Volume 65 Number 07 
      Produced: Sun, 17 Oct 21 07:29:48 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Can I make Kiddush or Havdalah on a cup of coffee or tea? 
    [Chaim Casper]
Dangerous Sukkos & Simchas Torah Frivolity (2)
    [Chaim Casper  Martin Stern]
Hebrew Pronunciation (3)
    [Chaim Casper  Orrin Tilevitz  Shlomo Di Veroli]
Pfizer scientists: Natural immunity better than our vaccine 
    [Sammy Finkelman]
Selichot time 
    [Shlomo Di Veroli]
Visitors at a minyan 
    [Carl Singer]
Was Persian King Daryavesh II really the son of Queen Esther? 
    [Dr. William Gewirtz]


From: Chaim Casper <info@...>
Date: Fri, Oct 15,2021 at 11:21 AM
Subject: Can I make Kiddush or Havdalah on a cup of coffee or tea?

Professor Levine (MJ 65#04) discusses whether beverages such as coffee or tea
can be used for kiddush or havdalah.

I believe he missed an important point in Rav Moshe Feinstein's teshuva OH 2:75
(pg 247). Rav Moshe rejects using soda (Coca Cola, Pepsi Cola et al) for
kiddusha rabba (Shabbat morning) and havdalah because it is like "drinking water
[which is used] to quench one's thirst or to cool oneself on a hot day."

I once saw a local rabbi using soda for kiddusha rabba so I asked him for his
source. He said Rabbi Shmeul Fuerst.(For those unfamiliar with Rabbi Fuerst, he
is a senior dayan/judge in Chicago, rav of a shul, senior Agudah advisor and a
local posek).

So I called Rabbi Fuerst and asked him why he permits soda when Rav Moshe said
no. His response was that "the m'tziut (reality) has changed (from the time when
Rav Moshe wrote his undated teshuva). People today use soda for a social
beverage. I'll tell you that I have to agree with Rabbi Fuerst. People use soda
as a social beverage. Go to any wedding (pre- or post-Covid) or any shul dinner
or any simcha and you will see people walking around, some holding glasses of
wine or whiskey and others holding glasses of soda. They barely sip their
beverage. Rather, they wish to look sociable. And so they carry a glass as they

I mentioned my discussion with Rabbi Fuerst to the local rabbi above. I said I
appreciate the sevara (logic) but I must hold like Rav Moshe. The next time
after that I saw him make a kiddusha rabba, he was using grape juice. 

I was talking once with someone who asked the Rav, Rabbi Joseph D HaLevi
Soloveitchik, what to drink at a Pesah seder. He is a diabetic and couldn't
drink 4 cups of wine. The Rav told him to drink coffee or tea, just like Rav
Moshe held. So my friend decided to push his luck. He asked the Rav, "If I can
drink tea and coffee, then can I drink diet soda?" The Rav answered no. Only Tea
and Coffee could be used as substitutes.

B'virkat Torah,
Chaim Casper
North Miami Beach, 
FL 33162-1229


From: Chaim Casper <info@...>
Date: Fri, Oct 15,2021 at 11:22 AM
Subject: Dangerous Sukkos & Simchas Torah Frivolity

Professor Levine (MJ 65#04) praises and echoes Rav Avigdor Miller for "warning
against frivolity and 'fun', hefkeirus and wildness, masquerading as praiseworthy
Torah, during the great time of Simchas Torah."

The late Hazan Sherwood Goffin, tz"l, taught me that the use of the High Holiday
nusah (tune) for Simhat Torah night prayers is not an accident nor is it
frivolous though many people incorrectly think that. He said that Hazal, our
rabbis, wanted to emphasize the seriousness of the evening. Thus, they used the
melodies that most people would associate with serious business. He continued by
pointing out that the tune for Attah Har'etah LaDa'at is the same tune we use
when reading Eichah on Tisha b'Av night. Again to emphasize it is serious business.

Alas, too many people don't understand that. I once served as shaliah zibbur
(prayer leader) for Simhat Torah musaf when during middle of the repetition, a
couple of guys came, picked me up and moved me to another part of the shul, all
while I continued with the repetition. They thought it was in keeping with the
fun mode of the day. I thought it was degrading to the tefilah.

