Avodah Mailing List

Volume 32: Number 81

Thu, 08 May 2014

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: "Kenneth Miller" <kennethgmil...@juno.com>
Date: Wed, 7 May 2014 21:32:43 GMT
Re: [Avodah] Women wearing Tefillin

R"n Toby Katz wrote:

> The idea that elderly women shouldn't go to shul because young
> women have to take care of small children seems a non sequitur
> to me.

The operative word here may be "seems". I would like to understand this
whole topic more deeply. Why is it that ALL women are patur? Is it merely a
Lo Plug that extended to all women jjust to insure that the busy mothers
can attend to the children? Or is it something more basic, which inherently
applies to all women irrespective of motherhood or wifehood?

I suspect the answer is a combination of both. Which doesn't help clarify much.

Akiva Miller

Fast, Secure, NetZero 4G Mobile Broadband. Try it.

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Message: 2
From: Prof. Levine
Date: Thu, 08 May 2014 07:57:30 -0400
[Avodah] Summer Halachos by Rabbi D. Neustadt

 From http://www.torah.org/advanced/weekly-halacha/5755/korach.html

The coming of the summer-vacation season, when many people are away 
from their homes and usual surroundings, brings forth with it unique 
Halachic problems. Although it is difficult to envision the exact 
scenarios, we have chosen certain common situations which are likely 
to occur during the long summer season. A sampling:

A bathing suit is not Muktze. Other swimming paraphernalia, however, 
are considered a Kli Shmelacto L'eissur (HaRav S. Y. Elyashiv).

Unless needed for a medical condition, sunglasses may not be worn on 
Shabbos outside of an Eiruv.

On Shabbos, one may wear a jacket thrown over his shoulders. It is 
not considered carrying (Chazon Ish).

A raincoat lining may be zipped in and out on Shabbos.

A Gentile may be told to turn off the air- conditioning system if it 
has turned too cold and may cause people to become ill. This is 
permissible both in a private home and in Shul during Davening time 
(IG"M OC 3:42).

Some Poskim allow asking a Gentile to put on the air-conditioning 
system if the extremely hot weather causes major discomfort (Minchas 
Yitzcak 3:23). Other Poskim do not agree and prohibit this. In their 
opinion, even if the Gentile turned the system on [for the sake of 
the Jew] without being told to do so, one may not derive pleasure 
from his action and must leave the building (IG"M YD 3:47).

One who is being chased by a bee may capture it. If one is allergic 
to a bee sting, he may kill the bee.

An anti-mosquito spray may be sprayed in the air (but not directly at 
the mosquitoes) in a room which houses a sick person or a baby. A 
window or a door should be left open (Chazon Ish).

See the above URL for more.  YL
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Message: 3
From: Micha Berger
Date: Thu, 8 May 2014 14:35:07 -0400
[Avodah] The O Therapist and the Suicidally Depressed Gay

On Thu, May 08, 2014 at 08:05:37AM -0700, R' Saul Newman wrote to Areivim:
: http://tzedek-tzedek.blogspot.com/2014/05/a-jewish-ortho
: dox-therapist-and-gay.html
: couldnt aid gay couple reconcile,  suicide resulted....

Assuming a similar case, in which the therapist was asked to help in a
way in which conflict is unavoidable... (I'm not sure that's true here,
but that's Areivim territory.) There seems to be a complex halachic
question, so I'm taking it here to Avodah.

Did the O therapist contact his poseiq? Since the client said he was
feeling suicidal, this would become a question of piquach nefesh.
Admittedly arayos is one of the big three, but this isn't marital
infidelity or incest. Does it count? And does mesayei'ah include
prohibiting someone from heloping in a yeihareig situation -- after all
the therapist isn't himself violating arayos, and the life he is placing
second isn't his own. Last, is it a yeihareig situation, or is someone
who is clinically depressed not a bar chiyuvah?

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Today is the 23rd day, which is
mi...@aishdas.org        3 weeks and 2 days in/toward the omer.
http://www.aishdas.org   Gevurah sheb'Netzach: How does my domination
Fax: (270) 514-1507                            stifle others?

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Message: 4
From: Saul Mashbaum
Date: Thu, 8 May 2014 22:11:44 +0300
[Avodah] Lag LaOmer

RMBerger wrote:

The Rama adds "ba'omer" to the end of the mechaber's text. The MB (489 s"q
8) says "ba'omer" is rov posqim, but the issue is only lekhat-chilah since
as you see from the SA, you don't need to actually say either.

On the contrary, the MB , commenting on the Rama's addition of "ba'omer" to
the mechaber's nusach,  says that according to rov poskim, the nusach is

This strengthens my belief that the designation of "la'omer" as "nusach
Sfard" is incorrect.

Saul Mashbaum
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Message: 5
From: Ben Waxman
Date: Thu, 08 May 2014 20:22:51 +0200
[Avodah] geshem tzachor/neqeiva

Anyone know what geshem dchorin and geshem nukva is (end of paragraph 22)?




