Volume 26 Number 96
                      Produced: Tue Aug  5  7:25:29 1997

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Apologies/Mike Tyson and Pirkei Avot
         [Rise Goldstein]
Falshe Frumkeit
         [Jerome Gellman]
Mixed Seating at Weddings (2)
         [Esther Posen, Michael J Broyde]
Mixed seating at weddings / Geography
         [Freda B Birnbaum]
         [I. Harvey Poch]
Wedding anniversary celebrations, Wigs
         [Michael & Bonnie Rogovin]
Wedding Seating  // And customs
         [Carl Singer]


From: Rise Goldstein <GOLDSTN@...>
Date: Thu, 31 Jul 97 16:08:39 EDT
Subject: Apologies/Mike Tyson and Pirkei Avot

Regarding Mike Tyson and public and/or private apologies for having wronged
others, Akiva Miller commented:

>My point is that his *words* were the *words* which a sincere person
>*would* use, in sharp contrast to the blatantly fake apologies which we
>see all the time. Like when the apology is part of the plea-bargain, how
>sincere is that? Or when someone says publicly, "I apologize if I hurt
>anyone" -- whaddaya mean "IF"? That's not an acknowledgement of guilt!
>But Tyson's WORDS are an example for us all, even if he himself is a

>I think that shalom in the world would be increased if people would
>apologize more often, even when they don't really feel so bad about what
>they did. First of all, the offended person would be less able to hold a
>grudge if the offender apologized, and second, mouthing the words may
>eventually have an effect upon the offender. But the apology has to at
>least *sound* sincere for this to work.

IMHO these are excellent points.  However, the assertion that the
offended person would be less able to hold a grudge if the offender
apologized raises another issue in my mind: What about the offender
(call him/her Person A) who knowingly and grievously wrongs Person B, ON
THE ASSUMPTION THAT B will forgive?  Suppose A uses the words that an
offender _should_ use in apologizing to the offended, maybe even sounds
sincere as s/he mouths them, but as demonstrated by her/his behavior is
clearly in no way remorseful for the offense in question?  Is it truly
desirable for B, in this situation, to feel pressured to forgive,
especially to the extent that A's lack of remorse most likely will
predispose A to commit a similar or worse offense against B again at
some time in the future?

While I must admit to thinking about these issues in relation to a
specific case, Party B in the case has long since sought, received, and
acted upon the advice of a suitable halachic authority regarding the
particulars of that situation.  In a more general sense, though, I'm
curious about what issues are raised by the sort of situation I
describe, especially as regards the status of A's purported apology and
B's obligations, if any, to A under such circumstances.

Rise Goldstein (<GOLDSTN@...>)
New York, NY


From: Jerome Gellman <GELLMAN@...>
Date: Thu, 31 Jul 1997 17:52:15 +0200
Subject: Re: Falshe Frumkeit

Scenario 1: A yeshiva boy isn't really very frum, but he doesn't want
people to know it, so he decides to show off the frumkeit he doesn't
have by wearing his tzitzit out even though the other guys are not doing
it. His Rebbe sees it for what it is, falshe frumnkeit. As you would
expect, he ends up a cantor at a Conservative synagogue.

Scenario 2: A yeshiva boy genuinely feels the need to do something to
strengthen his religiosity and give him a shmirah yetairah as he goes
through life. He couragously wears his tzitzit out when the other guys
aren't doing it. When his Rebbe sees it he ridicules him in public for
it and the boy is humiliated. He feels spurned, and becomes discouraged.
He drifts away and ends up a cantor in a Conservative synagogue.

Which is the true scenario? How are we to know? How should we judge
other people? How are we to understand people's later acts in light of
their earlier acts?

			Yehuda Gellman


From: Esther Posen <eposen@...>
Date: Thu, 31 Jul 1997 17:32:13 -0400
Subject: RE: Mixed Seating at Weddings

The vast majority of orthodox jews (including chasidim) that advocate
separate seating at weddings are not objecting to sitting with their own
spouse.  They are objecting to sitting with the spouses of other people.

Also, does it even ever occur to anybody out there that some people keep
chumras because they are actually g-d fearing and believe that they will
earn merit in the world to come.

