Volume 64 Number 20 
      Produced: Thu, 04 Apr 19 03:47:46 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Accomodation needed for last days of Pesach near Garden City, NY? 
    [Leah Gordon]
Dancing at weddings (2)
    [Yisrael Medad   Ben Katz, M.D.]
Hebrew Grammar (2)
    [Martin Stern  Ben Katz, M.D.]
Lifestyle choices 
    [Joel Rich]
Measles vaccinations 
    [Ben Katz, M.D.]
Sociology of pizza shops? 
    [Joel Rich]
Vayikra problems 
    [Elazar Teitz]
Walking in front of someone during davenning (2)
    [Martin Stern  Steven Oppenheimer]


From: Leah Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Wed, Apr 3,2019 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Accomodation needed for last days of Pesach near Garden City, NY?

Hi guys - I know this is a long shot, but I'm not sure where else to ask.

I'm an AP Chemistry teacher in Massachusetts.  This year, one or more kids on
our Olympiad team progressed to the next level of competition, and I don't yet
know if any of them are shomer shabbat because names are not yet released and we
have both Jewish and non-Jewish contestants.  But some of our strongest students
are Orthodox Jewish.

In MA, the competition is on the eighth day of Pesach (also shabbat).  In New
York, they're holding it the next day (Sunday, 4/28) in Garden City. The Garden
City location has agreed to let our shomer shabbat kids, if applicable, take the
test with them, very generously!

I may have students who could benefit from home hospitality (and a ride to the
school in Garden City where the competition takes place at 9:30am Sunday) for
the last days of Pesach, if I can't figure out how to get them there after shabbat.

Are there any M.J folks who are appropriately connected?  It would be boys, ages
17-18, well behaved.

Thanks for any leads. :)

--Leah Gordon


From: Yisrael Medad  <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Mon, Apr 1,2019 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Dancing at weddings

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 64#19):

> I have always felt that dancing at weddings should take place only when the
> chatan and kallah come in and then after benching so that sheva berachot can 
> be said as early as possible, enabling those who cannot stay late to
>  participate. I was therefore happy to read in this week's Weekly Halacha
> Discussion (Tazria) by Rabbi Doniel Neustadt entitled "Leaving a wedding
> before Birkas ha-Mazon":
>> Question: Is it permitted to leave a wedding or a sheva berachos dinner
>> before the recitation of Birkas ha-Mazon and sheva berachos?
> ...
>> Lchatchilah, therefore, it is preferable to stay until the end of the wedding
>> or sheva berachos meal and listen to the recitation of the sheva berachos
> to which he appends the footnote:
>> It is correct, therefore, to schedule most of the dancing at a wedding after
>> Birkas ha-Mazon, so that those who must leave should be able to participate 
>> in the sheva berachos; see Sova Semachos, pg. 48.
> though he regrets that
>> It is, however, not customary to do so.
> Is not the custom of extended dancing causing a late finish a case of
> putting a michshol lifnei iver?

I would think

a) the expression of simcha outweighs all other considerations


b) only when a guest eats bread.

Yisrael Medad

From: Ben Katz, M.D.<BKatz@...>
Date: Mon, Apr 1,2019 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Dancing at weddings

In response to Martin Stern (MJ 64#19):

I may get into trouble, but here goes:

This is just one of a myriad of examples of minhag, the ultimate religious
expression of a community, developing without regard to what the actual,
technical halachah might prefer.  Perhaps if the dancing were all at the end it
would be anti-climactic or there wouldn't be enough guests left.  The community,
not the rabbis, have decided that the mitzvah of mesameach chatan vekallah
overrides the mitzvah of shevah berachot. 

Even at the most yeshivish wedding I have ever attended I have never seen
dancing delayed till after sheva berachot.


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, Apr 1,2019 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Hebrew Grammar

Irwin Weiss wrote (MJ 64#19):

> Martin Stern (MJ 64#18), writing about his grandsons' birth 40 years ago and
> Tachanun issues, wrote:
>> Their britot were delayed.....
> If twin boys are born and there is not going to be a single brit milah (bris)
> but two separate ones, in Yiddish, so far as I know, one says brissim.  (Like
> Taleisim, while in Hebrew, we say Tallitot)

There is a general rule in Yiddish that Hebrew loan words always form their
plurals as if masculine whatever the gender in Hebrew.
> It has always struck me as odd that in Hebrew one says britot, using the
> feminine plural ending for a procedure that is uniquely masculine in our
> culture.  But, grammar has never been my strong point. (Not sure I have a
> strong point, actually)

True but grammatical gender (in any inflected language) is not necessarily
connected to the biological gender of the item. This is highlighted in
German where the words Weib (cognate of wife), meaning "woman", and Maedel
(cognate of maid with the diminutive suffix -el), meaning "girl", are neuter
and not feminine!