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Message: 6
From: Zev Sero
Date: Thu, 08 May 2014 15:12:25 -0400
Re: [Avodah] The O Therapist and the Suicidally Depressed Gay

On 8/05/2014 2:35 PM, Micha Berger via Avodah wrote:
> Did the O therapist contact his poseiq?

The story says explicitly that he did, and this was the psak he received.

And it's hard to significantly distinguish this from the classical case
from the gemara, that the Rambam brings.

The only real difference that I can see is that in that case the person was
going to expire of his own accord, without any aveira, while here the danger
is that he might do an aveira that is just as bad as the one he's being
"saved" from.

OTGH, suicide isn't always an avera, and the example of the 400 boys and
girls would seem to indicate that it's allowed and admirable in order to
avoid being forced into the aveira in question here, so it isn't really
"just as bad".

> Admittedly arayos is one of the big three, but this isn't marital
> infidelity or incest. Does it count?

Surely it does.   What's the sevara that it shouldn't?

And it's not just mesaye'a, it's being a sarsur, both in the literal and
colloquial senses of that word.

> Last, is it a yeihareig situation, or is someone who is clinically
> depressed not a bar chiyuvah?

On the contrary, calling the patient an anoos might make the analysis
worse, because then you're not saving him from his own choice but from
being forced, which seems *more* likely to justify risking his life.

Zev Sero             Sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable
z...@sero.name        from malice.
                                                          - Eric Raymond

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Message: 7
From: Saul Mashbaum
Date: Thu, 8 May 2014 23:27:27 +0300
Re: [Avodah] silk-screened sifrei torah (STAM) and megillot

RMBerger revived the topic of silk-screened sifrei torah, discussed years
ago on Avodah.

Rav Asher Weiss in Minchat Asher Dvarim siman 59 discusses this topic. He
cites a rishon, Rabbeinu Karshkash to Gittin 9a, who explicitly forbids
'shficha' for a get "she-ein zu derech ktiva'.
Rabbeinu Karshkash says that if the witnesses for a get do not know how to
write, it is possible to allow them to sign by filling in cut-out letters
(stencil). However, this is only if they fill in the letters with pen
(quill)  motions. If they fill in the letters by pouring ink on the
stencil, this is not derech ktiva, and is pasul.

[I find it a chiddush that even the witnesses' signature in a get must be
derech ktiva; on the face of it one could have thought that the need for
derech ktiva is only for the get itself (about which the Torah says
"ve-katav"), but this is apparently not the case, at the very least
according to Rabbeinu Karshkash.]

RAW notes that the rules for ST are more stringent than for gittin, so a
psul for gittin would be a psul for ST.

RAW concedes that he doesn't know of any additional source among the
rishonim who is posel 'shficha', but OTOH we don't see anyone who
explicitly disagrees with Rabbeinu Karshkash either, so regarding the
kashrut of shficha, miyedie safek lo yatzanu.

It is clear from RAW's t'shuva that he considers the silk-screen technique

Saul Mashbaum
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Message: 8
From: Zev Sero
Date: Thu, 08 May 2014 17:00:02 -0400
Re: [Avodah] silk-screened sifrei torah (STAM) and megillot

On 8/05/2014 4:27 PM, Saul Mashbaum via Avodah wrote:
> He cites a rishon, Rabbeinu Karshkash


Zev Sero             Sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable
z...@sero.name        from malice.
                                                          - Eric Raymond

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Message: 9
From: Lisa Liel
Date: Thu, 08 May 2014 16:55:45 -0500
Re: [Avodah] The O Therapist and the Suicidally Depressed Gay

On 5/8/2014 1:35 PM, Micha Berger via Avodah wrote:
> On Thu, May 08, 2014 at 08:05:37AM -0700, R' Saul Newman wrote to Areivim:
> : http://tzedek-tzedek.blogspot.com/2014/05/a-je
> : wish-orthodox-therapist-and-gay.html
> : couldnt aid gay couple reconcile,  suicide resulted....
> Assuming a similar case, in which the therapist was asked to help in a
> way in which conflict is unavoidable... (I'm not sure that's true here,
> but that's Areivim territory.) There seems to be a complex halachic
> question, so I'm taking it here to Avodah.
> Did the O therapist contact his poseiq? Since the client said he was
> feeling suicidal, this would become a question of piquach nefesh.
> Admittedly arayos is one of the big three, but this isn't marital
> infidelity or incest. Does it count? And does mesayei'ah include
> prohibiting someone from heloping in a yeihareig situation -- after all
> the therapist isn't himself violating arayos, and the life he is placing
> second isn't his own. Last, is it a yeihareig situation, or is someone
> who is clinically depressed not a bar chiyuvah?

