Volume 33 Number 63
                 Produced: Sun Sep 24 19:28:26 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Achan (was: Spelling of Jesus)
         [Perry Zamek]
Eretz-Zayt Shemen
         [Mark Symons]
Frum Jews don't wear wedding rings
         [David Charlap]
Hebrew & Roman Calendars
         [Barak Greenfield]
Men and wedding rings
         [Chaim Shapiro]
Men's wedding ring/"li"
         [Asher Goldstein]
Parents Walking Down at Weddings
         [Janice Gelb]
Towels and Tzitzit
         [Shimon Lebowitz]
Wedding customs (2)
         [Jeff Fischer, Gershon Dubin]
Wedding rings (2)
         [Boruch Merzel, Robert Sherer]


From: Perry Zamek <jerusalem@...>
Date: Sun, 17 Sep 2000 14:25:05 +0300
Subject: Achan (was: Spelling of Jesus)

Eli Linas, in MJ v33n59, writes:
> <snip>According to another mesora, although not as reliable as the 
> first, the second half was written by the infamous Achan, with his 
> name being hinted to in the opening words, "*A*l *c*ain *n*ekaveh."

The term "infamous" as applied to Achan may be a little unfair. Yehoshua
encourages Achan to confess his sin, which Achan does. Prior to Achan
being executed, Yehoshua says to him: "The Lord shall trouble thee this
day", which the Gemara in Perek Chelek (Sanhedrin) understands to mean
that Achan dis not lose his portion in Olam Haba.

In a sense, Achan plays a role similar to that of the Mekoshesh Etzim
(the man gathering wood on Shabbat in the desert - Tzelofechad?) -- he
teaches us the value of Vidui, even in the sure knowledge that he would
be punished.

Perry Zamek   | A Jew should live his life in such a way
Peretz ben    | that people can say of him: "There goes
Avraham       | a living Kiddush Hashem".


From: Mark Symons <msymons@...>
Date: Sun, 17 Sep 2000 15:27:44 +1000
Subject: Re: Eretz-Zayt Shemen

Further to my last post. This point is made by R. S R Hirsch (English
translation by Isaac Levy) so I assume I must have read it there some
time ago and forgotten the source. He says (referring to the repitition
of the the word Eretz in the Pasuk) "... it is a land of wheat ... in
which not only olive trees and date palms occur, but it is a land quite
specially of olive trees and date palms.That would also explain the
hyphen between Eretz and Zayt which joins the olive tree to the land
still more pointedly as a characteristic specialty of the land and
attaches it to become one conception with it ..." (He doesn't say the
same about Az Yashir-Moshe, that is just my idea, or maybe also one that
I have read elsewhere and forgotten the source)

Mark Symons
Psychiatrist and Baal Koreh
Melbourne, Australia


From: David Charlap <shamino@...>
Date: Mon, 18 Sep 2000 04:36:20 +0000
Subject: Re: Frum Jews don't wear wedding rings

>Robert Sherer wrote:
>     Many years ago, the rabbi of the shul I once attended told me a
> story of a chasan/kallah who wanted a then-popular "double ring"
> ceremony. The rabbi explained to the chassan, a young lawyer, that the
> wedding was, in effect, a contractual transaction in which the ring is
> given to the bride in consideration of her becoming the chassan's
> wife. Viewed in this light, the "double ring ceremony" becomes nothing
> more than an even exchange of two pieces of jewelry.

Absolutely correct.

This question came up when learning about Kiddushin back in yeshiva, and
this was the answer the rabbi told us.

> I suppose if a wife wanted to give her husband a present of a ring, or
> he wanted to buy one for himself, there is no reason she couldn't or
> he couldn't.

Again, absolutely correct.  When we asked, the rabbi said that halacha
allows her to give him a present of a ring before the wedding or
afterwards, but not during the ceremony.

-- David


From: Barak Greenfield <DocBJG@...>
Date: Sun, 17 Sep 2000 13:11:55 -0400
Subject: RE: Hebrew & Roman Calendars

Eli Linas <linaseli@...> wrote:

>On the one hand, there is Rav Avraham ben
>HaRambam, who holds that Chazzal's science was only as good as the science
>of the times. On the other hand, there is the Rosh, who hold that their
>science is 100% correct...
>Finally, there is Rav Shlomo Zalman, z"l, who holds
>that the ikker de'ah is the latter. His psak actually has practical nafka
>minos in halachah. For just one example, take a person whose gums are
>bleeding on Shabbos. The gemara says this is sakana nefashos and we can be
>m'challel Shabbos for it. However, the doctors nowadays say that it's not.
>Nevertheless, we poskin that we can be m'challel Shabbos for bleeding gums.

