Volume 37 Number 39
                 Produced: Fri Oct 18  5:46:17 US/Eastern 2002

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Halachic Date Line
         [Zev Sero]
Holishkes or stuffed cabbage on Succos
         [Boruch Merzel]
kiddush customs
         [Ira Grinberg]
"Males Only" -- and segregation
         [Nachman Yaakov Ziskind]
         [Chaim Mateh]
         [Solomon Spiro]
         [Andrew Klafter]
Pruzbul as legal fiction?
         [Nachman Yaakov Ziskind]
A Psychological Approach to Assimilation
         [Russell J Hendel]


From: Zev Sero <zev.sero@...>
Date: Thu, 10 Oct 2002 14:27:17 -0400
Subject: Re: Halachic Date Line

<StevenJ81@...> (Steven White) wrote:

> the halachic line of reasoning that people might establish Shabbat
> in distant communities as if in a desert by counting days.

This line of reasoning is often cited, but there's a major problem with
it.  It is simply not true that someone lost in the desert can simply
count days, and keep shabbat on the 7th while doing melacha on the other
6.  The law is that such a person must keep shabbat every day (since
it's a doubt about a Torah law), and on each day, *including the 7th* he
must do exactly enough work to sustain his life for that day.  The
*only* difference between the 7th day of his count and the other 6 is
that on the 7th he says kiddush, in order to keep up the memory that
shabbat is every 7 days, not every day.

If this is the source for ones approach to the dateline problem, then
people in the affected areas would have to keep Sunday or Friday
(depending where they are) exactly the same as Shabbat except for
kiddush.  I really don't think anyone says that!

Zev Sero


From: <BoJoM@...> (Boruch Merzel)
Date: Thu, 10 Oct 2002 13:09:38 EDT
Subject: Holishkes or stuffed cabbage on Succos

I hate to demystify the subject of such great interest and concern.
There's no big Torah involved in "holishkes" or stuffed Cabbage during
Succos.  No esoteric, profound or mystical purpose, but a practical,
down to earth reason.

The reason for cooking, eating stuffed cabbage on succos is simply
because cabbage ripens in the fall. Cabbages will not grow (or do very
poorly) in temperatures above 15- 20 C.

The dish is obviously the same as (derived from) the stuffed grape
leaves eaten by those of more temperate climes, where cabbages did not
grow, but where grape leaves were plentiful and reached their optimum
size during the fall when grapes ripened.

Any old time Romanian will tell you that Stuffed cabbage leaves are a
but a poor substitute for the real stuff: GRAPE leaves.

So if you were a Polish, Lithuanian, Russian, etc. Jew.  You had stuffed
CABBAGE leaves for Succos.  (After all one had to eat some meat on Yom
Tov) If you were a Romanian, Greek or Italian Jew you would have stuffed
GRAPE leaves.

Sorry to take the mystery out of it all.
Boruch Merzel


From: Ira Grinberg <ira.grinberg@...>
Subject: kiddush customs

I have seen two different customs regarding kiddush at Shabbat and Yom
Tov meals when I've been a guest at friends' homes.

In the first, the ba'al habayit makes kiddush on behalf of all present,
and then pours wine (grape juice) from the kiddush cup into the (much
smaller) guests' cups, replenishing the contents of the kiddush cup as
necessary (leaving some of the original content). Obviously, this
approach is highly impractical for large groups of people.

In the second, the ba'al habayit also makes kiddush on behalf of all
present, but first he pours some wine (grape juice) into the guests cups
from the bottle(s).

Is there a halachic basis for either/both approach? Is one to be
preferred over the other? Is there a difference in this regard for the
evening and morning kiddushes?

Ira Grinberg


From: Nachman Yaakov Ziskind <awacs@...>
Date: Thu, 10 Oct 2002 11:19:37 -0400
Subject: Re: "Males Only" -- and segregation