R' Dovid Eidonsohn wrote about this as well. The number of assumptions 
he makes which are are just plain wrong demonstrates the extent to which 
most rabbanim are not competent to make such judgments.  The idea that 
discord in a relationship will lead to having sex outside of the 
relationship is bizarre. Particularly when dealing with a severely 
depressed individual.  The idea that AIDs is an issue shows that even 
rabbis such as R' Dovid are willing to base actual halakhic decisions on 
decades-old stereotypes.  Oy lanu that we have leaders who allow hatred 
and contempt to enter into their halakhic determinations.

I sent the following reply to R' Dovid:

    I don't know where to start here.  I am honestly crying reading
    this.  The idea that respected rabbanim could pasken on the basis of
    decades-old stereotypes (the HIV comment) or that a severely
    depressed individual would seek out sex with someone else because of
    discord in his relationship makes me despair for our generation.

    A person who would have sex with another person because of discord
    in a relationship would not be severely depressed over the failure
    of that relationship.

    And with the greatest of respect, I can't imagine where the rav got
    the idea that married people are more likely to have relations than
    unmarried people.  I would urge anyone operating under such a
    mistaken assumption to check psychological journals for studies on
    the issue.

    Finally, a gay man in Israel who is not religious would almost
    certainly not go to see a frum therapist.  It is likely that the
    patient in question was frum himself, in which case he should never
    have been evaluated based on to the sexual mores of the
    secular/gentile gay community.  By doing so, both the therapist and
    his rav are culpable in his death.


> Tir'u baTov!
> -Micha

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Message: 10
From: Harry Maryles
Date: Thu, 8 May 2014 16:36:37 -0700 (PDT)
Re: [Avodah] The O Therapist and the Suicidally Depressed Gay

According to Rabbi Eidensohn the therapist asked a Posek. The Posek said
it was Assur for the therapist to reconcile the gay man with his former
partner because he was a Misayeah to a yahoreg V'Al Yaavor. The patient
committed suicide shortly thereafter.

What I think was being overlooked by that Posek is that reconciling a
relationship between 2 estranged homosexuals is not the same thing as
enticing them to have Mishkav Zechor. I have been told by 'people in
the know' that not every Homosexual relationship necessarily involves
Mishkav Zechor. But even without that -- I agree with R' Eidensohn who
said the following:

I once asked Rav Sternbuch about the permissibly of therapy with a
couple that did not keep taharas mishpacha. He cited the Chazon Ish as
the source of a principle that if the discord reduces their sinning
that it would be prohibited to provide them with therapy. However he
noted that it is not unusual for couples today to commit adultery. Thus
in fact there would be no reduction in sinning if there were marital
discord and thus he said that therapy was permitted.

In this case, it is reasonable to assume that the frequency of homosexual
acts would not be reduced by not reconciling them. There was? no reason
he would not find other homosexuals to sin with. It was also reasonable
that he would die without this therapy -- so that would make it pikuach
nefesh. The therapy would not cure with issurim -- - sexual relations
was not the therapy. Rather successful therapy would only increase the
likelihood of sinning with his lover -- but not necessarily change the
actual amount of sin.? Finally therapy would reduce the likelihood of
suicide which is? considered murder.


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Message: 11
From: Chana Luntz
Date: Fri, 9 May 2014 02:05:53 +0100
Re: [Avodah] Aliyyot to the Blind vs Aliyyot for women vs

RAF/RDF write:

>In her most recent and lengthy critiques (April 11th and 19th, 2014) of our Tradition paper, Chana Luntz raises three points which we would 
>like to respond to.

>(1) ... In her various critiques, Ms. Luntz has missed the critical
>point in our analysis [based on the poskim in note 173]. We most
>definitely do not accept her statement: ?that the brachot are said
>>on the quiet reading by the oleh, and not on the public reading by
>the ba?al koreh, and it is that and only that which makes those brachot
>valid.? Rather, we maintain that even according to >the Rosh, the
>oleh requires that the ba?al keri?ah assist him in fulfilling the
>second task, i.e., to have the weekly portion recited aloud to the
>community. Otherwise, the berakhot of the >oleh are levatala. 
>This is because the berakhot were established for a public Torah
>reading, and there is nothing public in the actions of oleh; all he
>does is read quietly.  Which is why he is dependant on the >reading
>of the ba?al keri?a ? which is transferred to the oleh via shome?a

This does not seem to me to be a tenable reading of the Rosh, based purely on first principles.

Shomea k'oneh requires, as its fundamental basis, that one person inclines
his heart [kiven libo] and *listens* (as per Rosh Hashana 29a). That is why
he is called the shomea.  And in all the classic cases of shomea k'oneh -
hallel, shofar, megillah, kiddush - as well as some of the slightly more
controversial (but still pretty accepted ones), kaddish, kedusha, barachu
when in the middle of eg the amidah - the shomea is silent and stops doing
what he is doing so as to incline his heart and listen.  But here the Rosh
is requiring the oleh to davka do the opposite - to focus on reading from
the Torah (specifying that it is an issur to say it ba'al peh by merely
repeating it after the ba'al koreh but that he *must* read it inside) while
the ba'al koreh is reading out loud.

