Volume 21 Number 66
                       Produced: Fri Oct 13  6:23:20 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Arba minim - purchasing
         [Shmuel Himelstein]
Bein Hashmashos
         [Ari Shapiro]
Candle lighting, Tosephes Shabbos, and Bein Hashmashos
         [Elie Rosenfeld]
Hachnasat Orhim
         [Mark Steiner]
Halachic Times
         [Martin Friederwitzer]
MIT Sukkah (2)
         [Hillel E. Markowitz, Mike Gerver]
         [Michael E. Beer]
Unusual hechsherim
         [Shmuel Himelstein]


From: Shmuel Himelstein <himelstein@...>
Date: Thu, 12 Oct 1995 02:51:46 GMT
Subject: Arba minim - purchasing

In Israel, many people buy the Four Species individually, from different
sources. Often, the Aravot (willow branches) are sold by
children. Logically, a) as one is required to OWN the Four Species on
the first day of Sukkot (as opposed to the other days, when one can use
a borrowed set), and b) as a minor under Bar Mitzvah age cannot legally
sell anything to anyone else (he doesn't have the power to transfer
ownership from himself to someone else), couldn't Aravot bought from a
minor be lacking the "shelachem" ("belonging to you") element? Or could
it be that we assume (a very dangerous word, here), that the minor is
merely carrying out the sale on behalf of an adult, and it is the adult
who entrusted him with selling the Aravot that is the one who transfers

A halachic discussion on this would be most appreciated.

           Shmuel Himelstein
22 Shear Yashuv Street, Jerusalem 97280, Israel
    Phone: 972-2-864712: Fax: 972-2-862041
   EMail address: <himelstein@...>


From: <m-as4153@...> (Ari Shapiro)
Date: Tue, 10 Oct 95 22:00:45 EDT
Subject: Bein Hashmashos

<7.      The majority follows the GRA's view for the end of Shabbos, adding
<however, seasonal considerations. The latest ZMAN used is based on the
<Rabbeinu TAM together with seasonal considerations. This time comes to 90

This is incorrect. 90 minutes is the time in Jerusalem at the
equinox. In New York adjusted seasonally the times come out to 100
minutes in Nisan 110 in the winter and 144 in the summer. These times
are taken from Rabbi Willig's Sefer Am Mordechai where he has an
excellent article on this topic. One of the points he makes is that 72
minutes is like no one because according to R' Tam a mil is not 18
minutes but either 22.5 or 24 (see the article for his many proofs) . If
you want more details either look at the sefer or contact me and I will
post an indepth article based on Rabbi Willig's position in his sefer.

Ari Shapiro


From: <er@...> (Elie Rosenfeld)
Date: 11 Oct 1995  11:49 EDT
Subject: Candle lighting, Tosephes Shabbos, and Bein Hashmashos

In many of the postings on the length of Bein Hashmashos, three
different subjects are apparently being mixed together:

1) Lighting candles "18" minutes before Shabbos
2) Bein Hashmashos
3) Tosephes Shabbos

Let me take these one at a time:

1) In most of the world, Shabbos candles are customarily lit 18 minutes
before sunset, (there are earlier customs in various cities in Israel).
The reason for the 18 minute limit is not clearly stated.  My father
(Dr. Azriel Rosenfeld), who believes he heard this from the Rav Z'T'L,
attributes the 18 minutes to the Gemara of "Shesh Tikeos" [six shofar
soundings] which is in tractate Shabbos (around daf 30).  The gemara
says that the custom on Friday is that the shofar is sounded, then the
blower waits "the amount of time it takes to roast a small fish" [a time
limit which is given as 18 minutes in Yoreh Deah], and then blows again
and Shabbos begins.  (Note: My father's explanation is quoted in Leo
Levi's book on halachic times, in a footnote).

2) Bein Hashmashos: There is a question as to when the halachic day
begins and ends, as to exactly what time of the day the dividing line
between one day and another falls.  Since we don't know, we keep Shabbos
starting at the earliest possible such time (sunset) and end it at the
latest possible such time, according to the custom of our community or
family.  There are many views of the latest possible time given by
various authorities, as our recent discussion has shown.  (However, the
discussion still leaves me confused as to where the prevalent "42
minute" minhag comes from; a minhag which many, if not most Orthodox
communities seem to hold.  It is certainly the nearly universal time
printed on calendars!)

3) Both the 18 minutes for candle-lighting and bein hashmashos have
nothing whatsoever to do with "tosephes Shabbos", the obligation to
start Shabbos a little "early" and end it a little "late".  There is no
lower limit for tosephes Shabbos; a millisecond before sunset suffices.
The 18 minutes for candle lighting is emphatically _not_ binding as the
start of Shabbos on anyone but the one lighting candles her/himself.* In
fact, in most Jewish communities, Mincha on Friday afternoon is started
fewer than 18 minutes before sunset, with people still driving to shul,
etc.  I think I can say with confidence that I personally have never
started Shabbos even close to 18 minutes early, and, in fact, have often
pushed the millisecond lower limit for tosephes Shabbos!

