קטעי תרגום לדברי מהרי"ץ זצוק"ל
מאת דוד בן – אברהם
FOR MOREINU HARAV YEHIYA SALEH), WAS NO DOUBT THE
GREATEST RABBI AND EXPONENT OF JEWISH LAW EVER TO HAVE BEEN PRODUCED BY
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
Excerpt # 1 - On the Sabbath morning Prayers.
Excerpt # 2 - On when the Tefillin (phylacteries) are supposed to be removed in the evening.
Excerpt # 3 - On the second blessing said after Qiryath Shema'.
Excerpt # 4 - On the custom of eating Ja'leh (refreshments, or hors d'oeuvre) before the Sabbath meal.
Excerpt # 5 - On the blessing over the bread during a meal.
Excerpt # 6 - On 'Aleinu Le-Shabeyah.
Excerpt # 7 - On the arrangement of lines in the section, "Ha'Azinu."
Excerpt # 8 - On why the Qaddish is not said after 'Aleinu Le-Shabeyah.
Excerpt # 9 - On the blessing made at entering the Sukkah.
Excerpt # 10- On the proper way of reciting Qiryath Shema' with the congregation.
Excerpt # 11- On when the tassels (Heb. tzitzith) are supposed to be kissed when reciting Qiryath Shema'.
Excerpt # 12- On the "Shilush," i.e., the study made directly after the morning prayer.
Excerpt # 13- On eating at the same table and from the same bowl with one's menstruate wife.
Excerpt # 14- On the order of hand washing during ceremonial meals.
Excerpt # 15- On certain gifts given to priests of Aaron's lineage.
Excerpt # 16- On butter produced by gentiles and eaten by Jews.
Excerpt # 17- On the manner of falling upon one's face (Nefillath Apayim) at the conclusion of making the eighteen benedictions in prayer.
Excerpt # 18- On the format used in writing a bill of divorce.
Excerpt # 19- On
the custom of betrothals in
Excerpt # 20- On the seven blessings made for the bridegroom and bride.
Excerpt # 21- On locusts
and grasshoppers eaten in
Excerpt # 22- On the first haircut given to a small child.
Excerpt # 23- On the Tefillin (phylacteries) worn by the Jews of Yemen.
Excerpt # 24- On wearing the large, fringed shawl (Heb. Talith).
Excerpt # 25- On how the Mezuzah (doorpost script) is supposed to be positioned.
1) EXCERPT FROM MAHARITZ's "TIKLAL 'ETZ HAYIM," or YEMENITE PRAYER BOOK (SIDDUR) OF THE BALADI RITE:
(Vol. I, facsimile edition published by Karwani Yaakov of Rosh Ha-Ayin, in the section which speaks on the Sabbath Morning Prayers.)
On Sabbath Morning Prayers
"All of the people rise early [in the morning] for the synagogue, and say the blessings and the songs, while they have it as a custom to start on the Sabbath with the section [which speaks on] the binding [of Isaac], just as their order is mentioned in the printed editions of the Sephardic prayer books. Rather, they (i.e., the Yemenites) reverse the order given there; [in some things] making it first, [while in other things] making it last. But as for me, the younger, it is not so with me. Not that my intention is to cast down the custom, may G-d forbid! For in my opinion, the [true] custom in their order of sequence is like the Sephardic prayer books. And I call to my witness faithful witnesses that, lo, I have seen Baladi-rite prayer books (Tikalil) in the holy handwriting of our teacher, [even] our Rabbi, Rabbi Shelomo al-Manzeli, who was the Head of the Academy of the holy congregation, as well as judge of the holy congregation of Sanaa, while they were yet living in ease and in utter quietude, in the midst of the city of Sanaa, [and] also after their expulsion from it. And I saw that he arranged them after the order [found in the books] of the Sephardim. Rather, there, he had skipped over the Mishnah, 'Elu Devorim, [etc.]'  and 'Yehi Rasson, [etc.]' that come before the Daily whole-burnt offering (Heb. (התמיד, since they are said after the morning benedictions, just as it is practiced on the weekdays. Also in the Baladi-rite prayer book (Tiklal) that our teacher, Rabbi Y. al-Akbari, wrote (of blessed memory), likewise did he arrange its order. So, too, have I seen a 'three-fold cord [which cannot be swiftly broken]', [even] a prayer book, [written] nearly two-hundred and fifty years ago, [wherein I found] its arrangement [written] in this way. Now, according to two or three witnesses shall a thing be established. I have found it most fitting unto myself, [even] me, to go in their footsteps. And who is more acquainted with the customs of Sanaa than our Teacher and Rabbi, the said Shelomo, whose inheritance is in the Garden of Eden? What more, this needs to be the order according to the opinion of our lord, the Divine Rabbi Yitzhaq [Luria], whose memory lasts unto the world to come…"
2) EXCERPT FROM MAHARITZ's COMMENTARY KNOWN AS "ME'IL QATON," pg. 125 (A commentary of a commentary):
(From the Commentary known as "Me'il Shemuel" by Shemuel Otolingo, on the book, Shenei Luhoth Habarith, section 4:3)
"The prayer made with perfection is that which is done while wrapped in a shawl, and Tefillin (phylacteries). Therefore, let every prayer be made by wrapping [oneself] in [his] shawl and Tefillin (phylacteries), besides the evening prayer…"
(Maharitz's Commentary on the above, entiled "Me'il Qaton," ibid. vs. 8)
"This is the language of Maimonides (Hilkoth Tefillin ): 'The time of wearing Tefillin (phylacteries) is during the day, and not at night. As it is written: And thou shalt keep this ordinance in its season, from day to day. (Exo. )' End Quote. Likewise did all the exponents of our laws rule, of blessed memories. Let him look there [at their works]. Notwithstanding, it would seem that what he said there refers to whenever a man wears them at the start, and just as we say [there] in the Gemara (Menahoth 36.b): 'It is an [accepted] Halachic ruling, but they do not instruct [men] to do so.' Meaning, [when one wants to wear them] at the start. But if they were already on him from the beginning, as a first resort one ought to delay their removal until after he has prayed the evening prayer, and this is what I practice. (see: the Questions & Responsa 'Halachoth Ketanoth', Vol. I, responsum # 258) So, too, did I find [it written] in the book 'Lehem Hamudoth,' Hikoth Tefillin, … and this is his language: 'And on the Ninth of Av [Fast Day], when they wear Tefillin during the afternoon prayer, one should not remove them before the evening prayer. Now what [you've seen] practiced by the people to remove them, this is the reason – [namely], not all of the people are learned in the halacha, and they have no wise men of [their] generation to instruct [them]. For behold, [afterall], it is a thing which they do not instruct to do, since afterwards they might come and wear them at the start during the evening prayer. Thus it seems to me to be the primary reason.' End quote. Again, I found exactly the same [words] of 'Halachoth Ketanoth' used in the book Shekag. Let him look there. And he wrote that he [also] practices the same thing…"
"... ושלמות התפלה הוא בעיטוף טלית ותפלין. ולכן כל תפלה תהיה בעטיפת טלית ותפלין, חוץ מתפילת ערבית ..."
3) EXCERPT FROM MAHARITZ's "TIKLAL 'ETZ HAYIM," or YEMENITE PRAYER BOOK (SIDDUR) OF THE BALADI RITE:
(Vol. I, facsimile edition published by Karwani Yaakov of Rosh Ha-Ayin, in the section which speaks on the evening prayers on the weekdays.)
Maharitz here speaks about the Second Blessing which is said
after Qiryath Shema' during the Evening Prayer, beginning with the words
"Hashkiveinu, etc." הַשְׁכִּיבֵנוּ יי' א-להינו לשלום וכו'–
("Cause us to lie down in peace, O Lo-rd our G-d, etc.") The
following excerpt proves without any reasonable doubt that there were wise men
Shomer 'Amo Yisroel Lo'ad - Blessed be He  who
guards His people
Now I, the younger,
sent unto the Rabbis of Egypt (may G-d protect them), a query concerning those
who practice concluding, both, in 'Hashkiveinu' and in the benediction, 'Yir'ou
'Eineinu, etc.,' [with a blessing
that employs G-d's name], and I reprimanded [them] over this matter, telling
them that they tend to make innovations in the ancient custom of our
forefathers which was not to conclude [there with a blessing that employs G-d's
name], just as it is presented [here] before you. And that reply which came
from them (their Preserver is uplifted and high) was this: 'Our eyes have seen
what your Excellency, the glory of the divine Law, has asked concerning the
custom which a few communities practice, [even] new things [which have come] of
late, to conclude with the benediction 'Hashkiveinu.' And afterwards,
they [once again] conclude [with a blessing employing G-d's name] in the
verses, 'Yir'ou 'Eineinu, [etc.]' …We searched the matter in the books
of the righteous that are found with us, [both] former and latter, and what we
were able to find [was this]: Surely the
custom [in] the land of the gazelle (i.e. the land of Israel), and [in] all the
cities of Turkey is that they do not say [anything], except the benediction of 'Hashkiveinu'
and its concluding [blessing]. Yet, no more [will they say]. It is the correct
[version], indeed, whether [in those versions which are] revealed or hidden.
Nevertheless, those who practice saying, 'Yir'ou 'Eineinu, etc.', the
proper order in this is to say exactly as it is now practiced anew, for this
third blessing was enacted in the days of the Geonim… Now may the peace
of the Rabbi be multiplied, as the soul of those who are signed [in this letter],
4) EXCERPT FROM MAHARITZ's "TIKLAL 'ETZ HAYIM," or YEMENITE PRAYER BOOK (SIDDUR) OF THE BALADI-RITE:
(Vol. I, page 111, folio B. First Printed Edition of 5654 Anno Mundi/1894 C.E.)