| From: Yehonatan Chipman <yonarand@...>
|      Let me begin by saying that the "strict separationists" are very
| far from my own viewpoint, and my own gut reaction to such a sign in a
| restaurant would also be negative.  Nevertheless, it is important to
| understand that, if one reads Hazal with objective, unbiased eyes, their
| approach and life-style vis-a-vis men and women is probably far closer
| to that of Meah Shearim than it is to what we call Modern Orthodoxy, and
| one can easily find statements forbidding public mingling of men and
| women.  The burden of proof falls on those who would claim that mehitzah
| is limited to the synagogue alone (which, I believe, they have done --
| but it's still only one halakhic option).  The bottom line, is that on
| many issues there is no single, monolithic halakhah.  Halakhah is also a
| process of interpretation and application of rules to specific
| situations, in a specific time and place and socio-cultural situation.
| The rabbi is not a data bank or computer, but a living human being, who
| filters the Torah he has learned through his mind, through an
| understanding of the total picture and a complex situation.  This is why
| different rabbis can, and do, in all intellectual integrity, come up
| with diametrically opposed rulings--and both may be right!  "Aylu
| ve-aylu divrei elokim hayyim."

Yes, BUT, the same Torah tells us: B'Darchei Noam v'Darchei Shalom - and
a lot of people on the list think this kind of sign is not B'Darchei
Noam v'Darchei Shalom.

Also, this kind of separation is, IMHO, no more than D'Rabbanan, if that
- and our Sages say (quoting from memory here) "Gadol Kavod HaBriyos
sheh-Doche ..." Might this not be a factor, as well?

Nachman Yaakov Ziskind, EA, LLM         <awacs@...>
Attorney and Counselor-at-Law           http://yankel.com
Economic Group Pension Services         http://egps.com
Actuaries and Employee Benefit Consultants


From: Chaim Mateh <chaim-m@...>
Date: Thu, 10 Oct 2002 17:24:01 +0200
Subject: Mechitza

In v37 #32, Janet Rosenbaum <jerosenb@...> wrote:
<<Mechitza isn't in the Shulchan Aruch.>>

Neither is electricity.  Regarding Mechitza during the first few millenia,
except for the Simchas Beis Hashoavo which the Gemoro discusses, I don't
know of any places in which men and women gathered which necessitated a
Mechitza.  AFAIK, the Batei Knesses/Medrashim in the Gemara did not have
any ezras nashim.  Regarding 500 years ago (during the Shulchan Aruch's
time), I am not a historian, but my guess is that the Shuls then either did
not have ezros nashim, or it was such a given and accepted fact that an
ezras nashim was seperated by a mechitza, was a separate room, or was a
balcony, that there was absolutely no need for the Shulchan Aruch to
discuss it.  Even the Mishna Brura 100 years ago didn't find the need to
discuss it.  Only later, when the issue was more widespread and some
controversies developed, was there a need for the Achronim to deal with it.

Kol Tuv,


From: Solomon Spiro <spiro@...>
Date: Wed, 09 Oct 2002 19:23:12 +0200
Subject: mehitzah

BSD Heshvan 4

Regarding the mehitzah in the bet hamikdash.  Some of the correspondents
claim that originally there was no mehitzah in the bet hamikdash and
cite as proof the gemarah Succah 51.

>We know that for hundreds of years, men and women were not separated in
>the Beyt HaMiqdash; we know that the Sanhedrin instituted separate men's
>and women's sections only when the Sanhedrin began to see a decline in
>public morality and an increase in frivolity unsuitable to the Beyt
>HaMiqdash, and which had not existed in generations past.

There is a misreading of the gemara.   Originally the women may not have
come altogether to the simhat bet hashoeva. When they did come, existing
barriers were utilized to separate the sexes. At first "the women were
inside and the men outside."    Outside of what? Outside of the barrier
separating the ezrat nashim for the azarah.  But there still was
frivolity, so the rabbis instituted that the men would be inside that
same barrier, and the women outside. But that did not solve the problem
of frivolity. So they then constructed a balcony for the women. That was
the tikum gadol, because the men and women were equidistant from the
celebrations.  Before,  the separations were horizontal and peforce gave
one group an advantageous position of observation at the expense of the
other group. Now, with the balcony separating the sexes vertically, each
group had an unobstructed view. But that required a new construction,
instead of utilizing existing barriers, so the gemarah queries how the
rabbis could add to the divine plans of the bet hamikdash without a
biblical precedent.  The found a pasuk.   

> >>In regard to the question as to why we say "slach lanu" in the Maariv
>amidah right after Neilah:<<

My rabbi taught me that the reason we say it is to ask for forgiveness
for bitul torah- for the few moments between the end of neilah and the
beginning of ma'ariv .Vehigitem bo yoman valeilah is a serious matter!


