Volume 66 Number 25 
      Produced: Sun, 18 Dec 22 10:27:02 -0500

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Aliyah minhag question (2)
    [Yisrael Medad   Haim Snyder]
Another aliyah question 
    [Carl Singer]
Birkat haMazon: K'dosh Ya'akov 
    [Perets Mett]
Composting a meit  
    [Joel Rich]
Ezras Nashim (2)
    [Yisrael Medad   Chaim Casper]
    [Martin Stern]
Kiddush clubs (2)
    [Ari Trachtenberg  Martin Stern]
Prayer room with an Ezrat Nashim 
    [Martin Stern]


From: Yisrael Medad  <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Thu, Dec 15,2022 at 04:17 AM
Subject: Aliyah minhag question

Irwin Weiss wrote (MJ 66#24):
> I had asked on the list (MJ 66#22) about the custom of lifting the atzei 
> chayim at the end of the brachot when called to the Torah.

I, too, raise the Torah up a bit at the end of the blessing, which I thought, in
a similar way to the raising of a pen at the selling of chametz, to indicate

As for Carl Singer's comment (MJ 66#24):

> some look away (to their right) while reciting the brochas.

That's easy. That's where the Gabbaim keep the printed out version of the blessings.

Yisrael Medad

From: Haim Snyder <haimsny@...>
Date: Sun, Dec 18,2022 at 02:17 AM
Subject: Aliyah minhag question

In response to Carl Singer (MJ 66#24):

I also hold both atzei chiam when making the brachot. During the first, I keep
them separate with the writing exposed so that I can see the place I was shown
by the ba'al kriya. I lift them when I say v'natan lanu et torato. Then I
release the left aitz chaim so that the baal kriyai can hold it

Before the last bracha, I again grasp the left aitz chim, close the sefer and
make the bracha. In this one, I raise the atzei chaim when I say asher natan
lanu torat emet.

People who turn their head, in my opinion, do so in order to show that they know
the brachot and don't have to read them.


Haim Shalom Snyder

Petah Tikva


From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Thu, Dec 15,2022 at 10:17 AM
Subject: Another aliyah question

My practice is that when I have an aliyah, after the Ba'al Kriah points to the
spot in the Torah where the reading will begin, to kiss my talis' tzitzis and
then touch it to the OUTSIDE of the scroll.  As I recall a reason for this
practice is to minimize any potential damage to the writing.

I've seen two other approaches:   Some make a point of touching the writing,
itself, with their tzitzis -- which worries me as it may damage the writing.
Also, a few I see dangle the tzitzis over the spot and gently touching the
tzitzis to the writing.

Carl Singer


From: Perets Mett <pmett99@...>
Date: Thu, Dec 15,2022 at 05:17 AM
Subject: Birkat haMazon: K'dosh Ya'akov

Eric Mack (MJ 66#24) wrote:

> What is the origin of the phrase "K'dosh Ya'akov" (the Holy One of Jacob) in the
> Birkat haMazon (Grace after Meals) and why do we single out Ya'akov in that
> bracha (blessing)?
> Elsewhere, we see that Hashem is called "Magen Avraham" (Shield of Abraham)
> and "Pachad Yitzchak" (Fear of Isaac).  What is the origin of those aliases?


Mogen Avrohom (Breishis 15:2)
Pachad Yitzchok (Breishis 31:53)
Kdosh Yaakov  (Yeshayo 28:23, haftora of Parshas Shemos)

Perets Mett


From: Joel Rich <joelirarich@...>
Date: Thu, Dec 15,2022 at 07:17 AM
Subject: Composting a meit 

An interesting question, which might shed light on Michael Rogovin's suggestion
(MJ 66#24), is why was the original practice of letting the body decompose
before the final burial dropped in the first place at some point in time?


Joel Rich


From: Yisrael Medad  <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Thu, Dec 15,2022 at 04:17 AM
Subject: Ezras Nashim

Leah Gordon (MJ 66#24) refers to Carl Singer's wife's action (MJ 66#23) and writes :

> Why didn't any of the men davening feel the need to say something before (or
> during) that?

Because they weren't looking at the Ezrat Nashim, and were unaware, could have
been a generous answer.

Yisrael Medad

From: Chaim Casper <info@...>
Date: Sat, Dec 17,2022 at 10:17 PM
Subject: Ezras Nashim

The topic of Ezrat Nashim (the women's prayer section in a synagogue) has come
up in a number of the last issues. But there is one aspect of the topic that I
have not yet seen discussed.

Back in the late 1970s, a female friend went on a cross country trip during a
year she was saying kaddish for her father. (I do not want to discuss the issue
of whether a daughter can/should say kaddish). She told me that in a number of
Orthodox synagogues she went into, she would be confronted by a man who was
upset that she was davening in the Ezrat Nashim. After all, women don't or
shouldn't come to weekday minyanim. As a result, that man (and there were
numerous such men) who came to think of the Ezrat Nashim as their makom kavua
(permanent davening place), a place where women should not enter. 

So, I ask you, the reader: Are things different nowadays, almost 50 years later?

