Volume 37 Number 44
                 Produced: Sun Oct 20 10:57:44 US/Eastern 2002

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Adoption of Minhagim
         [Perry Zamek]
Business Ethics (2)
         [E. Stieglitz, Carl Singer]
         [Eli Turkel]
A New Reason for Rabbinic Fences for Modesty
         [Russell J Hendel]
Techum (was Travel on (or close to) Shabbat & Yom Tov)
         [Gershon Dubin]
What Was That Fruit?
         [Stan Tenen]


From: Perry Zamek <jerusalem@...>
Date: Mon, 14 Oct 2002 11:15:15 +0200
Subject: Adoption of Minhagim

My wife and I recently spent a Shabbat at a hotel. There were a number
of simchas there -- in particular, Shabbat Hatan celebrations for two
Sefardi and one Ashkenazi couples.

There seems to have been an increase in the number of young Ashkenazi
couples who have adopted what was, once, a purely Sefardi custom, that
of a "Shabat Hatan" after the wedding (during the week of Sheva

The question is: to what extent has there been cross-community movement
of minhagim? That is, adoption of Sefardi customs by Ashkenazim and vice
versa. I'm not interested what individuals may have done, but more in
what has become normal in one community, even though, say, 20 years ago
it was purely the domain of the other.

Any suggestions?

Perry Zamek


From: E. Stieglitz <ephraim0@...>
Date: Wed, 16 Oct 2002 08:48:05 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Business Ethics

> From: Nachman Yaakov Ziskind <awacs@...>
> 1) In New York State a merchant is not allowed to impose a minimum
> charge for credit card use. Lots of stores ignore this rule. Putting
> Halachic to the side, do you really want to do business with a store
> that breaks the law and conducts unethical business practices? Who says
> that you won't be the next victim?

The reason that many merchants refuse to charge small transactions is
that the credit card company charges would wipe out any profit they
might make on the transaction. Though I don't know the specifics, one
merchant told me that the credit card company imposes a fee of some base
charge plus a percentage of the total transaction. If this fee is $1.00
+ 2%, then on a $4.00 charge, the merchant only gets $2.92! (Made-up
numbers, no idea what they actually are). Since some stores work on very
thin margins, this might be below their actual cost to stock and sell
the item.

In one store that I visit most days, the clerk has handed me my purchase
and asked me to remember to pay the next day rather than charge a small
purchase that would cause him to lose money.

This brings up another issue: Is it halachically permissible to charge
small amounts when you know that the store will lose money as a result?

From: <CARLSINGER@...> (Carl Singer)
Date: Wed, 16 Oct 2002 07:12:19 EDT
Subject: Re: Business Ethics

      But I would raise a different question, in the same spirit as
      those raised by Ari. Suppose there are two competing stores, one
      owned by a Jew, the other by a non-Jew. Normally we would be
      supposed to patronize our coreligionist. What if he provides very
      poor service, as opposed to his competitor, who goes out of his
      way to provide good service (assume price is not an issue). Are we
      still to purchase from the Jewish-owned store?

This raises a more general question -- let's say in any consumer
situation we have an (economic) choice of (purchasing from) A or B.  And
let's say we choose A (for any reasons of cost, quality, service, etc.)
Let's later introduce the fact the B is Jewish (and A is not) -- how, if
at all, should that impact our choice.  For that matter, we can reverse
the situation, also.

2 true anecdotes. 

1 - sitting across the table at a Shabbos tish from some Chasdishe
yungeleit at a hotel they tell me they would rather by Plony's potato
chips because Plony is a frum Jew and the (extra?) profit he makes he'd
give (tithe?) to tzedukah.  Note: this is not a discussion of kashruth.
They realize that they can buy other (national) brands cheaper.  I asked
why not by the other brand and put the nickel (saved) directly into a

2 - about 15+ years ago there was a non-observant Jewish woman who
worked as a secretary in my organization.  I once gave her typing to do
several days before Yom Tov (Shavuos.)  It was only as I was leaving for
home on erev Shavous that she told me that she'd (finally) get around to
doing the work tomorrow.  I asked that she wait 'til I get back so I
could reveiw it with her. ------- But one can easily paint similar
situations where one would NOT want to do business with a Jew for
similar reasons of their being mechalel Shabbos, perhaps to do our work.

