first?

Our morning shachris minyan has many participants who learn first.

Consider this -- 

(1) often there is an earliest time for tallis & tephillin

(2) also there are many people who come to the morning minyan who do not learn
in the morning

(3) most people who come to the morning minyan are heading off to work -- (to
catch a train or bus and then off to work)

So our minyan begins at 6:15 AM  (6:10 - M & Th) -- and ends at perhaps 6:45 or
6:50 -- people run off to catch transportation to work.

If one wants to learn in the morning then the only practical time (I am NOT
speaking halacha) to do so is before the minyan. Also, one can come as early as
they wish -- if they're a 15 minute learner they could come at, say, 6:00 -- if
they have a 1/2 hour havrusah then 5:45, etc.

Carl A. Singer


From: Yisrael Medad  <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Sun, Dec 2,2018 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Direction for Lighting Chanukiyah Outside

When lit indoors, the chanukiyah is usually placed on the window sill. The
candle/oil lamps are placed in it in a right-to-left order (though they are lit
in a left-to-right order). This results in someone passing by outside to see the
candles as having been lit left-to-right.

When the chanukiyah is placed outside, if the candle/oil lamps are lit while the
lighter is facing the house, the candles/oil lamps will appear in the reverse
direction to that in the instance of lighting inside. In my experience, very
few, if at all, either light the candles/oil lamps and then turn the chanukiyah
around or light them facing to the outside as if he/she were inside.

If I am correct, can anyone explain the different situation?

Is anyone bothered by the reverse look?

Yisrael Medad


From: Joseph Kaplan <penkap@...>
Date: Sun, Nov 25,2018 at 02:01 PM
Subject: Modern Orthodoxy?

Chaim Casper wrote (MJ 64#09): 

> Joseph Kaplan wrote (MJ 64#08):
>> 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").
>> Unlike others, I do not interpret these comments as saying that MO means
>> sometimes picking not to observe that which must be observed or doing things
>> that are prohibited.  Rather, I understand it to be a reflection on autonomy 
>> and asking for psak; that is, they know that there are different opinions 
>> about the permissibility of putting on makeup on Shabbat and rather than  
>> asking for a psak they choose between two known acceptable psakim. Whatever 
>> one may think aboutacting in such a manner, it shows a commitment to 
>> observance rather than the opposite.
> Joe chooses to judge someone favorably ("dan l'khaf z'khut") someone who to me
> chooses to pick and choose what halakhot they observe.   To me, Orthodoxy
> means doing it by the book.  Thus, picking and choosing which halakhot to
> observe puts that person outside the definition of being Orthodox.
> If that is so, then what is "Modern Orthodox?"  Joe's and my teacher, Rabbi
> Shlomo Riskin, once said to me that everyone in the Orthodox community agrees
> there are chiyuvim (obligations such as Shabbat, holidays, tefilah, et al) and
> there are issurim (forbidden rulings such as eating non-kosher, idolatry,
> cooking and driving on Shabbat et al).   The question is, How do we view
> everything else?
> I would offer that those who say if it isn't specifically forbidden by the
> halakhah, then MO says we can halakhically allow it.   Thus, many of us have
> gone to college, we observe Thanksgiving Day here in the U.S., we go to movies
> and plays, etc.  Of course, there are those (i.e. haredim) who say if the
> halakhah doesn't specifically require it, then it must be forbidden.  To each
> his/her own and, of course, there are gradations in between.   It is not black
> and white.  But the one unifying aspect of both views is that the obligations
> must be done and the prohibitions are avoided.  We just disagree about
> everything else.   

Perhaps I wasn't clear so I"ll try to be clearer. I was NOT talking about
assumptions of whether something is presumably permitted or forbidden if it's
not specified in Halacha. I was also NOT speaking about those who choose which
halachot they observe and which they do not. 

I was speaking  about those who choose between two known halachic position (one
that says something is permitted and the other that it is forbidden) without
asking a shaylah of their rabbi first. Whether that is a proper way to act is
something we can discuss, but the propriety of doing so was also my point. My
only point was and is that it is wrong to say that such people "who are shomer
Shabbat and kashrut, who send their kids to orthodox yeshivot and camps and
belong to orthodox shuls, and who in all ways affirmatively affiliate with the
orthodox community" are not orthodox. Such a position is unfairly, I believe,
exclusionary, and draws much too narrow a circle around the orthodox community.
While I think this is true for orthodoxy in general, it is certainly true for MO. 


From: Immanuel Burton <iburton@...>
Date: Thu, Nov 29,2018 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Modern Orthodoxy?

