Volume 66 Number 19 
      Produced: Sat, 03 Dec 22 12:37:52 -0500

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Evolving ethics? 
    [Joel Rich]
Israel's Haredi education system needs major reform 
    [Prof. L. Levine]
    [Joseph Kaplan]
    [Joel Rich]
Moving to EY 
    [Prof. L. Levine]
Saying Kaddish (4)
    [Martin Stern  Joel Rich  Joseph Kaplan  Yisrael Medad]
Shidduch Crisis continued 
    [Chaim Casper]
Use of microphones in shul (on weekdays) 
    [Martin Stern]
Who davens for the Amud - what works for us 
    [Carl Singer]


From: Joel Rich <joelirarich@...>
Date: Tue, Nov 29,2022 at 11:17 PM
Subject: Evolving ethics?

At what point in Jewish history did the concept of halacha as an objective
ethical standard (max and min) vs a floor become a topic of discussion
(consciously or subconsciously)? 

Example "is slavery presumed to be an existential institution supported by
halacha or an institution which must be dealt with halachically but not
necessarily encouraged?

Joel Rich


From: Prof. L. Levine <llevine@...>
Date: Sun, Nov 27,2022 at 06:17 PM
Subject: Israel's Haredi education system needs major reform

This is something that I have been saying for years. A few minutes ago, there
was a knock on my door. It was a chareidi young man from Israel collecting for
his family. He barely spoke English. I asked him in Yiddish if he was working.
He was taken aback a bit and replied, "Ich bin a bachur."

The idea that a single young man would b working was totally foreign to him! 
Before WW II in Germany an observant young man did not marry until he had a
parnasa.  For example, Rav Shimon Schwab, ZT"L, after his return from learning
in yeshivas in Lithuania did not marry until he had a rabbinical position.

However, apparently many of those who are supposedly learning full-time are not
actually doing this.

In a recent article it states:
> I agree that Torah study is an important value and a Jewish state ought to
> promote it, but Torah study isn't what's happening.
> I agree with the Haredi point of view. I think that Torah study is an
> extremely important value and Israel as a Jewish state ought to promote it.
> And yes, Torah study ought to free young men from military service and the
> government should even subsidize their livelihood.
> My problem is not the Haredi ideology. My problem is that the Haredim do not
> take it seriously enough. My tax shekels enable young scholars to learn
> Torah. I pay them willingly, but they are not learning-not seriously, not
> systematically, not the way it should be in exchange for public funds. I am
> peeved because I am not getting the proper return on my investment.
> Walk into any major yeshiva, such as the Mir Yeshiva in Jerusalem, which
> purportedly has 4,000 students. There is a complete lack of organization and
> supervision. Students come and go as they please. Sometimes they come in for
> an hour or two and sometimes not at all.

For much more see:


Professor Yitzchok Levine


From: Joseph Kaplan <penkap@...>
Date: Sun, Nov 27,2022 at 05:17 PM
Subject: Kaddish

Having read dozens of posts and comments about kaddish recently here (and dozens
more here and in other discussion groups over the years), a few things have
become clear to me. First, saying kaddish is a minhag, custom, with many
different permutations depending on the community. And second, whether or not
this is what should have happened in a perfect world, what has happened in our
imperfect one is that kaddish has become a very important part of the mourning
process and, indeed, provides many mourners with important psychological comfort
during an especially difficult time. 

Accordingly, wouldn't it be best for people to ease up on the questions of
what's right halachically, what's the minhag of my shul/community, who has
precedence etc. This seems to me to be the perfect situation of letting things
be, of allowing people to do what makes them comfortable and what they think is
the proper way to honor and remember their deceased relative even if it's not
exactly your way. 

No one really knows what happens in heaven when a kaddish is said. Everyone is
really just guessing. So let me add my guess. If you allow the mourner to leave
shul feeling at least as good as when he/she entered and feeling that s/he's
done the right thing for their late relative, then there's smiling in heaven.
Just a guess, but I daresay as good as any other. 



From: Joel Rich <joelirarich@...>
Date: Tue, Nov 29,2022 at 11:17 PM
Subject: Materialism

During the early stages of Covid, some rabbis mentioned the contrast with the
rampant materialism of many pre-covid celebrations. Has anyone noticed any
communities where , on average there have been ongoing, noticeable cutbacks?

Joel Rich


From: Prof. L. Levine <llevine@...>
Date: Tue, Nov 22,2022 at 03:17 PM
Subject: Moving to EY

The following is from pages 114-115 of Vision and Valor by Rabbi Berel Wein.

"He (Rav or Rabi Zeira I) did not leave for the Land of Israel until he had a
favorable dream that showed him that any possible sins of his were already
forgiven; therefore, he was worthy of living in the Holy Land."

I have never heard of anyone considering making Aliyah have Ravi Zeira's
approach in mind.  Has anyone else? I wonder why (or why not).

Professor Yitzchok Levine


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Nov 27,2022 at 01:17 PM
Subject: Saying Kaddish

Orrin Tilevitz wrote (MJ 66#18):

> 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.

Someone who cannot daven, or who does so too quietly, should NOT be allowed to
act as shaliach tzibbur. Precisely how this applies in a practical situation
should be decided by the gabbai in consultation with the rav.