Kol Tov
Carl Singer


From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
Date: Wed, 16 Oct 2002 14:46:32 GMT
Subject: Friday/Sunday

Rav Soloveitchik writes that one who comes home late friday and rushes
into the shower and then to shul is not keeping the mitzvah of kavod

In many communties in Israel there exists a "kolel yom shishi" where
there are shiurim friday morning because many people are free then


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 13 Oct 2002 17:02:11 -0400
Subject: A New Reason for Rabbinic Fences for Modesty

Chaim Mateh answers Yeshaya (v37n34) regarding the reasons for modesty

>>In v37 #20, Yeshaya <chihal@...> wrote:
<< Do those men really feel that just looking or listening to women talk
will set off base urges? Lead them to sin?>>
Chaim Continues: 
I have heard this question raised regarding almost every "restriction"
that Hallacha puts on us in the realm of tzius.  For example, will
looking at a married woman's uncovered hair lead me to sin?!  Will
looking at a woman's (shoulder-elbow) arm lead me to sin?  And what's
wrong with sitting mixed in Shul anyway?  Will sitting next to my wife
lead me to sin?!<<

This is answered by Rabbi Manus Friedman in his book DOESNT ANYONE BLUSH
ANYMORE: Rabbi Friedman explains that we ARE NOT worried about sin. The
reasons for most laws of modesty are to help create a sense of personal
borders. To use Rabbi Friedmans own example: We are not eg worried that
if Moses and Sarah went into a room alone, that they would sin; but
rather we are encouraging them to create borders (Perhaps a better word
is atmosphere).

If I understand Rabbi Friedman correctly I think he is saying that OVER
AND ABOVE the prophylactic aspect of the rabbinic prohibiitons there is
ALSO a positive aspect to these prohibitions in that they create the
MODESTY atmosphere that eg Micha spoke about (What does God
require...except...walk modestly before God)

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


From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Wed, 16 Oct 2002 14:18:42 GMT
Subject: Techum (was Travel on (or close to) Shabbat & Yom Tov)

From: Aharon Fischman <afischman@...>

> If I recall from Mishnayot Eruvin that one squares off the border of a
> town to establish a techum.  Using NYC as an example of a town, the
> border within the square would include large portions of NJ, and make
> the issue of crossing the George Washington Bridge on Shabbat moot since
> both sides could _theoretically_ be in the same techum.

No.  Since the GWB is an expanse of greater than (2 x) 70 amos without
houses, this separates the two parts and renders them separate cities.

It is important in considering applications of eruvin in modern times to
realize that municipal borders are irrelevant; contiguity of housing is
what matters.  Thus a "city" could encompass several
towns/counties/states, or, conversely, be made up of only a portion of
the municipally defined city.

This means that the answer to your second question is yes, the
Boston/NY/Washington corridor could be one city.  If it in fact is not,
the break points are not likely to be coterminal with the city limits of
each city along the way.



From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Wed, 16 Oct 2002 07:27:09 -0400
Subject: Re: What Was That Fruit?

At 05:24 AM 10/16/02, Bill Bernstein wrote:
>A recent post on a completely different subject mentioned that according
>to some the Pri Eitz Hadas was an esrog.  I remember hearing there were
>three opinions on this: esrog, grape, and wheat(!).  Sorry I do not have
>a source for this as I heard it about 15 years ago.

There is a simple explanation for why different commentators have suggested 
different fruit.

When we are told that Torah is a "tree of life for those who grasp it",
it's a mistake to think that this refers to any particular tree.  In
fact, what's being said here is that Torah has an hierarchical
"tree-like" structure, which applies to all common trees and "tree-ing".
This is why many different types of fruit are often suggested for what
appears to be just one kind of tree in Torah.

Each fruit brings a different quality to the process of "tree-ing".
Different commentators, emphasizing different aspects, thus will pick
different fruit.

When one wants to designate the process indicated in B'reshit 1:11,
which includes the phrase, "Fruit tree yielding fruit whose seed is in
itself," two particular fruit immediately come to mind.

When the aspect of "pulling through itself" is being discussed, the word
"t'puach" (which is commonly translated as "apple") is correct, not
because this is an apple, but because "t'puach" is the process of
pulling through itself.