From: Andrew Klafter <KLAFTEAB@...>
Date: Thu, 10 Oct 2002 14:56:20 -0400
Subject: RE: Mezuza

>From: Shimon Harary <mendy2@...>
>    I was wondering if anyone knew how to decide on which side of an
>entranceway one places a mezuza if that entranceway is used in both
>directions, ie a hallway entrance or a kitchen with 2 entranceways at
>either end, both used for "entering" [from/to dining area] and
>"leaving" [to/from living area]. No entranceway has any door. Whats
>"in" and whats "out" ? Thank you.

My rabbi instructed me to consider the room in which people spend more
time to be the room that is being "entered."  There are other
approaches, however.

-nachum klafter


From: Nachman Yaakov Ziskind <awacs@...>
Date: Thu, 10 Oct 2002 10:52:14 -0400
Subject: Re: Pruzbul as legal fiction?

| From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
| A week or two ago a statement was made in Mail Jewish that Pruzbul is
| universally accepted as a "legal fiction." I've been waiting in vain in
| the intervening period for someone to comment on this, but as no one
| has, I think it imperative that that statement be firmly and totally
| rejected and negated.
| The statement itself is a primary and fundamental mainstay of the
| Conservative Movement, which uses the "fact" of the "legal fiction" to
| permit all types of modifications in Halachah.
| Halachic thought, as I understand it, is that what Hillel did was merely
| to instutionalize a method which is built into the basic Halachah
| itself, namely the fact that debts under the jurisdiction of the Beit
| Din are not covered by the release of debts in the Shmittah year. In no
| way was his approach a method of bypassing the Torah law by resorting to
| any legal fiction.

But the delivery of debts to the court, from a practical point of view,
changes nothing: same person paying the debt, same person receiving the
money. From a legal point of view, however, everything changes. That's
why it's a legal fiction.

| Along the same lines, the sale of Chametz prior to Pesach is not meant
| to be a legal fiction at all, and the Jew selling it must be willing to
| deliver all the Chametz to the non-Jew who bought it if the non-Jew pays
| the market value of the Chametz.

Oh? How many times have you delivered on your Chametz contract? Do you
expect to EVER deliver? I didn't think so.

But, legally, the sale makes all the difference in the world. That's why
it's a legal fiction.

| Incidentally, an example of a legal fiction, from English law, is that
| centuries ago legal documents in England had to name the town in which
| they were located as well as the river along which the town was
| situated. If a town was not situated near a river, the contract would
| say "in the town of ... along the river ....", even if that particular
| river might be miles away.

Oh? Is that why the name of city in a Get must also include the name of
a body of a water?

(BTW, Aryeh Kaplan had a wonderful article in one of his books about
writing a divorce in Monsey, and the Halachic mind-set which governed
the process, and the ramifications.)

Nachman Yaakov Ziskind, EA, LLM         <awacs@...>
Attorney and Counselor-at-Law           http://yankel.com
Economic Group Pension Services         http://egps.com
Actuaries and Employee Benefit Consultants


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 13 Oct 2002 16:57:59 -0400
Subject: RE: A Psychological Approach to Assimilation

I would use a psychological approach to the reason for assimilation.

It is well known (even among non-jews) that marriage is not just about
physical needs (food, sex, shelter) but also about social needs (social
recognition, need for accomplishment/ fullfillment, need for
intellectual challenges).

What the emancipation did is give Jews alternate outlets for
accomplishment, recognition and intellectual challenges.

As a simple example Jews are disproportionally represented among the
sciences, nobel prizes etc. It would seem that science gave Jews an
opportunity to develop their minds, make contributions and be socially

My opinion is that the post-shulchan-aruch era did not leave similar
opportunities in Jewish learning--there seems to be more of an emphasis
on authority than reason, on belonging than leading, on receiving
(traditions) than contributing.

This creates a simple progression: 1st) The non-jews provide an
environment for accopmlishment, recognition and intellectual challenge;
2nd) The persons social circle changes to these people; 3rd) A small
percentage of these people will inevitably intermarry--their needs are
being met elsewhere; 4th) 2nd and 3rd generations from this
intermarriage are assimilated

The above may sound like an oversimplification--but I believe it is the
real description of what is going on. The solution would be to somehow
encourage and recognize original ideas in Jewish learning But this is
hard to do in halachah. I thereore welcome a thread on this.

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


End of Volume 37 Issue 39