Volume 64 Number 98 
      Produced: Wed, 21 Apr 21 15:08:07 +0000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Covid Shul Changes? (2)
    [Carl Singer  Rose Landowne]
    [Joel Rich]
Jewish law has evolved  
    [Joel Rich]
Orthodox non-compliance with Covid rules 
    [Joel Rich]
Sanhedrin votes  
    [Joel Rich]


From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Sun, Mar 14,2021 at 08:01 PM
Subject: Covid Shul Changes?

In response to Stuart Pilichowski (MJ 64#96):

The three shuls I've attended during COVID have a few things in common:

1 - masks required

2 - social distancing -- by either physically distancing seats -- or labeling
"kosher" seats where people may sit.  (Some seats are paired -- for relatives,
or 3-somes, as well.)

3 - Multiple minyanim -- in the main sanctuary and in the social hall AND/OR 
outdoor minyanim (weather permitting) in various back yards.

4 - Minyan sign-up -- a weekly sign-up list for each minyan to reflect limited
capacity of each minyan.

5 - Those who have travelled out of state / out of country are requested to
self-quarantine for 2 weeks before coming to shul.

6 - Obviously those who are not feeling well or who have been exposed /
quarantined are asked to not attend.


The number (not "amount") of people handling the Sefer Torah is reduced as follows:

1 - whoever is davening for the Amud does Pesacha and carries the Sefer Torah to
the Shulchan

2 - whoever will be layining briefly stands at the opposite side of the shulchan
to help remove the Mantel.

3 - there is a plexiglass shield placed vertically above the shulchan -- the
ba'al koreh on one side, the Oleh on the other side. (The shield is such that
the Sefer Torah fits under it. It is very light -- frame made of PVC pipe.)

4 - whenever possible two members of the same family (usually father/son) do
Hagbah & Gelilah.

5 - The Magbiah returns the Sefer Torah to the Aron and closes the Paroches.

I would be happy to send pictures to anyone upon request.

Carl Singer

From: Rose Landowne <Roselandow@...>
Date: Mon, Mar 15,2021 at 03:01 AM
Subject: Covid Shul Changes?

In response to Stuart Pilichowski (MJ 64#96):

At Lincoln Square Synagogue the Baal Koreh has all the aliyot and no communal
singing is allowed. 


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Wed, Apr 21,2021 at 02:01 AM
Subject: Emunah

My question - If I understood the speaker correctly he said that one must have
100% emunah even though it's impossible to prove, versus saying that by
preponderance of evidence one believes, which to my understanding leaves some
element of doubt. I'd be curious to know what others' take is on this subject. I
think it's really difficult for modern man to say anything with 100% certainty.

My friend's comment: A person should strive to have as much Emunah as possible.
If they are able to reach a level of certainty that's great. I don't think that
belief based on a preponderance of evidence makes someone a kofer even if that
leaves some element of doubt.


Joel Rich


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Tue, Mar 23,2021 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Jewish law has evolved 

In response to a letter to the editor:

> Although abortion is not necessarily considered to be an act of murder, it is
> nonetheless prohibited in accordance with Halakha (Jewish law). The statement
> that, "Jewish law has evolved and continues to do so," is incorrect, as well.
> Any modern ruling is based on our teachings that go back to our receiving the
> Torah at Mount Sinai. The laws that we follow are G-d given and not something
> that the Jewish people came up with in their 40 years in the desert. The author
> clearly has no grasp on our true heritage and unfortunately feels that she can
> opine in an area where she has no expertise.

I can't know the grasp that anyone has but to say 'The correctness of the
statement that, "Jewish law has evolved and continues to do so," is incorrect',
requires a bit of logic (e.g. 'evolved' means 'evolved in a way not reflective
of prior precedent and changes in facts on the ground') that might not be
obvious to the average reader. Thoughts?

Joel Rich


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Wed, Mar 17,2021 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Orthodox non-compliance with Covid rules

IMHO the issue alluded to (in a post concerning orthodox non-compliance with
Covid rules) may be more of one of not seeing the forest for the trees.

When one is taught to look at the letter of the law exclusively one can forget
about the spirit of the law. The goal becomes the technical compliance (e.g.
claiming kids are part of a permitted demonstration rather than learning in
school) vs. technical and meta compliance (e.g. distancing to try to save lives
rather than to meet technical distance criteria)

Thoughts on whether this is a common issue? I guess the other side is not
looking at areas outside of ritual as being halachic issues?

Joel Rich


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Wed, Apr 21,2021 at 02:01 AM
Subject: Sanhedrin votes 

Blog Commenter: At the time when we had a Sanhedrin, there were no unresolved
disputes (at least ideally). The Sanhedrin voted and that was that.

Me: Worthy of its own post - did they vote on specific cases or general rules?
How strong was their sense of Stare Decisis? What was the role of the Sanhedrin
of each shevet and which cases went to which?

Any thoughts?

Joel Rich


End of Volume 64 Issue 98