Volume 45 Number 64
                    Produced: Sun Nov 14 21:59:52 EST 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Christian concept
Coming late to shule
         [Martin Stern]
Esoteric question re writing on Shabbat
         [Shmuel Himelstein]
Halacha and Change
         [Art Kamlet]
Halacha and change
         [Elazar M Teitz]
Hannukah and Halloween
         [Tzvi Stein]
Is Saint veneration a Jewish custom? (2)
         [Shayna Kravetz, Avi Feldblum]
Lateness to Shul
         [Martin Stern]
"No Thank Yous -- We're Jewish"
Prenutial agreements info request
         [Moshe Goldberg]


From: <chips@...>
Date: Sat, 13 Nov 2004 20:40:04 -0800
Subject: Re: Christian concept

> turn the other cheek (a Christian concept, btw)

Are you sure? Because I'm pretty sure the concept is mentioned at least
twice in the Neviyim Achronym.



From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, 14 Nov 2004 09:31:30 +0000
Subject: Re: Coming late to shule

on 14/11/04 1:51 am, Carl Singer <casinger@...> wrote:

>> I've reflected on this a bit and I think my main objection [to
>> criticising so harshly someone who comes late to shul, even
>> habitually] is that with so many serious issues that need to be
>> addressed in the frum community, is lateness to shul what we need to
>> focus on?  What about the shidduch crisis, agunot, teens at risk,
>> etc. etc.  ....

> I've heard this sentiment many times -- for example, "with the
> intermarriage crisis how can you complain about people not saying Good
> Shabbos."  -- I disagree with this "logic" as life is not an either
> proposition.

All too true, but at least we can correct our own personal faults
whereas the ills of society at large are beyond our
abilities. Discussion may be interesting but they are essentially

> I propose that a perfectly acceptable response is for the
> appropriate person (congregation's Rabbi?) to privately tell the persistent
> latecomer that his behavior is unacceptable and that he should remedy same.
> A young lawyer in our congregation (clearly a good debater) once tried
> to argue that my coming on time was problematic -- he tried to twist
> that I focused on this instead of the things that he held important
> (tolerance of those coming late, comes to mind.)  I asked him what a
> judge (haMavdil) would do if he came to court 15 minutes late.  Alas, we
> only got into an argument.

Carl has said it all! The reason I decided not to speak to the latecomer
I described previously is summed up perfectly in his last paragraph; I
reckoned it would be like water of a duck's back! Perhaps this
discussion on mail-jewish, to which he does not to the best of my
knowledge subscribe, will get back to him indirectly through someone who
can influence him to correct his ways.

Martin Stern


From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
Date: Sun, 14 Nov 2004 12:37:18 +0200
Subject: Esoteric question re writing on Shabbat

In the laws of Shabbat, one who writes two letters is liable by Torah
law. Has anyone ever heard about how that would apply to writing in
Chinese, where each ideograph is a separate word? One ideograph to be
liable? Two?

Just curious.

Shmuel Himelstein


From: <Artkamlet@...> (Art Kamlet)
Date: Sat, 13 Nov 2004 22:10:14 EST
Subject: Re: Halacha and Change

      From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
      From: Meir Possenheimer <meir@...>
      >...Judaism may adapt to the times in accordance with
      >immutable Halacha, change it cannot. And orthodoxy simply means
      >conforming with this immutable Halacha.

      This seems to be an unreasonable simplification of Halacha.  First
      and foremost, the halacha is not always clear, straightforward, or
      reachable (or else this mailing list would be rendered moot).
      What you could say is that the "truth is immutable", that G-d has
      one clear-cut way in which He wants the world to function ... but
      I'm not aware of anything in our tradition to indicate this.

How do we combine the idea that "G-d has one clear-cut way in which He
wants the world to function" with Rabbi Yehoshua's reply to the bat kol,
the heavenly voice that declared the law is as R Eleazer stated, that
"lo bashamayim hee" [It (the law) is not in heaven (any more; it is in
the hands of the Sanhederin)]

If the heavenly voice, as well as trees, walls, and rivers all point to
G-d's "one clear-cut way" yet the law is no longer in heaven, and
heaven's will shall be superseded by the Sanhederin, then isn't the law
what the rabbis say it is, regardless of the "one clear-cut way?"

