Volume 7 Number 91

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Cohanim Duchaning
         [M. M. Nir]
Dairy on Shavuos
         [Michael Shimshoni]
Feminine "Torah"?
         [Michael Kramer]
Gazing at the Kohanim during Duchaning
         [Dr. Sheldon Z. Meth]
Hallel - Pronunciation
         [Hillel A. Meyers]
Not Looking on Kohanim During Duchening (2)
         [Jonathan Goldstein, Uri Meth]
         [Marty Liss]
Rationalizing the mitzvot
         [Frank Silbermann]
Shuls in Raleigh-Durham
         [Alan Davidson]


From: M. M. Nir <CERARMN@...>
Date: Sun, 20 Jun 93 10:53:38 IST
Subject: Cohanim Duchaning

  On the subject of Cohanim Duchaning, I was recently in a Shul in
Karmiel where one of the Cohanim is a Lubavitcher.  This Cohen refuses
to Duchan and excuses himself from the minyan during the time of
Duchaning.  When I asked him about it, he said that there is no
tradition of Duchaning on Shabbat in a city that was not in Jewish hands
in ancient times.  Since Karmiel did not exist until after the creation
of the State, he is under no obligation to Duchan.

  Does anyone else know of such reasoning?  I have otherwise never heard
any Cohen refuse to Duchan on such grounds.

  On another topic, I understand that one should refrain from being
Menachem Avel [Condolence Call for a person in mourning] on Shabbat.
This is why there is minhag [custom] of saying the pasuk "Hamakom
inachem othcha..." [G-d should comfort you..] to a person in mourning
prior to the entry of Shabbat.
   Since saying the Mizmor Shir L'yom HaShabbat is the point when men
accept the Shabbat, it seems only appropriate to say the Pasuk
immediately before Mizmor Shir.
   The question I have is, many shuls delay the start of Shabbat so that
by the time the minayn reaches Mizmor Shir, the actual time for
Shabbat's entry has already passed.  Is there a problem then, with
saying the pasuk to a mourner?

Danny Nir


From: Michael Shimshoni <MASH@...>
Date: Tue, 22 Jun 93 15:03:57 +0300
Subject: Re: Dairy on Shavuos

Among  the six  reasons  Mike  Berkowitz brings  for  eating dairy  on
Shavu'ot reason 4 is:

>4) Since up to the giving of the Torah we were allowed to eat unkosher
>meat, when the Torah was given, including these prohibitions, all the
>meat utensils became unkosher, and since they couldn't be kashered that
>day (it being Shabbos and Yom Tov), everyone was forced to eat dairy.

I wonder what is the source for claiming that Shavu'ot was on Shabbat?

Michael Shimshoni

[The Gemarah in Tractate Shabbat that discusses the date of Shavuot says
that everyone agrees that the Torah was given on Shabbat, and then goes
on to explain what the disagreement on what day of the month it occured
was based on. Mod.]


From: <mpkramer@...> (Michael Kramer)
Date: Mon, 21 Jun 1993 22:22:47 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Feminine "Torah"?

This is a grammatical question.  In parshat Shlach (Bamidbar 15:29), as in
various other places in the chumash, we have this construction: "torah
achat y'hiyeh lachem."  Anyone know a reason why it's not "t'hiyeh
lachem," since "torah" is clearly feminine?

michael p. kramer (<mpkramer@...>) 


From: Dr. Sheldon Z. Meth <METH@...>
Date: Mon, 21 Jun 93 16:29:14 -0400
Subject: RE: Re: Gazing at the Kohanim during Duchaning

When I was a little boy I was told, "If you look at the Kohanim once,
you'll become blind in one eye; twice, you'll become blind in the other
eye.  But the third time, you'll become blind in BOTH eyes!  (8-)


From: hillelm%<dublin@...> (Hillel A. Meyers)
Date: Tue, 22 Jun 93 17:34:37 -0400
Subject: Re: Hallel - Pronunciation

> From: <plaufer@...> (Pinchus Laufer)

> I suspect the reason for the error in the
> first case is because of the care taken not to say the Shem resulting in
> teachers saying EloKa.  It's a bit difficult to find a parallel to the
> correct pronunciation which doesn't force you to pronounce it fully.

Pinchus, may I suggest that the prononciation in school should be Eloak.
That would parallel the use of the "Kuf" sound for the "Hey".

If this doesn't catch on, wouldn't it be better to say the whole pasuk
and teach the word correctly then to not say it properly due to our
vigilance not to say the shem, name of Hashem, in vain?

Hillel A. Meyers  -  Software Solution Team      | Mail Drop: IL71
Corporate Software Center - Motorola Inc.        | Suite 600
3701 Algonquin Rd, Rolling Meadows, IL 60008 USA | Voice: 708-576-8195
SMTP: <hillelm@...>  X.400-CHM003  | Fax: 708-576-2025


From: <goldstej@...> (Jonathan Goldstein)
Date: Mon, 21 Jun 93 20:14:58 -0400
Subject: Re: Not Looking on Kohanim During Duchening

In vol. 7 #83 Yisrael Medad writes:

> The congregation during duchening usually divides into three
> modes of action:  a) turns to the rear;  b) lowers their heads;
> c) covers their heads with the Tallit.

