Volume 39 Number 41
                 Produced: Thu May 22  5:50:08 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Adam and Eves Wedding
         [Russell J Hendel]
Another rabbi charged with fraud (3)
         [Irwin Weiss, Carl Singer, Y. Wise]
Candle safety
         [Charles Halevi]
Candles While Travelling
         [Gil Student]
Hot water on shabbat
         [Ari Zivotofsky]
         [Batya Medad]
Mechitza - Chumrah
         [Eli Turkel]
Sfira beards
         [Bernard Raab]


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 18 May 2003 21:47:17 -0400
Subject: Adam and Eves Wedding

In v39n28 and further there is a lot of dicsussion about Adam and Eves
wedding (eg Daniel Wells (v39n28) responding to several people) or
Reuben Rudman (v39n30).

In all the technical debates I have not seen any clear statement of WHY?
Why does anyone care if God was Eves hair dresser or if Michael and
Gavriel were best men.

I was privileged to hear Rabbi Dr J B Soloveitchick for 7 years.  In one
of those years the Rav taught Eyn Yaakov (the portion of the Talmud
dealing with stories and aggadah). Thus I learned the techniques by
which one judges such stories.

The Rav cited the Guide to the Perplexed: The Rambam explains that any
statement of the form "God doex X" is equivalantly a statement that "X
is moral".  In other words, since God is incorporeal our attribution of
properties to God is our way of stating that certain acts are Moral.

The Rav used this basic motif to explain many strange and bizarre
agaddoth. In this particular instance I can apply the Ravs principles:
If God was Eves hairdresser and Michael and Gavriel were the best men at
the wedding then we must infer that it is a highly moral activity to do
everything possible to gladden the hearts of the bride and bridegroom.

Note: Without this agaddah I would have thought that hairdressing is
something physical devoid of spiritual value. The fact that God was Eves
hairdresser (fixed her hair) tells me how high a spiritual value it
is. The fact that Michael and Gavriel participated in the wedding tells
us how important it is.

I doubt that anyone reading this did not know that it was a Mitzvah to
gladden the bride and bridegroom. But the novelty here is that this
mitzvah attribute applies even to highly physical things.

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


From: Irwin Weiss <irwin@...>
Date: Fri, 16 May 2003 08:12:11 -0400
Subject: Another rabbi charged with fraud

It is terribly painful when a respected Rav or other respected person in
our community engages in criminal activity.  It is of course not limited
to Orthodox Rabbanim, as there have recently been scandals involving
Conservative and Reform as well.  Do we somehow think that Orthodox
Rabbanim should be held to a higher standard, since they do tend to be
more m'dakdek as to observance of Mitzvot than colleagues in the other
divisions of Judaism?

I can tell you from my law practice that there are Greeks, Italians,
African-Americans, Jews, and many others who attempt to cheat the system
in a number of ways that make you sick.


From: <CARLSINGER@...> (Carl Singer)
Date: Fri, 16 May 2003 07:24:36 EDT
Subject: Another rabbi charged with fraud

        Once again I read a newspaper story about a rabbi (with a
      previous criminal record!) charged with fraud. Those who are
      What can we do about this? They're not only massive khilullay
      HaShem (desecrations of God's name) -- this minority taints the
      majority of us who are honest.
      2. Use actual case examples of what these temptations are.  Name
      names of convicted rabbis.  3. Warn every high school and
      college/smicha student that if they ever are convicted, the
      yeshiva will name these people in the beit medrash and also name
      them in alumni mailings.

I don't think threats, naming names, etc., will be effective.  It may
make some folks feel good because they've done something in response to
this public Chilul HaShem, or they feel betrayed by an acquaintance, but
since one might presume that criminals don't think they'll get caught.
If jail and fines aren't a deterrent why should one think that community
ostracism will be.  Not to mention halachic issues -- which will leave
to someone else to expound upon.

This may seem trivial in comparison to the above posting and the problem
/ solution it expounds, but another concern is the media use of the term
"Rabbi," and our own use of that term.

