Volume 65 Number 92 
      Produced: Fri, 30 Sep 22 08:52:36 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Another selichot question (2)
    [Joseph Kaplan  Martin Stern]
    [Joel Rich]
Minhagei ta'ut? 
    [Martin Stern]
Something to think about before Yom Kippur 
    [Joel Rich]
What is D'Oraita? 
    [Yisrael Medad]
Women fasting 
    [Martin Stern]


From: Joseph Kaplan <penkap@...>
Date: Sun, Sep 25,2022 at 09:17 AM
Subject: Another selichot question

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 65#91): 

> In fact, there has been a worrying development recently where these selichot
> performances have been accompanied by instrumental music, something that has
> been decried this year by several leading rabbis.
> The trouble with this minhag of having such a choral evensong is that people
> to come to it as to a concert and not a prayer service. Most of them (certainly 
> the ladies but, I suspect, quite a large number of the men as well) do not come 
> the remaining selichot services. Surely this is a complete perversion of the
> purpose of the selichot!

This is, I think, unfair. These concerts don't particularly speak to me or my
sensibilities but I know people to whom they do, and put them in an appropriate
mood for selichot. And many people, men and women, stay for the selichot
afterwards. Times change, customs evolve, and if we insist on always doing
things the old way, we lose more than we gain. I'm not worried at all by this
development; I'm worried by those who think their way is the only way and that
anything new that doesn't speak to them is worrying. Let's care more about what
we do and worry less about how others daven and prepare for the Yomim Noraim. 


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Wed, Sep 28,2022 at 02:17 PM
Subject: Another selichot question

Joel Rich wrote (MJ 65#91):
> David Ziants wrote (MJ 65#90):
>> 1) As some people have already posted here, the proper time of selichot is
>> before dawn in the early hours of the morning. In my opinion, this would also
>> explain why, when people say selichot later in the morning, before shacharit
>> many still do not wear tallit and tephillin (the first question to which I
>> already gave feedback).
> How does that explain it - a memory of the proper approach? But if slichot is
> a prayer, why not dress appropriately.

The change of the time for reciting selichot was an insidious process. Probably,
at first it was shifted a relatively short amount (perhaps ten minutes or so) from
the original pre-dawn recital and then, over the years further such short delays
in starting were adopted. At no stage was it noticed that the delay had now
brought the selichot into the time when tefillin could be donned. 

Does anyone know of any documentation that supports my conjecture?

Martin Stern


From: Joel Rich <joelirarich@...>
Date: Thu, Sep 29,2022 at 10:17 AM
Subject: Eulogy?

The Gemara (Sanhedrin 47a) says it's a good sign for the departed if they are
not properly eulogized (apparently it's a punishment). If so, why don't we see
more people requesting they not be eulogized?

Joel Rich


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, Sep 29,2022 at 02:17 PM
Subject: Minhagei ta'ut?

This year, as in several previous ones, I joined a minyan formed by some young
people from Copenhagen that followed the ancient minhag of the North and East
German communities (Minhag Polin) which differs somewhat from that more commonly
called Ashkenaz. In particular no piyutim were omitted and many were sung to
traditional melodies with the antiphonal form being split between the chazan and
tzibbur as originally written by the composer. Most present-day Ashkenazi
congregations tend to split them differently, often making nonsense of the piyut.

For example in Ha'ochez beyad after kedushah in Mussaf the "vekhol ma'aminim she
..." is meant to be a response to the chazan, not an introduction to his next
statement. If one thinks about what it means this becomes obvious.

And as for the Melekh Elyon piyutim, "Melekh Elyon" is the beginning of each
stanza and "le'adei ad yimlokh" its conclusion. This is obvious when one
realises that originally there was a "melekh evyon" stanza after each "Melekh
Elyon" one, concluding "ad matai yimlokh". The give-away clue is that the
acrostic only has alternate letters of the alef-bet. The whole piyut contrasts
G-d, the Exalted King and the mortal rulers of this world. (A similar structure
was in the Ma'asei Elokeinu piyutim on Yom Kippur where originally ma'asei enosh
verses were interlaced with Ma'asei Elokeinu ones by the author - also with a
similarly defective acrostic in our current version.)

