Volume 44 Number 38
                    Produced: Mon Aug 23  4:54:44 EDT 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Chumrot At Other's Expense
         [Martin Stern]
Frummer,  Chumras, Parasites
         [Carl Singer]
Halachic parasitism
         [Chana Luntz]
Non-Jews at a Seder
         [Immanuel Burton]
Stroller Clarification / Eruv
         [Leah S. Gordon]


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Fri, 20 Aug 2004 09:16:36 +0100
Subject: Re: Chumrot At Other's Expense

on 20/8/04 2:37 am, Leah Perl Shollar <leahperl@...> wrote:

> Here's a thought:
> Usually families follow the minhagim of the husband.  What if the
> husband is not comfortable with using the eruv, whereas the wife is?
> She does not want to stay inside all Shabbos, and feels that if there is
> a halachically suitable solution she wants to use it.

There is a slight confusion here. A woman is expected to follow her
husband's minhag and not her own family's when she marries, whether it
comes out a kullah or a chumrah. For example a Sephardi woman would have
to abstain from kitniot on Pesach on marrying an Ashkenazi and an
Ashkenazi woman would be permitted to consume them if she married a
Sephardi. With his agreement she may be allowed some leeway in these
matters so long as it does not lead to conflict between them. For
example he may agree that she continue to use for her private davenning
the nusach hatephillah to which she is accustomed. However this only
applies to communal customs NOT private chumros which he may have
accepted. Thus the eruv problem does not come into the category of
following his custom.

Martin Stern


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Fri, 20 Aug 2004 06:46:53 -0400
Subject: Frummer,  Chumras, Parasites

When the dust settles, "MORE" is not better -- "MORE" is only different.
You choose blue, I choose red -- we have a difference of opinion.

You choose 30 minutes, I choose 72 minutes -- we have a difference of
opinion (or a different basis for our opinions.)  Is 72 better than 30
-- absolutely, positively no -- it's simply different.

If I choose to hold by something (which you may wish to call a chumrah)
am I in any way better or frummer -- (adjective deleted!) NO!

With all due respect to the lengthy treatises on this topic --
fundamentally the "more is better" phenomenon whether it is driven by
Yirai Shemayim, by a limited understanding of halacha, by social
pressures or by personality traits is divisive.

We see this in the artificial grouping of Torah observant Jews into all
sorts of externally defined subcategories and we see it on the streets
as Jews interact (or fail to interact) with each other.

Carl A. Singer


From: Chana Luntz <Chana@...>
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 2004 16:44:43 +0100
Subject: RE: Halachic parasitism

Meir Shinnar writes:

>The case initially posted was 
>>It is not unusual to see couples in Yerushalayim where the
>>husband wears a shabbos belt to avoid carrying a key and 
>>the wife pushes their infant in a stroller.
>RCL suggested three possible legitimate reasons for the wife 
>pushing the stroller, while the husband walks along and is 
>1)  The wife has her own halachic shitta.  That is a 
>legitimate reason - and the issue of how far the wife has to 
>take her husband's shittot is a matter of some dispute - but 
>does this really apply to the case and the community 
>being .described above??  

I think it often does, although not in the way you are thinking.  I
agree that it would be vanishingly rare in such communities for the wife
to have sat down with the sources and developed her own halachic shitta.
But take a far more common case in a community with a long established
eruv- her mother carries (and her mother may still be at the stage in
life when she is pushing a stroller); all her sisters carry; all her
friends from school and Sem carry; she has carried all her life - now
suddenly he is going to tell her that her mother and sisters and friends
etc aren't frum enough?  Forgetaboutit!

And this is indeed called having your own halachic shita.  It is a shita
based on mimeticism, not textualism and it works both l'chumra as well
as l'kula (as her husband may well find out when he tries to tell her
that she does not need to do a fraction of the pesach cleaning she in
fact does).  And it even has some good textual precedent, both the
gemora and rishonim such as tosfos bring "im lo neviim hem, bnei neviim
hem" [if they [ie the general community] are not prophets themselves,
they are the children of prophets - so lets go out and see how the
common people are acting in regard to this matter].

