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Volume 39: Number 33

Mon, 12 Apr 2021

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: David Riceman
Date: Fri, 9 Apr 2021 12:47:35 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Moshe Rabenu got rich from the shivrei luchos

Once you construe shivrei luchos as a metaphor shouldn?t you also construe wealth as a metaphor (Avos 4:1)?

David Riceman

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Message: 2
From: Jay F. Shachter
Date: Fri, 9 Apr 2021 12:46:36 +0000 (WET DST)
[Avodah] Feminine Plural

> (Why does the Tanchuma say "nichsei avihem", not "avihen"?)

You had to wait for the Tanchuma, to ask this question?  You couldn't
ask it on Numbers 36:6?  You never read Exodus 2:17, where there is an
inconsistency in a single verse?  Clearly the Bible is occasionally
careless about feminine plural forms (although much better than modern
Israelis, who have abandoned them completely).  The Bible is better
with the verbs than with the pronomial suffices, but see, e.g.,
Genesis 21:17 (plus there are weird hybrid forms in Genesis 30:38 and
1 Samuel 6:12).  If that stuff bothers you, I can't help you; it
apparently did not bother our ancestors, who had no problem even with
a verse that was not self-consistent.

                        Jay F. ("Yaakov") Shachter
                        6424 North Whipple Street
                        Chicago IL  60645-4111
                                (1-773)7613784   landline
                                (1-410)9964737   GoogleVoice

                        "Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum videtur"

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Message: 3
From: Jay F. Shachter
Date: Fri, 9 Apr 2021 13:16:39 +0000 (WET DST)
[Avodah] Judges 18:30

> A more interesting question: Since Moshe presumably had no
> particular use for his riches, and therefore would have left a nice
> inheritance for his children beyond whatever allotment they would
> have received in one of the Levi'im cities, how did his grandson
> Yonasan become so poor that he went to work for Micha (the bad one,
> not the navi)?

The uncited reference is to the Midrash on Judges 18:30.  The question
reminds me of another question.  There are Midrashim on Genesis 23:2
and on Genesis 24:1 that Avraham had a daughter.  This woman would
have been a half-sister to Yitzxaq.  A ben-Noax is allowed to marry
his half-sister from his father.  Why, then, did Avraham send his
unnamed servant all the way back to Mesopotamia, to bring back, for
his son, a woman who was the child of idolaters?  Plus, how would they
even talk to each other?  The woman would not be able to speak the
language of the Hebrew-speaking Canaanites which was no doubt
Yitzhaq's native language.  Wouldn't it have been so much better in so
many ways for Yitzxaq to marry his half-sister?

The answer, of course, is that Avraham didn't want his son to marry a
midrash.  He wanted him to marry a real woman.

The above-cited question has the same answer.  That Moshe got rich
from tablet dust is a midrash.  That Moshe had a grandson who became a
priest of idolatry is a midrash.  I like these midrashim, I
particularly like the second one, but I don't have to believe that
either one of them is true.  I certainly don't have to believe that
both of them are true, and I cannot believe that midrashim are all
true, because they contradict each other.  Surely this is not the
first time you have noticed contradictions between two midrashim.  So
why are you even asking the question?

                        Jay F. ("Yaakov") Shachter
                        6424 North Whipple Street
                        Chicago IL  60645-4111
                                (1-773)7613784   landline
                                (1-410)9964737   GoogleVoice

                        "Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum videtur"

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Message: 4
From: Jay F. Shachter
Date: Fri, 9 Apr 2021 14:11:37 +0000 (WET DST)
[Avodah] The Moon By Night; A Wrinkle In Time

>> I have often contended that, in the era of the Korban Pesach, an
>> average person would not have the expertise or equipment to
>> calculate Chatzos Layla, and that therefore the people must have
>> been careful to finish eating the Korban early in the night
> Well, since it's the middle of the month, at midnight the moon would
> be overhead at the zenith at midnight.

Where do you live?  In Eretz Yisrael, the moon is never directly
overhead.  Maybe you meant that the moon would be at its highest point
for that night.  How are you going to know when the moon reaches its
highest point of the night?  You'd have to wait until it starts to go
lower, and only then would you know that it had been at its highest
point, a moment earlier.  Are you then going to travel back in time?

