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December 3, 2016 / 3 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘air’

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

Friday, October 14th, 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

 

Answer: Previously we mentioned that the Shulchan Aruch states that a person can discharge another’s obligation to say HaGomel. In fact, both the Aruch Hashulchan and the Mishnah Berurah argue that it is better for a husband to say HaGomel for his wife than for her to say it herself.

The Debrecener Rav seems to suggest that a woman is relieved of any requirement to recite HaGomel after childbirth because giving birth is “derech ha’olam” – the way of the world as set up by Hashem. Surely we cannot consider this mitzvah a dangerous event.

Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, zt”l (Halichot Shlomo 23:4), writes that the prevailing custom in Jerusalem is that a yoledet says HaGomel when her relatives gather at her house. If she needs to say HaGomel for a different reason, she does not say it nor does her husband say it on her behalf. In his notes he explains that HaGomel is supposed to be said before a minyan and doing so for a woman would be immodest since “kol kvudah bat melech pnima – the honor of a king’s daughter is dwelling within” (Psalms 45:14).

Why, then, does a yoledet say HaGomel? Because the Torah (Leviticus 12) requires a yoledet to bring a sacrifice (if there is a Temple).

The Debrecener Rav (Torat Chayyim, novella to Sanhedrin 94a) writes that ideally a woman should discharge her HaGomel obligation by going to shul and saying Amen to the berachah her husband makes when receiving an aliya since berachah and hoda’ah are essentially the same.

The previous Rishon Le’tzion, Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef zt”l (Responsa Yechaveh Da’at 15) cites numerous authorities (the main one being the Mechaber) who disagree. Yet, he finds a support for the view of the Torat Chayim in the words of Rabbi Chayyim Abulafia (Responsa Nishmat Chayyim, Orach Chayim 2) who argues that if a place has the custom of the husband reciting HaGomel for his wife, we do not nullify its custom since there some authorities who dispute the Mechaber.

Nevertheless, he notes that we follow the rulings of the Mechaber and, thus, the husband’s recital of Birkat HaTorah does not absolve the yoledet of her requirement to say HaGomel. He also notes that the Birkat HaTorah contain no mention of kingship and R. Yochanan (Berachot 40b) maintains that any blessing that does not contain kingship is not considered a blessing. The Barechu of Birkat HaTorah may be attached to the concluding blessing that follows, but it itself contains no mention of kingship and it is the Barechu that would be in place of HaGomel.

Rav Yosef cites the view of Rabbi Avraham Palagi (Responsa Vaya’an Avraham 17) who opines that the reason women don’t say HaGomel is because they are not ritually clean. He quickly dismisses this view, though, since women recite blessings all the time in their impure state and words of Torah are not subject to tum’ah.

Rabbi Yosef also dismisses the view found in Responsa Mateh Levi (vol 2:8) that since women are commanded to bring forth children, we should not consider childbirth so dangerous as to require the recital of HaGomel. In fact, the Mishnah (Shabbos 31b) states explicitly, “For three sins women die in childbirth….” We thus see that childbirth is inherently dangerous.

Rav Yosef believes women should come to the synagogue and recite the blessing from the women’s section.

His son, the current Rishon Le’tzion, Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef (Yalkut Yosef to Orach Chayyim 219:7), notes that a man can discharge his wife’s obligation if they both went through the same dangerous event together (e.g., traveled together overseas).

In general, if a woman needs to say HaGomel for any other reason besides childbirth, it would seem that she would follow the same procedure that men do and say HaGomel either in the women’s section or before one man. She has an obligation to meet and she should meet it in a manner consistent with the sages’ rules of modesty.

Rabbi Yaakov Klass

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

Thursday, October 6th, 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

Summary of our response up to this point: 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. 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 Shulchan Aruch states that a person can discharge another’s obligation to say HaGomel. In fact, both the Aruch Hashulchan and the Mishnah Berurah argue that it is better for a husband to say HaGomel for his wife than for her to say it herself.

* * * * *

The Gaon Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, zt”l (Igrot Moshe, vol. 8 Orach Chayim 14), discusses the obligation of women to say HaGomel. He maintains that in theory there should be no difference between men and women regarding saying HaGomel. (He cites the Mechaber, Orach Chayim 219 that we cited earlier and the Magen Avraham sk 1.)