David Tzohar wrote (MJ 64#09):

> I feel that the term "modern orthodox" is meaningless and, in reality, 
> oxymoronic. The dictionary definition of orthodoxy is "behavior (in this case 
> religious) according to an accepted defined standard". Modern is defined as 
> "relating to the present time, not ancient or antiquarian". Therefore if we 
> describe ourselves as Jews who believe in Maimonodean 13 principles of faith  
> and live by the laws of the Shulchan Aruch, both ancient, we cannot define 
> ourselves as "modern" because even present day halachic decisors base their  
> rulings on these ancient standards.

On the contrary, I would say that the term "modern orthodox" is a tautology
rather than an oxymoron. One of the 13 Principles of Maimonides states that the
Torah will never be changed. The Torah is therefore, by definition, applicable
at all times. Since the Torah is relevant at all times, it is therefore, by
definition, always modern. What, therefore, does the qualifier "modern" in the
term "Modern Orthodox" indicate? (Or should that question be, what *else* does
the qualifier "modern" in the term "Modern Orthodox" indicate?)

Immanuel Burton.

From: Leah Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Sun, Dec 2,2018 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Modern Orthodoxy?

Reading the recent posts on what MO might or might not be, reminded me of a post
a while back on MJ about a young boy who read the Percy Jackson books and
learned about Greek mythology, and then took a cup of juice and proclaimed, "I
offer this to Poseidon!" prompting a bit of a panic. (Cup was kashered; juice
was thrown away; education was provided.)

I remember specific responses when I discussed this on-list and off-list, and it
illustrated to me where MO falls in a spectrum of Jewish practice/belief:

Chareidi Orthodox response: This is why we shouldn't allow children to read
secular books! I'm going to take away those books and rebuke my child for such
blatant avoda zara. The cup and juice are already in the trash.

Modern Orthodox response: Can the cup be kashered? Ask a Rabbi, but I think we
have to throw out the juice. This is a great learning opportunity, because how
often does this issue really come up in real life? And we know that this kid
does not actually pray to an ancient Greek idol; we're not worried about that
nowadays. It's a time for discussion and education about what it means to be
Jews. We would never forbid secular literature because it would cut out a great
light of humanity, itself perhaps a manifestation of Hashem's influence on what
people can achieve.

Conservative response: I'm not so comfortable with anyone drinking the juice,
but come on, the cup should just be washed; there's no way it's treif. Who
believes in idols these days? We're obviously Jewish, but I don't need to ask
any Rabbi about what to do. My kids know they're Jewish and we don't daven to
other "gods". I'll talk to them to make sure they understand that.

Reform response: That was an inherently non-Jewish thing for my kid to do. I'd
rather we put the juice away, at least for a while, because I don't want anyone
in my family to think we would eat an idol offering. Obviously no one believes
in idols anymore. In fact, my family wrestles with what the role of any "god" at
all would be in our lives. The reason I don't want my kid to pretend to offer
something to Poseidon is that it makes me spiritually uncomfortable in my own
understanding of being part of the Jewish people.

Secular (but Jewish-identified) response: That is disturbing, and for some
reason I feel like we shouldn't drink that juice. We're Jewish, and there's no
way I want one of my kids pretending to be another religion. When I think about
it, is it so different to pray to one god or another? But on some level, this
really does feel wrong. I'm going to talk to my kids about that. Some pretend
play crosses a line for me.

--Leah S. R. Gordon


From: Chaim Casper <info@...>
Date: Thu, Nov 29,2018 at 10:01 PM
Subject: Saying Modim Out Loud

Both Yisrael Medad and Haim Snyder (MJ 64#09) quote the opinion of the Rav,
Rabbi Joseph D HaLevi Soloveitchik, zt"l, that Modim (the second to last
berakhah in the Amidah) is recited out loud by the sheliach zibbur [the leader
of communal prayer].   The question is why?

The source is the Rav's grandfather, Rav Chaim (Soloveichik), zt"l, of Brisk,
who was the founder of the Brisker Derekh, the way Gemara is today taught
throughout the world.    Rav Chaim pointed out that the Mishnah talks about both
"tefilah batzibbur" and "tefilat hatzibbur."  The difference is "tefilah
batzibbur" connotes an individual davening/praying in the minyan/prayer quorum
while "tefilat hatzibbur" is the prayer of the community itself.   In other
words, the private Amidah is the tefilah batzibbur while chazarat hashatz
[reader's repetition] is the public tefilat hatzibbur.  