> What is the plural of Tehillah (meaning psalm)?   Is it Tehillim as in Sefer
> Tehillim?  Is it Tehillot as in "Norah Tehillot, Oseh Feleh"?

I checked in my concordance and Tehillot is invariably the Biblical form -
Tehillim is a post-Biblical usage. Such changes in spoken languages are
inevitable and it is perhaps remarkable how little Hebrew has changed over
the millenia especially if compared to English which has changed so much in
a thousand years that Anglo-Saxon is essentially a foreign language,
unintelligible to present-day speakers.

Biblical Hebrew may be Lashon Kodesh [The Holy Language] but expecting later
writers to adhere strictly to its forms is unrealistic, pace Avraham Ibn
Ezra's criticisms of Kallir in his commentary on Kohelet 5:1, such as his
'creative' approach to Hebrew grammar and structure, in particular his
changing masculine words to feminine, and vice versa. As the Gemara (Avodah
Zarah 58b) puts it loshon Torah leatzmah, loshon chachamim leatzmo [the
language of the Torah is distinct from that of the Sages]

However, these male-female reversals work the other way as well, for example
the plural of shanah (feminine) is shanim.

> Martin's submission also reminded me of the joke of a guy who goes to India on
> business and is hosted by a Maharajah who shows him around.  The guest, upon
> his return home, sends the Maharajah a thank you note.
> In the note, apart from thanking his host for his hospitality, he says, "I
> particularly enjoyed your showing me that curious animal, the mongoose.  I
>  would greatly appreciate it if you could send me two mongooses."
> Then he thinks, "Mongooses doesnt sound right" and changes the note to "I
> particularly enjoyed your showing me that curious animal, the mongoose.  I
> would greatly appreciate it if you could send me two mongeese."
> This also sounded wrong, grammatically.  So, a third version of the note was
> penned.
> "I particularly enjoyed your showing me that curious animal, the mongoose.  I
> would greatly appreciate it if you could send me one or, if it is not too much
> trouble, even two."

Reminds me of the children's trick question "What do you call a single man from
Portugal?", the answer being, of course "A Portugoose"!

Martin Stern

From: Ben Katz, M.D.<BKatz@...>
Date: Mon, Apr 1,2019 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Hebrew Grammar

In response to Irwin Weiss (MJ 64#19):

I am not a grammarian, but some of this is easily explained.
1. There are a lot of examples of Yiddish bastardizing Hebrew.  A particularly
egregious example is spelling Shabbos shin aleph bet ayin SAMECH.  Yiddish
speakers in general didn't know much Hebrew (think of "shaleshudos) and usually
pluralized words in the masculine.

2. Whether a word is considered masculine or feminine in Hebrew doesn't
correlate with its "innate" masculinity or femininity. The best example here is
the plural for breasts in Hebrew.  EVERY paired body part word in Hebrew is
feminine (yadayim, raglayim, eynayim, aznayim...) EXCEPT shadayim [breasts]).

3. I believe in Mr Weiss' last query the 2 words are different and therefore
have different plurals.  The plural of psalm is tehilim, but the plural of
praise is tehilot.  

BTW, this also shows that, in Hebrew, masculine singulars only get masculine
plurals about 70% of the time, and vice versa.  And NO ONE KNOWS why numbers
seem to be opposite in Hebrew (and in every Semitic language) - i.e. why words
ending in a heh, generally feminine, are masculine when it comes to numbers
(e.g. sheloshah yeladim but shalosh yeladot).


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Wed, Apr 3,2019 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Lifestyle choices

Siman 231 in S"A O"C "That all one's thoughts should be heaven-directed" is one
se'if long, 'buried' between hilchot berachot and tefilat mincha, which covers
all human endeavor. Worth some very detailed discussion but I'll just mention
two points: 

1.) The Mechaber's 'psak' (and I assume it's his psak since it's included in
S"A) seems to demand an ascetic lifestyle (e.g. his comments on attitude towards
onah). I'm not sure all agree on this conclusion (and is this truly an area for
psak or is there a range where each of us must figure out for ourselves?)

2.) The general rule of evaluating each action based on a goal of service to
HKBH seems right on to me but I also perceive that people who actually do this
or articulate it as an aspiration, are thought of as somewhat odd, at least in
the MO community. Thoughts?

Joel Rich


From: Ben Katz, M.D.<BKatz@...>
Date: Mon, Apr 1,2019 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Measles vaccinations

Irwin Weiss wrote (MJ 64#19):

> There is currently a serious measles outbreak in Rockland County where Monsey
> along with some other Haredi and Chassidic enclaves are located.
> Can someone explain the rationale for parents to reject science and refuse to
> vaccinate their children, thus exposing the children to dreadful diseases, and
> potentially exposing others as well? Does their refusal have any halachic 
> basis? Or, on the contrary, is there a halachic obligation to vaccinate one's 
> children (except in the few cases where they may be allergic to components of 
> the vaccine or have some other medical counterindication)?

