Volume 64 Number 46 
      Produced: Sun, 12 Jan 20 15:38:38 -0500

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

A Modern Day Apikoros Question 
    [Michael Mirsky]
Coronation of a new rabbi 
    [Perets Mett]
Eleven - or five - verses? 
    [Martin Stern]
Halachic accidents? (2)
    [Ben Katz, M.D. David Tzohar]
Shofar sounding during the Hoshanna Rabba hakafot 
    [Menashe Elyashiv]
The geulah atidah 
    [Haim Snyder]
The perils of transliteration 
    [Dov Bloom]


From: Michael Mirsky <mirskym@...>
Date: Wed, Jan 8,2020 at 08:01 AM
Subject: A Modern Day Apikoros Question

Chaim Casper asked for opinions about the individual who has been labelled as an
apikoros writing a book about his experiences.

I think it's pretty clear as to whom he is referring [not to me! - MOD}, but
since he has chosen to keep his name confidential I will do so too. I wrote to
the person on his blog that I recommended that the event is history worth
recording, but it should not be written by him, mainly for the reasons Chaim

I suggested that a historian write the book with him aiding with facts behind
the scenes but the book not be attributed to him.

Michael Mirsky


From: Perets Mett <p.mett00@...>
Date: Wed, Jan 8,2020 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Coronation of a new rabbi

Orrin Tilevitz wrote (MJ 64#45):

> 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. ... 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?

Perhaps we should look for another translation of the word hachtoro into English.

But this is the traditional word used for the induction of a new rov. It is
certainly nothing new

Perets Mett


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Wed, Jan 8,2020 at 07:01 AM
Subject: Eleven - or five - verses?

Menashe Elyashiv wrote (MJ 64#45):

> 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.

This makes me think that the Ashkenazi minhag must derive from the
thirteenth century Chassidei Ashkenaz who were particularly interested in
the number of words or letters in the tefillot, to which they attached
deeper mystical significance. So far I have not found any textual support
for this hypothesis.

I saw recently in the siddur of the Belzer chassidim that they have the same
custom as Menashe cites for Sefardim but ONLY on days when tachanun is not
said, otherwise they follow the general Ashkenazi minhag. It gives the
source for this as Or Tzaddikim, a work on the prayer customs of the Arizal.

> 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.

The Central European Ashkenazi minhag was to say Psalm 134 followed by these
three verses, each repeated three times, before ma'ariv when it was said
after nightfall, but not if it were said together with minchah after plag

Martin Stern


From: Ben Katz, M.D.<BKatz@...>
Date: Wed, Jan 8,2020 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Halachic accidents?

Joel Rich wrote (MJ 64#45):
> 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 fluctuation)?
> Does anyone else have any thoughts on this?

There are many examples of historical processes at work in halachah; they are
not accidents.

Here are a few of my favorite examples.  I am trying to list just the facts (as
Sgt Joe Friday from Dragnet used to say) which are documented, leaving out the
historical reasons behind them (which might be more debatable):

1. In a list of kosher fish published by the Agudah in 1931, both swordfish and
sturgeon are listed as kosher fish.  Was every chareidi posek then mistaken?

2. During prohibition Louis Ginsberg from JTS published a responsum that grape
juice was just as good as wine.  The Orthodox response was so vehemently opposed
that some even argued that grape juice only required a shehakol and was not
subject to the laws of setam yayin and yayin nesech.  (My understanding is that
this did not change in the US till about 1950.)

From: David Tzohar <davidtzohar@...>
Date: Thu, Jan 9,2020 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Halachic accidents?

In response to Joel Rich (MJ 64#45):

It is indeed puzzling that the use of an umbrella on shabbat is generally
considered forbidden even though many modern poskim including Shmirat shabbat
kehilcheta admit that there is no bniyah arait [temporary building] or other
halachic problems in the use of an umbrella, especially if it is opened before

IMHO this is similar to the question of usage of electric appliances such as LED
which create no heat and cannot be considered "lo taavru eish". We still
have the opinion of the Chazon Ish that closing an electric circuit is
"boneh" but this is a da'at yachid [single opinion]. 

I can only presume that modern poskim feel that permitting the use of umbrellas
or certain electric usages even though there is no real halachic basis for their
prohibition should still be considered "uvdin dechol  [wekday activity].

David Tzohar


From: Menashe Elyashiv <menely2@...>
Date: Wed, Jan 8,2020 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Shofar sounding during the Hoshanna Rabba hakafot

Chaim Casper wrote (MJ 64#45):

> 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).
> ...
> 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?

See Luah Devar Beito - the general Hasidic minhag is to blow tashra"t after each
hakafa. Minhag Tsanz is tashra"t tasha"t tara"t [tekia-shevarim-terua-tekia,
tekia-shevarim-tekia, tekia-terua-tekia].

The source is the kabbalistic works Seder Hayom and Shela (Shney Luhot Habrit).
See also shu"t Ateret Yeshua.


From: Haim Snyder <haimsny@...>
Date: Wed, Jan 8,2020 at 08:01 AM
Subject: The geulah atidah

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 64#45):

> ...
> 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 ..."
> ...
> 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 ...

I became aware of the missing letters in the last verse of Beshallach many years
ago. However, the reason for the passage in "Emet veyatsiv" that was  given was
different. It is there to help us fulfill the commandment to keep in mind the
battle with Amaelek every day.


From: Dov Bloom <dovbbb@...>
Date: Wed, Jan 8,2020 at 08:01 AM
Subject: The perils of transliteration

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 64#45):

> 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!

That company is and I think was always spelled in Hebrew with a Shin, not a
Samech. Not Super but Shufer from the root of meshupar = improved, like the
aramaic shufra deshufra, the best of the best. Sal spelled with a samech is a
basket, that one shops with.

So, they sell you the best cart of shopping goods. It was never an English
Super, as in Supermarket.


End of Volume 64 Issue 46