Volume 35 Number 64
                 Produced: Wed Nov 14  6:35:30 US/Eastern 2001

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Concerts during Aveilus (2)
         [Elazar M Teitz, SBA]
Deriviation of Midrash that Adam Loaned 70 yr to David
Jewish in Korea
         [Chaim Hollander]
Raising wages (6)
         [<HHgoldsmith@...>, Chaim Shapiro, Yossie Abramson, Carl
Singer, Robert Israel, Stan Tenen]
Shlomo dethroned (NOT!)
         [Nachum Klafter]


From: Elazar M Teitz <remt@...>
Date: Tue, 13 Nov 2001 20:33:15 +0000
Subject: Concerts during Aveilus

Regarding the anonymous query, "Someone I know who is in the last month
of aveilut [mourning] for a parent has received a heter [permission] to
go to a concert, ostensibly because the music is a cappella (i.e., no
musical instruments, just voices).

"I don't understand this heter - if this is indeed the reason for it -
the singing is still music, it's still enjoyment, it's still a large
gathering of people - so what's the basis for a heter? Or is there a
difference because the period of saying Kaddish has already ended?," the
following points should be made:

(1) There is absolutely no difference in the restrictions imposed on one
mourning the loss of a parent between the first eleven months and the
twelfth month.  The obligation of a mourner to say Kaddish began long
after our sages imposed the laws of mourning.

(2) There is no prohibition on a mourner to enjoy himself; it is only
certain specific enjoyable activities which are prohibited.  Music, as
such, was not prohibited; what prohibition there is applies only to
instrumental music, not to singing.  There is also no prohibition for a
mourner to be in a large gathering of people.  If it is a simcha
[ceremonial joyous occasion], it is prohibited however small the
audience. If not, then however large the audience, attendance is
permitted.  (This last sentence refers only to gatherings which are not
in the form of a meal. Also, all the above refers to Ashkenazi custom.
Sephardic custom may differ, and is probably more lenient.)

While it could be argued that attendance at an a capella concert may
violate the spirit of mourning, it was obviously the opinion of the
rabbi who permitted it that (as outlined above) it does not violate the

From: SBA <sba@...>
Date: Tue, 13 Nov 2001 22:37:34 +1100
Subject: Concerts during Aveilus

There is absolutely no difference in aveilus in the last month except
that Kaddish is not said - which is to honor the deceased so as not to
label him/her as a rasha who is punished for 12 months. But otherwise
AFAIK no difference at all.  Why not ask the heter-giver his sources and



From: Anonymous
Date: Tue, 13 Nov 2001 21:00:23 +0000
Subject: Re:  Deriviation of Midrash that Adam Loaned 70 yr to David

Russell Hendel writes:
> The last exception is Gn05-05 ADAM LIVED 900 YEARS and 30 YEARS (It
> should read ADAM LIVED 30 YEARS and 900 YEARS). Thus the grammatical
> form makes it appear as if the verse would say he lived 1000 years. I
> believe this is the source for the Midrash.

        How, then, does one explain the verse in Gn 9:29, AND ALL THE
DAYS OF NOAH WERE 900 YEARS AND 50 YEARS, the identical format as

A far better answer was given by the Gaon of Vilna.  He notes that the
verse about Adam states, not as quoted above, but rather "These were the
days of Adam THAT HE LIVED, nine hundred years and thirty years."  He
notes that the words "that he lived" seem superfluous; there would have
been nothing lost had they been omitted.  He answers that the years
granted to Adam were more, but the years of his THAT HE LIVED were only
930.  (The assumption that it should have been 1000 years is based on
the fact that Adam was told, concerning the Tree of Knowledge, that "on
the day you eat of it you will die," and according to Psalms 90:4, G-d's
day is 1000 years.  It should be noted that this is not in keeping with
Rashi's comment on that verse.)

