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September 29, 2016 / 26 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘air’

Q & A: HaGomel And Air Travel (Part XI)

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

Question: I am very appreciative and, if I might add, flattered that you answer and publish many of my questions. Due to your superior knowledge, I am always confident when I send in a question that I will receive a proper response. I wonder if you could address whether one should say Birkat HaGomel after flying even though flying is statistically safer than driving. Also, do women say HaGomel as well or only men?

Menachem

There is much discussion among the authorities regarding women reciting HaGomel. The Mechaber (Orach Chayim 219:4-5) writes, “If another person [other than the one who was saved] said, ‘Baruch Ata Hashem Elokeinu melech ha’olam ha’gomel l’chayyavim tovot she’gmalani kol tov’ and the one who was saved responded by saying Amen, the latter has discharged his obligation. Also, if the first person said [in Aramaic], ‘Brich rachmana malka d’olmah d’yahavoch lan…’ and the other responded by saying Amen, the latter has discharged his obligation.”

The Rema (ad loc.) notes: “And this is not a blessing recited in vain, even if he personally had no obligation to recite it, since he only recited it in a manner of praise and thanks for the goodness bestowed upon his fellow which brought him joy [as well].”

The Mechaber continues: “If another said HaGomel for his own personal [deliverance] and had in mind to discharge the obligation of his fellow, and the other listened and he [too] had in mind that his obligation be discharged, it is discharged even if he did not respond by saying Amen. The Rema, citing the Tur, explains that Amen is not necessary in this case since the first person also had an obligation to say HaGomel.

The Mishnah Berurah (ad loc sk 17 sv “al tovat chaveiro”), commenting on the Rema’s words “he only recited it in a manner of praise and thanks for the goodness bestowed upon his fellow which brought him joy,” explains that certainly a person may say HaGomel for his wife because she is like him (“ishto k’gufo – one’s wife is like one’s own body”). That is why, he writes, some men have the custom of saying HaGomel after their wives give birth (and return to their healthy state). By doing so, they discharge their wives obligation to thank Hashem.

The Mishnah Berurah notes that when men say HaGomel for their wives, they should say “…ha’gomel l’chayyavim tovot she’gmaleich kol tov – …for He has bestowed every good upon you.” He notes as well that if the wife isn’t present, her husband should say, “…she’gamal l’ishti kol tov – …for He has bestowed every good to my wife.” The Aruch Hashulchan’s words very much mirror those of the Mishnah Berurah.

The Shulchan Aruch HaRav (in his Piskei HaSiddur, Birkat Ha’Nehenin, at the end of the first volume, 12:9) citing the view of Ma’amar Mordechai, is of a different opinion. He states that if a person is truly happy that his fellow was saved (and a husband naturally is), he does not say a different version of the blessing. Rather, he says the standard “she’gmalani kol tov – for He has bestowed every good to me.”

It is obvious from both the Aruch Hashulchan and Mishnah Berurah that it is preferable for a husband to say HaGomel and for his wife to respond since, as we mentioned at the outset, the blessing should be recited in a synagogue in the presence of 10 men at the reading of the Torah.

Kaf Hachayim (Orach Chayim 219:3) notes: “As such the authorities considered it immodest for a woman to ascend the bimah for the Torah reading and recite the blessing. Rather it is best that they enter the women’s section of the synagogue and say it with the men responding, or at least before one man according to those authorities who maintain that saying HaGomel with less than 10 men present is acceptable.”

(To be continued)

Rabbi Yaakov Klass

Report: IAF Trained with Pakistani, UAE Air Forces

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

Israel Air Force pilots last week trained for the first time with pilots from the Pakistani and United Arab Emirates air forces, as part of the “Red Flag” exercises in Nevada, Israel’s Channel 2 News reported Thursday. The teams from the two countries that do not have diplomatic relations with Israel nevertheless trained and cooperated with the Israeli team during the exercises. The Red Flag exercises also included pilots from the US and Spain and featured dozens of attack sorties, dogfights, bombings, and long-range flight midair refueling.

