Volume 66 Number 18 
      Produced: Sun, 27 Nov 22 14:28:49 -0500

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

A sin offering for whom? 
    [Martin Stern]
Inaudible Mi shebairachs (2)
    [Yisrael Medad   Martin Stern]
Saying Kaddish (4)
    [Orrin Tilevitz  Alan Rubin  Abraham Lebowitz  Martin Stern]
Use of microphones in shul (on weekdays) 
    [Carl Singer]
What Kind Of a Wedding Is It? 
    [Prof. L. Levine]


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Nov 27,2022 at 07:17 AM
Subject: A sin offering for whom?

This Rosh Chodesh, I noticed an apparent contradiction regarding the sin
offering which the Torah describes as "use'ir izim echad lechatat LASHEM [and
one he-goat as a sin offering FOR HASHEM]" (Bam. 28:15).

There is a problem with the extra word LASHEM which is only written with
reference to the sin offering on Rosh Chodesh but not on the festivals. On this
anomaly, Reish Lakish (Chullin 60b) explains "Mah nishtanah sa'ir shel Rosh
Chodesh shene'emar bo LASHEM? Amar HKBH 'Sa'ir zeh yehei kaparah al shemiy'at'ti
et hayareiach [Why is the he-goat of Rosh Chodesh different (from the other
mussaf he-goats) in that LASHEM (is said with regard to it)? It is as if HKBH
said 'This he-goat shall be an atonement for My having diminished the moon".
This refers to the fourth day of creation where it states (Ber. 1:16) first
"Vaya'as Elokim et-shnei me'orot gedolot [And G-d made two large lights]". On
this, the moon complained "How can two kings wear the same crown? So HKBH
replied "Reduce yourself!" as the verse continues "et-hama'or hagadol
lememshelet hayom ve'et-hama'or hakatan lememshelet halaylah ... [the large
light to rule by day and the small light to rule by night". (Chullin 60b)

On the other hand, in mussaf we say that HKBH has given us "... use'irei chatat
lekhaper ba'adam [and he-goats as a sin offering to atone for MANKIND].

Are the se'irei Rosh Chodesh primarily for an atonement for HKBH (so to speak)
or for us?

Martin Stern


From: Yisrael Medad  <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Wed, Nov 23,2022 at 04:17 PM
Subject: Inaudible Mi shebairachs

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 66#17):

> Yisrael Medad wrote (MJ 66#16):
>> ...
>> A parallel example, the yahrzeit Mi Sheberah said, in the Ashkenaz custom, at
>> Shabbat Mincha before the yahrzeit, is said in a low tone. Is it not similar?
> I am not familiar with this 'Ashkenaz custom'. 

I am not guilty. I have witnessed it in America, UK and Israel.

> Does Yisrael mean saying a 'Keil malei rachamim' which is said in some shuls
> on the Shabbat before a yahrzeit, some at shacharit and others at minchah -
> though I do not recollect it being said any more or less audibly than Mi
> shebairachs.


> Does anyone know of any source for why it should be said at minchah"?

Not me.

Also Orrin Tilevitz wrote (MJ 66#17):

> First, it's not a parallel example because one prays for sick people to be
> cured. One simply announces dead people.

Actually there is an action request: that the deceased should have menucha

Yisrael Medad

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, Nov 24,2022 at 03:17 PM
Subject: Inaudible Mi shebairachs

Orrin Tilevitz wrote (MJ 66#17):
> In response to Yisrael Medad (MJ 66#16):
> ... why does Yisrael think the practice -- which is far from universal -- of
> saying the yahrzeit "mi shebeirach" (I assume you mean "El Malei Rachamim",
> unless there is a unique German custom I know nothing about) inaudibly is
> authentic? In fact, the El Malei Rachamim is called, in Sephardic parlance, an
> "azkara", literally, a "mentioning", so it would be grotesque if it were said
> silently. ...

