Volume 34 Number 53
                 Produced: Thu May 17 19:32:07 US/Eastern 2001

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Candy Throwing
         [Yisrael & Batya Medad]
Saying 'Mazal Tov'
         [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz]
seeking airline ticket advice
         [Yaacov Dovid]
Shalom Aleichem
         [Arieh Kadosh]
Smoking-Coin Analogy
         [Leah S. Gordon]
Tefilla question - Phraseology
         [Mark Steiner]
Tzietchem L'shalom
         [Danny Skaist]
You Shall Make a Railing for Your Roof
         [Andrew Klafter]
Zeidi's Becher
         [Andrew Klafter]


From: Yisrael & Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Wed, 16 May 2001 21:53:18 +0300
Subject: Candy Throwing

Adding one more element to Moshe Nugiel's comment that 
> ...throwing candy is  bad chinuch for the children:...
> 2) The larger/more aggressive kids get most of the candy.  Some of the
> younger children get none at all. Invariably I see tears and unhappy
> faces of children who got little or no candy. 

As I sit right next to the Bima, I can testify that some of those kids
are crying due to physical pain caused by being shoved and pushed.  The
practice of handing out prepared bags of sweets has been adopted in many
places and should be a preferred method.

Of course, we could return to the source which only mentions
the throwing of food at a Chatan and Kallah - not a Bar Mitzva.

Yisrael Medad


From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahem@...>
Date: Wed, 16 May 2001 12:18:13 -0400
Subject: RE: Saying 'Mazal Tov'

>From: Mordechai <Phyllostac@...>
>What I am questioning is the following -
>1) The expression used - 'Mazal tov' literally means something like 'you
>should be under the power of a good star / heavenly body' AFAIK (As Far
>As I Know) - it is a wish / blessing for favorable astrological
>alignment basically, then. Is that not problematic (especially in light
>of the teaching of Chaza"l in the gemara that 'ein mazal liYisroel' (the
>Jewish people is above astrological influences)? Even if an explanation
>can be given, is it still not ironic that those specific words - as
>opposed to others - have become so identified with Jewish expressions of
>good wishes being that most observant Jews are not really into
>astrological things today?

This is from memory so please forgive errors that may crop up.  The
concept (I think from the Rambam) is that the word mazal is actually
from the verb "flowing".  That is that hashem created the world in which
the influences of the world "flow down" to us from the heavens.  The
mazalos (constellations) are set up by Hashem to symbolize what
influences are being sent into the world.  The Jewish people, being
under the direct control of Hashem, do not necessarilly have to be
subject to these influences, but they are not totally free of them
either.  Thus, an irrigated field would be able to exist and flourish in
a drought, but if Hashem has sent the rain, then the farmer would not
need to irrigate it from his resevoir.

Similarly, we wish the person a "mazal tov", in the sense that Hashem
should cause good to flow upon us from shamayim. We say "maza; tov" on
happy occassions to acknowledge that Hashem has caused good to flow upon
us on this occassion and this good should continue.

>2) The deep-rootedness of this practice and degree of compulsion people
>some people seem to feel with regard to it - Why do people sometimes
>insist on going far out of their way to personally extend such wishes
>(at a kiddush in Shul for example) in person, when they could do such
>alot easier at other times, e.g. when they meet the baal(ei) simcha
>elsewhere or via telephone, letter, e-mail, etc. Granted that an
>argument can be made that later or earlier mazal tov wishes don't have
>the impact (emotionally as well as in terms of power of blessing?) of
>those given at an actual 'simcha', but nevertheless, I am wondering if I
>am missing something here and would be interested in hearing the
>thoughts of the M-J readership on the matter.  People seem to treat
>saying 'mazal tov' as though it was one of the 613 mitzvos.

The personal aspect is indeed significant and the feeling seems to be
that the good (as seen and experienced at a simcha) is what is being
identified and connected to.

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz - <sabbahem@...>


From: Yaacov Dovid <Yacovdavid@...>
Date: Wed, 16 May 2001 16:01:05 EDT
Subject: seeking airline ticket advice

We would appreciate hearing from anyone in regard to tips, advice,
leads, etc. in regard to purchasing airplane tickets to Israel.  Thank

Yaacov Dovid


From: Arieh Kadosh <akadoch@...>
Date: Wed, 16 May 2001 21:34:43 -0400
Subject: Shalom Aleichem

While again not quoting from any source, it is interesting to note that
Machane Yisrael in the Midbar were divided into 4 camps of 3 Shevatim
each.  Perhaps there is an underlying connection between Shalom Aleichem
being said 3 times (4 Pesukim each) and the arrangement of the Shevatim;
i.e., 1 malach per shevet.