> 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.

According to halachah, the ONLY person who can claim to be a chiyuv to daven is
a SON. There are various rules of precedence as listed in the Kitzur Shulchan

1. during shiva

2a. during sheloshim

2b. Yahrzeit

3. during the eleven months after the Levayah

Nobody else can push them aside.

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

Certainly not!

> (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?)

That is up to you - you may follow Rav Yisroel Salanter, as cited by Prof.
Levine (MJ 66#17), and cede your right - but you are under NO obligation to
do so.

Martin Stern

From: Joel Rich <joelirarich@...>
Date: Sun, Nov 27,2022 at 03:17 PM
Subject: Saying Kaddish

In response to Orrin Tilevitz (MJ 66#18):

(1) The basic rule is that the amud belongs to the shul and they can make any
reasonable rules they choose (since the priorities were only set as a default to
keep the peace)

(2) One can cede, the question is whether the honor is theirs to cede or does it
"belong" to the deceased?

Joel Rich

From: Joseph Kaplan <penkap@...>
Date: Sun, Nov 27,2022 at 04:17 PM
Subject: Saying Kaddish

Orrin Tilevitz asks (MJ 68#18) about the rules to follow when someone in aveilut
for a parent, which makes him a chiyuv [a person with an obligation], is in
conflict with someone else on his grandparent's yahrtzeit (for which that person
has no halachic obligation).

I don't know the answer. But I can tell you what my father told me when he was
an aveil for his father and ceded either leading the davening or getting an aliyah
to someone with a lesser (or possibly no real) obligation. I asked him why he
did that if he had halachic precedence.  His answer was simple: because that's
what Zayde (his father for whom he was in aveilut) would have wanted him to do.

From: Yisrael Medad  <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Sun, Nov 27,2022 at 04:17 PM
Subject: Saying Kaddish

Orrin Tilevitz (MJ 66#18) asks about "observing a grandparent's yahrzeit"

I am unaware of any chiyuv [obligation] to observe such a yahrtzeit.

If I am correct, his feelings do not override anyone else's proper obligation.

There are some Rabbis who permit a grandson to say the yahrtzeit kaddish if he
is appointed by a son who does not keep any religious customs (Rav Yaakov Ariel)

Yisrael Medad


From: Chaim Casper <info@...>
Date: Wed, Nov 30,2022 at 05:17 PM
Subject: Shidduch Crisis continued

In MJ 65#12 and subsequently (Nov. 2022), we discussed the "shidduch crisis". A
study by a Touro staff member claims that 98% of Haredi girls are married by the
time they are 40 years old. Modern Orthodox numbers are a little less than this.
Can one call a 2% group participants in a "shidduch crisis"?


B'virkat Torah,
Chaim Casper
North Miami Beach, FL
Neve Mikhael, Israel


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Nov 27,2022 at 04:17 PM
Subject: Use of microphones in shul (on weekdays)

Carl Singer wrote (MJ 66#18):

> 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?

There is a problem with answering amein to a berakhah heard over an
amplification system. It depends on how we view the sound heard. R. Moshe
Feinstein considered it as not being the words of the person saying the
berakhah, but more akin to an echo, and so ruled that one may not respond.
Others considered what was heard to be basically his words, albeit amplified,
and allowed responding.

Some make a distinction between situations where one cannot hear anything at all
without these devices and where one can hear but they improve one's hearing.

The same considerations apply to the use of hearing aids.

As in all such problematic cases, one should follow the ruling of one's rabbi.

Martin Stern


From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Fri, Dec 2,2022 at 01:17 PM
Subject: Who davens for the Amud - what works for us

Our weekday morning minyan has between 20 - 30 daily mispalalim -- most are
"regulars", but a few are members of our shul or community who only attend when
they have a yahrzeit.  Over the many years we've evolved into a pattern that
seems to work for us.  Davening for the amud is divided into 3 segments:

(1) From beginning to Yistabach
(2) Yistabach to Ashrai
(3) Ashrai to closing.

Most of the time our Gabbai davens Segment #1 -- this gets us started on
time and sets our normal pace.

Segment #2 is done by any capable "regular" via an informal rotation -- if
a capable chiyuv is present and wishes to do so, he may daven for the amud.

Segment #3 is usually by the same person who does segment #2 -- if, however, a
less capable chiyuv is present and is willing, he may do segment #3 only.

Our Gabbai controls these "assignments".

The only "conflicts" we seem to have -- and these are rare -- is when someone
who is a stranger to our minyan comes in and thinks that because he has a chiyuv
that he is in control.  For example, we had such a visitor who parked himself at
the amud well before davening.  (Our Gabbai and some others learn in a side room
until a few minutes before davening, thus are not visible before davening.)

A related issue is "pace".   For decades our morning weekday minyan begins at
6:15 T-W-F and 6:10 M-Th.  It is designed to end at a specific time in order to
allow connection with the local train & buses.   If someone unfamiliar with this
davens too slowly, we find people packing up and leaving early.  On rare
occasions we have someone who davens too quickly -- our Gabbai easily controls
this -- of concern is that all people saying kaddish can keep up.

As with most things, people who want to make it work, do make it work.

Carl Singer


End of Volume 66 Issue 19