Volume 65 Number 01 
      Produced: Mon, 30 Aug 21 17:04:54 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Welcome to a new volume 
    [The MJ moderating team]
Angle of Deflection 
    [Joel Rich]
Deceptive tzeduka 
    [Carl Singer]
Inside the Mind of the Gabbai 
    [David Olivestone]
Jewish law has evolved 
    [Yaakov Shachter]
Kamtza / Bar-Kamtza. 
    [Immanuel Burton]
Regulate the office  
    [Joel Rich]
The 'big' Kaddish 
    [Menashe Elyashiv]
Tradition 1:2 (Spring 1959) 
    [Jeffrey Saks]


From: The MJ moderating team
Date: Sun, Aug 15,2021 at 11:17 AM
Subject:  Welcome to a new volume

With the Covid pandemic, this last year has been quite trying for all of us,
and this has been reflected by the slowdown of correspondence on Mail Jewish
which is why so few digests have appeared. We cannot publish what we do not

Also we have been having a few technical problems while upgrading the aging
server on which the MJ is administered, but this should now be esolved.
We hope no submissions were lost during this time.

As we are starting this new volume in Ellul, we would like to wish all members a
ketivah vechatimah tovah [good writing and sealing in the book of life] and look forward to an upswing of incisive comments from our membership.

The MJ Moderating team


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Wed, Jul 21,2021 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Angle of Deflection

R'Dr. C. Soloveitchik - Angle of Deflection:

To avoid a simplistic sociology of law, anyone claiming that a jurist's thought
 has been influenced by outside forces or inner ambiguities must be able to
point to some obvious flaw in the thinker's argument, measurable deflection from
the expected line of reasoning that indicates that something impinged upon the
mind of jurist and diverted his thought from its normal course.

I've thought this way but love the term! Have you seen such analysis in sh"ut

Joel Rich


From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Wed, Jul 14,2021 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Deceptive tzeduka

The overwhelming number of tzedukahs I deal with are erlach.  But I am finding a
few deceptive ones.

We received in today's mail a letter with a return address from someone in
our community (whom we do not know). There was a faux handwritten encouraging
note on the outside of the envelope. Inside a card mis-addressed to one of our
sons (who hasn't lived in our household in at least 5 years). It falsely claimed
that he pledged $180 in 2018 & 2019, and $360 in 2020.

We also get multiple *tzedakah* requests from organizations unknown to us, all
with the same bulk rate permit number.

The question is how to best respond.   The easy solution involves my recycling
bin. But do I (we) have a broader *halachic *responsibility?  What?

Carl Singer


From: David Olivestone <david@...>
Date: Mon, Jul 19,2021 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Inside the Mind of the Gabbai

I am preparing an article for Jewish Action Magazine to be called Inside the
Mind of the Gabbai. (I have previously dealt with the chazan, the baal tekiah
and the kohen.) In order to gather information for the article, I have put
together an extensive questionnaire which I invite gabbaim "past and present" to
complete. It might take you 15 - 20 minutes to complete it all, but please feel
free to answer as many or as few questions as you wish, and to write as much as
you want. I hope you will find it both thought-provoking and fun. You"ll find
the questionnaire here:


Please feel free to forward this link to any gabbaim you know.

Many thanks.
David Olivestone


From: Yaakov Shachter <jay@...>
Date: Tue, Jul 13,2021 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Jewish law has evolved

Ben Katz wrote (MJ 64#99):

> Jewish law definitely evolves .... Here are just a few examples:
> 1. Baring one's shoulder during mourning was prescribed in Talmudic
> times; no one does this today.
> 2. Time of starting shabbat.  It is clear many communities started
> shabbat later than we do today.  See Marc Shapiro's book Changing
> the Immutable for examples of halachic texts that were edited to
> eliminate this change in practice.
> 3. Turning one's back to the synagogue is explicitly prohibited in
> the Talmud and yet we all do it today at the final paragraph of
> Lecha Dodi.
> 4. Piyutim inserted into davening after the time of the Talmud.  (I
> know that not everyone says these, but huge numbers of communities
> do.)

First of all, we do not "all" turn our backs to the synagog at the final
paragraph of Lkha Dodi, only people praying in synagogs that face East do that.
 People praying in synagogs that face West, continue to face West.  People
praying in synagogs that face South, like the synagogs where Lkha Dodi
originated, turn to their right.

