Volume 65 Number 36 
      Produced: Sun, 15 May 22 09:47:37 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

    [Martin Stern]
    [Martin Stern]
Nearly One in Four Jews Will Be ultra-Orthodox by 2040, New Study Says (2)
    [David Tzohar  Martin Stern]
Zevadyah - why, who, what is this angel? 
    [Martin Stern]


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, May 8,2022 at 08:17 AM
Subject: Hespedim?

Joel Rich wrote (MJ 65#35):

> R Safran wrote:
>> Is it any wonder then that those who request that no eulogies be delivered
>> after their passing are looked upon kindly. By making that choice, they may
>> very well be doing their rabbi and themselves a great favor.

I find hespedim are often excessively hagiographic and somehow sound not stricly
factual. While one would not wish to highlight the deceased's faults, this
overemphasis of their virtues does tend to carry the implication that one has
exhausted them leaving, implicitly, room for criticism. "Miklal lav atah
shomeia' hen [from what is omitted one may draw conclusions to the contrary]"

Also, when the weather is rainy or cold, the attendees may become uncomfortable,
especially if there are too many, excessively lengthy, eulogies.

I hope that, after 120, there will not be any hespedim at my levayah and that
nothing equivalent be 'smuggled in' with an introduction along the lines of "The
niftar asked that no hesped should be made but we feel the need for a few short
divrei pereidah" followed by the usual lengthy hagiographic hespedim, as is
often done on days like Rosh Chodesh when hespedim cannot be said.

Martin Stern


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, May 8,2022 at 08:17 AM
Subject: Kaddish

Joel Rich wrote (MJ 65#35):

> R YB Soloveitchik wrote in 1958:
>> Only in this generation, with our skewed priorities, are exhortations
>> regarding basic spiritual necessities necessary. Regarding kaddish over a
>> deceased parent, a relatively minor custom is considered more important than
>> Shabbos and Jewish education.
>  ...
> I wonder how much has changed in the jewish world in general

I find the excessive repetition of kaddish distturbs one's concentration on the
davenning, especially those at the beginning of shacharit. I must admit that I
am not heartbroken if no aveilim turn up until after them.

In reality, an aveil for a PARENT need not say more than one kaddish a day.
Certainly one at each tefillah is more than ample. Others have no obligation
whatsoever. If they 'take on' to say it for a non-relative they should certainly
not exceed this minimum. 

Saying kaddish was introduced at the time of the massacres during First Crusade
[Taten"u - 1096] to create something for the many under-age aveilim who could
not act as sheliach tzibbur [prayer leader] which was the original minhag. With
the institution of saying Aleinu at the end of each tefillah after the massacre
of Blois on 20 Sivan in 1171, the kaddish after it was generally fixed for an
aveil - kaddish yatom.

The original Ashkenazi practice was for only one person to say each kaddish. In
the small communities of the Middle Ages, there would not be very many aveilim
in any one kehillah so, usually, it was possible to accommodate all - three as
sheliach tzibbur for the three tefillot (with possibly a fourth to complete
shacharit from Ashrei) and a further three to say the kaddish after Aleinu.

In Ashkenaz (Germany and surrounding lands), Aleinu, with its kaddish, was
omitted when minchah was followed immediately by ma'ariv, as was also done on
Yom Kippur when there were no breaks between shacharit, mussaf, minchah, ne'ilah
and ma'ariv, though it could be 'reinstated', if necessary, by having a short
shiur between them.

I suspect that the current unfortunate multiplicity of kaddeishim is a
consequence of this former prctice as communities became larger and the number
of aveilim consequently increased, so extra ones were 'invented' to accommodate
all. As time passed even this became insufficient and it was not uncommon for
aveilim to come to blows over the 'right' to say kaddish (or be sheliach tzibbur).

This became particularly acute following the Chmelnitzky massacres [Tach-tat,
1648-1649, commemorated with a ta'anit tzibbur on the anniversary of the
massacre at Nemirov in the Ukraine, also on 20 Sivan] which also generated large
numbers of aveilim.

To avoid the unseemly brawls, many Ashkenazi communities, from the late 17th
century onwards, adopted the Sefardi custom of several aveilim saying kaddish
together. The Chacham Tzvi had seen this when he was rav of the Sefardi
community of Sarajevo (1686-1689) and his son, R. Yaakov Emden, advocated it in
his siddur.  In Amsterdam, the practice was for all aveilim to gather at the
front of the shul to say kaddish. However, this was not a widespread custom.
What R. Yaakov Emden seemed to be unaware of was that the Sefardim were
accustomed to say all the tefillot aloud in unison, unlike the Ashkenazim who
tended to pray each at his own pace.

