Volume 36 Number 59
                 Produced: Mon Jul  1 22:28:39 US/Eastern 2002

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Better is frummer?
         [Carl Singer]
bride and groom king and queen
         [Solomon Spiro]
groom/bride - melekh/malka
         [Yael Levine Katz]
Interesting Gemorah, better than Artscroll?
         [Sammy Finkelman]
Kosher food, but what about Shabbat in space
         [Binyomin Segal]
Outer Space
         [Akiva Miller]
Reform "halacha" (2)
         [Stephen Phillips, Yaakov Ellis]
Tehilat Hashem
         [Sam Gamoran]


From: <CARLSINGER@...> (Carl Singer)
Date: Tue, 25 Jun 2002 08:31:12 EDT
Subject: Better is frummer?

      These two stories taken together seem to exemplify some very
      unhealthy facets of the current atmosphere in Orthodoxy, where the
      frummer and the more mahmir the better, and where such values as
      menschlichkeit, sensitivity to not insulting another person, and a
      certain modicum of common sense seem to go by the wayside.

To deal with the first component of the above statement -- to my limited
knowledge, nowhere is Yeddishkite has it been accepted that "stricter"
(as in a stricter standard) is synonymous "higher" (as in a higher
standard) -- or "better" for that matter.

For example, One can insist on a hechsher for bottled water as a
stricter standard -- one cannot claim it is a higher standard.  Without
going into the mechanics of the bottling process ....

Kol Tov

Carl Singer


From: Solomon Spiro <spiro@...>
Date: Thu, 27 Jun 2002 17:34:14 +0300
Subject: bride and groom king and queen

BSD, 17 tammuz.  Regarding Chaya Valier's question:
> 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.

The source, as far as I know, is Pirke D'Rabbi Eliezer Cap 17 And in the
Shita Mekubetzet Ketubot 5a ( the talmud there deals with laws of the
wedding) an opinion is brought in the name of the Ramban: ( free
translation)And it is said in the Aggadad there is found that the groom
is likened to a king--a king never leaves his palace And so the Rema
decides, even today, that a groom ( and the same applies to the bride)
must not leave his house unaccompanied. And there are those who maintain
that even in his house he should not be left alone.

And in a sefer, I don't remember which, I saw other similarities between
a groom and a king.--Whenever the groom asks for something ( especially
during the wedding and the wedding banquet) he is not expected to get up
and get it himself. There is always someone who will do it for him (
best man, a servant of the king!!) And he is greeted by everyone as is a
king.  He sits in a seat of honor as does a king etc etc.  So if he acts
like a king, and is treated in the same manner as a king, he is like a

Regarding a shomer shabbat astronaut:

I do not even pretend to be a posek, but it would seem to me that an
astronaut in space would be compared to --quote--one who wanders in the
desert and does not know when it is shabbat, counts seven days from the
day he realizes his lapse of memory, makes kiddush and havdalah. . . and
does the minimum of forbidden acts, even on his Shabbat,--unquote, from
Shabbat 69 and Shulkhan Arukh 344.

The man in the desert lives in a time frame when shabbat is suspended--
as the astronaut-- and the rabbis have given him a formula to follow.
It is explained that the kiddush and havdalah are only symbolic, so that
he will not forget about shabbat altogether when he returns to


From: Yael Levine Katz <ylkpk@...>
Subject: groom/bride - melekh/malka

In MJ 31, 91 from March 2002 I posed a question concerning the origin of
the notion comparing a bride to a queen, since a source may be brought
only for the likening of a hatan to a king.  I am posing below the
original question.  There was at the time a response from Shoshana
Boublil in MJ 32,4 surmising that there is no source.  Indeed, I have
not yet come across such a source.

>From MJ 31,91
In various sources a hatan is likened to a king. This notion appears,
among other places, in Pirkei de-Rabbi Eliezer, and was further
developed in the later rabbinic literature.  I am interested in written
sources concerning the concept of a kallah as a queen, an idea which
seems to be presupposed, though I did not come across it in my scrutiny
of works on marriage and marriage customs, among them "She-ha-Simhah
Be-Me'ono" and "Birkat David".


From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Sun, 27 Jun 02 00:29:00 -0400
Subject: Interesting Gemorah, better than Artscroll?

