Volume 65 Number 95 
      Produced: Sat, 08 Oct 22 15:13:15 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Eating at other people's homes (4)
    [Martin Stern  Joseph Kaplan  Carl Singer  Prof. L. Levine]
Minhagei ta'ut? 
    [Martin Stern]
Nusach question (YK mincha) 
    [Leah Gordon]
Sholesh Esrei Midos and the meaning of Nakeih 
    [Edward Black]
Something to think about before Yom Kippur (2)
    [Ari Trachtenberg  Meir Shinnar]
Torah Reading on a Taanit Tzibbur (2)
    [Martin Stern  Steven Oppenheimer]


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, Oct 6,2022 at 04:17 PM
Subject: Eating at other people's homes

Joel Rich wrote (MJ 65#94):

> What is your pulpit rabbis policy concerning eating at his parishioners' homes?
> What halachic considerations should go into such a policy?

I don't know any halachic considerations per se but it would seem best to either
eat in all or in none of his parishioners' homes. To eat in some and not in
others will almost certainly lead to friction.

Martin Stern

From: Joseph Kaplan <penkap@...>
Date: Fri, Oct 7,2022 at 09:17 AM
Subject: Eating at other people's homes

My former rabbi's position (he's recently retired) on eating in other peoples
homes (MJ 65#94) was relatively simple. He believed that all the members in the
shul had a chezkat kashrut [Presumption that they conduct their affairs in a
halachicly correct manner - MOD]] and thus he ate in all members' homes if they
invited him.  I don't know what he did about others. I'm sure he had personal
standards of kashrut he followed in his own home but he didn't make that a
requirement for what he ate elsewhere. So he never asked anyone what they
personally did if he believed they kept kosher. 

I would add that many years ago I heard a well know MO rabbi, thinker, and
scholar speak about this briefly. His bottom line (close to an exact quote but
not quite - it was many years ago) was: the purpose of kashrut is for Jews to
eat together not to see how many houses of Jews you can't eat in. 

I've let that last line be a guide for me. 


From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Fri, Oct 7,2022 at 10:17 AM
Subject: Eating at other people's homes

I won't speak for my current pulpit Rabbi, but previously I've argued that if
he eats at A's home, and then B invites him -- how can he say no. There's an
implication that B's kashrut (or cooking ?) isn't satisfactory.

A previous pulpit Rabbi ate at our home - after he retired.

Carl A. Singer

From: Prof. L. Levine <llevine@...>
Date: Fri, Oct 7,2022 at 03:17 PM
Subject: Eating at other people's homes

In response to Joel Rich (MJ 65#94):

Given that I do not have a pulpit rabbi per se, I do not know how to answer
this.  However, it seems to me that it would be bad policy for any rabbi of a
congregation to eat at the homes of his congregants. People have different
standards, and if he agreed to eat at one home, then how would he justify not
eating at everyone's home?

Professor Yitzchok Levine


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, Oct 3,2022 at 11:17 AM
Subject: Minhagei ta'ut?

Joseph Kaplan wrote (MJ 65#94):

> One does not have to be a great talmid chacham or an expert in Hebrew poetry
> or liturgy to realize that the way the vast majority of Orthodox shuls recite
> the piyuttim on RH and YK does not seem to be the way they are written, as
> Martin Stern points out (MJ 65#92).
> ...

I would not expect great erudition but is it too much to expect that one should
at least try to understand the words one is saying and make sure one is grouping
them into phrases that make sense?

> But I've also noticed something else in davening in many Orthodox shuls over
> the decades in which many people who actual were great talmidim chachamim and
> experts in Hebrew poetry and liturgy also davened and at times even led the
> davening. They, knowing much more than me and probably as much as the several
> commenters who have derided how the piyuttim are recited and how they tried to
> recite them properly, continued to recite them in the way minhag yisrael
> apparently has dictated.
> ...

Sadly, many Jews, even back in der heim, had only a minimal Jewish education and
did not really know what the piyutim meant. Therefore they did not realise that
they were corrupting the texts they were saying. Most communities, especially in
villages or small townships [shtetlech] did not have any talmidei chachamim with
an adequate knowledge of piyut who could protest. I think that the way this
developed was that people wanted to say everything rather than let the chazan
say the first line (or part of line) with the congregation responding with the
second part. What happened was that each said both parts but in the wrong
grouping (as is best seen from the way vekhol ma'aminim is often mangled). With
time these corrupted recitations became invested with a false sanctity of
'minhag yisrael'.

> I'm not exactly sure what this all means. But one thing it perhaps should mean
> is that when we express dissent from minhagei yisrael we should do so with a
> bit more modesty and realize that by noting this discrepancy we have not
> discovered anything new.

The problem with "the way the vast majority of Orthodox shuls recite the
piyuttim" is that, as Michael Rogovin points out (MJ 65#93)

> it prioritizes the niggun over the meaning of the words

often a popular but relatively recent composition rather than the traditional
one that preserved the structure of the piyut. Too many niggunim were composed
which were beautiful but simply did not fit the words.

Those of us who stem from Germany and surrounding lands have a tradition to say
or sing them in a manner that preserves their meaning and we take great offence
when visiting 'chazanim' use tunes that distort the way our ancestors wrote
them. As far as we are concerned what they are doing is NOT following the way
minhag yisrael has dictated.

