Volume 64 Number 16 
      Produced: Fri, 22 Feb 19 06:59:20 -0500

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Amoraic statements 
    [Sammy Finkelman]
Modern Orthodoxy 
    [Sammy Finkelman]
Omitting tachanun for a bris or a choson 
    [Perets Mett]
Yeshaya's son's name (3)
    [Matthew Pearlman  Sam Zisblatt  Sammy Finkelman]


From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Tue, Feb 19,2019 at 08:01 PM
Subject: Amoraic statements

Joel Rich asked (MJ 64#13) about why there are some what sound like very basic
issues where what is the halacha seems to rely on late statements - not even

First of all, there are unsettled issues, and, secondly.  the two issues he
cites: Dina demalchuta dina, and details about prescribed berachos, aren't very
basic issues and wouldn't have existed even at the end of the time of Bayis
Rishon - they only came up later in time.

Dina demalchuta dina didn't really come up much before there were Jewish courts
which had authority to make enforceable rulings in places under non-Jewish rule.
 And there might even have been a rule, which got lost because authority was
taken away. and later on again it bacame a practical issue with the end of the
Parthian Empire and the beginning of the  Sasanian (second Persian) Empire in
224 CE.

Dina demalchuta dina might have been close to a rule before.  It probably was
that Dina demalchuta is equivalent to customary understandings, and maybe some
more. This dictum applies to dinei momenos. Before Shmuel there were issues with
land confiscated by the Romans, and we even had different rulings at different
times as the Tannaim felt their way around this. Before Shmuel perhaps there
wasn't one standardised (announced) rule

When it comes to Berachos, this is all Rabbinical, and  in certain cases, the
exact berachios to make varied, just like it does in davening.

I could give you a real almost incredible example, of an basic unsettled issue,
not settled in the Gemora and in fact not even to this day: Just when a day
begins and when it ends.

The reason that is unsettled is that, originally, it depended on your, or a
community's, perception of when daylight ended or began - and it couldn't be any
other way. It's not like anyone had clocks, or that many people made
calculations. All you could have is doubt as to what day it is.

I think the rule from the Torah is: Nightfall is when you think it is nightfall.
But, later, people needed or wanted a better rule. Not so many people lived by
daylight and its absence, so "day" and "night" didn't have any independent
existence for many Jews, and you needed to know when it was day and when it was
night only for halakhic reasons.

Now when, in some cases, the halacha seems to rely in statements of Amoraim it
is that the Amoraim had the power to settle them.

That there were questions in matters of halacha, and that the highest
authorities could settle them, was true in all times (Devorim  17:11) but it
ended with the end of Amoraim or shortly afterwards. In addition to settling
questions they also had authority to make takanos, and that ended with the
Amoraim. and that's why Rabbeinu Gershom had to make cherems instead.


From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Thu, Feb 21,2019 at 08:01 PM
Subject: Modern Orthodoxy

Ari Trachtenberg wrote (MJ 64#14):

> Joel Rich wrote (MJ 64#13):
>> I believe that R'SZA would not allow the use of electronics lechatchila as  
>> he sees it as rabbinically prohibited but only in a case of need (e.g. 
>> hearing aid, security camera) and only with possible other safeguards.

> My understanding mostly concurs with yours.  He only permitted electronics in
> the case of need, but I do not think that this had to do with the rabbinical
> prohibition.  Instead, it had to do with:

> 1.   The social cost of permitting electricity to the community that has been
> abstaining from it.

> 2.  The relative ease with which actual Shabbat-prohibited work can be done
> with electricity (as opposed to, say, water ... where you could set up a
> water wheel to convert flowing water into forbidden work, but this is not
> something that can be done "off the shelf" today).

As Ari had written (MJ 64#12):

> Chaim Casper (MJ 64#11) wrote:
>> By the way, I think a better example of problematic Orthodox behavior that
>> is outside the system are those who use "half-Shabbat" as a rationalization
>> to send texts and photos on Shabbat.   I know of no source that permits
>> that. Does that mean we write them out of the community? No, it means we use
>> our resources to bring them back into the fold.

> What exactly are the halachic prohibitions with sending texts and photos on
> Shabbat?

> If you accept Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach's assessment of electricity, then
> there does not appear to be an issue of touching the device buttons (assuming
> no noise) or possibly even recording the picture on a solid-state device

There is no problem with electricity here according to R'SZA, but there is a
problem with writing letters, at least Rabbinically. Although electronic text is
not permanent, it is still Rabbinically prohibited, like writing on frost on a
window. That prohibition goes pretty far. Maybe they were afraid people couldn't
maintain the distinction or would be too careful about preserving what they
wrote. What would not be prohibited, even Rabbinically, is making hand motions
in the air.