He notes further that there is only one other occurrence of the phrase
"that he lived."  In Genesis 25:7, "And these are the days of the life
of Abraham THAT HE LIVED," followed by the total of 175.  Again, 175
were the days of his life that he lived, implying that there were years
of his life that he did not live.  Indeed, the Midrash states that he
should have lived to 180, as Isaac did, and the reason he didn't was so
as not to see his grandson Esau become wicked.


From: Chaim Hollander <cholland@...>
Date: Tue, 13 Nov 2001 21:21:41 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Jewish in Korea

I have a friend being sent to Seoul, Korea for several weeks for work.
Does anyone have any information on Kosher food, Minyanim or other items
of jewish interest in the area?

please respond directly or to the list.

thank you

Chaim Hollander


From: <HHgoldsmith@...>
Date: Tue, 13 Nov 2001 08:06:55 EST
Subject: Raising wages

> From: Anonymous
> The going rate per hour is about the equivalent of $6 with some 
> cleaners receiving a bit more. I have decided that the rate she is
> receiving is too low and I wish to raise it. My wife mentioned it to
> another of the  ladies who employ her and she raised a fuss that
> hardly anybody's paying  more and if we raise her rate she'll start
> demanding more from everyone and then her friends will start asking
> for a raise and so on. Many of her employers have large families and
> are on low incomes and even the relatively small raise may make a
> difference to them. We came to a compromise that we will give her the
> difference at the end of the week as a tip so her hourly rate 
> will officially remain unchanged but she won't lose out financially as 
> far as our work is concerned.
> My question is if I feel that her wages are exlpoitative, and they 
> are so by national standards, must I take into consideration the hardships 
> this would cause to others?

In regard to the woman who wrote about raising the wages of her cleaning
woman...another idea besides giving her a tip at the end of the week
would be to give her some food (canned goods, packaged goods, raw
meat/chicken, etc.)  to help her out financially. You can say that there
was a great sale at the store you went to and you wanted to share your
bargains with her, or something similar. Not only would it help her
economically it would be a great Kiddish HaShem as well. (Perhaps if she
has children you can give her children's clothes in good condition or
toys/books before her holiday season.)

From: <Dagoobster@...> (Chaim Shapiro)
Date: Tue, 13 Nov 2001 15:16:08 EST
Subject: Raising wages

The first question I would ask anonymous about his cleaning lady is, if
you are so concerned about her vulnerability and truly helping her, are
you reporting her wages and helping pay for her benifets etc?  Zoe Baird
ring a bell?

Chaim Shapiro

From: Yossie Abramson <yossie@...>
Date: Tue, 13 Nov 2001 21:17:00 -0500
Subject: Re: Raising wages

A couple of point I thought of off the bat. Firstly from a business
stand point, don't give a raise because YOU think it's too low. Wait
until SHE thinks it's too low.

I also want to get into why you think the $6 is too low. I am (hopefully
wrong in) assuming that this is all off the books and quite possible
dealing with shady immigration issues. If this is the case, she should
be happy getting $6. She's not paying any payroll taxes which would
deduct 15-30% off her check. From your e-mail it seems that she never
asked for a raise and it's just you who is deciding to raise her. While
I think that's a noble gesture on your part, it's not needed.

From: <CARLSINGER@...> (Carl Singer)
Date: Wed, 14 Nov 2001 00:02:54 EST
Subject: Raising wages

What is your motivation for wishing to raise wages --
      1 - pity
      2 - fairness (you feel you're not paying an honest wage) -
      "exploitive" to use your words 
      3 - to motivate better work
      4 - to increase your priority for her services (thus her
      availability) vs others who employee her
      5 - to assure retention --

Why do you care about opinion of others / and why did you share this
idea with others?

Since you're asking for opinion, here's mine.
This is a business transaction between the two of you -- do what you
feel is best for you -- in this case what you feel most comfortable
with.  You have no obligation beyond that.  To not grant this person a
raise based on your concerns for other employers although possibly well
intentioned, still denies her the raise and continues to exploit her.