This reminds me of something that I may have mentioned before on this
mailing list, and if so I apologize for repeating myself, but I think
I have mentioned it up until now only in spoken conversation and not
in writing.  When I was in Senegal a few years ago, I had the occasion
to say Qiddush Lvanah when the moon was almost directly overhead.
Anshei Khnesseth Haggdolah, who established the benediction Mxaddesh
Xodashim to be recited on such an occasion, never saw the moon
directly overhead.  They never spoke to or heard of anyone who had
ever seen the moon directly overhead.  They did not know that there
were any inhabited places on the globe from which you could see the
moon directly overhead.  Thus, I was about to recite a benediction
under circumstances that were wholly unenvisioned and uncontemplated
by the people who had established the benediction.  More specifically:
the thing that I was seeing, was not what Anshei Khnesseth Haggdolah
were thinking of, when they established a benediction to be recited
when seeing it.  So I wondered whether I should, in fact, recite the
benediction.  I was not much concerned, and I recited the benediction
bshem umalkhuth, but I did think that it was an interesting question.

                        Jay F. ("Yaakov") Shachter
                        6424 North Whipple Street
                        Chicago IL  60645-4111
                                (1-773)7613784   landline
                                (1-410)9964737   GoogleVoice

                        "Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum videtur"

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Message: 5
From: Akiva Miller
Date: Sun, 11 Apr 2021 07:06:40 -0400
[Avodah] Are we trying to grow?

This is a continuation of a conversation that began recently on Areivim, in
a thread titled "For many synagogues, live-streamed services are here to
stay after the pandemic". That thread began (as you might guess from its
title) with an external article about the changes that are happening in
many synagogues due to covid, which led to some comments about things that
we may or may not like in our shuls. I am moving it from Areivim to Avodah
because the focus is not so much on what it Covid is doing to our shuls,
but more on what we feel the function of a shul should be.

R' Yitzchok Levine described his shul:

> A neighbor of mine ... recently ask me about the Shabbos morning
> Hashkama minyan that I started at the YI of Ave J. After I told
> him that it started at 7:15, and there was virtually no talking,
> he went a couple of weeks ago.  He reported to me that this is
> what davening should be, and that he thoroughly enjoyed davening
> there. He then added, "And there is no rabbi."
> There are no speeches and there is almost never a kiddush. There
> is some singing, but not very much. ... It is what I call a
> no-frills davening.

I responded:

> Perhaps I'm misunderstanding, but you seem to consider "no rabbi"
> and "no speeches" as positive traits. If this is accurate, I'm
> curious to hear your reasoning why.

RYL answered:

> I have no problem with there being a rabbi at a minyan,  provided
> he does not speak.  Ask anyone two hours after shul what the rabbi
> spoke about, and most will not even recall his topic.  Thus, I, in
> general, consider speeches Tircha D'Tzibura. Most rabbonim (on the
> right for sure) have never been trained in public speaking and speak
> yeshivish rather than English. If they pick a topic heavily focused
> on Torah subjects, then the women are left out. Does Shabbos morning
> davening really need this? I think not.

Similar (perhaps identical) complaints are often raised by schoolchildren.
And yet we continue to send our children to school, despite their protests,
because they need the input in order to grow, whether they can appreciate
it right now or not.

Yes, rabbis (and teachers) have wide ranges of speaking ability, and of
communication effectiveness. And they have varying styles and favorite
topics, just as the audience is more or less interested in different
things. If someone wants to choose a different shul where he can get more
out of it, that's great. But to deliberately choose a place where they can
escape this hashpa'ah entirely? I fear that too many people are simply
trying to avoid the hard work of trying to grow.

Count me among those who often can't remember the rabbi's topic two hours
later. More often, I'm already at a loss two minutes later. And even more
often, I am daydreaming even while he is still speaking. But that is MY
problem, not his. I need to fight to try to pay attention and grab whatever
bits I can. It's not easy, but isn't that part of what this world is for?

If certain people are "left out" when the topic is "heavily focused on
Torah subjects", how will they ever grow? For many people, especially those
who for whatever reason do not attend minyan during the week, the rabbi's
Shabbos morning speech will be their main (or only) exposure to any Torah
thoughts at all.