Esther Posen

From: Michael J Broyde <mbroyde@...>
Date: Sun, 3 Aug 1997 17:09:38 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Mixed Seating at Weddings

An anonymous writer recently recounted an incident between himself
and Rav Soloveitchik in which the Rav permitted mixed seating at a
wedding.  He then continued:
> I don't know if the Rav would have answered differently were the
> question asked by someone else. In any case, I feel strongly that,
> although I personally believe [l'anyias daati] that mixed seating --
> with a mechizah between the men and women's side of the "dance floor" to
> separate the dancing -- is Halachically permissible, people should not
> rely on this story for p'sak Halacha; and I respectfuly request that
> anyone who repeats the story please mention that caveat.

I feel that this type of anonymous post is improper, for two different

1] The recounting of an independent between a person and a well known,
deceased, rabbi is as valuable as the reputation of the one who recounts
it.  We are deprived on knowing that information when a person posts
anonymously.  The story becomes worthless, as we have absolutely no way of
determining accuracy or context.

2] The writer then continues to tell us when he/she thinks the halacha is. 
This is even more confounding to me, as how am I to evaluate the worth of
this person's opinion without knowing a thing about him or her? One's view
of what the halacha is should come with one's name attached. 

Anonymous posts should be limited to requests for help or recounting of
embarrassing information where one needs help interperting it.

Questions can be anonymous; answers should not be. 

Michael Broyde
(For those of you who care, I will be on leave from Emory
starting this week, and will be in New York as the Director of the Beth
Din of America, the beit din founded by the RCA, starting next week.  I
will keep my current email account and can be reached at the Beth Din
office at 212 807-9042.  Channah, I, and the kids will be living in


From: Freda B Birnbaum <fbb6@...>
Date: Sun, 3 Aug 1997 10:24:10 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Mixed seating at weddings / Geography

In V26 #91, Joseph Geretz wrote:

> How were those individuals who were *not* family members seated? Were
> they seated mixed or separately? 
> This question may be of great significance today, where our communities
> are in general much more widely distributed than they were in the days
> of the Chofetz Chaim zt'l, due to the modern forms of transportation. In
> the Chofetz Chaim's day, families tended to cluster into close
> communities as it was rare to travel far beyond one's village or town.
> Hence a wedding was more likely to consist of a large concentration of
> close families.  Nowadays, because of the way we all move around, in
> search of parnassa, Kollel, College, etc. (listed in no particular order
> :) ) a person's circle of friends and acquaintances are likely to be
> non-family members.  Therefore, it is quite possible that our weddings
> nowadays consist of a lower concentration of family members and a higher
> concentration of strangers than they did in the days of the Chofetz
> Chaim zt'l. 

A somewhat related incident comes to mind.  I recall a wedding where the
separate seating was to the degree that there were separate entrances
for men and for women to go into the hall.  This caused a bit of
consternation when an older gentleman whose eyesight was failing needed
the assistance of his wife to get around.  The more serious concern by
the gentleman was, his sister and her family had come from overseas for
the wedding, he doesn't get much chance to see that part of the family,
and he was not a happy camper at being separated from family for the
duration of the meal.  He did manage to talk to his sister during the

I suppose there's no way to please all the parties, all of the time...

Freda Birnbaum, <fbb6@...>
"Call on God, but row away from the rocks"


From: I. Harvey Poch <af945@...>
Date: Mon, 4 Aug 1997 11:39:26 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: T N Z B H

Many thanks to Al Silberman for setting me straight - and for doing so
privately, in true halachic fashion.

The source for the phrase is Shmuel A 25:29 - " ... vehoyeso NEFESH
adoni tzeruroh bitzeror hachayim ...". There is no other use of the word
"tzeruroh" in Tanach.

Using the Bar-Ilan Judaic Library, I found only one reference to
"Neshomoh" together with tzeruroh - a midrash in Bereshis Rabboh. This
certainly does not hold a candle to a direct quote from Tanach.

However, the Otzar Dinim uMinhagim - which agrees that this posuk is the
source of the letters on matzeivos - also says that in the old
cemeteries of Prague and Krakow there are matzeivos which have the
letters arranged as N B H T Z, with the N beginning the word NISHMOSO.