So to assert that the Rosh is, in this, really dependent upon shomea
k'oneh, and to characterise this particular act as involving shomea k'oneh
is contrary to all known cases of shomea k'oneh, and contradicts its
fundamental principles.

And especially as the shomea absolutely has to *intend* the shomea k'oneh
to work for it to be effective as set out in that gemora in Rosh Hashana. 
So what RAF/RDF end up asserting is either:
(a) that the Rosh and the Shulchan Aruch (and Rav Ovadiah Yosef for that
matter or any of the people who absolutely follow the position of the Rosh)
actually intended and inclined their hearts when having their aliyos in
ways that they didn't bother to mention, despite them describing what they
require very clearly;	or
(b)  they did not in fact intend what RAF/RDF say they needed to intend,
and so they ended up not ever having had a valid aliyah without brachos
l'vatala in their entire days!

And not only this, but according to this the Rosh and the Shulchan Aruch
have been criminally negligent in setting out the din of how an oleh is
supposed to function during an aliyah. Because while stressing to him that
he must read inside the Torah (toch hakasuv) while the ba'al koreh is
reading aloud from the Torah (and explaining to him that otherwise his
brachos would be l'vatala) they did not bother to tell over that if this
oleh did not at the same time incline his heart and intend a shomea k'oneh
situation to work he ends up with a bracha l'vatala anyway.

I'm sorry, but I cannot accept this is a valid reading of the Rosh and the Shulchan Aruch.

And this whole analysis comes out of what appear to be a bunch of
nineteenth and twentieth century poskim as found note 173 in the article
(the relevant note cited above), which lists:

>This bifurcation analysis is resonant in the writings of many authors;
>see inter alia: R. Aryeh Zvi Fromer, Resp. Erets Tsevi, part 2, sec. 9;
>R. Jacob Betsalel Zolty, Mishnat Ya?avets, O.H., >sec. 26, end of
>no. 2; R. Aryeh Leib Grossness, Resp. Lev Aryeh, II, sec. 1, no. 7; R.
>Yair Kahn, ?Shome?a ke-Oneh bi-Keri?at ha-Torah? (unpublished summary
>of taped shi?urim by R. Joseph B. >Soloveitchik); R. Joseph B.
>Soloveitchik, mi-Beit Midrasho Shel ha-Rav, Hilkhot Keri?at ha-Torah,
>sec. 141, no. 2, p. 50; R. Joseph B. Soloveitchik, Shiurei ha-Rav
>ha-Gaon Rabbi Yosef Dov ha->Levi Soloveitchik zts?l al Inyanei
>Tsitsit, Tefi llin u-Keri?at ha-Torah, R. Zvi Schachter, ed.(Jerusalem,
>5763), Hilkhot Keri?at ha-Torah, sec. 141, no. 2, p. 186; R. Saul
>?Be-Inyan Berakha de-Keri?at ha-Torah,? Yeshurun ? Ma?asef Torani, III
>(Makhon Yeshurun, NY-Jerusalem, Elul 5757), 251-252; R. Eliezer Lerner,
>?Gidrei Keri?at ha-Oleh la-Torah im ha-Shats,? >Beit Hillel, 5:2
>(18) (Iyar 5764); R. Ezra Bick, ?be-Inyan Mitsvat Keri?at ha-Torah
>be-Tsibbur,? available online at www.etzion.org.il/
> vbm/archive/2-halak/betzibur.rtf (the word missing in the middle of
> the last line is ?suma?) or http://www.e
> tzion.org.il/dk/1to899/054daf.htm#fnB0; R. Shabtai
>Rappoport, personal communication (March 21, 2012). We note in passing
>the very novel approach of R. Moses Aaron Slushetz, supra n. 113, ch.
>1, sec. 11ff., who
>invokes bifurcation of a very different kind; its explication, however, is beyond the scope of this paper.

Now I have not at all investigated this list, but even a cursory glance
raises questions. RAF/RDF assert in note 181 of the article (and in their
posting here "As we discuss in note 181, this analysis has been proposed by
R. Joseph B. Soloveitchik. We have recently found two additional scholars
who suggest a similar analysis"), that RYBS in fact held differently (the
way it seems self evident to me that the Rosh/Shulchan Aruch held), yet he
is cited here as supporting this what they call the bifurcated position. 
Taking RYBS out of this list, and it becomes a list of even more minor
poskim (and my understanding from various communications is that R' Yair
Kahn himself in fact disagrees with RAF/RDF).

