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Volume 10 : Number 026

Friday, October 11 2002

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Wed, 9 Oct 2002 17:43:04 -0400
From: "Feldman, Mark" <MFeldman@CM-P.COM>
Re: Violating the will of the majority

Does anyone know whether Rav Untermann was matir using a microphone
on Shabbos?

Kol tuv,

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Date: Thu, 10 Oct 2002 0:20 +0200
re: More on Klapping during Selach Lanu

See: Aruch haShulchan ORACH CHAYIM 607 # 8 (referring to "anachnu
he says "v'nohagin l'hakot al ha'lev ......v'yesh makin al ha'chazeh").


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Date: Wed, 9 Oct 2002 18:57:43 -0400
From: lfeldman@yu1.yu.edu]
FW: hediot and idiot

Seth Mandel's statement about hediot and idiot is correct. As to whether
the word hedyot always had a more pejorative connotation in the Talmud
than the original Greek word, I have not investigated this matter,
but I would note that the pejorative connotation is found in Greek
much before the time of the Talmud. Thus it is a term of abuse in a
comedy of Menander, who was a very popular writer in the fourth century
B.C.E. It is used in the sense of ignoramus in Demosthenes, who was
regarded as the greatest orator in Greek in the fourth cent ury B.C.E.
The prejorative connotation is connected, I believe, with the frequent
contrast in such important writers as Thucydides, Xenophon, and Plato,
between the idiotes (who does not participate in the affairs of the state)
and the polites (who does); and in a democracy such as that in Athens,
not to participate in the affairs of government was strongly frowned upon,
as we see especially in Pericles' Funeral Oration in Thucydides (2.40.2):
"We alone [Athenians] regard the man who takes no part in public affairs
(Greek politika) not as one who minds his own business but as good
for nothing."

Did hedyot develop a pejorative meaning over time? I do not know, but
I suspect that the rabbis were always aware of the various meanings of
the word idiotes, since it is a very popular word.

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Date: Wed, 9 Oct 2002 20:41:21 EDT
From: RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com
Re: Violating the will of the majority

In a message dated 10/9/2002 6:10:24pm EDT, kennethgmiller@juno.com writes:
> So when Rav Moshe Feinstein says, "I am postive that the halacha is X,
> and anyone who says otherwise is mistaken, and anyone who acts otherwise
> should know better and is therefore a mumar", you have to remember to
> include an unspoken point: "And although I'm sure I'm right, I have to
> admit that I'm not infallible."
> In other words, his p'sak is only for those who accept it. But he
> can't say that, because he doesn't personally believe it, because he is
> convinced that he is correct. That is Truth, from his perspective. And
> it will be Truth from our perspective too, IF we've accepted him as
> our posek. If not, then go figureout your own Truth. (But Rav Moshe
> can't allow you to do that, because he is convinced that he's correct.)
>  <snip>

I kinda agreee with Akiva Miller's elaboration. Nevertheless I feel
that a poseik with the Stature of RMF shold have made ihs parameters
more clear in what he said.

For example, if RMF said Rov Rabbonim say Mike's are assur and the vote
of the majority of Aguddas Harraonim is a ray that this rov exists,
so nu we can argue with RMF that lem'aseh Agudas Harrabanim might have
never been a rov. {BTW, I do not recall the vote being unanymous,
but I might be wrong on this}

The language of THIS Tshuvah tends to blur the distinction between
Halachah and organizational policy. It is davka this kind of blurring
that I find objectionable.

When SA/BY says we only NEED to eat on the Sukkah when we are kovei'a but
even water is tavo alav bracha, he did not cite the Va'ad of ir Tzfat
to give an opinion about how things OUGHT To Be Done. He delineated
between the hardline Halachah and yet extended a bit of Middas Chassidus
into the bargain. IOW his boundaries were clear.

To fully Understand the subtleties of RMF's position took a really long
piece of lamdus on Akiva's part. IMHO it should have been self-evident
that he was voicing an opinion re: a consensus.

Now to continue my debate with our esteemed moderator: After all what
diffrence does consensus make if halachah is based upon a Constitutional
process and not a CI process anyway?

Kol Tuv - Best Regards
Richard Wolpoe

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Date: Thu, 10 Oct 2002 07:50:05 +0200
From: "Daniel Eidensohn" <yadmoshe@012.net.il>
Re: Violating the will of the majority

> The basis is facts.  Does the Agudas Harbbanim in fact represent a Rov!?

