Volume 41 Number 55
                 Produced: Wed Dec 24  6:07:28 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Bad Manners and the Benefit of the Doubt (5)
         [Carl Singer, Bill Bernstein, Jeanette Friedman, Batya Medad,
Ari Trachtenberg]
Citing Saadyah Gaon
         [Moshe Goldberg]
Double Names
         [Elozor Mayer Preil]
Funerals & Headlights (2)
         [Carl Singer, Jeanette Friedman]
Good Manners (2)
         [Carl Singer, Chana Luntz]
Kosher in Grenoble?
         [Shlomo Argamon]
Siddur for Military Personnel
         [Martin Stern]


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Mon, 22 Dec 2003 07:38:25 -0500
Subject: Bad Manners and the Benefit of the Doubt

From: Anonymous

>A few weeks ago we hosted our next door neighbors for a Shabbos
>meal. The husband is a young talmid hacham, who has published several
>books which have received enthusiastic haskamot from the most
>illustrious rabbeim in this country (most of whom seem to know him
>personally). My husband has a great respect for this Rav and attends his
>weekly shiur.
>The man walked into our house, pulled a book off the shelf and proceeded
>to read it all through the seuda, while my husband made kiddush (he
>asked to make his own - which is fine), and between the courses. His
>wife seemed to ask him to put the book down a few times (though they
>spoke in their native language, which we do not understand), but he
>ignored her.
>Once he finally got rid of the book, we had some conversation and he
>made a few references to his books.
>Personally I felt quite disgusted, but I am aware of the obligation to
>give this person a benefit of the doubt. Any suggestions how such rude
>behavior could be excused?

If this talmid hacham believes that it is zman bitul torah to socialize
at a Shabbos meal with his hosts then he should decline the invitation

One could propose that he is extremely shy or that he is uncomfortable
speaking in your language.  But that doesn't explain reading at the

One can certainly socialize or have conversation around the Shabbos
table that envolves Torah -- usual discussions of the Parsha, etc.
Years ago when we frequently hosted Yeshiva Bocherim for Shabbos Lunch,
it was de rigueur for them to bring Torah to the table.

Carl Singer
(Don't talk with your mouth full :)

From: Bill Bernstein <bbernst@...>
Date: Mon, 22 Dec 2003 09:03:32 -0600
Subject: Re: Bad Manners and the Benefit of the Doubt

Anonymous asks about a really unpleasant-sounding dinner guest.  I might
offer that the person may be extremely shy.  I have noticed that shy
people often appear as aloof or even arrogant even though that is not
the case.  That doesn't mean you have to subject yourself to that kind
of guest again, though.  I know I wouldn't.

Living in Nashville, a big convention city, we have gotten over the
years a number of guests for Shabbos.  Almost all of them were a
pleasure to have and really added a lot to Shabbos.  But we had one
fellow who had published several noted books with big haskamos and all.
He was just impossible, denigrating anything we did and filled with
advice and suggestions for what we ought to be doing instead.  I could
understand why he did those things but that doesnt mean I would welcome
him back anytime soon.

Bill Bernstein
Nashville TN

From: <FriedmanJ@...> (Jeanette Friedman)
Date: Mon, 22 Dec 2003 08:52:54 EST
Subject: Re: Bad Manners and the Benefit of the Doubt

It cannot be excused. it is outrageous and he should ask mechila for
doing that.

From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Mon, 22 Dec 2003 16:25:08 +0200
Subject: Re: Bad Manners and the Benefit of the Doubt

There's no excuse for such rudeness.  Where's the derech eretz?  It's
obviously not his specialty.  Your husband (I presume that he wouldn't
agree to speak to you) should prepare yourselves with appropriate
halachik references to proper behavior bein adam l'chareiro and speak to
him in private of course.  If you don't, you'll be tempted to lashon
haraah.  Because of the story of Miriam, Aaron and Moshe, I wouldn't
consult with his rav, which is too similar to what Miriam did.

