Volume 30 Number 08
                 Produced: Fri Nov 12  6:18:40 US/Eastern 1999

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Mimetic tradition (4)
         [David Deutsch, Jordan, David Zilberberg, Gershon Dubin]
Negiah in the University world
         [Chaim Shapiro]
Schindler's List
         [Alan Rubin]
Second day yom tov
         [David Ziants]
Value of the Ketubah
         [Mike Gerver]
Violence, Movies and Children
         [Janet Rosenbaum]
Yemenite Zimun
         [David Ziants]


From: David Deutsch <dsd3543@...>
Date: Thu, 11 Nov 1999 12:05:59 -0000
Subject: RE: Mimetic tradition

Ellen Krischer wrote concerning the 'vort'

>The fact that Perets can say such a party "is as binding as a written
>agreement" goes directly to my contention that we are inventing

An oral agreement is just as binding halachically as a written
agreement, particularly where a 'kinyan' is made as is generally the
case at a 'vort'.  This is hardly inventing halacha as the sources for
thus are quire explicit in Kiddushin, Bava Basra amongst others.

From: Jordan <TROMBAEDU@...>
Date: Thu, 11 Nov 1999 11:38:51 EST
Subject: Re: Mimetic tradition

The tradition of the "vort" came out of the celebration over signing the
Tannaim. Keeping in mind, of course, that at the wedding Tannaim are
unnecessary. Indeed, if Ms. Krischer had known me then, she would have
known there were none at my wedding.


From: David Zilberberg <ZilbeDa@...>
Date: Thu, 11 Nov 1999 09:45:17 -0500
Subject: RE: Mimetic tradition

<<Yes, that refers to Kiddushin, which is accomplished <<nowadays under the 
<<Chupah, with the giving of a ring.>>

It does not refer to kiddushin.  If it did the phrase "man dimikadesh
b'lo shiduchei" would mean "one who is mikadesh without kiddushin.  The
gemara was obviously refering to something before the kiddushin.


From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Thu, 11 Nov 1999 13:44:30 -0500
Subject: Mimetic tradition

> << I am not sure what the writer means by "masquerading as halacha". A
>  formal enagagement is of course a requirement before marriage dating
>  back at least to the time of gmoro, where we are told 'Rav mangid aman
>  dimekadesh blo shidukhei' Rav punished with lashes anyone who took a
>  wife without previously being engaged to her.  >>
> Yes, that refers to Kiddushin, which is accomplished nowadays under the
> Chupah, with the giving of a ring.>>

	Kiddushin is indeed referred to in the Gemara mentioned.  

	The Gemara says that Rav lashed someone who **gave Kiddushin**
(check the wording) i.e. gave a ring or reasonable facsimile thereof,
without having had "shiduchim" previously.

	The shiduchim referenced is an agreement to marry; i.e. tnaim,
which needs to precede Kiddushin either as was done in the time of the
Gemara, a year prior to full marriage i.e. chupa, or together with chupa
as we do it now.  Either way, tnaim is first (are first?)



From: Chaim Shapiro <Dagoobster@...>
Date: Thu, 11 Nov 1999 16:18:34 EST
Subject: Negiah in the University world

       Handshaking and the like are, as Gittele Rapport points out, a
social courtesy in todays world, and is far removed from Derech Chibah.
However, I must wonder about the Yeshivah boy who is in his first
semester of College who is forced to shake hands with a study partner
for the very first time.  Is he completly devoid of any Chibah in his
handshake, in what might be the first time he has ever touched a female?
       I would agree that the professional who has been shaking hands
since he entered his field, feels nothing at an ordinary handshake, but,
is that learned?  Did he feel something the first say 20 times only to
grow so accustomed that he has rid himself of all sexual feeling
        The diffrence is of importance.  It is my understanding that an
Averiah which one has become accustomed to till the extent that there is
no feeling left is still as sinful as the very first chibah filled time!
        And to be sure, College students who only experince handshakes
are in luck!  In my college experinces, I have had a 25 year old Prof
walk around and kiss all of the males in her class.  I have also had
Professors hug me, and have even had Coeds literally drape themselves
over my shoulder.
        As foriegn as this may sound, it is very common in the college
world, and it is easy to imagine a girl not even thinking that this
religous boy in her class would object to having her all over him.  Some
may even consider it a conquest issue!
        The college world is one of moral relativism.  Anything goes is
the motto, and believe me it is more than a motto!
 Chaim Shapiro


