Volume 34 Number 57
                 Produced: Mon May 21  7:19:08 US/Eastern 2001

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Candy Tossing
         [Yisrael Medad]
Rollerblade question
         [Galina Shuster]
Rupture and Reconstruction (3)
         [Ben Z. Katz, Mark Steiner, <rubin20@...>]
Shalom Alaichem on Pesach Sheni
         [Michael Appel]
Shalom Aleichem
         [Eli Turkel]
Shalom Aleichem - Prayers to Angels
         [Mark Symons]
Stopping the Candy-Throwing
         [Freda B Birnbaum]
Throwing Candy
         [Carl Singer]
Zeide's Becher
         [Bill Bernstein]
Request: Shabbas in Rome
         [Bracha Epstein]


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Sun, 20 May 2001 19:45:02 +0300
Subject: Candy Tossing

I conferred with Rav Elchanan Bin-Nun here at Shiloh about his
opposition to the custom of throwing candies at a Bar Mitzva or Chatan.
I slightly misunderstood him.  It was not so much because of the
deprecation of the candy but the total lack of decorum and respect
caused to the atmosphere of the Synagogue and what it represents.  The
custom does not override how one is supposed to behave in Synagogue.
Asked about the fact that the source for throwing is Talmudic, he
replied, "so, as it says, throw at Chatan at a Chuppah when it is
outside, not inside a Schule".

Yisrael Medad
Shiloh 44830


From: Galina Shuster <galina@...>
Date: Fri, 18 May 2001 17:25:48 -0400
Subject: Rollerblade question

I'd really like to know if I am allowed to use rollerblades on Shabbos if
the intention is not to get in shape or do it for fitness, but just to
have fun and enjoy myself.
Thank you


From: Ben Z. Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Fri, 18 May 2001 08:52:59 -0500
Subject: Re: Rupture and Reconstruction

>From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>

>The assertion that the Chofetz Chaim's grandchildren would not use his
>cup for kiddush is an oft repeated legend.  I was told personally by one
>of those grandchildren that the story is completely untrue.

	I was quoting an article cited in a reputable journal by a very
reputable scholar, not repeating an urban legend.  First hand testimony
should of course be more reliable.

Ben Z. Katz, M.D.
Children's Memorial Hospital, Division of Infectious Diseases
2300 Children's Plaza, Box # 20, Chicago, IL 60614
Ph 773-880-4187, Fax 773-880-8226

From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Fri, 18 May 2001 15:04:48 +0300
Subject: Re: Rupture and Reconstruction

    What I had to say on "Rupture and Reconstruction" I published in
Tradition as a reply, and will not go over the points here.

    I would like to point out, however, that the article purports to be
an assessment what Orthodox Judaism is like today, as distinct from
fifty years ago, without taking sides one way or another on what it
should be like.  It by the way does not pretend to scholarly accuracy
(e.g. it contains the author's purely subjective impressions concerning
what was going on in the minds of Ponevezer yeshiva boys during the
Neila prayer).

    Many of the readers, however, perhaps misled by the rhetorical
flourishes of the author, understood the article as an counterattack on
the so-called "movement to the Right" of American (and Israeli)
Orthodoxy.  That is, they misunderstood Professor Soloveitchik's thesis
as normative, namely that today's "right wing orthodoxy" is in fact
inauthentic Judaism.  They get out of the article, against the author's
intention, that the illiterate Sabbath violators of Boston had more fear
of Heaven (at least on Yom Kippur) than do today's yeshiva bokherim in
Bnei Brak (a member of the author's family told me: I davened in the
same shul and I didn't see such yiras shomayim).  The last sentence of
the article, further, seems to imply the charge (denied vehemently by
Professor Soloveitchik in a conversation) that today's emphasis on
halakhic texts (writing and reading them, or even posting them on the
Internet!) reflects an erosion of traditional Jewish emunah [faith], not
only in the tradition, but in the Almighty Himself (a criticism of
halakhic Judaism in general, which usually arises outside Orthodoxy).
You can see why the article arouses such controversy; nevertheless,
Professor Soloveitchik denies that he had any such thing in mind.

    A few related comments on "measurements" in halakha and remarks by
Andrew Klafter, who writes:

 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.