I am now confused as to why the Kel Molei Rachamim uses the word NISHMOSO 
(or NISHMOSOH), but am quite willing to live with it. Like I said in the 
first note - I really didn't think it was a matter of REAL controversy!

I. Harvey Poch  (:-)>


From: Michael & Bonnie Rogovin <rogovin@...>
Date: Thu, 31 Jul 1997 22:54:47 +0000
Subject: Re: Wedding anniversary celebrations, Wigs

> Eleanor Pearlman  wrote:
> One of my dearest friend's children are planning a surprise 25th
> anniversary party for their parents and would like to know if there
> are any Jewish customs around that occasion.

For my parents 25th, I purchased an illustrated Ketubah by having the
artist copy the information from their plain standard form.  The
calligrapher copied the signatures as well.  Since they are obviously
not actual signatures, it is clearly not the original.  Since my parents
did not have the custom of having a ketubah as artwork, they were
delighted and framed it (as my wife and I do for hers).  I know of
others who gave this gift as well and can recommend artists if you like.

> Benjamin Waxman  wrote:
> Subject: Wigs
> There was a discussion a few months ago regarding hair covering.  I
> have a different question: Does anyone know sources regarding the
> permissibility of a woman wearing a wig in place of a hat/scarf?  I
> know that there are poskim who are dead set against it (e.g. Rav
> Ovadia).  But Minhag Yisrael is that wigs are permitted (lehatchila).
> Can anyone elucidate?

While I am not personally familiar with the source, Rav Moshe Feinstein
did write a Teshuva re a man wearing a toupee rather than a yarmulke. 
My understanding wis that he clearly did not like the idea and struggled
to approve of it and ok'd it reluctantly.  His reluctance was, I am told
by those who studied the response, due to the fact that his reasoning
against it would also apply to sheitels but that were he to rule
sheitels assur, his community would not follow him.

On a personal note, I have never understood the concept of sheitels.
The big sellers now are designed to make one attractive.  While I don't
think Chazal intended that women (or men) be purposefully ugly, the
photos I have seen in ads seem designed to be almost "sexy," which can
hardly be Chazal's goal either.  In the middle ages, Gentile authorities
forced Jewish women to shave their heads, lest they be attractive to
non-Jewish men.  This custom was then maintained by some Jewish
communities. If there is a connection, it certainly would suggest that
the minhag is of dubious origin and should be rethought (not that it
will be, of course).

Michael Rogovin


From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
Date: Fri, 1 Aug 97 18:50:36 UT
Subject: Wedding Seating  // And customs

One note from the comments was that families sat together -- weddings
were a family simcha -- now with the high cost of lavish weddings,
people are most reluctant to invite entire families.  I recall my mother
telling of a (rich) aunt who sent material to my grandmother so that she
could sew dresses for my mother and her sisters that they might attend a
wedding "in style."

Another note, it was / is customary to invite the entire community for
the Chupah.  I recall when Rabbi Mosher Metzger was Principal of a local
day school in Edison, he posted the invitation on the Shule Bulletin
Board -- in essence inviting the community at large.  I recall also
attending the wedding of one of Rabbi Elya Svei's daughters.  He had a
fully set, but empty table, available so that any (poor?) people who
came to collect Tzedukah could sit and have a menchlich meal.

Finally, I was at a Skverer Chasseneh recently.  Sniyous wasn't an issue
in that the men and women ate in separate rooms (different floors)
People at my table actually used their cell phones to call their spouses
-- My seven year old also became messenger -- relaying those always
important question (shall we bench and leave or stay for dessert....)

 (1) I've heard many discussions on benching -- what is real impact of
wedding dragging on so long that many (1/2?) have left before benching.
I'm not asking re: the obligation to bench (w/ mezumin at table, etc.)
but re: obligation as host to not put this potential obstacle in our

(2) At the Skverer Wedding, the fathers broke the Tenoyim plate - not
the mothers (since the kabbolos punim & Chusin's tish were in different
buildings, this may have just been a practical solution) but does anyone
have insight into the custom?

(3) Skever (again) broke the glass before not after the wedding

(4) Kallah, both mothers AND both fathers went around the Chusen 7 times
-- any insight into this customer?

P.S. It was a beautiful simcha, everyone there was most friendly and
gracious -- even thought I clearly was not a member of their community.


End of Volume 26 Issue 96