> I don't get it. I am not opposed to RMF making a statement against
> microphones. I am amazed that his conclusion re: the ruling of the Agudas
> Harabbanom can in any way be contrued as binding so as to label anyone
> a Mechallel Shabbos. WADR to the Agudas Harrabonim what is their offical
> capacity to make their psak binding on any other community?

> Coming down hard is one thing. I am arguing against inventing Halachic
> constructs.
> Would the Chasam Sofer feel bound to the Agudas Harabbonim or would this
> va'ad be a davar Chadash?

> I'm not sure how polling the Agudas Harrabanim makes somethign Halchically
> binding on all communities. How is THAT within the Halchic process.
> Did you know that Agudas Harabbonim was esentially limited to European
> born Rabbanim at one time? This is hardly a reliable cross-section of
> what is normative.

> Since when does the ruling of one organization bind upon those who are
> not members?

> No matter how big a gadol RMF was, he cannot impose by fiat the
> authority of Agudas Harrabonim on those who are not affilliated with that
> organiation. And I tend to doubt the minroty of members who opposed their
> ruling on microphones themselves felt bound by the majority on this issue,
> although I cannot prove it.

All of the above can be summarized as "there is no official rule which
permits a rabbi or even a collection of rabbis to impose their view on
others who have their own independent halachic authorities".

My assertion is that historically halachic authority is that which
halachic authorities exercise.

While concerning most halachic issues one can safely assume that he can
rely on the ruling of his local rabbi and the minhag of his community,
in situations where others view it as undermining the values/situation of
their communities they have the legitimate right to "attempt" to impose
their views on others.

The issue of microphones as well as the issue of electricity in general is
something that can not be left to each community to decide. Similarly the
issue of conversion, aguna etc can not tolerate idiosyncratic practices -
no matter how well intended and informed by precedent. The Chasam Sofer's
declaration of chodosh assur is a prime example of this.Without a doubt
he would have led the opposition to the use of microphones and he would
have been the head of the agudas harabbanim. He was after all the one
who told the Mahretz Chajes to relabel all rabbinic rules as doreissa
so that they would be obeyed by those who ignored rabbinic rules.

Rules of psak are only rules most of the time - they are not absolute
rules to be applied in a mechanical fashion. In fact they can and are
ignored when other factors are involved. See the Chavas Yair #94 where
he demonstrates the many exceptions to accepted rules of psak. The main
issue is who has a right to ignore the conventions. It is obviously not
your average local rabbi or anyone else who just happens to have semicha.

While I can understand the concerns of a local rabbi against being
intimidated by the "big boys". If you look from the perspective of clal
yisroel - I don't see any alternatives concerning these issues.

[Email #2. -mi]

> With regard to RMF and microphones, I think that RMF's position was somewhat
> different and more nuanced than represented, and therefore is actually quite
> compatible with R R Wolpoes' position.
> This was somewhat different than the published psak given to the shochet,
> cited by RDE.  However, the circumstances were quite different.
> Thus, it would seem that while rav moshe held that one could hold the psakim
> of some communities to be in error, he did not quite condemn them all as
> mumarim.

The issue of how to deal publicly with the rabbis who dissented versus
the fate of the individual who follows his community is in fact discussed
in the tshuva I cited as well as the one following it in the Igros.

There is clearly a hierarchy of the nature of consequences depending upon
the perceived authority of the transgressor, the degree of rebellion
perceived in the conduct and the anticipated results of condemnation
or not in a particular case. This is also true concerning his attitude
towards Reform and Conservative Judaism. A public figure such as a
rabbi or shochet is not treated the same as a baal habayis in the shul.

I agree with R' Meir that one should not rely on my translated excerpts
of the Igros to understand the issue but the original teshuvos should be
consulted in the Igros Moshe. I also seem to recall that the original
hetair was published and/or discussed in Tradition. (I will try and
locate the original).

                        Daniel Eidensohn

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Date: Thu, 10 Oct 2002 15:53:57 +0200
From: "Daniel Eidensohn" <yadmoshe@012.net.il>
Re: Violating the will of the majority

> Does anyone know whether Rav Untermann was matir using a microphone
> on Shabbos?