From: Elazar M Teitz <remt@...>
Date: Sat, 13 Nov 2004 23:35:15 -0500
Subject: Re: Halacha and change

> Rav Teitz wrote:
> > The amidah was composed at the time of the Jews' return from the
> > Babylonian exile. The times to say them were geared to the times
> > the korbanos were offered, but the prayer itself was not instituted as
> > a replacement for the korbanos.
> I would cretainly never disagree with Rav Teitz. But I am curious how
> to understand the gemara in Brachot (I think daf 26 which has an
> argument of amoraim if the tefilot were instituted by the Avot or as
> representative of the sacrafices. Also, how should we understand the
> use of the verse "Unishalma parim sifateinu" (may the utterance of our
> lips be in replacement of our sacrafices) which I believe Tosphot
> quotes there in discussing Mussaf.

        That the t'filot were instituted as representative of the
sacrifices does not mean that they were meant to replace them.  The
Talmud does not state that they were "bimkom t'midim," which would mean
"in lieu of the daily sacrifices."  Rather, the term used is "k'neged
t'midim," which means, roughly, "representative of the daily

  In Sanhedrin, we are taught that the decision to declare a year to be
a leap year was made by three court decisions, consisting of first
three, then five, and finally seven judges.  The Talmud asks, "K'neged
mi?" and answers that it is "k'neged birchat kohanim."  Certainly it is
not intended to replace the priestly blessing; it is intended to invoke
them, by having the number of jdges equal the number of words in each of
the three b'rochot of birkat kohanim.  Similarly, the opinion that they
were introduced "k'neged t'midim" means that they were intended to be
representative of the daily sacrifices, timed to coincide with the times
of those sacrifices, but not as replacements.

        Of course, when the Mikdash was destroyed they then became
replacements, and for such circumstances the pasuk of "u'nshal'ma"
applies: that prayer can replace sacrifice, not that it must.

        Finally, why should I not be disagreed with if someone feels I
am mistaken?



From: Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...>
Date: Sat, 13 Nov 2004 21:31:26 -0500
Subject: Re: Hannukah and Halloween

> I don't recall whether our annual darkei haemori [imitating idolotrous
> practices] question about Halloween has ever migrated to one about
> giving gifts on Hannukah.  As far as I can tell it is a recent practice
> started in imitation of a Christian custom.  Is there a problem of
> darkei haemori [see above]?
> David Riceman

I remember this question being brought up in yeshiva, and it seems that
giving gifts on Chanuka (or at least "gelt") actually *predates* the
practice of giving gifts on Christmas.  Go figure!


From: Shayna Kravetz <skravetz@...>
Date: Sat, 13 Nov 2004 23:57:12 -0500
Subject: Re: Is Saint veneration a Jewish custom?

<Gevaryahu@...> (Gilad J. Gevaryahu) writes:

>Many Chasidim hold that kivrei tzadikim einam metam'im, that is, even a
>Cohen is allowed to go to a grave site of a Tzadik (including their
>Rebbi) since such grave sites do not defile a Cohen. Procedures for
>walking thru a cemetery inside a box to the grave site of the Rebbi was
>developed, in order to avoid the defilement of Cohanim to graves of
>common Jews.

Is anyone else as shocked as I am by this degradation of the "common
Jews"?  Surely in death we are all equal.

Shavua tov from
Shayna in Toronto

From: Avi Feldblum <feldblum@...>
Date: Sun, 14 Nov 2004
Subject: Re: Is Saint veneration a Jewish custom?

I don't understand Shayna's concern. There is no degredation of the
"common Jew". The Torah teaches us that the grave of a Jew is Tameh and
therefore a Cohen may not go there. This is simply the reality of
Halacha. The only potential item to be shocked about is the opinion that
a Cohen may go to the grave of a Tzaddik, because "kivrei tzadikim einam
metam'im" - the graves of Tzaddikim are not Tameh. The halachic validity
of this statement is subject to dispute, and I would be interested in
seeing the sources to support it. There is one case in the Gemarah where
it talks about a specific Tana (I think, but it could have been an
Amorah) who reached a state such that when he died, there was no Tumah
involved. I remember that there is an interesting Malbim about the
nature of Tumah and he used that Gemarah. But as a general rule, I would
think that the majority of Poskim do not follow the opinion that allows
Cohanim to go to any Kever (grave)

