Volume 64 Number 45 
      Produced: Wed, 08 Jan 20 06:13:59 -0500

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

A modern day apikoros question 
    [Chaim Casper]
Coronation of a new rabbi 
    [Orrin Tilevitz]
Eleven - or five - verses? 
    [Menashe Elyashiv]
Halachic accidents? 
    [Joel Rich]
Shofar sounding during the Hoshanna Rabba hakafot 
    [Chaim Casper]
The geulah atidah 
    [Martin Stern]
The perils of transliteration 
    [Martin Stern]


From: Chaim Casper <info@...>
Date: Thu, Jan 2,2020 at 01:01 AM
Subject: A modern day apikoros question

Someone whom I would call a frum and ehrliche yid [a religious and respectable
person] and who is a talmid hakham [a scholar], was called an apikoros [heretic]
by some people in the haredi community. (This happened a number of
years ago.)   In my humble estimation, most people in the haredi community and
everyone in the MO community have ignored this apikoros designation.  He
recently posted a question to his myriad of Facebook friends: Should he write a
book about his experience?  I responded as follows:  
"I would counsel against writing the book.  
"The people who would need to read the book and to learn a musar haskel [an
ethical lesson] from it will not read the book.  
"And the people who agree with you and who don't need to learn from the subject
matter will high five you for calling out certain haredi elements. You will
receive requests for interviews and offers for speaking engagements, all from
people who only want another reason to disapprove the haredim.  
"So in the end, no minds will be changed and shalom al yisrael [peace in the
Jewish community] will not be any closer. So what will be accomplished by
writing a book?  
"My rebbe, Shlomo Riskin, may he live long, had the same thing happen to him by
basically the same people yet he never wrote a book about it. He did briefly
mention it in one of his books. Your writing it here on FB accomplishes the same
thing: letting people know about it but allowing everyone to move on. So again,
what will be accomplished by writing a book?"  
So I ask you, dear reader: What would you respond to my friend?  

B'virkat Torah,
Chaim Casper
North Miami Beach, FL
Neve Michael, Israel


From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Sun, Jan 5,2020 at 08:01 PM
Subject: Coronation of a new rabbi

A yeshivish shul (the population is overwhelmingly black-hat, black-suit,
white-shirt) which I attend with some frequency recently hired a new rabbi. 

This past shabbat was, I guess, his formal inauguration and the shul sponsored
an oneg shabbat and a melaveh malka in his honor. The term the shul used
exclusively, in written invitations and announcements from the bima, for this
event was "hachtoro", which translates as "coronation", and the shabbat as
"shabbos hachtoro".

I do not remember a Young Israel I attended many years ago using this term when
they hired a new rabbi, but I was initially OK with it because I couldn't think
of a better term. (My old shul used "installation" when they brought in new
officers, bringing to mind hammers and nails.) And I saw recent references
online to other chassidish and black hat shuls using the term as well. But then
a speaker Friday night, praising the new rabbi, said something like "today we
are machtir our new rabbi. On Rosh Hashana, in malchuyot, we are machtir
Hakaddosh baruch hu", and I said to myself "Uh-uh! That might be an appropriate
comparison for a pope, but not a rabbi".

So I have two questions:

1. Is the notion of a newly-hired rabbi being crowned something new?

2. Am I overreacting?


From: Menashe Elyashiv <menely2@...>
Date: Wed, Jan 1,2020 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Eleven - or five - verses?

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 64#44):

> In the ketoret [incense] section at the beginning of shacharit, there are a
> group of verses, three of which are repeated three times - Ps. 46:8, 84:13,
> 20:10 - and a further two - Ps. 32:7, Mal.3:4 - that are not. I wondered 
> whether there was any significance in this. One idea that occurred to me was 
> that this meant a total of 11 verses are said and that reflected the 11 spices  
> used in the preparation of the incense.

However, in the sefaradi siddur, verses 1,2,3 are said only once and verse 4 is
not said at all.