1.  The Noda B'Yehuda's (R. Yehezkel Halevi Landau) dates are 1713-1793.
If he popularized them, as Andrew says, then they have been "popular"
for maybe 250 years, before the "Rupture".  The Chazon Ish simply
follows the Noda B'Yehuda, or, better, comes to the same conclusion.

2.  This should be obvious, but I'll say it anyway: the Hazon Ish did
not imply anything about stringency or leniency.  He simply thought that
these measurements are correct.  For example, according to him, you can
walk much further on Shabbat than you can according to R. Hayim Naeh.

3.  In the case of measurements, we can't simply "follow the mesorah"
because there seems to be a logical contradiction between some of the
halakhic units of measurements.  So we know there is an interruption in
the mesorah.  It was the effort to resolve the contradiction which led
to the Noda Beyehuda's ruling.

4.  I think it's an exaggeration to say that in the past nobody was
worried about the size of the cubit ['amah] etc.  Even the Gentile world
was concerned with this question!  How many of our readers know that
none other than Isaac Newton (17th century) wrote a long treatise on the
same question that the Hazon Ish treats--how long is the cubit?  He uses
some extremely ingeneous arguments based on Mishnaic sources. (I won't
tell you whether he paskens like the Hazon Ish or R. Hayim Naeh.)  I
mentioned walking on Shabbat in my remark 2; and Newton also discusses
the "tehum shabbat", arguing backwards to the length of the cubit.

From: <rubin20@...>
Date: Thu, 17 May 2001 21:04:08 -0400
Subject: Rupture and Reconstruction

I'm not exactly sure I understand which point I allegedly miss. R. C.
Soleveitchick is asserting that tradition is more important than written
Halacha. Which leads to weird conclusions, like the importance of doing
things by rote. Maybe people would not have asked questions as to the
shiur of a cos, but that would not be to their credit, or as a result of
scholarship. The fact that smaller cups were used (like raisin wine) was
a product of circumstance (poverty), and not necessary the preferred way
to do things. I am aware of one very prominent Gadol of 150 years ago
who (allegedly) only lit one candle on Chanukah due to poverty. Would
you then suggest that be copied. Or making kiddush on Challah, as the
Chofets Chaim did, due to poverty. I have no doubt that in 100 years
similar scholars will write the exact same sort of article a bought say;
ladys not covering their hair, which has a "tradition" going back
hundreds of years, to the time of the Levush. When the Rosh moved to
Spain, he declared all tephillin produced for the past 200 years
possule. How would R. C. Soleveitchick react to that???

The second point made is basically a rehash of the first. Frankly, I am
not interested in getting into a long discussion of shiurim (although my
sympathy are with you on this one: few people know that the Noda B'Yehuda
and Chazon Ish said their measurements only Lchumra). However, it is
quite clear that the Noda B'Yehudah would have answered that until the
medieval times, everyone used his measurements.


From: Michael Appel <mjappel@...>
Date: Fri, 18 May 2001 15:49:08 -0500
Subject: Re: Shalom Alaichem on Pesach Sheni

> From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
> There has been several discussions of saying/not saying Shalom Aleichem
> (SA) on Pesach Sheni and related matters.
> [As far as I can tell, the question of Pesach Sheni and Shalom Alaichem
> has not been raised on this list. Mod.]

But isn't this point moot? Pesach Sheni always falls on the same day of
the week as the first day of Shavuot which can never fall on Shabbat. I
would think that Russell is referring to Pesach Sheni preceding Shabat
(ie Friday- a day on which it can fall), except that the scenario given
here is it falling on Friday night. (See above)

Michael Appel


From: Eli Turkel <ETurkel@...>
Date: Fri, 18 May 2001 11:32:36 -0400
Subject: Re: Shalom Aleichem

>>I don't think that "barkhuni leshalom" is objectionable; or, to put it
another way, more objectionable than saying "shalom aleikhem" to the
angels. After all, "barkhuni leshalom" only means "Greet me" or "Wish me
well" as in II Kings 4:29. It is an expression which could be applied to
a friend and does not imply that the angels have any power to bless
us. Cf. also II Sam 8:10.<<

Furthermore, didn't Ya'akov Avinu request a blessing from an angel? (See
Genesis 32:26. There is at least the distinct possibility that he knew
this was an angel.)