There is clearly a halachic obligation to vaccinate (except, of course, if there
is a medical contra-indication as Mr Weiss points out) from the verse ushmartem
et nafshotaychem.  

The new refusal I believe stems from some new, misguided kabalistic notions and
from a vocal group of hareidi anti-vaccine proponents called Parents Educating
and Advocating for Children's Health, who falsely claim that doctors obscure
evidence that vaccines are harmful, and link vaccines to brain swelling,
paralysis and death, which rarely if ever happen. The group also hosts regular
conference calls featuring unscrupulous anti-vaccine doctors who are using scary
misinformation in a relatively unsophisticated and uneducated population that
tends to be wary of authority to begin with.

Not only are these people putting their children, families, contacts and
communities at risk (like all other anti-vaccine types) but this is also a
tremendous chilul hashem.  I am truly embarrassed every time this comes up at a
medical conference where I am in attendance.


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Wed, Apr 3,2019 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Sociology of pizza shops?

There seems to have been an interesting development in Bnai Brak. 


It appears to be an example of the delicate dance between the laity and rabbinic
leadership. (If no one went to those pizza shops, they wouldn't have remained
open.) I wonder who gave them their original supervision against local
leadership and why?


Joel Rich


From: Elazar Teitz <emteitz@...>
Date: Wed, Apr 3,2019 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Vayikra problems

Martin Stern (MJ 64#18) questioned the division of the portion of Vayikra. 

I believe the reason for the division of the last three aliyos, dealing with sin
offerings, is as follows: 

His proposed division would result in a wide disparity in size -- 35, 16 and 10
verses, respectively. While today, where usually one person reads the entire
weekly portion, the sizes of the various parts is of little concern, such was
not the case when the divisions were made: at that time, the one called up was
expected to read it himself.  

But in addition, there is a logic to the division: 

The first three of the sin offerings are special -- they are not brought by
ordinary individuals, but by special ones: the kohein gadol, the high court, and
the king. Thus, they are combined in one aliyah. 

The next aliyah deals with a commoner's sin offering, and includes all cases
where the offering is from the animal kingdom. 

This is followed by the sin offering of grain, which is combined with the guilt
offerings -- which also differ from the sin offering in terms of the gender of
the animal.

The result is that each portion has a distinct theme, and there is a lesser
disparity in size: 25, 19 and 16.



From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, Apr 1,2019 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Walking in front of someone during davenning

Lawrence Israel wrote (MJ 64#19):

> Martin Stern wrote (MJ 64#18):
>> The Shulchan Arukh (Orach Chaim 102:4) rules that one may not walk in front
>> of someone davening shemoneh esrei until he has finished, mainly because it
>> will distract him from his concentration (Mishnah Berurah s.k.15). Many
>> people are unfortunately unaware of this halachah.
>> However, I have noticed recently that some people seem to have extended this
>> prohibition to passing in front of someone who has finished davening, and
>> taken three steps back, who is waiting for the shatz to begin his
>> repetition. They ask him to step forward so that they can go behind him
>> rather than pass in front of him.
>> Does anyone know any source for this stringency?
>> And what about those who come in last and station themselves at the doorway
>> or in the aisle, so that anyone else coming in a bit later have no choice but
>> to pass in front of them if they wish to enter?

> And what about those who come in late and station themselves at the doorway or
> in the aisle, so that anyone else coming in a bit later have no choice but to
> pass in front of them if they wish to enter?

They have no right to be there and so there is no problem in disturbing them
by walking in front of them.

Also one does not have to worry about going between them and the Shechinah
since it does not stand in front of a ba'al ga'avah who 'seizes' the public

Martin Stern

From: Steven Oppenheimer <steven.oppenheimer@...>
Date: Mon, Apr 1,2019 at 09:01 PM
Subject: Walking in front of someone during davenning

In response to Lawrence Israel (MJ 64#19):

The Tzitz Eliezer (9:8) is meikil [lenient] and marshals support from a number
of poskim (including the Da'as Torah) to support his lenient view.  He goes on
to bring many other situations where one may be lenient.

While the Mishnah Berurah is lenient regarding sitting in front of a person who
is davening as long as the chair is at least 35 inches high and 14 inches wide
(based upon the Chayei Adam - 26:4), he is stringent, regarding walking in front
of a person in that situation.  The Chayei Adam, however, is lenient in this
situation and permits walking in front of the davener when the above partition
exists.  This lenient position is also accepted by the Aishel Avrohom
MiButchach.  (Most of our chairs today meet the requirements of a mechitza
govoha yud tephochim verochav dalet [a partition that is the minimal ten
handbreadths high and four wide - MOD]).

Steven Oppenheimer, D.M.D.


End of Volume 64 Issue 20