Volume 20 Number 64
                       Produced: Mon Jul 24 23:34:42 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Driving a car on SHABBAT
         [Israel Rosenfeld]
Maris Ayin
         [Elie Rosenfeld]
Plea for respect
         [David Steinberg]
Saving a Life on Shabbat
         [Michael J Broyde]
Separate Seating at Weddings
         [Elie Rosenfeld]
Separate seating at weddings
         [Elozor Preil]
The week before the wedding
         [Micha Berger]
Wedding Minhagim
         [Nachum Hurvitz]


From: <iir@...> (Israel Rosenfeld)
Date: Sun, 23 Jul 95 09:24:38 EDT
Subject: Driving a car on SHABBAT

When I received my driver's license I sat down to learn "Driving a car
on SHABBAT" from Shmiras Shabbas Kehilchoso.

I then mentioned to Harav Pinchas Frankel (rav of Unsdorf neighborhood,
Yerushalaim) my conclusion - drive fast, don't break any laws, and drive
like I do during the week - the halochos are for professional drivers
(ambulance, etc.) who can practice "Shabbas" driving.

He said that he heard of the custom to wear a tallis while driving
because of mar'is ayin.  His explanation is that wearing a tallis tells
everyone your driving is a mitzvah and is for a reason that is "docheh



From: <er@...> (Elie Rosenfeld)
Date: 24 Jul 1995   9:53 EDT
Subject: Maris Ayin

>From: Josh Wise <jdwise@...>
>	Also, regarding the proposal for a man to remove his kippah
>before going into a McDonalds (to use the restroom for example), such an
>act could give the message that you can do whatever you want as long as
>you remove your kippah first.

I think the question is very interesting.  Depending on the circumstances,
either of two opposite approaches may be mandated.

Case 1: You need to enter a McDonalds in an area where you're not likely
to meet someone who knows you (e.g., a highway rest stop).  Here, I
would contend that the proper approach would be to not wear a kippah.
(Obviously you should remove the kippah before being seen at all, to
avoid the concern that Josh raises.)  If one were to enter wearing a
kippah, that would seemingly create a maris ayin situation, since the
general public associates kippot with religious Jews, and people may
draw the wrong conclusions about why you are there.

Case 2: Similar situation, in an area where you are likely to meet
someone you know.  In that case, I'd tend to agree with Josh that
_removing_ your kippah runs the risk of maris ayin for the reason he
gives above.

The tough question is: How does one draw the line between a case 1 and
case 2 situation?

- Elie Rosenfeld


From: David Steinberg <dave@...>
Date: Fri, 21 Jul 1995 19:57:08 +0100
Subject: Plea for respect

A recent series of posts about Wedding Minhagim disturbed me.  One
poster made a disparaging reference to Hungarian Jews (as in 'there was
orthodox life in America before the hungarians came here').  i fail to
see any redeeming value to that sentiment.

In discussing the issue of seperate seating at weddings there were a
series of discussants who expressed the sentiment that seperate seating
is groundless.  It may well be argued that in certain circles seperate
seating is an inovation (if you could call it that) -- but to impute
that the custom is without basis is wrong.  Many Chasidic traditions
(not only Hungarian) look in askance at mixed seating.  We should
respect all customs not just our own.

Another example of this are the posts regarding pictures before the
chupa.  Certainly, many do not share the custom of not seeing their
fiances immediately before the wedding.  I assume it was in this context
that R' Moshe ztz'l responded to his questioner.  This does not
necessarily imply that R' Moshe considered it a baseless minhag.

Dave Steinberg


From: Michael J Broyde <relmb@...>
Date: Fri, 21 Jul 1995 09:51:59 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Saving a Life on Shabbat

One writer states:

>  Therefore if there was ANY pikuach nefesh here (highly doubtful) it
>  was CAUSED by a chilul Shabbos in the first place.  Not exactly a
>  circumstance permitting chillul Shabbos.