Carl Singer

From: Robert Israel <israel@...>
Date: Tue, 13 Nov 2001 15:18:54 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re: Raising wages

I think there are two issues here.  The first is what you yourself
should pay the cleaner.  Here I think nobody can have an objection to
your giving her as much of a raise as you want, unless you'd be breaking
an actual agreement among the employers on what the wages should be.

The second issue is whether you should inform her that the going rate is
too low.  This seems to be what the other lady is really objecting to.
I suspect that the cleaner and her friends, despite their lack of
English, are quite aware that they are poorly paid.  But if they aren't,
I can't see that withholding this information from them is justifiable.
On the contrary, you might even have a moral obligation to tell this
information to your cleaner: otherwise you could say it's as if you're
obtaining her services under false pretenses [I don't know if it falls
technically under the heading of geneivas daas, but it's close].

One person's willingness to pay more might embolden them to ask more
from other customers, but probably not: the wage has to do with supply
and demand, and in this respect the most important employer is not the
one who is most willing to pay more, but the one whose decision on
whether or not to hire a cleaner would be affected by a change in the
price.  In these tough economic times, it's unlikely that a major price
increase would work.

Robert Israel                                <israel@...>
Department of Mathematics        http://www.math.ubc.ca/~israel
University of British Columbia
Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z2

From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Tue, 13 Nov 2001 09:01:48 -0500
Subject: Re: Raising wages

Perhaps you can switch from an hourly rate to a weekly rate, so that no
one's counting the hours.  That way you can pay a bit more, and/or
provide the proper social security and/or other benefits.  Maybe you
could put this person on your, or another family member's, health plan
at work.  There's more to the cost of living than just cash hourly
wages.  There's also the possibility of generous gift certificates for
all of the holidays you can think of.  (K-Mart is better than
Bloomingdale's, of course.)  In other words, you can stick to the going
rate, but supplement it by your own personal caring, and by helping your
friend in other ways.

And maybe others who don't want to raise the wage rate will emulate your
generosity in their own creative ways.  From my perspective, your caring
about this issue is a potential mitzvah in itself.

Meru Foundation   http://www.meru.org   <meru1@...>


From: Nachum Klafter <andrew.klafter@...>
Date: Tue, 13 Nov 2001 23:46:50 -0500
Subject: Shlomo dethroned (NOT!)

> From: Jacob Sasson <jacobsasson@...>
> Gidon Ariel writes:
>  I don't have a source in front of me, but I believe a midrash (on
>  Kohelet?) tells of Shlomo being dethroned for a while and being forced
>  to wander from place to place.
> and Eli Linas writes:
>  This sounds suspect; Shlomo HaMelech was also a wanderer for a
>  signifigant period of time, when he was replaced by Ashmadai and became
>  Koheles, if I recall the details correctly.
> See Gittin 68a for the full story.

The gemarra about "Ashmadai, King of the Demons" on Gittin 68a-68b is an
aggadata which cannot be understood literally.  To interpret it
literally would rob it of its deep meaning and render it an
incomprehensible and silly story.

It is, in fact, a metaphor with multiple layers of hidden meanings about
Shlomo Hamelch's deliberate descent into the indulgence of physical
passions for the purposes of elevating himself spiritual and mastering
those aspects of his personality and psychology.  It should not
understood as the literal dethroning of Shlomo HaMelech.  I am currently
preparing a lecture on this aggadata as an introduction to Kabbala and
Chassidic philosophy from the point of view of psychology and

There is a 3 part tape on this topic given by Rabbi Yisrael Chait, Rosh
HaYeshiva of Yeshivat B'nai Torah.  I personally take a different
approach to many aspects of the story than that of Rabbi Chait, but he
does a good job at decoding the metaphor.  His contact information to
order tapes is availabe at www.ybt.org



End of Volume 35 Issue 64