Volume 64 Number 42 
      Produced: Sun, 08 Dec 19 07:15:58 -0500

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Bei ana rachatz 
    [Keith Bierman]
Community minhag 
    [Joel Rich]
    [Joel Rich]
How Halakhah Changes 
    [Joel Rich]
    [Joel Rich]
Mourners Kaddish: Should We Be Saying It So Often (3)
    [Menashe Elyashiv  Perry Dane  Orrin Tilevitz]
Rosh haShana Musaf - p'sukim (verses) from TaNaCh (3)
    [Ben Katz, M.D. Menashe Elyashiv  Elazar Teitz]
The pitfalls of linguistic change 
    [Martin Stern]
What do you do with your lulav after Sukkot? 
    [Orrin Tilevitz]
Whose learning comes first? 
    [Ari Trachtenberg]
    [Joel Rich]


From: Keith Bierman <khbkhb@...>
Date: Tue, Dec 3,2019 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Bei ana rachatz

All of the carefully edited siddurim I possess clearly have "Bei ana rachitz" in
Berikh Shemeih but many congregations I've davened with pronounce it as "Bei ana
rachatz", i.e. the text has a chirik but the congregation pronounces it as a
patach. I have no doubt that this must have been covered before, but I have not
spotted it. My Aramaic is so weak that it is not obvious to me what the vowel
change does to the meaning.

Three and a half decades ago, I vaguely recall hearing an impromptu drash by Rav
Shlomo Tal (of Rinat Yisrael fame) on the topic, so I recall it was both
significant and (in the minds of some, like his questioner) a change from the
status quo. Sadly, I cannot recall any of the details.

Keith Bierman
303 997 2749


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Wed, Aug 28,2019 at 03:01 AM
Subject: Community minhag

Community plays a large role in halacha (ex. community minhagim, rabbinic
leadership acceptance of Shabbat, responsibility to educate ...). Historically
these started out defined geographically but seem to have morphed to include
family, prior culture etc. as well. Given the proliferation of virtual
communities will virtual community membership also be a factor in halachic

Joel Rich


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Wed, Nov 6,2019 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Dreams

Chazal seem to have mixed feelings about dreams but clearly there was a strong
belief in the validity of some interpreted dreams. Does this still exist within
orthodoxy? Are there any current experts/publications in this area?

Joel Rich


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Thu, Oct 10,2019 at 05:01 AM
Subject: How Halakhah Changes

I ran across an article entitled How Halakhah Changes: From Nahem to the "Tisha
be-Av Kumzitz" in The Lehrhaus. What was particularly fascinating to me in it
was being able to contrast two different classes/types of halachic change both
regarding Tisha B'Av practices. One class-type results in bright-lines being
drawn, the other seems to morph into an accepted minhag/halachic change of sorts.

I think it pretty much comports with my delicate dance theory of Halacha. Change
generally must be seen as organic rather than being forced from the outside in
order for it to be generally accepted. Once the change expands to larger
populations the rabbinic class has to decide whether to go with the flow,
encourage it or try to stem it. That decision will often be made on a very

I used to think that this was completely an artifact due to our lack of a
Sanhedrin but it's been so long I'm really not sure. Perhaps that was the reason
that each tribe had its own Sanhedrin and perhaps there was not uniformity but
rather that 1000 flowers bloomed (excuse the Chinese allusion)


Joel Rich


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Wed, Oct 16,2019 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Mimetics

Someone posted on


"We have seen that halachic scholars throughout the centuries have exerted great
effort to justify the common practice of women to wear jewelry on Shabbat. In
today's milieu, however, there is a greater consciousness of legal texts among
the general populace, and many people wish to adopt an optimal standard of
halachic practice. How should a woman of this persuasion conduct herself?"

Me-optimal? Mimetics be darned!

Moadim Lsimcha/gmar tov
Joel Rich


From: Menashe Elyashiv <menely2@...>
Date: Tue, Dec 3,2019 at 01:01 AM
Subject: Mourners Kaddish: Should We Be Saying It So Often

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 64#41):

> A most interesting article by Rabbi Yaakov Hoffman "Mourners Kaddish:
> Should We Be Saying It So Often?" appeared recently in The Jewish Press:
> https://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/halacha-hashkafa/mourners-kaddish-should
> -we-be-saying-it-so-often/2019/11/22/
> The main points he raises are:
> ...
>> [However] , it is important to maintain an accurate perspective on it. The
>> primary way to honor ones parents posthumously is not by reciting Kaddish per
>> se, but by leading the entire service (which obviously includes saying 
>> several Kaddishim). Saying a separate Kaddish Yatom is a medieval Ashkenazic
>> innovation, instituted for the benefit of mourners incapable of serving as a
>> shliach tzibbur. Therefore, those who do lead the service as aveilim need not
>> recite the additional Mourners Kaddish ...

