Volume 66 Number 23 
      Produced: Tue, 13 Dec 22 06:55:02 -0500

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Aliyah minhag question (2)
    [Martin Stern  Michael Poppers]
Ezras Nashim 
    [Carl Singer]
Kaddish (2)
    [Chana Luntz  Stuart Pilichowski]
Prayer room with an Ezrat Nashim (2)
    [Martin Stern  Joel Rich]
Women saying Kaddish (2)
    [Chana Luntz  Joel Rich]


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, Dec 12,2022 at 09:17 AM
Subject: Aliyah minhag question

Irwin Weiss wrote (MJ 66#22):
> I see guys who have aliyot grasp the two atzei Chaim while reciting the
> berachot, and then, as they recite the last few words they lift up the atzei
> chaim an inch or two and then replace them on the reading table.
> Who sees this also? Is there a source for this minhag (custom)?

I also do this but I cannot say I have any written source - only custom.
Additionally, when I get to the bimah for my aliyah, I make a point of grasping
the atzei chaim if the previous oleh has let them go, and continue holding them
until the next oleh takes hold of them. I suspect that all these customs are
associated with the pasuk (Mishlei 3:18) "Eitz  chaim hi lamachazikim vetomkheha
me'ushar [It is a tree of life to those who grasp it and happy are those who
support it]".

Martin Stern

From: Michael Poppers <the65pops@...>
Date: Mon, Dec 12,2022 at 10:17 PM
Subject: Aliyah minhag question

In response to Irwin Weiss (MJ 66#22):

It is my minhag avos [familial/Western-European tradition] to do so both by the
pre-reading "v'nasan-lanu" and the post-reading "asher nasan lanu" phrases in
the respective b'rachos.  (I also genuflect -- in the manner one does at, e.g.,
the beginning of the Amidah -- at the "Baruch atah" phrase at the end of each

Sorry, no source to share; but I do have a thought: the halacha is that (as
Irwin noted) we hold on to the atzei (or at least an eitz) chayim [the
handle(s)], but we want to show not just that we're receiving the Torah -- we
want to take ownership and the way to do so is b'qinyan m'shichah [by lifting up
the object that we wish to own].

All the best from

Michael Poppers
Elizabeth, NJ, USA


From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Mon, Dec 12,2022 at 11:17 AM
Subject: Ezras Nashim

If I may relate a story -- before we built our new building our shul had its
Ezras Nashim directly behind the men's section and at about the same "altitude".

One weekday mincha / maariv a visitor placed himself in the Ezras Nashim. (We
weren't at all crowded.)   When my wife arrived and found a man in the Ezras
Nashim she simply took her seat and began davening. The man moved to the men's

Carl A. Singer


From: Chana Luntz <Chana@...>
Date: Sun, Dec 11,2022 at 07:17 PM
Subject: Kaddish

Joel Rich writes (MJ 66#21):

> Chana Luntz wrote (MJ 66#20)
> Martin Stern wrote (MJ 66#19):
>>> There are various rules of precedence as listed in the Kitzur Shulchan 
>>> Arukh: 
> ...
> Which is why these are all other things being equal rules.  As long as the
> rules are clear to all, each individual can choose to participate or not. 

I think you are thinking of this with your modern situation, living in heavily 
Jewishly populated areas, hat on - where if you don't like shul A, there is shul
B and C around the corner.  In most of the places where Jews lived in the past,
there were no real options for individuals to move shuls.

> One not uncommon possibility, that non-members get no precedence over a
> member for the amud no matter what the level of "chiyuv" is. 

Indeed the same Rema that I keep quoting which is the source of Halacha (Yore
Deah siman 376 si'if 4) says explicitly "and if a stranger is like one of the
people of the city for this kaddish, they go after the custom (Agur)." And the
Shach there comments:

"There are communities that are accustomed that a resident pushes aside a guest
and there are places that the custom is that they are equal, and the places that
the custom is that the resident pushes aside the stranger, in any event the
first time there is permission for the stranger to pray and to say the orphan
kaddish once, and so is written in the Minhagim, and it seems to me that the
guest should get one kaddish and is like a resident during the 12 months."

The poskim - the same poskim that spend a lot of time on the pages of the
Shulchan Aruch discussing whether something is kosher or not kosher or whether
something is a breach of Shabbat or not (and on whom we rely for our day to day
practice) spent equivalent amounts of energy in discussing these rules - clearly
felt it was worth doing, and whether or not we follow these customs (and none of
the communities I am involved in do) it is therefore a part of Torah.



From: Stuart Pilichowski <stupillow@...>
Date: Mon, Dec 12,2022 at 03:17 PM
Subject: Kaddish

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 66#22):

Stuart Pilichowski wrote (MJ 66#21):
>> Is it legitimate to say that all segments of practicing Jews now deem kaddish
>> as a deeply vital and must item of religious observance?
> I am not sure whether 'legitimate' is the correct word - perhaps 'accurate'
> would be better. If so, I fear it may be true, at least for the majority of
> 'practicing Jews' which IMHO is very sad. For far too many, Judaism has become
> reduced to a form of ancestor worship, perhaps best illustrated by the
> (hopefully fictitious) story told of someone who turned up in a shul for a
> weekday minchah and, after saying kaddish, walked out before ma'ariv saying 
> "see you again next year"!
> Obviously such behaviour is not legitimate.