On a different note, Nusach Sepharad has BeTzeichem LeShalom instead of
Tzeichem LeShalom; loosely translated as the (time of) leaving of the
angels, may it be in peace.

Arieh Kadosh


From: Leah S. Gordon <lsgordon@...>
Date: Wed, 16 May 2001 19:25:44 -0700
Subject: Smoking-Coin Analogy

>> Hence smoking which resembles sucking coins in both degree of danger
>> (long range) and lack of nutritional value should be prohibited.
>Why do you assume that the danger from putting coins in ones mouth is
>long-range?  The fear is presumably that someone with a communicable
>disease might have handled the coin; for any one coin that may not have
>happened, but if it did then you stand a very high chance of catching
>their disease immediately.  This cannot be compared to the risk from
>smoking, where any one cigarette slightly raises the statistical
>probability that you will develop a disease many decades from now,

As an environmental chemist by training, I suggest that if you are a
pack-a-day coin sucker, you are likely to get long-term exposure to any
number of toxins, diseases and possibly carcinogens....

--Leah Gordon


From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Wed, 16 May 2001 20:52:14 +0300
Subject: Re: Tefilla question - Phraseology

I just got home and looked at the Avodat Yisrael (ed. Behr, Roedelheim,
commentary by the editor), and sure enough, it is the source for
Birnbaum's vocalization.  But all the editor says is that the word
vayeshavukha is a pi`el form, which is self-evident.  He doesn't give
any argument why it should be a pi`el, however.  I can think of some
possible ones, so Behr's vocalization seems to be reasonable.

Furthermore, though the Avodat Yisrael is an extremely enlightening
edition of the siddur, he wasn't a linguist either, and did not
understand the rules for MH (Mishnaic Hebrew) and tended to replace MH
expressions in the siddur with BH (Biblical Hebrew).  Most blatant is
"shelo asani nokhri," instead of "goy."  Furthermore, he sometimes takes
it upon himself to contradict the shulhan arukh; for example, R. Yosef
Karo emphasizes that the vocalization of the blessing on the tefillin
shel yad is (in Ashkenazic pronunciation) "lehoniax" (kometz, x for
heth) while Avodat Yisrael "rules" that the berakha is "lehanniax"
(patah, nun degusha)--I won't go into the issues here.

Mark Steiner


From: Danny Skaist <danny@...>
Date: Thu, 17 May 2001 11:50:23 +0200
Subject: Tzietchem L'shalom

<<Shaya Potter 
Another problem is, who are you saying Tzietchem to! The Malachim who
are with you now, are going to be with you the entire shabbos.  You
shouldn't be saying "good bye" to them.  So you'd think that it's the
malachim that are with you during the week, but as its shabbos already,
they should already be gone, so I've that heard some people don't even
like to say the 4th stanza either. >>

I have heard of people omitting this stanza.  

My question is, When I hear the rabbi of the shul wishing a congregant
"Tzietchem L'shalom" do I assume that the person is traveling on
shabbos?  Or can I think that he will leave sometime during the week ?



From: Andrew Klafter <andrew.klafter@...>
Date: Wed, 16 May 2001 18:25:10 -0400
Subject: You Shall Make a Railing for Your Roof

> From: Dovid Pernikoff <talmid@...>
> I would like to know what the Halacha is regarding the din Maakah within
> a house. Does the railing on the second floor have to be 10 tefachim and
> is this under the rule of Maakah or possibly "lo ta'amid al dam
> Rei'echa"

The following is my understanding of the Halakha (but I am not a
Rabbi--please check with one).  The specifics of the measurements of the
railing apply only to a roof where people may be walking.  The RAMBAM
says that this halakha applies to ANY potential hazard (michshol) where
injury can be prevented by instituting safety precautions.  Other cases
will not have the measurements or construction of the railings or other
items specified by Torah law.

The mitzvos behind these halachos are the following: "When you build a
new house you shall make a railing for your roof and you will not cause
the spilling of innocent blood in your house, lest someone fall down."
(Deuteronomy 22:8) This requires us to avoid any potential damage in our
own property.  According to Rambam, there is both a positive mitzvah (to
construct the safety features) and a negative prohibition (not to allow
innocent blood to be spilled on your property)."  The Rambam clearly
states that in the case of a dangerous pit in the ground (like a
manhole), the owner of the property could construct a 10 tefach railing,
or could put on an adequate cover.  Therefore, the details of how it
must be done are flexible.