In most sefaradi synagogues,the mourner is not the hazan and each kaddish in
shaharit has a kabbalic reason. Therefore no kaddish is said after aleinu.

From: Perry Dane <dane@...>
Date: Tue, Dec 3,2019 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Mourners Kaddish: Should We Be Saying It So Often

Martin Stern (MJ 64#41) is surely right that we should resist the temptation to
turn the Mourner's Kaddish into a fetish and that we should remember that the
central function of any Kaddish is to evoke the Kahal's ecstatic response "Y'hei
sh'meih rabba m'varakh l'alam ul'almei-almaya."

Some folks might be interested in a D'var Torah that I delivered a few years ago
that discusses the Kaddish in the context of the larger pattern of call and
response in the liturgy.  It's available for download at 


The drash also deals with the intentionally ambiguous call and response embedded
in the Shema.  Bonus:  I cite Martin in footnote 26.

Take care.

Perry Dane

Rutgers Law School

SSRN page: http://www.ssrn.com/author=48596 
Academia: https://rutgers.academia.edu/PerryDane 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/perry.dane 
Twitter:  @perrydane

From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Tue, Dec 3,2019 at 07:01 PM
Subject: Mourners Kaddish: Should We Be Saying It So Often

In response to Martin's post on mourner's kaddish (MJ 64#41), I have a few

1. The Shulchan Arukh begins his section on "kaddish" with the statement "tov
lema'et bekaddishim (it is preferable to minimize the number of kaddishim)". I
don't know how that squares with various practices intended to maximize the
number of kaddishim, including reciting the paragraph "Rabbi Akashya omer" after a
halachic lecture to permit the saying of kaddish derabannan, along with the
examples Martin gives.

2. I occasionally daven in a nusach ashkenaz shul with a German heritage. During
Elul, kaddish is said only after LeDavid HaShem Ori, not after Aleinu.

3. In the shul where I grew up, kaddish was a free-for-all. The new rabbi (since
deceased) who came 35 years ago was appalled, and decreed that everyone saying
kaddish had to gather around the shulchan, where everybody waited until the shul
quieted down, and then everyone said kaddish more or less together. When I moved
to Brooklyn, it was worse than a free-for-all -- it seemed to me to be a race to
see who finished first. I tried ridicule: I used to stand by the Worst Offender
and go "faster! faster!" That didn't work, but when I was saying kaddish for my
dad, I tried a technique that he had used, teaming up with one other person and
starting kaddish slowly and loudly. The Worst Offender still did his thing, but
only after slinking off to a corner in the back of the shul.


From: Ben Katz, M.D.<BKatz@...>
Date: Tue, Dec 3,2019 at 12:01 AM
Subject: Rosh haShana Musaf - p'sukim (verses) from TaNaCh

Eric Mack wrote (MJ 64#41):

> While davening Musaf on first day Rosh Hashana, I realized something odd about
> the ten p'sukim (verses) that are cited during each of three sections in 
> Musaf: Malchiyot (kingship), Zichronot (remembrance) and Shofarot (Shofar 
> blasts) (credit to ArtScroll for those translations).
> Many of us are aware that three of the p'sukim cited in each of those three
> sections are from Chumash (the Five Books of Moses), three are from N'vi'im 
> (the Prophets) and three are from K'tuvim (the Writings); the tenth in each 
> section is, once again, from the Chumash.  What dawned on me during davening 
> is that the verses are not in the order I would have expected: while the first 
> three are from Chumash, the second three are from K'tuvim and the third three 
> are from N'vi'im.
> Since N'vi'im precede K'tuvim in our Bibles, I would expect the order to be
> Chumash, N'vi'im and, then, K'tuvim.
> Any insights on why this particular order was adopted by those who composed 
> our prayers?

The reason is that all of the quotes from Ketuvim are all from Psalms/Tehillim
whose traditional author is David and David precedes all of the major prophets
quoted in the Prophets/Neviim  section (Isaiah/Yishayahu, Jeremiah/Yirmiyahu and
Ezekiel/Yechezkel) chronologically.  

Ben Katz

From: Menashe Elyashiv <menely2@...>
Date: Tue, Dec 3,2019 at 01:01 AM
Subject: Rosh haShana Musaf - p'sukim (verses) from TaNaCh

In response to Eric Mack (MJ 64#41):

The pesukim in Rosh Hashanah musaf are in chronological order: Ketuvim refer to
the past, Neviim to the future.

From: Elazar Teitz <emteitz@...>
Date: Wed, Dec 4,2019 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Rosh haShana Musaf - p'sukim (verses) from TaNaCh

In response to Eric Mack (MJ 64#41):

*I* suspect that the reason is chronological.  All the p'sukim from K'suvim are
frm T'hillim; i.e., authored (for the most part) by David haMelech.

On the other hand, all the p'sukim from N'vi'im are from the later prophets, who
were several generations after David.