On the Custom of Eating Ja'leh  Before the Sabbath Meal
(Unlike the practice of other communities, the Yemenites have maintained an ancient practice  to eat refreshments before their eating of a major meal, whether on the Sabbath day, or during any ceremonial supper. Blessings were also made over these fruits. Maharitz, here, discusses briefly this custom as it falls on a Sabbath day.)
the Qiddush [over the wine], the people have it as their practice to
delay [their eating of that supper] by partaking in drink and in the eating of
fruits, and this is considered as part of the delight with which one honours
the Sabbath. Now imagine to yourself [the insolent behavior] had there happened
to come unto him men of such magnitude as Rav Ammi and Rav Assi. Would he have
given them bread to eat in an instant!? Is there a snake in the stomach of that
person, may G-d forbid, that he should set before them a morsel of bread? This
is not [the way] of honouring [a man]! Rather, let him first set before them
different kinds of dainties and fruits. (Thus have I received from my teacher
[who was] my grandfather, [even] our
"ואחר הקידוש נהגו לשהות בשתיי' ובאכילת פירות וזהו מכלל העונג לכבוד שבת. והגע עצמך אלו מקלעי ליה גוברי כרב אמי ורב אסי. מי הוה יהיב להו נהמא למיכל מיד. האם עכנא ח"ו בבטניה דדין ליתן לפניו פת תכף ומיד. אין זה מהכבוד רק יציע לפניהם תחלה מיני מעדנים ופירות (כך קבלתי ממו"ז) ואם מהרמ"א בסי' רע"ג סעיף ב' כתב וצריך לאכול אחר הקדוש לאלתר וכו' כבר השיבו הרא"ה (הרב אברהם הלוי) בס' גו"ר (גנת ורדים) כלל ג' סי' ך' בראיות מוכחות ומסיק שם דלעולם לית לן למיקפד שיהיה תכף ולאלתר יע"ש. וכ"כ (וכן כתב) גם מהרמ"ע (מורנו הרב מנחם עזריה) מפאנו סי' ב' וז"ל ומי שאמר למהר ליכנס לסעוד' הלילה תכף אחר ערבית אפשר שהיה מתענה בע"ש ונזהר שלא ליכנס לשבת כשהוא מעונה הרבה ע"כ (עד כאן)."
5) EXCERPT FROM MAHARITZ's QUESTIONS &
RESPONSA "PE'ULATH SADIQ:"
(Vol. II, Responsum # 232)
Concerning the blessing over the bread
during meals and its practice in
"The custom here from the days of our ancient most men has been that when the Master of the house invites guests to a supper, such as [at] houses where there was a wedding, or a circumcision, or a redemption of the firstborn son, and the like of such things, at that time when they gather together for the supper, they begin by drinking liquor and by eating fruit, [which thing continues] for about an hour or more, after which they bring them the [main course of the] meal, and they [also] bring many tables and they recline around them in individual parties- all this, within one large room. And when this [room] is not sufficient [for them], the late party of guests will go into a second room, and all of them will follow the same rule of practice.  Then stands up the bridegroom, or the greatest of those who are dining when there is no wedding there, and asks permission [from the Master of the house], and says to them, 'Borakhu!' ('Bless ye!'). They then answer him, 'Borekh! ('Bless!'). Then he blesses over the bread, 'Ha-Mosee,' [etc.] ('Blessed art thou O Lo-rd, etc. who bringeth forth bread from the earth.') in a loud voice, one blessing being made for them all, and they answer, 'Amen.' At this, each party stretches out their hands to eat, and no one blesses again [over the bread] since the greatest one [amongst them] had already thought to include them [in his blessing], while they thought to be included [in his blessing]. But not long ago, I saw some of the people (who are a minority) who, when they be gathered around a different table away from the table of the bridegroom or the greatest [of the guests], will repeat the blessing [over the bread] by themselves, and will give to one of their party who is reclined with them to make the blessing. They say that the one who makes the blessing cannot fulfill the obligation of others unless they were all gathered around one table. They bring support for what they do from that which is written in the Shulhan 'Arukh, section # 167, item # 11, whose words are these: 'If there were two or [even] a multitude [of people], one makes the blessing for them all, and this specifically refers only to when they reclined [to eat together], which thing shows [that they have come to sit, not in a transient way, but in] a permanent way. (Or, else, the Master of the house with the members of his household, which is equivalent to their having reclined [to eat together.] – Tur). But if they were sitting [upright] without reclining [when they started to eat], since they did not plan [to eat] together, everyone blesses by himself. Yet, if they said, Let us eat here, or in a certain place, since they prepared a place for their eating it is considered as a permanent [sitting place], and even without reclining [upon cushions, is it to be considered as a permanent sitting place]. But nowadays, since we are not accustomed to recline [upon cushions while eating], our usual sitting around a single [wooden] table, or without a table, [but] with a single table cloth, it shows permanence…'
But I say (i.e. Maharitz) that the custom filtered down unto us by the [varied] opinions of the commentators, for [the word] 'reclined' Heb. הֵיסַבּוּ (Mishnah Berakhoth 6:6) does not mean to say that they are lying down and tilted upon their sides on beds, but rather the meaning of "reclined' means only that they sat down to eat [together], like unto [the verse], 'And they sat down to eat bread' (Gen. 37:25 ), whose translation [in Aramaic] is, 'Wa'asharu' [etc.] וְאַסְחַרוּ ,which happens to be the meaning of [the word], 'Hasibah' הֲסִבָּה ('to recline'). Now this is like the other explanation which the 'Arukh brings down under the term 'sab' סב…"
"המנהג בכאן מימות קדמונים דקדמוני' כשבעל הבית מזמין קרואי' לסעודה כגון בתי חתונה ומילה ופדיון הבן וכיוצא אזי כשמתקבצין לסעודה קובעין תחלה לשתות יין שרוף ואוכלין פירות קרוב לשעה א' ויותר ואח"כ מביאין להם הסעודה ומביאים הרבה שולחנות ומסבים עליהן חבורות חבורות וכל זה בחדר א' גדול וכשאינו מספיק נכנסים האחרונים בחדר שני וכולם ע"ז (על זה) הדרך. ואז עומד החתן או הגדול שבמסובים כשאין שם חתונה ונוטל רשות ואומר להם ברכו והן אומרי' ברך ואז מברך המוציא בקול רם ברכה א' לכולם ועונין אמן ואז כל חבורה פושטת ידה לאכול ואין מברכין עוד שכבר כיון הגדול להוציאם והם נתכוונו לצאת. ומקרוב ראיתי קצת מהעם והמה מועטים שכשהם בשולחן אחר חוץ משולחן החתן או הגדול שחוזרי' ומברכים לעצמם ונותנים לאחד מהמסובים בשולחן לברך ואומרי' שאין המברך מוציא אלא כשהכל דוקא בשולחן אחד. וחילייהו מהא דכ' בש"ע סי' קס"ז סי"א וז"ל: אם היו שנים או רבים אחד מברך לכולם ודוקא היסבו שהוא דרך קבע (או בעל הבית עם בני ביתו דהוי כהיסבו. טור) אבל אם היו יושבים בלא הסיבה כיון שאינם נקבעים יחד כל א' מברך לעצמו. ואם אמרו נאכל כאן או במקום פלוני כיון שהכינו מקום לאכילתן הוי קבע ואפי' בלא הסיבה. והאידנא שאין אנו רגילין בהסיבה ישיבה דידן בשלחן א' או בלא שולחן במפה א' הוי קביעות . . .
6) EXCERPT FROM MAHARITZ's "TIKLAL 'ETZ HAYIM," or YEMENITE PRAYER BOOK (SIDDUR) OF THE BALADI-RITE:
(Vol. I, page 88, folio A. First Printed Edition of 5654 Anno Mundi/1894 C.E.)
On 'Aleinu Le-Shabeyah, and how the Yemenite custom is not to say it during the afternoon Prayer.
"The Rabbi, Ha-Ari
(The divine Rabbi Yitzhaq Luria), and [the author of the book] 'Seder
wrote that we are to say 'Aleinu le-Shabeyah, [etc.],(עלינו לשבח) in all of the three prayers. But our custom
is not to say it [during the afternoon prayer], and likewise did write the
Rabbi, Menahem Lunzano, on page 108, folio B, whose words are these:
'Now what the world [does by] saying it at [the hour of] the afternoon prayer,
no one has found this in the Tur, neither in Rabbi David
Abu-Derahem, nor in any other book! On the contrary, the author of 'Tola'ath
Ya'aqov' wrote the following: We do not say 'Aleinu Le-Shabeyah
except in the morning and in the evening, but not during the afternoon prayer.'
Unto here [we have brought down] his words. Look also at [the book] 'Kenesseth
Gedolah,' of blessed memory. Yet, from my
7) EXCERPT FROM MAHARITZ's QUESTIONS & RESPONSA "PE'ULATH SADIQ:"
(Vol. II, Responsum # 22)
The arrangement of the lines in the Torah scroll has always been a carefully guarded tradition by the scribes. The following response treats on the Yemenite Jewish tradition of old to arrange the six lines preceding the prosaic song known as, "Ha'Azinu" (Deut. 32:1-ff), with indentations. Maharitz seeks a compromise here, suggesting to extend the words of each line to their outer border.
"QUESTION: Instruct us concerning the old books of the Law in the section of Ha'Azinu, on that page which begins, 'we-o'eedhah bom'  (Heb. ואעידה בם), those six lines which come before the [prosaic] song, Ha'Azinu, [and] which are written on shortened lines with indentations left on those six lines on both sides [of the column], while the same indentations have the length of a section,  meaning, [the length of] nine letters. How should we look upon such a thing?
RESPONSE: The great Rabbi, our Teacher [even] the Rabbi, Menahem Lunzano, in the book, Or Torah, ruled decisively that a Torah scroll like unto it is invalid, since he has made there a space which has the length of a section, where there is no section. Let him refer there [at his discourse on this subject]. Now, I sought to find some healing and balm for our scrolls of the Law. After searching, I found a certain response belonging to our teacher, [even] our Rabbi, Yoshu'ah Zein, of blessed memory, [which responsum] was brought down in the book P.Ha., Hilkoth Sefer Torah, who wrote that Rabbi Menahem Lunzano stood alone in that opinion, while many disagreed with it, and that he had also seen many scrolls of the Law made in the handwriting of that great scout, our teacher [even] our Rabbi, A. Monson, of blessed memory, [the six lines preceding the prosaic song] made in shortened lines, and he prolonged [his response] with several proofs, and concludes at the end of his words that since the six lines are all aligned evenly on both sides, there is no form of a section [here] and it is valid. Nevertheless, [if one sought to perform] the deed in the most exemplary manner, it is more preferable to align evenly the six upper lines and to extend the writing in accordance with Rabbi Menahem Lunzano. Yet, if he had done so after the manner aforementioned, it is plain to me that certainly it does not render [it] invalid! Let him look there [at his words]. Now every wise man will see and understand that this is a logical answer, only that I have seen in [the writings of] Rabbi David Ben-Zimra, in his new responsa, responsum # 194, where he made the aforementioned [arrangement] invalid, and so it is better to follow the stricter [opinion]."
"שאלה: יורנו בס"ת (בספר תורה) הקדמונים שבפרשת האזינו בדף המתחיל ואעידה בם שכתוב בהם השש שיטות שקודם פר' האזינו בשיטות קצרות ומניחים ריוח באלו השש שיטות מצד זה ומצד זה ואותו ריוח יש בו כשיעור פרשה דהיינו ט' אותיות מה יהיה משפטו.
