mail-jewish Vol.66 #40 Digest

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Jun 7, 2023, 4:48:17 PM6/7/23
Mail.Jewish Mailing List
Volume 66 Number 40
Produced: Wed, 07 Jun 23 16:48:15 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Bishul Nokhri -- Retraction
[Yaakov Shachter]
Nusach hatfila reversed
[David E Cohen]
Shavuot Second Day on Shabbat in Chutz La'Aretz (2)
[Yisrael Medad Menashe Elyashiv]
[Joel Rich]
[Joel Rich]
Yuhara (2)
[Dr. William Gewirtz Martin Stern]


From: Yaakov Shachter <>
Date: Tue, May 30,2023 at 02:17 PM
Subject: Bishul Nokhri -- Retraction

I wrote (MJ 66#39) an article condemning the use of the term "Bishul Akum" and
insisting that we habituate ourselves to use the correct term, which in this
case would be "Bishul Nokhri".

For the benefit of readers of this mailing list who did not read or who do not
remember the original article, these were its main points:

1. Our non-Jewish rulers have compelled us to censor our texts, and in
particular they have compelled us to change the word "non-Jew", wherever it
appeared, to "idolater".

2. The consequence of this censorship is that we now have texts where sometimes
the word "idolater" is used to talk about a law that really applies to all
non-Jews (din nokhri) and sometimes the word "idolater" is used to talk about a
law that only applies to idolaters (din `aku"m).

3. In consequence, some Jews sometimes mistake a din `aku"m for a din nokhri,
and vice versa.

4. It is very important that we habituate ourselves to use the correct term,
always, because to confuse din `aku"m with din nokhri can lead to a xillul
haShem, a desecration of God's Name, which is a very serious consequence.

The example I gave of a xillul haShem that can result from the confusion between
din nokhri and din `aku"m was when a Jew, who is recognizably a Jew, allows
himself to keep extra change mistakenly given to him by a non-Jewish shopkeeper,
thinking that such a thing is permitted, whereas our law only permits such a
thing if the shopkeeper is an idolater, but if the shopkeeper is a non-Jew who
is not an idolater, we are obliged to return the extra money.

The example I gave was wrong, and I must retract it. The larger point remains
valid, inasmuch as other examples can be given; but the example that was given
in the original article, was wrong, and must be retracted. Rabbi Elazar Teitz,
may he live and be well, sent me an e-mail telling me that it is permissible for
a Jew to benefit from the mistake of any non-Jew, not just an idolater.

The reason why I thought differently is ironic. I made the exact mistake that I
said Jews were in danger of making when they do not habituate themselves always
to use the correct terminology. Maybe "ironic" is the wrong word.

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). Rambam, in the Mishneh Torah, Sefer Nzaqim, Hilkoth Gzeila Va'aveida
11:4, brings down this opinion as halakha, stating, in our printed editions,
that a Jew may benefit from the mistake of an idolater. And I always thought
that this was a din `aku"m, at it appears to be in our printed texts.

Rabbi Elazar Teitz told me that the term "idolater", both in our printed texts
of Bava Qamma 113b and in our printed texts of Hilkoth Gzeila Va'aveida 11:4,
resulted from non-Jewish censorship; the correct and original term was nokhri,
"non-Jew". So the correct halakha -- which I learned for the first time
yesterday, after a lifetime of believing otherwise -- is that a Jew may benefit
from the mistake of any non-Jew, so long as the Jew does not instigate or
contribute to the mistake in any way.

My condemnation of Jews who acted in accordance with this halakha, was therefore
most inappropriate. Fortunately, and by the grace of God, I knew of no specific
Jew who had ever done such a thing, so there was no specific Jew whom I had, in
my thoughts, wrongly condemned. I can only hope that no reader of the original
article wrongly condemned another Jew, because of the mistaken example that the
original article contained.

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


From: David E Cohen <>
Date: Mon, May 29,2023 at 07:17 AM
Subject: Nusach hatfila reversed

Araham Friedenberg asked (MJ 66#39):

> Suppose I show up for minyan one afternoon, and I'm the only one saying
> kaddish. Am I obligated to take an Eidot Hamizrach siddur and say the
> extra parts, or can I just say it the way I'm used to saying?