The report noted that the fact that the Pakistani and UAE teams did not object to flying alongside their Israeli counterparts suggests that they were more interested in studying and exercising than in politics. The lists of participating teams is composed solely by the Pentagon, and participating countries cannot modify it — but they can refuse to participate.

Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. Mark A. Welsh III addresses Airmen at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. / US Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brett Clashman

Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. Mark A. Welsh III addresses Airmen at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. / US Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brett Clashman

A senior IAF official told Chanel 2 News that “the Americans are excellent pilots, it’s clear they know how to fly and fight.” He said the Americans downed Israeli planes in dogfights, “but we downed them, too.” Each sortie involved many dozens of fighter planes, as well as refueling and intelligence support aircraft, and took place in day and night-time conditions, testing the teams’ ability to work together.

But the official noted that “this is not just about flying together, but about preparing for the mission ahead of time. You see right away who’s good and who’s not. There’s no place to hide. Everything stands out. We got better all the time, and the real deal was to learn from our mistakes.”

The exercise included IAF F-16I “Sufa” (Heb: Storm) aircraft, and for the first time Boeing 707 refueling aircraft. “It’s the nearest exercise to real warfare you can have,” the official said, “dealing with enemy planes, anti-aircraft missile threats—including the S300 systems Iran has—and cyber attacks on our aircraft. We still need to explore our performance, but the pilots are saying it was good.”

Next year, Israel will host the “Blue Flag” exercises, with the air forces of the US, France and Poland.

JNi.Media

Q & A: HaGomel And Air Travel (Part X)

Thursday, August 25th, 2016

Question: I am very appreciative and, if I might add, flattered that you answer and publish many of my questions. Due to your superior knowledge, I am always confident when I send in a question that I will receive a proper response. I wonder if you could address whether one should say Birkat HaGomel after flying even though flying is statistically safer than driving. Also, do women say HaGomel as well or only men?

Menachem

 

The Talmud (Berachot 54b) states that there are four people who must say HaGomel, with the Rivash and Rav Gershon disputing whether this list is exclusive or not. Rabbi Tuvia Goldstein maintains that modern-day air travel cannot be compared to the types of danger listed in the Gemara, and thus one need not say HaGomel after flying. Rav Moshe Feinstein, however, argues that flying is inherently dangerous since only the airplane separates the passengers from death. If the airplane suddenly stops functioning, the passengers will almost certainly die.

We cited HaRav Yaakov Simcha Cohen who compares HaGomel to Dayan Ha’Emet. Just like we don’t say Amen in response to Dayan Ha’Emet (since we don’t wish to hear more bad news, explains HaRav Henkin), we don’t say Amen to HaGomel. Rather, we say “Mi shegemalcha…” We also noted Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach’s view that when reciting this blessing a person should not say “kol tuv – every good,” implying that he has received all his benefit. Last week we noted the view of the Ktav Sofer that when reciting the blessing a person should have in mind two things: 1) that Hashem delivered him from danger and 2) that he experienced pain and suffering since suffering in this world is itself a good.

* * * * *

The Ktav Sofer (Responsa, Orach Chayim 27) cites Berachot (5a): Raba (some say, R. Chisda) said, “If a man sees that painful sufferings visit him, let him examine his conduct since it says (Lamentations 3:40): ‘Nachpesa derocheinu v’nachkorah v’noshuvahad Hashem – Let us search and try our ways, and return to Hashem.’ If he examines it and finds nothing objectionable, let him attribute the suffering to the neglect of Torah study since it says (Psalms 94:12): ‘Ashrei hagever asher t’yasrenu Kah, u’mi’Toras’cha telamdenu – Praiseworthy is the man whom Hashem has chastened and whom You teach Your Torah.’ If even here he finds no cause, he can be sure that these are yesurim shel ahavah – chastenings of love. For it says (Proverbs 3:12): ‘Ki et asher ye’ehav Hashem yochiach – For Hashem admonishes the one He loves.’” Rashi explains that Hashem causes him to suffer in this world in order to increase his reward in the world to come.

The Ktav Sofer sees Rashi’s explanation as far-fetched and offers a different one. He cites Shabbos 31a: “When one is brought in [before the Heavenly court] for his final judgment, he is asked: ‘Have you dealt faithfully? Did you fix times for studying Torah?…’” Why is the question “Have you dealt faithfully?” – a question which concerns behavior between man and his fellow – the very first a person is asked?

