mail-jewish Vol.66 #44 Digest

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Jun 18, 2023, 10:26:32 AM6/18/23
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Volume 66 Number 44
Produced: Sun, 18 Jun 23 10:26:30 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

[Haim Snyder]
Financial - Present / not future
[Carl Singer]
Learning is Good
[Joel Rich]
The location of a Dvar Torah on Shabbat morning (2)
[Yisrael Medad Menashe Elyashiv]
The mitzvah of making a bride and groom happy
[Ari Trachtenberg]
Women saying Kaddish
[Martin Stern]


From: Haim Snyder <>
Date: Thu, Jun 15,2023 at 08:17 AM
Subject: Awe

Joel Rich (MJ 66#43) discussed the the word "awe". He differentiated it from the
the word "fear". I want to make a totally different point.

In Hebrew, the word for awe is written yad, with a hirik, reish, with a shva na
and aleph. Please note that I wrote "shva na" as the vowel under the letter reish.

The vowel "shva" has 2 forms, na and nach. Shva na is at the beginning of a
syllable and shav nach is at the end of the syllable. Most people and books
don't always differentiate between them, but there are places where it is

In particular, in Shirat Hayam (which we say every morning toward the end of
Psukei D'Zimra). In the section that starts with word Vayosha, the combination
yad reish aleph appears 3 times. The first 2 are the word Vayar (vav, reish,
aleph) which means "saw" or "witnessed", the last time, the word is Vayayir'oo
(vav, yad, yad, reish, aleph) which means "they were in awe". In all 3 cases,
there is a shva under the reish. In the first 2 cases, the shva is a shva nach.
In the last one, it is a shva na. If that distinction isn't made when reading
the word, then the reader is stating that the nation witnessed Hashem and his
servant, Moses, instead of saying what is meant, the nation was in awe of Hashem
and his servant, Moses.

There are other words which similarly have a different meaning if the shva na is
not said, so I think that we should pay attention to this grammatical phenomenon
in order to say what the writer meant.


Haim Shalom Snyder

Petah Tikva


From: Carl Singer <>
Date: Wed, Jun 14,2023 at 02:17 PM
Subject: Financial - Present / not future

In response to Joel Rich (MJ 66#43):

I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, which at the time had ONE, ONLY ONE, Jewish Day
School. It was what the community could afford / support. It was also a
common link within the community. One might go to a different synagogue -
but all sent their children to the same school.

As newlyweds in Suburban Philadelphia there was, again, only ONE Jewish Day
School on our side of town - and it served a diverse community -- children of
the Roshei Yeshiva at the Talmudic Yeshiva of Philadelphia and children of
university professors whose mantra might be humanities is the soul of mankind
where in the same classroom -- and their parents served on the school board.

When my wife was English Studies Principal at the Yeshiva Ketana of Manhattan
(20+ years ago) their policy was not to take any children from Brooklyn -- the
reason being that if they could not find a good fit among the myriad options in
Brooklyn then "there was something wrong".

Now here in Northern New Jersey, walking home from services the other day a
parent noted that there were over a dozen local choices for his son who was
entering high school. But, as might be expected he wanted option #13.

On the other side of the equation unlike in the one-school town, the schools
seemingly do not feel an obligation to the community to see that all children
are afforded and education. When you're the only school in town -- you serve
the community -- when you're one of many schools -- it's someone else's problem.

Today, looking at synagogues we have a similar explosion of options -- it seems
everyone wants to "drive the bus". When we first moved into town in 1995 there
were 2 Orthodox synagogues within a half mile of our home. We joined both.
Today there are [I just counted them] EIGHT synagogues within a half mile of my
home plus at least 3 house minyans. Is this a useful, financially sustainable trend?

Carl Singer

70 Howard Avenue
Passaic, NJ


From: Joel Rich <>
Date: Tue, Jun 13,2023 at 11:17 PM
Subject: Learning is Good

I was recently thinking about whether I would learn as much if it were not a
positively required mitzvah to learn torah (except to the extent of knowing
practical applications). Given that according to the Gra the mitzvah of limud
torah (for men) applies anytime you're not doing something else that has a
higher mitzva priority at that time, limud torah must be a very high priority.
However, if I were in the category of not commanded and nonetheless doing it
(eino metzuveh v'oseh), what priority would limud torah have?

Starting with the cognitive (versus emotional) evaluation, how do we view the
category of eino metzuveh v'oseh? As my father used to say, if you don't know
where you're going, any road will get you, so for me the first step would be to
prioritize goals. Would it be logical to assume that a mitzvah that we are not
metzuveh in is a lower priority than one in which we are metzuveh (as in gadol
hametzuveh v'oseh yoter mimi sheino metzuveh v'oseh)?