The media will continue to use the term Rabbi when anyone who calls
himself that gets into trouble -- that's part of the sensationalism --
so people who call themselves "Rabbi" need to do so in context.  I know
people with smicha who work in the computer industry.  It would be
ridiculous for them to call themselves "Rabbi" in that context.  One may
refer to them as Rabbi at shule or socially (and many ask that you
don't) but not at work.  Unfortunately, people not acting as clergy,
teachers or sopherim use the title "Rabbi" to enhance their reputation
or perceived trustworthiness.  So is your accountant with Smicha
Mr. Jones or Rabbi Jones.  Your nursing home owner or landlord, the

To that end, I notice a subtlety in our community's phone book, put out
by the local Yeshiva.  There are over 1,000 families in Passaic and
(B"H) growing.  A Rabbi who serves in a shule is listed along with his
wife as R/R -- Rabbi & Rebbetzin.  Someone with Smicha who does not is
listed as R/M -- Rabbi & Mrs.

When I lived in Wynnewood, PA (suburban Philadelphia) it was clear that
all of the physician's children called me "mister" all of the university
faculty's children called me "doctor" -- the only exception to this rule
was that the Nobel Laureate who lived across the street from me was
called "Doctor" by both factions.

Doctor, Colonel, Mister  Carl Singer,  BS, MS, PhD,  PMP,  ...  make that

From: <Smwise3@...> (Y. Wise)
Date: Fri, 16 May 2003 18:54:52 EDT
Subject: Re: Another rabbi charged with fraud

I have my complaints about what yeshivas do and don;t do, but this seems
more in the realm of personality deficiency, which leads a person to do
wrong when they know better.  Does any one who attended yeshiva have to
be reminded that getting invollved in criminal activity is a chilul
Hashem and of course wrong? I would rather yeshivos imbued their
talmidim with responsibility for supporting their families instead of
making business deals witha kallah's father.

Y. Wise


From: <halevi@...> (Charles Halevi)
Date: Tue, 20 May 2003 10:20:09 -0500
Subject: Candle safety

Shalom, All:

	Immanuel Burton notes >>When my father lights a yahrzeit candle he places
the glass containing the candle on an upturned glass plate.  This arrangement
helps to diffuse the heat from the candle away from from the table top as
the candle burns down.  Perhaps this should be taken into account if you
don't have a "proper" tea light holder.<<
	For Shabbat candles I use a ceramic tile costing all of, oh, say 50 cents.
Very safe, and no worry about ruining a plate with hard to remove waxy buildup.

Charles Chi (Yeshaya) Halevi


From: Gil Student <gil_student@...>
Date: Tue, 20 May 2003 10:30:27 -0400
Subject: Re: Candles While Travelling

Immanuel Burton wrote:
>Volume 3, Chapter 43, Paragraph 4, Section C(1) of the
>English translation of Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchosh says
>that there are authorities that allow use of electric lights
>for Shabbos lights, provided they are turned on for the
>sake of being Shabbos lights. Could one therefore rely
>on this and use a couple of small torches (flashlights)
>when in a hotel?

That is essentially what we did in our dorm rooms in yeshiva. However,
the lightbulb must be incandescent and the glass must be completely
see-through. We would have a little plastic lightbulb fixture in which
we would place a lightbulb. We said a berachah and then turned it on.  I
don't see why this would not work in a hotel. I'm sure that there are
people who do so.

Gil Student


From: Ari Zivotofsky <zivotoa@...>
Date: Tue, 20 May 2003 13:42:08 +0300
Subject: Hot water on shabbat

[Avi- I was asked to forward this to you to post. thanks, ari] 