The Ktav Sofer suggests that it relates to many mitzvot since a person does not discharge his obligation via a mitzvah ha’ba’ah b’aveirah – a mitzvah that one accomplished by means of a transgression (e.g., a stolen lulav). “Ki Ani Hashem oheiv mishpat sonei gazel b’olah – For I am Hashem who loves justice and hates a burnt offering brought with robbery,” says the prophet Isaiah (61:8). The Gemara says (Bava Kamma 94a), “If a person stole a se’ah of wheat, kneaded it and baked it, and set aside a portion as challah, how can he make a blessing? It would not be a blessing but blasphemy.”

Rabbi Yaakov Klass

Q & A: HaGomel And Air Travel (Part IX)

Thursday, August 18th, 2016

Question: I am very appreciative and, if I might add, flattered that you answer and publish many of my questions. Due to your superior knowledge, I am always confident when I send in a question that I will receive a proper response. I wonder if you could address whether one should say Birkat HaGomel after flying even though flying is statistically safer than driving. Also, do women say HaGomel as well or only men?

Menachem

 

The Talmud (Berachot 54b) states that there are four people who must say HaGomel, with the Rivash and Rav Gershon disputing whether this list is exclusive or not. Rabbi Tuvia Goldstein maintains that modern-day air travel cannot be compared to the types of danger listed in the Gemara, and thus one need not say HaGomel after flying. Rav Moshe Feinstein, however, argues that flying is inherently dangerous since only the airplane separates the passengers from death. If the airplane suddenly stops functioning, the passengers will almost certainly die.

We cited HaRav Yaakov Simcha Cohen who compares HaGomel to Dayan Ha’Emet. Just like we don’t say Amen in response to Dayan Ha’Emet (since we don’t wish to hear more bad news, explains HaRav Henkin), we don’t say Amen to HaGomel. Rather, we say “Mi shegemalcha…” Last week we noted Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach’s view that when reciting this blessing a person should not say “kol tuv – every good,” implying that he has received all his benefit.

* * * * *

In Pitkei Rabeinu Ha’Ktav Sofer (authored by Rabbi Avraham Yechiel Segal Deutsch, Berachot, ot 21, p.32), we find the view of Rabbi Avraham Binyamin Shmuel Sofer, zt”l, rav of Pressburg, Hungary: “Not only should a person have in mind when reciting HaGomel that he has been bestowed a kindness in having been delivered from danger; he should also bear in mind that the actual pain and suffering he experienced is also reason to say this blessing because suffering in this world is in itself a good.”

Upon seeing the words of this gaon, I immediately thought of two selections in the Talmud, one in Berachot (5a) and the other in Sanhedrin (101a). Baruch Shekivanti, – blessed is He who directed my thoughts to those of this great gaon. We find the following in the responsa of the Ktav Sofer (Orach Chayyim 27):

Let me share with you what I said to the congregation on Shabbat when Hashem granted me the merit to say Birkat HaGomel b’rov am hadrat melech (in the presence of the multitude is the majesty of the King). I brought my offering of thanks as I explained the following Gemara (Sanhedrin 101a):

When the sage R’ Eliezer took sick [before his death], his disciples entered to visit him. Referring to his personal suffering, he said to them: “There is fierce wrath in the world.” They all broke into tears, save for Rabbi Akiva, who was laughing. They asked him, “Why do you laugh?” He retorted, “Why do you weep?” Referring to their great teacher, they responded, “Shall the great Torah scroll lie in pain and we not weep?’”

Rabbi Akiva replied: “It is for this very reason that I rejoice. As long as I saw that my master’s wine had not turned, his flax had not been smitten, his oil had not putrefied, and his honey had not become rancid, I thought, Heaven forbid, that my master received all his reward in this world [with nothing left for the world to come], but now that I see him in pain, I rejoice [knowing that reward awaits him in the next world].