Biblically writing is mostly limited to permanently writing at least two letters
that didn't exist at all before.

Now there are circumstances, especially in a medical context, where something
Rabbinically prohibited can be done, or it is one of the purposes when you can
do amira l'akum, so this distinction is important. And whether it is intentional
or not, or of any use to you, are also important factors.


From: Perets Mett <p.mett00@...>
Date: Sun, Feb 3,2019 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Omitting tachanun for a bris or a choson

In view of several recent postings, here is a summary of some situations when
tachanun is omitted.


1 If the bris takes place in shul (or presumably in any other venue), tachanun
is not said at that venue until the bris takes place. At any subsequent minyanim
(Shachris or Mincho) at that venue tachanun is said.

2 The main celebrants of a bris: the sandak, father of the baby and the mohel do
not say tachanun all day, as that day is their personal yomtov.

3 The minyan at which any of the main celebrants (see 2 above) davens, before
the bris has taken place, does not says tachanun.

A choson who marries for the first time, or who marries a woman who was not
previously married, celebrates for seven days. During those seven days (seven
24-hour periods of time) he does not say tachanun, nor does the minyan with
which he davens. If he marries during the daytime, tachnanun is not said from
the morning of the chupa.

Perets Mett



From: Matthew Pearlman <Matthew.Pearlman@...>
Date: Sun, Feb 10,2019 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Yeshaya's son's name

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 64#15):

> Towards the end of the haftarah of parashat Yitro, the Almighty tells Yeshaya
> (according to the usual translation) "Please go and greet (King) Achaz, you 
> and your son She'ar Yashuv ..."  (Yesh. 7:3).
> I noticed it carried a very peculiar trop [cantillation sequence indicating 
> the punctuation]: She'ar (tippecha - a disjunctive), Yashuv (merecha - a
> conjunctive), banecha (etnachta - major verse subdivision).
> If his name is She'ar Yashuv  why are the two components separated by this
> sequence? On the contrary, one would have expected them to be linked by the
> sequence: merecha, tippecha - or even linked by a makkef [hyphen] with a
> tippecha on Yashuv.
> Two possibilities occurred to me:
> 1. There may be some obscure rule, of which I am unaware, that, under certain
> circumstances, the sequence merecha tippecha is reversed and so the tippecha 
> is not really a disjunctive. Does anyone know of such a massoretic rule and, 
> if so, what are the circumstances in which it applies?
> 2. His name is She'ar and 'yashuv banecha' has to be understood as a 
> qualifying phrase meaning something like 'your son will return' - as if to 
> reassure Yeshaya that, even if Achaz is incensed by his message and harms 
> him, his son She'ar would not be harmed, and would therefore return, but that 
> strikes me as a rather forced interpretation. Can anyone give a more lucid 
> translation based on this hypothestical punctuation?

R Mordechai Breuer notes this in his Sefer Taamei HaMikra p. 383.
Firstly, he notes that because of this difficulty, Shadal said that it was a
mistake and the notes should be the expected mercha tipcha. Shadal explains how
this mistake might have arisen - because the similar words in 10:22 'shear
yashuv bo' have a tipcha on shear (as would have been expected there) and so the
copyists copied it by mistake here. 

Breuer uses this explanation but reaches the reverse conclusion. The readers of
a text will tend to copy notes from similar phrases elsewhere. So the Masoretes
followed their example since their job was simply to record how people said the

He then goes on to say that in this case it reveals an important idea. Because
someone reading Shear Yashuv [and this is the only time this name appears] will
stop short when they read it because it is broken in half and think about why he
was given this name. And this is precisely because of 10:22 that it is a prayer
that the remnant should indeed return.  


From: Sam Zisblatt <szisblatt@...>
Date: Mon, Feb 11,2019 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Yeshaya's son's name

In response to Martin Stern (MJ 64#15):

This is a good point. I don't know a rule that would demand the trop be the
way Martin suggests. It seems the trop breaking up the name Shear-yeshuv to
be "shear (the remnant) yashuv (will return)" is a double entendre which the
pasuk is going for. A quick look at sefaria.org <http://sefaria.org> shows
many of the commentaries (Rashi, Radak, Malbim,....) see this punctuation as
a play of words on the name, if not that the name was chosen precisely to
make this connection.