תשובה: הרב הגדול מהר"ם לונזאנו בס' אור תורה פסק דס"ת (דספר תורה) כזה פסול כיון שעשה שם ריוח כשיעור פרשה במקום שאין שם פרשה ע"ש (עיין שם). וחפשתי למצוא ארוכה וצרי לס"ת (לספרי תורה) שלנו. ואחר החפוש מצאתי תשובה אחת למהר"י זין ז"ל הובאה בס' פה"א הל' ס"ת (הלכות ספר תורה) שכתב דהר"מ לונזאנו יחיד בסברא זאת ורבים פליגי עליה ושכן ראה בהרבה ס"ת (ספרי תורה) מכ"י (מכתיבת יד) התייר הגדול מהר"א מונסון ז"ל עשויים בשיטות קצרות והאריך בכמה ראיות ומסיק בסוף דבריו דכיון דהשש שיטות שוות מכאן ומכאן אין צורת פרשה וכשר. ומ"מ (ומכל מקום) למצוה מן המובחר עדיף טפי להשוות הו' שיטות העליונות ולהרחיב הכתב כדעת הרמ"ל (הרב מנחם לונזאנו) אבל אם עשה כנדון הנז' (הנזכר) פשיטא לי ודאי שאינו פוסל יע"ש (יעיין שם). וכל משכיל יראה ויבין דמלתא דסברא נכונה היא אלא דראיתי להרדב"ז (להרב דוד בן זמרא) בתשו' החדשות סי' קצ"ד שפסל בנדון כזה וטוב להחמיר."
8) EXCERPT FROM MAHARITZ's QUESTIONS & RESPONSA "PE'ULATH SADIQ:"
(Vol. III, Responsum # 78)
"The custom is not to say Qaddish after 'Aleinu Le-Shabeyah. Now, the reason seems to me [this], that we never say Qaddish except after the study of [Scriptural] verses, or [the reading of] lore, or [of] Mishnah (the Oral Law), but here, with regard to 'Aleinu Le-Shabeyah, even though [Scriptural] verses are mentioned in it, they have not come in the midst of that wording for the sake of study and reading, but rather for the sake of praise and supplication. Neither are they to be considered 'study' [par excellence], requiring one to say after them Qaddish. Also the Beith Yoseph, at the beginning of section # 25, item # 13, when calculating the seven Qaddishim which are said each day, did not make mention of the Qaddish that comes after 'Aleinu Le-Shabeyah, wherefore it was never a practice to say it. Let him look at Turei Zahav, ibid., yet, each river has its own source…." 
"המנהג שלא לומר קדיש אחר עלינו לשבח. ונ"ל (ונראה לי) הטעם דלא אמרי' (אמרינן) קדיש רק אחר לימוד פסוקים או אגדה ומשנה אבל הכא בעלינו לשבח אע"ג (אף על גב) דאדכר ביה פסוקים לא לשם לימוד וקריאה באו תוך הנוסח רק לשם שבח ותחנה ולא חשיבי לימוד לומר אחריהם קדיש. גם הב"י (הבית יוסף) בריש סי' כ"ה ס' י"ג כשחשב שבעה הקדישים שבכל יום לא זכר מקדיש דאחר עלינו לשבח. אלמא לא נהיגי לאמרו. ועיין ט"ז (טורי זהב) שם ונהרא נהרא ופשטיה. . . ."
9) EXCERPT FROM MAHARITZ's QUESTIONS & RESPONSA "PE'ULATH SADIQ:"
(Vol. I, Responsum # 58)
The Yemenite custom is to say the blessing over the Sukkah whenever one enters the Sukkah (make-shift booth), especially after having been distracted from the commandment at his going out and coming in again, and even if he had not desired to eat or drink anything in the Sukkah itself. This practice follows Maimonides' ruling in his Mishne Torah (Hilkoth Sukkah ): "Each time one goes inside to sit down in the Sukkah during any of the seven [days], he blesses before he sits down, etc."
"[QUESTION]: The blessing made over the Sukkah during the [saying of the] Qiddush (i.e. the sanctification of the festival day made by saying blessings over a cup of wine) on the second night [of the festival day for those in the diaspora], as well as on the other days, is supposed to be said when?
RESPONSE: This matter is disputed by the former exponents [of our laws]… But our custom here in the land of Yemen is as Rabbi Eli'ezer, the son of Rabbi Yoel Ha-Levi, for thus happens also to be the opinion of Maimonides, of blessed memory, the lord of the place, who does not differentiate between the first day and the second day [in the diaspora]. (Here, Maharitz writes a lengthy response concerning the customs brought down in the other exponents of Jewish law, and in the Shulhan 'Arukh, where he concludes the following:)
… But as for us, whose custom is as that brought down in Maimonides, of blessed memory, we do not stand in need of all these [explanations], since we always bless over the Sukkah immediately following our entry within it, while no one has yet sat down, in order that the blessing may then proceed [from there] to its actual performance. And thus is it proven in the holy Zohar, [in the] section Amor, etc."
"ברכת הסוכה בקדוש ליל שני ובשאר ימים אימתי אומרים אותה.
10) EXCERPT FROM MAHARITZ's Code of Jewish Law, known as "PISQEI MAHARITZ," Vol. I, Hilkoth Qiryath Shema', item # 7
(On the proper way of reciting Qiryath Shema' with the congregation.)
ought to prepare themselves to recite the Qiryath Shema', in [rhythmic]
unison, and with a singular melody, and with the same alignment. For thus is it
written in Midrash Rabba (Song of Solomon), concerning the verse, 'Hayosheveth
bajannim, [etc.]' (lit., 'She who sits in the gardens,
"צריכים הקהל להכין עצמם לקרות ק"ש (קרית שמע) בקול אחד בנעימה אחת בהשוואה אחת. דהכי איתא בשיר השירים רבה על פסוק היושבת בגנים, כשישראל נכנסים לבתי כנסיות וקורין ק"ש בכיוון הדעת בקול אחד בדעת ובטעם א', הקב"ה אומר להם: היושבת בגנים, כשאתם קורין חברים אני ופמליא שלי מקשיבים לקולך השמיעיני. אבל כשישראל קורין שמע בטירוף הדעת, זה מקדים וזה מאחר, ואינם מכוונים דעתם בק"ש, רוח הקודש צווחת ואומרת ברח דודי ודמה לך לצבי. . ."
11) EXCERPT FROM MAHARITZ's Code of Jewish Law, known as "PISQEI MAHARITZ," Vol. I, Hilkoth Qiryath Shema', item # 22
(The Yemenite custom of kissing the tassels during the recital of Qiryath Shema' in the morning.)
"[He] wrote in the book, 'Taharath Ha-Qodesh,' that when you reach the section of the sisith (i.e. which speaks about the tassels tied to one's four-cornered garment), at the commencement of the section, [you should] take up all of the tassels in your right hand. And when you reach [the verse], 'and thou shalt see it' (Heb. וראיתם אותו), [you should] look at them, and [should] make the known mental cogitations [required at this time]. And when you reach [the verse], 'and after thine eyes' (Heb. ואחרי עיניך), [you should] put them upon your eyes and kiss them. Let him look there [at a discussion upon this subject]. But I have seen those of my teachers kissing them and putting them upon their eyes three times during [the reading of] the section [known as] sisith. The first [place] is when he says, 'and thou shalt remember all of the commandments of the Lo-rd' (Heb. וזכרתם את כל מצות ה'). The second [place] is when he says, 'and after thine eyes' (Heb. ואחרי עיניך). The third [place] is when he says, 'and thou shalt do all my commandments' (Heb. ועשיתם את כל מצותי). And he wrote in [the book], 'Sefer Zechirah,' that whosoever puts them upon his eyes is promised that he will not come to blindness. Likewise is it written in the book, 'Be-er Heitev,' of blessed memory. Now anyone who does this, or that which is similar to this, to magnify the commandment and to uplift it, his reward is very great! And let him not be sensitive if they scorn at him, for he who scorns does so to his own detriment. Woe unto him and to his bad fortune! For anyone who adds to [his] fear of G-d and to the keeping of His commandments are added unto him, [both], life and good [things]."
12) EXCERPT FROM MAHARITZ's Code of Jewish Law, known as "PISQEI MAHARITZ," Vol. II, Hilkoth Beith Kenesseth, item # 11
(On the study made directly after the morning prayer within the synagogue, before saying 'Aleinu.)
"…But now in our city, everyone has it as a practice to have one person read in the Mishnah with its commentary (either that of Maimonides or Rabbeinu Ovadiah), after which [they read] one chapter in the Prophets. Afterwards, [they read] four Psalms from the book of Psalms. Now I have heard that before they began practicing this, the illness known as diphtheria began to spread itself, may it not happen with us. [At that time], a certain elder of that generation made it a custom, and compelled the people to do this, at which it ceased [to wreak havoc] by the help of G-d. May the blessed G-d deliver all His people from every mishap and evil occurrence…."
13) EXCERPT FROM MAHARITZ's QUESTIONS & RESPONSA "PE'ULATH SADIQ:"
(Vol. I, Responsum # 7)
(Here, Maharitz addresses a difficult issue, viz., why the Yemenites will practice leniency in a grave matter clearly prohibited by Maran in his commentary, Beth-Yoseph, in accordance with what Maran had seen prohibited by Ramban, and by Rashba, and by Rabbeinu Nissim.)
I find it hard to understand what I've seen practiced [in
RESPONSE: We recite in the Mishnah, chapter 1 of [Tractate] Shabbath: 'Let not a man suffering from a running issue (flux) eat with a woman who suffers an incessant flow [of blood], because of their being accustomed to habitual wrongdoing, etc.' Now the commentators have written that 'a man suffering from a running issue and a woman from an incessant flow [of blood]' was stated as a way of introducing something new, [meaning], how much more then would it be forbidden for a clean man to dine with an unclean woman, or vice versa! Let him look there [at their discussion on this subject].
Now [the author of] the Shulhan 'Arukh, of blessed memory, [in] section # 195, explained it in this way, whose words are these: 'Let him not eat with her upon the [same] table, unless they had put there some unusual feature as a thing which separates between his bowl and her bowl, such as bread or a pitcher, or else each person should eat on his own [table] cloth.' … We learn by this that we require some distinguishing feature [at that table] and a sign of recognition in order for there to be a separation between them. If not, we do not permit their dining upon the same table, and how much more from the same bowl! Indeed, as far as the same table is concerned, this depends upon the differences in opinion by the early [commentators], about which shortly we shall speak up ahead. However, to permit a thing forbidden simply on account of one's reluctance to cause shame [to another], I say that every man in his right intellect will be ashamed [anyway] to speak out [at the table] about these things, and which [obviously] would have no point of purpose [at doing so]. …
…Wherefore, being my most humble opinion, I say that the reason for [our] custom is this: Is this not the reason that a man suffering from a running issue (flux) and a woman from an incessant flow [of blood] are not permitted to dine together, [namely], lest they become accustomed to habitual wrongdoing, etc.? If so, then it would seem that, just for that very reason, when they are dining together and no stranger has passed in their midst [that we ought to practice these strictures]. But when there are others of that household dining with them at the [same] table, it would seem that there's no reason to prohibit [their practice of eating from the same bowl], for there is no distinguishing feature or separation greater than this, that others keep them at a distance from one another [or from touching each other]! Likewise does it seem my most humble opinion by what is implied in the language of Rashi and Rabbeinu 'Ovadiah [of Bertinora], of blessed memories, there, where they wrote, 'on account of their becoming accustomed to habitual wrongdoing,' [meaning], that since they sit alone while dining, we suspect that he might come upon her. So far their words. . . ."