The following was taken from Rav Bleich vol II page 225-232

Rav Unterman with Dr. Low - director of Institute for Science and Halacha
produced the plans for a transistorized p.a. system. Rav Unterman issued
his official approval Chanukah 5730 in a letter to Rav Casper Chief
Rabbi of Federation of Synagogues South Africa. His hetair was limited to
devices constructed to detailed plans of Prof Low. He declined however
to extend this hetair to Israeli synagogues because of fear that Prof
Low's plans would not be followed properly. Rav Bleich lists 6 salient
features of the permitted system.

"Despite the innovations introduced by Prof Low...many rabbinic
authorities took sharp issue with the permissive ruling...A negative
rule 23 Elul 5730 was issued and signed by Rabbi Moses Feinstein in his
capacity as president of the Agudat haRabbanim....It is interesting to
note that while Rabbi Unterman relies upon technical information supplied
by the Institute for Science and Halacha, the Institute itself issued a
contrary opinion with regard to the use of transistorized systems.... In
a letter dated 21 Iyar 5731...Rabbi Unterman declares that he had
granted permission for the use of the system devised by Prof Low "only
in communities where, to our regret, desecration of the Sabbath through
[use of] the electrical microphone became so deeply rooted that it was
as if they had completely forgotten that turning on electricity is a
serious form of 'labor' on the Sabbath. But in a place where this did
not previously exist we did not permit the installation of the improved
[apparatus' because there are questions with regard to it which cannot
be resolved".

Rav Bleich concludes p231-232 "The microphone question is indeed a highly
technical matter and it is most unfortunate that the publicity surround
this controversy tended to obfuscate the issues. The implication that
negative rulings on such matters stem from a reactionary stance and that
Orthodox rabbis are stubbornly opposed to all innovation is a lamentable
distortion. In actuality, Judaism steadfastly refuses to sacrifice
religious observance for the sake of convenience but is happy to welcome
any scientific advance which satisfies the requirements of halacha."

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Date: Tue, 8 Oct 2002 17:23:42 -0400
From: Arie Folger <afolger@ymail.yu.edu>
Re: reflections on the eighth month

Reb David Glasner asked:
> Since today is the first day of the eighth month, I would like to pose
> the following questions. First, at what point in history did people
> begin to drop the first two letters of the name of the eighth month
> (which happen to have nothing to do with the absence of holidays in the
> eighth month or with any invidious comparison to the previous month)?

IIRC the name is Svan of Shvan, and people did not drop the first two
letters. Instead, they, for some strange unkown reason, tacked on the
last letter of the previous word "mora'h" (=month of).

I do share your bewildement, but will note that we still insist to write
mar'heshvan in ktubot, and do so in one word! (so we don't break up the
word mora'h).

Info courtesy of rav Bleich's halakhah lema'aseh shi'urim on hilkhot
kidushin and ktubot.

Arie Folger

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Date: Thu, 10 Oct 2002 10:48:53 +0200
From: Yeshivat Har Etzion Office <office@etzion.org.il>
MUSSAR -01: There Must Be A Way

Perhaps REKrumbein and REBick (of yesterday's halachah peice) should
sit down and talk? This class is a far cry from yesterday's Torah equals
halachah email.

Gush is also sending out a Rav Nachman class, but I found it to be a
Brisker's methodology applied to Rav Nachman's premises, and not Breslover

But it's nice to see Gush is branching out.


                     YESHIVAT HAR ETZION
                     Mussar for Moderns
                   By Rav Elyakim Krumbein
                Shiur #1: There Must Be A Way

In this first shiur, we will outline what we will be doing in the
future. Before anything else, I think I should define what I mean
by Mussar. I will use this term in a broad sense, which will be best
understood by contrasting it with two other major areas of Torah study:
Halakha and Machshava.

Halakha teaches the Torah-committed Jew how to act, usually in a given

Machshava - Jewish thought - develops his world outlook.

But whenever one is engaging in study whose avowed aim is to learn how
to live - how to be - he is studying Mussar. The Kotzker Rebbe put it
once succinctly to a certain talmid chakham: 'You learn so much Torah,
but tell me: what have you learned from the Torah?'

This definition may not be clear now, but I hope our ensuing discussion
will help sharpen matters.

I promised to describe our program, but I request your further
indulgence. Before we talk about what we'll be doing, we must talk about
why we'll be doing it.