"Lo Ta'amod al dam re'echa" (not to stand idly on your fellow's blood)
is a totally separate commandment. I can see your logic however.  It
appearst to me that Lo Ta'amod applies to cases where an injury has
already occured, whereas "VeAsita Me'ake LeGagecha" (to construct a
railing for your roof) is a mitzva regulating preventive measures,
before any injury has taken case.

In summation, if you want to violate all three commandments, you could
to the following: 1) Fail to construct a railing, 2) let your guest fall
off your roof, and 3)then fail to call an ambulance.  (but please don't
try this at home!)  - Nachum


From: Andrew Klafter <andrew.klafter@...>
Date: Wed, 16 May 2001 15:11:35 -0400
Subject: Zeidi's Becher

> From: <rubin20@...>
> >An amazing fact to add here is found in an article cited by
> >Rabbi C Soloveitchik in his article, entitled The Lost Kiddish Cup.  In
> >that article is described the fact that the Chafetz Chaim's
> >grandchildren won't use their zedie's becher because they do not think
> >it is sufficiently voluminous.  to think that the author of the mishna
> >berurah was not yotzai his kiddush every shabat and yom tov ...
> Firstly, I personally measured the becher in question, and it is very
> near the most machmer shiur. Secondly, the Yidden in parts of Europe
> were extremely poor, which many Achronim give as justification for the
> Misnah Berurah allowing the use of Rasien wine, unlike virtualy all
> other poskim. The Chafetz Chaim himself frequently made kiddish on
> bread, as he had no wine (and no bread either at times).

I think you are missing the point of Rabbi Soleveitchick's article.  His
point has nothing to do with how much it held, or how machmir the shiur
you are applying is.  The point is the following: At one time in Jewish
history, we believed in a MESORAH passed down through each generation
from Har Sinai about how we should live our lives.  Books were only
secondary and were intended to fill in the gaps for unusual cases or
scenarios where the applicable halakha was not self-evident.  At one
time, the fact that my zeide's becher was such-and-such a size would be
the ultimate proof that this was an adequate volume of wine for kiddush.
I would be LESS impressed with a book by a young talmid chacham trying
to convince me that eggs in the time of the gemara were the size of
grapefruits.  I would have dismissed that book as crazy and
inaccurate--or even as sacriligious as it denigrated and dismissed the
mesorah of the Jewish People.

Nowadays, the reverse is the true.  Our disconnection geographically from
the centers of centuries old Jewish life (or millenia old Jewish life) has
resulted in a loss of confidence about the authenticity of the mesorah.
Furthermore, many baalei teshuva (myself included) have no authentic family
mesorah for how to fulfill mitzvos, and they must now rely on books.  Hence
the unprecedented phenomena of lengthy scholarly (though not always!)
publications on areas of Jewish law that amount to 1 or 2 Sa'ifim in the
Shulchan Aruch.  Rabbi Soleveitchick's important thesis (which you are free
to agree or disagree with) is that this paradigm shift, from family-taught
mesorah ("mimetic tradition") to a book/scholarship based manner of
instruction represents a radical change in the Orthodox Jewish religion.
This change impacts the way we relate to authority, to previous generations,
to elders, to prayer, to  G-d, Himself.

To come and say, "Well, in Europe everyone was poor, so they had a heter to
rely on the mekel shitta (the more lenient opinion on what volume of wine is
needed for kiddush)" misses the point COMPLETELY for the following 2

1) It is false.  In former times, no one every ASKED whether the volume in
Zeide's kiddush cup was adequate.  OF COURSE it was adequate.  It was, after
all, Zeide's kiddush cup.  Therefore, no HETER was given.

2) The "new measurements" popularlized by the Nodeh B'Yehuda and the
Chazon Ish, were unknown to the Jews of the Middle ages, Rennaissance,
and Modern periods.  It is a most innacurrate and foolish historical
fabrication to think that the Jews of former times were worried about
these measurements.  For a good discussion on this, see a letter by
Chaim Na'eh published in the back of his excellent sefer, Ketzos
HaShulchan.  He is the opposing authority to the Chazon Ish regarding
the modern equivalents of the Talmudic measurment system.


End of Volume 34 Issue 53