(Maharitz goes on and on with other proofs. Yet, for the sake of brevity, we have brought only a small excerpt of a very long response. He also speaks in the same Responsum about how the Yemenite custom is for a menstruate wife to mingle the cup of wine with water, even in the presence of her husband, yet will she not pass by hand the cup into her husband's hand. This, too, differs from the Shulhan 'Arukh. )
"שאלה: הוקשה לי במה שראיתי נוהגין לאכל בשולחן אחד ובקערה אחת איש עם אשתו נדה בחבורת אנשי הבית, ושאלתי להם טעם ההיתר, והשיבו שנהגו להקל מטעם בושת האשה, שלא ירגישו בה בני הבית, יורנו המורה לצדקה.
תשובה: תנן במשנה פ"א דשבת. לא יאכל הזב עם הזבה מפני הרגל עברה וכו'. וכתבו המפרשים, דלרבותא נקט זב וזבה, וכ"ש (וכל שכן) טהור עם טמאה או אפכא דאסיר, יעו"ש. וכ"פ הש"ע (וכך פירש השולחן ערוך) ז"ל סי' קצ"ה וז"ל (וזה לשונו), לא יאכל עמה על השלחן אלא א"כ יש שום שנוי שיהא דבר מפסיק בין קערה שלו לקערה שלה, לחם או קנקן, או שיאכל כל אחד במפה שלו. . . נמצאת למד מזה, דבעינן שנוי והכר להיות מפסיק ביניהם, הא לאו הכי, לא שרינן להו לאכול בשלחן אחד, וכ"ש (וכל שכן) בקערה אחת. איברא, דלענין שלחן אחד, תליא בפלוגתא דקמאי ורגע נדבר בו לקמן. אמנם להתיר איסור מטעם חשש בושה, אומר אני, כי כל בר דעת יבוש מלדבר דברים אלו שאין בהם לא טעם ולא ריח. . . האמנם אומר אני לפי עניות דעתי טעם למנהג והוא זה, דכלום טעמא דלא יאכל הזב עם הזבה הוא מפני הרגל עבירה. א"כ (אם כן) נראה דדוקא כשהם אוכלים יחד וזר לא עבר בתוכם, אבל כשיש אחרים מבני הבית מסובים עמהם בשלחן נראה דאין לאסור, ואין לך שנוי והפסק גדול מזה שאחרים מפסיקים ביניהם. וכן נראה לענ"ד (לעניות דעתי) לדקדק מלשון רש"י ןרע"ו (ורבינו עובדיה) ז"ל שם שכ' (שכתבו) מפני הרגל עבירה, דכיון שמתיחדים לאכול חישינן שמא יבוא עליה עכ"ל (עד כאן לשונם). . ."
14) EXCERPT FROM MAHARITZ's QUESTIONS & RESPONSA "PE'ULATH SADIQ:"
(Vol. III, Responsum # 71)
In the following Responsum, Maharitz
shows how the custom in
"I have been asked whence have they relied, in these places, [upon their practice] to have the man who blesses [over the bread] to wash his hands first, before all those who are reclined [to eat], even if they had been a [large] number, while he remains sitting and waits until all those reclining have washed their hands.
RESPONSE: I was cognizant that what brought you to such a question was that which you have seen written in the Shulhan 'Arukh, section # 181, item # 6, and this is his language: 'If those reclining [to eat] are many, up unto five persons, they begin from the man who blesses [over the bread], but if they are more, they begin from the man who is least [amongst them]. Moreover, they wash their hands after the manner of their sitting. Neither do they honour one another [to proceed ahead] in washing the hands, until they have reached the last five individuals, and since there remain none but [these last] five persons who have not yet washed, they straightaway begin with him who is to make the blessing [over the bread].' So far his words. Now the exponents of our laws have written the reason why they wash their hands in the said order, viz., in order that he might consider the blessing [to be] made over the meal. The Sages of blessed memories have estimated that he stands not in need of time to consider the blessing made over the meal, save the time that it takes for four people to wash their hands. Therefore, during the time that it takes for the four people to wash their hands, let him consider the blessing [to be] made over the meal. Let him look there at Rashi, [in] Tractate Berakhoth, page 46, and at [the commentary known as], 'Lavoush.'
But, behold, our custom is that we are not concerned with [all] this, and even if they were a hundred, the greatest man [amongst them] washes his hands before all others! This is in accordance with Maimonides, the seventh chapter of Hilkoth Berakhoth, who wrote (and these are his words): 'When they have finished eating, they take away the table, and honour, etc. When they have brought unto them water for washing, anyone who makes the [final] blessing over the meal, he is the first to wash his hands, in order that the greatest one [amongst them] might not sit while his hands remain polluted until another had washed [his own]. The other diners wash their hands one after the other, etc.' So far his words. Behold, you have [here], stated explicitly, that he does not differentiate between whether they had been many persons or [only] five…."
"נשאלתי מהיכן סמכו באלו המקומות ליטול המברך ידיו בראשונה קודם כל המסובין אפי' שיהיו כמה ויושב וממתין עד שיטלו כל המסובין.
תשובה: ידעתי כי הביאך לשאלה זו מה שראית כתוב בש"ע (בשולחן ערוך) סי' קפ"א ס"ו וז"ל (וזה לשונו): אם המסובין רבים עד חמשה מתחילין מן המברך ואם הם יותר מתחילין מן הקטן ונוטלין דרך ישיבתן ואין מכבדין זה את זה ליטול עד שמגיעין לחמשה האחרונים וכיון שלא נשארו אלא ה' שלא נטלו מתחילין מן המברך עכ"ל (עד כאן לשונו). וכתבו הפו' (הפוסקים) טעמא דמה שנוטל כסדר זה הוא כדי שיעיין בברהמ"ז (בברכת המזון) ושיערו חז"ל (חכמים זכרונם לברכה) דא"צ (דאין צריך) זמן לעיין בברהמ"ז אלא כדי נטילת ד' ולפי' (ולפיכך) במשך זמן (זה) שיטלו הד' יעיין בברהמ"ז ע"ש (עיין שם) ברש"י מס' (מסכת) ברכות דף מ"ו ובלבוש.
15) EXCERPT FROM MAHARITZ's COMMENTARY KNOWN AS "ZEVAH TODAH" (On the Shulhan 'Arukh of Maran, Rabbi Yoseph Karo)
(Shulhan 'Arukh, Yoreh De'ah, end of Hilkoth Terefoth)
Maharitz discusses here one of the twenty-four designated gifts of the priesthood, which in his time was not fully observed by the people.
(Shulhan 'Arukh, ibid.) Hilkoth Matanath Kehunah: One is obligated to give unto a priest [of Aharon's patriarchal lineage] the forearm, the jaws, and the stomach of a bull, or of a lamb [that has been slaughtered], and [this] is customary in every place, whether in the land [of Israel] or abroad, whether at the time of the Temple, or when the Temple no longer exists…
(Maharitz, in his commentary known as Zevah Todah)
"The Gifts of the Priesthood: Know assuredly that the ancient custom here used to be to separate these gifts, in accordance with the opinion of Maimonides, the lord of our place, and he has not done well, whoever it was, that caused the congregation of the Lo-rd to go slack in [their performance of] this commandment. For the custom is plain amongst us that it has always been this way. Now he has made use of the wording, 'obligation,' and has not said 'should,' because he is [actually] obligated over them, and they are not in his hand [for any other reason] except as a thing committed unto his trust and safekeeping…"
"שולחן ערוך) חייב ליתן לכהן הזרוע והלחיים והקיבה של שור ושה ונוהגין בכל מקום בין בארץ בין בחו"ל בין בפני הבית בין שלא בפני הבית. ...