As is well known, the 'why' of Mussar as an independent endeavor is and
always has been controversial. Those who think Mussar superfluous can
certainly summon several gedolei Yisrael to support their view. I'm
not out to change their minds, and I presume they aren't subscribing
to this shiur. However, in order to get a grasp of where we are going,
I feel that I must state the opposing view on this question, which is
really the assumption on which this series is based.

Ostensibly, the critics are right. In order to live a Torah-life, one
must know what the Halakha demands. One needs also to understand why one
must adhere to the Mitzvot, for understanding is the basis of commitment
and fulfillment. These matters are addressed fully by the vast Halakha
and Machshava literature. Dealing with these two areas alone is already
a prodigious undertaking. Why devote precious time to anything else?

The answer is that living a Torah-committed life is a much more complex
challenge than the critics would have us believe. How to live is a
question that needs to be dealt with directly. It is not something that
can be sufficiently known or sensed, automatically or intuitively, by
studying how to behave in given circumstances, or by probing the nature
of existence.

We will presently demonstrate this claim, at the same time foreshadowing a
technique which we will use continuously: quotation of sources, intended
for the reader's careful study and attention. The progress of the shiur
will as a rule take such study on the part of the reader for granted.

There are whole worlds of Torah fulfillment which are wont to be
ignored by those who would restrict their attention to the Law and
its philosophical foundations. The first example we will survey can be
inferred from the Ramban's well-known comment on 'kedoshim tihyu':

The point is that the Torah prohibits incest and forbidden foods, while
permitting marital relations and consumption of food and wine. It follows
that a hedonist could find legitimacy for depravity with his wife or
with many wives, excessively indulge in wine and meat, and utter foul
language without restraint, for this has not been expressly forbidden
in the Torah. As a result, he would be a scoundrel licensed by the Torah.

There are examples of immoral behavior which are not to be found
spelled-out in Halakha. A student of Halakha alone could conceivably be
a 'scoundrel.' In order to avoid this, the Torah had to stipulate that
there is a general mitzva of Kedusha, which is not halakhically defined,
and which sets no uniform standards. As Ramban continues:

     Therefore Scripture, after specifying the things which are absolutely
     forbidden, admonishes in a general way that we should abstain
     from excesses: diminishing marital relations as the Rabbis said
     'that talmidei chakhamim not be with their wives constantly like
     roosters,' and sanctifying oneself by minimizing wine- drinking,
     as the nazir is called 'holy'...and guarding one's mouth and tongue
     from contamination through excessive eating and foul speech...so
     sanctifying oneself until attainment of the level of abstinence
     ascribed to Rabbi Hiyya, of whom it was said that he never in his
     life uttered an idle word.

The letter of the law has a spirit behind it, which points us towards
the larger goal of the Torah: striving towards perfection, which can be
mandated only in general terms, and which allows for varying levels of
achievement in accord with individual characteristics. Neglecting this
responsibility leads to the phenomenon of the 'scoundrel licensed by
the Torah' - immorality which violates no statute.

The second area which is apt to be sacrificed by single- minded
attention to the Law is that realm which the Law refers to, when at
all, with great brevity and generality: the realm of personality and
emotions. There are in the Torah 'commanded emotions,' such as love and
fear of God, love of one's fellow. But as opposed to commanded action,
commanded emotion is not something that can be put into effect in any
immediate or obvious way. If love isn't there to begin with, how does
it get put there? How does one get rid of negative traits? There is a
common conception that pre-occupation with Torah study in itself is a
remedy, if not a panacea. The divine light of Torah is said to possess
the capacity for moral rectification. For those who rely on this theory,
the Vilna Gaon has some bad tidings. The following is his explanation
of the Torah's simile: 'Let my teaching fall like rain.'

Rain falls everywhere and acts on everything equally. But its effect
corresponds to the recipient. Where wheat is sown, the rain causes wheat
to grow. Where poisonous plants are sown, the rain will make them grow,
too. Yet the rain itself is always characterized as 'good.' Thus the
Torah, which descends from Heaven, works its action to cause whatever
is in a man's heart - to grow. If his heart is good, the Torah will
increase his fear of God. But if his heart contains a poison root,
he will falter all the more when he studies Torah, and the evil in his
heart will increase.

