Volume 36 Number 66
                 Produced: Wed Jul 10  6:15:16 US/Eastern 2002

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Shayna Kravetz]
Better is frummer?
         [Ari Trachtenberg]
groom/bride = melech/malkah
         [Gershon Dubin]
Hotels on Shabbos
         [Binyomin Segal]
Modesty by Avraham and Sara (2)
         [Turkel, Elihu, Zev Sero]
Sharing a Hotel Room
         [Barry S Bank]
Tehilat Hashem
         [Zev Sero]
Tvilath keilim
         [Percy Mett]


From: Shayna Kravetz <skravetz@...>
Date: Tue, 2 Jul 2002 11:49:39 -0400
Subject: Re: Artscroll

Binyomin Segal, in replying to an earlier post of mine objecting to the
ArtScroll translation of Shir ha-Shirim, brings some examples of what he
calls "complex pshat" from Rashi and Ibn Ezra.

>"An eye for an eye" rashi says it means "the cost of an eye for an eye"
>while ibn Ezra seems to take the literal meaning as a moral statement,
>someone who takes an eye deserves that his eye be taken (see ramban).
>"Do not put a stumbling block before a blind person" Rashi does not allow
>the seemingly simple explanation (putting a stone on the road) to stand. He
>explains it to be an expression meaning to give bad advice. Some would
>suggest that the reason rashi does this is the context - the rest of the
>pasuk says "I am God" an expression which rashi understands means that this
>describes an action which is generally done in private where only God knows
>of your sin.
>It seems to me therefore, that the discussion about shir hashirim we have
>been having is effected by the very translation issues we are discussing.
>that is to say, it is clear to me that "pshat" is NOT the same thing as
>"literal" the way we use it today. It is more complex and dynamic. In
>describing "pshat" meforshim struggled with not only the simple word choice,
>but other things we would generally think of as interprative. It seems that
>pshat is something like "the simplest understanding that is true."

But in each case, the example you bring seems to me to reinforce my
argument. Rashi and Ibn Ezra both start from the plain meaning of the
words and t h e n expand into more complex or metaphorical
interpretations which they urge as the "true" meanings. In the "ayin
takhat ayin" example, both commentaries start from the proposition that
the apparent meaning of the text is "an eye for an eye"; only then does
each try to reconcile such a reading with our overall understanding of
Jewish law and the immediate context of the verse. I don't read either
of them as saying that "eye" doesn't mean "eye" or that "takhat" doesn't
mean "in exchange for" (itself a metaphor taken from the physical
meaning of "beneath"). And to understand their reasoning you must know
the original verse's literal meaning. But the Artscroll Shir ha-Shirim
does deny the literal meaning in almost every verse, wiping out
virtually every reference to the human body and replacing them with one
of the many allegorical meanings, without acknowledging the original
text's -- let's call it "apparent" -- meaning in any way.

I suppose that if Artscroll had called their version an allegory or
metaphorical interpretation or interpretive meditation based on Shir
ha-Shirim, I would have been content - although I reckon their sales
might have been affected! But to call it a translation still seems to me
to be wrong and unfair to those readers who don't know Hebrew.

Postscript: By way of hacarat ha-tov, I'd like to thank the many mj-ers
who have corresponded with me offlist on this topic, for the knowledge
they have shared with me. Clearly, people feel passionately about Shir



From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Tue, 02 Jul 2002 15:48:58 -0400
Subject: Re: Better is frummer?

> From: <CARLSINGER@...> (Carl Singer)
>       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.

A good example is Bereshit itself, in which Isha (woman) is told not to
*eat* from the fruit of the tree, but adds a condition "not to touch"
the tree either.  The midrash entertains an exchange between Woman and
the Serpent, in which the Serpent pushes Woman into the tree and points
out to her "see...you touched the tree and nothing happened to you."
Based on this precedent, Woman decides that maybe it is also ok to eat
from the tree as well.  Such is one danger of chumra,

Ari Trachtenberg,                                      Boston University
http://people.bu.edu/trachten                    mailto:<trachten@...>


From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Tue, 2 Jul 2002 17:37:19 GMT
Subject: groom/bride = melech/malkah

From: <DTnLA@...> (Dov Teichman)
> Chaya Valier <cvalier@...> writes:
>      I am trying to find explanations as to why traditionally in Jewish
>      weddings the bride and groom are considered to be queen and king
> However, I have not found any mention of the Bride being a
> Queen anywhere. I suppose being the wife of a King makes her a Queen.

The reason for this is that we assume that a queen is a monarch, just of
the female sex.  In the times of the Gemara, this was usually not true.
Most queens were, as you say, wives of kings, and therefore possessed of
no independent power.  The respect due a groom as a king is reflected to
that due a bride as a queen, but there would not be an independent
aggadic source for it.



From: Binyomin Segal <bsegal@...>
Date: Tue, 02 Jul 2002 11:22:53 -0500
Subject: Re: Hotels on Shabbos

on 7/2/02 9:12 AM, Tzadik Vanderhoof at <tzadikv@...> wrote:

>> One can easily avoid it. Don't go to a hotel on shabbos
> I think you are adopting a very incorrect approach ... namely, don't
> investigate and find a solution... just avoid the issue by being as machmir
> as possible.  I am familiar with this attitude and I disagree with it
> strongly.  It completely fails to take into account the ramifications of
> being machmir.  I think the "need" to go on vacation with one's family is
> entirely legitimate, at least as important as "kiruv" which you seem to
> grudgingly admit as acceptable.
> Many jobs in the U.S. give very little vacation time... commonly you have to
> start over with 1 or 2 weeks whenever you start a new job.  Once you take
> into account yomim tovim, precious little (or none) vacation time is left.
> If you eliminate Shabbosim as a possibility, the logistics may just prevent
> family vacations entirely for some families.  Are you willing to say that
> the ramifications of that to family life and eliminating the relief on the
> strains that have probably gone on the relationships all year are totally
> insignificant, not even worth investigating the problems of an electronic
> lock?