Rabbi Yaakov Klass

Iran lets Russian Bombers Use Its Air Base for Strikes Against ISIS

Tuesday, August 16th, 2016

Ali Shamkhani, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, announced Tuesday that Iran is letting Russia use its infrastructure to fight against terrorism in Syria, IRNA reported.

According to TASS, citing a Russian Defense Ministry report, “Long-range bombers Tupolev-22M3 and frontline bombers Sukhoi-34 took off from the Hamadan air base in Iran carrying the full bomb load to deal a massive air strike against facilities of the terrorist groups Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra in Aleppo, Deir ez-Zor and Idlib provinces.”

The bombers destroyed five large armament depots, three command posts and militants’ training camps used by terrorists for operations in Aleppo, the report said.

The report added that Russia’s Sukhoi-30SM and Sukhoi-35 from the Hmeymim base in Syria provided protection, and “all planes coped with their tasks and returned to base.”

This is the first time Russian planes have used an Iranian airfield for the operation in Syria. On all previous occasions Russia’s long-range bombers operated from airfields in Russia, and front-line bombers flew out of Hmeymim in Syria.

JNi.Media

Q & A: HaGomel And Air Travel (Part VIII)

Thursday, August 11th, 2016

Question: I am very appreciative and, if I might add, flattered that you answer and publish many of my questions. Due to your superior knowledge, I am always confident when I send in a question that I will receive a proper response. I wonder if you could address whether one should say Birkat HaGomel after flying even though flying is statistically safer than driving. Also, do women say HaGomel as well or only men?

Menachem

 

The Talmud (Berachot 54b) states that there are four people who must say HaGomel, with the Rivash and Rav Gershon disputing whether this list is exclusive or not. Rabbi Tuvia Goldstein maintains that modern-day air travel cannot be compared to the types of danger listed in the Gemara, and thus one need not say HaGomel after flying. Rav Moshe Feinstein, however, argues that flying is inherently dangerous since only the airplane separates the passengers from death. If the airplane suddenly stops functioning, the passengers will almost certainly die.

Last week we cited HaRav Yaakov Simcha Cohen who, in “Prayer The Right Way,” compares HaGomel to Dayan Ha’Emet. Just like we don’t say Amen in response to Dayan Ha’Emet (since we don’t wish to hear more bad news, explains HaRav Henkin), we don’t say Amen to HaGomel. Rather, we say “Mi shegemalcha…”

* * * * *

The text of the berachah of HaGomel is: “Baruch Ata Hashem Elokeinu melech ha’olam hagomel l’chayavim tovot she’gmalani kol tov – Blessed are You, L-rd our G‑d, king of the universe, who bestows kindness upon the culpable, for He has bestowed good to me.” The literal translation of the last words is “for He has bestowed every good to me.” I replaced “ever good” with “good” because of V’aleihu Lo Yibol, a sefer by HaRav Nachum Stepansky on the halachot and minhagim of his revered teacher, HaGaon HaRav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, zt”l.

In Halacha 151, corresponding to Orach Chayyim 219:2, he writes as follows: “It was Shabbos Parshat Yitro 5751 [1991] when after suffering a fall that left a gash in his head that required stitches, [Rav Auerbach] said HaGomel with the following altered the text of this blessing: ‘Baruch Ata Hashem Elokeinu melech ha’olam hagomel l’chayavim tovot she’gmalani tov – Blessed are You, L-rd our G‑d, king of the universe, who bestows kindness upon the culpable, for He has bestowed good to me.” Noticing this, I asked him: Did you deliberately say ‘she’gmalani tov – for He has bestowed good to me’ as opposed to what the Mechaber’s version of ‘she’gmalani kol tov – for He has bestowed every good to me’?”

He answered: “The text in the Mechaber is ‘she’gmalani kol tov – for He has bestowed every good to me.’ However, it does not make sense – for can it be that for this one kindness that Hashem has bestowed to a person, He has already bestowed every good to that person? Nonetheless, I always recited the Mechaber’s text until I found in the siddur of Chabad and the Ari, z”l, the text ‘she’gmalani tov – for He has bestowed good to me,’ to which the congregation responds ‘Mi she’g’malcha kol tov Hu yigmolcha kol tuv selah – May He who has bestowed every beneficence upon you always bestow every beneficence upon you.’ So now I use this text for perhaps some sort of error crept into the Mechaber’s text.”