Avi Feldblum


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, 14 Nov 2004 10:03:26 +0000
Subject: Re: Lateness to Shul

on 14/11/04 12:57 am, Avi Feldblum at <mljewish@...> wrote:

> I think that a lot depends on where you are and what are the
> circumstances of the community. For many places, especially those that
> are "out of town" (i.e. away from the major Jewish centers), the Shabbat
> shul experience may be the only Jewish contact that the individual
> has. I am not sure I am willing to agree with Martin that the tefillah
> (prayer) is truely the ikkar (primary point) for many of these
> people. The fact that they come to shul, especially if they are coming
> to an orthodox shul, is something to support, even if they do not do any
> tefillah at all. It is very possible, and I have seen this, that after
> some amount of time, possibly even a few years, tefillah and other
> halachik requirements come to mean more to them.  I also suspect that
> the people that are not coming to shul are not those who do not come
> because they may have additional kavannah at home. They are the ones who
> have even less connection to Judaism than the ones who come but have
> little connection to tefillah. It is a very difficult question, in my
> mind, how we balance the desires of those like Martin, who want everyone
> to come on time and already know what the "real" purpose of why one is
> in shul, with the reality I see in out of town America. Maybe England is
> different.

Avi's comment makes me think that perhaps we are talking at
cross-purposes.  I would agree with him that Shabbat shul attendance has
an educational and even social aspect apart from the opportunity to
daven with a congregation.  For those for whom this is their only Jewish
contact, one should be extremely reticent in upbraiding them for
lateness. The same might even apply to those who do not yet appreciate
the sanctity of shabbat and come to shul by car but, out of respect for
others' sensitivities park some distance away; they might come
eventually to realise the error of so doing. How and when to draw a
person's attention to his or her wrongdoing is a very sensitive matter
which makes a discussion group like mail-jewish a valuable forum since
they might feel less threatened than in a personal encounter.

What I had in mind were the three times a day Jews who obviously accept
the importance of tefillah betsibbur yet somehow find it acceptable to
come late. To come 15 minutes late on shabbat morning when davenning
takes 2 - 3 hours is clearly less problematic than on a weekday morning
where it is all over in 30 - 40 minutes, let alone minchah or ma'ariv
which can hardly ever take more than 15- 20 minutes even in the slowest

It was with respect to weekday tefillot that I made the comment that it
might be better to daven at home rather than come late and have to rush
to catch up with the congregation. I remember once during selichot had
to go to a hashgachah job early and couldn't go to shul; it was the
first and only time I ever managed to say all the selichot and (at least
partially) understand what I was saying.

I don't think there is any significant difference between England and
the US in these matters. The main distinction is between large
communities with many shuls and those with only one. In the latter
lateness on shabbat has to be tolerated much more and, on weekdays, one
has to be glad that anyone comes at all to make up a minyan. In the
former, on the other hand, someone who realises he will be late for his
regular shul has the option of going to a different one which starts
later. The only point at issue is whether davenning in one's makom
kavua' (fixed place) should take precedence over being ready with one's
tallit and tefillin on at the beginning of davenning.

Martin Stern


From: c.halevi <c.halevi@...>
Date: Sat, 13 Nov 2004 20:45:48 -0600
Subject: "No Thank Yous -- We're Jewish"

Someone wrote they heard that if one thanks someone for doing a mitzvah,
it 'lessens the merit of the mitzvah.' Others have offered explanations
as to why this is so or not so.

Perhaps the original poster refers to the fact that some people do not
want to be thanked when they are repaid by someone to whom they lent
money, as they consider the thanks a form of rebeet (interest) on the
loan, which is forbidden.

Thus, this would not apply to any other mitzva and there could then be
no problem with being thanked.

Frankly, a case may be made that one *must* thank someone when they did
them a favor/mitzva, because if the thanks were not given, the one doing
the kindness might think the other person a boor, and this would cause
baseless friction.

Yeshaya (Charles Chi) Halevi



From: <mgold@...> (Moshe Goldberg)
Date: Sun, 14 Nov 2004 11:30:56 +0200
Subject: Prenutial agreements info request

Where can up-to-date information be found on the status of prenuptial
agreements and their halachic implications? Have they been accepted on a
wide basis? In the US, in Israel, elsewhere? Are there recent articles
on the subject that can be accessed on the web/internet?

Thanks for any information.

Moshe Goldberg  -- <mgold@...>


End of Volume 45 Issue 64