However, our sages instituted that HaGomel should be said before a minyan upon getting an aliyah to the Torah. (The same is true of the berachah of Baruch Shepatrani that a father says upon the bar mitzvah of his son.) Thus, women don’t say HaGomel because we don’t give them aliyos.

(This responsum was the last Rav Feinstein wrote, at least partially. A note advises that part of it was delivered orally.)

He adds that we do not do as the Mishnah Berurah (Orach Chayim 219:3) states – that the woman should say HaGomel before a minyan or before 10 women and one man – since a minyan of 10 women is meaningless. She can just say it before one person, a man or a woman. If she is married, she can say it before her husband.

The Gaon Rabbi Moshe Stern, the Debrecener Rav, zt”l (Ba’er Moshe, vol. 8:120) was once asked about the practice of gathering a minyan in the house of a yoledet (a woman who gave birth) for her to say HaGomel.

He answered that presumably this practice started because the woman was too weak to go to shul. He writes, though, that this practice is no longer the prevailing minhag. He also argues that the minyan does not gather so as to allow the woman to go out to the market place. The first time she should go out, he writes, is for a dvar mitzvah, such as going to shul to respond to Barchu or Kedushah or to say “Amen, yehei shmei rabbah…,” thus giving praise to Hashem who helped her successfully give birth in a good hour and in good health.

Rav Stern writes that there is a dispute among later authorities as to whether a woman says HaGomel in the women’s section of shul with the men responding Amen. Therefore, some have the custom to gather a minyan at the woman’s home for Maariv so that she can say HaGomel in an adjacent room. He writes that doing so is not our practice and a woman does not say HaGomel at all.

He explains that at least in the instance of a yoledet there are numerous reasons why she need not say HaGomel. For example, it is the nature of the world that women give birth and therefore it is impossible to say, “…hagomel l’chayavim – …who bestows kindness upon the culpable” for she is fulfilling Hashem’s commandment. Rav Stern writes that “we’ve never heard” of a man saying HaGomel on behalf of his wife. (He cites the Mishnah Berurah who clearly maintains that a husband can say HaGomel on her behalf, but it seems that he dismisses this view, as does Rav Feinstein.)

Rav Stern offers what he considers to be a practical approach that satisfies all views; he advises that it be publicized. The woman should go to shul, he writes, and when her husband is called to the Torah for an aliyah, he should concentrate when he says, “Barechu et Hashem ha’mevorach – Blessed is Hashem, the blessed one,” and have in mind to give thanks to Hashem for his wife giving birth b’sh’ah tova u’mutzlachat. His wife should then respond Amen. He notes that the same should be done when a woman recovers from a serious illness.

(To be continued)

Rabbi Yaakov Klass

Air Conditioner Running

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

The Shapiros owned an apartment in Jerusalem, where they often spent the yamim tovim. Their neighbors, the Bergs, were traveling there for the yamim noraim.

“Would you be willing to rent us your apartment for Rosh Hashanah?” asked Mr. Berg.

“How long will you be there?” asked Mr. Shapiro. “We plan to come shortly after Yom Kippur.”

“About a week, just until Tzom Gedaliah,” said Mr. Berg. “Afterward we expect to stay with relatives.”

“In that case we’d be happy to rent you the apartment,” said Mr. Shapiro. “Just please leave it clean; we don’t have someone managing the apartment to clean up afterward.”

“For sure; will do,” said Mr. Berg.

They arranged on a price for the week. “I assume this includes all utilities,” said Mr. Berg.

“Of course,” replied Mr. Shapiro.

Mr. Berg took out his checkbook. “Let me pay you now, since I don’t know when I’ll see you next,” he said.

“That would be a good idea,” said Mr. Shapiro. “Thank you.”

The Bergs spent Rosh Hashanah in the apartment and then went on to their relatives.

When the Shapiros arrived a week later, they saw that the air conditioners were running.

“What’s going on?” asked Mrs. Shapiro. “Why are the air conditioners running?”

Mr. Shapiro checked the Shabbos clock. The mechanism was on “timer” setting, operating for about half the day.