16) EXCERPT FROM MAHARITZ's QUESTIONS & RESPONSA "PE'ULATH SADIQ:"
(Vol. II, Responsum #180)
(Maharitz explains here why the Jews of Yemen would eat butter produced by the Gentiles)
"I have seen those destined for the world to come discussing the subject of butter which is had of the gentiles, and which is made throughout the entire course of the year within containers of leaven, (also at the time of its production they put into it wheat flour and the flour of fenugreek [seed] which has been ground on a millstone of flour, not to mention that fenugreek is known to have wheat kernels and barley grains mixed with it, as the [naked] eye will see and as the heart will discern that this is a common occurrence with them), and [those who want to know] if a man of Israel were to cook the butter before the Passover and to put it within a container made fit for the Passover, whether or not it would be permitted to eat from it on the Passover. And, behold, I have heard one saying to the effect that it is forbidden, while his friend boldly comes along in opposition and turns what he says around. I have been asked, for all practical purposes, what is the judgment concerning such butter. And my answer was to render it forbidden, from the reason that in these places of exile they have it as a custom to be stringent in what concerns its eating at the [time of] Passover, in accordance with the opinion of Maimonides…
Now what they have written, 'Likewise, the Geonim, of blessed memories, have given legal instruction that butter, and honey and oil, in their natural state, can be taken from the gentiles all throughout the year, so too are they permitted at the Passover, etc.,' the sense [here] is that just like during the other days of the year we do not suspect the pollution of those vessels belonging to the gentiles, since ordinary vessels belonging to the gentiles do not [usually] suffer from any uncleanness contracted on the very day [of its use], so too would the case be at Passover. For [the rule which stands with us is this, viz., that] that which imparts the mere vestiges of a [corrupted] taste is permitted.  And, lo! Even though Maimonides, in the third chapter of [Hilkoth] Ma'achaloth Asuroth, has indeed forbidden butter belonging to the gentiles on the other days of the year, due to the pollution of those vessels [in which it be contained], and the world is not careful concerning this [matter] except for a few of the aesthetes who separate themselves, that is, by reason [of the fact] that their own sustenance depends upon it, and they have no recourse to butter produced by Jews on account of poverty, and [only] one man in a thousand is able to raise for himself a cow in his stall, therefore the early expositors of our laws saw [fit] from the start to rely upon those who contended, [and] who reasoned that ordinary vessels belonging to the gentiles do not [usually] suffer from any uncleanness contracted on the very day [of its use], and they went, from the very start, to make this a thing of practice on account of their lives [depending upon it], not to mention that our Rabbi, Maimonides, was a sole [objector] in this, his opinion, while all the great Rabbis refuted it…"
"ראיתי בני עליה נושאים ונותנים על ענין חמאה של גוים הנעשית כל ימות השנה בכלי חמץ וגם בעת עשייתה נותנים בה קמח חטים וקמח תלתא [תלתן ר"ל חלבה] טחונה ברחים דקמח גם התלתא דבר מצוי ושכיח הוא להיות מעורב בה חטים ושעורי' כאשר עין רואה ולב שומע שזה דבר רגיל ושכיח בהו אם בשל הישראל החמאה קודם הפסח והניחם בכלי מוכשר לפסח אי שרי לאכול ממנה בפסח. והנה שמעתי כי זה אומר בכה לאיסור וחבירו לנגדו מהפך בשריותה. ונשאלתי למעשה מה יהיה משפט חמאה זאת. והיתה תשובתי לאיסור מטעם שבגלילות אלו נהגו להחמיר מלאכלה בפסח כסברת רמב"ם . . . ומ"ש (ומה שכתבו) וכן הורו הגאוני' ז"ל שהחמאה והדבש והשמן כמו שהם נקחים מן הגוים כל השנה כן הם מותרי' בפסח וכו'. הכוונה כמו שבשאר ימות השנה אין חוששין לגיעול כלי גוים דסתם כלי גוים אינן ב"י (בת יומה) כן הדין נמי בפסח דנטל"ף (דנותן טעם לפגם) שרי. והנה אף שבאמת הרמב"ם בפ"ג דמא"א (בפרק ג' דמאכלות אסורות) אסר חמאה של גוים בשאר ימות השנה מטעם גיעול הכלי והעולם אין נזהרין בזה זולתי קצת פרושי' היינו מפני שחיותם תלוי בזה וא"א (ואֵי אִפְשָׁר) להם בחמאה של יהודי' מפני העוני וא' מאלף יוכל לגדל לו פרה באיבוסו על כן ראו הראשוני' מעיקרא לסמוך על החולקי' הסוברים דסתם כלי גוים אינם ב"י (בת יומה) והלכו מעיקרא לנהוג כן מטעם חיותם ומה גם דרבי' הרמב"ם יחיד בסברתו זאת וכולהו רבוותא פליגי בהא . . ."
17) EXCERPT FROM MAHARITZ's "TIKLAL 'ETZ HAYIM," or YEMENITE PRAYER BOOK (SIDDUR) OF THE BALADI-RITE:
(Vol. I, page 74, folio B. Second Edition of 5731 Anno Mundi/1971 C.E.)
The practice of falling upon one's face
(Nefillath Apayim) directly after standing in prayer in the morning and
in the afternoon was always done in
"…And when he falls upon his left [side], let him not fall down upon his hands themselves, but rather opposite his arm. That is, let him clasp [his] left arm with his right, and fall upon his left [side]. (Cf. book "Or Hayashar") And know assuredly that there is no difference between Nefillath Apayim on one's left side in the morning [prayer] and in the afternoon [prayer]. A man ought always to do so, unlike Rabbi Moshe Iserlische, and this is our custom, as well as what appears to be the opinion of our teacher, [even] the Rabbi, Yoseph Karo, and the expositors of our laws."
EXCERPT FROM MAHARITZ's Code of Jewish Law, known as "PISQEI MAHARITZ," Vol. I, Hilkoth Nefillath Apayim, item # 2
(Maharitz describes the way Nefillath Apayim was done immediately following the prayer.)
"The emissary of the congregation (Shaliah Sibbur) then sits and bows down. Now the manner of bowing is that he puts his left knee upon the ground, in the way in which he leans, and then bends his right knee over it, in the way in which he crouches, so that he is half-crouching and half-sitting. Likewise, the congregation does [exactly] like him."
18) EXCERPT FROM MAHARITZ's QUESTIONS & RESPONSA "PE'ULATH SADIQ:"
(Vol. III, Responsum # 97)
(Concerning the format used in writing a woman's Bill of Divorce.)
"What you have asked concerning how we write בחד בשבא  in the Aramaic language, contrary to the [opinion of the] exponents of our laws, [you should know that] there are no scruples in this [matter]. For the ruling is that a bill of divorce is written in any language, as is brought down in section # 126. But our format [used in writing the divorce] is in accordance with Maimonides, may peace be upon him, in that composition [written by him]. Now it happens to be the correct [format], may there be no question [of doubt] about it, arising from those questions posed by the latter Rabbis, of blessed memories, [and who wrote] that a bill of divorce should not be written in two languages."
19) EXCERPT FROM MAHARITZ's QUESTIONS & RESPONSA "PE'ULATH SADIQ:"
(Vol. III, Responsum # 124)
(On the Yemenite custom of betrothals.)
"The custom nowadays, when the bridegroom desires to betroth [his bride-to-be], is to go to eat with his invited guests in the house of his father-in-law at night, and they make [there] the supper before the actual betrothals, and this supper is also a religious, ceremonial supper, as it is brought down in the Mishnah, chapter three of [Tractate] Pesahim. Now, a fine point arising from this ruling concerns a disciple of the Sages, [viz.], that he is permitted to recline [to eat] in it. Also, he that made a vow not to go into a supper thrown at large, such [persons] are permitted to recline in this supper. It is explained in Magen Avraham, section # 444, that although he makes the supper before the actual betrothals, and not afterwards, even so, it is called a religious, ceremonial supper. Let him look there, at the [commentary known as] 'Peri Hadhash,' that not only the bridegroom is permitted to eat in it, for the same rule would apply to the guests as well..."
"המנהג עכשיו כשרוצה החתן לארס שהולך לסעוד עם קרואיו בבית חמיו בלילה ועושין הסעודה קודם האירוסין, וסעודה זו סעודת מצוה היא ג"כ (גם כן) כדאי' (כדאיתא) במשנה פ"ג דפסחים ונ"מ לת"ח (ונפקא מינה לתלמיד חכמים) שמותר להיסב בה וגם למי שנדר שלא ליכנס לסעודת הרשות שמותרי' להסב בסעודה זו. ומבואר במ"א (במגן-אברהם) סי' תמ"ד דאע"פ שעושה הסעודה קודם אירוסין ולא אח"כ (אחר כך) אעפ"כ (אף על פי כן) מקריא סעודת מצוה. ויעויין בפר"ח (בפרי חדש) שם דלאו דוקא חתן מותר לאכול בה דה"ה (דהוא הדין) לקרואים..."
20) EXCERPT FROM MAHARITZ's QUESTIONS & RESPONSA "PE'ULATH SADIQ:"
(Vol. III, Responsum # 252)
(Concerning the seven blessings made for the bridegroom and his bride, and certain Yemenite customs in this regard which differ from the Shulhan 'Arukh.)
"A question concerning the seven blessings [made for the bridegroom and bride]: If the bridegroom departed to be the guest of others during the seven days of feasting, whether that supper was made on behalf of the bridegroom, [himself], or whether it was a supper made for the covenant of circumcision and the bridegroom happened to be among those who were invited, [are they permitted to make the seven blessings for him]? I saw three [different] teachings. There are those who say [they make] the seven blessings [for him]. Others [say they make] one blessing which incorporates within it a thing of the seven. [Still], others [say] that they do not bless at all. Now we do not know what we should do, while in the eyes of the multitude it is an uncertain matter. May our Rabbis clarify the truth of the matter, so that there might be no doubt, [even] the paved, straight way…
RESPONSE: Behold! Maran, the saint, [in Even Ha-'Ezer] section # 62, item # 10, wrote that there are those who say that if the bridegroom departs from his wedding canopy, even had his bride been with him, and they went to eat in another house, they are not [permitted] to say there the blessing of the bridegroom, etc. Now, behold! Since he wrote there this ruling in the name of, 'there are those who say,' it is implied thereby that there are those who are divided [about the issue]...
Now in the book [known as] 'Tanya,' it is written in the name of the author of [the book], 'Asereth Ha-Divroth,' [that] they make the seven blessings where ever there is a new face, in whatever place it should be, since there is a supper and there are those who make merriment. So far his words. In lieu of this interpretation, the custom in the house of [our] lord and ruler was established, [even] our Rabbi Shalom Cohen-Sedheq 'Araqi, in the presence of his son, the honourable Rabbi Yehiya, the lord of our place, with his brother, the honourable Rabbi Yoseph, and our teacher, the honourable Rabbi David Mishreqi (may the memory of all of them be blessed), and who were also those who actually assisted in [this] custom. Now this custom is not new, but rather an ancient custom. We have found it [mentioned] in the handwriting of our teacher, [even] the Rabbi, Shelomo Manzeli (whose memory is with those destined to live in the world to come), in [the book], 'Iggereth Ha-Besoroth,' that their custom in the city of San'a was, before their exile to that [place], to pitch a tent for shade on the eve of the Sabbath (Friday) in the garden which is called 'Al-Jowza,'  wherein they spread mattresses and cushions, and when they finish the morning meal, the bridegroom goes there with his entourage and they say there songs and praises until the time of the afternoon [prayer], and they say the seven blessings, in the manner in which they said them in the morning of the sixth day at the entering in of the bride... and then they pray there. Afterwards, they go to eat the third [Sabbath] meal in the house of the bridegroom. Let him look there [at his handwriting]. We learn from this three things: The first, that they are [permitted] to say seven blessings [for the bridegroom and bride], even when not present at a supper. (Likewise has Rabbi Yom Tov Allashevili written in the name of Tractate Sofrim…) The second, that they are [permitted] to say seven blessings also in some other house, like this when they went out of the bridegroom's house (in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Avraham Ben-David, and others). The third, that they are [permitted] to say it (i.e., the blessing over the bridegroom and his bride) at the [hour of the] afternoon prayer… Let not your hand grow feeble when you see the differences in opinion by the exponents of our laws over this [matter], by saying that dubious blessings require leniency [and therefore we ought to avoid making the blessing altogether], for this was not stated except in places where there is no fixed custom. Yet, in the place where there is a custom, [the matter] has [already] been decided and it stands, from which you are not [allowed] to move. . .