The same in the verses said before weekday arvit. Sefaradi siddur has only the
first 3 verses one time. Hasidic siddurim have them 3 times, together with other
verses, skipping them on moseii shabbat and hag.


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Tue, Jan 7,2020 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Halachic accidents?

I saw an interesting piece which I thought might be worth discussing on MJ:

> On the one hand, a frustrating element of arbitrariness surrounds umbrella use
> on Shabbos. Why do we act strictly on this issue, which is hotly debated among
> authorities, while acting leniently on other disputed issues? God's will, as
> defined by halakhah, should not be subject to historical accident. On the other
> hand, like an individual, a community is defined in part by its past. We cannot
> change how we got to where we are, our communal evolution through history. As
> halakhah evolves -- within boundaries, of course -- we cannot turn back the clock
> without destabilizing the system.

My opinion is that God's will, as defined by halakhah, should not be subject to
historical accident. I tend to agree with this, yet we see it not infrequently
(e.g. stories told about why no dairy bread allowed even with wrapper, why no
duchening in chutz la'aretz etc.) So IMHO either you have to say it is hashgacha
pratit or at least that those poskim saw it as such (rather than random

Does anyone else have any thoughts on this?


Joel Rich


From: Chaim Casper <info@...>
Date: Thu, Jan 2,2020 at 02:01 AM
Subject: Shofar sounding during the Hoshanna Rabba hakafot

My apologies for the lateness of this post.   I realize I should have sent it in
four weeks ago when Hoshanna Rabba was still fresh in all our minds.  

I daven shacharit at the hanetz minyan.   When we were doing the hakafot on
Hoshanna Rabba, we sounded the shofar at the end of every one of the seven
hakafot.   (I should say I sounded the shofar as I was chosen to be the ba'al
tokeah [the shofar blower] as this is not my personal custom).    I found a
reference to it in the Kaf Hachayim by Yaakov Chayim Sofer, OH 664:9.   For those
not familiar with this sefer (book), Reb Yaakov follows the format of the
Shulhan Arukh Orach Chayim (in the same manner as the Mishnah Berurah) adding his
own commentary as he goes along.   In this paragraph, Reb Yaakov mentions that
some communities have a custom of sounding the shofar at the end of every
hakafah.  He then proceeds to say that a number of poskim [halakhic deciders]
ruled that they don't have this custom.   At no point does he say it is an
incorrect custom or worse.   Rather, he just says A does it, but B, C, D and E
don't do it.  

My question: Does anyone else belong to a minyan where the shofar is sounded on
Hoshanna Rabba at the end of every hakafah?    Can they provide a source(s)
that say to do this custom?   

B'virkat Torah,
Chaim Casper
North Miami Beach, FL
Neve Michael, Israel


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Jan 5,2020 at 07:01 AM
Subject: The geulah atidah

As readers of the mail-jewish digests will by now be aware, I take an interest
in detecting allusions possibly inserted by Chazal in our tefillos. Recently our
esteemed Daf Yomi maggid shiur, Rav Simcha Bamberger, mentioned an idea that had
come to him the previous day with which I was most impressed and would like to
share with all of you.

At the end of Beshallach (Ex. 17:16), we find that Hashem declares "Ki-yad
al-keis Y"H milchamah Lashem ba'Amalek midor dor [Hashem, from His throne, will
wage war on Amalek in every generation]".

There are two strange spellings in this verse: the normal word for throne,
kisei, is spelled keis without its final alef, and the for letter name of Hashem
is abbreviated by omitting its two final letters - vav and heh. Rashi (ad loc.)
notes these omissions and comments "The Holy One, Blessed is He swore that His
name is not complete, nor His throne complete, until the name of Amalek [the
embodiment of evil] will be completely eradicated ..."