It's easy to understand that we have an individual obligation to pray (aka
tefilah batzibbur).   But Rav Chaim is pointing out we also have an obligation
to participate in communal prayer.   Just like we have an obligation to pay
attention to every word we say during the Amidah, we also have an obligation to
pay attention to every word the sheliach tzibbur is saying on our behalf.  

Thus, the sheliach tzibbur waits for us to say every word of the Modim
d'Rabbanan.  The Rav held that the sheliach tzibbur first says out loud, "Modim
anachnu lakh" as that is the "trigger" that tells us to say the Modim
d'Rabbanan.    Once everyone in the community has finished saying their Modim
d'Rabbanan, the shaliah tzibbur continues with "she'ata hoo...." which is the
continuation of the public's prayer. Thus, everyone will be able to pay
attention to the communal prayer in which they are participants. 

B'virkhat Torah and Chag Chanukkah Sameach,
Chaim Casper
North Miami Beach, FL

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Dec 2,2018 at 06:01 AM
Subject: Saying Modim Out Loud

Orrin Tilevitz wrote (MJ 64#08):

> Many decades ago, my bar mitzvah teacher taught me that, as the sheliach
> tzibur, I should recite most of modim in an undertone and only the last line
> out aloud. If I remember correctly -- I could be wrong -- that was the general
> practice where I davened, and is the current one of people of my generation
> who have not been infected with halachic legalisms.
> Years later, in college, I was taught that this practice was wrong; that,
> since modim was part of the amidah, all of it should be recited aloud in the
> repetition. So I assumed that what I was taught was basically non-halachic
> sloppiness, not rising to the level of a minhag.
> ...
> So, I guess my question is: is the insistence that all of modim be recited
> aloud an actual requirement, or merely a modern construction of what perhaps
> logically ought to be the halacha but in fact isn't?

The basic point is that the Gemara (Sotah 40a) quotes various rabbis' differing
textual variants for Modim and these are gathered together as Modim deRabbanan -
literally "the [text of] Modim according to the [various] rabbis". So, if the
congregation says it, it does not have to hear the sheliach tzibbur's version.
This might explain the origin of the custom for the latter to say most of his
Modim in an undertone - only raising his voice at the beginning and end - as
Orrin remembers from his youth.

Also the Avudraham writes (p.115) that since Modim is a declaration of thanks to
HKBH for all His kindness to us, it is better for each individual to say it
personally rather than rely on the communal representative to do so on his behalf.

Martin Stern


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, Nov 29,2018 at 10:01 AM
Subject: What did Ashkenazim eat during Pesah 400 to 700 years ago?

Eric Mack wrote (MJ 64#09):

> I understand that Ashkenazi poskim [rabbinic decisors] issued a takana
> [regulation] against eating kitniyot [legumes and certain other grains or
> vegetables] sometime prior to 1300 C.E.  (Or is it only a minhag [custom]?)

I think it is generally accepted that abstaining from kitniyot on Pesach is only
a minhag but became so widespread that the rabbanim accepted it despite the
Talmud stating explicitly that rice cannot become chametz.
> However, potatoes were not introduced to Europe until almost 1600 C.E.
> What did Ashkenazim eat, besides matza, dairy products, fish, eggs, meat
> and chicken, during Pesah during those 300 or so years?

One can live for a week without potatoes! Obviously they managed to survive on
the items listed (together with fruit and vegetables).

BTW there was a minhag in certain places not to eat chicken on Pesach out of
fear that grain in their stomachs might contaminate the meat. Others avoided
fish (at least those 'farmed' in ponds) because they were fed bread. Some people
filled up pots etc. with all the water they would need for the full festival (at
least for consumption and washing dishes if not also for bathing) in case crumbs
were thrown into the reservoirs on Pesach (by non-Jews of course) to feed the
ducks since there is no bitul [nullification] of chametz on Pesach.

I could go on but there is no end to what people did to avoid even the remotest
chance of chametz getting into their food!

Martin Stern

From: Chaim Casper <info@...>
Date: Thu, Nov 29,2018 at 11:01 AM
Subject: What did Ashkenazim eat during Pesah 400 to 700 years ago?

In response to Eric Mack (MJ 64#09):

I would question the premise that they ate dairy products in Europe.  The late
Satmar Rebbe, Rav Joel Teitelbaum, zt"l, had three sets of false teeth: one
dairy and one meat for use during the year, and one set of meat for Pesah.   Why
only one set for Pesah?   Because, he argued, in Europe they only ate meat and
parve during Pesah.  They never ate dairy.

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


End of Volume 64 Issue 10