Volume 64 Number 61 
      Produced: Fri, 24 Apr 20 10:34:54 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Celebrating in Public places 
    [Dr. Josh Backon]
Is there a Glaring Grammatical Error in Xad Gadya? (2)
    [Menashe Elyashiv  Jack Gross]
Roll your own 
    [Freda B Birnbaum]
Street minyanim (2)
    [Joel Rich  Chana Luntz]
The Corona pandemic -  Rav Tzvi Tau's perspective 
    [Freda B Birnbaum]
The Corona pandemic and the "TZOHAR" 
    [David Tzohar]


From: Dr. Josh Backon <backon@...>
Date: Wed, Apr 22,2020 at 06:01 AM
Subject: Celebrating in Public places

Immanuel Burton wrote (MJ 64#60):

> Over the course of Chol Ha'Moed and since, a number of people in the
> neighbourhood where I live seem to have taken it upon themselves to cheer 
> people up by driving around with extremely loud music playing from their  
> vehicles ... The music was loud enough that I could hear it quite easily from 
> my home, at least 3 blocks away from the source, and on the 9th storey.  The 
> disturbance lasted approximately 20 minutes.
> The locale where I live has 2 laws prohibiting loud music in public places 
> that are relevant in this case - a by-law prohibiting amplified sounds louder 
> than 70dB (about the loudness of a vacuum cleaner), and a law prohibiting 
> excessive noise of any type from a motor vehicle.
> I am not against people celebrating as best they can under the current
> circumstances.  Loud music from an event held in a function hall is largely
> confined to the building in question, and if people find it uncomfortable they
> either don't go or can leave - someone playing music loudly in the street 
> leaves no way of opting out ...  
> I am therefore left with these questions:
> (1)  What mitzvah, if any, is being accomplished by driving around the 
> neighbourhood with loud music during these times that would permit one to do 
> so?
> (2)  Is it acceptable to use public property in this manner given that one has
> no way whatsoever of knowing in advance who will be affected by it and how?
>  ... (One of the people doing this and to whom I addressed myself seemed to
> think that because no-one has objected, everybody is agreeable to it, which
> is faulty logic.)
> (3)  Is it acceptable to impose one's music on someone in their own home from
> the public street?  Isn't this a form of trespass?  Does anyone have the right
> in Halachah to broadcast music into my home in a residential area from the
> public street if I don't want it and have told them so?
> (4)  Do I have to relinquish the quiet enjoyment of my own home to anyone who
> decides to be play music loudly in the street?  Does the current situation of
> physical distancing change anything in this respect?  (And who appoints these
> people anyway?)
> (5)  What rationales can be used to explain to someone why they should turn it
> down (or not do it in the first place)?  I find this the hardest question of
> all, as it's very difficult to reason with unreasonable people.

Loud music in public space is prohibited (see: Rema Choshen Mishpat 156:2).

Josh Backon


From: Menashe Elyashiv <menely2@...>
Date: Wed, Apr 22,2020 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Is there a Glaring Grammatical Error in Xad Gadya?

Yaakov Shachter wrote (MJ 64#60):

> This year I am fulfilling the obligation of "shnayyim miqra v'exad targum" with 
> Targum Yonathan.  Targum Yonathan on Genesis 47:20 has q-n-' for the Hebrew 
> q-n-h; but if you look two verses further down, at Targum Yonathan on Genesis 
> 47:22, you see "zabban" for q-n-h (where Onkeles, in a perverse symmetry, has 
> q-n-') and "zabbin" for m-k-r.  So it clear that "zabbin" means "sold", never
> "bought".

This is very interesting. However,  Yonatan did not translate the Torah, only
the Neviim. T"Y is Targum Yerushalmi, a targum used in Israel, as opposed to the
Targum Onkelos that was used in Bavel, and continues to be used by the Yemeni
Jews up to the present day.

From: Jack Gross <jacobbgross@...>
Date: Wed, Apr 22,2020 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Is there a Glaring Grammatical Error in Xad Gadya?

Yaakov Schachter wrote (64#60):

Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum videtur

Of course, as he is certainly aware, altus has two (antonymous) meanings: high
and low. Just saying.



From: Freda B Birnbaum <birnbaumsssj@...>
Date: Wed, Apr 22,2020 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Roll your own

Carl Singer wrote (MJ 64#60):

> Several years ago we had a group come into our shul from a nearby simcha 
> and they snuck into a side room and davened nusach Sfard (ours is a 
> nusach Ashkenaz shul -- and yes, there are nusach sfard minyanim in our 
> town).
> Given time for an orderly response -- what should one do?

As this seems to have been a one-off event and was in a side room, not an
attempt to "invade" the main minyan, I'd let it pass.  Hospitality and all. 
(Don't know why they couldn't find a side room at the simcha -- there are small
minyanim all the time at simchas).

Freda Birnbaum
Washington Heights, NYC


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Wed, Apr 22,2020 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Street minyanim

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 64#60):

David Ziants wrote (MJ 64#59):
>> On MJ 64#58 I brought up the subject of street minyanim. By the time my
>> submission was published, the Israeli government had already imposed more
>> extreme measures both over Pesach and a bit after, completely forbidding
>> street minyanim. The only remaining possibility of joining a minyan in a
>> proper way ... was through what has been termed "minyanai mirpasot" [balcony
>> minyanim where each family unit stands on its private balcony and there are
>> enough people within ear-shot and sight to make up a minyan].
>> This brings up a host of halachic questions:-
>> 1) I live the other side of the road to the closest such minyan to me, but 
>> can usually hear very clearly and also see some of the people. A local Rav 
>> had already published locally that such a person cannot be one of the 10, 
>> but he is included in the congregation and has tefilla b'tzibur ...
> I was always told that the crucial criterion for inclusion in a minyan was
> that the person could see / be seen by at least some of the others.
>> 3) Sometimes one can hear a minyan a bit further away, but cannot see the
>> people ... - but is one obligated to answer [a berachah] if one hears and
>> one is waiting for amida repetition etc at ones own minyan?
>> ...