* In fact, even this is not necessarily the case; on erev Yom Kippur, we
are instructed to light candles but have in mind *not* to begin the
holiday with that act, so that we can then drive to shul for Kol Nidre.

Elie Rosenfeld


From: Mark Steiner <MARKSA@...>
Date: Wed,  11 Oct 95 11:41 +0200
Subject: Hachnasat Orhim

     I would like to raise a very sensitive issue.  In recent years, the
custom of spending at least a year studying Torah in Israel has become
almost universal among Orthodox Jewish high school graduates, both boys
and girls.  An astonishing number of yeshivot and seminaries, catering
to students across the spectrum of Orthodox belief and observance, have
mushroomed.  Most of these institutions are located in or around
     In order to save money (for I can't think of any other good
reason), the institutions refuse to provide Shabbat and Yom Tov meals
for the students, thus forcing them to seek hospitality among Jerusalem
families.  Students and parents are told in advance that, although the
school year begins before Rosh Hashana, the students themselves must
seek accomodation for the chagim (holidays).  Students call up families
they do not know, or ask whether they can bring "friends" along when
they visit families they know.  Families, especially in neighborhoods
like Har Nof, are often inundated with "guests," and are basically put
in the position of defraying the costs of the year in Israel of families
far more wealthy than they.
     The parents of the "guests" are often unaware (or don't want to
know) where their kids are for Yom Tov.  They are therefore exempt from
the most elementary hakarat hatov (gratitude).  I know of a case in
which a family hosted students the entire Yom Tov of Pesach, including
the seder plus an extra Yom Tov Sheni seder, without ever hearing a word
of thanks from the parents of these kids.  It is very common for parents
to visit their children in Israel during the winter vacation.  It
apparently has become standard (at least in the more "comfortable"
circles) to invite the kids plus all their classmates to hotels.  I have
never heard of a case in which any of the surrogate parents were invited
for dinners of this type.  This kind of attitude can filter down to the
kids as well.  I have heard of cases in which "guests" have refused to
pitch in and help wash dishes etc., claiming that they don't do this
kind of housework at home.  We once were called on Friday by a student
at one of the seminaries, and we of course invited her (and her friends)
over for Friday night dinner.  During the meal, she remarked, "I would
never have the nerve to call anybody on Friday in New York."  The
inescapable conclusion is, that the hosting families (who are almost
never contacted in advance by the institutions) are regarded as
extensions of the institutions, already included in the tuition.  If so,
the institutions ought to pay the Israeli hosts for their contribution
to the "Israel experience" of their students.  Better yet, the
institutions ought to provide their own Shabbat and Yom Tov experience,
or at least begin classes after Sukkot.

Mark Steiner


From: <martin.friederwitzer@...> (Martin Friederwitzer)
Date: Fri, 6 Oct 95 11:45:37 EST
Subject: Halachic Times

Mike Singer asks about the different Shitos (opinions) regarding
Halachic Times. It just so happens that Halacha Yomis (plug :-)) is
about to begin learning Siman 261 "The Time for Kindling Shabbos Lights"
There the time of Sunset, Bain Hashmoshas (the time between sunset and
nightfall) and nightfall are discussed.

 In Siman Koton 20 cites the Rabbeinu Tam's opinion that there are two
sunsets. First the sun leaves our view and sets. This is called the
beginning of sunset and lasts for 58 1/2 minutes which is according to
the Rabbeinu Tam still daylight. After 58 1/2 minutes a second sunset
occurs, when all light in the sky disappears. This is called the end of
sunset, about 13 1/2 minutes. Add 58 1/2 and you get 72 minutes.

In Siman Koton 23 he explains the Gra's opinion. His opinion is that
Sunset begins immediately at the beginning of Sunset (when the sun
cannot be seen) and extends for 3/4 mil which is about 13 1/2
minutes. (Times are from the Hebrew/English Mishna Brura Published by

Plag Hamincha is discussed in Siman Koton 25. Plag Hamincha is either 1
1/4 hours before sunset or 1 1/4 before the appearance of three
stars. One cannot be accept Shabbos before Plag Hamincha. This is
important to note during the summer months when many accept Shabbos
early that the women should not be M'kabel (accept) Shabbos before the
Plag. In fact it is best to Daven Mincha before the Plag and be M'kabel
Shabbos after the Plag. One can daven Mincha until Sunset. I hope this
helped and if anyone is interested in a Halach Yomit schedule please E
Mail me your snail mail address. Chag Somayach. 