The third meal [eaten] on the Sabbath day can [cater to] a 'new face.' Yet, Maran the saint, may peace be with him, has brought down in Even Ha-'Ezer, section # 62, item # 2, that there are those who say that it cannot [cater to] a 'new face.' Now Rabbi Menahem 'Azariah [of Pano] in his responsa has written that this is the opinion of the Agudah, who belongs to the party of those who think that the third [Sabbath] meal does not require [one's eating] bread, and for this reason he diminishes it. But we who hold the opinion that the third [Sabbath] meal is not sufficient without bread, and in accordance with Maimonides and Rabbi Yitzhaq Alfasi, and Sefer Mitzvoth Gedoloth, and like as which has been explained by Maran in [the order], Orah Hayim, accordingly, it is plain [to all] that they say the seven blessings in it. How much more when we consider its esoteric meaning, which [third meal] happens to be uplifted above all blessing and praise! Again, I found this to be the opinion of Rabbi Yom Tov Allashevili in his new commentary on [Tractate] Ketuvoth, which is likewise the plain custom with us from the days of the early exponents of our laws.
Now as for the blessing, 'She-Ha-Simhoh Be-Me'ono,' (שהשמחה במעונו) that they say in the midst of the invitation [made at the benediction over the meal], it would seem from the words of Maran, the Shulhan 'Arukh (Even Ha-'Ezer, section # 60, item # 2), that they refrain from saying it, until after the wedding, [and] until they had concluded the seven [blessings]… But our custom is plain since the days of the ancients to say 'She-Ha-Simhoh [Be-Me'ono]' (שהשמחה במעונו), beginning with the first Sabbath which precedes the marriage, at the time when they gather together with the bridegroom to rejoice with him, even though the wedding will not take place until Friday, on the following week. Now it is a comely practice, and [one which is] exactly placed, the Talmud [itself] did not do away [with its practice] by its saying (Tractate Ketuvoth 8.a): When do they [begin] saying, 'She-Ha-Simhoh [Be-Me'ono]' (שהשמחה במעונו)? From the moment that they cast barley grains into the vat [of water, in order to make lager for the wedding]…
Now it is a simple matter that each place [practices] in accordance with its custom, since it is not a legal ruling of the Gemara."
"שאלה על ענין ז' ברכות. אם יצא החתן להתארח אצל אחרים בז' ימי המשתה בין כשעיקר הסעודה לכבוד החתן בין בסעודת ברית מילה והחתן בתוך הקרואים. ראיתי ג' תורות. י"א ז' ברכות. ויש ברכה א' מעין שבע. ויש שאין מברכים כלל. ואנחנו לא נדע מה נעשה ובעיני ההמון תמוה הענין יבררו רבותי אמיתות הדבר בלי פקפוק דרך ישרה סלולה...
תשובה: הנה מר"ן הקדוש [בא"ה] סי' ס"ב ס"י כתב י"א (יש אומרים) שאם יצא החתן מחופתו אפי' כלתו עמו והולכים לאכול בבית אחר אין אומרים שם ברכת חתנים וכו'. והנה מדכתב דין זה ב' י"א (בשם יש אומרים) משמע דיש חולקים...
ובס' תניא כ' (כתב) בשם בעל י' הדברות אומרין ז' ברכות כל היכא דאיכא פנים חדשות בכל היכא דאיתיה כיון דאיכא סעודה ואיכא משמחים ע"כ. וע"פ (ועל פירוש) זה נתייסד המנהג בבית האדון הנשיא רבי' שלום כ"ץ (כהן צדק) עראקי במעמד בנו כה"ר (כבוד הרב) יחיא מאריה דאתרין ואחיו כה"ר יוסף ומורינו כה"ר דוד משרקי זכר כולם לברכה וגם היו בעוזרי המנהג. ומנהג זה לא חדש הוא כי אם מנהג קדמון מצאנוהו בכתב יד מה"ר שלמה מנזלי זלה"ה (זכרו לחיי העולם הבא) באגרת הבשורות שמנהגם היה בעיר צנעא קודם גלותם להתם לעשות מערב שבת אוהל לצל בגן הנקרא אלגוזה ומציעים שם כרים וכסתות וכשמשלימים סעודת שחרית הולך החתן עם קרואיו לשם ואומרים שם שירים ותושבחות עד לעלות המנחה ואומרים ז' ברכות כדרך שאמרו שחרית יום ו' בכניסת הכלה... ואז מתפללים שם. ואח"כ (ואחר כך) הולכין לסעוד סעודה ג' בבית החתן ע"ש. למדנו מזה ג' דברים. האחד שאומרים ז' ברכות אף שלא בסעודה (וכ"כ ריטב"א ב' מס' סופרים...). והשני שאומרים ז' ברכות גם בבית אחר כי הכא שנעקרו מבית החתן (כסברת ראב"ד ואחרים). והשלישי שאומרים אותה במנחה... ואל תרף ידיך בראותך מחלוקת פו' בזה לומר דספק ברכות להקל דזה לא נאמר אלא במקום שאין מנהג קבוע אבל במקום דאיכא מנהג מוכרע ועומד הוא ומינה לא תזוז...
סעודה ג' דשבת פ"ח (פנים חדשות) הוי ומר"ן הקדוש ע"ה הביא בא"ה (באבן העזר) סי' ס' ס"ב ב' י"א (בשם יש אומרים) דמנחה דשבת לא הוי פ"ח (פנים חדשות) וכ' (וכתב) הרמ"ע בתשו' דזהו סברת האגודה שהוא מכת הסוברים דסעודה ג' לא בעיא פת ולהכי ממעיט לה אבל אנן דס"ל (דסבירא לן) דסעודה ג' לא סגי בלא פת וכדעת הרמב"ם והרי"ף וסמ"ג וכמו שפ' (שפירש) גם מר"ן בא"ח (באורח חיים). א"כ פשיטא דאומרים בה ז' ברכות. וכ"ש (וכל שכן) לפי הסוד שהיא מרוממת על כל ברכה ותהלה. ושוב מצאתי כן להריטב"א בחידושיו לכתובות וכן המנהג אצלינו פשוט מימי הראשונים.
21) EXCERPT FROM MAHARITZ's QUESTIONS & RESPONSA "PE'ULATH SADIQ:"
(Vol. III, Responsum # 202)
From the words of Maharitz, it is clear that the Yemenite Jews eat both locusts (ארבה) and grasshoppers  (חגבים). Although Maran says (Shulhan 'Arukh, Yoreh De'ah, 85:1) that only "hoghov" (חגב), of the four kinds mentioned in Leviticus 11:22, are permitted to be eaten, it would appear that Maran was only mentioning "hoghov" (חגב) in a general way, in the sense of "the family of locusts," just as the Gemara (Hullin 65.b) uses this word in order to rule out the possibility of one eating a cockroach (or cricket), although they too have four legs and four wings like locusts! Likewise, Mishnah Hullin, chapter Kol Ha-Basar, mentions locusts in a general way by saying, "hoghovim" (חגבים).
grasshoppers (חגבים) that are found here in our land (
Now in the earlier days, during the time of my youth, the blessed G-d happened to bring my way [a book called] 'Sefer Ha-Mizrahi,' and I saw therein a marginal note on [tractate] Hullin in the handwriting of our teacher, [even] our Rabbi, Rabbi Yehiya Bashiri of blessed memory, regarding the worm of the grasshoppers (חגבים), [and] how that we are not to be apprehensive about them by forbidding them altogether, for of themselves they do grow. As for the book, here you have it from my hand, [so that you might] copy down his words just as they are found written. Likewise do the people have it as their practice to eat them, and no one raises an objection…
…There are no grounds at all for stating that [the worm] entered through its mouth, since it is not its way to eat a small worm. And had it been, it is not possible that he swallow it whole while it were alive, since it would be masticated in [its] palate and by [its] teeth! Now from it you are able to draw an inference from minor to major premise (a fortiori) concerning the locust (ארבה), whose mouth is narrow, and whose teeth are the teeth of a lion, that it's plainly clear [for all to see] that it would be masticated and crushed, as also nostrils for them to pass through they do not have whereby we would then suspect that it (the worm) may have entered through its nostrils…"
"בענין החגבים הנמצאים כאן בארצינו כשגדלים הרבה אז הבטן שלהם מתנפח ומוצאים במעים שלהם תולעים דבוקים ונאחזים זה בזה לרוב כחוטים דקים וקבלנו מזקנים בעלי דיעה וחקירה כי אינן תולעים רק חגבים קטנים שנזרעים בהם ולבסוף יולדת אותם והמה מינם ודינם כביצים הנמצאים במעי התורנגולת...
ובימים קדמונים בימי חרפי אינה לידי השי"ת ס' המזרחי וראיתי שם הגה"ה בחולין בכתיבת יד מהר"ר (מורנו הרב רבי) יחיא בשירי ז"ל לענין תולעת החגבים שאין לחוש בהם לאסור כלל דמנייהו קא גבלי (גדלי) והספר הֵלָּךְ מידי להעתיק דבריו כהוייתן. וכן עמא דבר לאכלם ואין פןצה פה ומצפצף. . . .
22) EXCERPT FROM MAHARITZ's QUESTIONS & RESPONSA "PE'ULATH SADIQ:"
(Vol. III, Responsum # 248)
(The custom of giving the first haircut to a Jewish child.)
"With regard to the haircut made upon a small child on the mid-festival days, the Shulhan 'Arukh has written [in] section # 531: 'It is permitted to shave [the head] of a small child on a festival day, even if he was born before the holiday.' Now the exponents of our laws have written the reason [for this] as being that there is no excuse such as there is with a grown-up who is forbidden to shave [his head] on the mid-festival days, namely, in order that he not go into the holiday while he is wretched, for he is commanded to shave [his head] on the eve of a festival day. But a small child is not obligated to perform a commandment.
By this [reasoning], they practice shaving [the head] of a small child during his first ceremonial haircut, even [the child] who is about three or four years old, and [this] openly. Likewise, the custom of world [Jewry] is to postpone the haircut until the profane days of the feast, and this is not considered as [infringing upon the rabbinic prohibition of] mixing [one type of] merriment with [another type of] merriment. Also, they practice pounding upon a [percussion] instrument,  out of rejoicing in this commandment. Now although in [the book], 'Leqet Haqemah,' he brings down in the name of 'Sha'ar Ephraim' that it is forbidden to play upon a musical instrument during the mid-festival days lest he should fix [therein a broken] musical instrument, HaRaha has already objected to him in the book, 'Etz Hayim, that it is like a decree made for the [sake of keeping another] decree  (which thing is forbidden to do), and such words are correct . . ."
23) EXCERPT FROM MAHARITZ's QUESTIONS & RESPONSA "PE'ULATH SADIQ:"
(Vol. III, Responsum # 205)
On the Tefillin (phylacteries) worn by the Jews of Yemen.