The idea propounded by the Gaon may strike us as odd. We will soon get
an inkling of one way this can happen. In any event, the Law per se
does not address this problem. Pre- occupation with Torah, startlingly,
makes things worse. A way has to be found to get at the root, to replace
the poison seed with a healthy one.

Apart from types of corruption not specifically prohibited by Halakha, and
apart from the problematics of 'tikun' of the self to which Halakha and
Machshava offer little insight, there is a third area which demonstrates
that the subject-matter of Mussar can be ignored only at great spiritual
peril. It appears that it is entirely possible for great students of
Halakha, the most Torah- committed Jews, to be responsible for moral
failures, even calamities. And this, not because of any laxity of purpose,
but on the contrary: as a direct result of their knowledge and commitment.

The Netziv in the introduction to his Torah commentary writes that the
verse 'Righteous and straight ('yashar,' usually translated 'honest') is
He' refers to the reason for the destruction of the Second Temple. The
Jews of the time were righteous and pious and toiled in the Torah, but
they were not 'straight' in the ways of the world. As a result, because
of the groundless hatred in their hearts, when they saw someone who acted
contrary to their views on God-fearing behavior, they suspected him of
being a Saducee or a heretic. This eventually led to blood being spilled
and every possible calamity, until the Temple was destroyed. And this
Divine verdict is justified in the above-mentioned verse, for the Holy One
is straight, and does not tolerate such righteous men, but only those who
are also straight in the ways of the world, who do not go in crooked paths
- even if they do so for the sake of Heaven (le-shem shamayim), for this
causes the desolation of Creation and the destruction of civilization.

The Netzidescribes righteous men whose occupation was to toil in
Torah, but who had hatred in their hearts. Remember the principle
taught by the Gaon? Here we have a historical illustration. These
tzadikim would never knowingly persecute someone out of sheer hatred or
jealousy. They did it le-shem shamayim, after determining that he was
a heretic. Unbeknownst to themselves, this verdict itself was motivated
by hatred and jealousy. Their Torah was their undoing. Their proficiency
in Torah polemics enabled them to 'prove conclusively' that this person
deserved the fate they designed for him. Their total commitment to
Torah empowered their resolve to wipe out the evil which they were
convinced they saw. Yet this commitment served only as a mask, a means
of rationalizing the subconscious directives of 'groundless hatred.'

Torah represents the highest ideal. Its peril lies in its very grandeur
and power. Undistilled souls, who cleave to Torah with what they take
for idealistic passion, are at risk. They may be flirting with perversion.

I would like, with some trepidation, to bring another source - a
controversial one - related to this issue. Em Habanim Smechah is a work
written in Hungary in the throes of the Holocaust by an eminent rabbi,
Rav Yissachar Teichtal, who became convinced that religious opposition to
Zionism had been a tragic error which helped seal the doom of countless
Jews. In his book, he attempts to convince his peers to support the
rebuilding of Eretz Yisrael. In the following passage he is resigned to
his inevitable lack of success. The anti-Zionists had used the classic
molds of Halakhic argumentation to make their point, but Rav Teichtal
has his own analysis:

     Those that are biased to begin with won't see the truth and won't
     accept our words, and all the proof in the world will not help,
     for they are smitten with blindness, and their self-interest will
     blind their eyes so that they deny even things that are as clear
     as day. For who today is greater than the scouts (sent by Moshe),
     of whom Scripture testifies as to their worthiness, and yet since
     the consideration of office biased them, as is explained at length
     in the Zohar and the Sh'lah, that they feared they would lose their
     positions as heads of the Tribes, and therefore they despised the
     desirous Land, deluding others in their wake...So it is in our time,
     even rabbis, rebbes and Hassidim - this one has a good rabbinic post,
     this one a good Hassidic court, and this one has a good business or
     a good factory or a good respectable position with a large income,
     so the fear looms over them - if they go to Eretz Yisrael their
     situation may deteriorate ...People like this are biased by the
     self-interest hidden deep within their hearts, until they don't
     even realize that the self-interest is speaking from within,
     as I have brought in the name of our holy master, the man of
     God, Rav Yishaya Muskat of Prague...that a person usually deludes
     himself into believing that his actions are for the sake of Heaven,
     whereas in actuality he is being driven by a deeply-hidden self-
     interest...Likewise see Divre Chayim on Channuka who wrote that a
     man sees only what he wants to see, and therefore one's power of
     decision and judgment of the truth is null when he is prejudiced in
     any way...And now, who takes responsibility for all the innocent
     blood shed in our times, by our sinfulness? It seems to me that
     all those leaders who prevented Jews from joining the builders of
     Eretz Yisrael won't be able to wipe their hands and say: Our hands
     did not spill this blood!