From: Mark Symons <msymons@...>
Date: Sun, 20 May 2001 17:27:38 +1000
Subject: Shalom Aleichem - Prayers to Angels

Didn't Yaakov Avinu demand the angel he fought with bless him, and ask
the angel "who delivered him from all evil" to bless his grandchildren?

Mark Symons
Melbourne, Australia


From: Freda B Birnbaum <fbb6@...>
Date: Sun, 20 May 2001 09:05:21 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Stopping the Candy-Throwing

In v34n55, Michael Rogovin writes:

> During a recent aufruf, [...] it hit me in the eye, impacting for the
> most part on the bone just above my eyeball. It was, to say the least
> extremely painful and I went home with a large purple mark on my
> eyelid and soreness that lasted all day. Had it impacted a few
> millimeters lower, I would probably be blind in one eye.
> I should add that, in general, decorum is not part of the vocabulary
> of this well known, large, established synagogue. I fear that even if
> the synagogue were to legislate that only marshmellows could be
> included in packages and that they must be thrown gently, it would be
> as effective as the gabbai's shushing.

Sadly, it might have to reach the level of someone's being sued for the
damages to someone's eye for people to "get it".

Perhaps a combination of a vigorous sermon or two, an article or two in
the shul newsletter, and the making of a policy that all candy thrown
must be supplied by the shul (in wrapped soft-candy form, although a
bagful of those can do damage too), might help to make a dent in this.

As someone in a family where a number of people have serious eyesight
issues, I can only add a hearty "thank Gd" that no worse damage was

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


From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
Date: Sun, 20 May 2001 08:48:56 EDT
Subject: Re: Throwing Candy

I would presume that if someone acts wrecklessly and hurts you
(regardless of their intentions) that you have a basis for legal action
(civil or Bet Din) against the pitcher and perhaps against the owner of
the ball field.  It would be interesting.

I hope you're feeling better.

Kol Tov
Carl Singer


From: Bill Bernstein <bbernst@...>
Date: Sun, 20 May 2001 18:53:19 -0500
Subject: Re: Zeide's Becher

Several recent posts have touched on an article by Chaim Soloveitchik on
the mimetic tradition.  I have not seen the article myself so cannot
make comment on it.  But some of the posts on it have seemed just
wrong-headed.  One recent one commented:

<< 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. >>

The presence and popularity of seforim such as Chayei Odom, Kitzur
Shulchan Oruch and Mishne Brura to name a few should dispel this notion.
In fact the Chayei Odom in his introduction discusses the purpose of the
work and the method.  He is clear that the rulings he gives come from
the Rishonim and not from any sevora of his own.  He does not mention
some mimetic tradition at all.  Yes, there were obviously some minhagim
and so on that were perpetuated in families and not mentioned in
seforim, but these were minute in number and, I would guess in some
cases, simply wrong.  To generalize a "paradigm shift" based on these
few examples seems without basis.  On shiurim, it seems to me an odd
choice to say that jews were not worried about them.  Rav
J.B. Soloveitchik zt'l himself in one place (I think Halakhic Man) cites
making shiurim as a proper realm of halakha, which reifies the abstract.
(note: it has been probably 10 years since I looked at this and my
memory may be faulty) There has been a real shift in the relative
influences of certain positions in the Jewish community.  Notably the
influence of the rosh yeshiva is probably much greater than in Europe
while that of the shul rov and the father much less.  yes, individual
family minhagim have in many cases disappeared because of the upheaval
in the past 100 years.  But this is a periodic occurance, I would guess,
in Jewish history, and not something "sacriligious."


From: Bracha Epstein <bracha@...>
Date: Sun, 20 May 2001 11:07:20 -0400
Subject: Request: Shabbas in Rome

I will be going to Rome for a conference the week of July 15-22.  I
would like to make reservations for Shabbas at a hotel that is close
(walking distance -- preferably less than 1 mile) to the Jewish Quarter
and shul.

Any advice regarding spending Shabbas in Rome and eating there as well
(yes, I've seen the Shamash restaurant database) would be most
appreciated.  In particular, any recommendations (or not) for Mrs.
Labi's bed and breakfast/restaurant.

I will be going myself and thus would like a place safe to walk around.
In addition, air conditioning is a must.  I would like somewhere

If perchance there is someone who will also be there that Shabbas and is
interested in company, I'd love to meet up with you as well.

thank you,
Bracha Epstein


End of Volume 34 Issue 57