mail-jewish Vol.66 #50 Digest

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Sep 5, 2023, 3:06:24 PM9/5/23
Mail.Jewish Mailing List
Volume 66 Number 50
Produced: Tue, 05 Sep 23 15:06:20 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Bishul Nokhri -- Retraction
[Chana Luntz]
Davening priorities
[Joel Rich]
[Irwin Weiss]
Music source
[Irwin Weiss]
Noisy davener
[Carl Singer]
Psak (2)
[Carl Singer Joseph Kaplan]
Shavuot Second Day on Shabbat in Chutz La'Aretz
[Chana Luntz]
Women Saying Kaddish
[Carl Singer]


From: Chana Luntz <>
Date: Tue, Sep 5,2023 at 10:17 AM
Subject: Bishul Nokhri -- Retraction

Yaakov Shachter wrote (MJ 66#40):

> You see, our printed editions of Bava Qamma 113b state quite clearly an
> opinion that a Jew may benefit from the mistake of an idolater, provided that
> he or she did not provoke or facilitate the mistake in any way (of course, it
> must also be done in such a way that there is no xillul haShem, but that goes
> without saying).

I am concerned that the phraseology "it must also be done in such a way that
there is no Chillul HaShem, but that goes without saying" somewhat minimises the
impact of what is being said. The Tur (Choshen Mishpat laws of theft, siman 348)
makes it clear that if the mistake will later be known to the person in
question, there is a Chillul HaShem. In today's double book entry world, where
every shop will try and reconcile the till at the end of the day, a gap will
almost certainly be known to any shopkeeper, and if somebody who was noticeably
Jewish was in the shop during that day, there are high risks that the suspicion
will fall on them, even where the non-Jew actually made the calculation mistake
himself. And even a safek [doubt] of Chillul HaShem would seem to require one to
go l'chumra.

A more common case where this applies is where there is a question of getting a
good deal (see the cases in Baba Kama 113b) - ie the person has priced the
particular item low because he doesn't know its true value - eg that this old
thing that he is disposing of cheap can be sold for a lot on ebay (although even
there, because ebay is a public market, the person in question might well end up
knowing if they do a simple google search - gone are the days where you can
guarantee that someone will not ultimately discover what the going rate is for
an item). In our secular legal systems it is completely accepted that if I spot
a bargain that is simply good luck to me, and there is no obligation on me to
let the seller know at the time of sale that actually it is a designer item or
highly desirable in other ways and can be sold on for a lot more. In halacha,
when dealing with a Jew, that is not necessarily the case. It is key to
understanding this issue to note that the requirements on selling to and buying
from Jews are very rigorous, well above the requirements of general commerce (in
the same way as lending at interest is a perfectly reasonable thing to do, but
forbidden between Jews).

In addition, the passage in Baba Kama that deals with this then goes straight
into a section on dina d'malchusa dina [the law of the land is the law]. In
cases where the secular law requires one to let the relevant person or entity
know if there has been a calculation error (as it well might do regarding tax
payments), that would seem to apply here, even without noting that most tax
jurisdictions employ people to ferret out underpayments of tax, for whatever
reason, and unquestionably if such errors are spotted a Chillul HaShem would
result. So it needs to be clear that this provision of halacha only comes into
play when the secular law holds that such action is entirely permissible.




From: Joel Rich <>
Date: Tue, Sep 5,2023 at 12:17 PM
Subject: Davening priorities

Perets Mett wrote (MJ 66#49):

> In response to Joel Rich (MJ 66#48):
> What difference does it make whether you daven on a parked plane or a flying
> plane?

We differentiate between praying while standing still and when in movement. The
status on a moving airplane is debated but I believe the general feeling is
that if you can pray elsewhere you should.

Joel Rich


From: Irwin Weiss <>
Date: Tue, Sep 5,2023 at 02:17 PM
Subject: Jousting

Steven Oppenheimer wrote (MJ 66#49):

> Joel Rich mentions jousting (MJ 66#48) and wonders whether it is really
> prohibited.

This was mentioned in two prior posts.

For the record, jousting is the state sport of Maryland (per state law), however
I've never seen or heard of it occurring in my 70 years of living in Maryland.
Could be I'm not paying attention.