     Such a chilling accusation can be made only by a man in
the circumstances which overtook Rav Teichtal, and of his stature.
We who were spared the Holocaust can be no more than silent bystanders
at this debate. At the same time, when reading this anguished excerpt,
I find it difficult to escape the conclusion that it is at least possible
that he was right.

     I would like to sum up this discussion, which was the
main body of this lesson. We spoke of three major areas, not directly
addressed by Halakha or Machshava, which are at risk: immoral behavior
not specifically prohibited, inner personal morality, and the pitfall
of crimes done 'for the sake of Heaven.' We won't further belabor this
matter, but rather get on with the question - so where does one go from
here? Many serious-minded people, convinced of its necessity, naturally
turned to Mussar study - only to be dismayed at the unexpected obstacles
which frustrated their progress. Before long, it becomes clear that
basic conviction and motivation aren't enough. The questions arise -
Can intellectual study really bring about existential change? Can it
impart not only knowledge and acumen, but wisdom? If it can, why doesn't
it seem to be doing so? If it can't, then what else needs to be done?

he problems don't end there. Today's committed Jew, who lives daily in
consonance with the modern temper, finds that temper at variance with
the fundamental ideas of what he perceives as the traditional Mussar
orientation. Other- wordliness, guilt, and humility, among other
concepts, seem to be out of step with modernity. Can we still read
Mesilat Yesharim the way our forebears did two centuries ago? Can we
aspire to live out the Torah in its profoundest sense while still being
a part of the twenty-first century? The frustration and even despair of
many well-intentioned people who made the attempt seems to indicate that
answer to these questions, if it exists, is not a simple matter.

These problems inspired the idea for this series of shiurim. Our working
assumption will be that there is a way.

Each of the coming sessions will be devoted to a specific issue connected
to the content or techniques of Mussar. Our discussions will have a dual
focus. One emphasis will be problems which erect barriers on the way to
rectification of the self. Some of these are matters uniquely faced by
modern religious man, and others represent quandaries which are intrinsic
to human nature as such. Secondly, we will be looking for the underlying
approaches, or inner orientations, which influence our ability to engage
this area productively. By exploring a variety of sources, the hope is
that the student will be aided to the point where his quest ceases to
be a blind groping, and becomes a search, guided and directed from within.

One final note. It should be clear from what we have said, that we will
not actually be 'doing' Mussar. That is a daily affair, and cannot be
done periodically if it is to have any meaning. If we succeed in removing
some of the obstacles, and thereby make the search possible, we will
have gained our objective. For modern man, it is no small achievement.


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Date: Thu, 10 Oct 2002 15:36:08 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Violating the will of the majority

On Wed, Oct 09, 2002 at 08:41:21PM -0400, RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com wrote:
: Now to continue my debate with our esteemed moderator...

I'm not sure it pays. After all these years, we have yet to find a common

:                                                        After all what
: diffrence does consensus make if halachah is based upon a Constitutional
: process and not a CI process anyway?

Overstatement on your part. I believe there are halachos about how to
make halachos. This is a well-founded belief, as the Rambam and others
codify them.

Among those halachos are rules that depend on the tzibbur. They simply
aren't the only rules, nor the highest priority ones.

As I put it many times in the past, the tzibbur has a role in selecting
which "eilu" becomes halachah. Particularly when there's no beis din (or
similar body that meets and reaches consensus, to touch another thread)
for one to apply nimnu vegamru.

Not in determining one's choices. This means that there are many cases
where the tzibbur is simply wrong. Which is why even those who give higher
priority to the rules involving minhag still need to find support and
justification in the formal thought. Without which, how can you assess
whether they're actually following divrei E-lokim chaim?

Besides, if the process were CI based with no formal rules, than anyone
can vote themselves into the CI and create a new Torah that your process
would then endorse. It's still circular, and therefore still meaningless
as a criterion.