AFAIK, saying Keil Malei Rachamim was not the custom in Germany but, rather,
of East European origin.

Martin Stern


From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Wed, Nov 23,2022 at 02:17 PM
Subject: Saying Kaddish

A different question concerning observing a grandparent's yahrzeit:

In my current shul one who has yahrzeit for a grandparent davens for the amud if
he is capable (sometimes, only marginally so). Everyone who is saying kaddish
says it, more or less together. Let's say I am an aveil for a parent and
routinely daven for the amud at a particular minyan in that shul, and someone
with a grandparent's yahrzeit shows up expecting to daven for the amud. (This
actually happened.) AFIK, the shul has no set minhag to resolve a conflict
between a parent and a non-parent yahrzeit. 

(1) May the shul permit him to daven, even the entire tefilah, over my objection? 

(2) If I don't object, may I cede all the davening. or a meaningful portion of it.
to him? (If so, what does "chiyuv" mean in this context?)

From: Alan Rubin <alan@...>
Date: Wed, Nov 23,2022 at 04:17 PM
Subject: Saying Kaddish

Regarding the saying of Kaddish and who should be saying it and who is permitted
to say it and who shouldn't say it and who is irritated by people who have
little reason for saying it.

I presume it is agreed that the saying of Kaddish is not a Torah obligation and
that its institution as a prayer for mourners is relatively late.  I'm not a
great one for the analytic approach but it is worth asking. Is:

A. Kaddish a prayer that needs to be said? or

B. Is there a duty on specific mourners to say Kaddish?

I assume that those who believe in the mystical approach to Kaddish, that
Kaddish gives some sort of reprieve for souls that might be suffering in some
sort of purgatory, would agree with statement A and would maintain that the best
people to make sure that this happens are the close relatives.

I personally go along with statement B and not A. I do not believe that it
matters particularly if there is no-one to say Kaddish for someone (I say that
as the father of only daughters). Regarding all the people who are saying
Kaddish for the departed with whom they have a lesser connection; I really don't
care much though I do agree that sometimes it can go too far.

I say Kaddish on the yahrzeits of my wife's parents. I don't think that it
matters that much but there is no one else to say it and it is nice for them to
be remembered in this way.  Nice in such a case is enough justification.

Personally, I feel that if the connection is any more distant than that it veers
into bad taste.

Alan Rubin

From: Abraham Lebowitz <asaac76@...>
Date: Thu, Nov 24,2022 at 04:17 AM
Subject: Saying Kaddish

I once came across a novel called "Murder in the Minyan" which takes place in a
Conservative synagogue. One of the principal characters is obsessed with saying
kaddish for his mother but has trouble getting a minyan on a daily basis. He
observes that people who have to say kaddish come to shul regularly so he
decides to murder the elderly parents of other members of the shul so they will
have to say kaddish thus ensuring a daily minyan.

Seek the peace of Jerusalem
Abe Lebowitz

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, Nov 24,2022 at 01:17 PM
Subject: Saying Kaddish

Professor Yitzchok Levine wrote (MJ 66#17):

> There is a story about Rav Yisroel Salanter in the book the Mussar Movement
> about his approach to saying Kaddish. In the minyan where Reb Yisroel davened,
> only one person said each Kaddish. On the day when Reb Yisroel had Yahrtzeit
> for his father, a fellow came into the shul who insisted on saying Kaddish for
> his daughter. When he was told that only one person said Kaddish in the minyan
> and that Reb Yisroel had Yahrtzeit,  this fellow became very upset.  Reb
> Yisroel said that this person should say Kaddish.
> After davening they went over to Reb Yisroel and said, "You are a regular
> here, and he is not. You are a real chiyuv, and he is not. Why did you let him
> say Kaddish?'"  Reb Yisroel replied, "I thought it would be a bigger Zechus
> for my father's Neshama if I let him say Kaddish."