I ask the question as there are poskim (legal deciders) such as the Arukh
Hashulhan (O. C. 55:20) who says, "This is for sure: Those (men) who are
standing in the Ezrat Nashim should not be included (in the minyan count) with
those standing in the synagogue (i.e. the men's section) ... as they are two
separate domains." The Mishneh Brurah (O. C. 55:52) says that if the person(s)
in the Ezrat Nashim can see the men in the regular part of the synagogue, then
he/they can be counted as part of the minyan. But many of the shuls I've davened
in have mehizot that are solid up to six feet tall with no windows or they use
other cloaking devices so that the men don't see who is in the women's section.
It would appear the Mishneh Brurah, too, would not count such men in a minyan.
Yet, except for Shabbat morning, I always see guys who station themselves in the
Ezrat Nashim and expect to be counted as part of the minyan.

So, I ask you, the reader: Are things different nowadays, almost 50 years later?

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


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Dec 18,2022 at 09:17 AM
Subject: Kaddish

Stuart Pilichowski (MJ 66#23):

> 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?
>> ... For far too many, Judaism has become reduced to a form of ancestor
>> worship ... 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 ...

For someone who comes to shul regularly, saying kaddish fits into the general
pattern of davening but I find the incessant interruptions irritating. If they
would restrict themselves to one kaddish at the end after Aleinu, I would have
no problem. I have enough difficulty keeping up with the pace and have to start
early and get ahead in order to be able to reach shemoneh esrei with the
tzibbur. Somebody getting up to say kaddish just disturbs my kavannah. In almost
all shuls, where several say it together, there is no need for the extra
kaddeishim at the beginning of shacharit to give more aveilim an opportunity to
say at least one kaddish, so they could well be dropped. However I suspect that
this would raise howls of protest from those who only come to shul to say it.

Last Thursday, I was not feeling too well (nothing serious just slightly under
the weather), and I did not feel up to the seven minute walk to shul in the
sub-zero temperature, so I davenned at home. I must admit that the experience
was 'enjoyable' in that I could daven without being disturbed. The contrast on
Friday in shul was ...

Martin Stern


From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Thu, Dec 15,2022 at 09:17 AM
Subject: Kiddush clubs

Joel Rich writes (MJ 66#24):

> I'm sure there are many reasons why people attend kiddush clubs while the 
> minyan they were in continues its ritual services, but perhaps the underlying
> cause is lack of connection with HKBH as mediated through halacha.

I don't think that this is the most obvious reason.  Two more reasons come to mind:

1.  They enjoy the camaraderie of their fellow Jews as an intrinsic part of the
davening process. There is a reason that we need 10 for a minyan.

2.  They have an underlying lack of connection to the kahal, and the kiddush
club actually provides more of a connection to HKBH.

Though I don't attend one myself, I am a big proponent of kiddush clubs after
shacharit to keep the blood sugar levels reasonable and the davening meaningful.


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Dec 18,2022 at 10:17 AM
Subject: Kiddush clubs

In response to Joel Rich (MJ 66#24):

I have never been in a shul with this "Kiddush club" phenomenon and,
personally, find the idea abhorrent. However, I can see that some people may
find the Shabbat morning services too long for their concentration span and
need a break. That might also be the reason that some individuals are not in
their seats before the beginning of davenning and only turn up much later.
This cannot be a recent phenomenon since the halachah sefarim are full of
rules as to what can be omitted if one is behind the tzibbur and needs to
catch up.

Martin Stern


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, Dec 15,2022 at 04:17 PM
Subject: Prayer room with an Ezrat Nashim

Joseph Kaplan wrote (MJ 66#24):
> I'm with Deborah Wegner (MJ 66#22) and not Martin Stern (MJ 66#23) on the
> message of not having an ezrat nashim (i.e. I agree it sends the message that
> women are not welcome).

Joseph is probably correct that not having an ezrat nashim might be perceived by
some women as a message that they are not welcome but I disagree that that is
the intention for its absence. As I wrote (MJ 66#23):

>> 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 ... [this combined with] MEN who do not come during the week,
>> so that shuls are led to use a smaller room ... if a larger proportion of
>> those who come on Shabbat also came during the week, there would be an ezrat
>> nashim available.

The shul I daven on weekday mornings has several minyanim, one of which is held
in the main room used on Shabbat which has a gallery for women though the others
are in rooms that do not. Apart from Selichot, Purim and Tisha b'Av, I do not
get the impression that any women come except for the occasional yahrzeit. It is
simply not a problem - a woman simply comes to the minyan with a gallery.
Because of the general lack of demand, any woman who might want to come to a
shul without one should inform the gabbai and he should set up a mechitzah for her. 

Nevertheless, no men should go into any room used regularly as an ezrat nashim,
at least during davening times when it is possible, even though unlikely, that a
woman might turn up - after all it is a space designated for their use - and it
might well be a good idea to put up notices to that effect. 

Hopefully, these measures would avoid the unfortunate situations encountered by
Leah Gordon (MJ 66#24) and Carl Singer's wife (MJ 66#23).

Martin Stern


End of Volume 66 Issue 25