Do it as soon as possible, so you'll have peace of mind.


From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Mon, 22 Dec 2003 11:02:41 -0500
Subject: Re: Bad Manners and the Benefit of the Doubt

Social awkwardness?  The person has trouble relating to people, but can
read and write books well.  Best,

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


From: Moshe Goldberg <mgold@...>
Date: Tue, 23 Dec 2003 14:13:30 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Re: Citing Saadyah Gaon

> From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
> > "Our nation is only a nation through its Torah"
> Emunot veDeot 3,7

I think the correct quote is: "... through its Torot" -- that is plural,
"Toroteha". As was explained to me, the Gaon is referring specifically
to the written and the oral Torah. For many years, this quote was
written on the Torah ark of the main synagogue in Neve Shaanan, Haifa.

Moshe Goldberg


From: <EMPreil@...> (Elozor Mayer Preil)
Date: Tue, 23 Dec 2003 00:31:57 EST
Subject: Re: Double Names

      Moshe Mordecai, first given to a boy born of the seventh day of
      Adar the traditional birthday and yahrzeit of Moshe Rabeinu.  The
      child's brit would take place eight days later on Shushan Purim.
      Therefore he would be given the double name Moshe Mordecai.

The child's bris would, of course, be SEVEN days later (on the eighth
day of his life) on Purim proper.

Kol tuv,
Elozor Mayer Preil (who was born on 7 Adar, yet named for my father's


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Tue, 23 Dec 2003 07:46:03 -0500
Subject: Funerals & Headlights

> Is this for logistic reasons, so that people should be able to follow
> each other, or is there a religious significance of having a light,
> similar to lighting candles for the dead?

It's likely logistics.

It is the law in many U.S. states that one must yield to a funeral
cortege when the vehicles have their headlights on.  If you wish, do a
search (google) on the words funeral and headlights and you will be
pointed to many such laws.

Carl Singer

From: <FriedmanJ@...> (Jeanette Friedman)
Date: Tue, 23 Dec 2003 08:36:29 EST
Subject: Re: Funerals & Headlights

yes, this is for logistic reasons. However, it no longer applies, since
in many locations it is now mandatory for headlights to be on at all
times (Canada, parts of the US) for visibility and safety reasons. In
fact, my car automatically turns on "driving lights" (headlamps) as soon
as the engine is started.

The idea was, in the old days, before these safety laws were
implemented, that a train of cars with their headlights on would not be
broken by other drivers, that those who didn't know where they were
could follow those in front of them, and that they all had a "heter" to
go through red lights and stop signs.  It has absolutely nothing to do
with Judaism and Halacha.  

jeanette friedman


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Mon, 22 Dec 2003 08:23:50 -0500
Subject: Good Manners

> Just a tale to add to that pot that, I think, is sadly representative of
> at least a portion of the training that is being dispensed in our
> schools.  I was at a shul the other night (for a sunset-based
> mincha/ma'ariv combo) and the rabbi approached another fellow and me to
> ask whether we could assist with a shiva minyan several blocks away.
> The fellow, in the garb of the pre-20s or 20ish yeshiva student, said,
> "I don't know, I'm worried about making z'man mincha."  Bulletin: a
> person may assume that the mora d'asra of the shul has considered
> z'manei tefillah when scheduling a shiva minyan (also, in emergent
> situations, one may rely upon utilizing 10 minutes past shkiah), and
> it's hardly the place of a bochur to correct the rav.  In this instance,
> faulty technical knowledge was compounded by a faulty (or at least IMHO)
> sense of respect.

Sounds like the "ME" generation.  The statement regards his concern
about HIS making z'man mincha.  The need of the shiva minyan -- and
perhaps the mitzvah associated with comforting the morner were seemingly
less important.

It seems that this discussion should go beyond analyzing the quick reply
from the young man and extend into our own decision making.