And given that the RAF/RDF's position, as set out above, violates the basic
principles of shomea k'onea, I am sceptical that if any of these sources
were truly investigated, they would actually be found to be advocating
RDF/RAF's conclusion:

>because even according to the Rosh the oleh requires shome?ah ke-oneh from the ba?al keri?ah to be yotsei the second task of reading for the tsibbur aloud.

I do not believe that can be said to be a valid position of the Rosh, SHulchan Aruch, and those who follow them.

(2) ... 
>Chana Luntz cites by contrast the Mishna Berura, Be?ur Halakha, sec.
>141, s.v. ?le-Vatala? who argues that despite the general custom of
>giving an aliyya to a suma - the law actually follows >Rosh. The
>leniently ruling according to Maharil is reserved for the dire case of
>one who is blind or doesn?t know how to read. See also: Sha?ar
>haTsiyyun, sec. 139, no.6.

>However, the Mishna Berura in Be?ur Halakha, clearly acknowledges that
>Turei Zahav (Taz), O.H., sec. 141, no. 3 and Peri Hadash, O.H., sec.
>141, no. 3, do not agree with his understanding, >citing support for
>the Maharil from the Jerusalem Talmud.

I don't think that is what the Mishna Brura discusses.	The Mishna Brura
indeed disagrees with the Taz and the Pri Chadash, but only in rejecting
their proofs from the Jerusalem Talmud for their understanding of the
Meharil.  What the Taz and the Pri Chadash attempt to do is provide an
explanation of the Meharil.  Even where you hold that something is only to
be relied upon in a shas hadchak, you still need to provide two things: 
(a) some support from other rishonim (because many hold that even in a shas
hadchak situation we do not hold by a complete das yachid) and (b) some
sort of halachic rationale.

The Taz provides (a) and he and the Pri Chadash attempt to provide (b). 
The Mishna Brura argues against the halachic rationale that they attempt to
provide as (b), he does not suggest one way or the other that the Taz or
the Pri Chadash are arguing for a l'chatchila position.

And it is certainly not clear from his language that even the Taz is
arguing for a l'chatchila position (rather than merely for the calling up
of a blind man and an am ha'aretz). He cites the Levush as one of his
fundamental supports for allowing the calling up of a blind man - and the
Levush says explicitly that the reason one can call a blind man is because
it is a shas hadchak (while arguing against a similar allowance for an am
ha'aretz, saying it is not our place to make takanos for amei ha'aretz, but
we should be distancing ourselves from them, and thus only for a blind
person may one be lenient).  The Taz disagrees with this aspect of the
Levush, and says it is a "heter gamor" that can be applied even to an am
ha'aretz, but heter gamor that can be applied to an am h'aretz is not the
same thing as l'chatchila for everybody who can read.

But I am glad that you do appear at least to acknowledge that the Mishna Brura does not hold like the Maharil l'chatchila.

> The fact is that those like Rav Soloveitchik?s  who have ruled like Maharil le-khatehilla represent the consensus of leading poskim. 

This fact is clearly in dispute.  While I would not go to the lengths of
those who claim that the Mishna Brura is the posek acharon, it seems to me
that even the most ardent Aruch HaShulchan fan would not dispute my
describing the Mishna Brura as a major league posek.  Clearly the Aruch
HaShulchan is another one in the Ashkenazi world. So here is the Aruch
HaShulchan in Orech Chaim siman 141 si'if 5.  

???? ??"? ????? ???? ???"? ????? ?????? ????? ???? ??? ????? ???? ??? ???
??? ????? ????? ?????? ??"? ????? ????? ??? ??"? ??? ?? ?? ??? ??? ??? ????
????? ??? ???? ????? ???????? ?????? ?"? ????? ??? ?? ???? ??? ???? ?????
?????? ????? ???? ????? ?? ???' ??"? ???? ?' ?"? ??"? ????? ???? ??? ??????
???? ???? ???? ?? ?? ??? ???? ???? ?"? ??? ?? ???? ???? ?????? ????? ??
???????? ??? [??"? ??"? ???? ?? ???? ????? ?????? ?? ?????? ??? ???? ???
???????? ?"? ?????? ??? ???? ??? ????? ???? ????? ????? ????? ???? ??????
??????? ??? ?????? ?????? ?????? ???"? ????? ???? ????? ??? ????? ????
????? ??? ???? ????? ??? ????? ??????]:
Look at the key language of this:

"In any event from the words of the Tur and the Shulchan Aruch it is clear
that the oleh needs to read after the reader in a whisper and if not then
his brachos are like a bracha l?vatala" ... "and in any event for sure it
is better that the reader should say in a whisper [unless he is not able
like an am ha'aretz when we are able to rely on this Yerushalmi]" ... "and
from the language of the Rosh and the Tur it is derived explicitly that if
the oleh is quiet completely it is a bracha l?vatala and so we are

I cannot see how anybody can read this as l'chatchila.  So I confess I was therefore astounded by this claim:

