Volume 32 Number 41
                 Produced: Sun Jun  4  8:57:12 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Heter Michirah
         [Ira Hartman]
Keys on Shabbos
         [Carl Singer]
Kiddush for a daughter as a segula for a good shiduch
         [Stuart Wise]
Necessity of Yetser Ha-Ra
         [Frank Silbermann]
Pre-Chuppah Wedding Pictures
         [Ephraim Tabory]
Prenuptial Agreement
         [Eli Turkel]
Shabbot Conferences
         [Carl Singer]
Tikun Sofrim
         [Chaim Mateh]
Tzitzit and aliya
         [David and Toby Curwin]


From: Ira Hartman <ihartman@...>
Date: Thu, 01 Jun 2000 17:12:19 +0200
Subject: Heter Michirah

Joshua Hosseinof  wrote concerning the Heter Michra durring Shmita
> But, when I am a consumer in the
> supermarket in Israel, I do not have a big loss if I have to pay
> slightly more for produce that did not come from the heter mechirah.

That attitude negates Kol yisrael Arevim Zeh Laze. If you opt to buy
more expensive Arab grown produce you are forcing a Jew to sell his
produce at a lower price to entice you to buy his products. This will
make the price difference greater. Maybe on your own personal level you
will not pay that much but on a national level there is a very big
difference. There is a very strong lack of National view in your
letter. I assume it wasn't intended but we Jews have for many years and
Halachot seen the individuals as a part of the whole also, IE Zimum of
three, Minyan of ten Zimun of 1000 etc.

Ira Hartman


From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
Date: Thu, 1 Jun 2000 08:55:18 EDT
Subject: Re: Keys on Shabbos

Some thoughts

1 - growing up in Cleveland, I don't recall locking our back door when
we went to shule -- who needed keys?  Was it that long ago and that far

2 - in our past few houses we've installed a non-electic digital
(pushbutton) door lock.  This serves a second purpose as a child of say
age 9, can be taught to use it and not give out the combination -- which
is somewhat riskier than giving them a key and hoping they won't loose
it.  Many Yeshivas use this, but they all seem to use one or two common
combinations (6-1-3, habah), etc. or write the code in Hebrew letters
above the lock.

3 - in a town with an eruv, I still see some people using "Shabbos keys"
-- tie tacks and the like (hardly high fashion jewelery, but I guess OK)
I'm not sure if this is old habit, belt and suspenders, or some "frum"
comment about the eruv.

4 - when we lived in suburban Philadelphia (no eruv at that time) my
wife wore a charm braclet with a key as a charm.  A Rabbi approached her
one day and told her that this was carrying.  Her response (bless her)
was "I didn't ask you to pasken for me.")  -- Just a reminder that
although some of these methods are publicly visible, it's not our
business to decide for others whether it's OK.  I.e., that looks like a
key dangling from your ear -- not an earring.

Kol Tov

Carl Singer


From: Stuart Wise <swise@...>
Date: Thu, 01 Jun 2000 09:55:26 -0700
Subject: Re: Kiddush for a daughter as a segula for a good shiduch

> Here's my question on that: Was the kiddush a "segula" in a mystical sort of
> way, or was it a way of publicizing the fact that the daughter was available
> for  shiduchim?  Either might have helped. 

I often bristle when I hear stories like this because it seems almost
sacrilegious to believe our fates can be attributed to a "segula" where
there seems to be no particular connection between the segula and the
desired result.  In my life I have heard some strange ones, like eating
pineapple for finding a shidduch, or the popular pregnant woman biting
the pitum for having a male child.

But it gives me an opportunity to share a story told by Rabbi Paysach
Krohn.  He told of being in a Midwest city to perform a bris milah and
he met a non-observant woman who had a very difficult time conceiving.
He chatted with her for a while and told her that if she found someone
else in a similar situation and prayed for that woman's problem to be
resolved (to become pregnant), Hashem would answer her prayers for
herself. The woman followed through and she subsequently became
pregnant.  Rabbi Krohn's point is that a person has that closeness to a
fellow human being enough to want to pray for them, Hashem will
recognize that kindness and answer that person's prayers as well.

I hope I repeated this story correctly, but the message seemed clear to me
-- and beats anything any "segulah" can promise.


From: Frank Silbermann <fs@...>
Date: Wed, 31 May 2000 07:02:36 -0500 (CDT)
Subject:  Necessity of Yetser Ha-Ra

In v32#35 Daniel Katsman notes:
> (... the gemara -- I don't remember where -- that at the beginnining of
> the Bayit Sheni the Anshei Keneset ha-Gedola prayed for the yetser ha-ra
> to be destroyed.  Their prayers were answered, but had a serious side
> effect: without the yetser ha-ra, nobody had the energy or ambition
> to get any work done.  They prayed again, and G-d brought back the
> yetser ha-ra for everything except idolatry.)