Here's the scenario -- it's last zman for mincha (however you calculate
that) and you're asked to leave your minyan (of at least 11 men) which
is about to start in order to be the 10th at a shiva minyan -- which
will make you (and them) all (let's say) 10 minutes late.  It is certain
that there are only nine at the shiva minyan, and because others are
unaware you would be the (only) tenth, etc.  What is the halachic
choice?  What is the social choice?

Although women don't have the same time factor re: davening, I'm sure
one could construct a similar scenario re: for example, licht benching
-- it's time to bench and your neighbor who's child is very ill knocks
on your door seeking help.

A freilechen Chanukah

Carl Singer

From: Chana Luntz <chana@...>
Date: Mon, 22 Dec 2003 16:31:24 +0000
Subject: Good Manners

In message <20031204121824.24436.qmail@...>, Leah Aharoni writes
>I think everyone is in agreement that people who devote themselves to
>rigorous Torah study are "special."

Actually, I do not agree.

There have been numbers of non religious professors of Talmud at various
institutions who have devoted themselves to rigorous Torah study, and I
don't know that they are (or are to be regarded as being) particularly

In fact there is a very famous story about a particular professor of
Talmud at (as I heard the tale) The Hebrew University.

When asked why he was not religious, he replied "you see the professor
of Mathematics over there - why don't you ask him why he is not a

I think using the non religious professor of Talmud as an example helps
clarify what is going on here.  It is perfectly possible to devote one's
entire life to the study of Torah, and yet not be a talmid chacham, (and
yes, one can even do it in yeshiva, where do you think many of these
professors of Talmud got their training?).

If you had seen the particular yeshiva bochur in question walk into a
treif MacDonalds (have to say that, some of them in Israel are kosher),
order a cheeseburger and eat it, while you might try your best to find
some limud zchus, if that proves impossible, what would you conclude?

That is, in simple terms, somebody is not a talmid chacham, no matter
how many blatt gemora he has learnt, unless he also lives the life of

Why should one take any different view to somebody violating Torah
requirements vis a vis derech eretz than one takes to violating Torah
requirements of kashrus or shabbas?

Now maybe the fellow does not know that what he is doing is in violation
of Torah requirements.  (Eg he thought all MacDonalds were kosher
because some in Israel or, or more commonly, he thought he could carry
on shabbas in any city in the world, because in Israel there is always
an eruv).  One clearly has a different attitude if it is b'mazid or
b'shogeg - but still, one's natural tendency is not to rate his learning
very highly (although possibly you can lay that at the door of his
institution for failing to teach properly).  How would you respond in
this kind of case?  Why should whatever the reaction should be be any
different in a case of violation of Torah principles of derech eretz?

Chana Luntz


From: Shlomo Argamon <argamon@...>
Date: Tue, 23 Dec 2003 04:44:30 -0600
Subject: Kosher in Grenoble?

Anyone know if there is a kosher restaurant or other kosher facilities
for a traveler in Grenoble, France?



From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, 23 Dec 2003 11:42:34 +0000
Subject: Re: Siddur for Military Personnel

on 23/12/03 10:52 am, Joseph I. Lauer <josephlauer@...> wrote:

> I heard long ago of a similar situation occurring around World War II
> when a Siddur was prepared for Jewish service personnel in the United
> States armed forces and it was suggested that the davening between
> Bor'chu and the Amidah for Shacharis be shortened for emergencies
> situations in the manner apparently later adopted by the IDF (although
> it is unclear to me if the adoption by the IDF was for everyday
> purposes or only for emergency situations).

A similar abridged siddur was produced by the British Chief Rabbinate
entitled "Prayer Book for Jewish Members of H.M. Forces" (1st edition
1914, revised edition 1940) which also abridges the berachah 'yotser or'
in the way Mr Lauer mentions, together with the omission of many other

Martin Stern


End of Volume 41 Issue 55