1. That is all well and good, but the real question is whether you would
be willing to unquestionably accept chazal's medical understanding in
the opposite case. For example, if the gemara opined that a certain
medical condition was not life-threatening, and nowadays we understand
it to indeed be so, are you saying that we should rely on chazal's 100%
accuracy in scientific matters and not be mechalel shabbos in such a

2. The question of sakonas nefoshos is not quite comparable to the
calendar issue. The latter is a determination of fact, about which there
may be many opinions, but only one is correct. The former is a question
of degree--which diseases are sufficiently life-threatening to warrant
chillul shabbos, and which aren't. After all, no disease is always
fatal, and no disease never is; two people can have the same
understanding of the fatality rate of a disease, yet have differing
opinions regarding whether that likelihood of death is real enough to
permit chillul shabbos.

3. The belief that chazal are 100% correct 100% of the time in
scientific matters may make us feel better religiously, but it is
necessarily called into question at times in the face of overwhelming
evidence to the contrary.  For example, if the duration of an
astronomical epoch could be determined by starting a stopwatch at the
beginning and stopping it at the end, and the resulting measured time
differs from the gemara, are we required to believe that all stopwatches
are inaccurate in order to vindicate the gemara's opinion? There are
many examples of a similar nature that have been discussed in this
mailing list. In a similar vein, religious Moslems believed that the
world was flat until June 1985, when a Saudi prince flew in the Space
Shuttle and saw that that was not the case, a fact that the rest of the
world had realized for at least the previous 500 years. I don't think we
would like to put ourselves in a similar situation.

Barak Greenfield


From: Chaim Shapiro <Dagoobster@...>
Date: Sun, 17 Sep 2000 16:43:18 EDT
Subject: Men and wedding rings

<<  Frum women who are married are easy to spot.  For the most
 >part, we do not get hit on at the grocery store and shadchanim leave us
 >alone.  A hat on a woman is a sure sign.  Friends of my husband who were
 >long married were approached by shadchanim. >>

My wife has asked me to wear a ring to work.  As I work in the Non
Jewish world, she wanted it to be very clear that I am happily married
(and off limits).  Interestingly, however, I have recently read in
several places that men who wear wedding rings are MORE often the target
of unwarranted advances from single women then men who do not wear them!
The logic behind this seemingly counter- intuitive argument is that
women seeing men with a ring immediately know that some female has
checked this guy out and found him OK.  Other women consider married men
a potential conquest.  According to some articles, single men have
started to wear wedding rings as a pickup device!

As an aside, I have a friend who wears a wedding ring on a regular
basis, even though his father does not.  When I asked him if he ever
posed a Shailah about wearing his ring, he told me that his Misadar, Rav
Aaron Solveitchik Shlitah told him that his wife may give him a ring in
Yichud.  His logic was that if Rabbi Solveitchik Shlitah felt a ring was
inappropriate, he would have told him that he could not receive one in

I must say I strongly disagree with his logic.  One cannot extrapolate
from a Shailah.  The answer one gets is to the question he asked,
nothing more and nothing less.  As the Posak was not asked about wearing
the ring, no assumptions to its status can be inferred!

Chaim Shapiro


From: Asher Goldstein <mzieashr@...>
Date: Sun, 17 Sep 2000 16:07:48 +0200
Subject: Men's wedding ring/"li"

There was a case I know of in America over 30 years ago when the bride
wanted to give the husband-to-be a ring under the chupah and asked the
Rabbi, an Agguda Rav, whether there was something she could say;
presumably she meant something corresponding to the "harei at..."
reiterated by the man.  The Rabbi said to her to make up a poem.  In the
event, she just gave the ring silently at some point after accepting
hers.  The Rabbi's answer was/is somewhat surprising.  Is there any
instance--halakhic, anecdotal, custom--of a woman saying or being
allowed to say anything under the chupah in the context of any part of
the ceremony as this Rabbi would theoretically have allowed?

Related question: My Rabbi-m'sader keddushin was very makpid
(scrupulous) on not intoning the "li" when reciting the "harei at...."
He said that only the husband-to-be should say that word (meaning, of
course, "to me"), as otherwise it would seem as though both of them were
asking to be betrothed.  Yet I do not recall any other m'sader keddushin
in the U.S. or here in Israel being so makpid on that point.  Any
comments, whether from the literature or otherwise?