But if you have enough faith that Hashem will provide, you don't need
to work.  Didn't they have enough faith, _even_without_ the yetser hara?

Frank Silbermann
New Orleans, Louisiana


From: Ephraim Tabory <tabore@...>
Date: Thu, 01 Jun 2000 18:28:28 +0300
Subject: Re: Pre-Chuppah Wedding Pictures

I have heard that there is a psak in the United States allowing a bride
and groom to take wedding pictures together prior to the chuppa (even
negiah pictures). Anyone have details?  

e. tabory

[I'm curious. We discussed this a little bit in volume 20, where the
consensus appeared to be that not being together, not seeing each other
prior to the Chupa was a minhag, not a halacha. Does anyone have a
citation of a Psak that forbids a bride and groom from taking wedding
pictures together prior to the chupa? For this question, I am assuming
that there is no issue of negiah, either based on no actual contact or a
view that there is nothing derech chiba involved. Mod.]


From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
Date: Thu, 1 Jun 2000 13:52:50 +0300 (IDT)
Subject: Prenuptial Agreement

> > The topic of the entire evening was prenuptial
> > agreements.  Imagine!  An entire roomful of engaged couples talking
> > about signing a document which basically provides for in case R"L the
> > marriage that they are so looking forward to does not work out.  Now of
> > course none of us were planning on divorcing, otherwise we wouldn't be
> > marrying (one hopes!).  But one argument that was given for having a
> > prenup was to protect those brides and grooms who were not as confident
> > in the future marriages as we are of ours.
On the other hand the main purpose of the ketuba is to make it harder
to divorce the woman and it contains many clauses about what to do
in the event of divorce or death.

A major jobs of lawyers is to draw up agreements to settle things in case
in doesn't work out.

Eli Turkel


From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
Date: Tue, 30 May 2000 16:56:40 EDT
Subject: Re: Shabbot Conferences

<<  Next week, I will be in the Kansas City area for a week-long conference,
 that goes from Sunday to Sunday, meaning, I will have to be there over
 Shabbat.  My role in this conference is very active, and there will be
 seminars and activities all week.  I've been in contact with some of the
 organizers of the conference, discussing with them my religious
 obligations, and I was told that they will support me 100%, and won't
 make me participate in any activity that would be otherwise prohibited
 on Shabbat.  It seems obvious to me that this is the first time that
 they have to deal with a situation like this.  It is also my first time
 dealing with a situation like this.

 I've already sorted out the food issue, more or less.  Right now I'm
 just wondering if anyone can give me any good pointers, tips, or
 anything you have learned when and if you had to do the same thing.  I'm
 pretty sure there has been a business conferences, etc, over Shabbat
 that someone was forced to go to. >>

I'm a bit nonplused by the phrase "that someone is forced to go to" --
no not because it ends in a preposition.  I don't know your circumstanes
(obviously) but I'm sure that can with minimal effort (a few phone
calls) find a family to host you for Shabbos -- you leave the conference
Friday afternoon, spend Shabbos as guests of that host family -- return
to the conference either Saturday night or Sunday morning.  You won't
get fired, the company stock won't tumble, your chances for promotion
won't be diminished, etc.  If you feel that you are forced, then you've
already made certain decisions (which is, of course, your right and

Re: Food -- if your at any a major hotel, they should be able to get you
"airline" meals with minimal hassle.  You may get sick of eating them
for 7 straight days, but worse things have been known to happen.

You got to know what your own boundaries are and what you're comfortable
doing.  For example, when chairing a meeting, I've hosted a group of
people at a treif restaurant -- if in a hotel, getting room service to
provide me with a kosher meal, if not, simply not eating (eating before
hand or afterward) but sucking down a beer for a two hours.  Yes, some
might consider that (Mr. or is it Dr.) Morris Ayin -- but I'm
comfortable with that.  In other circumstances, I've let my colleagues
enjoy the ambiance and taste of kosher cuisine -- with mixed results
("which is the lox, and which is the bagel."

Good luck

Carl Singer


From: Chaim Mateh <chaimm@...>
Date: Tue, 30 May 2000 23:44:03 +0300
Subject: Re: Tikun Sofrim

In vol 32 #34, Ben Z. Katz <bkatz@...> wrote:

<< While the above [explanation of the Minchas Shai, Rashbo, and others] is
the standard, apologetic response to the question [of whether Tikun Sofrim
means Hashem changed the text or Chazal did] ,>>

The explanations of the Rashbo, Minchas Shai, Sifsei Chachamim, and other
Chazal, are "apologetic".