>2)The husband is machmir, but does not wish to impose his 
>humra on the wife.
>Here, WADR to RCL, I am in disagreement.  The issue in my 
>mind is different.  The fact that he allows his wife to .
>carry is proof that he views the other position is 
>legitimate, even if not his prefered position.  Therefore, 
>his own position is a humra - and his "integrity" leads him 
>to violate the kavod habriyot of his wife.  Integrity can't 
>be bought by somebody else doing the work.

So you would agree with those people (eg in London) who take the
position that since they do not hold by the eruv, they will not give
shabbas invitations to people who do hold by the eruv, despite them
having on whom to rely?  Surely that is exactly the same kind of
integrity you are recommending here and to do otherwise would indicate
that they felt their own position was just a humra?

Would you also agree with those people who confront those using the eruv
in London and tell them that there is "no eruv in London" (because that
is the confronter's own shita) or use such terms to such passers by as
mechalel shabbas?  How about (and this last is a hypothetical case,
unlike the two preceding it) if people who did not hold by the eruv were
to to fail to black ball a certain caterer, because they made use of the
eruv - would not that be a prima facie case of "integrity not being
bought by somebody else doing the work"?

>3) The issue of kavod habriyot - the suggestion is that the 
>reliance on the eruv is only for the sake of hardship, and 
>it is the wife's hardship - and therefore the heter is for 
>her.  This was essentially the original poster's position - 
>that reliance on the eruv is only for hardship such assmall 
>children, and therefore that is why women push the stroller.
>WADR, I would suggest that the fact that it is the wife's 
>hardship means, or should mean, that it is his hardship as 
>well - even if for him it is a different type of hardship - 
>and he therefore can also push the stroller - and his 
>viewing it as only the wife's hardship is a fundamental 
>failing in kavod habriyot.

Perhaps to get at the heart of what we are talking about here, we need
to look at what is, I suspect, the unspoken assumption.  Which is that
were it not shabbas he would be pushing the stroller, and not her.  But
is that true?  Six days a week, who is pushing the stroller, him or her?
I agree, in an eglitarian family where childcare is shared, he is just
as likely as her to be pushing the stroller.  And in such a case it
would indeed clearly be as much a hardship for him as for her where he
to be prevented from pushing the stroller on one day a week, when he
does it the remaining six days.

But what I suspect is the more common case in the situations we are
discussing, is that six days a week, she pushes the stroller by herself
without him even being around most of the time (for whatever reason, be
it kollel or work or whatever).  She pushes it shopping, she pushes it
to her friends, she pushes it to the park, he never sees hide nor hair
of it.  And suddenly on shabbas it is a hardship for her to push the
pusher without help?  It is clearly not (whereas, six days a week she
goes out and sees friends, and it is indeed a hardship to be prevented
from going out, which hardship may well include being prevented from
going out unless separated from one's baby even if one's husband is
looking after it if such separation never occurs during the week).

This is not to say that you are not perfectly entitled to disagree with
the childrearing arrangements of such families, and you may well be able
to provide lots of evidence to demonstrate that children do better with
actively involved fathers, starting from the very beginning.  But it is
that that you are really criticising, not their eruv using arrangements.
As has been pointed out, if he wanted to be machmir regarding the eruv,
and yet wanted to be actively involved with the kids, he could just as
easily stay home with them while she goes out (actually get much better
quality time with them than pushing a stroller), and the fact that that
does not happen (on shabbas or the rest of the week, if it does not) has
to do with assumptions about childrearing that exist in, or have been
negotiated into, that marriage.

But given the most common childcare arrangements during the week, what
he is doing on shabbas is no more reliant on her work than what is
occurring during the week.  [I acknowledge that throughout this last
piece I have assumed here that she is looking after the kids all week
and all shabbas, with him elsewhere, which is still the most common
domestic position.  There are other domestic arrangements, and one that
is increasing seen among kollel families, is an arrangement where he is
in fact responsible for a lot of the childcare during the week (where it
is not being paid for), because she is working full time, and he has
more breaks from kollel than she does and so takes them to and picks
them up from the paid childcare arrangements, takes them to the doctor
if they are sick etc.  In which case, he is indeed actively involved in
childcare, and most of the time is the person in the family doing the
stroller pushing, and if anything the arrangment on shabbas might be
seen as his one time out.  But the one scenario I think you will find
very rarely in any family is that both parents are there full time to
push a stroller, enabling genuine sharing, stroller pushing being most
usually a solitary activity.  So that while the rare situations of
sharing might be in fact tremendously pleasant for all concerned, it is
hard to describe it as a hardship when they do not occur].