From: Alan Rubin <arubin@...>
Date: Thu, 11 Nov 1999 20:46 +0000 (GMT Standard Time)
Subject: Re: Schindler's List

Moshe Nugiel wrote
> "Schindler's List" is a good example.  I saw it and I thought it was
> absolutely inappropriate for high-schoolers, or for adults for that
> matter.  Let us grant that the scenes do not arouse the prurient
> interest of the viewer (which is probably untrue for the 
> high-schooler.)
> ...
> There are many books and movies which offer "powerful portrayals of certain
> elements of the Holocaust" without the gratuitous abuse and negative
> role modeling.

Is it possible to portray anything truly about the Holocaust without 
including 'gratuitous abuse'?

Alan Rubin     <arubin@...>


From: David Ziants <davidz@...>
Date: Thu, 11 Nov 1999 16:29:59 +0200
Subject: Re: Second day yom tov

reuven <millerr@...> states:
> It seems that the accepted Halacha(I don't have the sources in front of
> me) is that an Israeli on a short visit to the USA is prohibited from
> all melacha even d'rabbanon even in private
> [I'm not so sure this is such an accepted Halacha. My understanding is
> that melacha can be done but only in private. Mod.]

I was once referred by an Ashkenazi Rosh Yeshiva to HaRav Mordechai
Eliyahu with this same question. (approx. 18 years ago.)  The pesak I
received then was, like the Mod. comment, that melacha can only be done
in private, and this is based on the ruling of the Taz (I'm afraid I
don't have the exact source).

It seems, though, that other poskim hold other views ranging from
allowing the Israeli to do melacha, even in public, but only if residing
in a place where there is no Jewish community, upto not allowing melacha
at all, even in private. For those who hold that melacha is allowed in
"private", the definition of "private" has been given different
interpretations (maybe someone can enlighten us on the sources),
e.g. does this include when you are with your chutz la'aretz family?
Does this include when you are with other Israelis? (My pasak said "no"
in this case because of "lo tigod'du".)

> Why is it different then any ma'ris aiyen which permits doing a Rabbanan
> privately?

The rationale for the pasak I received was "lo tifrosh min hatzibur" -
"don't set yourself aside from the community". This obviously doesn't
apply if there is no one else around. Maret ha'ayin doesn't seem to be a
factor here. It seems that those poskim who disallow melacha at all even
in private, perhaps do treat this as maret ha'ayin (as maret hayin is
forbidden even in the "inner rooms" of a house), but only as a secondary
reason to the "lo tifrosh" in order to be machmir for this situation,
but not to be maikel.

David Ziants

Ma'aleh Adumim, Israel


From: Mike Gerver <MJGerver@...>
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 1999 01:27:33 EST
Subject: Value of the Ketubah

Larry Rabinovich, in v30n05, writes

> professor of Jewish Law, suggested that the true value of the Ketubbah
>  was $20,000. (Some YU rabbeim have suggested this as well). The speaker,
>  an old timer, whose name i forget, said "oh no, it's much less than
>  that." During a break i calculated, based on the value of silver that
>  appeared in that morning's Times that the amount was about $150.

The reason for the discrepancy is that the value of silver was far
greater, relative to both wages and the cost of living, in ancient times
than it is now.  The main reason for this was the discovery, in the New
World, of much greater deposits of silver than are found in the Old
World, starting in Latin America in the 1500s, and continuing with the
Comstock lode in Nevada in the 1860s.  John K. Galbraith, in his book
"Money", explains that this led to inflation in Europe in the 1600s
(since money was defined in terms of silver), which led to lower real
wages (since wages lagged behind prices), which led to economic growth
(since employers, paying lower wages, could plow more of their business
income back into their business).

Interestingly, the ratio of the cost of a loaf of bread to prevailing
wages for unskilled labor is almost the same now as it was in the time
of the gemara.  I suppose that is because most of the cost of a loaf of
bread is the cost of the labor of making it, which still takes about the
same amount of time now as it did then. An unskilled worker still has to
work for about half an hour to earn enough to buy a loaf of bread. In
terms of either the cost of bread, or wages for unskilled labor, an
ounce of silver at the time of the gemara would have cost about $200,
and an ounce of gold about $2000.