A. M. Goldstein
Editor, FOCUS
University of Haifa
Tel. 972-4-8240104


From: Janice Gelb <j_gelb@...>
Date: Sun, 17 Sep 2000 13:07:12 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: Parents Walking Down at Weddings

Perets Mett <p.mett@...> wrote:
> Not a "local custom", but a very widespread one mentioned in most of the
> books of minhogim about weddings. This custom is that shoshvinus
> requires a couple, and many interpret this to mean a married couple-even
> where they do not walk together , because two men bring the choson in
> and two women bring the kallo. Those who are not makpid about a married
> couple allow divorced parents to act in this capacity (although others
> feel that this not a good simon for a marriage) or a father and
> daughter.
> Of course expectation has a lot to do with it. If you know that the
> custom is for married couples to be the ones who perform the bringing in
> there is less to be put out about than if you are not aware of such a
> custom.

I think we should keep in mind that these are *customs*, not halacha
and, as we have seen just from people on this list, they vary with
communities. It seems to me that if a parent feels strongly about being
left out of walking a child in, and the choreography can be arranged so
that this is possible, that should trump a minhag.

-- Janice


From: Shimon Lebowitz <shimonl@...>
Date: Sun, 17 Sep 2000 12:48:54 +0300
Subject: Re: Towels and Tzitzit

Anthony S Fiorino <fiorino_anthony@...> said:

> Because a towel is not a "garment" - meaning, it is not an article of
> clothing, but rather a tool for drying water off the body - it does not
> require tzitzit.

and Daniel M Wells <wells@...> added:
> Only actual 4 cornered clothing requires zizit. The MB mentions that bed
> sheets are also patur. For the same reason a 4 cornered bag carried on
> the back etc is also patur.

I am aware that towels *used to dry oneself*, and bedding, are not
required to have tzitzit.  My question refers specifically to people who
have implicitely changed a towel from an article used (only) for drying,
to a garment, by *wearing* it.

Perhaps wearing a towel as a one-time occurance would be irrelevant, but
many people do this consistantly, as the well-known expression 'wearing
a towel' seems to prove. (I think this also would answer the possible
claim of 'batla da`ato' - that one individual's doing so was ignorable).

If I took to wearing bedsheets, you would just call it a toga, and tell
me to put tzitzit on it, wouldn't you? :-)

Shimon Lebowitz                           mailto:<shimonl@...>
Jerusalem, Israel         PGP: members.xoom.com/shimonl/pubkey.htm


From: Jeff Fischer <NJGabbai@...>
Date: Sun, 17 Sep 2000 08:46:47 EDT
Subject: Re: Wedding customs

I asked my rabbi about the walking down to get my kallah.  First of all,
it is because her parents are not Jewish and they can not walk her under
the chupah.  The 2nd and more important reason is because it says in the
Gemara (not sure which masechta) that that the choson should come and
walk the Kallah to the chupah.  I will try to find out from my rabbi
where it says that.


<< From: Perets Mett <p.mett@...>
 I was interested to read:

 >and then I will walk her under the Chupah and she will go around by herself.

 I have not heard of a custom for the choson to take the kallo under the
 chupo.  >>

From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Sun, 17 Sep 2000 18:45:00 -0400
Subject: Wedding customs

 From: Perets Mett <p.mett@...>
<<I have not heard of a custom for the choson to take the kallo under the

        IIRC, in the Syrian community, the choson ('scuse me, for this
post it's chatan <g>) goes down the aisle to greet the kallah and escort
her to the chupah.  There is also a minhag among some communities for
the choson to take at least a step out toward the kallah as she
approaches (as in the phrase, "as a choson goes out to greet the kallah"
used in the Gemara).



From: Boruch Merzel <BoJoM@...>
Date: Sun, 17 Sep 2000 12:43:47 EDT
Subject: Re: Wedding rings

Perets Mett writes: << And, by the way, wear a ring if you wish but do
not pretend that it is a wedding ring.  A man may wear a ring, but it is
sheer pretence to call it a wedding ring> >>

Personally, my ring finger is unadorned, and "bnai Torah" in my day
rarely wore any obvious jewelry.  But, perhaps Mr. Mett, and others will
be less worked up over the circle of gold, if it were referred to, as it
was way back when I was young man, as a "marriage band" ---A public
demonstration, by men and women, of pride in their married status.  So
what's the big deal ?  I'ts not a wedding ring (exchanged under the
Chupah).  It's a "marriage Band".

Boruch Merzel

From: Robert Sherer <ERSherer@...>
Date: Sun, 17 Sep 2000 13:34:56 EDT
Subject: Re: Wedding rings

    I don't buy the idea of a ring as simlat isha. I went to an
all-boys' high school and to (what was then) an all-male college, and
bought and wore a class ring from both institutions. Further, each of
the players on the World Series winning team receives a ring
commemorating the championship, as I believe, do the members of the
championship teams in other sports. So, what other reason for frum men
not to wear rings is there? Maybe, it's bothersome to have to take it
off every morning when we put on our tefillin? I haven't seen that one
given yet?


End of Volume 33 Issue 63