<<the fact of the matter is that the tikkunai soferim are mentioned in 4
lists (3 of which are in midrashim to Ex. 15:7).  The most complete list
(with 18 tikunim) is given in the standard edition of Midrash Tanchumah
(not Buber's edition) where the midrash clearly states that the men of the
great assembly CHANGED (from the Hebrew root knh meaning "to name" or "to
give title to") these sentences.>>

First of all, the commentary in my Medrash Tanchuma (Etz Yosef) quotes
the Baal Tzeidah Laderech who says that the words Anshei Knesses Hagdola
etc were added by a "mistaken student" and that they are not found in
old editions of the Tanchuma.  Further quoted is the Meor Einayim who
writes that "I have with me 2 Medrashim that are 300 years old and none
of this is there".

Secondly, even if we leave the words there (why should we anyway, if so
many of Chazal say they are mistakes?), let's analyze how the Medrash
writes.  The Medrash (Beshalach 16) first discusses the verse in
Zecharia 2:12 (bavass eino) and concludes by saying that the Scriptures
named it ("kineihu hakosuv").  Not that Chazal (re)named it, but hakosuv
renamed it.  And again the Medrash says that kineihu hakosuv, and that
this is "tikun sofrim anshei Knesses Hagdola."  IOW, the renaming that
hakosuv does is called tikun sofrim.  No explanation what thikun sofrim
is.  Then the Medrash gives 15 more examples of tikun sofrim.  In all of
them, the Medrash says kineihu hakosuv (Scriptures renamed them).
Nothing about Chazal.  Only after the 14th example, does the Medrash say
(if we insist on using the text that many say is wrong) "rather, they
renamed verses these are anshei Knesses hagdola (AKH). And therefore
they are referred to as sofrim, that they would count all the letters of
the Torah and darshen them."  On the one hand it might appear that the
Medrash says that AKH renamed verses, but then right after that says
"therefore they are referred to as sofrim".  Why?  Because they counted
the letters and DARSHENed them.  Not renamed them, but darshened them.
To be fair, the next sentence in the Medrash (which is part of the
"mistaken" section) says "and they fixed 'ahl apom' ", referring to a
verse in Yechezkel 8:17.  However, the Redak on that verse says it's a
tikun sofrim "shekina hakosuv".  At very best (worst), the "mistaken"
part of the Medrash is inconclusive.

<<  If these were only verses the Bible should have written a different way
but didn't, why are they listed in the margins of many Bibles as masoretic
notes with the abbreviation t"e (for tikunei ezra)?>>

I am unfamiliar with whichever Bible you refer to.  In my Tanach, it's
written "tikun sofrim" in the margin.

<< Second, Rashi is generally clear on many of these tikunim where he
states (for example on Malachi 1:13) that one word was written and the text
was modified to a different word.>>

The exact words of the above Rashi are: "This is one of the 18 words of
tikun sofrim, 'hipachtem osso', 'ossi' was written but the Scripture
renamed (kina hakosuv) and (they) wrote it 'osso' ".  IOW, the Scripture
(G-d in his nevua to Malachi) renamed the word to "ossi" and they
(Malachi and/or the AKH) wrote "osso".  This fits in with the Rashbo,
Sifsei Chachomim, Minchas Shai, etc, that Chazal did NOT change the

<<Finally, from a historical perspective, since most of the verses in
question were changed because the originals were too anthropomorphic, if
most of the verses currently read well without anthropomorphisms, why
should anyone be interested in a tradition that the
verses really should have been more anthropomorphic but were changed?>>

You're asking why G-d wrote (or rather had Moshe, Neviim, AKH write)
words not with their straightforward meaning, but rather to contain
hidden things and drash.  It's like asking why did G-d write "eye for an
eye" when He could have written "monetary compensation for the poked out

Kol Tuv,


From: David and Toby Curwin <curwin@...>
Date: Thu, 1 Jun 2000 17:08:30 +0300
Subject: Tzitzit and aliya

Chaim Mateh <chaimm@...> wrote:

> Rav Moshe Feinstein in his Igros Moshe (Even Hoezer 1, end of #102) says
> exactly that, i.e., that moving to Israel is not a Mitzvah chiyuvis but
> rather a Mitzvah kiyumis.  He compares it to the Mitzvah of Tzizis; if I
> am not wearing a 4 cornered garment, then I am not obligated to wear
> Tzizis.  But if I purposely (or not) put on a 4 cornered garment with
> the required Tzizis, then I've done the Mitzvah.

One thing that has always bothered me about that argument:
How many Jews who don't make aliya because it is "only" a mitzva kiyumit
(according to Rav Feinstein) take the same approach and go their whole
lives without wearing a talit katan or gadol? And to take the example
further, how could those who wouldn't wear tallitot explain themselves
if they were being handed out for free?

David Curwin
Kvutzat Yavne, Israel


End of Volume 32 Issue 41