From: Immanuel Burton <IBURTON@...>
Date: Fri, 20 Aug 2004 09:37:11 +0100
Subject: RE: Non-Jews at a Seder

In Mail.Jewish v44n25, Mike Gerver wrote:
> I might also add that, after 3000 years, there is surely not a single
> non-Jew in the world whose direct ancestors did not include slaves to
> Pharaoh in Egypt who were freed at the time of the Exodus.

What about direct descendents of the Egyptians who were doing the
enslaving?  Or populations that were genetically and geographically
isolated from the Middle East at the time, bearing in mind that long-
distance travel is a fairly recent activity.

In Mail.Jewish v44n30, Eliezer Wenger wrote:
> There are also many Halachic problems with inviting non-Jews to any
> Yom Tov meal which do not exist when inviting them for Shabbos meals.
> See Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 98:36 for starters.

As I understand the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 98:36, it is indeed forbidden
to cook for a non-Jew on Yom Tov.  However, that paragraph concludes by
saying that one may give to an ordinary non-Jew from the food that one
has prepared for oneself.  An ordinary non-Jew is one who is not
distinguished, and I would guess that that would include most non-Jews.

The point I was trying to make about having non-Jews at a Seder was not
so much the cooking issue, but the very idea of having a non-Jew present
at an event that relives the birth of the Jewish nation, replete with
rituals pertinent only to commemorating our suffering in Egypt, and our

In the same issue of Mail.Jewish, Mark Symons wrote:
> Yes, but didn't "Erev Rav" (a "mixed multitude") ie non-jews,
> accompany them on their exodus?

That's true, but that was after the first Seder held in Egypt, and would
any of Erev Rav have been present at anyone's Seder in Egypt?

Harry Weiss wrote:
> An interesting side issue would be regarding those non Jews stuying
> for geirus (consversion).

We have a family friend who converted, and who came to our Seder a
couple of times during his conversion.  My father asked his Rov about
the afikomen, and he was told that as our friend was not yet Jewish he
should not partake of the afikomen.  (Yes, I know this might be a
contentious decision, and that other Rabbis may have advised
differently, but I'm just relaying what happened.)  I do have to say
that it did feel a bit awkward at afikomen time.  The issue of cooking
food for him was never raised.

If one relies on Kli Shlishi (lit. third vessel) on Shabbos for making
tea so as not to be 'cooking' the tea on Shabbos, could one make tea in
that way for a non-Jew on Yom Tov?  If using a third vessel doesn't come
under the Halachic definition of cooking with regards to Shabbos, how
about on Yom Tov?  And what about using any of the permitted ways to
heat food on Shabbos to do the same for a non-Jew on Yom Tov?

Immanuel Burton.


From: Leah S. Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Fri, 20 Aug 2004 04:26:58 -0700
Subject: Stroller Clarification / Eruv

Chana Luntz writes:
>hardship there is on who to rely.  And he may well feel that while he,
>the husband, would if faced with the choice independently choose to
>always stay at home (ie never eat out, never go out when the other
>spouse is not in etc), he does not have the right to impose that
>hardship on his wife.

I agreed with Ms. Luntz' post until this point.  The question is not
really, 'should the husband make his wife stay home or allow her to
leave home'...this is a straw-person argument, because of course if
there is a reason to "allow" her to leave home, that is the sane

What about the option of the husband choosing to stay home with the
child(ren) so the wife goes out?  That is *equally* sensible to the
option everyone is talking about, i.e. the wife at home.  The question
is actually, "if a husband believes the eruv is not reliable [for
whatever reason], should he insist on keeping the kids home with himself
all of shabbat, or should he encourage other family members to use
strollers and be a halakhic 'free rider'?"

Leah S. R. Gordon


End of Volume 44 Issue 38