This may be overthinking it, but perhaps it depends on whether that kaddish is
said at that minyan even in the absence of any mourners. If it is, then you are
filling the function of a shaliach tzibbur, and should stick to whatever nusach
the shaliach tzibbur for the rest of the tefilah is expected to use at that
minyan. If not, then perhaps you're just saying it for yourself, and you can
say it however you'd like.

On a different note, I also wanted to propose a discussion regarding what you
wrote about when you're saying kaddish together with others who use a longer

>I stand and wait until they finish, then join in for the end.

Indeed, this seems to be the common practice when people with different nusachim
are saying kaddish together, and I see it every day. I never really thought
about it too much until a Sefardi neighbor who is currently saying kaddish
remarked on how strange it seems to him. He said something along the lines of
"I don't understand these Ashkenazim who just stand there quietly, like they're
protesting something, while we're saying 'chayim vesava viyshua, etc.' It's not
like this is a list of curses that we're reading!" It seems to me that he has a
valid point. It's one thing to use a shorter nusach of kaddish if you're saying
it alone or with others who share that minhag, but if there's already going to
be time allotted for others to say "veyatzmach purkaneih, etc." or "chayim
vesava, etc." is our minhag as "nusach Ashkenaz people" (a category to which I
myself belong) to not include these phrases in kaddish so strong that it
requires awkwardly standing there quietly while others say them, as if these are
not things that we want as well?

-- D.C.


From: Yisrael Medad <>
Date: Mon, May 29,2023 at 01:17 AM
Subject: Shavuot Second Day on Shabbat in Chutz La'Aretz

Ari Trachtenberg asks (MJ 66#39):

> I think a better question is by what justification do we hold a second day of
> Shavuot at all.

Punishment for remaining in exile.

Yisrael Medad


From: Menashe Elyashiv <>
Date: Mon, May 29,2023 at 05:17 AM
Subject: Shavuot Second Day on Shabbat in Chutz La'Aretz

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)


From: Joel Rich <>
Date: Wed, May 31,2023 at 12:17 AM
Subject: Shoa

A recent article made the case that the shoa was sui generis in Jewish history.
Would you agree or disagree? (more of interest to me "why?")

Joel Rich


From: Joel Rich <>
Date: Tue, Jun 6,2023 at 10:17 PM
Subject: Weddings

Shidduchim crisis? Chulin 83a has a statement that the Mishna teaches us that it
is orach ara [normal practice] for the groom's family to put in more effort than
the bride's family for the wedding festivities. It doesn't seem to say this is
halachically required; only that it's common practice. Any thoughts on why that
was, and what it is now and why?

Joel Rich


From: Dr. William Gewirtz <>
Date: Sun, May 28,2023 at 06:17 PM
Subject: Yuhara

Joel Rich writes (MJ 66#39):

> If something isn't mkubal [accepted practice], even though it has significant
> mkorot [sources] when does it become yuhara [arrogance] to do it? Four recent
> discussions I've had:
> 1. Saying al naharot bavel before birchat hamazon during the week,
> 2. Saying kriat shema with trop,
> 3. Putting on tallit and tfilin outside shul and
> 4. Saying hareini kaparat mishkavo for a parent in the first year after their
> death.

I habitually say kriat shema with the trop (cantillation). The element of yuhara
on my part may derive from my understanding of trop, something not broadly
understood. To read with trop without understanding and making errors, something
I often hear, is worse than yuhara, IMHO. Reading a kadmah as a pashtah, for
example, is not uncommon.

I do not practice any of the other three. I don't feel any are lacking a strong
halakhic basis, which I think removes them from being labeled yuhara. In my
mind, yuhara is someone who is not a bar hochi [qualified] following a minority


From: Martin Stern <>
Date: Tue, Jun 6,2023 at 05:17 PM
Subject: Yuhara

In response to Joel Rich (MJ 66#39):

I don't think any of these things would qualify as yuhara [arrogance] per se but,
depending on the situation and the perception of others who see them, might be
mechezeh keyuhara [give the appearance of arrogance].

One thing that might qualify as yuhara proper is a shliach tzibbur who prolongs
his quiet shemoneh esrei longer than the rav and thereby inconveniences the tzibbur.

Any thoughts?

Martin Stern


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