From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Tue, Feb 12,2019 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Yeshaya's son's name

In response to Martin Stern (MJ 64#15):

The sequence 'tippecha, merecha, etnachta' is almost certainly an error, either
on Martin's part or the printer's. I think an etnachta is never or almost never
preceded by a merecha. It is either a tippecha or a munach (which is also a
conjunctive - goes with the next word.)

But that's a small point. I looked and I saw that it is printed different ways
in different places!

Some sources of trup do one and some do the other.

The new JPS Hebrew English Tanach (pub. 2000), with the Hebrew based on the
Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia of 1999 has tippecha followed by munach, etnachta.

The Hertz (Soncino) Chumash from the 1930s has merecha, tippecha, etnachta.

The Aryeh Kaplan Living Torah also has  merecha, tippecha, etnachta.

The Judaica Press Isaiah, edited by Rabbi A. J. Rosenberg, which has Mikraos
Gedolas in the Hebrew and an extensive commentary in the English, which helped
me, has tippecha, munach, etnachta.

The 3 volume complete Tanach in the shul I go to, published by Koren, which is
by the side of the omud where sometimes a second or third Sefer Torah is put
temporarily after the reading of one Torah,  but which is only very rarely used
to read a haphtorah (because you wouldn't know where to stop from inside) has 
tippecha, munach, etnachta.

The Haftaroth book in the shul I go to, published by Shilo (C) 1959 and 1987 has
merecha, tippecha, etnachta.

The old Hebrew Publishing Company Chumash has tippecha, munach, etnachta,

The Isaac Leeser Tanach (published by The Hebrew Publishing Company) has
merecha, tippecha, etnachta. (The Hebrew Publishing Company published many
things that came from many different places)

The Silbermann Rashi includes Haftorahs in the back of each volume, and it has
tippecha, munach, etnachta.

The Artscroll Stone edition (1993) has tippecha, munach, etnachta

The Yehoash Hebrew-Yiddish Tanach from the Forward or the Workman's Circle has
munach, etnachta. It also doesn't translate the name, but has a note saying
"Ibberbleib vet Tzurikeren - zeh yud 21".

I recall somewhere seeing in Yeshaya that he was told to call a son by that name
(and another child also by a symbolic name) but I can't find it, even with two
different Hebrew concordances and an English one, although I did find a
reference to 10:21. But that only goes to the meaning of She'ar Yashuv and not
to whether it is also a name of someone.

Targum Yonason and Rashi think it is not a name, but Radak (who also tells you
what Targum Yonason says), Ibn Ezra and Metzudas Dovid, as well all English
translations I looked at, and Yehoash in Yiddish, say it is a name, but in not
all the printed editions that have Hebrew and a translation is the trup in the
Hebrew consistent with the translation of She'ar Yashuv there (as a name.)  (If
I am right about the reason for that version of the  trup.)

I think when they chose the Hebrew to accompany the English or other translation
they didn't pay attention to the trup - the separation of the words only goes
with the words NOT being a name.

Despite Martin's first suggestion, that there might be some sort of obscure rule
that under certain circumstances the tippecha is not really a disjunctive, I
think the separation is actually there to indicate that the two words do not go
together so closely, and, according to those who made or changed the trop, it is
not a name. They treat Yashuv as meaning doing teshuva (or even not sinning in
the first place.)   There are several problems with this:

1) There should be more than one of them - thus Yashuv should be plural.

2) She'ar should also be plural.

3) If there was only one person you wouldn't use the concept of remnant at all
but something like Levad. It's OK to use the word remnant in the singular when
you are talking about a people.

4) Banecha (your son) should also be plural.

5) Son or sons is not really the right word for talmidim (students). There's a
drush about that with Moshe in Bamidbar 3:1-4 but that is not really what the
word banecha means or implies.

6) 10:21 seems more clearly to indicate what She'ar Yashuv means.

Even if it is not a name, and it has the alternative meaning, I think the trup
for those two words still should be merecha tippecha. What's going on here is
that a wrong trup is used (not a merecha tippecha, but a tippecha munach,
although not a tippecha merecha, (which is just an error) in order to separate
the two words "She'ar" and "Yashuv" in order to convey (in their opinion) that
it is not a name, and they considered it the best of the alternatives.

You can also think of "She'ar Yashuv" as a name, but not as referring to all
being exiled and some returning but something related to Yeshiya's time, as some
returning in the sense of Devorim 4:30 and 30:2, 8 and 10; and not so much like
what is described in Devorim 30:4-5; but I am not sure who thinks that. But
Yeshaya 10:21-2 seems to indicate what this is about.


End of Volume 64 Issue 16