Perhaps, you misunderstood my point. I am not against finding a
solution, and I am not generally an advocate of being machmir. The
question is really what is the problem for which we need a solution and
what kind of solutions are available.

All the solutions that have been presented so far follow the same basic
approach. Its a minor infraction in a situation of great need. The need
being getting into your room on shabbos. However, to go to a hotel and
then say that there is "tzar gadol" in not being allowed to open the
door to your room is dishonest, because it could have been avoided. In
order to use the offered solutions, there must be a reason why being in
the hotel in the first place is "great need".

Kiruv is the example I am familiar with in this regard. Poskim might be
convinced, under certain circumstances, to use your logic and extend it
to family vacations. However, as long as there are other options, that
extention seems to me to be a stretch. But even if you are right and it
does qualify as "tzar gadol" then my post is still relevant - as my
point was that for the solutions presented so far to work, there needs
to be a psak that going to the hotel in the first place is "great need".

Avoidance of a particular hotel (or even many hotels) does not mean no
vacation. There are still plenty of opportunities to take a vacation
without worrying about electronic locks. I don't think being at a
particular resort for your vacation qualifies as "tzar gadol" or
"tzorech gadol".

Contact me via my NEW address


From: Turkel, Elihu <turkel@...>
Date: Tue, 2 Jul 2002 12:56:54 -0400 
Subject: Modesty by Avraham and Sara

Akiva Miller wrote:

>1) What are the circumstances which led to their bodies embracing even
>after they died? (Remember, they did not die at the same time, so we
>can't say that they were simply buried in that position.)
>2) How does this story demonstrate that there is no Yetzer Hara after
>death? Isn't the opposite true? Why would people be embracing if they
<are in a place where there are no physical pleasures?

I remember seeing one of the commentators (either in the Gemara or the
Shulchan Aruch - the Bais Shmuel?), that explain that she was doing a
lice-check. Seems strange and, although it answers both above questions,
raises others (e.g., ma pit'om "lice-checks" in olam haba?). At some
point this story must be understood on a different plane. In fact,
though, the Rama (thanks again, Gershon, for the reference) brings down
the issur citing this activity although I think (hope) "Kinim" (lice)
was misspelled in my edition as "Banim" (sons).

Elihu Turkel

From: Zev Sero <zev.sero@...>
Date: Tue, 2 Jul 2002 15:44:30 -0400 
Subject: Re: Modesty by Avraham and Sara

Ben Katz <bkatz@...> wrote:
> Chaim Mateh <chaim-m@...> wrote:
>> 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 embrace.
> From a logic point of view alone, the above "implication" is incorrect,
> being a classic example of reasoning from the converse (or inverse).
> IF there is no yetzer hara THEN it is okay to see Abraham and Sarah
> embrace does NOT imply that if there is yetzer hara then it is not
> ok to see them embrace (just as if all beautiful women use lux soap
> does not imply that if you are not beautiful you do not use lux soap).
> The only logically derivable statement in all situations (known as
> the contrapositive) is that IF it is not ok to see them embrace, THEN
> there is yetzer hara, but that is the big IF.

Wrong rule.  The premise is not `IF there is no yetzer...', but `SINCE
there is no yetzer...'.  If I were to say `SINCE the woman is beautiful
she may use lux', this would indeed imply that women who are not
beautiful may not use lux.  Cf the ongoing thread about exceptions and

Zev Sero


From: Barry S Bank <bsbank@...>
Date: Tue, 2 Jul 2002 06:02:01 -0500
Subject: Re: Sharing a Hotel Room

> From: Akiva Atwood <atwood@...>
> > But either way it's problematic -- I recall that there are issues
> > about two adult males sleeping together in a room -- or am I 
> That's two adult males sharing a blanket.

What about Even HaEzer 24:1 -- "...and nowadays when the number of
licentious people is so great one should avoid being alone (yichud) with
[another] male."?  Even the Ashkenazi commentators, who claim the first
part of this quote does not apply to European countries, agree that
nevertheless 2 bachelors should be careful in this regard!


From: Zev Sero <zev.sero@...>
Date: Tue, 2 Jul 2002 15:03:49 -0400 
Subject: Re: Tehilat Hashem

Sam Gamoran <Sgamoran@...> wrote:
> Zev Sero <zsero@...> wrote:
>> 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).

And the repetition makes four.  Interesting.  Three minhagim, all saying
four pesukim (with two of the pesukim in common among all three
minhagim; I wonder if there's some community that says four pesukim that
*don't* include Tehilat and Vaanachnu).

> 35 years later I'm interested in the original origins.

What was your grandfather's ethnic origin?  Do you know other Jews from
the same town or area?

Zev Sero


From: Percy Mett <p.mett@...>
Date: Wed, 3 Jul 2002 17:18:23 +0100
Subject: Tvilath keilim

Susan Shapiro asked (in connection with caterers toiveling keilim):
>With this answer, what if the hotel owner is NOT Jewish, and they have
>bought, or put aside Keilim especially for Kosher functions (where there
>is a reliable Orthhodox mashgiach)>??

No point in toiveling the utensils of a gentile - tvilo marks the
passage of the vessel into Jewish ownership. It is only once the utensil
has passed from non-Jewish to Jewish ownership that the question of
tvilo arises.  Since the utensils are still owned by a non-Jew, tvilo is
not relevant.

Perets Mett


End of Volume 36 Issue 66