Irwin Weiss
Baltimore Maryland


From: Irwin Weiss <>
Date: Tue, Sep 5,2023 at 02:17 PM
Subject: Music source

Does anyone know from whence comes the common Ashkenazic tune for the brachot
after the reading of the Haftarah?

Ktiva vchatima tova

Irwin Weiss
Baltimore Maryland USA


From: Carl Singer <>
Date: Mon, Sep 4,2023 at 08:17 PM
Subject: Noisy davener

The recent discussion of airport minyan brought something to mind: I've been
davening with our shul's weekday morning minyan for over a decade -- it's a
comfortable venue for me.

Sunday morning minyan has a different cast of characters -- one, an individual
davens aloud and not quite in synch with the tzibur.


Carl Singer


From: Carl Singer <>
Date: Mon, Sep 4,2023 at 07:17 PM
Subject: Psak

I must disagree with Yaakov Schachter's scholarly response (MJ 66#49) to my
posting (MJ 66#48).

Our disagreement is on the concept of "transgression" -- and the proper
response to help a fellow Jew in that situation, as opposed to "psak" - and the
proper structure thereof.

The situation that I highlighted did not involve a transgression -- even if
the "helpful mayven" who spoke out of turn thought so.

First the metzeyeh [actual situation]:

Consider that my wife who happens to be (1) a Litvak and (2) the Gaon's
aynikel -- didn't haphazardly grab a key and slap it onto her wrist. She had
asked an appropriate posek, learned that this was an acceptable mode and had a
jeweler attach the key ....

If, for example, she had been carrying a sefer -- not aware that there was no
erev? -- it would have been (an obvious) transgression, warranting a helpful
response such as Yaakov suggests.

Let me recount another example: When we first moved into our current home a
well-meaning caller who had called about something else then asked my wife if we
had bought our home or were renting. She said "Bought" and he replied "you know
you have 3 days to put up mezzuzahs". The proper response would have been
"who asked you?" Nonetheless, my wife replied that "our Posek said that we had
30 days". When asked who that was, my wife replied with the name of a Gadol
haDor who happens to be a family friend. (I had put up mezzuzahs on day one.)

I reiterate my initial statement that a Psak is in response to a Shayleh.
Informing someone of a transgression is another matter.

Kol Tuv

Carl Singer


From: Joseph Kaplan <>
Date: Mon, Sep 4,2023 at 09:17 PM
Subject: Psak

Respectfully, Yaakov Shachter (MJ 66#49) misses, I think, the point of Carl
Singer's comment (MJ 66#48) about his wife's response to someone admonishing her
about an alleged transgression.

I assume most Mail Jewish readers are aware of the requirements of Leviticus
19:17, but telling us about the requirement to admonish begs the question of
whether admonishment was proper here. I assume that Carl's wife was aware of the
prohibition of carrying on Shabbat (why would I, or the admonisher, think
otherwise) and, before she decided to make a charm bracelet key, checked with
the person with whom she usually checks halachic issues and was acting in
accordance with that person's direction. What gives someone else the right to
believe that he or she knows better and to accuse Carl's wife of violating the
Shabbat? Her response was perfectly appropriate; indeed, perhaps too nice (but
she's probably a nicer person than I am).

Personally, I would hate to live in a community where people took it upon
themselves, uninvited, to tell others, who they know to be halachically
observant, how to act as if there was only one right answer to many halachic
issues and the admonisher had a monopoly of the truth.



From: Chana Luntz <>
Date: Mon, Sep 4,2023 at 09:17 PM
Subject: Shavuot Second Day on Shabbat in Chutz La'Aretz

Menashe Elyashiv (MJ 66#40) write in response to Ari Trachtenberg (MJ 66#39):

> Rambam wrote that even Shavuot is two days because Hazal did not make
> differences between holidays [meshum lo plug]. Hatam Sofer wrote that
> therefore Shavuot is not a sefeka deyoma, but is like 2 days Rosh Hashana,
> which are like one long day [yama arikhta]. See R. Zevin's Moadim Behalacha
> (Hebrew, page 308, I have the old 7th edition)

While I can indeed see in the Chatam Sofer (Shut Chatam Sofer chelek 1 (Orech
Chaim) siman 145) that he argues that second day Shavuot is intrinsically more
stringent because it never occurred because of a doubt as to the days, but
because, based on the Rambam, it was instituted as a gezera [decree], and yes he
does therefore liken it to Rosh Hashana, which also was not due to a doubt, but
because they stopped taking the witnesses at midday. However I cannot see in
that Chatam Sofer where he says that as a consequence that makes Shavuot like
Rosh Hashana in that it is one long day [yama arichta].