>Most importantly, Arukh ha-Shulhan, sec. 141, no. 5 writes only that it
>is ?preferable? to follow Rosh, clearly suggesting that the basic law
>is according to Maharil; see also Arukh ha->Shulhan, sec. 139, no. 3
>at end

Presumably this "preferable" is your translation of "vadai yoter tov" in
the middle of the section I quoted in full above. But it seems to me
absolutely clear from the above that the Aruch HaShulchan is stating the
basic din like the Rosh and Shulchan Aruch (exactly as he tops and tails
this si'if), and merely yochalin l'samuch upon the minority positions and
the Yerushalmi in cases where there is no other choice, like with an am
ha'aretz. In a similar vein one can say that it is vadai better or
preferable if a person can read than if a person cannot read - and such an
expression does not thereby imply that it is OK l'chatchila for a person to
decide not to learn to read. It merely constitutes an acknowledgement of
the reality that some cannot manage it.  And yochalim l'samuch echoes the
language of the Levush who says in the shas hadchak situation of a blind
man "somchinan" on the other position.	Yacholim l'samuch is not language
of l'chatchila, yacholin l'samuch is an allo
 wance to rely on minority opinions should circumstances force it, ie shas hadchak.

So I confess I cannot see how the Aruch HaShulchan can be brought as
support for a l'chatchila position, but rather he provides support for
holding a shas hadchak position similar to the Mishna Brura.

Now one of the wonders of the internet age is that with the click of a
mouse, one can have a thousand rabbis at one's fingertips, expounding on an
issue.	But as a consequence it has become critical that people are able to
weigh the relative merits of poskim.  And in the Ashkenazi world, I do not
believe that there is any dispute that the Aruch HaShulchan and the Mishna
Brura are amongst the two biggest names, just as I do not believe there is
any dispute in the Sephardi world that the Ben Ish Chai and Rav Ovadiah are
amongst the two biggest names of the Sephardi achronim.

Where you find the Mishna Brura and the Aruch HaShulchan on the same side
(or where you find the Ben Ish Chai and Rav Ovadiah on the same side), you
need an awful lot of firepower in opposition, and even so, I just don't see
how you can ever use the term "the consensus of leading poskim" for an
Ashkenazi position *against* both Mishna Brura and the Aruch HaShulchan
(just as you can't use the term, the consensus of Sephardi poskim about a
position which Rav Ovadiah and the Ben Ish Chai are both against).  Now I
understand that you appear to read the Aruch HaShulchan as somehow
supporting Rav Lichtenstein, but that seems to me to be patently wrong. 
That means, as far as I can see, that you are left with Rav Lichtenstein
and dubiously RYBS.  Follow those if you will, but I don't think you can
call them the consensus of leading poskim.  And I don't think adding dozens
of more minor leaguers changes that analysis.

>The fact that we hold like Maharil does not contravene the fact that in
>practice, we are mahmir le-khatehilla like Rosh. Reading along quietly
>does not contravene being yotsei by shome?ah ke->oneh. The attempt
>to be yotsei le-khol ha-dei?ot is common practice in halakha ?
>certainly for Briskers!

But that is just it, reading along quietly does indeed contravene being
yotsei by shome'ah k'oneh, because the reader is concentrating on reading,
and hence not concentrating on listening.  Even the best multi-taskers
struggle to do two tasks well at the same time, and it is inevitable that
by trying to do both, one will suffer.	And particularly here, where one of
the key requirements of being a shomeah is kiven libo and one of the key
requirements of the Rosh/Shulchan Aruch is that he read "in the text" ie
from the written page, and not merely repeat the words after the ba'al
koreh.	So, which should he focus on?  If shomea k'oneh is of key
importance, the listener should be told to stop whatever else he is doing
so that he can focus on the listening.	If the reading is of key
importance, the reader should be told to focus on the text that he is
reading.  By saying that an oleh should be told l'chatchila to read quietly
out of the sefer Torah, that is stating that if someth
 ing has to slip, it is the shomea k'oneh aspect - even if you have primed
 the oleh that in the ideal world he is trying to do both to be choshesh
 for all shitos.  If you really hold that shomea k'oneh is the l'chatchila,
 the oleh should be told to listen carefully to every word the ba'al koreh
 says since that reading is the essential one over which he made the
 brachos, and if at the same time he manages to glance at the words in the
 sefer torah and read them as per the Rosh, that is even better.  Very
 different set of instructions.  And it is the first set that you claim
 RYBS gave, not the second.  That suggests that even he holds by the Rosh
 as the l'chatchila.

            (3) ...

>In light of the overwhelming consensus of posekim - including Sefardic authorities - as outlined above, 

Here is this quote again - but again it is not justified.  Both Rav Ovadiah
and the Ben Ish Chai follow the Rosh, not the Meharil.	Any Sephardi posek
relying on the Meharil is unquestionably relying on it as a shas hadchak
(even if he does allow a blind man or an am ha'aretz to have an aliyah), ie
he is following the principel that one can rely on minority rishonic
positions in shas hadchak situations.  It is against all basic principles
of Sephardi psak to say otherwise, and there is no need to say otherwise.  

