Volume 65 Number 41 
      Produced: Mon, 13 Jun 22 10:30:22 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Av Harachamim on "Black Shabbos" 
    [Martin Stern]
Chabad Officially Proclaims The Rebbe is Moshiach 
    [Martin Stern]
Minhag America 
    [Martin Stern]
Take me out of Gehinnom! 
    [Prof. L. Levine]
The Coming of Mashiach 
    [Prof. L. Levine]
Where Does A Woman Find Happiness in Life? 
    [Prof. L. Levine]


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Jun 12,2022 at 09:17 AM
Subject: Av Harachamim on "Black Shabbos"

I wrote (MJ 65#39):

> Rabbi Binyomin Zev Karman wrote (Hamodia, Inyan, 25 May) in an article
> entitled 'Yizkor for the living':
>> In some places in Germany, Yizkor was recited on the Shabbos before Shavuos,
>> which was referred to as the "Black Shabbos", to commemorate the slaughter of
>> the cities of Mainz, Speyer and Worms by Count Emicho during the first
>> Crusade, which occurred in the year 4856 [Taten"u] / 1096 before and after
>> Shavuos.'
> This was the minhag in Western Germany (Minhag HaRhinus), where these
> massacres occurred, but it was not the Yizkor, as is now generally understood,
> but the recital of Av Harachamim, which was composed to memorialise the
> martyrs of Taten"u, ...
> In these communities Yizkor was only said on Yom Kippur ...

Unfortunately, I was not sufficiently precise when I wrote this. Saying Yizkor,
itself, was a relatively recent innovation, adopted only in some West German
kehillos, probably due to East European influence over the last 200 years. 

Rabbi Karman then quoted from the Mordechai (Yoma 767, a misprint it is actually

>> The passuk (Devarim 21:8) states 'Kapeir l'amcha Yisrael asher padisa ... -
>> Forgive Your nation which You have redeemed ...' The Sifri expounds on this
>> verse: Kapeir l'amcha is a request that Hashem forgive the living for their
>> sins, while asher padisa refers to those who have departed".

> From this he deduced the reason for saying Yizkor on Yom Kippur as

>> The departed, too, need forgiveness, and they achieve this through the
>> redemption performed by the living. Thus, the living can bring about the
>> forgiveness for the departed by redeeming their sins through donating to
>> tzedakah. On Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, we recite Yizkor and daven for
>> the neshamos of our departed relatives.

Even in Eastern Europe, Yizkor was only widely adopted, on both Yom Kippur
and the regalim, in the aftermath of the Tach/Tat (1648/9) massacres in the

I also wrote that Av Harachamim

> was only said on the Shabbos before Shavuos and, later, also on on the Shabbos
> before Tisha be'Av

without making it entirely clear that this referred to those following
Minhag HaRhinus, as opposed to the East European Ashkenazim who say it every
week, apart from Shabbos mevarachin or when tachanun is omitted - EXCEPT
during Sefirah which overrides these omissions.

While further researching this, I found that the extension to Shabbos Chazon
dates only to the time of the Black Death (1348) when a particularly vicious
massacre took place in Mainz, one of the three main communities for which Av
Harachamim was originally composed.

Martin Stern


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Jun 12,2022 at 10:17 AM
Subject: Chabad Officially Proclaims The Rebbe is Moshiach

Prof. L. Levine wrote (MJ 65#39):
> If you think that the messianic movement within Chabad is dead, you are very
> wrong.
> See the video, "Chabad Officially Proclaims The Rebbe is Moshiach" at
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fvml_jAOF3Q
> where it calls for viewers:
>> Sign up, accept the Rebbe as Moshiach enabling him to redeem the whole world!
> Note how it speaks of RMMS as though he were still alive.

To which Yisrael Medad (MJ 65#40) responded "What's new under the sun? The
Meshichistim have been doing this for decades".

Unfortunately, this attitude is reminiscent of several previous "false
messiah" movements which cannot accept that, having died without fulfilling
his mission, their candidate cannot be the true messiah. To get round this
"awkward" fact, they almost inevitably claim that he did not really die but
is waiting in some transcendent state to return to this world to complete
his mission. 

This was the case with Shabbetai Tzvi some 350 years ago, and an even more
famous one 1650 years previously. The latter's adherents even used the
current agitation in Chabad to promote their claims with adverts in the
secular press aimed at Jews showing a picture of RMMS juxtaposed with that
of their preferred "messiah" with the caption "Right idea - wrong person!"