Micha Berger                 When you come to a place of darkness,
micha@aishdas.org            you do not chase out the darkness with a broom.
http://www.aishdas.org       You light a candle.
Fax: (413) 403-9905             - R' Yekusiel Halberstam of Klausenberg zt"l

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Date: Thu, 10 Oct 2002 13:29:07 -0400
From: "Feldman, Mark" <MFeldman@CM-P.COM>
RE: Violating the will of the majority

From: Elazar M Teitz [mailto:remt@juno.com]
> When the Agudas Horabonim made a takanah, it was considered 
> by virtually all rabbonim as binding. 
> In view of the above, a unanimous p'sak of the Agudas Horabonim meant
> that virtually no one qualified to pasken felt otherwise. In the
> specific instance of the microphone issue, there was only one t'shuva,
> to the best of my knowledge, written l'heter, and its author 
> was and is not considered of a magnitude approaching the osrim.

REMT told me offline that he was referring to a rav in Baltimore.  However,
it turns out that I correctly recalled that Rav Unterman, the Israeli Chief
Rabbi, had issued a permissive psak (though with conditions).

From: Daniel Eidensohn [mailto:yadmoshe@012.net.il]
> Rav Unterman issued his
> official approval Chanukah 5730 in a letter to Rav Casper Chief Rabbi of
> Federation of Synagogues South Africa. His hetair was limited to devices
> constructed to detailed plans of Prof Low. <snip>
> "Despite the innovations introduced by Prof Low...many rabbinic authorities
> took sharp issue with the permissive ruling...A negative rule 23 Elul 5730
> was issued and signed by Rabbi Moses Feinstein in his 
> capacity as president of the Agudat haRabbanim....

I therefore contend that as Rav Unterman issued a permissive psak,
RMFeinstein & the Agudas Harabbanim could not claim that *all* poskim of
stature were on their side.  Therefore, in the absence of a Sanhedrin, they
could not compel everyone to follow their ruling.

Kol tuv,

Go to top.

Date: Fri, 11 Oct 2002 09:12:45 -0400
From: "Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
M'Vorchim HaChodesh

This is what I received when I inquired of a Saliach Tzibbur I recently 
heard be mevarach Chodesh:
>KAJ-FFM* Minhag is not to say either Haboh Oleinu or HaBo'im Oleinu for 
>anything with one exception - when Rosh Chodesh falls on Shabbos the 
>nussach is "Rosh Chodesh __________ Yihyeh B'Yom Shabbos Kodesh Haboh 
>Oleinu L'Tovah".  If R"C happens to also be Sunday, the nussach is to add 
>"U'V'Mochoroso BaYom HoRishon."

>However, if you look in the S'fas Emes Siddur (p. 123 ), you will see that 
>generic Nussach Ashkenaz provides for saying "HaBo'im" when there are two 
>days R"C.  Hence, my choice of words.

*Khal Adas Yeshurun, Frankfurt am Main

I think that actually the KAJ nusach is very meduyak, the customary
Ashkenaz nusach to always say "H'Bo Aleinu l'Tovah" difficult. I think
the rationalization for it is that it focuses on RC, not the day/s of RC.

What other minhagim are out there?

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Date: Fri, 11 Oct 2002 13:28:28 GMT
From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@juno.com>
Re:M'Vorchim HaChodesh

"Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" :
>>I think that actually the KAJ nusach is very meduyak, the customary
Ashkenaz nusach to always say "H'Bo Aleinu l'Tovah" difficult. I think
the rationalization for it is that it focuses on RC, not the day/s of RC.
What other minhagim are out there?>>

Makes a lot of sense. I always wondered why some people added
"ulmacharaso" every time there is a two day Rosh Chodesh; it makes sense,
as does "haba aleinu" only when R"Ch is Shabbos/Sunday.


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Date: Fri, 11 Oct 2002 16:33:39 +0200
From: D & E-H Bannett <dbnet@zahav.net.il>
oseh ha-shalom

I've been keeping one eye on the latest oseh hashalom thread and 
waiting for someone to point out that the subject was covered in much 
more detail a number of years ago. As the thread seems to have died out 
without further details being supplied, I found one of my postings from 
that era and copy it below.  Further info can probably be found by 
search of the archives for diyyukim, diyukim, oseh hashalom etc. 

