Volume 36 Number 94
                 Produced: Sun Sep  1 11:06:50 US/Eastern 2002

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Avi Feldblum]
Bride and Groom kissing at a wedding
         [Russell Jay Hendel]
Geosynchronous Orbits and Shabbat (2)
         [Zev Sero, Bernard Raab]
         [Joshua W. Burton]
Kadish 50+
         [Ira L. Jacobson]
Kiddush Levana - All Together Now
         [Yisrael and Batya Medad]
Kiddush Levanah
         [Michael Poppers]
PSHAT & An Eye For An Eye--a CONTEXT approach
         [Mike Gerver]
Reason for a Mitzvah
         [Carl Singer]
What have we come to?
         [Chaim Wasserman]


From: Avi Feldblum <mljewish@...>
Date: Sun, 1 Sep 2002 10:45:23 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Administrivia

Hello all,

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all those that sent in
condolence messages to me during the last several weeks. I hope to have
some time to try and respond individually to you as well.

For those that are enjoying their Labor day weekend (here in the USA), and
may not be reading their email until after the weekend, I'd liek to warn
you in advance, that I expect you will have quite a number of issues in
your mailbox. I will be working over the next two days to reduce the
backlog as much as I can.

Avi Feldblum
mail-jewish Moderator


From: Russell Jay Hendel
Date: Mon, 29 Jul 2002 09:27:25 -0400
Subject: RE: Bride and Groom kissing at a wedding

Rabbi Elazar Teitz in v36n78 cites the following story

>>On the topic of public demonstration of affection for one's spouse, the
story is related that the Netziv was in attendance at a wedding where
the bride and groom kissed publicly, whereupon the Netziv walked out.
When he was asked what was wrong, since they *were* husband and wife, he
responded, " 'L'einei kol Yisrael' is the end of Torah."<<

Rabbi Teitz is a respected posayk and leader of a Jewish community. Let
me therefore make it clear that I dont disagree with his VALUES that
bride and groom should not kiss at a wedding. I dont even disagree with
his VALUE, cited in the name of the Netziv, that public display of
emotions can seriously hurt the Jewish people

But I do disagree with the method of protest of the Netziv. There is a
well known principle that you do NOT protest violations of Rabbinic law
at the time they are being done on the grounds that >it is better that
those who violate it sin in error rather than willfully<.

There were many alternative approaches of protest. The Netziv could have
written an essay, published a responsum, given a series of Derashoth on
modesty or weddings and their customs.

Therefore in summary, my simple 2-fold question is a) Why was it
necessary for the Netziv to protest immediately at the wedding and b)
Isnt my question valid halachically as well as socially?

Russell Jay Hendel; http://www.RashiYOmi.com/


From: Zev Sero <zev.sero@...>
Date: Tue, 30 Jul 2002 13:25:20 -0400
Subject: RE: Geosynchronous Orbits and Shabbat

Daniel M Wells <wells@...> wrote:
>>> One of the basic principles of the Jewish Calendar is that the Jewish
>>> day is 24 hours and that Israel celebrates the Sabbath BEFORE all the
>>> rest of the world (except for a few places to the east of Israel up to
>>> the Dateline).

>> A basic principle?Since when is this a principle at all, let alone
>> a basic one?

> I believe its mentioned in the gemara

Where?  This would be a very strange thing for the gemara to say, since
all the Amoraim started and ended shabbat 40-60 minutes before Israel!

From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Sun, 04 Aug 2002 20:17:30 -0400
Subject: Re: Geosynchronous Orbits and Shabbat

From: <kennethgmiller@...> (Akiva Miller)
 > From what I've seen, all poskim hold that he can eat when the people
around him are eating (i.e., when the local time is after Tisha
B'Av). So too, it seems very reasonable (though admittedly not very
practical) that an astronaut observes the same Tisha B'Av (and Shabbos)
as the people below him -- even if that means starting and stopping
these observances many time in a short period.<

Do "all Poskim" really hold that for 48 hours an astronaut must cycle
through "Shabbat-Chol", or "Tisha B'Av-Chol", etc. every 90 minutes, the
approximate orbit period?  To say it's not very practical is not
enough--we must try very hard not to let halacha become an object of