A similar idea from the Machzor Vitry (R. Simchah miVitry, a talmid of Rashi) is
quoted by Tosafot (Ber. 3a, s.v. Ve'onin) in which he translates "Yehei shemeih
rabba ..." as "May His [abbreviated] name Y"H be expanded [to the full
four-letter name]", as if the word 'shemeih' were spelled with a yod and could
be read as two words 'shem Y"H'.

In the berachah after kriat shema in the morning "Emet veyatsiv", there is a
passage "Ledor vador Hu kayam ushemo kayam vechiso nachon umalchuto ve'emunato
la'ad kayemet [throughout all generations He endures and His name endures, His
throne is established and His kingdom and faithfulness endure for ever]" which
Rav Bamberger linked to Hashem's promise in Beshallach.

Altogether three letters had been omitted which, when read backwards, heh vav
alef, spell out the word Hu thus making Chazal's formulation allude to the idea
that these omitted letters would endure and ensure that His complete name would
also endure, despite its current abbreviated form, and, also, His throne would
be established in full for ever. That the letters had to be read backwards to
learn this lesson may also be significant in that we will only be able to
appreciate it with hindsight once it has happened.

Also the phrases "midor dor", at the end of the verse in Beshallach, and "ledor
vador" at the beginning of the passage in Emet veyatsiv, might indicate a link
between the prefix "mi- [from]", concerning the battle with Amalek at the end of
the geulat Mitzrayim [redemption from Egypt] to the prefix "le- [to]" at the
beginning of the geulah atidah [eventual redemption with the coming of Mashiach]

That this allusion to the geulah atidah should have been included in the
berachah of Ga'al Yisrael is particularly appropriate since the latter is
centred on the redemption from Egypt whereas Yirmiyah prophesied (16:14-15)
concerning the impact of the even greater miracles that Hashem will do then:

"Behold days are coming, says Hashem, when it will no longer be said 'As Hashem
lives, Who took out the children of Israel from the land of Egypt' but, rather,
'As Hashem lives, Who took out the children of Israel from the land of the North
and from all the lands where He had scattered them' and I shall return them to
their land, which I gave to their ancestors."

Any comments?

Martin Stern


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Wed, Jan 1,2020 at 10:01 AM
Subject: The perils of transliteration

In a recent issue of Hamodia there was an article in the series Hidden Treasures
on little known sefarim, which appears from time to time, on the siddur of Rav
Hirtz Shliach Tzibbur in which his surname, tet-reish-yod-vav-shin, was
transliterated as Trivish which the author then identified as Troyes, the home
town of Rashi in the Champagne district of France. 

The correct transliteration is Treves, the French name for the important German
town, Trier, seat of one of the electoral archbishops of the Holy Roman Empire,
West of the Rhine on the river Moselle. Though its name is pronounced more like
Traive in modern French, it is likely that in the Middle Ages all the letters
were enunciated. It was quite a common Jewish surname in the neighbouring
district of Alsace, where it was often corrupted to Dreyfuss. 

This sort of mistake is very common where names or words are transliterated from
one alphabet to another, in which they are then misread according to the rules
of the new language by people not familiar with the original. The loazim [French
glosses] in Rashi are often unintelligible because the printers had no knowledge
of Mediaeval French and simply did not recognise miscopies in the manuscripts or
typesetting mistakes, that they had themselves made, during proofreading.

A similar case is that of the Tanna whose name is usually read Plimo which is
actually derived from the common Greek name Philemon. This becomes obvious when
one notes two linguistic phenomena. First, the final nun is lost in the
colloquial Aramaic dialect of the Bavli, probably with the nasalisation of the
final vowel similar to the way French developed from Latin - compare words like
yomeichon in Kaddish and Yekum Purkan which become yomeichu in the Gemara.
Secondly, the initial feh was read as a peh, following the rule in Hebrew and
Aramaic that the begadkefas letters always take a dagesh when at the beginning
of a word.

This sort of thing happens even nowadays, as I was amused to see recently in
Israel where the supermarket chain, originally called Supersol, seemed to have
changed its name to Shufersal!

Martin Stern


End of Volume 64 Issue 45