About Oseh Hashalom bimromav in kaddish in "aseret yemei teshuva: 

The nusach Bavel ends the shemoneh esrei  with hamevarekh et 'amo 
Yisrael bashalom.  The last b'rakha in nusach Eretz Yisrael was Oseh 
hashalom.  (There is some evidence that the b'rakha oseh hashalom was 
not completely unknown in Bavel.)

There are quite a number of examples of two nus'chaot being honored by 
each being used at a different place or different occasion (e.g., 
hamachazir shechinato... and sh'otekha levadekha... or ga'al Yisrael 
and tzur Yisrael vegoalo or sim shalom and shalom rav).  The 
berakha Oseh hashalom was assigned  by some to replace  Bavel's 
hamevarekh during the 'asseret yemei teshuva.  

IMH"O there were those who did not accept the change of berakha, but 
knew about the decision that on 'aseret yemei teshuva one said oseh 
hashalom at the end of shemoneh esrei. They prefixed the Ha- to the 
shalom of the oseh shalom bimromav at the end of shemoneh esrei and 
also in kaddish. I believe that the existence of two nus'chaot of the 
last b'rakha of shmoneh esrei indicates that the Ha-shalom was not 
originally meant for oseh shalom bimromav.  (There's a hidden 
assumption here that Oseh shalom was said at the end of Elohai netzor 
at the time that Oseh replaced Hamevarekh in 'aseret yemei teshuva. 
This is doubtful and should be checked. Maybe Avodah's walking 
encyclopedia of mekorot, RYZ, can tell us when the berakha switching 
was made.

And a comment on the postings concerning our saying imru Amen quietly 
at the end of oseh shalom in the shmoneh esrei:

Following the example of Moshe Rabbeinu in Va'etchanan, after praising 
God in pesukei de-zimra and then stating our belief and acceptance in 
shema, we then approach the throne to make our  requests. So, as 
supplicants before the king, and having made our more public 
announcements before the court, we walk three steps forward toward the 
throne and quietly present our requests.  After finishing shmoneh 
esrei, which nowadays ends with oseh shalom bimromav, we step back from 
the kisei hakavod and stand a while so as not to dismiss ourselves too 
abruptly from His presence. 

Why do we step back at the end of kaddish?

In the case of the hazan in the chazara, it might be considered tircha 
de-tzibura to take the time to say yihyu le-ratzon and step back after 
hamevarekh et..... bashalom. So the hazan may remain "up close" to the 
kisei hakavod until after the kaddish and  step back then.  In all 
other kaddishim, IMHO, stepping back in oseh shalom is copycatting from 
shemoneh esrei or from the hazan. Similarly, IMHO, the imru amen in 
shmoneh esrei is copycatting from kaddish.  BT"W, neither the Sa'adia 
Gaon nor Amram Gaon siddurim have the oseh shalom sentence in Elohai 
netzor They do have a short personal prayer starting with Elohai netzor 
and ending with yih'yu le-ratzon without the additional request for 

Shalom is one of the most important requirements in life. We, 
especially, needed shalom during our long history of living among goyim 
and suffering persecution. It is not surprising, therefore, that a 
request for shalom was added at the end our prayers both at the end of 
shmoneh esrei and at the kaddish (today, kaddishes) recited after 
completing the "official" davening.  I don't remember just where, but I 
have seen early siddurim where oseh shalom appears in Elohai netzor but 
without the word ve-imru or without imru Amen. 


So this posting should not be only a rehash of the past, I'll add a bit 
to the multiple nusach subject.

There are numerous examples of two nuschaot, but less of three.
For the paragraph ending with the third b'rakha of shmone esrei, HaEl 
hakadosh, there are three nuschaot.

1. Ata kadosh v'shimkha kadosh...

2 L'dor vador nagid godlekha...

3. Kadosh ata v'nora shmekha

No. 1 is the accepted nusach.  Some replace it by No. 2 for hazarat 
hasha"tz, either always or only for musaf.  No. 3 replaces No. 1 only 
on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.

Interesting to note that each nusach has the verb KD"Sh three times 
similar to the triple kadosh in kedusha (and Yeshayu 6).

The triple play is also an argument against adding ki El melekh gadol 
v'kadosh at the end of No. 1.  This addition is not in nusach Ashkenaz 
nor does it appear in nusach Sefarad. In some nus'chei Chasidim it is 
added as k'ein siyyum lifnei hasiyyum (based on Abudarham, IIRC?).



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