It seems to me that it would be more sensible to base the value of a
ketubah on these figures, rather than on the actual cost of silver

Mike Gerver


From: Janet Rosenbaum <jerosenb@...>
Date: Thu, 11 Nov 1999 08:08:51 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Violence, Movies and Children

Moshe Nugiel <friars@...>
> The villain sadistically beats his house-maid.  
> Such filth should never be allowed to enter the
> consciousness of our children.  The potential good, viz., learning about
> how awful was the Holocaust, is certainly outweighed by the potential
> harm of introducing into our children's awareness deviant behavior
> patterns.  

the holocaust was the nadir of deviant behaviour patterns.  

the only difference you can draw between a movie portraying the
holocaust and a movie portraying an isolated instance of violence is
that the holocaust was an assault by external elements, while an
isolated instance of violence can occur within the jewish community.

if what you want to teach your children is that the only danger lies
outside, you've chosen the perfect means.

personally, i don't think children who are below high school age should
see any specific acts of violence, if possible.  when they are old
enough to see violence, they can see violence, and e.g. domestic abuse
is a phenomenon they should be as aware of as the holocaust.

ideally, people should not see any violence at all, ever.  seeing any
violence is a concession to the fact that the world we live in is
imperfect and can sometimes be violent, and thus children should learn
this reality.

once you compromise and show them the holocaust, the idea that you would
keep them naive of e.g. domestic violence seems silly.



From: David Ziants <davidz@...>
Date: Thu, 11 Nov 1999 18:43:00 +0200
Subject: Yemenite Zimun

According to the Rambam, Ahava-Hilchot Berachot 5:7, two grown
(bar-mitzva) men are allowed to include a seven or eight year old to a
zimun, provided he is aware to whom we say b'rachot. "Katan ha'yode'a
l'mi m'var'chin, mezamnin alav af al pi sh'hu k'ben sheva oh k'ben

Most rishonim do not hold by this, and most people would not follow
this.  Those Taimanim (Yemenites), that come from communities that
follow the Rambam, are prepared to include a minor to zimun.

[A general side note: Actually it was explained to me that they followed
directly according to the conclusions of the G'mara, and when the
communities received the first manuscripts of the Rambam - no printing
in those days - their traditions happened to coincide most of the time
with this, and when it didn't they would ignore the Rambam in preference
to their mesora.]

Assuming the following ate (bread) together in this Yemenite household:
- the Yemenite ba'al habayit
- one Ashkenazi male guest
- the ba'al habayit's 8 year old son
and no others who qualify for zimun according to the Rambam.

Here are my questions:

a) Would the guest be allowed to be part of this Zimun?

b) If the guest does make this zimun, is he himself yotzeh "birkat
hazimun", or only the others? - Are there ramifications here to the
answer to a) .

c) Would the guest be allowed to lead this Zimun (in his own nusach/in
their nusach) if offered by the ba'al habayit (l'chatchilla/so as not to

It should be noted that the essence of "birkat hazimun" according to
everyone is:
leader: "(birshut rabotai -) nevarech she'achalnu mishelo"
others: "baruch (elokainu) she'achalnu mishelo, uv'tuvo chayinu"
leader: "baruch (elokainu) she'achalnu mishelo, uv'tuvo chayinu"

[Zimun finishes at this point according to the M'chaber (Shulchan Aruch,
Orech Chayim, Hilchot B'rchaot 200:2), but according to the Rema there,
continues till "hazan et hakol", the end of the first beracha - which is
why the leader should say this out aloud].

Our introduction is:
leader: "rabotai nevarech" 
others: "y'hi shem hashem nevarech mey'ata v'ad olam"

The Yemenites' introduction goes something like:
leader: "berich hu"
others: "nevarech"
leader: "birshut..."

Even though the first part is just an introduction, and is not part of
birkat hazimun proper - for most nuscha'ot this does contain a pasuk
with shem HaShem (G-d's name). Are there any ramifications to my
questions here, in so far as the Taimanim don't use shem HaShem in the

This is not a hypothetical question.
I did fall into this situation very recently. I did not accept the
ba'al habayit's offer to let me lead in my own nusach (and explained
why), but did agree to be part of the zimun, so as not to offend. This
is a question I ought to bring to a Rav (in case I ever fall in
this situation again), but would be interested to hear what people on
this list have to say.

David Ziants
Ma'aleh Adumim, Israel


End of Volume 30 Issue 8