>it seems halakhically inappropriate and highly questionable to invoke a generally rejected  practice regarding minors to justify partnership minyanim.

Because of the above - ie that all Sephardi poskim follow the Shulchan
Aruch as the l'chatchila - something that so absolutely fundamental to
Sephardi psak that it cannot be stressed enough, one does not need the
practice of the communities that call up minors in order to justify making
brachos in partnership minyanim - you can justify partnership minyanim
(were it not for kovod hatzibbur considerations) based purely on the fact
that the Rosh and the Shulchan Aruch are the l'chatchila position for
Sephardim, and either *the* or *a* l'chatchila position for Ashkenazim.  
You need not have any communities anywhere calling up minors and you can
hold that it is absolutely forbidden to call up minors and that remains the

So calling up minors or not calling up minors does not have any effect on
the analysis that allows brachos in partnership minyanim.  But your
analysis does undermine the practices of these communities.  Actual
practices of communities should be defended as a basic rule, im lo neviim
hem, bnei neviim hem.  And that makes your analysis problematic.  

>Finally, even Ms. Lunz?s would need to acknowledge that her analysis -
>even if it were correct - would apply, pursuant to the Rosh, only to
>those women who know Hebrew sufficiently to read >along with the
>Ba?al Koreh ? and in fact careful to do so. However, those women who
>would be neglectful of reading along, or whose Hebrew is too weak to
>allow them to read along, or who are >blind, would be proscribed
>from receiving aliyot, even according to Ms. Lunz suggestion.

Not exactly.

What I was discussing, because it seemed to me to be a critical piece of
practical halacha, is that *at a minimum* a partnership minyan (assuming
they are allowed at all for kovod hatzibbur reasons) has to be able to
allow brachos based on the rules under which the Rosh, Shulchan Aruch (and
those who follow them strictly, such as Rav Ovadiah) allow men to have
aliyos.  How much reading along a person has to do in order to satisfy the
Rosh/Shulchan Aruch is clearly a question. It would have been a practical
question for the Rosh and Shulchan Aruch, if not for you.  At a maximum,
three psukim must be sufficient - since that can constitute an entire
aliyah.  It may well be less than that - this gets into fascinating
questions of minimum shiurim for initial and after brachos (is a mashehu
enough etc) - and the various discussions about what happens if there is a
hefsek during the kriyah would come into play.	

Secondly however, because our discussion has focussed on the majority
position of the Rosh, we have neglected two other aspects relating to the
Meharil, which have only been raised tangentially:

a) whether you are correct in your assertion that shomeah k'oneh cannot
work in all the situations you indicate:  The standard discussion in Sukkah
38a (saying hallel) and Rosh HaShana (blowing shofar, reading megilla and
other mitzvos) discusses the fact that shomea k'oneh does not work where
the one doing the listening has the greater obligation to the one who is
listened to.  So therefore a man cannot be yotezi a woman saying hallel for
him or blowing shofar for him by shomea k'oneh.  That clearly applies
between men and women and Torah learning and is the majority position (as
you identify in your article) for the obligation of hearing kriyas hatorah
- and so it would seem that shomea k'oneh would not work if there was a
blind or ignorant man who was an oleh and trying to rely on the Meharil/Taz
to be the shomea where a woman was the reader.	

But you also postulate two other positions: (i) it does not work where the
woman is the listener, and the man in the one listened to (so therefore you
could not have a blind or ignorant woman and a male ba'al koreh).  But is
this true?  Is it true that a woman cannot rely on the Shatz to say hallel
for her to justify her brachos on hallel, but must make sure she says all
the hallel herself, even the pieces that are usually said by the Shatz in
circumstances where the men traditionally rely on shomea k'oneh?  Women
have absolutely no obligation, d'orisa or d'rabbanan, in hallel, but
Ashkenazi women make brachos just as they do on all mitzvos aseh shehazman
grama.	So if you were right the common practice of women relying on shomea
k'oneh like the men do for hallel would not be correct.  Similarly should
there not be problems with women listening to a man blow shofar on her
behalf - should she not be required to blow that shofar herself as well as
make the brachos? 

But if the common practice is correct, then even a blind woman or an
ignorant one, so long as you were talking about a community that was
prepared to rely on the Maharil in such shas hadchak situations, could be
called up if the ba'al koreh is a man, because her obligations are clearly
not greater than his in the reading.

