Volume 64 Number 57 
      Produced: Tue, 07 Apr 20 09:52:46 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

    [Joel Rich]
How much matzah are you going to eat at the seder? 
    [Chaim Casper]
Kiddush Levana 
    [Carl Singer]
Minor fasts? 
    [Joel Rich]
Piyutim during silent amidah 
    [Orrin Tilevitz]
Roll your own 
    [Joel Rich]
Using ZOOM for Seder (2)
    [David Ziants  David Tzohar]


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Wed, Mar 25,2020 at 03:01 AM
Subject: Chassidut

A rav visiting a high school spoke to the students concerning acceptable
approaches to avodat Hashem (worship of HKBH). His major point was that they're
all ok as long as they have a gadol (great Rabbi) who supports the approach. I
wondered to the student whether the rav, who identified with a branch of
chassidut, felt the irony of making such a statement when chassidut's originator
would have failed this test. Thoughts?

Joel Rich


From: Chaim Casper <info@...>
Date: Sun, Apr 5,2020 at 08:01 PM
Subject: How much matzah are you going to eat at the seder?

Much has been said about and written about the size of an olive [k'zayit], which
of course is important to us as it determines how much matzah one should eat at
the seder.

I heard about the Rav, Rabbi Joseph D Halevi Soloveitchik, zt"l, and his family
grinding a piece of matzah so that they could accurately measure the volume of
the matzah so they could determine how much much of a piece of matzah needs to
be eaten in order to eat the volume of a k'zayit.

Rabbi Dr Natan Slifkin has researched how the size of a k'zayit has grown
through the years and the resultant increase in the amount of matzah one must
eat in order to fulfill the mitzvah of eating Matzah at the seder:


Any comments?

B'virkat Torah vechag kasher vesame'ach,
Chaim Casper
North Miami Beach, FL


From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Thu, Apr 2,2020 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Kiddush Levana

Since shuls are closed and we're all self-quarantined, last week I suggested to
a few local Rabbis that at 8:30PM Motzei Shabbo (about 15 minutes - to 1/2 hour
after Havdalah depending on your minhag) we all go onto our front porches and
say Kiddush Levana.

This idea was met with no response, let alone a luke warm one. Unfortunately,
Saturday night was cloud covered -- no moon.  Finally Wednesday night the clouds
broke and a beautiful moon was directly above me.  I, of course, said Kiddush
Levana -- when I noticed some neighbors about 50 meters away patchke-ing in
their driveway.  I shouted "Shalom Aleichem" -- they heard me and responded --
and again and a third time. I found it uplifting.

Now looking forward to Rosh Chodesh Iyar  and Shabbos April 25th -- any takers
for an organized, front porch Kiddush Levana?

Wishing all a Zeesun Pesach



From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Wed, Mar 25,2020 at 03:01 AM
Subject: Minor fasts?

The Mishna Brura in O"C 552 states that a "ba'al nefesh (super careful person?)"
should observe the restrictions of Tisha B'av on the other minor fasts. Anyone
know if any significant sub-community does this? How does observance of this
compare with other ba'al nefesh call outs?

Joel Rich


From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Sun, Mar 22,2020 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Piyutim during silent amidah

Is it permissible for an individual reciting the silent amidah to insert piyutim
that the shaliach tzibur would ordinarily recite in the repetition during these
times (when the repetition and therefore piyutim are being recited in few places

Does it make a difference if the piyut would have been recited only during the
first three blessings (which are in some cases recited aloud together with the
congregation as the so-called "hoiche kedushah"), e.g., the prayer for dew on
Passover, or the middle blessings as well (e.g. the mussaf piyutim for Parshat
Shekalim and Parshat Hachodesh)? If the answer is normally "no", would it be
different on Rosh Hashana or Yom Kippur? And if the individual may insert these
piyutim, may he recite that part of the amidah aloud? (The silent amidah is
normally to be recited, well, silently, so as not to call too much attention to


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Wed, Apr 1,2020 at 12:01 AM
Subject: Roll your own

An oleh one Thursday morning insisted on reading his own aliyah. I was surprised
that the gabbai/Rabbi did not waive him off (given the reason individual olim
stopped reading was so as not to embarrass others). Is this at all common?