Thus arose the unfortunate situation where the various aveilim would say
kaddish in competition, so that it was often impossible to hear any single one
at all. Since the main point of the kaddish was to prompt the tzibbur to respond
"Amein, yehei shemeih rabba ...", the kaddish yatom [orphan's kaddish] became
itself an orphan whom nobody could answer.

On the other hand, one must recognise that the pull of saying kaddish has been
instrumental in retaining many marginal Jews who would, otherwise, have
completely assimilated, so one would have to be circumspect in critisising their
lack of awareness of its true significance. 

The same applies to the recital of yizkor attendance at which in shul, for many,
is the most important aspect of Yom Tov.

Martin Stern


From: David Tzohar <davidtzohar@...>
Date: Fri, May 13,2022 at 09:17 AM
Subject: Nearly One in Four Jews Will Be ultra-Orthodox by 2040, New Study Says

After quoting a study that shows that in 20 years one out of every four jews
will be charedi, Yitzchok Levine (MJ 65#35) comes to the conclusion that there
is no future for the Reform and Conservative movements. I would add that the
same is true for the Modern Orthodox movement. However this dire prediction is
only true in the US. In Israel the situation is quite different. Of course we
have our own problems, especially the crises involving the conversion (or not)
of the many Israelis who are not halachically Jewish. 

But we are not likely to be overwhelmed by the charedi population. As a matter
of fact in recent years the Haredim have made great strides toward assimilation
into Israeli society in the workplace and even in academia and the army. Also we
have the emergence of the chardali sector with a synthesis of nationalist and
traditional religious outlooks.

In short I would suggest to Prof Levine that he make aliya and be part of the
redemption of the Jewish people along with his Chiloni, Dati and Charedi brothers.

R'David Yitzchak Tzohar


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, May 15,2022 at 08:17 AM
Subject: Nearly One in Four Jews Will Be ultra-Orthodox by 2040, New Study Says

Prof. L. Levine wrote (MJ 65#35):

> ...
> One out of every seven Jews in the world today is ultra-Orthodox, or Haredi,
> according to a first-of-its kind study published Tuesday by the London-based
> Institute for Jewish Policy Research.
> If current trends continue, the study predicted that nearly one out of every
> four Jews in the world will be Haredi by 2040.
> ...

These are serious underestimates since the estimated numbers for non-Haredi Jews
used in these calculations include many who are not halachically Jewish, which
increase dramatically every generation. For example, at least 75% of the
non-Orthodox Jews marry non-Jewish spouses (who do not even undergo a
non-halachic conversion). So the proportion of Haredim, both now and projected,
must be much higher.

As he concludes:

> Truth be told there is no future for the descendants of non-observant Jews
> outside of Israel. Their grandchildren will not be Jewish.
> ...

Though they may camouflage their demographics with their non-halachic
conversions, at least 90% of whom are female, which constitute the majority of
their marriages, one must also agree with:

> My conclusion is that there is no Jewish future for Jews who affiliate with
> the Reform and Conservative movements.

Martin Stern


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, May 15,2022 at 08:17 AM
Subject: Zevadyah - why, who, what is this angel?

Shlomo Di Veroli wrote (MJ 65#35):
> In the Chabad nusach haAri after the completion of Hallel for Rosh Chodesh is
> written that one ought to read "May Zevadyah protect me and grant me life".
> I asked the rabbi of the kehilla what it meant. He had no idea. After Yom Tov,
> I looked into it somewhat and found very little information except that it is
> an angel and also the personal name of some biblical individuals. According to
> the Chabad tradition you merely read it and not utter it. When did this
> originate? Who introduced it? Why is the request directed to an angel and not
> Hashem?

Reuven Margoliyot does not list any such angel in his encyclopaedic study,
"Malachei Elyon" (Mosad Harav Kook, 1945), in which he claims to have recorded
all angels mentioned in "the Talmud Bavli viYerushalmi, all Midrashim, Zohar
veTikkunim, Targumin veYalkutim" together with references to the "holy books of
the Kabbalah".

The earliest mention of invoking this angel after hallel seems to be in the
"Siddur Shelah - Sha'ar Hashamayim" by R. Yeshaya Horowitz, the Shelah,
(1555-1630), and edited by his great-grandson who published it in Amsterdam
(1717). It popularised the kabbalistic prayer customs of the Arizal, who
probably is the originator of this invocation.

In his siddur, the Shelah suggests saying three times after hallel:

"May Zevadyah protect us and grant us life - May this be favourable before You,
Living G-d and King of the world, in whose hand is the soul of all that lives,

Thus the original is a prayer to HKBH, and NOT to an angel, that he should
'instuct' this angel to protect us.

Martin Stern


End of Volume 65 Issue 36