Volume 36 Number 55
                 Produced: Wed Jun 26 22:47:08 US/Eastern 2002

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Card Operated Locks
         [Steve White]
Drisha Programs begin June 24
         [Freda B Birnbaum]
The exception proves the rule
         [Bernard Katz]
groom/bride = melech/malkah
         [Chaya Valier]
         [Jonathan & Randy Chipman]
Modesty and the Ari's comments (3)
         [Michael J. Savitz, Elihu Turkel, Chaim G Steinmetz]
Modesty by Avraham and Sara
         [Chaim Mateh]
Tehilat Hashem
         [Zev Sero]


From: <StevenJ81@...> (Steve White)
Date: Wed, 19 Jun 2002 11:58:42 -0400
Subject: Re: Card Operated Locks

Two comments from MJ 36:51.
>From: Steve Weisberg <nydecs@...>
>Intersting. That means the accepted practice in many fine Israeli hotels
>doesn't "work": give the guests who request it, a regular key before
>Shabbat to use during the Shabbat. This doesn't modify the workings of
>the lock itself and doesn't solve much of the problem, according to this
>psak. [snip] 
>> He say this is not "gerama" rather the
>> connection of a current and its interruption. and even if your intention
>> is only to open the door it is still a "pesiq reshe, be isour derabanan"
>> at least according to HaRambam.

Four-part comment.  
First, if you stop and listen to such door locks, you will hear a delay
while the system confirms that the key is the right one.  So at most
only the "confirmation" circuit is activated immediately, not the
circuit activated by the lock mechanism itself, which is unquestionably
Now, second, Rav Sh. Z. Auerbach,ztz"l, among others, holds that the the
completion or opening of a circuit is in itself only a derabbanan.  This
suggests that under certain circumstances of great need, it might be
treated more leniently than a "pesiq reishe."
Third, it is understood in most cases that where passive devices cannot
be avoided, one need not avoid them, even if one triggers a d'oreita.
(Think motion-sensor light, not on your own property.)  Clearly, this
isn't exactly a passive case, but if there is a melacha d'oreita in all
this, it's in the recording of the security data, and then only if it
goes straight to a printer, not to an electronic file.  From the point
of view of the guest, this is at most "melacha she'aino tzericha l'gufa
(a melacha done not for the need of the melacha)," it is probably
"grama," and possibly even "ones" (duress), as one cannot avoid it.  So
there is probably room for leniency there.
Fourth, with respect to air conditioners and heaters, it's probably an
interesting question whether the door does anything more than operate
the room's fan (probably derabbanan), as modern hotels have central HVAC
systems doing the actual heating and cooling.  This is analogous to the
question of whether one can use the hotel's hot water on Shabbos.

>From: Perets Mett <p.mett@...>
>Jonathan Romain, who should not be mentioned in the same breath, 
>subscribes to the Reform and his opinion on matters of halocho is not 
>worth hearing.

With all due respect, I wouldn't pasken by Jonathan Romain, either, but
I consider this comment to be lashon hara.  What's more: the very fact
of "not hearing" opposing points of view contributes to sinat hinam in
the community, as it signifies disrespect.  We don't have to agree with
Reform, but it does no good, and probably much harm, to be

Steven White
Highland Park, NJ


From: Freda B Birnbaum <fbb6@...>
Subject: Drisha Programs begin June 24 

I've been asked to publicize Drisha's second summer session; always

Freda Birnbaum

---------- Forwarded message ----------
  Date: Wed, 19 Jun 2002 18:00:03 -0400
  From: Judith Tenzer <jtenzer@...>
  Subject: Drisha Programs begin June 24

Drisha's Five-Week Summer Institute is scheduled to begin on June
24th. To see the exciting line-up of classes and to register, visit our
website: http://www.drisha.org/programs/summer_full_july.htm

A broad range of Continuing Education classes are offered during the day
and evening. Classes include Biblical Hebrew (intensive) with Deena
Grant, R. Soloveitchik's Halakhic Man with Charles Raffel, Zealotry,
Tolerance, Leadership and Education with Joshua Schreier, and much
more. The entire schedule is on the website:

Two continuing education classes are open to women and men: An advanced
level course -- Suicide, Martyrdom and the Sanctity of Life with Kenneth
Waxman (Monday, 6:00 - 7:30), and Rabbinic Theology with Shai Held
(Tuesday, 7:45-9:15) The course descrptions can be found on our website:

Drisha's Summer High School Program begins on June 24th, with full-time
learning in Gemara, Halakha, Philosophy and Bible. The program is
described on our website: http://www.drisha.org/programs/summer_high.htm

Daf Yomi for women continues during the summer at 8:30 a.m. at Drisha
Institute for Jewish Education.