Moishe Friederwitzer


From: Hillel E. Markowitz <hem@...>
Date: Sun, 08 Oct 1995 00:58:18 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: MIT Sukkah

On Fri, 6 Oct 1995, Mike Gerver wrote:
> This question has come up in my mind every year for the past few years,
> but I never think of asking it until it is too late to do any good.  A
> few years ago, MIT Hillel replaced their old sukkah, which used tarps
> for the sides, with a fancy new sukkah, in which the sides are made of
> some kind of lattice work. I always thought that a sukkah had to have
> solid walls, or at least that the safe thing to do was to make the walls
> solid, so I wondered whether this one was kosher. When I asked the

If the lattice work is of wood, and the lattice pieces are no more than
9 inches apart and the whole lattice is at least 40 inches high, the
succa is kosher.

Wooden slats are actually better than tarps as long as the lattice slats
are 3 tefachim (about 9 inches) or less apart.  The problem with tarp is
that it can blow in the wind which could make the succa not kosher.
Halachickally, walls are treated as "solid" as long as the components
are within three tefachim.  The walls of a succa only have to be ten
tefachim (about 40 inches) high.  In fact, halachic walls can be fishing
line stretched horizontally between the poles of the frame starting at
ground level, 9 inches (vertically) apart up to a height of 40 inches.

I usually set up the string even though the canvas on my succa is taut
in case it works loose.

Note that the distance apart uses the minimum estimate for a tefach (3
inches) while the total height uses the maximum estimate (4 inches).

|  Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz |     Im ain ani li, mi li?      |
|   <H.E.Markowitz@...>   |   V'ahavta L'raiecha kamocha   |

From: <GERVER@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Fri, 13 Oct 1995 2:15:23 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: MIT Sukkah

I want to thank the many people who replied to my posting in v21n62. I
received no fewer than 16 replies, which I think is more than I have
received for any of my many postings over the years, including such
popular ones as The Rarest Shmoneh Esreh, Hidden Codes in the Torah,
Mikvaot on Mars (for you long time subscribers), etc. Everyone who
replied agrees that the MIT Sukkah is kosher. Leah Gordon told me that
Shifra Teitz (sister of MJer Rav Eliyahu Teitz) had gone over the plans
with an Orthodox rabbi, and Shifra told me that it was her father
Rabbi Elazar M. Teitz who had approved the plans.

I'd like to clear up a couple of points:

1) I did not mean in any way to imply that Rabbi Dan Shevitz, the MIT
Hillel rabbi at the time the sukkah was built, was not trustworthy
because he is a conservative rabbi. Knowing Rabbi Shevitz, I was quite
sure that he would have made sure the plans were checked by an Orthodox
rabbi who was acceptable to the Orthodox community at MIT. In fact, I
was certain enough of this that I did eat in the sukkah for the past
few years, in spite of the fact that I wondered about the walls. But
since Rabbi Shevitz was not still here for me to ask myself, I felt
slightly guilty about doing this, which is why I finally posted my

2) Most of the replies to my posting pointed out the walls would be
considered solid, halachically, if there were no gaps in them greater
than three tefachim, due to the principle of "lavud." I was aware of
"lavud", of course, but vaguely remembered learning that the rules for
a sukkah were stricter than for an eruv. I didn't see anything like
that in a cursory glance over Perek 630 of the Shulkhan Arukh, so I'm
not sure now what I was thinking of, maybe someone out there can tell me?

Mike Gerver, <gerver@...>


From: <MEBESQ@...> (Michael E. Beer)
Date: Fri, 6 Oct 1995 08:48:13 -0400
Subject: Thanksgiving

I recently had the chance to read my old high school friend Michael
Broyde's article in Journal or Halacha and Contemp. Society, regarding
the Halachic (Jewish law) opinion on the celebration of the American
holiday of Thangsgiving.  Michael provides at leat 3 differing points of
view.  If anyone else has read it, please comment with your opinions of
the bottomline on these halachic points of view.  Also if Michael could
comment on what his own "bottomline" is on the topic it might inject
some more insight.

Michael E. Beer


From: Shmuel Himelstein <himelstein@...>
Date: Sat, 7 Oct 1995 17:01:48 GMT
Subject: Unusual hechsherim

After the spate of unusual blessings, I suppose its the turn of unusual
rabbinic endorsements.

One I noticed in Israel is for S'chach, made of thin wooden planks tied
with string, which rolls up like a mat. Some of these carry the rabbinic
endorsement (complete with seal) of various rabbis.

In case anyone wonders why this is necessary, the point is that anything
used as a utensil may not be used as S'chach, and thus a standard woven
mat cannot be used. This endorsement indicates that this matting was
made specifically not as a utensil but as S'chach, and is thus

           Shmuel Himelstein
22 Shear Yashuv Street, Jerusalem 97280, Israel
    Phone: 972-2-864712: Fax: 972-2-862041
   EMail address: <himelstein@...>


End of Volume 21 Issue 66