One could imply from this that a Jew who causes danger to his own life 
through chillul shabbat may not be saved if such a saving causes chillul 
shabbat.  That would be a very serious mistake of halacha.  A Jew who 
violates habbat by riding a car, and gets into a car accident which 
endangers his life should be saved even if such saving involves shabbat 
desicration.  Let me give you a halacha lemase example: One sees a Jew 
driving Friday night in the dark with his car lights off, which I am 
going to assume is a life threatening act.  Ideally, one should convince 
this Jew not to desicrate the shabbat.  If one cannot do so, one may tell 
him to turn his lights on, lest he get himself killed in a car accident, 
as -- if one is going to drive on shabbat, having one's lights on is 
pikuach nephesh.

Rabbi Michael Broyde


From: <er@...> (Elie Rosenfeld)
Date: 24 Jul 1995  17:55 EDT
Subject: Separate Seating at Weddings

I would like to start off by thanking Rabbi Adlerstein for his eloquent
and passionate submission on the above subject (V20#59).  However, my
own strong feelings on the subject move me to register a respectful, yet
equally passionate, disagreement.

Rabbi Adlerstein argues that despite the tradition of mixed seating at
weddings and the many Gedolim who have permitted it, we must go beyond
the letter of the law in this area.  His feeling is that due to the
level of depravity ("the moral sewer") to which the surrounding society
has sunk, particularly in sexual matters, we need to strengthen our own
position against such influences; "dig a moat", in his words.  Separate
seating at weddings, in his opinion, should be seen in that light.

I have two fundamental concerns with this approach.  Firstly, we cannot
afford to forget that the "moral sewer" of anti-Torah that we strive to
avoid has sadly encompassed nearly 90% of our Jewish brethren.  As a
tiny minority of Orthodox Jews, it should be both our duty and our
pleasure to promote, and help spread interest in, the Halachic,
Torah-true way of life against widespread misunderstanding, scorn and
derision.  The beauty and moral clarity of our approach is that Halacha
and tradition are the cornerstones of our lifestyle and actions across
the board, whether they make things easy or difficult for us.  The joy
of Purim and the sadness of Tisha B'Av, the intimacy of our tight- knit
communities and the anguish of Agunos, all stem from the same source,
our universal Halachic process and venerable traditions.

What kind of message do we send, then, when we staunchly defend our
positions on, say, gender equality and Agunah issues based on loyalty to
Halacha and reluctance to part with past tradition, and yet are so ready
to alter those traditions when it comes to being Machmir [strict] on
issues such as separate seating?  It is difficult even for many who are
fully within the Orthodox camp to see such attitudes as anything but
hypocrisy.  Imagine the effect on those on the outside, but perhaps
looking in with some interest!  We're digging moats and raising the
drawbridges when 90% of the people are still outside the castle.

My second concern with the push for separate seating is one I've seen
little mention of here, to my great surprise.  Namely, the importance of
the Mitzvah of Hachnasas Orchim, of making ones guests happy and
comfortable.  Surely, during this period preceding Tisha B'Av, there is
no need to belabor this point, given the Talmud's story of Kamza and bar
Kamza, and how the latter being made uncomfortable at a party directly
led to the destruction of the Temple.

My wife and I have had, thank G-d, two weddings in our close families
within the past year.  In both cases, after some give-and-take among the
involved parties on seating issues, the decision was made to have _both_
separate and mixed seating.  It seems to me that this is a sensitive and
elegant way to make all of one's guests as comfortable and happy as
possible.  Except in the case of extremely homogeneous groups, I cannot
imagine that there won't be significant numbers of people at a given
Orthodox wedding who are quite unhappy with a total separate seating
arrangement - often, these days, including the parents and close
families of the Chasan and Kallah.  (In that case, as others have noted,
there are Kibud Av V'Em [honoring ones parents] issues involved as
well.)  Of course, the same concern applies to a total mixed-seating
wedding as well.