In my shule unmarried men do not wear tallit.

I was taught that an unmarried man closes his eyes when the cohanim
perform the duchening, and *not* lower his head.

Is this improper? Which action is "best"?

Jonathan Goldstein       <goldstej@...>       +61 2 339 3683

[See Uri's posting for source info to help answer this question. Mod]

From: <umeth@...> (Uri Meth)
Date: Tue, 22 Jun 93 9:40:59 EDT
Subject: Not Looking on Kohanim During Duchening

In V7n83 Yisrael Medad asks where the source for not looking at the
Kohanim during Duchening and what is the appropriate way to conduct
oneself during duchening.

In Shulchan Aruch 128 Paragraph 23 the _Mechaber_ writes:

	At the time when the Kohanim are blessing the people, they (the
	Kohanim) should not look nor avert their attention, rather their
	eyes should be facing downwards, like when he is standing for 
	_Tefilah_.  And the people should have in mind for the blessing,
	they whould be facing the Kohanim, [89] but they (the people) should
	not look at them (the Kohanim).  
	Ramah: Also, the Kohanim should not look at their hands, therefore,
	there is a custom (for the Kohanim) to place their _Talaisim_ over
	their faces [92] and their hands are outside of the Talis.  There are 
	places that the custom is that the (Kohanim's) hands are under the
	Talis, such that the people should not be able to look at them.

On this the Mishnah Berurah writes in subpoints 89 and 92:

[89] - The people should look neither at the faces of the Kohanim, nor
at their hands, and the reason is that the people should not avert their
attention from the blessing.  Surely the people should not be looking
elsewhere (to avert their attention).  However, the prohibition of
looking is that of a Long Looking (a stare) because this will bring to
avertting one's attention, but a small looking (a glance) is
permissable.  It is only in the time of the Temple when the Priestly
Blessing was done with the _Shem HaMeforash_ (the Tetragrammaton
pronouned in full) and the _Shechinah_ (divine presence) was resting on
the hands of the Kohanim, was it forbidden to even glance at the hands
of the Kohanim, even just a glance.  Nowadays, we have a custom not to
look (at the hands of the Kohanim at all) as a rememberance to the time
of the Temple.

[92] - The people have added a custom to cover their faces with the
Talis in order that they will not look at the hands of the Kohanim.

NOTE:  The initial source for all this is a Gemara in Chagigah 16a.


Uri Meth                (215) 674-0200 (voice)
SEMCOR, Inc.            (215) 443-0474 (fax)
65 West Street Road     <umeth@...>
Warminster, PA 18974


From: <marty@...> (Marty Liss)
Date: Wed, 23 Jun 93 11:40:22 -0400
Subject: Philadelphia

I must be in Philadelphia Wed 6/30 - Thu 7/1.  I would appreciate any
information on minyanim (evening and morning) in or near the downtown
area (South 5th near Arch), in the vicinity of Philadelphia Int'l.
Airport, or points in between.  Supplemental information on kosher food
availability (is there a tofutti version of the "hoagie"?) will be
gratefully digested.

Thank you.

 Marty Liss


From: Frank Silbermann <fs@...>
Date: Tue, 22 Jun 93 19:09:01 -0400
Subject:  Rationalizing the mitzvot

The appropriateness/usefulness of rationalizing the mitzvot has provided
heated debate for centuries.  Josh Rapps says that we do the mitzvot
because G-d commanded; our (often feeble) attempts at rationalization
must not interfere with performance.  David Charlap further develops
this idea with an analogy between performing a mitzvah vs pleasing an
earthly king (the conclusion being that it is first and foremost to do
that which the king requests).

Though I agree 100%, I would caution that one is much more likely to
interpret a command correctly and carry it out with a degree of common
sense if one understands the motivation behind the command.

We are taught to imitate G-d's attributes (e.g., G-d is compassionate so
therefore we too should strive to be compassionate).  In this vein, one
might also say that since G-d is wise, therefore let us also strive for
wisdom, by calculating to the best of our abilities the earthly benefits
of performing the mitzvot (the heavenly benefits being beyond our power
of observation).

Perhaps we need to distinguish between reasons "why a mitsvah _was_
useful in the past" versus "why a mitsvah has advantages today."  The
former is often a prelude for concluding that the reasoning (and
therefore the mitsvah itself) no longer applies.  The latter helps us
harness our Yetzer Hara (self-interest) in the service of the mitzvah,
which is essential for doing the mitzvah with all one's heart, with all
one's soul, and with all one's might.

(I suppose that repressing the Yetzer Hara would be an alternative, but
I'm told that this was tried and failed -- the hens stopped laying eggs,
and all that.)

Frank Silbermann	<fs@...>
Tulane University	New Orleans, Louisiana  USA


From: Alan Davidson <DAVIDSON@...>
Date: Tue, 22 Jun 93 20:06:37 -0400
Subject: Shuls in Raleigh-Durham

    This might be a bit early, but I am going to be attending a
conference in Raleigh, North Carolina October 29-31, and I am wondering
about shuls in walking distance of hotels, or places to spend that
Shabbos.  As of yet, I do not know which hotel the conference will be
at.  Thank you.


End of Volume 7 Issue 91