They adhered rigidly to the nusach of the Machzor Altona, first published in
1804 in Altona, then the capital of the duchy of Holstein whose duke was the
King of Denmark, and is now part of the City of Hamburg, even what appear to be
compositor's errors.

I noticed several minor differences from the almost universal Ashkenaz texts,
some of which I suspect were actually printing mistakes.

The first was that in the Avinu Malkeinu, the lines "zachor ki afar anachnu" and
"na al-tashlikheinu reikam milefanekha" were reversed from that printed in most
machzorim. I cannot think of any reason why either order is to be preferred. Can
anyone shed any light on the matter?

The second was in the "Areshet sefateinu" after each blowing of the shofar
during chazarat hashatz of mussaf. In the Altona machzor, it has "kol
teru'ateinu" after the malkhiyot and "kol teki'ateinu" after the zikhronot and
shofarot, whereas most machzorim have "kol teki'ateinu" each time. This is
probably also a mistake but it occurred to me that it might just be intentional
and refer to the verse "Lo hibit ... Hashem Elokav imo UTRU'AT MELEKH bo"
(Bam.23:21), included in the malkhiyot selection. Has anyone come across my

Martin Stern


From: Joel Rich <joelirarich@...>
Date: Wed, Sep 28,2022 at 09:17 AM
Subject: Something to think about before Yom Kippur

In On Repentance (p. 142), the Rav writes:

"In truth, however, it is to God alone that man is to feel subservient. The
Torah teaches us, for example, to love and cherish our children. At the same
time, the story of the Akeidah demonstrates that parental love is not an
absolute value. Whether it be family, friends, the government - we must not
pledge absolute loyalty to any of them. It is prohibited to subjugate oneself to
any power or cause other than the Master of the universe."

Something to think about before Yom Kippur

Joel Rich


From: Yisrael Medad  <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Sun, Sep 25,2022 at 11:17 AM
Subject: What is D'Oraita?

Martin Stern (MJ 65#91) wrote inter alia in response to one of my examples that
I provided, in an attempt to illustrate what I thought was obvious, that:

> This is not to claim Chabad are not Orthodox

which is an example of what I was trying to protest (and had one post censored
and cancelled on the subject): that some people on this list involved in the
discussion on this matter are trying to exploit a simple distinction I had made
in all innocence in another battle. 

[Yisrael is not the only person to have had a post rejected. According to our
records, he is our fourth most prolific contributor and had 259 posts published.
So he has had a less than a 0.4% rejection rate; others have had a much higher
one  - MOD] 

I will try to restate my point: in using the term "d'Oraita" I meant that
conversion as a command/mitzva and its how-to-do process does not appear in
the Five Books of Moses in any written form.

Therefore, claiming the "Torah" also includes what the Rabbis interpret through
Oral Law, and that therefore conversion is "d'Oraita", and that I am somehow
being heretical for not recognizing/accepting that - is silly, wrong and useless.

And as this is being written an hour before Alef Tishrei, not only is this my
last word on the matter but my last word this year.

Shana Tova to all.

Yisrael Medad


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, Sep 29,2022 at 12:17 PM
Subject: Women fasting

Just before Rosh Hashanah, several halachah pamphlets and newspaper columns
touched on the forthcoming fast of Tzom Gedaliya and who might be exempt from
fasting (they generally pointed out that similar considerations applied to the
other fasts apart from Yom Kippur and Tisha be'Av). One point that came up
several times was that women were no less obligated to fast than men. They
obviously recognised that those who were pregnant or nursing might be allowed to
eat or, at least drink, but stated that there was no blanket hetter [permission]
for women qua women not to fast.

(BTW I once heard an explanation that those women who were not pregnant or
nursing must be unwell and therefore exempt for that reason but this cannot be
correct since it would not apply to girls over twelve who were not yet married.)

One such publication went so far as to call on rabbanim to speak against the
widespread belief that women do not have to fast unless under the same conditions
as would exempt men. I wonder what other readers of Mail Jewish, especially our
female members, think of this attitude. Do they see it as a call for gender
equality or an imposition on women of patriarchal male oppression?

Martin Stern


End of Volume 65 Issue 92