I ran across what looks to me like a very good English language Gemorah
that is as extensively commentated as Artscroll - more in fact, but
seems much much better to me. All I have of that is a booklet (Fasc. 3)
from Kiddishin - written on the cover as Qiddushin and it seems to run
from just after the start of Daf Daled (4a) to about halfway down Daf
Hey Omud Aleph (5a). In the printed section I have the pages are
numbered from 33 to 48. Clearly there must be more of this and I'd like
to know, perhaps, where to get it, and certainly more about it. If it
covers the whole Talmud it would certainly be some job! The cover says
translated into English with commentary with commentary by Rabbi Dr. A.
Ehrman and the actual booklet I have has a Copyright date of 1972 and
says it was made and printed in israel, evidentally by some organization
or company called El-`Am Hozaa Le'or Israel at 25 Stand Street in tel

The organization of this looks much better than Artscroll (which gives
you a combination translation and commentary, whose tone feels wrong to
me - it seems to destroy the gemorah actually) I much prefer Soncino
even though that's a translation in very awkward English, with words
that very often cause you to want to check what it actually says.

Anyway, this one is organized as follows. On each page you have the
original Aramaic/Hebrew on one side of the top of the page. This is on
each page, not one page facing another. It is on the outside portion and
the inside portion contains a simple running English translation. In
addition to that, there is much longer English translation/commentary
which sort of explains or attempts to explain, what is going on the
Gemorah. Sometimes that fills up the rest of the page, but more often
there are notes - on all sorts of subjects - in a somewhat smaller type.
Those notes contain Hebrew words spelled in Hebrew - the regular English
and the longer running commentary/translation almost always does not
although they both can contain a Hebrew word spelled in the Latin
alphabet with italics. The commentary/translation may just very
occasionally have a Hebrew word spelled in Hebrew. The notes on the side
of the English commentary/translation will cover all sorts of thinbgs -
background of Amorahs but also other issues like Qategor and Sanegor in
Jewish law, where you even get the Greek spelling and some information
as to what (Rabbi Ehrman?) believes are the kinds of courts that used to
exist. Overall, it is a trifle rationalistic, but very good - actually
the notes could make a whole new Gemorah in itself. And the regular
transaltion is not at all the same one as Soncino (which was done around
1935 I think)

Does anyone know anythinbg more about this?


From: Binyomin Segal <bsegal@...>
Date: Thu, 27 Jun 2002 02:22:49 -0500
Subject: Re: Kosher food, but what about Shabbat in space

Eli Lansey's recent comments added a new dimension to my musings on this

> This however would be tied to speed and not altitude.

I seem to recall an old science fiction story about a planet that had a
small moon whose orbit was around waist height. To maintain an orbit at
that height, it had to go VERY fast.

Imagine travelling in a fast hovercraft over land and sea. Could you
avoid davening shachris by staying with the terminator line? (having
only maariv each day wouldn't be too bad). Or in the opposite direction,
would you have to daven multiple iterations of each tfilah for each
rotation around the earth (where you experience sunrise and sunset) even
though the luach hasn't changed dates?

Contact me via my NEW address


From: <kennethgmiller@...> (Akiva Miller)
Date: Wed, 26 Jun 2002 14:49:27 GMT
Subject: re: Outer Space

In MJ 36:54, Yeshaya Halevi asked <<< Is it possible that these mitzvot
are "mekhubar likarka," i.e. obligatory only when ground based,
especially in Israel, just as Sh'meeta (the land lying fallow every 7
years) is tied to the land of Israel? >>>

Can you suggest a source verse, or logical argument, for such an idea?
Those mitzvos which apply only in Israel have specific verses which say
that they apply "when you come into the land" and similar phraseology.

He also wrote <<< we are told "HaShamayeem Shamayeem LaHashem,
ViHa'aretz natan leevnay adam." (The sky/heaven are God's, but Earth is
given to Man.) That being the case, would not mankind be responsible
solely for Earthly commandment. >>>

I don't see how that verse is relevant to a discussion of where mitzvos
apply and where they don't. I would interpret it more as delineating
simply what is our territory (i.e., where we can travel), and what is
HaShem's territory. My interpretation of "shamayim" is not "sky", but of
a spiritual realm outside of our physical universe. As such, we aren't
necessarily *forbidden* to go there, but the verse accurately describes
how we are *incapable* of going there.

