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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Post Post Mortem

The last post, which will have soon been deleted, contained intemperate language, and should not have been posted in the first place, certainly not in public and in print. If I had come across a post like that, I would have criticized it myself. It was injudicious, indiscrete, and, now, gone. Except for the unfortunate internet cache, which I can't do anything about. It's hard to do teshuva on the net.


To those of you that defended such techinos as Machnisei Rachamim, do you know that the Chasam Sofer, Teshuvos OC 166, says that when he says slichos, he keeps his head down longer than he needs to for tachanun, so he can skip those tefillos? He didn't like them, and he didn't say them. Reb Moshe didn't say them, I don't either. Who needs to take chances with a serious safek like that? Is the benefit worth the risk? (That's a rhetorical question. If, to you, the answer is, "Yes, because those Machnisei Rachamim are really Powerful, and our tefillos need a really powerful interlocutor and a boost before getting to the Ribono shel Olam," then go right ahead.)

Now, please note the most remarkable aspect of the Chasam Sofer's teshuva: he didn't put a Kol Korei up in Franfort proclaiming that the tefilla is meenus, even though he was the Rov of the city. He let people say what they were used to saying, and privately skipped it, under cover, without letting people see that he wasn't saying it. Now there's a lesson I should have learned from him.

As for Le'olam: Yes, it's in the Tanna de'bei Eliahu, and in the Tur, and in the Rama. Does it help to note that Reb Baruch Epstein didn't like "umosar ha'adam min habeheima oyin" and he didn't say it, because if Bikshu lignoz sefer Koheles, the fact that it's deep and holy doesn't make it a fit tefilla for the hamon ahm? If Reb Baruch Epstein was this blogger, would you have been as vehement?

Actually, you probably would have. I might have too.

As for using the simile of captives and captors in slichos, go ahead and say it. I still think it is odd and awkward and disrespectful.


Anonymous said...

how do i get to the stored version his post sounds intriging

yehupitz said...

Yes, there is some scattered kosher precedent for skipping the malachim parts of selichos. The Tzemach Tzedek of Lubavitch was also disturbed by the implications of reading them wrong. Yet his Chassidim continued to say it. My point was that a Jew should never assume that something that appears in Tanach or Chazal or accepted Rishonim is hashkafically problematic. By doing so, he reveals more about himself than about those authors. He should rather assume that he is misunderstanding the meaning or nuance of the text.

As far as Reb Boruch Epstein, he wrote a good number of things that are hashkafically problematic, despite the fact that his works are entertaining and often instructive. He was not a godol, and anyone who knows even a little bit about him would know that relying on him is "Ein Lo Al mi lismoch", to paraphrase and invert a well known aphorism. This is all besides the fact that the reasoning he offers is obviously poor: Tanach was meant for the hamon am. And "L'Olam Yehei Adam" was a text composed for the Hamon Am.

Barzilai said...

Scattered precedent-- Yeah, like the Maharal, cited in the Chasam Sofer, and the Gaon.

But, as I said, I agree with your comment: I always quote the Gemara in Pesachim 99a-- Yafeh shtika lechachamim, kal vachomer letipshim.

Yes, I know more than a little about Reb BE, and I like your description--entertaining and often instructive.

yehupitz said...

I feel comfortable calling those examples "scattered precedent". Of course they were great men, but the mesora for that aversion to those prayers never really stuck. One here. Another one 200 years later. Calling that scattered is accurate.

I have less qualms about someone omitting those sections (based on the precedents) than about the others you mention. But I thought it important to defend those prayers as well, while I was at it.

Barzilai said...

Well, has the Congregatio pro Doctrina Fidei found anything else that needs to be recanted?

DixieYid said...

Sorry I missed the whole comment discussion on that post after my initial comment. Kol tuv.

-Dixie Yid

yehupitz said...


I'm not sure if that Ratzinger comment was directed to me or to yourself...

Barzilai said...

Yehupitz, I say if the biretta fits, wear it.

Dixie Yid, your comment was distinguished by its gentlemanly tone. It took more than that to get me to say "rotzeh ani."

DixieYid said...

Now your answer is just too gentlemanly. Nobody's that gracious! What are you up to?


-Dixie Yid said...

Ahem...Well Dixie Yid led me here, so I took a look and shared my opinion. Sorry about that.

Kesiva V'Chasima Tova

Anonymous said...

Did R Moshe also skip the "midas Harachamim aleinu galgel" piyut in slichos?

Anonymous said...

Actually, the "aleinu galgel" formulation is non-problematic. It is the "aleinu hisgalgeli" that some poskim find objectionable.

Barzilai said...

Reb Moshe didused a different nusach on that as well. Changing it to "Aleinu galgeil," it means that you are asking the Ribono shel Olam to invoke middas harachamim, which is the essence of all tefilla, as the Tiferes Yisrael discusses at great length in the last perek of Kiddushin on the Mishnah of things that are talui in Mazal. If you say "hisgalgeli," you are addressing the middah, as if were separate from the Ribono shel Olam.

Reb Moshe is another good example of not telling people to change the way they daven. In MTJ, they don't say Ve'yiten lecha after Shabbas. Reb Moshe said it at home, and he said that he assumed that everyone said it at home. And, as I said from in the comments on the lost post, the Magen Avraham held that the two times the word "nah", meaning please, in shmoneh esrei, are incorrect, and shouldn't be said, but he says you should just let people say what they're used to saying.