I suspect that the response will be something like: "No! I AM trying to
grow! I have a regular learning seder, and I go to lots of shiurim!" I
truly applaud that - adding to one's knowledge of Torah is a very good
thing. But a rav has a very important ability that a maggid shiur lacks: If
he sees areas where the community needs to be stronger, he has the
authority to speak about it publicly. If a maggid shiur tries that, a
common response may be, "Interesting, but off-topic." Even when a
recognized gadol does it, the reaction is often, "Not relevant to *my*
community!" But when it is the rabbi of a shul, speaking to the same people
he sees week after week, citing incidents that this group of people are
familiar with, the message is harder to avoid. Of course, there will be
those who say, "We gotta hire a different rabbi," but at least there is a
*chance* that some of the people will take his message to heart. Hence the
subject line I've chosen for this thread: "Are we trying to grow?"

I wrote:

> Many years ago, I attended a shul that had a rather observant
> and learned membership, but no rabbi. The davening was a very
> good davening, but I was dissatisfied. When a question would
> arise, people would either decide for themselves, or gravitate
> towards their more learned friends. It did not seem like a good
> system to me, "like sheep without a shepherd." In my opinion, a
> kehila (even a very learned one) needs a specific leader at the
> helm who will guide them in the direction they need to go. I
> ended up leaving that shul for another, whose members tended to
> be less observant, but had a well-known and respected rav.

RYL asked:

> In the minyan that I ran at the YI of Ave J I do not recall us ever
> having a question about the davening that required a rabbinical
> answer. Davening is routine every week. There is little chance of
> a problem arising. If needed, the Ezras Torah luach guides one
> when it comes to what to so during the davening.
> What sorts of questions arose?  I am curious about this.

Here are a few such questions that came to me, just off the top of my head:

How early can we daven maariv?
How early can we count sefira?
Is the mechitza high enough? solid enough?
Which hechsherim are okay for a shul-sponsored kiddush?
If a problem is found in the Sefer Torah, is it pasul?
If the baal koreh makes a mistake, does he have to repeat it?
Which kibudim (if any) can be given to a non-shomer Shabbos who comes for a
bar mitzvah?

Your mention of the Ezras Torah luach strikes me as odd, considering how
very very often it cites differing minhagim. I've personally seen cases
where it adds to the confusion and machlokes instead of resolving it. My
recollection is that Rav Henkin originally designed it for the rabbis, and
specifically NOT for the congregants, in order to help those rabbis in
their  leadership choices.

But more importantly than *any* of that: If a not-so-nice incident occurs
in the community, who will give them mussar about it?

RYL again:

> Guiding a Kehilla in the direction they should go has little
> to do with giving a speech on Shabbos morning.  Guidance
> should be given though shiurim and example. When it comes to
> guidance in kashrus issues, my experience has been that the
> overwhelming majority of rabbonim have little detailed knowledge
> about specifics.  One is better off calling the OU.

In theory, I would agree that "Guidance should be given through shiurim and
example." But in practice, it seems clear to me that more people show up on
Shabbos morning to davening, than to all the shiurim though the week put
together. Wouldn't you agree that "shiurim and example" are unlikely to
affect those who come only on Shabbos morning, and that they are the ones,
perhaps, who are in most need of this uplifting?

Yes, the OU will have very detailed knowledge about the various food
products. But what then? How do we pasken? Should I be machmir, or perhaps
it is more appropriate for me to be meikil? What does the OU know about me
and my community? How can the OU decide whether or not my shul should allow
food that's non-cholov yisroel, or non-yashan, or non-glatt? And they're
certainly not going to decide which *other* hechsherim should be allowed.

To sum up:

RYL wrote: <<< Davening is routine every week. >>>

That's not the answer. That's the PROBLEM!

I'm not suggesting that most rabbis can successfully fix that problem. Or
even that a minority have been successful. But if one's preference is to
have no rabbi at all, he is surrendering.

Akiva Miller
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Message: 6
From: Zev Sero
Date: Sun, 11 Apr 2021 10:43:36 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Are we trying to grow?

A factor on RYL's side in this discussion is that having a rabbi for 
each shul, and having him speak every Shabbos morning, or even on an 
occasional Shabbos morning, was not the Jewish tradition.  It's a very 
modern thing, partially influenced by Reform, which was in turn 
influenced by Lutheranism.

It used to be that a rav was employed by the *kehillah*, rather than by 
any specific shul.  Even a small kehillah would often have several 
shuls, and a large one would have many shuls, large and small.