Martin Stern


From: Leah Gordon <leahgordonmobile@...>
Date: Fri, Oct 7,2022 at 09:17 AM
Subject: Nusach question (YK mincha)

At my shul, with knowledgeable Torah readers who I assume do what they're
supposed to, mincha YK Torah reading sounds to my ear like "regular" Torah
cantillation instead of "High Holiday" cantillation. Is that right, and if so,
why the difference?

--Leah S. R. Gordon


From: Edward Black <edwardblack@...>
Date: Fri, Oct 7,2022 at 09:17 AM
Subject: Sholesh Esrei Midos and the meaning of Nakeih

Sammy Finkelstein wrote (MJ 65#93): 

> The usual recitation of 13 attributes stops, for some unknown reason, at
> V'Nakeih"

This has perplexed me for many years.

As I understand it there is a general principle that any verse that Moses did
not divide, we may not divide. (See Megilla 22a)

Yet the recitation of the 13 attributes which we say in total dozens of times a
year - selichot, chagim etc - not only divides a verse, it does so without even
dividing the verse at a "punctuation mark" - the etnachta occurs two words after
the end of the 13 attributes that we recite - after lo yenakeh

I have yet to find a satisfactory answer. Can anyone suggest an explanation?

Gmar tov

Edward Black 

Phone:  +44 7736 875841


From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Tue, Oct 4,2022 at 12:17 PM
Subject: Something to think about before Yom Kippur

Joseph Kaplan wrote (MJ 65#94):

> I wish Ari Tractenberg's understanding of the Akeidah (MJ 65#93) "that Abraham
> failed the test" was the correct one. It would solve many, though not all, of
> the problems in that story. Unfortunately, the Angel of God who stayed Abraham's
> hand appears to disagree and said nothing about failing the test. 
> Rather:  "For now I know that you fear God, since you did not withhold from me
> your son, your only one" and then blessed Abraham because he obeyed God's
> command. 
> Doesn't sound like failure to me. 

Good point - but, as Rashi points out, God never tells Abraham to murder his
son (after all, God had promised that Abraham's progeny will go through Isaac),
only to "raise" him. The "ki" in the line can be read either as "since" (like
you do) or as "so" - meaning that Abraham should abstain from hurting his son so
that God will know henceforth that Abraham is God-fearing. 

Gmar tov,


From: Meir Shinnar <chidekel@...>
Date: Fri, Oct 7,2022 at 11:17 AM
Subject: Something to think about before Yom Kippur

WRT Ari Trachtenberg's post on the akedah (MJ 65#93), and Joseph Kaplan's response
(MJ 65#94).

Ari Trachtenberg's position is a minority opinion, but it does have traditional

On Shavuot, in the traditional Ashkenazi machzor, there is a piyut in which it
asks why Hashem waited to give the Torah until Moshe - and goes through the
previous generations, and determines the sin that made each person ineligible to
receive the Torah

There are many variants of this piyut by different authors - who have different
sins.  For most piyutim, the sin of Avraham is his statement "bama Edah ki

However, there are two piyutim - one by Yosef Tuv Elem that was said in France,
and one by Elazar Hakallir (which was found in the Geniza), which both state that
Avraham's sin was that he did not argue with Hashem when he was commanded about
the akedah. (Hakallir has another version of this piyut where he chooses the
more traditional sin). Hakallir and Yosef Tuv Elem are both significant figures,
so this position does have support - even if it a minority position.

(Yonah Frankel, in his edition of the machzor for Shavuot, speculates that the
reason these piyutim became forgotten is that they are very much against the
general approach to the akedah (and I would say the piyutim for Rosh Hashanah
clearly have a positive approach to the akedah_)

Meir Shinnar


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, Oct 6,2022 at 04:17 PM
Subject: Torah Reading on a Taanit Tzibbur

Yisrael Medad wrote (MJ 65#94):

> In response to David Olivestone (MJ 65#93):
> What was done during the first aliyah?

I very much doubt if David would have been aware of what happened then unless he
had been on the bimah.

Martin Stern

From: Steven Oppenheimer <steven.oppenheimer@...>
Date: Fri, Oct 7,2022 at 05:17 PM
Subject: Torah Reading on a Taanit Tzibbur

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 65#94):

> David Olivestone wrote (MJ 65#93):
>> At minchah on Tzom Gedaliah I was given the third aliyah (which includes
>> reading the haftarah). The Torah reading includes two instances where the
>> congregants say some phrases aloud before the baal keriyah (Torah reader)
>> reads them. Was I supposed to say them with the congregants or wait to read
>> them along with the baal keriyah?
> Originally the oleh would read the whole parashah himself but, so as to avoid
> embarrassing those unable to do so, we now employ the baal keriyah to read it 
> for him. Strictly speaking, the oleh should read it together with him in an
> undertone if he is able. Therefore I would think that he should also pause
> together with the baal keriyah while the congregation says those phrases.

Indeed, the MB (566:3) paskens that the oleh should not recite these verses
with the congregation, but, after the congregation finishes, the oleh should
recite the verses together with the ba'al koreh.  It is proper for the ba'al
koreh to wait until everyone has finished reciting the verses out loud before he
continues with his reading.

Sefer Chasidim (siman 250) explains the reason.  The congregation recites the
verses belashon bakasha (as supplications).  However, the ba'al koreh is not
allowed to recite the verses belashon bakasha.  He reads in order to tell what
Moshe Rabbeinu did (haich hayeta ma'aseh sheMoshe bikaish). As the MB explains,
the oleh follows the ba'al koreh.

Steven Oppenheimer, D.M.D.


End of Volume 65 Issue 95