Hopefully we will all be back in shul together again soon

KT and Be Well
Joel Rich


From: David Ziants <dziants@...>
Date: Tue, Mar 24,2020 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Using ZOOM for Seder

Another halachic issue that has come up with respect to the emergency measures
that are needed due to prevent the Corona virus spreading. A lot more
communication these days is being done by electronic media, and we have already
discussed one aspect of this (answering kedusha etc remotely through electronic
communications and likewise hearing the megilla). One of the emergency measures
that has been strongly advised that especially the older generations are not put
at risk, and people are expected to stay at home also for leil haseder [seder
night] .

A question was brought to a group of Rabbanim whether it is permitted for
children and grandchildren to join up with the older generation via electronic
communication (Zoom etc.) for leil haseder if all the electronics and
connections are set up before yom tov [YT]. For example, there are many semi
traditional or secular families of the younger generation who might not bother
if they are not with their older generations. Here is a link to the responsa (in
Hebrew - you might have to press "delag" button to remove advert):-


This permission is one-off, for this year *only*.

To summarise this, the three main halachic issues are:-

a) Operating electrical/electronic equipment on YT:

Many Sephardi authorities (of previous generations I think) had permitted this
on YT. Many Ashkenazi authorities had forbidden this (rabbinically) on YT. In
any case, we are talking about setting up and connecting the communication
channels before YT, so no act needs to be done on YT itself. But we are still
concerned that if something goes wrong with the two/multi way communication, a
person might start trying to put it right on YT.

b) "Oovdin d'chol" (weekday activity) :

One can be lenient if needed for a mitzva.

c) We are concerned that people will start using this heter in subsequent years
when no state of emergency:

It has to be made very clear that this heter [permission] is for this year
(5780) only.

The Rabbanim who are signed on this letter, with respect to their family names,
seem to be sephardi.

i) Are there any ashkenazi rabbanim who are endorsing this once-off heter?

ii) What about "ait l'aasot l'hashem" [sometimes we allow a law to be broken for
a long term purpose], if we know that some of these people are likely to ignore
the issue of not operating electricity on YT (maybe relevant more for ashkenazim)?

iii) I also realise that in chu"l [outside Israel], there is the second night.
Are there any more ramifications because of this (more room for leniency because
the day itself is rabbinic vs greater risk of something technical going wrong
and the temptation to repair this)?

iv) Any other thoughts?

David Ziants

From: David Tzohar <davidtzohar@...>
Date: Thu, Mar 26,2020 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Using ZOOM for Seder

A group of leading Sefardi Rabbis (Chachmei Magreb) has issued an intereting
psak. They paskened that it is permissible to use the computer to set up a video
chat on leil haseder. They were immediately attacked by various poskim, even the
relatively liberal Machon Tzomet (connected to Rabbbanei Tzohar - no connection
to me). They said this was similar to the famous Conservative psak allowing
driving on Shabbat ONLY to shul. The old slippery slope.

The Sefardim responded by saying the issur of using non-incandescent electricity
is based on the daat yachid of the Chazon Ish ZTZL who posited that closing any
electric circuit is BONEH and therefore it can be set aside in time of great
public need. They said aderaba [to the contrary] CHEVRUTA O MITUTA [social
interaction in learning is a matter of (spiritual) pikuach nefesh]. IMHO they
are right even though I am personally machmir on most questions of electricity.
This is a hora"at sha"ah like Eliyahu HaNavi sacrificing on Mt Carmel and many
other examples throughout history.

A happy, kosher and healthy Pesach to all

Rav David Yitzchak Tzohar
Machon Meir



End of Volume 64 Issue 57