And the rav would speak on Shabbos afternoons, not in the middle of 
shachris.   Indeed, while the original minhag, both in Eretz Yisrael and 
in Bavel, was to have the rav speak every Shabbos afternoon, and this 
was continued by at least some Sefardi communities (e.g. Bavel, hence we 
have Ben Ish Chai), in Ashkenaz the custom became that the rav only 
spoke twice a year, on Shabbos Teshuvah and Shabbos Hagadol, while for 
other Shabbosos the kehillah might either hire a maggid, or depend on 
itinerant maggidim.  In the latter case there would not be a drosha 
every shabbos, but only when a maggid happened to come by.

None of this means our current model is not an improvement; but it's 
something to bear in mind.

Zev Sero            Wishing everyone a healthy summer

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Message: 7
From: Prof. L. Levine
Date: Mon, 12 Apr 2021 22:22:07 +0000
[Avodah] Many People Saying Kaddish To g e t h e r

The following is from

TOPIC Women Reciting Kaddish - thehalacha.com<https://thehalacha.com/wp-content/uploads/Vol17Issue4.pdf?utm_content=Prof.&;utm_source=VerticalResponse&utm_medium=Email&utm_term=Click%20here%20to%20download%20%22Women%20Reciting%20Kaddish%22&utm_campaign=Women%20Reciting%20Kaddish>
4 | HAlAchicAllY SpeAKiNg).?? ???( ...??? ???? ?? ???? ?? ????? ??? ???
????? ????? ?? SPONSORED BY: Hashem?s name. Others say that saying is a
zechuskaddish for the deceased because people answer amen.4 Many People
Saying Kaddish Together In previous years, was recited by one kaddish yasom
yasom.5 Now it has become the widespread custom to recite
In previous years, kaddish yasom was recited by one yasom.5 Now it has
become the widespread custom to recite kaddish at one time.6 Some poskim
accept this custom,7while many poskim frown upon it.8 One main reason for
the latter opinion is because often one cannot hear the one reciting
kaddish and therefore cannot answer amen.9 In addition, there is a concept
of ?two voices cannot be heard,?10which may apply to kaddish as
well.11Nonetheless, if all those saying kaddish recite it at one spot, it
is considered as if one is saying it out loud12 along with the others and
kaddish can be answered properly.13

5 Refer to Zecher Simchah 8:pages 5-6.6 Refer to Kol Bo on Aveilus, pages
371-372, Te shuv os Iv ri , pages 5-6, Bnei Bonim2:7. See ShevetHakehasi
3:48. 7 Chasam Sofer, O.C. 159, Y.D. 2:345, Yufei Leleiv 5:56:4, Chai Adam
30:7, Aruch Hashulchan, Y.D. 376:16; seePischei Teshuvah, Y.D. 376:6, Kaf
Hachaim Palagi13:11,Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 26:18, Betzel Hachochmah 5:135;
Halichos Shlomo Tefillah page 230:25.8 Binyan Tzion 122, Gesher Hachaim
30:10:12:pages 284-285; see Te shuv os V?hanhagos 1:103, 24:2, opinion of
the Chazon Ish, zt?l, quoted in Te shuv os V?hanhagos 2:42, Yechaveh Daas
6:60 (end). 9 Refer to Binyan Tzion, ibid., Mishnah Berurah 55:4,Tzitz
Eliezer 9:15:2, 9:16, Teshuvos V ? hanhagos 5:24, Tzitz
Eliezer,RivevosEphraim 3:80,4:177,8:170:3. 10 Refer to Maseches Rosh
Hashanah 26b, 27a, Megillah 21b, Tosefta Megillah 3, Rambam,
HilchosTefillah 12:13, Shulchan Aruch, O.C. 284:5, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch
135:6; see Shulchan Aruch, O.C. 690:2, Mishnah Berurah 4, Shaar Hatzion
4.11 R
 efer to Hegyonei Haparshah 2:pages 213-224 in depth. 12 Betzel Hachochmah
 5:135. 13 Teshuvos V ? hanhagos 1:103, 2:42, 5:24. See Kaf Hachaim Palagi
 13:11, Gesher Hachaim 30:10:12:page 285. Refer to Mishneh Sechir 11, who
 frowns upon all yesomim saying kaddish in one spot.

I have davened in shuls where all those saying kaddish came to the shulchan and recited each kaddish together.

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