“It seems the Bergs didn’t shut the air conditioner when they left,” said Mr. Shapiro. “That’s about a week’s worth of running half-time – a few-hundred shekels!”

Mr. Shapiro e-mailed Mr. Berg. “I guess the timer was off when we left,” replied Mr. Berg. “We didn’t realize the air conditioner was still on.”

Mr. Shapiro called Rabbi Dayan and asked, “Is Mr. Berg liable for the excess electricity?”

“Mr. Berg is certainly liable for the electricity after leaving the apartment,” said Rabbi Dayan. “In some cases, he could be liable for excess electricity even during the rental period if he was wantonly negligent.”

“Could you please explain?” asked Mr. Shapiro.

“A renter is required to use the rental item in the customary manner,” explained Rabbi Dayan. “For example, he may not overload an animal, and if he did so and harmed the animal he is liable [C.M.308:6]. R’ Akiva Eiger [C.M. 309:1] explains that misuse is worse than regular neglect; it is like a stipulation that if the renter misuses he is liable for the damage.” (Pischei Choshen, Sechirus 2:10)

“Similarly, a renter is expected to use electricity in the customary manner,” continued Rabbi Dayan. “Usually when one leaves his house for the day he shuts the air conditioning. Although some people leave the air conditioning on even when they’re away so that the house won’t heat, depending on the locale and time of year, even they shut the air conditioner when leaving for an extended time, and certainly when leaving for a week.”

“Wouldn’t this be considered grama [indirect, passive damage], though?” asked Mr. Shapiro. “Mr. Berg was allowed to use the AC and he simply didn’t shut it. One is legally exempt for grama.”

“This is not considered grama,” said Rabbi Dayan. “As a renter, Mr. Berg was responsible to look after the apartment; it was his obligation to shut the AC before leaving.” (See Ohr Ezra, vol. I, pp. 16-17)

“Moreover, unauthorized use of electricity is more than damage,” continued Rabbi Dayan. “A person who turns on an electrical appliance is essentially buying electricity from the electric company on credit, until the bill comes. When renting an apartment including utilities, the owner is willing to cover the usage during the rental period, like someone who allows another to use his credit card for a limited time. Beyond this time, the tenant is required to pay himself for the electricity he purchased.”

Rabbi Meir Orlian

UN Halting Humanitarian Aid Following Air Attack on Aleppo Convoy [video]

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

The UN has announced on Tuesday that it is suspending all aid convoys across Syria, following an air attack on relief trucks near Aleppo that killed a Syrian Arab Red Crescent staff member and about 20 civilians, and destroyed a warehouse and hospital.

UN humanitarian aid spokesman Jens Laerke told reporters in Geneva that “as an immediate security measure, other convoy movements in Syria have been suspended for the time being pending further assessment of the security situation.” But he added that the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) remains “committed to stay and deliver to everybody in need in Syria.”

Local war monitors are blaming either the Syrians or the Russians for the strike against the aid convoy near Aleppo on Monday, which came after the Syrians had declared an end to the week-long ceasefire.

The attack may have been done in retaliation for last Saturday’s airstrikes by US planes against Syrian regime forces who had been under siege by ISIS in the town of Deir ez-Zor. At least 62 Syrian servicemen were killed and more than 100 wounded in what the Americans described as a mistake.

Igor Konashenkov, an official spokesman for the Russian defense ministry said on Tuesday that “no airstrikes on the UN humanitarian convoy in the southwestern outskirts of Aleppo were carried out by the Russian or Syrian forces.”

“The Russian side did not monitor the movement of the UN truck convoy that came under attack near Aleppo after the humanitarian cargo was delivered to that city,” he added.

“If this callous attack is found to be a deliberate targeting of humanitarians, it would amount to a war crime,” UN aid chief Stephen O’Brien said in a statement. He noted that the Syrian government had given the humanitarian convoy permission to move into Aleppo shortly before the attack.

Peter Maurer, president of the ICRC, released a statement saying “yesterday’s attack is a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law and it is unacceptable. Failing to protect humanitarian workers and structures might have serious repercussions on ongoing humanitarian work in the country, hence depriving millions of people of aid essential to their survival.”

JNi.Media

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

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