One more comment on Rabbi Adlerstein's posting.  One passage describes
separate seating at weddings as showing our contempt for "alternative
life styles".  Given the usual meaning of that phrase, the suggestion
seems frankly ironic.  Separation of husbands and wives, in favor of men
sitting with men and women with women, hardly strikes a blow _against_
that particular depravity.  I make this comment not to nitpick, but
rather to illustrate my point that in making "statements" for ourselves
and the world, we must be careful just what messages the statements are
sending.  Arrangements which serve to separate Jewish families more than
absolutely required by Halacha and tradition (e.g., in Shul) are, in my
opinion, supremely counter-productive.

- Elie Rosenfeld

From: <EMPreil@...> (Elozor Preil)
Date: Mon, 24 Jul 1995 02:10:58 -0400
Subject: Re: Separate seating at weddings

>  The Kitzur Shulchan Orach, when
>discussing the law of benching after a wedding, in 149:1 says, "We must be
>careful that men and women do not eat in the same room because if men and
>women eat in the same room, we do not say 'in Whose abode is this
>celebration'[said by the one leading benching] because there is not joy
>when the Yetzer Harah (evil inclination) rules." 

This is the reason for the custom at weddings of having all the men
gather in front of the dais for Birkas Hamazon - for _that_ is when the
b'racha of "She'hasimcha bim'ono" will be recited.


From: Micha Berger <aishdas@...>
Date: Fri, 21 Jul 1995 09:51:22 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: The week before the wedding

The reason I was told for the chasan and kallah not seeing each other
the week before the wedding was not yet quoted.

During most of the engagement, the couple have a strong motivation not
to engage in premarital sex; to avoid getting the bride pregnant, and
having a child born fewer than nine months after the wedding.

I was under the impression that we were concerned that the week before
the wedding, since the couple have no such motivation, may not wait for
the wedding.

If so, I always wondered why having a chaperone would not be sufficient,
as it is for yichud. Or, why the interval does not start with the last
period before the wedding. Well, okay, I can resolve that one. It lacks
tznius for the whole world to know that the chasan and kallah aren't
seeing each other because she is a niddah.

But, if this is the motivation for the custom, why couldn't they get
their pictures taken right before the chuppah.

On a tangent... I am reminded of R. Dovid Lifshitz zt"l's concern the
day of our wedding. He kept on asking me if I were hungry, that I need
not fast.  I reassured R. Dovid, a number of times, that I was far too
hungry to eat.  He told me, "Fasting is a minhag, simchas choson vikalah
is a d'oraisa [the happiness of groom and bride is a commandment from
the Torah]".

After yichud [the period of time that the bride and groom are alone]
R. Dovid went into the room, looked around, and sent us back in. "You
didn't finish your food!" Like having a fifth grandparent. I miss him,
and the lost opportunities.


From: <Nachum.Hurvitz@...> (Nachum Hurvitz)
Date: Mon, 24 Jul 95 12:11:28 EST
Subject: Re: Wedding Minhagim

>From: Gayle Statman <GAYLE_STATMAN@...> 
>Please forgive my ignorance, but I thought the chosson and kallah were 
>not permitted to see each other before the chuppah.  Did I 

It is my understanding that this is a minhag. However it is somewhat
ridiculous to cause excessive tircha d'tziburah (hardship on the masses)
becasue of this.  When I go to a wedding in N.Y. which is 4 hours by car
from Baltimore, I am usually sitting around till 9:30-10:30 till the
chosson/kallah show up. Since I have to get to work the next day, I say
mazel tov, jump into the car and get home at 3:00 AM.

A friend of mine spoke to R' Shraga Neuberger of Ner Israel before he
got married and he strongly encouraged him to take all the pictures
before the ceremony, for this reasen.

Another alternative which I saw was a local wedding in which the
chosson/kallah came out immediately after yichud for the first dance, so
that the people who only attended the ceremony could participate in the
simcha. The meal was then served during the picture taking. This made it
easier and more convinient for people to attend. I read about this
approach as well in an article in a very old Jewish Observer (1980's
vintage) entitled "An open letter to Chavi" or something like that. I
can get the exact article for anyone who is interested. Please contact
me directly

Nachum Hurivtz


End of Volume 20 Issue 64