On the topic of these p'sukum, has anyone seen a reason given for the b'racha of
Shofaros having four, rather than three, p'sukim from K'suvim?



From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Dec 8,2019 at 07:01 AM
Subject: The pitfalls of linguistic change

It is well known that the meanings of words tend to change over the
centuries in spoken languages. For example the word 'want' meant 'lack' in
the early modern English of Shakespeare whereas nowadays it usually means
'desire', the lack of awareness of which can lead to a complete
misunderstanding of older texts.

This became apparent to me recently when we were learning Niddah 17b in the
Daf Yomi cycle. The Mishnah states (Artscroll elucidated translation):

"The Sages composed a metaphor to describe the reproductive organs in the
body of a woman [comparing them to the construction of a house - MDS]. They
spoke of hacheder - the room [the main dwelling area - MDS] (the womb),
vehaprozdor - the corridor [perhaps better translated vestibule - MDS] (the
vaginal canal), veha'aliyah - and the attic (the upper chamber). Blood that
originates in the room is tamei, and blood that originates in the attic is tahor

The Gemara (ibid.) quotes the Amora, Rabbah bar Rav Huna, as saying

" ... The room is towards the inside (i.e. towards the back) of a woman's
body, and the corridor is towards the outside (i.e. towards her front) and
the attic is built above both of these. Now, a lul - small passageway -
opens between the attic and the corridor, allowing fluid to flow into the
corridor from the attic. If [blood] was found at any point in the corridor
from the opening of that passageway and inwards towards the womb [i.e. it was
found in the rear portion of the vaginal canal], its doubt is ruled tamei.
If, however, blood is found from the passageway and outward towards the
woman's front [i.e. in the forward portion of the canal] - its doubt is
ruled tahor"

The footnote 2 explains:

[As is consistent with our policy, our elucidation of the Mishnah and Gemara
follows Rashi's approach. However, as noted by Chasam Sofer to 18a, it is
difficult to reconcile Rashi's approach with current anatomical knowledge.
In particular, the identity of the "upper cavity" remains obscure. Aruch
(s.v prozdor) seems to identify it as the bladder [or the urethra]; however
this is difficult since the urethra does not open into the vaginal canal."

The footnote tries to resolve this difficulty by suggesting that in ancient
times, fistulas [pathological tears often arising from childbirth] were much more
common than nowadays and that might be the scenario to which the text refers.

However, it seems to me that this whole problem is caused by mistranslating
the word 'prozdor' as 'vaginal canal', for which Chazal, generally, use the
term 'bayit chitzon [outer chamber]' - in contrast to 'makor [literally
'source'] for the womb [presumably thought of as the 'inner chamber'] and the
'cheder' consists of the two combined. If this is correct then Chazal must have
been  using the word 'prozdor' to refer to the region between the labia which
modern anatomist call the 'vestibulum', the precise Latin equivalent of the
Greek 'prozdoron', from which the word 'prozdor' is derived.

Given this hypothesis, the text fits well with current anatomical knowledge.
The aliyah would be, as per the Aruch, the bladder - and the lul would refer
to the urethra, which, indeed, connects it with this region, opening above,
and somewhat to the front of the vaginal orifice, which, in the Sages'
metaphor, must have been considered as part of the 'cheder' and not the
'prozdor' at all.

Any comments?


From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Mon, Dec 2,2019 at 06:01 PM
Subject: What do you do with your lulav after Sukkot?

In response to Chaim Casper's query (MJ 64#41):

I treat my  lulav like teruma -- I keep it in its plastic bag, wait until it gets
moldy, and then throw it away. But I have been wondering whether it would be OK
just to put it out with the compostables like leaves and branches which the NYC
sanitation department collects it, turns it into compost, and then gives the
compost to gardeners.


From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Mon, Dec 2,2019 at 10:01 PM
Subject: Whose learning comes first?

Joel Rich wrote (MJ 64#41):
> How many questions (per 100 family units with marriageable age children) do
> [communal rabbis] get from working fathers whose children are in the shidduch
> process regarding what is the appropriate trade off of their working more
> hours/delaying retiring (at the cost of their own learning) in order that their
> son/son-in-law be able to continue full time learning for x years?

I believe Rambam provides a fairly clear position in his Laws of Teaching Torah
(3:10), loosely translated (by me):

"Anyone who decides to learn Torah and not work for a living, and receives his
salary from charity, he has profaned God's name and desecrated the Torah and
extinguished the light of religion and caused harm to himself and taken his life
from the world, for it is forbidden to profit from the words of Torah in this
world. Our sages have taught that anyone who profits from words of Torah has
extracted his life from the world"


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Tue, Nov 12,2019 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Women/melachah

Is anyone aware of any women who do not do melachah (prohibited labor) after
shkia (sunset) during the period between Pesach and Shavuot? Men? (see S"A O"C

Joel Rich


End of Volume 64 Issue 42