B'virkat Torah,
Chaim Casper
North Miami Beach, 
FL 33162-1229

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Fri, Oct 15,2021 at 11:27 AM
Subject: Dangerous Sukkos & Simchas Torah Frivolity

Prof. Yitzchok Levine wrote (MJ 65#06):

> Let me describe to you how Simchas Torah took place this year in the Young
> Israel of Ave J.  It was the same in previous years.
> I announce, "The theme of the day is order and decorum."  We start at 7:15 AM.
> I timed each HaKafo.  Each one took about 10 minutes. We duchan during Musaf,
> since there is no food or drinking during the davening.  We finished at 10:15.
> Everything was orderly, and there was no nonsense!  After davening there was a
> very nice kiddush given by one of the mispallelim.  Not everyone stayed.
> We had about 80 men and boys.  Many of those who have younger children daven
> at this minyan,  then go home, make kiddush, and then take their kids to other
> shuls for the HaKafos there.
> Many of those who attended this minyan this year at the YI of Ave J thanked me
> for a very nice davening.  This is, IMHO, the way Simchas Torah should be done
> everywhere.

Here in Manchester UK, we also have a similar minyan but it starts 50 minutes
before halachic sunrise and is timed so that the shacharit shemoneh esrei is
begun precisely at sunrise, this year 7:07 am. Despite this early start there
must have been 60-70 men and post-bar mitzvah boys - there were even two younger
boys who were called as kol hane'arim (I was not sure whether this was correct
since hane'arim (plural) = 2, and the word kol adds 1 to make 3, but I didn't
want to cause trouble by raising this point). The hakafot were curtailed to one
circuit of the large hall which probably took about 5 minutes each. We finished
about 9:45, i.e. after about three and a half hours.

What took an inordinate time was that everyone got an individual aliyah though
there were three parallel readings which cut time a bit. I do not like this
custom which is just plain boring. In a shul I used to go to (now long closed
and demolished), they had the custom of calling "Peloni ben Almoni Hacohen im
kol hacohanim" for the first aliyah followed by "Peloni ben Almoni Halevi im kol
halevi'im" for the second, which saved a bit of time. 

If I had been able to, I would have called "Peloni ben Almoni im kol haba'alei
battim" for the third, "Peloni ben Almoni im kol habachurim" for the fourth,
"Peloni ben Almoni im kol hane'arimim" for the fifth, Chatan Torah, Chatan
Bereishit and Maftir which would probably have saved the best part of an hour.

Any views?

Martin Stern


From: Chaim Casper <info@...>
Date: Fri, Oct 15,2021 at 11:26 AM
Subject: Hebrew Pronunciation

Michael Frankel (MJ 65#04) wants to say that havarah Ashkenazit (Ashkenazic
pronunciation) is the least authentic of the three main Hebrew pronunciations,
the other two being Sepharadi and Temani (Yemenite). Israeli pronunciation today
is a mishmash of all three dialects. 

I would respond there is value in the pronunciation of all three dialects. Due
to their community's isolation from the rest of the world, the Temanim pronounce
consonants most probably as was done in the time of the gemara and earlier, thus
with the least amount of corruption.

Sepharadim tend to accent the syllables correctly (i.e. the last syllable). And
Ashkenazim pronounces the vowels the most authentically (while they tend to
accent the penultimate syllable). See for yourself. 

Sepharadim and Temanim do not distinguish between the tseirei (the two
horizontal dots) and the segol (the three triangular grouped dots) while the
Ashkenazim do differentiate between these two vowels. That indicates a real long
term mesorah (tradition). 

Hebrew as a language through the ages has been constantly transliterated. The
inability to read Hebrew is not unique to our generation. Thus, through the ages
you can see how various groups pronounced certain words. You can see that Rashi
and Rabbenu Tam said "Bereshith" and not "Bereshis". (The change from a "th"
sound to an "s" sound for the letter tav occurred slightly after Rabbenu Tam or
the 12th-13th centuries as the Europeans could not say "th" like the Temanim;
they had to substitute "s" for that.) 

Another somewhat more recent change in Ashkenazim consonant pronunciation is the
Litvaks/Lithuanians of which I am a descendent couldn't pronounce a "sin"; they
had to pronounce the sins as "shins;" thus, the number "ten" (eser in modern
Hebrew) was pronounced as "esher.' Yet they got their vowels correct.

B'virkat Torah,
Chaim Casper
North Miami Beach, 
FL 33162-1229

From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Fri, Oct 15,2021 at 11:27 AM
Subject: Hebrew Pronunciation

In response to my query (MJ 65#05) about how a baal keriah who does not
distinguish between a tzeire and segol deals with what I called the
"questionable minhag" of reading both "zeicher" and "zecher" in parshat zachor,
Mechy Frankel launches into an irrelevant discourse (MJ 65#06) about how
"zeicher" is the only correct pronunciation. Of course it is (among other
reasons, R. Breuer demonstrates that "zeicher" is what appeared in the Aleppo
Codex), and that is one reason I called the practice a "questionable minhag". My
question remains.

