Volume 11 Number 53
                       Produced: Sun Jan 30 23:41:13 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Mishloach Manot (4)
         [Meylekh Viswanath, Janice Gelb, Benjamin Svetitsky, Samuel N
Shemirat Shabbat Kehilchata (3)
         [Jeff Finger, Dr. Jeremy Schiff, Sharon Hollander]
Shemirath Shabbat Corrections
         [Yosh) Mantinband]


From: <VISWANATH@...> (Meylekh Viswanath)
Date: Tue, 25 Jan 94 14:53:05 -0500
Subject: Mishloach Manot

In re the exchange between Benjamin Svetitsky and Michael Lipkin and
Michael's comments re the idea of communal mishloach manot sent through
the shul, our rabbi has paskened that one is not yotzei through such a
m.m. package.  I don't remember the reason.  Perhaps there is no formal
shlikhut (delegation)?


From: <Janice.Gelb@...> (Janice Gelb)
Date: Tue, 25 Jan 94 23:13:43 -0500
Subject: Re: Mishloach Manot

In mail.jewish Vol. 11 #37 Digest, Michael Lipkin said:
> Actually, in my community, and several others I know of, the Shuls do
> use software to coordinate Mishloach Manot.  The process works by having
> each member submit a list of people they wish to send to.  The software
> allows for reciprocals, meaning if someone not on your list sends to you
> they will be added to your list (no panic here). You receive a call
> confirming the reciprocals added to your list. Each recipient gets only
> one basket (somewhat nicer than a few peanuts) potentially representing
> 100 or more families.  

This appears to be efficient but I must admit to a negative reaction.
First of all, the senders aren't actually sending mishloach manot;
they're only having their names appended to a list that accompanies a
single basket.

Secondly, I don't know that I'd want the shul office to know what other
members of the shul I felt were particular friends of mine by providing
them with a list. This becomes an even worse problem with the
confirmation phone calls to see whether you want to reciprocate if a
member has you on their list but you don't have them on yours. What are
you going to tell the caller from the shul office: "No, we're not
really fond of them but they keep trying to make friendly overtures to
us?" Or wimp out and agree to all reciprocal additions even if you 
can't stand the people? 

> This project is a tremendous fund raiser for the shul, i.e. Tzedaka.
> Instead of spending hours preparing endless numbers of Hamentashen,
> families can concentrate more on preparing for the Seuda.  As
> individuals don't deliver many of there own Mishloach Manot baskets
> there is little or no upward pressure to make ever fancier (and
> expensive baskets).  

These points are well taken (although in the communities I've lived in
that practiced mishloach manot, the "fancy" threshold generally remained
fairly stable over the years), but this system seems fraught with
political and social dangers whatever the mitzvah quotient!

Janice Gelb                  | (415) 336-7075     
<janiceg@...>   | "A silly message but mine own" (not Sun's!) 

From: Benjamin Svetitsky <bqs@...>
Date: Fri, 28 Jan 94 18:35:51 -0500
Subject: Mishloach Manot

After I indicated my distaste (or was it abhorrence? I hope so) for
things like synagogue mishloach manot programs, Michael Lipkin wrote
that "This project is a tremendous fund raiser for the shul...".
Wonderful.  We have a well-loved and picturesque mitzvah converted into
Madison-Avenue money-grubbing.  Why couldn't they stick to something
traditional and dignified, like auctioning aliyot at the bimah?

As for "spending hours preparing endless numbers of Hamentashen," my
point is that if we act reasonably it needn't get out of hand.
Mishloach manot shows that on Purim we were saved by sticking together
and caring for each other.  Mechanizing it doesn't get that message
across, and neither does overdoing it to the point of exhaustion.
Michael's "10 simple baskets" sounds about right.

In B'nai B'rak, according to what I hear, people arrange ahead of time
to exchange main courses for the seudat Purim.  This seems to me to be
the most authentic expression of the meaning of m.m., and most in line
with how the Shulchan Aruch describes it.  It would be nice if this
became customary in our communities.

Ben Svetitsky          <bqs@...>

From: Samuel N Kamens <snk@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Jan 94 14:53:02 -0500
Subject: Re: Mishloach Manot

Michael Lipkin writes:
> Actually, in my community, and several others I know of, the Shuls do
> use software to coordinate Mishloach Manot. ...
> This project is a tremendous fund raiser for the shul, i.e. Tzedaka.
> Instead of spending hours preparing endless numbers of Hamentashen,
> families can concentrate more on preparing for the Seuda.  As
> individuals don't deliver many of there own Mishloach Manot baskets
> there is little or no upward pressure to make ever fancier (and
> expensive baskets). I think this process is a fine synthesis of mitzvah
> observance, Tzedaka, yeah and a little controlled Hidur Mitzvah.

I live in the same town where Michael lives (Highland Park, NJ), and
all of the synagogues in town have Mishloach Manot programs.  While I
agree that they are a good fundraiser, I have some problems with the

1) They are *extremely* expensive!  My synagogue charges $7.50 per
   person to send Mishloach Manot.  If we were to buy as many packages
   as we deliver ourselves, it would cost us at least $200.  (Granted,
   my wife *loves* to bake, and we do kind of overdo it sometimes,
   but still... :-).