When the aspect of self-awareness, or self-reference is being
emphasized, the fig is often mentioned.  This is because the word for
fig is related to the word for "I" or "I am", and this is

Also, when the discussion concerns something that flowers or blossoms on
the outside, the apple is a better choice.  When the discussion concerns
something that flowers or blossoms on the inside, the fig is a better
choice.  (It can actually be shown that geometric models representing
the apple and the fig are inversions of each other -- but this is not
something I can describe in words, here. <smile>)

The willow -- aravah -- is associated with discussions concerning the
raven -- "orev"; the evening -- "erev"; Arabia -- "arav"; or a whirlpool
-- "arbol".  All of these Ayin-Resh-Bet root words are associated with
the geometry of Zer Anpin. So, when this is being discussed, the willow
is the tree of choice.

Likewise, the hadas and the etrog are associated with the _geometry_ of
Sukkos.  (But this is also hard to illustrate here. <smile>).

The point is that in Torah, animals and things are named according to
their functions.  When a function that needs to be part of Torah can't
be described or contained by association with one simple name, then more
than one name can be used or interpreted.

This is common.  We call a person who does carpentry, "Mr. Carpenter,"
and we call a person who comes from Holland, "Mr. Hollander".  Adam
gives the creatures their names according to what they're known for.

So, it's actually correct to consider the fruit of the tree in Gan Eden
to be an "apple" and/or a "fig" and/or a "sprig of grain," an "ear of
corn", and several others as well.

Each is correct, depending on what aspect we're discussing.

Personal note: I got into checking this out because of the strange and
child-embarrassing fact that my name is "Tenen", from "Tenenbaum," which
many people recognize as a word meaning "Christmas-tree" in German.
(With variant spellings, of course.)  How could it be that my
grandparents were named "Christmas-tree"?  And no, I didn't buy the
"Chanukah bush"-style explanations -- at the time.  So, I did some

As it turns out, the "Christmas-tree" is controversial for people who
are interested in it also.  They question how a source of pagan worship
-- a big, globe-infested pine tree -- could have become important to
them.  The answer is that when Christianity moved into Europe, it
absorbed and adapted local customs.  But why allow this particular
custom?  The answer turns out to be meaningful.

Strange as it seems, there actually is a connection between the "Tree of
Life" and the "Tenenbaum".  (I'll stick to my family spelling.)  The
Tree of Life is associated with Adam Kadmon, and with Gan Eden and the
coming of self-awareness.  (In fact, the Christians associate their hero
with Adam Kadmon.)

The Tree of Life is thus also a Tree of "Self-Awareness".  And
self-awareness is associated with the root that also means "fig",
t'enah.  Our sephirotic Tree of Life is hung with ten "baubles" of
light.  (At least, this is what a sketch would look like to a non-Jewish
person who didn't know what they were looking at.)

So, in fact, it's likely that the early Church authorities in parts of
Europe where big trees were big, friendly idols, allowed the "tree of
self-awareness" associated with their hero to become associated with the
local pine trees.

This sort of thing happens all the time.  The principle is simple.  God
is not a noun; God is a verb.  We are not "things", life is (we are)
"process".  At the deepest levels, trees aren't maple or pine or ash or
oak; they are what all of these _do_ -- they are "tree-ings".  When we
get below the potentially idolatrous noun-level of things, to their
dynamic processes and relationship meanings as verbs, what we can
understand becomes deeper and closer to the truth.

I didn't learn that Hebrew roots are verb-based in yeshiva, but rather
from physicist David Bohm's wonderful little book (1980, now somewhat
out of date), "Wholeness and the Implicate Order," (page 30):

"Now, in some ancient languages -- for example, Hebrew -- the verb was
in fact taken as primary, in the sense described above.  Thus, the root
of almost all words in Hebrew was a certain verbal form, while adverbs,
adjectives and nouns were obtained by modifying the verbal form with
prefixes, suffixes, and in other ways.  However, in modern Hebrew the
actual usage is similar to that of English, in that the noun is in fact
given a primary role in its meaning, even tough in the formal grammar
all is still built from the verb as a root."

So, in fact, the hadas is not "a myrtle", it's "myrtl-ing".  <smile>



End of Volume 37 Issue 44