From: Joshua W. Burton <jburton@...>
Date: Wed, 31 Jul 2002 07:50:05 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Heliocentricity

Alan Rubin <arubin@...> writes:

> > It has nothing to do with Quantum Physics. Relativity theory deals with
> > this issue (A sees B moving towards him -- B sees A moving towards him
> >  -- A and B have no way of knowing WHO is moving).
> > 
> > But the actual mechanics of geocentric vs heliocentric were calculated
> > hundreds of years ago -- it was the vastly simpler mathematics of the
> > heliocentric model that convinced people of it's correctness.
> Surely this notion, that relativity would allow a geocentric model of
> the solar system ignores the fact that this is an inertial system. It is
> not equivalent to the example of A and B moving towards each other
> because the body that is in orbit is subject to an acceleration.
> Furthermore is not the special theory of relativity according to which
> bodies with large masses cause distortion of spacetime in keeping with
> the heliocentric rather than the geocentric model?

Actually, we beat this to death on mail-jewish nearly a decade ago.  See
my posting in <URL:
Turns out _general_ relativity has more than enough degrees of
freedom to allow a geocentric model, or even weirder things.

Joshua W. Burton


From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Sun, 04 Aug 2002 17:51:01 +0300
Subject: Re: Kadish 50+

Yisrael and Batya Medad <ybmedad@...> wrote:

>I found a book entitled HaKadish by Rav David Assaf, first published in
>1945 and second edition in 1999.  Former Rav in Haifa.  While not
>directly addressing the question of 50+ years to stop or not to stop, he
>does mention (p. kuf-pey) that there is no 4th generation in saying
>Kaddish.  In other words, a great-grandson does not say Kaddish for a
>great-grandfather even if he has permission to do so.

I understand this to mean "must not say qaddish."

This is puzzling, since people often say qaddish even if it is not in
anyone's name (just so that qaddish will be said after Oleynu, for

So what is the logic in forbidding the recitation of qaddish for a
distant relative (particularly, but not exclusively, when there is no
one else left to recite qaddish)?



From: Yisrael and Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Sun, 04 Aug 2002 23:52:30 +0200
Subject: Re: Kiddush Levana - All Together Now

Akiva Miller wrote:

      ...we'd conclude that each individual begins it when he gets
      outside and can see the moon, and ends it according to his own
      speed, and at no time is there an organized "tzibbur" making even
      the most minimal attempt to keep pace with each other.

but have you not experienced the, at times, hilarious attempts of the
few to exchange the "shalom aleichem"s when some persons are completely
out of sync with each other, as when you are still in the midst of the
opening b'racha and you cannot reply when someone taps you and shouts
the "shalom aleichem"?  there is usually more than a minimal attempt to
keep together.

Yisrael Medad


From: <MPoppers@...> (Michael Poppers)
Date: Sun, 4 Aug 2002 20:51:08 -0400
Subject: Re: Kiddush Levanah

In Washington Heights, no Kaddish or Alainu is said.  I understand your
desire to "tzibbur"ize the mitzva, but it's really not much different
than any other b'rocho-graced event, e.g. the b'rocho made on fruit
trees while in blossom [in Nisan, if possible].  B'rov am hasras Melech
is nice to have, but that's not a component of the mitzva.

All the best from
 Michael Poppers via RIM pager


From: <MJGerver@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Sun, 4 Aug 2002 15:41:09 EDT
Subject: PSHAT & An Eye For An Eye--a CONTEXT approach

>From Russell Hendel, in v36n87

> - But if you interpret PSHAT as the meaning of the sentence IN THE
>  CONTEXT OF THE BOOK IN WHICH IT WAS WRITTEN then it is legitimate to
>  take into account similar Tort cases. There are in fact 5 Biblical tort
>  cases and in the majority of them (3 of them) MONEY not retribution is
>  required (See the refernece below for detail). HENCE, IN CONTEXT eye for
>  an eye could be reasonably interpreted as Monetary because that is the
>  way the Torah reasons.

