Volume 64 Number 27 
      Produced: Sun, 26 May 19 08:00:20 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Driverless cars in Halacha? 
    [Joel Rich]
Not wearing glasses in public 
    [Susan Buxfield]
Only One Person Says Mourner's Kaddish? (2)
    [Martin Stern  Avraham Friedenberg]
Visiting a Church or a Mosque (2)
    [Yisrael Medad   Carl Singer]
Yovel problem 
    [Martin Stern]


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Tue, May 21,2019 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Driverless cars in Halacha?

I've heard Rav Asher Weiss make the point concerning the programmers
prioritizing driverless cars' decisions from the viewpoint of the driver. I
suspect that this will be subject to regulation and/or industry standards since
divining what the other party will do is a big part of the challenge in the
technology. In addition I'm not sure whether Halacha or secular law will view
the programmer as an agent of society rather than as an agent of the eventual
buyer. Thoughts?

You might also want to think about whether the "driver" (versus the software
provider) should  be liable for damage if the programmer is programming based on
the driver's perceived priorities.

Joel Rich


From: Susan Buxfield <susan.buxfeld@...>
Date: Tue, May 21,2019 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Not wearing glasses in public

Carl Singer wrote (MJ 64#21):

> An acquaintance (I'm deliberately being vague) informed us that her son who is
> learning in Israel now removes his glasses when walking in public so as not to
> (chas v' challilah) see women who may not be dressed to his standards of 
> tsnius. Apparently, his friends do the same.
> Any thoughts on this one?

The simple answer is one should not be a "Chossid Shoteh" - a person of foolish

If you are rescuing a woman drowning, driving a car or crossing the street, of
course you need all of your unfettered abilities.

But if you are in a situation were clarity of vision is not essential, then why not?


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, May 21,2019 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Only One Person Says Mourner's Kaddish?

Various members wrote (MJ 64#26) in response to Orrin Tilevitz (MJ 64#25):

Carl A. Singer wrote:

> ...
> 3. Another related question is where no cheyuv [person halachically obliged to
> say kaddish] is present in shul, should someone who is not a cheyuv say
> kaddish and, if so, which ones (all, some, etc.)

In many communities, the custom is that someone says the kaddish after Aleinu -
or in some communities the last kaddish is said instead.

> 4. As regards speed and coordination, I was at a large synagogue in suburban
> Toronto and there the Gabbai gathered all those saying kaddish together and
> they said it in unison.

This was (is?) the custom in Amsterdam which was one of the first Ashkenaz
communities to abandon the traditional minhag of only one person saying each
kaddish, probably under the influence of R. Ya'akov Emden, who lived there in
the late eighteenth century, who wrote in favour of doing so in his siddur.

> If I'm the only person at the minyan saying kaddish I tend to say it a bit
> quicker than if others are also saying it -- sometimes staying in unison is
> difficult. A few weeks ago - a worst case scenario - a visitor who was near me
> was also saying kaddish, so I adapted to his (slower) pace but there was
> another gentlemen in another corner of the shul going at an extremely rapid
> pace -- worse yet there was someone answering him (amen, etc.) VERY loudly
> (shouting?). As a result when he finished someone got up on the bema and began
> reading announcements before the two of us (visitor and me) had finished
> saying kaddish - leading to an embarrassing moment when he realized that we
> hadn't yet finished.
> 5. As regards responding to kaddish, especially "y'hay sh'may rabba ...", some
> folks say this quickly, some say it slowly, leading to confusion as to when
> the individual(s) saying kaddish should continue. Does anyone have a "cure"
> for this?

These are the sort of scenarios which lead me to consider the abandonment of the
original Ashkenaz minhag regrettable. With all due respect to R. Ya'akov Emden,
who advocated the change to avoid disputes (leading, on occasion, to fighting in
shul!) because he was aware of the Sefardi practice which his father, the
Chacham Tzvi, had already noted when he was Rav of the Sefardi community of
Sarajevo, where he had fled after the capture of Buda from the Ottoman Turks. I
think, however, that he had not fully appreciated that Sefardim managed to say
kaddish in unison because they said ALL the tefillot in unison whereas
Ashkenazim were accustomed to daven each at his own pace. 

> 6. I recall some 50+ years ago at the Young Israel of Cleveland ..., there was
> a fine gentleman who nebech didn't know the date when his wife had been killed
> in the Shoah so he recited kaddish every day ...

Very sad but he should have designated a specific date to observe for her yahrzeit.

Perry Zamek wrote:

> ...
> I think members may take priority over non-members/visitors at some level.