Apropos this story, the Chasam Sofer writes, regarding people who chap [snatch]
the kaddish from others who have a greater right to say it, that in heaven the
kaddish is 'transferred' to the person entitled to it and the chapper
effectively acts as his shaliach [agent], so Rav Yisroel Salanter did not really
lose it at all. As the Kitzur Shulchan Arukh writes, coming to machloket
[quarrels] over who should say kaddish is much worse than not saying it.

Some people ask non-chiyuvim, whether more distant relatives or even complete
strangers, to say kaddish for someone who left no sons (the ONLY people who have
such a duty) daily. I have been asked a few times but I always decline because I
cannot guarantee to be in a minyan where there will not be others saying
kaddish, and my minhag is that only one person says each one. Some people may
consider this attitude somehat heartless so I draw encouragement from what Prof.
Levine reports:

> I was told recently that Rabbi Herschel Schecter would not say kaddish if
> someone else was saying it.
> When Rav Shimon Schwab lost a brother, he made a point to let people know that
> he would not be saying kaddish for him.

I entirely agree with him that

> it is most unfortunate that many are obsessed with saying every kaddish, every
> day. ... [and] when there are many saying Kaddish, and they are scattered
> about the shul, this results in much noise, and one cannot really hear the
> words of the entire Kaddish.

and, especially, cannot answer "Amein, yehei shemeih rabba ..." which is the
essential part of the kaddish.

Martin Stern


From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Sun, Nov 27,2022 at 10:17 AM
Subject: Use of microphones in shul (on weekdays)

This morning (Sunday) we had a big attendance in our (large) sanctuary. Today's
ovail, davening at the amud, wasn't that loud so he had difficulty 'competing'
with the usual 'background murmuring' of  tzibbur's davening.

Should we have had him use a microphone?

Carl Singer


From: Prof. L. Levine <llevine@...>
Date: Mon, Nov 7,2022 at 11:17 AM
Subject: What Kind Of a Wedding Is It?

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 66#13):

> Perhaps things are different in the US, but here in England it is quite normal
> for there to be several derashot at every wedding. ... Usually there is a
> chairman who introduces the speakers while the waiters clear up after each
> course - almost always he speaks at excessive length before EACH one. 
> It is normal to have at least two speakers (one for the chatan's family and
> another for the kallah's) though there may be many more if there are "chashuve
> rabbonim" present who might be offended if they are not called upon.
> Often the speakers use the opportunity to display their erudition by
> delivering an intricate pilpul which almost certainly none of the ladies, and
> probably very few of the men, can follow. No wonder many pay no attention and 
> simply continue their conversations.
> An alternative is based on some far-fetched gematria calculations linking the
> names of the young couple with various pesukim or phrases. Unless one has a
> calculator and notepad available, it is difficult to check their accuracy.
> Sometimes I suspect that the speaker relies on this to gloss over any slight
> discrepancies.
> Sometimes the speakers manage to be amusing and to the point, but those are 
> the exceptions so, to be honest, I think Prof. Levine's weddings generally are
> preferable.

The speeches he describes are, to me, inappropriate because they completely
ignore the women who will end up talking to each other and, often, disturb the
speeches. Then one hears shouts of "Viber, zei shtill!"

A dvar Torah should be tailored to the audience present, not to the speaker's
inclinations. Of course, if, as in some circles, the men are in one room and the
women in another and are completely separated, then the speeches he describes
might be acceptable. However, I am sure that many of the men also do not follow
these speeches!

If you doubt this, the next time you hear a speech in shul ask after davening
someone who was present during the speech what the speech was about. I doubt
s/he will recall much.

In Europe a Rav traditionally spoke only twice a year, on Shabbos Shuva and
Shabbos HaGodol.   This was not he case in Germany. Rabbiner Shamshon Raphael
Hirsch spoke in shul every Shabbos morning.

Professor Yitzchok Levine


End of Volume 66 Issue 18