Plus ca change, plus c'est le meme chose [although outward appearances may
change, fundamentals are constant].

Martin Stern


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Jun 12,2022 at 10:17 AM
Subject: Minhag America

Joel Rich wrote (MJ 65#40):
> Is it fair to say that to a large extent Artscroll (in its halacha
> publications and siddur instruction) sets Minhag America?

This is typical of the influence of publishing houses. If they are popular
and "corner the market" they tend to set the "established minhag". A similar
phenomenon was set by the Roedelheim press established by the noted
grammarian, Wolf Heidenheim, in 1799 which became the major publisher of
prayer books in Germany and other West European lands until it was closed by
the Nazis.

Martin Stern


From: Prof. L. Levine <llevine@...>
Date: Sun, Jun 12,2022 at 08:17 AM
Subject: Take me out of Gehinnom!

Rav Shimon Schwab, ZT"L, (December 30, 1908 - February 13, 1995) was an Orthodox
rabbi and communal leader in Germany and the United States. Educated in
Frankfurt am Main and in the yeshivas of Lithuania, he was rabbi in Ichenhausen,
Bavaria, and after immigration to the United States in 1936 in Baltimore, MD and
from 1958 until his death at K'hal Adath Jeshurun in Washington Heights, Manhattan.

Rav Schwab was a unique combination of the Torah Im Deretz Eretz approach of
Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch and the Lithuanian yeshiva derech.

The following is from Rav Schwab on Chumash:

It was a few months before the passing of the Rav. Yeshivah Rabbi Samson Raphael
Hirsch found itself in horrible debt to the tune of almost a million dollars.
The Rav's yeshivah had not paid its teachers in many months.

Considering the plight of the yeshivah rabbeim and teachers, and the shame it
brought upon the kehillah's institution of learning, he called in one of the
wealthy ba'alei batim and made the following plea. "I am the rav of the kehillah
that supposedly espouses Torah im Derech Eretz. Where is the derech eretz of our
kehillah if we can't even pay our teachers? This is a terrible disgrace. 
Shortly, I will have to give an accounting before the Ribono shel O!am. What
will I say when I'm asked, 'What did you do to see to it that your teachers got
paid?' I am afraid that I will be going to Gehinnom for this. I plead with you.
Take me out of Gehinnom."

The ba'al habayis was taken aback but after a few moments he said, "I will make
weekly installments until the amount is paid up." It took a number of months and
the last payment was made on the Friday before the Rav was niftar.

Such was the caliber of a ba'al habayis in the Rav's kehillah.



From: Prof. L. Levine <llevine@...>
Date: Fri, Jun 3,2022 at 01:17 PM
Subject: The Coming of Mashiach

I heard the following joke about the coming of Mashiach many years ago.

If Mashiach were to come to Williamsburg, they would not accept him, because he
is a Zionist.

If Mashiach were to come to Crown Heights, they would not accept him, because
they already have a Mashiach.

If Mashiach were to come to Flatbush, they would not accept him, because people
in Flatbush are not interested in such matters.

If Mashiach were to come to Boro Park, they would welcome him openly, because
they have things to sell him.



From: Prof. L. Levine <llevine@...>
Date: Wed, Jun 8,2022 at 06:17 PM
Subject: Where Does A Woman Find Happiness in Life?

In Rav Dr. Raphael Breuer's commentary on Megillas Ruth, he comments (page 50):

>> And Naomi, her mother-in-law, said to her: I would like to search for a place 
>> of rest for you that would prove to be good for you. (3:1)

> Faithful to the principle that a woman finds happiness in life only in the home
> of her husband, Naomi expressed only one wish at the end of the harvest: to find
> Ruth a place where she would feel comfortable, a place that befits a woman on her
> level. Such a place must be sought, for it must first and foremost be a good
> place, that is, one that meets the moral requirements of a Jewish marriage.
> Indeed, when Bil'am looked upon the tents of Israel, he primarily praised their
> goodness. Thus, the establishment of a Jewish home must not be based on the
> blind ephemeralness of fleeting inclinations and emotions. Naomi, wanting to
> establish a home for Ruth, therefore began to seek it.

I wonder how many Orthodox women alive today would agree with this attitude
toward a woman, happiness, and her home.

Yitzchok Levine


End of Volume 65 Issue 41