From: Shlomo Di Veroli <shlomodiveroli@...>
Date: Fri, Oct 15,2021 at 01:17 PM
Subject: Hebrew Pronunciation

Orrin Tilevitz wrote (MJ 65#05):

> Continuing the recent thread, in modern Sefaradi Hebrew, a tseire is 
> pronounced as a segol; there is no distinction between the two. To my 
> recollection, this lack of distinction is a relatively recent development. (I'm 
> sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong.) 

I am Sephardi and I differentiate between a seghol and tzere as I also do with a
gimmel dagush and rafui (non-dagush). Similarly with teyt and Taw dagush

Shlomo Di Veroli


From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Fri, Oct 15,2021 at 11:27 AM
Subject: Pfizer scientists: Natural immunity better than our vaccine

Prof. Yitzchok Levine wrote (MJ 65#05):

> Let me add that two of my grandsons, one 20 and one 16, recently got the
> virus a second time!  So, I am a bit skeptical about the assertion that
> acquired immunity is likely superior. Neither of them was vaccinated.

There is no contradiction.

Where did he read that there are no re-infections when someone is vaccinated?
They always say it is 70& effective, or 90% effective.  (albeit not making clear
how many cases are how soon after vaccination. )

In both cases there can be re-infection. No vaccine is supposed to totally
prevent another infection. Vaccines enable the body to beat it back very
quickly. Nobody is saying immunity means a person can never have a detectable

What kind of a reinfection did his grandchildren get? Just positive test results?

Bear in mind, they are now using extremely sensitive tests, but those tests
cannot distinguish between live virus and destroyed virus and in the case of
other diseases they would not usually test for the disease unless there were bad

This s what the Israeli study said: (popularization)


"The newly released data show one dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech messenger RNA
(mRNA) vaccine were more highly protected against reinfection than those who
once had the virus and were still unvaccinated one dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech
messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine were more highly protected against reinfection than
those who once had the virus and were still unvaccinated people to get Delta,
develop symptoms from it, or become hospitalized with serious COVID-19....And
they caution that intentional infection among unvaccinated people would be
extremely risky. What we don't want people to say is: All right, I should go out
and get infected, I should have an infection party, says Michel Nussenzweig, an
immunologist at Rockefeller University who researches the immune response to
SARS-CoV-2 and was not involved in the study. Because somebody could die."

They also found that people who had once had the virus got even stronger
immunity after getting one dose of the Pfizer vaccine but a second dose
administered after the standard interval added nothing.


From: Shlomo Di Veroli <shlomodiveroli@...>
Date: Fri, Oct 15,2021 at 01:17 PM
Subject: Selichot time

In response to Joel Rich (MJ 65#06):

There is the ancient Spanish/Portuguese custom (pre-Luranic qabbala) to recite
selihot immediately after arvit when the congregation are still around. See
Haham Shem Tov Gaguine's Qeter Shem Tov (vol. 1 pp. 710-2)

Shlomo Di Veroli


From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Fri, Oct 15,2021 at 11:27 AM
Subject: Visitors at a minyan

Our morning minyan has about 25 people (regulars). From time to time someone who
has a yahrzeit arrives, whom try to accommodate by giving him an aliyah (Monday
& Thursday).

The concern is whether or not this individual should daven as sheliach tzibur.
Our concern is "quality" and pace.  Our minyan is paced to END at a specific
time so several of the balabatim can catch public transportation to work. Thus,
allowing a guest to daven potentially inconveniences many of our balabatim.

Any suggestions -- halachic or social - as to how we should act

Carl A. Singer, Ph.D.Colonel,
U.S. Army Retired
70 Howard Avenue


From: Dr. William Gewirtz <wgewirtz@...>
Date: Fri, Oct 15,2021 at 11:28 AM
Subject: Was Persian King Daryavesh II really the son of Queen Esther?

David Ziants (MJ 65#06) asks: Was Persian King Daryavesh II really the son of
Queen Esther?

As has been known since the times of the Rishonim, the Talmud's view of Persian
history, reflected in Seder Olam, and the secular view are in stark contrast.
Seder Olam's length of Persian rule is approximately 150 years shorter than what
secular history asserts. Hazal lists 4 Persian rulers; secular history lists 11.
Compounding the problem, the precise dates of the Esther story are unclear. The
presence of various words in the Megillah would support a very late dating of
the story between 400 and 350 BCE.


End of Volume 65 Issue 7