HaRav Nachum Stepansky commented to HaRav Auerbach: “I have somewhat of a support for the Rav’s custom of following the custom of Chabad to say ‘she’gmalani tov’ from the words of Levush (to Orach Chayim 219:2) who uses the text of “she’gmalani kol tov” in the blessing but changes the congregation’s response to “Mi she’g’malcha tov Hu yigmolcha kol tuv selah – May He who has bestowed beneficence upon you always bestow every beneficence upon you.” (They thus are acknowledging that he has not received all benefit, but wish that he does receive it.)

Rabbi Yaakov Klass

Q & A: HaGomel And Air Travel (Part VII)

Thursday, August 4th, 2016

Question: I am very appreciative and, if I might add, flattered that you answer and publish many of my questions. Due to your superior knowledge, I am always confident when I send in a question that I will receive a proper response. I wonder if you could address whether one should say Birkat HaGomel after flying even though flying is statistically safer than driving. Also, do women say HaGomel as well or only men?

Menachem

 

The Talmud (Berachot 54b) states that there are four people who must say HaGomel, with the Rivash and Rav Gershon disputing whether this list is exclusive or not. Rabbi Tuvia Goldstein maintains that modern-day air travel cannot be compared to the types of danger listed in the Gemara, and thus one need not say HaGomel after flying. Rav Moshe Feinstein, however, argues that flying is inherently dangerous since only the airplane separates the passengers from death. If the airplane suddenly stops functioning, the passengers will almost certainly die. Last week we focused on the text of the blessing of HaGomel and the congregation’s unusual response to it.

* * * * *

The question arises: Why don’t we just say Amen after HaGomel as we do after every other berachah? (The response of “Mi shegemalcha…” is not found in the Talmud. It is first noted by the Rambam [Hilchot Berachot 10:8] and codified by the Shulchan Aruch [Orach Chayim 219:2].) My late dear friend and colleague, HaRav Yaakov Simcha Cohen zt”l, discusses this question in his Prayer the Right Way (Urim Press).

He writes that a halachic decision from HaGaon HaRav Yosef Eliyahu Henkin, zt”l (Teshuvot Ivra, siman 5), on saying amen after the berachah of Dayan HaEmet sheds light on the matter. Rav Henkin contends that we don’t say Amen after hearing this berachah because it is not advisable to say Amen in response to something bad. Although the Talmud obligates us to bless G-d for both the good and the bad (Megillah 25a), this does not mean, says Rabbi Henkin, that we should respond to hearing bad news by saying Amen.

What does Amen actually mean? Rabbi Henkin contends that when a person says Amen, he is essentially saying: “So shall it be in the future.” Since no one desires or wishes a mournful or tragic experience to occur in the future, we do not say Amen in response to Dayan HaEmet.

This line of argument may also explain why we say “Mi shegemalcha” in response to the berachah of HaGomel. This berachah is recited to express appreciation and thanksgiving to Hashem for delivering one from danger. Since no one desires to live through more dangerous experiences, it perhaps is inappropriate to say Amen. We therefore say “Mi shegemalcha” instead.

In addition, the Gemara states (Berachot 53b), “Gadol ha’oneh amen yoter min hamevarech – Greater is the reward for the person who says Amen than for the person who says the berachah.” If people said Amen after HaGomel, they would, in a sense, be saying that they have more gratitude to Hashem than the person who survived the dangerous experience. Since this sentiment would be a strange one to express, our sages decided that we should say “Mi shegemalcha” instead.

It’s true that some people say Amen before saying Mi shegemalcha,” but the Piskei She’arim (siman 24), commentary of the Sh’ar Efraim (sha’ar 4, halacha 30), notes that the Shulchan Aruch and the overwhelming majority of rabbanim do not obligate one to say Amen prior to saying “Mi shegemalcha.” Apparently “Mi shegemalcha” should be said in lieu of Amen, not in addition to it.

(To be continued)

Rabbi Yaakov Klass

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/ask-the-rabbi/q-a-hagomel-and-air-travel-part-vii/2016/08/04/

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