And indeed such a reading seems to me difficult based on the Rambam in question.
Because that Rambam states in Hilchot Kiddush HaChodesh perek 3 halacha 12:

"There were places that the messengers of Nissan arrived and not the messengers
of Tishrei, and from the law they should have made Pesach one day since after
the messengers reached them, they knew which day had been fixed as Rosh Hodesh,
and they should have made for themselves Sukkot as two days since behold the
messengers did not reach them. But in order that they should not distinguish
between the festivals the Sages instituted that every place that the messengers
of Tishrei did not reach, they made two days even Yom Tov of Shavuot."

And if indeed Shavuot as instituted was instituted to be one long day, then in
practice it would fail to achieve the objective of the Sages as set out in the
Rambam, namely "so that they should not distinguish between the festivals" -
since now they would distinguish between the festivals, just in a different way.
And the Rambam refers in multiple places [see eg Hilchot Yom Tov perek 1
halacha 24] to Rosh HaShana having one kedusha [sanctity] and the other yom
tovim in the diaspora having two, and the consequences of this in terms of the
ability to make a condition on both first and second day, and have that take
effect on second day (eg if today is not yom tov, let my tithing be a tithe, and
if it is yom tov, let it not be. And do the same the second day, and then you
can treat it as tithed, as one of the two days would work). But nowhere does
the Rambam distinguish between Shavuot and the other yom tovim, only between
Rosh Hashana and the other Yom Tovim in this regard.

Now it is noteworthy that the Rambam does bring what is clearly a chiddush
[novelty] of his own when he says in Hilchot Yom Tov perek 6 halacha 14:

"All these things that we have said [making conditions] are in the time when the
Beit Din of Eretz Yisrael sanctifies by way of sight, that the people of the
diaspora made two days in order to remove from doubt because they did not know
the day that the Bnei Eretz Yisrael had sanctified. But today that the people
of the land of Israel rely on the calculation and sanctify on that, second day
yom tov does not remove from doubt but it is a custom only."

And then in Halacha 15:

"And therefore I say that a person cannot make an eruv and make a condition [of
the type he described above]."

What this seems to be saying is that the Rambam holds that all the yom tovim now
should be treated as a yama arichta. But while the Ra'avad there says he can
understand the logic of the Rambam's suggestion, he also notes that the Geonim
did not rule that way. And indeed, while the Rambam's suggestion can help us
understand the gemara in Beitza (4b), it is my impression that the more usual
understanding of the conclusion of that gemara is that the Sages, after fixing
the calendar, made a decree that the people of the diaspora should continue to
keep the second days in case there should arise a time of shmad [persecution]
when they might not have access to the calculations and calendar, which would
mean that all second day yom tovim would now be based on rabbinic decree (which
seems reflected in the language of the Rambam in a different place, namely
Hilchot Yom Tov perek 1 halacha 21, where he says "This that we make in the
diaspora every yom tov of these two days is a minhag, and second day yom tov is
from the Rabbis").

So while I can understand an attitude that second day Shavuot should be
considered intrinsically on a higher level than the other second days, on the
grounds that it was never a safek [doubt], and always a gezera [decree], I
cannot see where R' Zevin (or if it is indeed in the Chatam Sofer, the Chatam
Sofer), gets the idea that this makes the two days of Shavuot into a yama
arichta [one long day].




From: Carl Singer <>
Date: Mon, Sep 4,2023 at 08:17 PM
Subject: Women Saying Kaddish

One issue with women saying kaddish is simply mechanical: If no men are saying
kaddish the tzibur may not pause to allow the woman to say each kaddish.

Last week a woman wisely came in before davening and let us know that she wanted
to say kaddish and asked if any men were saying kaddish. There was a man saying
kaddish -- if there hadn't been, someone would have said kaddish. A worst case
scenario is the woman wanting to say kaddish not informing anyone and no men
saying kaddish.

In contrast, I know another shul in our town where women are discouraged from
saying kaddish.

Carl Singer


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