But that's just my personal interpretation. If you want to interpret
"shamayim" as "sky", what is your feeling about air travel? If "The sky
is G-d's", then are we allowed to fly in airplanes? And, more in context
with what you wrote, do you feel mitzvos apply while flying in an
airplane? If you do, where might you draw the line between a trip in
low-altitude dense air, and a trip in higher-altitude air which is so
thin that a spacecraft can float for several years (but will eventually
come crashing back down)?

He also wrote <<< Furthermore, it is inarguable that Shabbat is the 7th
day on Earth. Why would somebody not on Earth have to observe it? >>>

Exodus 20:10 -- "For in six days HaShem created THE SHAMAYIM and the
earth and the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh
day; therefore He blessed the Shabbos day and made it holy."

Regardless of how one chooses to translate "shamayim", it is clear to me
(at least from this verse) that Shabbos does apply there, just as it
does on Earth. Figuring out when Shabbos occurs might be difficult, but
that is not a reason not to observe it.

Akiva Miller


From: Stephen Phillips <stephenp@...>
Date: Thu, 27 Jun 2002 07:33 +0100 (BST)
Subject: Re: Reform "halacha"

In-Reply-To: <20020627024709.25123.qmail@...>
> 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
> disrespectful.

Is this halachically correct? In order to prevent others from gaining the 
impression that Reform Judaism has any legitimacy, are we not obligated 
to, in effect, be disrespectful to it and its religious leaders?

If the lashon hara is spoken for no constructive purpose, then I would 
agree that it is probably not permitted.  

Stephen Phillips.

From: Yaakov Ellis <jellis@...>
Date: Wed, 26 Jun 2002 23:21:13 -0400
Subject: Reform "halacha"

I do not think that it is being disrespectful for a person to say
regarding a Reform Jew that their "opinion on matters of halacha is not
worth hearing." It absolutely is not. To quote from the Reform Judaism
homepage (http://rj.org/) under the heading "What is Reform Judaism":
"...We differ from more ritually observant Jews because we recognize
that our sacred heritage has evolved and adapted over the centuries and
that it must continue to do so...Reform Judaism accepts and encourages
pluralism. Judaism has never demanded uniformity of belief or
practice. ...All Jews have an obligation to study the traditions that
have been entrusted to us and to observe those mitzvot -- those sacred
and time-hallowed acts -- that have meaning for us today and that can
ennoble our lives..." You hear that?  "Judaism has never demanded
uniformity of belief or practice!!" The Reform movement itself claims
that there is no such thing as an obligatory commandment - and they
therefore want no part in the halachic tradition that observant Jews
hold to be so sacred and eternally binding.

In my opinion, to refuse to listen to the "halachic" views of a Reform
is not an act of "not hearing opposing points of view". The "halachic"
opinion of someone who knows no halacha is not to be qualified as an
"opposing point of view" (the same holds true for the Conservative
movement in my opinion.  Does it make sense to listen to someone's
opinion on complex halachic matters when that person has no problem with
driving a car on Shabbos? Would you trust a mashgiach who eats a Big Mac
in public?).

Furthermore, I think it is important to stress these points whenever
someone thoroughly unqualified to make halachic statements does so and
is quoted in such a context in a public forum such as Mail-Jewish (I do
not know who the person in question is - I am addressing these comments
to the topic of giving credence to halachic statements by Reform or
Conservative Jews). We should all do Kiruv, love all Jews because they
are Jewish, and try to lessen sinat hinam; However, at the same time we
must constantly remember what our values are and not compromise them for
the sake of unity. I will value all thoughtful responses on this

Shabbat Shalom,
Yaakov Ellis, Philadelphia, PA


From: Sam Gamoran <Sgamoran@...>
Subject: Re: Tehilat Hashem

> From: Zev Sero
> 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.

My grandfather's minhag, which I have never encountered anywhere else was
three pesukim:
Tehilat/Vaanchnu/Kol Haneshama Tehalel kah (repeated a second time as at the
end of Psalms).

As a youngster in day school I wanted to conform to the group so I just
adapted to Hodu/MiYemalel to follow along with the crowd.  35 years later
I'm interested in the original origins.


End of Volume 36 Issue 59