Volume 65 Number 73 
      Produced: Fri, 19 Aug 22 08:21:18 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

    [Moderation team]
Blessing on netilath yadayim 
    [Shlomo Di Veroli]
Child Convert 
    [Adam Charney]
Freeriders (was Why do people think it's okay ...) 
    [Menashe Elyashiv]
Greeting guests in shul 
    [Carl Singer]
Is Geirus deOraisa? (was Child Convert) 
    [Yisrael Medad]
Psalm 145:7 zaycher or zecher 
    [Joseph Kaplan]
Why do people think it's okay to take any empty seat in shul? (2)
    [Irwin Weiss  Yisrael Medad]


From: Moderation team
Date: Thu, Aug 18,2022 at 01:17 PM
Subject: Apology

Several members wrote regarding Micha Berger's post (MJ 65#72) that it had all
manner of 'yeshivish' phrases in it.  They pointrd out that the custom in Mail
Jewish from time immemorial, going back to Volume 1, was that such phrases be
translated, unless they are in such common use so that postings should not to be
confusing to any readers.

Normally we insert such translations if the author does not do so him/herself
but we missed them this time and we apologise to readers for this oversight. We
will endeavour to make sure that they do not get missed in future.

However we would very much appreciate it if those sending submissions would
include translations (or, better, explanatory glosses) of all but the commonest
words and phrases. To give one example from Micah's post to help distinguish:
"qabbalas ol mitzvos". 

The word "mitzvos" need not be translated, but the phrase as a whole needs
something like "acceptance of the yoke of mitzvos" (literal), or, perhaps
better, "acceptance of one's responsibility to perform mitzvos" (explanatory gloss).

As a rule of thumb: if in doubt include a translation - clarity is always


From: Shlomo Di Veroli <shlomodiveroli@...>
Date: Thu, Aug 18,2022 at 09:17 AM
Subject: Blessing on netilath yadayim

I have seen a number of different minhagim for netilath yadayim. Some say the
blessing upon lifting the hands but before drying. Some say the blessing whilst
drying the hands. Some leave a small amount of water captured in the palm, say
the beracha and then rub their hands together with this water. Some dry their
wet hands (tumah related) before grasping the handle. However, the Yemenites
(baladi/dor deiim) or those following the RAMBAM pronounce the bracha in
accordance with the halachic principle - over l'asiyatan [immediately before
doing the mitzvah] BEFORE pouring water over the hands. This is, even so, when
hands may be unclean prior to the beracha. Is any one practice more closely
aligned with the intent of the talmud, halachic principles and perhaps what was
practiced by the kohanim?

Shlomo Di Veroli


From: Adam Charney <adam@...>
Date: Wed, Aug 17,2022 at 11:17 PM
Subject: Child Convert

Joel Rich wrote (MJ 65#71):

> A non-Jewish baby boy is adopted by Jewish parents and converted by the beit
> din.  As per halacha when he reaches 13 he is asked whether he wants to be
> Jewish. If he responds I"m not sure, what is his status at that time?  When he
> later makes up his mind, what is his status at that later time? Does it depend
> whether he decides to be Jewish or not? is there any retroactive impact?

We had a nearly identical situation here, in which a family that converted,
along with underage children, all, as a group, were chozer l'suram [returned to
their previous religion].  Since I had been involved in the original conversion,
I raised the question of the children attaining majority and of the need to
relieve them of their obligations as Jews.  The answer I received was that we
are not insistent that any revocation by the person happen at the moment of
attaining majority, but could be made later on.  The open question is whether
there is never any revocation by the child-convert, but there is a clear pattern
of behavior, such as going to church, and whether we can infer revocation from
later behavior.  That one I don't have a ready answer for, but it seems clear
that we do not insist on miun [formal declaration] or other form of revocation
at the moment of becoming a halachic adult.


From: Menashe Elyashiv <menely2@...>
Date: Thu, Aug 18,2022 at 07:17 AM
Subject: Freeriders (was Why do people think it's okay ...)

As a gabai, I try to "guard" the members' seats, and find seats for visitors.

However, what annoyes me & members are the people who come daily or weekly, and
refuse to pay membership. For 52 shekels a month, you have a place, and a large
reduction for the high holidays. These huzpanim [freeriders] enjoy full use of
the facilities,  but do not share the expenses. Of course, when the Yamim Noraim
come, they find free break-off minyanim.


From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Thu, Aug 18,2022 at 07:17 AM
Subject: Greeting guests in shul

Tangential to the discussion of seating in shul is how to react to a new
face in shul. For simplification let's speak of an ordinary weekday or Shabbos
minyan -- not one where many guests are expected such as for a Bar Mitzvah or a

"Welcome, are you visiting or new in town?"  or "Good Shabbos, welcome."

One can then start a dialog that may include "where might I sit."

I find most shuls are "warm" in that, as a stranger coming in, I am greeted

There is the rare shul where I feel invisible or, worse yet, like an intruder.

Carl Singer

70 Howard Avenue
Passaic, NJ


From: Yisrael Medad  <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Thu, Aug 18,2022 at 12:17 PM
Subject: Is Geirus deOraisa? (was Child Convert)

Micha Berger (MJ 65#72), notes that "Geirus is deOraisa" (Conversion is a
Torah-based issue).

But is it?

I ask based on:

a) no specific process detailed.
b) no command (mitzva)
c) the use of 'Ger' is not a "convert" but a temporary resident.

Any comments?

Yisrael Medad


From: Joseph Kaplan <penkap@...>
Date: Thu, Aug 18,2022 at 08:17 AM
Subject: Psalm 145:7 zaycher or zecher

In discussing how to read zaycher on Parshat Zachor, Martin Stern tells us the
following story (MJ 65#72):

> We had the reverse situation. Since its foundation our shul only read zeycher in
> Parshat Zachor with a tzerei but a new rav (who knew not Yosef) was appointed
> who wished to introduce the double reading with both tzerei and segol. Should
> the congregation have sacrificed truth on the altar of conformism?

In that case I actually see truth and minhag on the same side. But what I see
isn't really important. What I want to know - and Martin leaves us hanging - is
what his shul actually did.



From: Irwin Weiss <irwin@...>
Date: Thu, Aug 18,2022 at 08:17 AM
Subject: Why do people think it's okay to take any empty seat in shul?

Once I went to a shul here to which I had never been previously.  We were
invited for a Bar Mitzvah.  I didn't want to sit in someone else's seat and was
concerned.  When I arrived I saw a man I casually knew. So, I went over to sit
next to him.  I thought that if I were sitting in someone else's seat, he'd tell
me, and perhaps suggest another place.  I sat, greeted him, and he said nothing
about the seat.  I was relieved.

After davening was over, I wished him Gut Shabbos, and asked him how long he'd
been coming to this shul as I knew where he lived, and there were several others
much closer.  He told me that this was his first time at this shul, and he came
only because he was invited to lunch nearby, and didn't want to keep his hosts
waiting.  Meanwhile, no one told us anything about taking their seats.

I think one ought to consider whether the burden of not sitting in someone elses
seat falls upon the newcomer or the old-timer.

Irwin Weiss
Baltimore, MD

From: Yisrael Medad  <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Thu, Aug 18,2022 at 12:17 PM
Subject: Why do people think it's okay to take any empty seat in shul?

Martin Stern writes (MJ 65#72):

> It would appear from the comments of Yisrael Medad and David Cohen that this is
> not the general practice in Israel, so the balance would be different there.

I demur.
Please, no one should take one or even two peoples' comments as indicating any
"general practice" anywhere at anytime.

Yisrael Medad


End of Volume 65 Issue 73