You say ancestor worship and I say paying respect to one's roots and family that
have passed away - using age-old traditions and practices to do so.

I look at the reciting of the Kaddish as one area where Jews of many different
stripes have something religious in common. How so very wonderful!

Nowadays, people observing rituals get gold stars in my book. If for whatever
personal reasons one decides, to your chagrin, not to observe I don't label them
negatively, by using terminology such as not legitimate.

We have a long way to go in not only bringing people closer to God, but in
dealing with people by giving them the respect they deserve as created in the
image of God.

Much has been written about the recitation ritual of Kaddish.

Here's a link to a very current and sensitively and most articulate description
of saying Kaddish from one completing his Kaddish cycle.


Stuart Pilichowski

Mevaseret Zion, Israel

Phone 972- 527-222-827


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, Dec 12,2022 at 09:17 AM
Subject: Prayer room with an Ezrat Nashim

Deborah Wenger wrote (MJ 66#22):

> As for holding a weekday minyan in a place without an ezrat nashim, this is
> essentially saying "women are not welcome in this shul during the week." Why
> would a shul want to do that? There have been many times - for example, when
> visiting another community - that I have wanted to daven in a local shul
> during the week, kaddish or not. And yes, there have been times when I was
> told to stand in a coatroom or a hallway .. . Shouldn't we be encouraging
> everyone, not just men, to make going to shul a regular practice?

I think Deborah is being a little unfair to suggest that a shul without an ezrat
nashim on weekdays is essentially saying "women are not welcome in this shul
during the week". Its absence is a reflection of the fact that, historically,
there has been little demand for one - by and large women have simply not come
to shul on weekdays.

What might be a more valid criticism is of those MEN who do not come during the
week, so that shuls are led to use a smaller room. Of course many men have
problems with the times on weekdays because of their work commitments but, if a
larger proportion of those who come on Shabbat also came during the week, there
would be an ezrat nashim available.

Martin Stern

From: Joel Rich <joelirarich@...>
Date: Mon, Dec 12,2022 at 11:17 AM
Subject: Prayer room with an Ezrat Nashim

I asked one of the Yavneh student leaders who was then learning with the Rav,
Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, to put the question to him. Rabbi Ezra Bick (now
at Yeshivat Har Etzion) wrote back:

I spoke to the Rav about the question you asked concerning a girl saying
Kaddish. He told me that he remembered being in Vilna at the "Gaon's Kloiz" --
which wasn't one of your modem Orthodox shuls -- and a woman came into the back
(there was no ezrat nashim [ladies section]) and said Kaddish after ma'ariv. I
asked him whether it would make a difference if someone was saying Kaddish along
with her or not, and he replied that he could see no objections in either case
-- it's perfectly all right." Coincidentally, checking around, I came across a
number of people who remember such incidents from Europe, including my father
(in my grandfather's minyan - he was the rav in the town).

Joel Rich


From: Chana Luntz <Chana@...>
Date: Mon, Dec 12,2022 at 11:17 AM
Subject: Women saying Kaddish

Meir Shinnar writes (MJ 66#22):

> Therefore, at least in most American (non hassidisch) shuls, where more than 
> one person saying kaddish is the norm, it is difficult to think of something that
> Rav Henkin, Rav Moshe, and  Rav Soloveitchik all allowed - and the community
> does not follow.  It suggests that the reason those shuls do not allow this is
> not halachic - and potentially is even a rejection of Halacha

If anybody is going to be at Limmud this year (in Birmingham, England from 23rd
December) - come and hear my talk on Women & the Mourner's Kaddish (Sunday 25th
early evening).  In brief, however, after exploring what kaddish is and then
what specifically the mourners' kaddish is, I bring a set of seven teshuvot each
with a different reason as to why women may not say kaddish, a second set of
four teshuvot which I call the "half way house" - allowing women to say kaddish
in a specially gathered minyan in the home, but not in shul; and then a further
set of seven plus (including those referred to by Meir Shinnar above), that
permit in shul.  I am not sure where the undertone comes from though (although
there is perhaps a hint to it in Rav Yehuda Hertzl Henkin's language - but he is
content to rely on the principle of "trei kalei lo mishtamei [two voices cannot
be heard simultaneously]" so even this appears to be a stringency on the
position of the Henkins).  The consensus is that the woman is expected to say it
loud enough to be heard, even if, at least according to the Henkins, it should
ideally be together with another man (a requirement not in the others who allow
in shul).



From: Joel Rich <joelirarich@...>
Date: Mon, Dec 12,2022 at 11:17 AM
Subject: Women saying Kaddish

Meir Shinnar wrote (MJ 66#22):

> When I was in Princeton mid 1970s, Rav Pinchas Teitz, who was the posek for
> Princeton Yavneh, also ruled that way.  However, that was quite a severe
> limitation - no one was saying kaddish.  He ruled that someone who had said
> kaddish for a parent could say kaddish to allow the woman to say.  However,
> someone whose parents were alive was not allowed to say kaddish unless he got
> permission from his parents - and he recommended against such permission.

Did he give a reason why he recommended against asking permission?


Joel Rich


End of Volume 66 Issue 23