One can arrive at the same conclusion by putting the case in the
historical context of the time, as revealed by archeology. Hammurabi
ruled Bavel about the same time as Avraham was living there (in Ur), so
it is a reasonable on this basis (and also from textual evidence, see
below) to think that the pre-Torah legal system inherited by Bnei
Yisrael from the Avot, which would form the context in which they would
understand the legal meaning of psukim in the Torah, was related to
Hammurabi's code. According to an exhibit on Hammurabi that I saw at the
U. of Chicago museum almost 30 years ago, Hammurabi's code also has "an
eye for an eye," and the plain meaning of the phrase there was monetary
compensation. I assume that archeologists learn this from other written
records of the period. Perhaps someone can give us details.

The main difference from the parallel law in the Torah is that
Hammurabi's code also allows monetary compensation for taking a
life. The fact that the Torah has to spell out explicitly that you
cannot atone for murder by monetary compensation, only by being
executed, also suggests that at the time of matan Torah, the plain
meaning of phrases like "nefesh tachat nefesh" and "ayin tachat ayin"
was monetary compensation. The fact that the Torah did not allow
monetary compensation for murder was revolutionary-- In Hammurabi's
time, a rich person could kill a poor person with impunity.

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel


From: <CARLSINGER@...> (Carl Singer)
Date: Sun, 4 Aug 2002 17:18:28 EDT
Subject: Re: Reason for a Mitzvah

            I have refrained from joining in this thread, but I cannot
      hold back any longer.  The attitude Mr. Singer takes, while
      cerainly within the bounds of tradition, and perhaps even the
      domoinant tendency, must be recognized for its completely
      anti-Maimonidean stance.  The Rambam in the Guide provides
      rationales for nearly every mitzvah that he can (the red heifer
      being the one notable exception that comes to mind).  According to
      the Rambam the difference between chukim and mishpatim are not
      that chukim don't have a reason, but that they don't have an
      OBVIOUS reason.  According to the Rambam the idea that a Supreme
      Intelligence would promulgate a law that does not make sense is
      anathema.  And, BTW, regarding the original issue of hugging --
      There is a Tosafot at the end of kiddushin which makes a
      distinction between derech chibah and lo derech chiba.  The way I
      hug my mother in public or in private is not the same way I hug my
      wife in private.  It would therefore seem to me that at least
      according to tosafot one could hug an opposite sex friend in a
      chaste manner publically.

      Ben Z. Katz, M.D.

I beg to differ. Strongly.   As I said to someone who sent me a back
channel message on this same subject --  A non-Jew in a casual business
conversation is asking you a question our of curiosity  -- tell them what
time it is -- not how to build a watch.

Carl A. Singer, Ph.D.


From: <Chaimwass@...> (Chaim Wasserman)
Date: Sun, 4 Aug 2002 23:25:36 EDT
Subject: Re: What have we come to?

Akiva clouds the issues by lumping all of the following together<<
Aliyot to Torah, Tefillin, Davenning on th *men's* side, rabbinic
ordination, etc >>

Akiva surely is aware that aliyot to Torah for women is acecptable
theoretically in g'mara and also is later sources under certain
circumstances. Tefillin for women is still acceptable according to some
heavyweight authorities (Rashi and Ba'al Shem Tov daughters are reported
to have used tefillin) notwithstanding what our practice is
today. Rabbinic ordination for women(the equivelant of "yoreh yoreh") is
clearly stated in the commentaries to Choshen Mishpat 7 (I do NOT have
the exact source in front of me as I write while on vacation. But anyone
interested in the source can write me at the end of August when I
return from Yerushalayim to my desk in galut.)

Davenning on the men's side is without any halachic substance and cannot
be logically lumped together in theory with the others.

Segregation of women from men is for one reason only: to protect men
from their proclivities. Anything else is stretching the point which we
have done for some good reasons and some not so good reasons. Time
marches on and so do the ways in which we treat these matters. Clearly,
an accurate reading of the history of halachah will adequately
demonstrate that premise.

Chaim Wasserman


End of Volume 36 Issue 94