"There was an incident at a certain seat of learning (academy), may G-d help them, where they were learning the laws that govern [the wearing of] Tefillin (phylacteries), and when they reached that place where Maran had written (Shulhan 'Arukh, section # 32, item # 39) the following: 'Tefillin, whether they be of the head or of the arm, is an oral teaching transmitted by Moses from Sinai that they be four-square in their stitching, and in their diagonals, that is, that their square shape be precise [both] lengthwise and widthwise, so that they will have the exact same diagonals. For they have said (who are of blessed memory) that each square-cubit comes to one cubit and 2/5 at its point of diagonal. One must also make square their lower compartment [which rests upon the head], as also the [leathern] houses [containing the parchment]. But as for the top part of those [leathern] houses, it is not necessary to be meticulous [about them] if they had extended slightly beyond their length or width. If he had made them square, but afterwards their square shape was damaged, there is he who says that he must make them square [again].' Unto here [we have brought down] his words. Then, they willfully gave of themselves to check each man his Tefillin (phylacteries), and the matter was sought after, and it was found that the majority [of those Tefillin that were checked] were deficient in their square shapes, whether in the [shape of the leathern] houses [containing the parchment] or in the stitching [itself]. At that time, they called for the scribes of the city, in order to know what this thing might be, [and why] they were not particular about preserving the proper dimensions as prescribed by Maran, to which they answered, 'because they had practiced doing so after the manner employed by a coterie of scribes who came before [us], of blessed memories, [who were] many and great.'
Then we began to search, hoping to learn thereby where they relied [upon that practice] to ease strictures [concerning these things]. Now this was the preliminary finding. The source of [this] matter is [found] in the chapter known as 'Ha-Qomes,' (Menahoth 35a)… So let us now see what the coterie of those [scribes] who came before [us] relied upon when they eased [all] strictures. Behold! The language of the oral teaching (Boraitta) [is this]: 'An oral teaching [says]: Square Tefillin (phylacteries) is an oral teaching transmitted by Moses from Sinai. R. Pappa said that [the teaching] refers to their stitching and to their diagonals.' So far [his words]. Rashi explained 'their stitching' to mean that one is to keep their square shape by not tightening the sewing thread too much, in order that it might not be stretched out of shape and the width [of the lower compartment] become shortened thereby. Moreover, their diagonals are to be such that its length is equal to its width, etc. Unto here [we have brought down] his words. So now we have only to scrutinize [by asking ourselves] what new thing did R. Pappa have to say [to us] more than [what we would have learned by] the language of the oral teaching (Boraitta) itself? For, lo, the oral teaching (Boraitta) says in an undefined way that square Tefillin (phylacteries) is an oral teaching transmitted by Moses from Sinai, whereas it was possible for this statement to [simply] connote that all Tefillin (phylacteries) are supposed to be square. If so, for what purpose did R. Pappa reiterate [what was presently known] and did say [moreover], '[this] refers to their stitching and to their diagonals?' …Behold, we have learned from the words of Rashi that R. Pappa did not come to add onto the oral teaching (Boraitta)…but to explain and to make known to us what [a man] ought to do in order to preserve and to be particular about [them], that they might be square. And so he said, 'their stitching, meaning, let him watch the stitch; let him not tighten it by force so that it might not be stretched out of shape and their width should become shortened thereby.' Behold! We have learned by Rashi's opinion that it is not necessary that the stitches [themselves] be square, but rather that one is to be careful in the stitching [process] that he not stretch the bottom platform [of the Tefillin] out of shape when he tightens the string.
Now it seems to me, being my most humble opinion, that their way was to make square the bottom platform [of the Tefillin] before [beginning the actual process of] stitching, and that the [said] stitching ran across the outer edge of the platform, and we call such a stitch, 'basting.' For such a stitch pulls [a thing] out of shape, and [would] shorten the square shape of the bottom platform…"
"מעשה היה בישיבה א' יע"א (יעזרם אל) שהיו לומדים בה' תפלין ויהי בהגיעם אל מ"ש (מה שכתב) מר"ן הש"ה סי' ל"ב סעיף ט"ל וז"ל (וזה לשונו): תפלין בין של ראש בין של יד הל"מ (הלכה למשה מסיני) שיהיו מרובעות בתפרן ובאלכסונן דהיינו שיהא רבוען מכוון ארכו כרחבו כדי שיהא להם אותו אלכסון שאז"ל (שאמרו זכרונם לברכה) כל אמתא ברבועא אמתא ותרי חומשי באלכסונא וצריך לרבע מקום מושבן וגם הבתים. אבל על גובה הבתים אין להקפיד אם יותר על ארכן ורחבן. עשאן מרובעות ואח"כ נתקלקל רבוען יש מי שאומר שצריך לרבען עכ"ל (עד כאן לשונו). ואז נדבה רוחם אותם לבדוק כל א' וא' תפליו ויבוקש הדבר וימצא שהיו רובם ככולם אין רבועם עולה יפה הן בבתים הן בתפירות. ואז קראו לסופרי מתא לדעת מה זה ועל מה זה אינם מדקדקים לשמור סדר הרבוע שכ' מר"ן והשיבו כי הם נהגו כך אחרי כת סופרים מהקודמין ז"ל רבים וגדולים.
ואז חפשנו לדעת מאין סמכו להם להקל וזה יצא ראשונה. עיקרא דמלתא בפ' הקומץ [מנחות ל"ה ע"א] ...והשתא נחזי אנן על מה סמכו כת הקודמין להקל. והנה לשון הברייתא תניא תפלין מרובעות הל"מ (הלכה למשה מסיני). א"ר פפא בתפרן ובאלכסונן ע"כ. רש"י פי' בתפרן ישמור את רבוען שלא ימשוך חוט התפירה יותר מדאי שלא יכווצו ויקצר רחבן ובאלכסונן שיהא ארכו כרחבו וכו' עכ"ל. והשתא איכא למידק מה חידש רב פפא יותר על לשון הברייתא דהא ברייתא קתני סתם תפלין מרובעות הל"מ (הלכה למשה מסיני) דאפשר להיות לשון זה סובל שיהיה כלל התפלין מרובע וא"כ (ואם כן) לאיזה ענין הדר רב פפא ואמר בתפרן ובאלכסונן. . . והנה למדנו מדברי רש"י דרב פפא לא בא להוסיף על הברייתא ...[אלא] בא לפרש ולהודיע לנו איך יעשה לשמור ולדקדק שיהיו מרובעות ואמר בתפרן פי' שישמור התפירה, לא ימשוך אותה בכח שלא יכווץ ויתקצר רבוען. הרי למדנו מד' (מדעת) רש"י דא"צ (דאין צריך) שהתפירות יהיו מרובעות אלא היינו ליזהר בתפירה שלא יכווץ את התיתורא כשמושך החוט.
24) EXCERPT FROM MAHARITZ's COMMENTARY KNOWN AS "ME'IL QATON," pg. 75-76 (A commentary of a commentary):
(Maharitz's Commentary on "Me'il Shemuel," entitled "Me'il Qaton," 2:5:12)
"…Likewise, those traveling by the roads who do not take [with them] a large shawl to be draped therein whenever possible, certainly in hell they judge [the man] over what he could have done! For he whom it was not possible [for him to wear the large shawl], only then does he fulfill his duty by [wearing] a small talith…"
25) EXCERPT FROM MAHARITZ's "TIKLAL ETZ HAYIM," or YEMENITE PRAYER BOOK (SIDDUR) OF THE BALADI RITE:
(Vol.I, facsimile edition published by Karwani Yaakov of Rosh Ha-Ayin, at the end of that volume, in the section called "Qevi'ath Mezuzah.")
(It is well-known that Rabbi Yaaqov Meir, known as Rabbeinu Tam, fell into doubt as to the proper position of the doorpost script, called by us "Mezuzah." Rashi and most Sephardic communities practiced fixing the mezuzah in an upright position. The Ashkenazi communities practice fixing the mezuzah to the doorpost diagonally.
Maharitz declares plainly what has been the Yemenite custom in this regard. See: Tosefoth, Menahoth 33.b)
"… [the mezuzah] must be upright [when fixed upon one's doorpost], its length positioned along the length of the doorpost which belongs to that entrance."
"צריכה להיות זקופה ארכה לאורך מזוזת הפתח"
 The insinuation here is to that time preceding the Exile of Mawza, 1678-1679 C.E., when the Jews lived in the neighbourhood known as "Medinat al-Gazali," or what was also called "al-Saeela," within the walled city of Sanaa. Prior to this, they lived in that part of the city known as "al-Marbaki." The gate leading to this section of the city is called "Bab –a-Sha'oub."
 i.e., the Mishnah which says: "אלו דברים שאין להם שעור. הפאה והבכורים והראיון וכו' "
 Taken from the verse in Ecclesiastes, chapter 4, והחוט המשולש לא במהרה יינתק.
 i.e., Rabbi Shemuel Otolingo, about not wearing Tefillin during the evening prayer. For one is not permitted to put them on himself after night has fallen.
 i.e., to leave them on oneself, even during the night, so long as they had been him during the day.
 It is intersting to
note that Maharitz rules here contrary to the custom practiced by Yemenite
Jews. For the custom in
 see: Section 30, of the Hagahath Ha-Tur.
 In other liturgies,
the version reads: "Blessed be Thou, O Lo-rd, who guardest Thy people
 This version is mentioned by Maimonides in his Mishne Torah, and also by Tosefoth in Berakhoth 4.b, s.v. דאמר רבי יוחנן. It was also copied down in the "Tiklal Ha-Qadhmonim," by Rabbi Yehiya Bashiri, though never actually adopted by the Yemenites in their order of prayers.
 This Baladi-rite prayer book (based after the prayer version in Maimonides' Mishne Torah) was written by Rabbi Yehiya Bashiri in anno 1618 C.E.
 This epistle was
allegedly written in
 The word used here in Hebrew is "Gaon" גאון , which is a title of honour strictly reserved for the most wise. The Rabbis who succeeded the Amorayim and the Savorayim were called Geonim. Rabbi Hai (Hayye) Gaon was the last of the Geonim. Yet, out of respect for Maimonides, the author of this epistle called Maimonides by the same title.
 See: Mishnah Berakhoth 1:4.
 i.e., about whether or not the words, "Borukh Shomer 'Amo Yisroel Lo'ad," should be concluded with a blessing that employs G-d's name.
 Berakhoth 4.b
 The sense is to the beginning of that blessing which says: "Emunah Kol Zoth Qiyam 'Aleini, etc." and concludes with, "Borukh Attoh A-dhonai Go'al Yisroel." After which they say "Hashkiveinu, etc."
 Since we are normally required to go from the benediction known as "Geulah" directly into the standing prayer (as in the morning prayer), this order is different in the evening prayer with the addition of "Hashikiveinu." To rectify this difference, we say that it is all as one long benediction.
 The sense, here, is to those prayer books arranged by the qabbalists.