If you want a clear understanding of the technical halachic issues involved in
forming a minyan in more than one room, listen to Rabbi Chaim Eisenstein: "Porch
Minyanim in Israel: A Halakhic Analysis"


Bottom line: In emergency circumstances there are opinions to rely on but it's
probably not close to a generally accepted opinion

KT and Be Well
Joel Rich

From: Chana Luntz <Chana@...>
Date: Wed, Apr 22,2020 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Street minyanim

R Joel Rich writes (MJ 64#60):

> Rabbi Gil Student has posted a good summary of the background halachah "Are
> Porch Minyanim Kosher?" on Torah Musings
> https://www.torahmusings.com/2020/04/are-porch-minyanim-kosher/
> (unfortunately he does not discuss the psychological impact on those who can't
> join and what they might do not to "miss" a minyan)

What I found even more powerful on that site was this piece by R Gideon
Rothstein, or at least the section about nidui (not so much his attempted
answers as to why G-d might have put us into nidui, but its halachic description
itself, including the reference to being menudeh la-Shamayim):


I have yet to see this link anywhere else, but the correspondence between the
requirements of nidui in halacha and the requirements of social distancing
required in most of the countries of the world today is extraordinary, and to my
mind bears thinking about.

As R Rothstein mentions, someone who is in nidui cannot be counted towards a
minyan (inter alia, Shulchan Aruch Orech Chaim siman 55 si'if 12).  If R'
Rothstein is right, and in fact a correct theological response is that we have
been menudeh la-Shamayim, those taking part in these Halachically slightly dodgy
minyanim would be missing the key point.  If G-d is sending a message saying
that we should all be considered in nidui, for whatever reason, then responding
to his message by insisting on forming minyanim with ten people in nidui is
exactly the wrong response (and presumably likely to exacerbate the problem,
which is of course what the doctors are saying).  After all, if someone who is
menudeh insisted on trying to join a minyan against the strictures of the
Shulchan Aruch, how do you think the Rabbis who had put him in nidui would

Kind regards



From: Freda B Birnbaum <birnbaumsssj@...>
Date: Wed, Apr 22,2020 at 08:01 AM
Subject: The Corona pandemic -  Rav Tzvi Tau's perspective

Susan Kane wrote (MJ 64#60):

> In response to David Tzohar (MJ 64#59):
> Come on - everyone knows that the corona virus came into the world 
> because of long sheitls and short beards.  Let's be serious!
> The day they blame a natural disaster on the fact that many men fail to 
> daven bizmano is the day I will consider entertaining any of these 
> attributions.

Thank you Susan!  I needed that breath of fresh air!

Seriously, I note that very often people point to what OTHER people are doing as
the cause of whatever the disaster is.  Occasionally, they look to themselves.

I do recall, back in 1968, when the New York Bible Society had monthly (I think)
ads in the New York City subways (the huge billboards, not the smaller ones in
the cars), with Bible quotations, that, at the time Martin Luther King Jr. was
assassinated, the monthly billboard contained the quotation "Let us search and
try our ways, and return unto the Lord".  I kid you not.

Freda Birnbaum
Washington Heights NYC


From: David Tzohar <davidtzohar@...>
Date: Wed, Apr 22,2020 at 07:01 AM
Subject: The Corona pandemic and the "TZOHAR"

In normal times and even more so in times when AM YISRAEL is ascendent (the
period of David and Shlomo and some would say our present day - "MeTZiATTA
DeGeULaH"), the gates of heaven are wide open and the light of HaSHeM shines,
but in times of natural disaster (like the present corona plague) and world war the
gates of heaven seem to be closed and the world is shrouded in darkness, the
presence of Hashem is hidden BeHaSTaRaH betoch HaSTaRah {hiddenness within

The ultimate example of this was the Flood. The light of the sun was hidden
behind the clouds and the Zohar explained that during the Flood the sun, moon
and stars ceased to exist. In a process of TZiMTZuM [contraction] Hashem
"disappeared" them. But there is one place where there was light - in Noah's ark.
God commanded Noah to make a "TZoHaR". According to Ra"SHi the TZoHaR was either
a glittering stone that emitted light, or a window which let in the Divine light
that HaSHeM created for TZaDiKiM apart from the light given by the heavenly
bodies. The RaMCHaL (in DaAT TVuNoT) said that when the world is shrouded in
darkness HaSHem opens a TZoHaR through which his light continues to shine.

We can see this today. Even though the world seems to be encompassed in tragedy
and darkness we can still feel HaSHeM's presence. Through the TZoHaR we can see
sparks of holiness in the spirit of volunteerism and care for one another
(VeAHaVtah LeReyACHa KaMoCHa). In this way the TZoHaR is not only letting
in HaSHeM's light but through our HiSHtaDlut [human efforts] we are creating holy
light in the world. This is especially apparent in AM YiSRaEL and EReTZ YiSRaEL.

David Tzohar


End of Volume 64 Issue 61