Women are invited to participate in Open Beit Midrash on Tuesdays, from
7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Leebie Mallin and Shuli Weiner, students in the Drisha
Scholars Circle, will match participants with learning partners based on
topical interests and learning levels. They will also provide assistance
with learning.

Women and men are invited to join Drisha students on Tisha B'Av,
Thursday, July 18th from 10:00 a.m. to recite Kinot.

Have a great summer!

Judith Tenzer
Drisha Institute for Jewish Education
131 West 86th Street
New York, NY 10024
(212) 595-0307


From: Bernard Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Wed, 19 Jun 2002 07:49:13 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: The exception proves the rule

Binyomin Segal wrote:
> I admit to not recalling my source, but my understanding of "the
> exception that proves the rule", that i read somewhere, somewhen, is
> that it is exactly like "mikllal lav, ata shomeah hein"
> an example would be if a sign said, "No parking on Monday" this
> exception proves that parking is allowed the other days of the week.

  I believe that Binyomin is exactly right. While 'prove' does indeed
  sometimes mean test (as, e.g., in the phrases 'proving ground' or
  'the proof of the pudding is in the eating'), I don't think that
  this sense of 'prove' is relevant to the expression "the exception
  proves the rule", at least not in its original legal sense.

  This phrase was originally understood as a interpretative principle
  according to which one may infer the existence of a rule from the
  existence of certain exceptions (in the manner Binyomin suggests).
  Fowler gives the following gloss (in The Dictionary of Modern
  English Usage):

    'Special leave is given for men to be out of barracks tonight
    till 11.00 p.m.'; 'The exception proves the rule' means that this
    special leave implies a rule requiring men, except when an
    exception is made, to be in arlier.  The value of this in
    interpreting statutes is plain." 

  The full Latin version of the dictum may be a bit clearer on this
  point: Exceptio probat regulam in casibus non exceptis; i.e., the
  exception proves the rule in cases not excepted. 

    Bernard Katz
    Department of Philosophy
    University of Toronto


From: Chaya Valier <cvalier@...>
Date: Thu, 20 Jun 2002 09:52:48 +0300
Subject: groom/bride = melech/malkah

I am trying to find explanations as to why traditionally in Jewish
weddings the bride and groom are considered to be queen and king.

Most relevant websites I've seen say that they are symbolically king and
queen, but none that I've found say why.

(Certain sites describing Christian or Syrian weddings make reference to
this Jewish tradition, so it appears to be at least 2000 years old, but
I haven't found more than that.)

Any ideas?



From: Jonathan & Randy Chipman <yonarand@...>
Date: Wed, 19 Jun 2002 09:14:49 +0300
Subject: Re:  Ketoret

In mj v36n50, Sam Saal <ssaal@...>, in connection with the
discussion of making ketoret, related that :

<<Many years ago a minister came to my parenst looking for Biblical
anointing oils.  They knew formulating this might be a problem so the
asked a shaila. The response was interesting and instructive (but
CYLOR). The minister's list of oils was from the King James translation,
which is not particularly accurate so the amalgam wouldn't have been a
problem. >>

1) About the minister's list: even if you did make it exactly as
described in the Bible, it wouldn't be the ketoret as we know it, since
what is determinitive for Jews, in everything, is our halakhic tradition
(the "Oral Torah")-- in this case, the Talmudic discussion in Keritut
6b, which explicitly mentions 11 separate ingredients of the ketoret,
quite a few more than those listed in mentioned in Exodus 30:34-38.  See
any traditional siddur, just after "Ein Keloheinu" on Shabbat, for a
translation of this passage.

   By the way, the anointing oil is something different, listed in Exod
30:22-33.  The halkhic sources are found in the Talmud, Keritut 5a ff.,
and Rambam, Hilkhot Klei Mikdash (Mishneh Torah, The Book of Service,
Laws of Temple Vessels) 1.1-12.

2) The halakha states that the issur against making the ketoret is only
violated if it made, not only using the same proportions as the
original, but also the same quantities -- i.e., an entire year's supply,
368 "maneh," at one time.  See Rambam, Kelei Mikdash 2.9-10, and the
entire chapter for a description of the making of ketoret.

