Volume 65 Number 86 
      Produced: Sun, 11 Sep 22 15:21:27 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Defender of [the] Faith (3)
    [Martin Stern  Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz  Alan Rubin]
Haftarah problem (2)
    [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz  Menashe Elyashiv]
Is Geirus deOraisa? (3)
    [Yisrael Medad   Chana Luntz  Haim Snyder]
Tefillin for selichot? 
    [Martin Stern]


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Fri, Sep 9,2022 at 09:17 AM
Subject: Defender of [the] Faith

Yisrael Medad wrote (MJ 65#85):

> In his "special prayer" on the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, Rabbi Mirvis
> writes, in the English version, in the 13th line, that she was a "defender of
> faith" yet the Hebrew version reads "k'meginat ha-emunah" which translates as 
> "defender of the faith". That could be taken as a reference to Christianity
> as, for example, Wikipedia notes that:
> "Defender of the Faith (Latin: Fidei Defensor or, specifically feminine, Fidei
> Defensatrix;) is a phrase that has been used as part of the full style of many
> English and later British monarchs ... since it was granted on 11 October
> 1521 by Pope Leo X to King Henry VIII."
> Should Rabbi Mirvis have used that title at all? Should the Hebrew have been
> aligned with the English?

The underlying problem is that Latin does not have a word for the definite
article (the) so Fidei Defensor can be translated either as "defender of faith"
or "defender of the faith". This lack was noticed by many Roman authors once
they came into contact with the Greek world, whose language does have such a
definite article. In fact, attempts were made in late Latin to supply such a
definite article by using the pronoun 'ille' which really means 'that' and this
was passed down to the Romance languages that derived from Latin - French (le),
Spanish (el) etc.

I think that Rabbi Mirvis expected the English version to be used in the
synagogues under his jurisdiction, and the Hebrew was meant to be a translation
of it. He would perhaps have been better advised rather to have used "meginat
emunah", which would have been a perfectly acceptable translation of the Latin
phrase and have avoided the possible (unintended) misunderstanding which Yisrael
has pointed out. 

It might be noted that the title was conferred on King Henry VIII by Pope Leo X
in 1521 in recognition of a pamphlet he wrote against Lutheran deviations,and
may have been meant as "defender of faith" tout court, especially if it is
contrasted with the title of "Protector and Defender of the Christian Faith"
granted in 1507 by his predecessor, Pope Julius II, to King James IV of Scotland. 

It was conferred before Henry's break with Rome over the matter of his wish to
have his marriage to Catherine of Aragon annulled which the Pope could have done
in theory but was politically impossible because she was the aunt of the Holy
Roman Emperor, Charles V, his main defender against the Protestants. Contrary to
popular belief he did not want a divorce - a dissolution of a marriage mikan
ulehaba'ah [from now onwards], which is banned in the Roman Catholic cannon law
- but an annulment which states that the marriage was invalid lemafrei'a [from
the beginning] because of her previous marriage to his older brother Arthur who
drowned in a shipwreck. Henry tried to prove his case using the arguments from
Yevamot and purchased a set of Shass, published in Venice by Daniel Bomberg in
1520-23, to buttress his arguments. The break was not really based on
theological issues but rather on questions of jurisdiction - who was the
ultimate authority in governing the church in England - which is how he
justified retaining the title after the break. To this day the reigning
sovereign (since Elizabeth I) is described as the "Supreme Governor of the
Church of England".

Martin Stern

From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahillel@...>
Date: Sat, Sep 10,2022 at 10:17 PM
Subject: Defender of [the] Faith

In response to Yisrael Medad (MJ 65#85):

The translation has a typo "k'meginat ha-emunah" should be translated "like a
defender of the faith" not "defender of the faith". That would also answer 
Yisrael Medad's question that it could be taken as a reference to Christianity.

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz

From: Alan Rubin <alan@...>
Date: Sun, Sep 11,2022 at 08:17 AM
Subject: Defender of [the] Faith

Seems to me that his intention was to say what was written in English and the
Hebrew is a mistranslation.

Alan Rubin


From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahillel@...>
Date: Sat, Sep 10,2022 at 10:17 PM
Subject: Haftarah problem

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 65#85): 

> This year Rosh Chodesh Ellul fell on Shabbat Re'eh so most kehillot read the
> haftarah for Rosh Chodesh instead. So as not to miss one of the Sheva Denechamta
> [seven haftaras of consolation], many read the haftarah of Re'eh in addition to
> that of Ki Teitzei since it follows it in Sefer Yeshayah and most chumashim have
> a note to this effect. While, for those who read the haftarah from a megillah
> this presents no problem, it is awkward for those reading (and following) from a
> chumash who have to turn back. Why don't chumashim simply add that the combined
> haftarah is the same as that for Noach (on page ...)

In our shul they announced it before the reading of the Haftarah.

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz

From: Menashe Elyashiv <menely2@...>
Date: Sun, Sep 11,2022 at 01:17 AM
Subject: Haftarah problem

In response to Martin Stern (MJ 65#85):

I assume that the additional haftara is not printed because:

1. It is said only in a year like this  year

2. The Shulhan aruch holds that 7 denehemta is never pushed off, so, like
in our place, no need to reprint


From: Yisrael Medad  <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Sat, Sep 10,2022 at 05:17 PM
Subject: Is Geirus deOraisa?

Chana Luntz's clarifications and explanations (MJ 65#85) are appreciated. I
would have thought that when I wrote "d'Oraisa" it would be understood as
meaning "written in the Torah" and not, as was implied, that somehow I do not
believe that the Written Torah and the Oral Torah are one (although, of course,
we all know that there are differences between d'Oraisa and d'Rabbanan).