One goal definition might be to be the best servant of HKBH (eved hashem) that
we can be. Using this as a general organizing principle should help us
prioritize our daily efforts. While there's no simple algorithm, we often have
to choose between competing goods (even something as simple as if we decide we
want to do acts of kindness, how do we evaluate which ones to do

Further how might we evaluate what can make us a better eved hashem? Might we
use connection with HKBH or perhaps the Rambam's first mitzvah of knowing HKBH
as partial measures?. If so, perhaps limud torah gives us the best access to the
mind of God even if we weren't metzuveh but perhaps studying biology, kabbala or
doing acts of chesed would work as well, depending on the individual?

After thinking about this, I realized that this is really a practical question
regarding women's study of Talmud. Given that a woman would be einah metzuvah
v'osah, should Talmud study be viewed as a high priority in required (or
suggested) womens education? Similarly, how do couples allocate their joint time
and responsibilities given that the husband is metzuveh in talmud torah and the
wife is not? (Actually, a subset of the more general question as to how
halacha/hashkafa informs of division of responsibilities in any family model)

Before I expand on the topic, I'd appreciate others thoughts?

After I wrote this, I found this from R Amital:

The study of Torah brings you closer to God. No one understands how this works.
But if you focus your study on Jewish philosophy, Tanakh, or other subjects, you
will fail. The Oral Law is the basis for everything - faith, Torah, yirat
shamayim, love of mitzvot. Afterwards, of course, it is necessary to supplement
with aggada and mussar, Tanakh and philosophy. But the foundation of all
foundations is the Oral Law.

Joel Rich


From: Yisrael Medad <>
Date: Wed, Jun 14,2023 at 08:17 AM
Subject: The location of a Dvar Torah on Shabbat morning

David Ziants informed us (MJ 66#43):

> Where I live in Israel, my shul and at least one other shul in another
> neighbourhood (my previous shul) have the d'rasha immediately after the Haphtara
> is finished and is immediately followed by Yekum Purkan.

May we presume the Magbia' is not holding the Sefer Torah and it is in a holder
of some sort?

Yisrael Medad


From: Menashe Elyashiv <>
Date: Wed, Jun 14,2023 at 09:17 AM
Subject: The location of a Dvar Torah on Shabbat morning

In response to Avi Feldblum (MJ 66#42):

We have multiple short divrei Torah:

The one after the early minyan, at the Kiddush, whereas the 8 o'clock minyan has
it after Musaf.

The Sephardic siddur has 1 Mishna & R. Hanniya before ain kelokeinu, which might
indicate that in the past the speech was there. However, the Ashkenazi Yekum
Porkan seems to indicate that in Bavel the speech might have been there. Torani
places have it before Arvit. We have a large Minyan at sunset for those who do
not want it. Some like it, because you can close your eyes and rest, your wife
can rest at home because the kids are out, or you can read all the brochures.


From: Ari Trachtenberg <>
Date: Wed, Jun 14,2023 at 08:17 AM
Subject: The mitzvah of making a bride and groom happy

The obligation to make a (new) bride and groom happy is typically derived from
the Torah obligation to love your friend as your self (v'ahavta l'reacha
kamocha), but there seems to be some division of opinion on whether the making
happy obligation is from the Torah or a rabbinical decree.

Could anyone point me to sources that argue for either position?



From: Martin Stern <>
Date: Sun, Jun 18,2023 at 10:17 AM
Subject: Women saying Kaddish

Carl Singer wrote (MJ 66#43):

> We may have discussed this before.
> Having lived in multiple communities I've seen many different approaches -- if
> I may summarize:
> 1 - Women may not say kaddish
> 2 - Someone is assigned to say kaddish on behalf of whomever the woman
> wants a kaddish said for.
> 3 - Women may say kaddish in an undertone when men are saying kaddish. If no
> man is saying kaddish then one is assigned to say kaddish - so the woman may
> say (quietly?) -- otherwise there would be no pause for kaddish to be recited.
> 4 - Women say kaddish aloud.
> I am curious as to what other various local practices are.

In those (sadly vanishingly few) communities that uphold the original minhag
Ashkenaz where only ONE person says any particular kaddish, option 2 would
seem to be the only possibility, and then only where there is a 'spare'
kaddish available not required for a male avel (one halachically obligated
as opposed to having been 'taken on' voluntarily).

IMHO too much emphasis is placed on saying kaddish, as opposed to leading a
Jewishly fully observant life, which is equally available to women and men, and
brings more zechut to the departed parent, as pointed out by the Kitzur Shulchan
Arukh. But rattling off innumerable kaddeishim without really knowing what they
mean is a lot easier!

Martin Stern


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