    Yehonatan Chipman, Yerushalayim


From: Michael J. Savitz <michaelj@...>
Date: Tue, 18 Jun 2002 23:23:01 -0400
Subject: Modesty and the Ari's comments

>     And, while on the subject, another related question: It is customary
> in many Orthodox circles for husband and wife not to hold hands or show
> any other overt physical signs of affection (which would also imply that
> the woman is taharah le-ba'alah) in public.  I once researched this
> question, and found a halakhah to that effect, which in turn cited a
> rather bizarre aggadah that someone (Elijah?) once entered the tomb of
> Avraham and Sarah and found them in an embrace, and a gloss saying that
> this was permitted because thwere is no Yetzer Hara after death.  Can
> anyone supply the source: a) for this halakha; b) for the midrash.  I
> tried searching again in the obvious places (Orah Hayyim 240; Even
> ha-Ezer 25 and the precedung simanim; Rambam Issurei biah, last
> two-three chapters) but could not find it.  Any takers?

The aggada, in which R. Bana'ah enters Maarat Hamachpela, is at Baba
Batra 58a.  When R. Bana'ah is standing outside the entrance, Avraham
tells his servant Eliezer to let him enter, even though he and Sarah
were in an embrace, because "it is well known that in this world there
is no yetzer [hara]".

[Reference also sent in by:
	   Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
	   Normand, Neil <NormandN@...>

From: Elihu Turkel <turkel@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Jun 2002 17:06:49 -0400
Subject: RE: Modesty and the Ari's comments

The source of the story mentioned is the Gemara Bava Basra (58a). It was
Rav Bana'ah who was measuring the area of graves for the purpose of
demarcating zones of tum'ah. At the entrance to the grave of Avraham &
Sarah, he encountered Eliezer who informed him that they were
"embracing" but said (in response to R' Bana'ah's request to enter) that
the afterlife is devoid of Yetzer Hara. The Nimukei Yosef (39a b'dapei
HaRiff) states that we may derive from this that one should avoid such
displays in public. But I am not aware of any other such opinion. Is the
Nimukei Yosef a Da'as yachid or was it obvious to everyone else? Also,
can we distinguish (although I expect many will hesitate to) between
affectionate (hand holding?) vs sexual (kissing?) displays? I believe it
is common practice in many households to provide married guests with
separate beds, but this may reflect a sensitive reluctance to force
guests to discuss/reveal personal matters.

Elihu Turkel

From: Chaim G Steinmetz <cgsteinmetz@...>
Date: Wed, 26 Jun 2002 12:32:45 -0400
Subject: Modesty and the Ari's comments

Regarding the story brought in the name of the Ari - for accuracy's
sake: The story is brought in Pri Etz Chaim Shaar 23 that the chaverim
used to gather Shvous night in the house of R' Chaim Vital, one time one
of the chaverim was missing, RCV when questioned about his absence, said
that perhaps ("ulai") it was leil tvilah.

Chaim G. Steinmetz


From: Chaim Mateh <chaim-m@...>
Date: Wed, 19 Jun 2002 19:21:29 +0300
Subject: Modesty by Avraham and Sara

Daf Yomi-ers should remember the story from Bava Basra 58a (about 1.5
months ago). It was Rav Bena'a who entered Meoras Hamachpela and saw
Avraham Avinu in Sara's arms.  The Gemoro says that it was OK for Rav
Bena'a to see them that way because there isn't any Yetzer in that "world".
 The implication from this of course is that since there _is_ the Yetzer in
_this_ world, it is improper for people to see a (even married) couple

BTW, why is this Gemoro "bizarre"?

Kol Tuv,


From: Zev Sero
Date: Wed, 19 Jun 2002 19:45:01 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: Tehilat Hashem

Michael Toben <toben@...> wrote:

> I understand this addition to Shir HaMaalot was added during the
> early days of the Zionist movement in Germany and Austria.

This understanding is not true.  Many siddurim that are far older than
modern Zionism, and siddurim of non-Ashkenazi origin, have extra pesukim
after the appropriate chapter of tehilim.

BTW, the two versions with which I am familiar (Tehilat/Vaanachnu/
Hodu/Mi-Yemalel, and Avarecha/Sof-Davar/Tehilat/Vaanachnu) both have 4
pesukim, though only 2 in common; I wonder whether the important point
is specifically to have 4 pesukim, and it doesn't matter so much what
they are.

Zev Sero


End of Volume 36 Issue 55