This is mentioned in the Kitzur Shulchan Arukh (ch. 26). Basically there are
four categories of people who have a duty to say kaddish:

1. sons during shiva

2. sons during sheloshim

3. sons on a parent's yahrzeit

4. sons during the remainder of the eleven months

Of these 2 and 3 are considered equal in precedence. Within each, a toshav
[local resident] takes precedence over an orei'ach [visitor] - some consider
those living in a town but who are members of, or regularly daven in, a
different shul in that town to be visitors for these purposes and on a lower
level of precedence than visitors from out of town. There are complicated rules
of precedence where the visitor is in a higher category and the resident(s) in a
lower one (see KSA ad loc.)

Others who wish to say kaddish can only do so if one is available after those
with a formal obligation have been accommodated.

> It's not only someone who has no formal obligation who misses out. There may
> be instances where a number of aveilim are present, say at Mincha or Arvit,
> and there are not enough kaddeishim to go around.

If that is the halachah, then their not saying kaddish comes under the rubric of
"Ha'ones rachmana patrei [in cases of force majeure one is absolved of any
liability]". As Rabbi Elazar Teitz wrote:

> It is a common misconception that mourners other than for a parent are
> obligated to recite kaddish until the end of shloshim.  There is no such
> obligation, and even as a custom it is, to the best of my knowledge and
> experience, of very recent origin and far from universal.

Michael Poppers wrote:

> ...
> (b) at the end of weekday Ma'ariv, there could be up to three extra
> opportunities to say Qaddish "Yasom": the original Minhag Ashk'naz was to
> recite three chapters of T'hilim (24, 8, and 29) at the end of each weekday
> Ma'ariv ... so a Qaddish could, if so arranged by the gabbo'im, be said after
> each chapter.

It was also the minhag in Ashkenaz, already mentioned in the Machzor Vitry, to
say chapter 83 after the shir shel yom on days when tachanun was said, giving an
extra opportunity to say kaddish on such weekday mornings.

Martin Stern

From: Avraham Friedenberg <elshpen@...>
Date: Thu, May 23,2019 at 06:01 AM
Subject: Only One Person Says Mourner's Kaddish?

As I have mentioned previously in MJ, in the shule where I grew up, everyone
recited Kaddish together, unless there was someone with a yahrzeit. If that was
the case, the person with the yahrzeit said Kaddish by himself after Aleinu, and
"Mizmor Shir Chanukat Habayit" was added afterwards during Mincha and Arvit, and
Kaddash was recited together one more time. (I guess this way no one missed out
on a Kaddish.)

Avraham (Alan) Friedenberg
Be'er Sheva, Israel
Israel: 052.377.1297
U.S. # in Israel: 410.844.3173


From: Yisrael Medad  <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Tue, May 21,2019 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Visiting a Church or a Mosque

In response to Martin Stern (MJ 64#26):

a) I can absolutely see no reason to include mosques in the category.

b) I am no that sure whether today in 2019 "the vast majority of the poskim
agree that Christianity is considered avodah zarah". And I am aware that there are
poskim who oppose such a definition as "idolators" especially for Protestants.

c) Similarly, I don't think a reasonable case could be made for considering
"churches are ... houses of idol worship ...".

Yisrael Medad

From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Tue, May 21,2019 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Visiting a Church or a Mosque

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 64#26):

> I wonder whether one might make a distinction between churches that display
> statues or crucifixes and those that have no such symbols, with the latter 
> being treated as being more akin to mosques.
> Furthermore, Rabbi Neustadt does not discuss former churches or mosques that 
> are no longer used for worship ...

In an off-line discussion Martin mentioned that it was quite common in the
nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in the UK for small communities, with
little available cash, to buy disused non-conformist chapels and convert them
into shuls.

In my experience in Cleveland, Ohio, the opposite occurred -- as the Jewish
community moved to the suburbs, synagogues were sold to church congregations. As
a result many Christian churches have blue and white awnings and stained glass
windows adorned with Mogen Dovids.

Also, recent articles 



contain pictures an abandoned church (empty since 1995) that was converted into
stylish office space. But as one can see from them there are several visual
symbols of the building's heritage.

The question is whether a Jew is allowed to work, or even enter, the premises,
or rent office space in it.



From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, May 26,2019 at 06:01 AM
Subject: Yovel problem

In Behar, there are several verses regarding Yovel [the jubilee - fiftieth year
of the shemittah cycle] which give the impression that there is an obligation on
every individual Jew to return to his ancestral tribal seat of residence - in
particular, "Bish'nat hayovel hazot tashuvu ish el-achuzato" (Vay. 25:13),
literally "In this Yovel year each person should return to his inheritance".

As Rashi points out the real meaning is that the property returns to its
rightful owner under the rules of inheritance, so why does the Torah phrase the
commandment in this potentially misleading manner rather than write, for
example, "Bish'nat hayovel hazot tashuvu  kol sadeh la'ish hamoresho [In this
Yovel year eevery field should return to its rightful inheritor]?

Martin Stern


End of Volume 64 Issue 27