[It would be helpful if contributors would in future make clear when they refer
to the Torah whether they are referring to the written text specifically or to
it as understood in the light of the oral tradition - something a moderator
cannot always distinguish - MOD]

I cannot recall just now but it was mentioned by someone, correctly, that there
is no mitzvah to convert and that is at the root of the "problem" [Martin Stern
in MJ 65#74 - MOD]. But this week's sedra provides food for thought as there are
three mitzvot evolving from the situation of Y'fat To'ar, a non-Jewish woman
captured in battle. In other words, if one goes into battle and if one captures
a woman he desires then he is obliged by three mitzvot. Why, then, could not the
Written Torah have included a phrase as like "and when a foreigner seeks to
convert, you shall..."? In fact, the Rambam, in chapter 8 of Sefer Shoftim in
Melachim uMilchamot notes that she eventually must convert through immersion.
So, conversion is right there but isn't "written out" To return to my original
question: why?

Chana also wrote (MJ 65#85):

> the traditional Orthodox way of understanding the term Ger in the pasuk in
> Shemot 12:45 and B'Midbar 15:15 is that it means a convert

To that I comment:

a) ger does not appear in Sh'mot 12:45.  [This was a misprint, it should have
been Sh'mot 12:48. We apologise for not spotting it - MOD]

b) in Bamidar 15:15 and 16, although "ger" appears, the actual phrase is "hager
hagar", meaning that the emphasis is not someone who has undergone conversion,
IMHO, but rather one simply residing among you/us.  

c) what is that source of that "traditional Orthodox way" too which you refer?
And is "traditional" different from "d'Oraisa"?
Yisrael Medad

From: Chana Luntz <Chana@...>
Date: Sat, Sep 10,2022 at 08:17 PM
Subject: Is Geirus deOraisa?

I wrote (MJ 65#85):

> While when it gets to the Gemara, you see in Kritut 9a  - it is linked to a
> slightly different pasuk that talks about a Ger, namely B'Midbar 15:15 which
> says "just like you, so it will be for the Ger": 
>"Rebbe said: 'like you' [B'Midbar 15:15]- like your forefathers, just as your
> forefathers did not enter into the covenant except with circumcision,
> immersion and the acceptance of blood [of a korban], so you do not enter into
> the covenant without circumcision, immersion and the acceptance of blood."

But I meant to add that this statement of Rebbe can also be found in the midrash
halacha of the school of Rabbi Akiva - namely the Sifri on B'Midbar parshat
Shlach Pesika 108.  It is common with Oral Torah statements that the link to the
pasuk differs between different schools, e.g. between the school of Rabbi Akiva
and the school of Rabbi Yishmael (which are the sources of the two classic sets
of midrash halacha that we have.  The midrash halacha from the school of Rabbi
Shimon was mostly lost - although it is quoted over the years, e.g. by the
Ramban, but a fuller copy has only emerged much more recently).

And, while I am at it, another classic written Torah/Oral Torah pairing is on
how to observe Shabbat.  The written Torah has frequent references in relation
to the observance of Shabbat, but details of the "how" is mostly lacking - you
need the Oral Torah to get to the 39 melachot.  You can ask the same question -
why does the written Torah make all these references to keeping Shabbat, but
except for a reference to fire and stick gathering, gives no details as to how?
 It doesn't even clearly state the time Shabbat starts and ends.  Why?  Is  all
of this therefore rabbinic? Clearly the Orthodox answer is no.  And the examples
can go on and on. 



From: Haim Snyder <haimsny@...>
Date: Sun, Sep 11,2022 at 02:17 AM
Subject: Is Geirus deOraisa?

Chana Luntz wrote (MJ 65#83):

> If Geirus is d'oraisa, then once a person converts, they are considered a Jew
> from the Torah, and obligated in mitzvot from the Torah. If Geirus is only
> d'rabbanan, then the convert is only a Jew, rabbinically and hence is only
> obligated in mitzvot from the rabbis.

I was surprised and disappointed by this statement. I don't understand how one
can be considered a Jew but not be obligated by mitzvot from the Torah. The
Karaites and the Samaritans went only by the WRITTEN Torah and rejected all
rabbinic extensions. I've never heard of any movement that went only by
d'rabbanan and rejected the Torah. How is that possible?


Haim Shalom Snyder


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Sep 11,2022 at 02:17 PM
Subject: Tefillin for selichot?

Next week, Ashkenazim mashkimim lislichot [get up early to say selichot].
Because they were originally said before misheyakir, the earliest time for
putting on tallit and tefillin, it was customary to say them without tallit and
tefillin - except for the shatz who put on a tallit (without a berachah) out of
respect for the tzibbur.

Due to our being much weaker than previous generations, the custom nowadays is
to say selichot much later so as to finish them just before the regular time of
shacharit, which may well be long after dawn (and in some cases even long after

My question is: Why do we not all put on tallit and tefillin before selichot,
especially as usually not sufficient time is allowed after finishing them before
somebody rushes up to start birchot hashachar?

I can't think of any reason for not doing so, not even the Chasam Sofer's slogan
"Chadash assur min hatorah [innovation is prohibited by the Torah]" since one
could counter it with the principle "Tadir veshe'eino tadir, tadir kodem [when
faced with two mitzvot, the more frequent one (in our case tallit and tefillin)
takes precedence to the less frequent one (selichot)]"

I had hesitated to do this in practice in the past because it might seem like
mechezeh keyuhara [showing off] but last year I saw one other person do it in
shul so I put them on as well.

I have probably raised this in the past but, as far as I can remember, nobody
has come up with a satisfactory explanation.

Can anyone provide one?

Martin Stern


End of Volume 65 Issue 86