Second of all, and more to the point, if you are going to argue that halakha has
evolved, you should be able to recognize what is and what is not a valid example
of evolving halakha.  For example, there is a halakha that women may not wear
men's articles, which is understood to mean, minimally, that women may not wear
men's clothes.  The term "beged ish" is used in the halakha literature, although
that term does not exist in the Torah.  Now, when women started wearing wigs,
wigs were beged ish, and it was forbidden for women to wear wigs for that
reason.  Now wigs are not beged ish, and it is now not forbidden for women to
wear wigs for reasons of beged ish (although it may be
forbidden for married women to wear wigs, for other reasons).  It would be
moronic to present this development as an example in support of an argument that
halakha has evolved.  The halakha that women may not wear beged ish, has not
evolved; what has changed is what is beged ish.  This is not a change in
halakha, it is a change in men's fashions.

Similarly, a change in mourning practices, is not a change in the halakha that
we must mourn certain people, for a certain period of time; it is a change in
mourning practices.  A change in the starting time of Shabbath, in contrast,
would be a better example of a change in halakha.

                        Jay F. ("Yaakov") Shachter
                        6424 North Whipple Street
                        Chicago IL  60645-4111
                                (1-773)7613784   landline
                                (1-410)9964737   GoogleVoice

                        "Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum videtur"


From: Immanuel Burton <iburton@...>
Date: Tue, Jul 20,2021 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Kamtza / Bar-Kamtza.

On the Tisha B'Av that just passed I had another look at the Kamtza / Bar-Kamtza
story as recorded in the Talmud (Gittin 55b).

The story relates how the host of a particular party had a friend called Kamtza
and an enemy called Bar-Kamtza. The host's servant invited Bar-Kamtza by
mistake, and when the host saw him sitting there kicked him out despite
Bar-Kamtza offering to to pay for the party is he would be allowed to stay and
so avoid embarrassment.

A few questions occurred to me that I had not previously thought of:

(1) Why is Kamtza's name invoked in the name of the story when he wasn't even there?

(2) If the host is to blame, even if only partially, for the subsequent chain of
events, why isn't his name recorded?

(3) Why were the host and Bar-Kamtza enemies in the first place?

The phrase used in the Talmud to describe Bar-Kamtza as being an enemy is ba'al
devava, which isn't a usual phrase to describe an enemy. The translation
available on the Sefaria site:


translates this as an enemy, but the Soncino Talmud translates it as a
tale-bearer. If Bar-Kamtza was indeed a tale-bearer about the host, then
wouldn't the host at least have had some reason to hate Bar-Kamtza, even if such
hatred wasn't permitted?

Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

Immanuel Burton.


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Wed, Jul 21,2021 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Regulate the office 

R'Dr. C. Soloveitchik - Collected Writings III:

If halakhah is to regulate the office no less than the home, it must come to
grips with an alien reality and give it recognition in its thinking.  Both
modern Orthodox and most chareidi communities have no need for any work on
'Hoshen Mishpat' similar to the Mishnah Berurah on 'Orah Hayyim', for halakhah
stops at the office door.  In their personal life they live lives of scrupulous
religiosity; in their business affairs they live like pagans, by the law of the
Gentiles.  That they do so is understandable; less understandable are those who
take their paganism as a mark of purity.  Seder Nezikin exists for them as a
beautiful world of theory not as a regulative system.  One does not sully this
pure world with the dross of daily affairs.  Living in an open society in a
modern democratic state, such a bifurcation between the public and private
spheres is possible, and the force of 'Hoshen Mishpat' is entirely optional.


Joel Rich


From: Menashe Elyashiv <menely2@...>
Date: Wed, Jul 14,2021 at 02:01 AM
Subject: The 'big' Kaddish

In the Baladi Yeminite rite, the "big" Kaddish is the Kaddish Deraban, no
addition of  "v'yatzmach poorkanai v'karaiv m'shishai". If ones wants to have 5
Amen as in the Sefardic Kaddish, no need to add, the correct place is after
"bemalchutey vekarey".

Two Rabbis have asked me if I know why the "big" Kaddish is said at a siyum. We
looked in old talmudim, until about 1800+, after the hadran, 2 words - kaddish
derabban. In later editions the big Kaddish appears. The Sefardi poskim hold
that at a siyum, say the kaddish derabban. On Tisha Be'Av, the big Kaddish is
said after Kinot.


From: Jeffrey Saks <jeffreysaks@...>
Date: Wed, Jul 14,2021 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Tradition 1:2 (Spring 1959)

To complete a set of our print journal I am looking for a back issue of
TRADITION - vol. 1 no. 2 (Spring 1959).

Incentives available, as well as shipping reimbursement, to someone that
can help us.

Rabbi Jeffrey Saks, Editor, *TRADITION: A Journal of Orthodox Jewish Thought*
Published by the Rabbinical Council of America
Cell 52-321-4884  | <TraditionEditor@...>
www.TraditionOnline.org <http://www.traditiononline.org/> | Follow
*Tradition* on Facebook <https://www.facebook.com/TraditionJournal/>


End of Volume 65 Issue 1