 Also known by the acronym, "Ha-Hida."
to Yemenite tradition, the two letters
"Samach" - "Tet" (Heb. ס"ט) which often appear after writing one's name in letters of correspondence
are actually abbreviated forms for the Aramaic
words, "Siyan - Teen" (Aram. סְיָן טִין), which are expressions of contriteness, in keeping with the Jewish tradition that one ought to be exceedingly lowly in spirit. (Pirke Avoth). The actual Aramaic is a
translation of the Hebrew רפש וטיט found in Isaiah 57:20, meaning in English, "Mire (filth) and Clay." The two letters are NOT initials for "Sepharadi Tahor" (Pure Sephardi) as many people wrongly assume. Note this!
is an Arabic word, often used by the Jews of Yemen. It has the meaning of "refreshments"
or "dessert," or what has been called in French "hors
d'oeuvre," and which were usually
served to the guests prior to eating a meal. In
 The antiquity of this practice is shown by the following: Rashi mentions it in Ketuboth 8.b s.v. קודם אכילה, who writes there that thus was the custom, in all of their large suppers, to eat fruit before the meal. So, too, does Rashi mention this practice in Sukkah 27.a, s.v. פרפראות. The great Sephardic Rabbis of our time have forbidden this practice, out of doubt whether or not one is obligated to say a final blessing over the fruits before his breaking of the bread. However, a general rule with us states that where there is a custom to do a certain thing, one does not say, "Dubious blessings require leniency." (i.e. As we say with regard to doubts of a rabbinical nature, and would avoid the blessing.) In this case, the Yemenites had it as their custom to bless over the fruits, and to fulfill their obligations of a final blessing over them when they blessed over their meal, at the end of their supper. (see: "Divrei Shalom Hachamim," by Rabbi Shalom Yitzhaq Ha-Levi, pg. 25). The general practice of eating refreshments before a meal is also upheld by the Jerusalem Talmud, Berakhoth 6:4, where there, in the Gemara, Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi explains the meaning of the foregoing Mishnah as implying that a man can eat any fruit that he desires (not necessarily the seven kinds of fruit had in the land of Israel), each with its designated blessing, when he knows that his intention is to eat bread after his eating the fruit! This teaching does not contradict the Babylonian Talmud, when it discusses the same Misnah. (cf. Babylonian Tamud, Berakhoth 41.a-b)
 Rabbi Abraham ben Mordecai HaLevi lived in the years 1650 C.E.-1715 C.E., and compiled a book of Questions & Responsa known as "Ginath Waradim."
 A man who was
contemporary with Maran (Rabbi Yoseph Karo). He lived in
 The sense is to brandy or to arrack. The Hebew words used here are "Burnt Wine" (יין שרוף).
 The sense here is to those small baskets made like unto round tables. These were similar to osier baskets, only that these were made from the split fronds of palm trees, and not from willows.
 He wishes to say by this that they gather around small tables, and begin with drink and "hors d'oeuvre," before breaking break.
 In the very same manner will the Yemenites start when they say the "zimoon" at the conclusion of the meal, before going into the final blessing over the meal. This version is carried in the Mishnah itself, and is not like the version used by our Sephardic brothers, who will say: "Hav Lan ve'Navrikh le'Malka 'Ila'a Qadisha," to which they answer, "Shomayim!"
 Their intention to be included in his blessing is made plain by their saying unto him, "No, you bless!" - after they had been invited to say the blessing themselves. Thus did I hear it explained by Maharitz in another place.
 So do we find this teaching in Mishnah Berakhoth 6: 6: "Had they been sitting [at random], everyone makes the blessing by himself. Had they reclined [to eat together], one blesses for them all."
היו יושבין לאכל כל אחד ואחד מברך לעצמו. הֵסַבּוּ אחד מברך לכולם.
 What prompted Maharitz to say this was the realisation that in Yemen, during ordinary large suppers held throughout the entire year, men would sit down on the floor in an upright position when they came to eat, and this same position was called "reclining" (according to Mishnah Berakhoth 6:6) by everyone's estimation, even though they had not tilted to their left-side as we do at Passover. But Maran (Rabbi Yoseph Karo) held a different view, thinking that when the Mishnah (ibid.) said, "Had they reclined, etc. one blesses for them all," this referred to sitting down on the floor tilted to one's left-side, as we do at Passover. Therefore, Maran felt compelled to explain the occurrence of reclining by tilting as a sign of "permanence." With, Maharitz, all this was unnecessary.
 The sense here is to the
old Hebrew and Aramaic dictionary written by Rabbi Nathan, the son of Yechiel,
 Such is the custom of those who pray the Baladi-rite, in accordance with Maimonides, whether during the afternoon prayer on a week day, or on the Sabbath, or even on a festival day. Yet, the those of the Shami-rite will say 'Aleinu Le-Shabeyah during the afternoon prayers. In San'a, when the afternoon prayer was said alongside the evening prayer, no one would said 'Aleinu Le-Shabeyah at the time of the afternoon prayer– including those who prayed the Shami-rite.
 This book treats on the daily prayers, written by Rabbi Moshe, the son of Yehudah, Ibn Makhir.
 Rabbi Shalom Yitzhaq Ha-Levi wrote, in his copy of the Tiklal 'Etz Hayyim, that we find yet another reason why 'Aleinu Le-Shabeyah is not said during the afternoon prayer, namely: They did not enact the saying of 'Aleinu Le-Shabeyah except to counter the worshippers of the sun in the morning, and the worshippers of the moon in the evening. (Tiklal Khalaf). This opinion is also brought down by Rabbi Yitzhaq Wena in his Baladi-rite prayer book known as "Tiklal."
 The Chasidei Wizhnitz
 The first word on the column and making up part of the first six lines before the prosaic song begins.
 The sense here is to a Closed Section.
 Rabbi Yoshu'ah Shebabo Yedi'a Zein (ca. 1640-1738), who wrote a book of Questions & Responsa based after Arba'ah Turim.
 יתגדל ויתקדש שמיה רבא וכו'
 Or, "each river has its place of breaking-off."
 One of the great Ba'alei Ha-Tosefoth of Ashkenaz (1140-1225 C.E.), known by the acronym "Rabiyah."
 In accordance with a teaching found in the Gemara (Sukkah 39.a) which says: "Rav Yehuda said in the name of Shemuel, 'All of the commandments in their entirety, one blesses over them [first], [and then] proceeds to their performance.' "
 The Hebrew word used here is "Askara." It appears also in the Talmud (Berakhoth 8.a), where RASHI interprets its meaning as, "quinsy," that is, a severe inflammation of the throat, causing choking. Maimonides translates the same word as "croup." A similar word is found in Greek, "ascaris," meaning, intestinal worm.
 In Hebrew, the word used here is "Niddah," meaning, "a separated woman." The Hebrew word is not specific. It doesn't say why she has been separated. In Jewish law, a woman is separated from her husband by reason of her uncleanness, either by having her menstrual cycle, or by an incessant flow of blood during the eleven days which come after her regular period, or after having either, but who has not counted seven clean days and, immediately following this, having immersed herself in a ritual bath or ablution ("miqwah"). So, in these cases, a woman is still technically called a "Niddah" ("a separated woman") even long after her natural purgation has ceased, such as when she has not yet immersed herself in a ritual bath.
 Heb. "zav," which word denotes a man who has seen two running issues from his flesh in one day, or two running issues on two consecutive days.
 The Hebrew word used here is, "Zavah," meaning that woman who continues to see blood after her normal seven-day period of purgation, or specifically during the eleven days that come after her normal menstrual cycle. Such a woman is considered unclean, and requires separation until her flow of blood stops, and has counted seven clean days, and then immerses herself in a ritual bath. (Cf. Maimonides' Mishne Torah, Hilkoth Isurei Bi'ah 6:3).
 The "table" referred to here was a small, osier-like basket, upon which food was laid.
 The fourth stomach, or abomasum, and which is sometimes translated simply as "maw."
 i.e., In the eventuality that the polluted vessels were beyond a day old since their contracting uncleanness.
 Attributed to Rabbi M. Poppers.
 This is the usual Aramaic way of writing, "Sunday."
 i.e., without his bride.
 The sense here is to one of the blessings from the seven, which is the blessing that commences, "Asher Bara, etc."
 Cohen-Sedheq (כהן צדק), often written in acronymic form, כ"ץ (Katz), can be effectually translated as "Priest of Justice."
 The reference here is to the "Exile of Mawza," in anno 1678 C.E. – anno 1679 C.E.
 Literally, "The
 As we would normally say in doubts regarding blessings of a rabbinical nature, and would avoid the blessing altogether in order not to transgress the commandment of taking G-d's holy name in vain.
 Rabbi David Mishreqi, in his Commentary on the Shulhan 'Arukh (Yoreh De'ah 85:1:3) known as "Roshei Besamim," recalls no tradition of eating grasshoppers, but only locusts, writing: "…But in these places, they eat the kind that is accepted by tradition, although its name is not 'hoghov' (grasshopper), and it's likely that they relied upon the plain sense of the words of Maimonides, etc."
 Meaning, even if he has not yet fully attained to his third year.
 By "ceremonial" is meant that he is given his first haircut in such a way as to leave behind only his side-locks, after a biblical injunction that says, "Thou shalt not round the corners of thy head, etc." (Lev. 19: 27)
 Which thing is forbidden to do under the rabbinic rules of conduct.
 The initials used here in the original text are יע"א, which Rabbi Yoseph Qafih says has also the meaning of יכוננה עליון אמן ("May the Most High establish her. Amen.")
 The Hebrew word used here
is "Halacha." The word implies a teaching for which
there is no biblical reference or source, yet which was passed down generation
after generation as an oral teaching given to Moses at
 "Boraitta" has the sense of an extraneous oral teaching, not included in the collection of oral laws and teachings compiled by Rebbe Yehudah (Ha-Nassi) in 189 C.E. These teachings today are mostly found in the Tosefta of Rabbi Hiyya the Great.
 The sense here is to the "height" of the lower compartment.
 Since the lower compartment which resembles a platform is divided into two dichotomous sections, a lower and an upper, stitching is made to connect the lower (תיתורא תחתונה) with the upper (תיתורא עליונה), the upper platform being what the house-like structure containing the parchment appears to rest upon, although in actuality the two compartments have been shaped from a single piece of leather taken from the head of a bull or male calf. The string used in stitching is always a tendon taken from a ritually clean animal.
 Rabbi Yehiya, the son of Rabbi Shemuel Badihi, brings this quote in his book "Anaf Hayim," letter # 14, saying that this is what the Jews of Yemen relied upon when casting their shawls upon their shoulders while walking in public places.
 The sense here is to wearing the large talith at all times, except at night or when retiring to one's house.