Now you may say how about the brachos that the woman makes - does not the
ba'al koreh need to rely on those if we are going with the Maharil?  But
assuming we are not talking about the first or last aliyah, it would
unquestionably seem not.  The ba'al koreh has heard the initial brachos,
and prior to the institution by chazal that each aliyah got its own bracha,
then that is how it was, only the very first bracha and the last bracha
were made.  Later the chachamim instituted a bracha on each aliyah for
those who came in and out, so that they should not say that no birchas
hatorah were made, but that very fact makes it clear that the ba'al koreh
himself does not need those intermediate brachos, and does not rely on
them.  And furthermore, all the discussions regarding these brachos stress
that the oleh makes them for himself and not for others.  You might say
that these expressions are only according to the position of the Rosh and
not the Meharil (which we are now relying on,
  it being a shas hadchak situation), but that does not at all seem clear
  (and the more strongly you hold for the Meharil, the less that position
  seems tenable).  And if you hold the position, as brought explicitly in
  the Rashba, that vis a vis the brachos over kriyas hatorah the chachamim
  made men and women equal (as would seem to be the pashtus), then while
  there might be a problem with a woman reading for a blind man, there
  would not seem to be a problem for a woman saying the brachos where a man
  actually read, even if she was relying on shomea k'oneh for the actual
  reading and regardless which set of brachos she said.

 (ii) how about shomea k'oneh from woman to woman?  Can one woman not rely
 on another blowing shofar for her, or indeed saying the brachos for her? 
 Typically at a woman's shofar blowing, when the man in question has
 already fulfilled his obligation in shul, he blows the shofar, but one of
 the women makes the brachos.  I have never seen them make every woman
 there make a bracha, one makes for all.  Is this practice wrong? - it is
 clearly based on shomea k'oneh, and the idea that there is an equivalent
 obligation, whatever it is, even though it is neither a d'orisa nor
 d'rabbanan. Your analysis/assumption would seem to deem this practice
 wrong.  Were this practice to be right, then you could still call up a
 blind woman or ignorant woman, so long as the person doing the actual
 reading was a woman.

b) Is the mechanism justifying the Meharil for sure shomea k'oneh?  The Taz
thinks it is, and so does the Pri Chadash.  The Mishna Brura does not like
the analysis of the Taz, but does not seem to me to provide an alternative.
 The Aruch HaShulchan does, however, suggesting (i) that reciting by heart
would be enough to justify the bracha even if the person did not read in
the text at all (meaning a blind man or woman, or an ignorant one, so long
as they said some of the Torah reading by heart in a whisper, could make
the brachos regardless of who was reading); and (ii) in my view the Aruch
HaShulchan also implied that there might be scope to use kol roi l'bila
(but that would at most only work for those who could at least read if
pushed, and not a blind person).  I also suggested a third possibility,
which is that because it is now accepted that the birchos hatorah in the
morning do not cover any aliyah one might get, those birchas hatorah,
despite covering all the Torah that
  is to be learnt during the day, specifically do not cover any Torah
  learnt while having an aliyah, so requiring yet another bracha.  Women
  also make birchas hatorah in the morning (and in fact given their lack of
  chiyuv in Talmud torah, one of the classic explanations for why the
  birchas hatorah are deemed to last all day, the continuance of the chiyuv
  doesn't apply to women, so it would seem more justified for them to make
  the brachos again than for men to do so.).

But all of this is much more speculative, as we are dealing mostly with
totally new situations - and not invalidating existing practices (except to
the extent we are invalidating women's practices vis a vis hallel in shul
and in those shofar blowings scheduled specifically for women, where again
to the extent we are talking about established community practices one
would want to be careful. However it is much harder to be certain of or
document the extent of those practices and the extent to which they are
community wide.  And in particular Shofar blowing for women only tends to
be a shas hadchak and ad hoc event - the ideal and majority practice tends
to be women in shul listening to the main blowing - the women only sessions
are therefore for women with small children etc who have been prevented
from attending the main blowing).

I think these are all fascinating questions worthy of extensive halachic
analysis.  But given the dominant Ashkenazi position that brachos l'vatalos
are only an issur d'rabbanan, for an Ashkenazi partnership minyan there
seem plenty enough sfakos there for them not to worry too much about
brachos l'vatalos.  A sephardi minyan who followed the dominant Sephardi
view that brachos l'vatalos are an issur d'orisa would have to be a lot
more careful, needing at least a sfek sfeka.  But even that would seem not
unreasonable to generate (assuming their counterpart male only versions
were in fact rely on shas hadchak and calling up blind and ignorant men).

>All this, of course, is independent of our discussion of kevod ha-tsibbur.

Absolutely, and to my mind, that is the real issue with partnership
minyanim.  That is the issue mentioned in the gemora, the rishonim and the
Shulchan Aruch.  That issue does not involve fancy and complicated analysis
that ends up invalidating the practices of established communities, or
which suggests that the Shulchan Aruch was at best wilfully obscure, and at
worst ignorant of what was really going on.  But I wonder how many people
got anywhere near the second part of your article, the part that focussed
on what seems to me to be the real issues with partnership minyanim.

>Aryeh and Dov Frimer




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