I think that there are probably some capable entrepeneurs who could come
to the assistance of the Shomer Shabbat community and also make some
money. As far as I know, all poskim believe that is is forbidden to turn
on the hot water in your house on Shabbat -- yet many people find this
halakhah too difficult to follow. (In Israel, where they use solar
heaters, I assume this would be permitted -- halakhic experts, correct
me if I am wrong). There is a way around this problem, and that is to
lower the temperature of the boiler to below yad soledet bo. There are
various opinions as to what yad soledet bo is, from 114 degrees to
125. If you use a cheap thermometer, it is easy to find the exact
temperature you need. Just lower it in the evening and in the morning
you can do the experiment, and then you can mark the proper place on the
dial so every Friday afternnoon you can lower the temperature to where
it needs to be.  With this done you can use the hot water, and I don't
see why you shouldn't also be able to take a shower (Again, halakhic
experts will have to weigh in on whether one can wash the hair. If you
don't lather the shampoo, this too should be permitted). The problem is
that the average person is not going to go down to the basement every
week and lower the temperature, and even one who is willing to do this
will often forget. Can someone create a timer that will automatically
lower the temperature every Friday and then raise it again on Saturday
night. I am sure most people have seen the new digital timers that can
be set to work weekly. Why can't we do the same thing with the boiler?
In terms of spreading shemirat shabbat ke- hilkhatah, it would be a
great advance, as significant as the widespread introduction of the eruv
25 years ago.  

Thank you. 
Marc Shapiro


From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Tue, 20 May 2003 13:27:25 +0200
Subject: Re: Mechitza

      mechitza is a minimum height (about a meter, I think (?)) and
      creates a separation between men and women, is it not kosher? How
      can a mechitza (or food or anything else) be "very" kosher. Sure I
      understand that one

I've been in too many "Orthodox" shuls with minimally kosher mechitzot.
Men an women separated by a halachikly high enough, mostly transparent
"mechitza."  When sitting, it almost feels separate, if you bury your
nose in your siddur, but standing?  Unless one of them is under four and
a half feet, and the other over six feet, it's a farce.  I've seen m/f
couples holding hands when "separated" like that.  Another problem: the
male bleachers facing the female ones--nothing to block the view.

I like to know what's going on "down there" and think it makes for
better dovening, but I don't want to be on display.  That's the point of
the separation; we should be able to see when the Aron Kodesh is open or
shut, but we shouldn't be able to watch or communicate with the opposite



From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
Date: Tue, 20 May 2003 16:15:59 GMT
Subject: Mechitza - Chumrah

> "Not to nitpick, but what is a "very kosher" mechitza?  Assuming
> that the mechitza is a minimum height (about a meter, I think (?))
> and creates a separation between men and women, is it not kosher? How
> can a mechitza (or food or anything else) be "very" kosher. Sure I
> understand that one can be more machmir, or take a maximalist
> approach and try to satisfy the requirements of all or most poskim,
> but that does NOT mean that a minimalist approach that follows a
> recognized posek's (or one's own LOR's) opinion is not kosher, nor is
> a maximalist approach "more kosher" than such a minimalist or middle
> approach. Such a position denigrates poskim in general and imho
> damages the halachic process.

In this case even R. Moshe Feinstein does not claim that his low heights
for a mechitza are optimal. He gives a minimal height for it to be
kosher given the times that there were great pressures to completely
remove mechitzot. It is clear that he would advise a higher height when

Eli Turkel,  <turkel@...> on 05/20/2003
Department of Mathematics, Tel Aviv University


From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Thu, 15 May 2003 12:27:24 -0400
Subject: Sfira beards

Anonymous wrote:
>>As someone who grows a sfira beard and did NOT shave it off yesterday
for a job interview (I need my potential new manager to know me for who
I am -- as regards to travel on Friday's, business meals, etc.)  I,
nonetheless, would hesitate to impune any psak that allows someone to
shave given that it might impact their parnoseh (livelyhood / income.)
"Jewish Pride" does not fully enter into the halachic equation.<<

Some years ago I met a Rav/fundraiser for one of the great Eastern
"black-hat" yeshivos during the sfira period. We were both on a flight
to Houston, Texas on business, he in proper Rabbinic garb, me, don't ask
(very casual--and clean-shaven). We chatted amiably and he revealed that
he was going to visit a single individual in Houston whom he had been
trying to get an appointment with for a long time, and had finally
succeeded. He then confessed that he was planning to trim and neaten up
his beard, and remove the sfira growth prior to the meeting. I was quite
shocked and attempted to reassure him that his appearance was in all
respects quite acceptable. He was adamant, however, and insisted that he
wanted nothing to interfere with the business portion of his
visit. Needless to say, I re-learned a bit of "halacha lema'aser" from
this incident.


End of Volume 39 Issue 41