2) The reciprocity clause makes it impossible to plan my expenses.
   Not knowing who will send to me (that I don't send to) means that
   it could cost me more money that I don't expect.

   In addition, this *does* foster the "Christmas list" problem, where
   everybody feels they have to give to all the people who give to

3) I always thought the nicest part of "Mishloach Manot Ish L'Re'eyhu"
   [A person sending gifts to his/her neighbor] was actually
   delivering them to your neighbor.  Even though we don't have
   children, we enjoy driving around town on Purim visiting our
   friends and dropping off the packages.  I look forward to involving
   our children when we have them, IY"H.

4) It's a *LOT* more fun (in my opinion) to make the baskets
   ourselves, and it involves us in the Mitzvah much more than if we
   just paid someone money to deliver them.

5) People get different baskets depending on how many people sent to
   them.  I know that I felt bad when I received only a small basket
   because only a few people sent to me, while other people received
   larger baskets, indicating tha they are "more popular".

6) In our shul, they do something which is (as far as I know)
   emphatically NOT halachic.  When a person is listed as the receiver
   of Mishloach Manot from only one other person, or if the receiver
   is outside the area where they deliver, the synagogue sends a card
   instead of a basket.  Someone might be able to correct me, but I
   didn't think this was legal.

   Since I don't know how many baskets will be sent to the people on
   my list, I wouldn't feel comfortable sending to them through the
   shul only to find out that they got a card instead of a basket.
   And this costs the same $7.50, no less!

   I realize this is specific to our shul, but it contributes to the
   bad taste in my mouth.

OK, off the soapbox.  IMHO, it's much more fun and rewarding to bake,
put together, and deliver our own Mishloach Manot baskets, and it
certainly makes me feel better about observing the Mitzvah.

Sam Kamens


From: <jfinger@...> (Jeff Finger)
Date: Fri, 28 Jan 94 02:56:25 -0500
Subject: Shemirat Shabbat Kehilchata

Another interesting difference between the first and the second editions
of this book is in the area of bathing one's body on Shabbat and on Yom

-- Itzhak "Jeff" Finger --

From: <schiff@...> (Dr. Jeremy Schiff)
Date: Thu, 27 Jan 94 11:18:49 +0200
Subject: Shemirat Shabbat Kehilchata

I personally am a big fan of Shemirat Shabbat Kehilchata (at least the
Hebrew version; the English version had I believe some additions to
cover some situations of less interest to Israelis and more so to

It is hard to imagine the first volume being written today.  The drift
rightwards in the orthodox world has had the effect that modern halacha
books tend to be encyclopaedic, so as not to miss anyone's point of view
on any point; this is feasible when writing a text on sefirat haomer or
the minor fasts, but it is not when you want to write a one volume work
about the prohibitions of Shabbat. Indeed, there is a substantial
difference in this regard between the first and second volumes of
Shemirat Shabbat, the latter being far more exhaustive. Also, the first
volume continues to come under criticism for making decisions in
difficult issues without full representation of all sides.

I imagine there are very few paragraphs in Shemirat Shabbat that are
universally agreed on; but having said that, I am sure that most issues
in the book are agreed on by most people. The book is also very widely
used, at least in Israel, and in particular many children learn hilchot
Shabbat from this book. The upshot of this, is that whether we like it
or not, Shemirat Shabbat has developed a status of being normative
halachic practice in the realm of hilchot Shabbat; rabbis (and others)
can give a psak from it with the same confidence as when they read
something out of the mishna brura, which (for ashkenazim at least) has
the same status of being normative. This of course in no way condemns
those who for good reason follow a practice other than that in the
Shemirat Shabbat.

There are other good books on hilchot Shabbat around, by the way;
"Kitsur Hilchot Shabbat" and "Yesodot Hilchot Shabbat" are two titles
that come to mind (sorry I can't give the authors, my copies are still
in boxes at the sochnut warehouse). But if you needa "bottom line"
answer on something fast, pull Shemirat Shabbat off the shelf.


From: <sjh@...> (Sharon Hollander)
Date: Thu, 27 Jan 94 03:00:04 EST
Subject: Shemirat Shabbat Kehilchata

 From what I have seen, the SSK (english) takes a stringent position on certain
issues of debate, while on others (possibly fewer) takes a lenient position,
but on the whole is close enough to middle of the road to be a good reference 
book.  The hebrew edition is more usefull in that regardless of what is 
stated as halocha in the upper half of the page one can read the footnotes 
where he brings anyother major psak (opinion) which differs from his (on either
side of the issue).
Sharon Hollander


From: <ak764@...> (J. Y. (Yosh) Mantinband)
Date: Sun, 30 Jan 1994 14:56:41 -0500
Subject: Shemirath Shabbat Corrections

>       From: Constance Stillinger <cas@...>

>       I would like to hear people's opinions of Neuwirth, *Shemirath
>       Shabbath*.

Several people have responded to this & I have nothing substantive to add,
other than that some people may be unaware that Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach
last year published a booklet titled "Tikunin u'Miluim (Corrections and
Amplifications) l'Shemirath Shabbath k'Hilchata" .  It contains an
introduction by Rav Neuwirth, who, as has been pointed out, is a talmid
(student) of Rav Auerbach.


End of Volume 11 Issue 53